The Lipton Questionnaire

Blethering

Every few years, I find myself answering the whimsical questions posed by James Lipton on his show ‘Inside the Actor’s Studio’ (and before him, posed by Bernard Pivot on his programme ‘Apostrophes’). Of course, the questions come after the Marcel Proust popularised parlour game questionnaire from the late 1800s (which I’ve also answered over on my photography blog). As I’ve done on previous blogs, Facebook, and live journal before it, I answer them every few years to see how my answers change over time.

What is your favourite word?
Independence

What is your least favourite word?
Brexit

What turns you on creatively, spiritually, or emotionally?
Hope

What turns you off?
A feeling of resignation

What sound or noise do you love?
The excitement of the Glasgow Barrowlands when the lights go down

What sound or noise do you hate?
The cracking of joints. Goes right through me.

What is your favorite curse word?
Bellend

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Football data analyst. Really.

What profession would you not like to do?
Accountant – your company would be in the gutter by the weekend.

If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
“Look, mate. You did the best you could. You learned a little late at times, but you got there in the end. The piano falling on you was a little bit unfortunate but you’re here now. The chocolate’s over there, and… fancy an Irn Bru?”

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Radio Kapitał Episode S02E03 – 04/02/2021

Neil Milton Listens To...

Neil Milton Listens To… on Radio Kapitał

As we move into February and the snow is falling, the temperature is dropping, and the skies change from a snowy grey-white to a beautiful blue, there’s no better time to dig out some music from the back catalogue of one of the more enigmatic independent record labels out there – Montreal’s Constellation Records. Home to some beautiful music indeed.

This third episode of what is our second season of this series contains music from a wide variety of artists. Perfect listening as the snow falls.

RADIO KAPITAŁ Episode 3: Neil Milton Listens to… The Music of Constellation Records: Part 1

1. Sofa – Canyon (Fade)
2. Glissandro 70 – Something
3. Jessica Moss – Glaciers 1 pt. 1
4. Colin Stetson – Clothed in the Skin of the Dead
5. Sarah Neufeld – Wrong Thought
6. Do Make Say Think – The Landlord is Dead
7. Black Ox Orkestar – Kalarash
8. Matana Roberts – Lulla/Bye
9. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – BBF3

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Beginning the year

Blethering

Things move remarkably fast in a pandemic, but as fast as they move they seem to crawl ever so slowly too. Some things in my life ground to a halt, and others – quite unexpectedly – took over again quickly.

To be candid, 2020 did a number on my mental health and for many reasons more than that Pop-up Books had, what can only be described as, a year off.

By April, confined to my city centre flat, I’d written the best part of a solo album, however, by the time I’d moved across to Bielany to live with my partner, I’d given it everything I had and until now hadn’t much more to give it. So on this very hard-drive there is an album sans vocals and garnish that I plan to finish over the next few months. I can say one thing about it… It’s heavy on the jangle. There are many Rickenbackers.

When football came back mid-pandemic, it did so with a surprising benefit. The lack of fans at the matches meant lower-league teams had to find ways of broadcasting their games. Live-streams became common and for the first time in over a decade, I have been able to watch Airdrieonians week-on-week in the Scottish first division. So that kept me occupied until, inevitably, the lower leagues in Scotland were suspended as the infections began to rise again.

Anyway, Jules, Tomek, and I have been talking and it’s very much our intention to get the band back up on its feet. We’re working on a surprising cover version remotely and hopefully that’ll get us started again. For now though, we’ll just wait and see what happens.

Brexit happened. That sucks. It’s turning out to be as disastrous as expected. Here’s hoping for Scottish independence before too long.

This year, I’ve kicked off season 2 of my Radio Kapitał show, “Neil Milton Listens To…“. January, we’re listening to music from Live albums. Episode 1 was Scottish-focused and Episode 2 is everything else.

The most surprising turn-around of the pandemic was my return to photography as a purely creative endeavour. I’ve been spending hours roaming around Bielany, Młociny, Żoliborz, and elsewhere with a couple of film cameras just to see what comes of it. It’s the most creatively excited I’ve been for a while. I’ve got my eye on a Leica M6 just need to wait for February pay-day and then we’re off to the races, as it were.

To go along with that, I decided to build a new website to get some of my old photography online, write some material for my students, and to occasionally blog about some projects too. If you’re that way inclined, please jump over to photography.neilmilton.co.uk to see what’s there.

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Radio Kapitał Episode S02E02 – 21/01/2021

Neil Milton Listens To...

Neil Milton Listens To… on Radio Kapitał

With the introduction of the 3rd, and potentially not the last, lockdown in the UK, and lockdowns of various strengths across the world, I thought it might be a good idea to remind us all of what we’re missing in the form of some incredible live music. So the 2 shows in January 2021 will do just that.

This second episode of what is nominally the second season of this series contains music from Mercury Rev, Sleater-Kinney, The Velvet Underground, and much more.

RADIO KAPITAŁ Episode 2: Neil Milton Listens to… Live Music: Part 2

1. Mercury Rev – Holes (Live)
2. Bob Dylan 30th Anniversary – My Back Pages (Live)
3. Big Star – The Ballad of El Goodo (Live)
4. Nirvana – Aneurysm (Live)
5. Radiohead – Idioteque (Live)
6. Soulwax – I Love Techno (Live)
7. Sleater-Kinney – Dig Me Out (Live)
8. Blur – Popscene (Live)
9. The Velvet Underground – Rock & Roll (Live)
10. Neil Young – Powderfinger (Live)
11. R.E.M. – Country Feedback (Live)

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Radio Kapitał Episode S02E01 – 07/01/2021

Neil Milton Listens To...

Neil Milton Listens To… on Radio Kapitał

With the introduction of the 3rd, and potentially not the last, lockdown in the UK, and lockdowns of various strengths across the world, I thought it might be a good idea to remind us all of what we’re missing in the form of some incredible live music. So the 2 shows in January 2021 will do just that, beginning with a collection of tracks from Scottish bands.

This first episode of what is nominally the second season of this series contains music from Mogwai, Idlewild, Simple Minds, and much more.

RADIO KAPITAŁ Episode 1: Neil Milton Listens to… Live Music: Part 1

1. The Twilight Sad – Cold Days From The Birdhouse (live)
2. Life Without Buildings – The Leanover (live)
3. The Jesus and Mary Chain – The Hardest Walk (live)
4. Simple Minds – Waterfront (live)
5. Mogwai – Glasgow Megasnake (live)
6. Biffy Clyro – 57 (live)
7. Idlewild – Roseability (live)
8. Runrig – Skye (live)
9. Belle and Sebastian – Get Me Away From Here, I’m Dying (live)
10. The Delgados – Everything Goes Around The Water (live)
11. Arab Strap – Girls of Summer (live)

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Radio Kapitał Episode 25 – 29/10/2020

Neil Milton Listens To...

Neil Milton Listens To… on Radio Kapitał

Music without lyrics, while not being as immediately accessible to some as those with words, can often be as or even more emotionally affecting. The first instrumental post-rock record I heard was Mogwai’s Young Team record and it opened to the door to a whole world of music that has made my life infinitely better. Bands from the ‘Gwai and Godspeed You! Black Emperor through to You Slut! And 65daysofstatic have provided me with laughter, tears, hope, and inspiration ever since. For October, I decided to dip in to some of the best the instrumental side of post-rock has to offer.

RADIO KAPITAŁ Episode 25: Neil Milton Listens To… Instrumental Post-Rock: Part 3

1. Mogwai – How to be a Werewolf
2. Rowan – Bible Silver Corner
3. Sigur rós – Untitled (Samskeyti)
4. Neil Milton – Begin Anywhere
5. Troika – Between the Cracks in the Piano
6. Slint – Rhoda (oops! Played in in last week’s show too)
7. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – BBF3
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Partick Thistle 2 – 1 Airdrieonians (24/10/20)

Airdrieonians

Goals: Partick Thistle – Graham (40), Spittal (60) – Airdrieonians Carrick (36)

Airdrieonians Line-up: Currie, MacDonald, McCann, Kerr, Crighton, Fordyce, Thomson, McKay, Gallagher, Sabatini, Carrick
Subs: Hutton, Robert, Ritchie, Mbayo, Connell, O’Reilly, Stokes

Airdrieonians traveled to Firhill for the first time since February 2013 to face a Partick Thistle side with something to prove after their away defeat to Clyde last week on the first day of this season.

Thistle and Airdrie have a colourful history and certainly consider themselves – some might argue bitter – rivals. Of late, it is the Jags that have been the team in the ascendancy, with the obvious exception of their contentious Covid-caused relegation of last season.

While, through the rivalry, the clubs have fought to 46 draws; before today, their record of head-to-head victories gave Thistle a comfortable lead, being ahead by a difference of 18 wins from a total of 202 games. At home, Thistle are stronger, overcoming the Diamonds’ visit there 57% of the time.

Would Airdrie make it back to Lanarkshire victorious, or would the cardboard-cut-out Thistle fans find themselves celebrating in the chilly Maryhill air?

As with most matches these days, it was enjoyed via the home side’s live streaming and to give Partick Thistle their due they’ve clearly spent some money contracting QTV to film the game. Multi-camera. Zoom. Replays. A huge step up from the Pixellot automated system that most lower-league clubs are using. That said, it would be much appreciated by many, I’m sure, if there could be a moratorium, now, on the new wave of lower-league commentators making mention of the “strange times” football is in.

It was disappointing to see the Airdrie side emerge from the Alan Rough lounge – their makeshift dressing room in these ‘strange times’ – in dribs and drabs. Especially as there was pre-kick-off support of the Show Racism The Red Card. One can only presume there was a reason for it, but it’s not a good look to have players arriving in the line-up late.

Partick Thistle kicked off to the strange sound of canned crowd noise piped through the PA system. It may seem sensible to have this on the TV coverage, but to have it in the empty grounds? It would be interesting to hear if it helped or hindered the players.

Airdrie settled into a 4-2-3-1 with Gallagher up front and Sabatini dropping back into one of the 2 defensive midfield roles. It’s becoming clear that the Swiss loanee from the Ukrainian league is going to be a pivotal engine in the midfield, our regista, our deep lying playmaker.

The first 5 minutes gave a scrappy midfield battle with neither side able to get a commanding foot on the ball. Thistle were the first to take control, beginning with a Murray shot giving the home side their first corner of the match, an excellent cross from the right with no connection on the end of it. Not long after, Penrice and Murray gave Thistle the first chance of the game with the latter releasing the former with a neat  reverse pass but Penrice was found just offside.

Airdrie’s early play involved an incomprehensible number of long-balls from Crighton and Fordyce searching for Gallagher but the home defence was wise to it. The Diamonds also used McKay’s prodigious long-throw as, almost, a corner in all but name.

By the 20 minute mark, Airdrie – who had been fairly comfortable in defence but offered little going forward so far – seemed to come to life. A mistake by Murray on 26 minutes allowed McKay to play in Gallagher on the right but the forward blasted it over. Though it wasn’t long until Max Currie was called upon to make a fantastic save from Murray’s driven shot; the Airdrie goalkeeper certainly justifying the manager’s decision to pick him ahead of Hutton.

It was the Diamonds that took the lead on the 36th minute when Sabatini played a lovely reverse pass down the left to McCann who switched the play to Crighton on the right. The defender swept in a lovely cross to the back post where Dale Carrick was waiting to head it in from close range. A great goal.

Thistle didn’t wait to respond and 4 minutes later, Graham found himself in a fortuitous position, central and in front of goal, and scored by tucking the ball under Currie. A poor goal for Airdrie to lose.

Currie, though, had an opportunity to strengthen his confidence just before the end of the first half when Brian Graham smashed a shot from distance and it crashed against the Airdrie keeper as he dived to meet it.

The second half began with Airdrie kicking off towards the John Lambie stand but it was clear from the outset that Thistle had come out with purpose. On 56 minutes Currie was called upon again to come to Airdrie’s rescue with a fingertip save diving down to his right to meet Spittal’s strike.

Airdrie replaced Sabatini minutes later with Kyle Connell coming on, but minutes later an Airdrie penalty claim was rejected – and with the Diamonds players still protesting – Spittal found himself in space on the left, shifted onto his right foot and curled a special goal into the far top corner for Thistle to take the lead.

While Thistle showed themselves to be the stronger team in the second half, Airdrie kept up pressure and in the second half of the second half could have drawn level several times with the introduction of Robert on the left causing Thistle problems. On 77 minutes Craig Thomson had a shot saved over the bar and 3 minutes later Sean Crighton, with his back to goal, attempted an audacious overhead kick that went just wide.

In the end, the Diamonds couldn’t find their way back into it and the Glasgow lads added to their home-win tally over the boys from Lanarkshire. In truth, Airdrie will be disappointed to have come away with anything less than a draw.

Airdrie ended the day 3rd in the league going into next week’s match with Dumbarton, with Thistle finding themselves in 5th, behind the Diamonds and Clyde on goal difference.

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Radio Kapitał Episode 24 – 15/10/2020

Neil Milton Listens To...

Neil Milton Listens To… on Radio Kapitał

Music without lyrics, while not being as immediately accessible to some as those with words, can often be as or even more emotionally affecting. The first instrumental post-rock record I heard was Mogwai’s Young Team record and it opened to the door to a whole world of music that has made my life infinitely better. Bands from the ‘Gwai and Godspeed You! Black Emperor through to You Slut! And 65daysofstatic have provided me with laughter, tears, hope, and inspiration ever since. For October, I decided to dip in to some of the best the instrumental side of post-rock has to offer.

RADIO KAPITAŁ Episode 24: Neil Milton Listens To… Instrumental Post-Rock: Part 2

1. Explosions in the Sky – First Breath After Coma
2. Sputniks Down – mm
3. 65daysofstatic – Retreat! Retreat!
4. Slint – Rhoda
5. Codes in the Clouds – You Are Not What You Think You Are
6. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Mladic
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Radio Kapitał Episode 23 – 01/10/2020

Neil Milton Listens To...

Neil Milton Listens To… on Radio Kapitał

Music without lyrics, while not being as immediately accessible to some as those with words, can often be as or even more emotionally affecting. The first instrumental post-rock record I heard was Mogwai’s Young Team record and it opened to the door to a whole world of music that has made my life infinitely better. Bands from the ‘Gwai and Godspeed You! Black Emperor through to You Slut! And 65daysofstatic have provided me with laughter, tears, hope, and inspiration ever since. For October, I decided to dip in to some of the best the instrumental side of post-rock has to offer.

RADIO KAPITAŁ Episode 23: Neil Milton Listens To… Instrumental Post-Rock: Part 1

1. For a Minor Reflection – Sjáumst í Virginíu
2. Laeto – Rowan Guerilla
3. You Slut! – My Bloody Jesus Explorer On Fire
4. Multiplies – Megafist
5. Mogwai – My Father, My King
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Kelty Hearts 1 – 1 Airdrieonians (19/09/20)

Airdrieonians

Goals: Kelty Hearts – Higginbotham (57) – Airdrieonians Ally Roy (46)

Airdrieonians Line-up: Hutton, MacDonald, McCann, Fordyce, Kerr, Ritchie, McKay, Sabatini, Gallagher, O’Reilly, Thomson
Subs: Currie, Crighton, Robert, Stokes, Roy, Carrick, Burke, Moore, Hughes

Airdrieonians met lowland leaguers Kelty Hearts on the synthetic pitch of their New Central Park ground on Saturday for the first of a selection of pre-season friendlies that will stand to increase the match-fitness of the team after a prolonged hiatus from football due to the pandemic.

Kelty included ex-Airdrie players Cammy Russell and Paddy Boyle, and kicking off in the sunshine in the appropriately chosen yellow third kit, Airdrie’s starting line-up included recent Swiss loan signing from Dnipro-1 in Ukraine, Griffin Sabatini, alongside Euan O’Reilly on loan from St. Johnstone, and youngster, Dean Ritchie joining from Hearts.

The game began in scrappy fashion, as you’d expect from a Diamonds side in their first match of the pre-season, especially given Kelty had matches already under their belt. Mislaid passes, and strong challenges set the tone of the first 10 minutes.

Nathan Austin and Dylan Easton looked particularly lively for Kelty in the early moments of the match with Austin striking just wide of the far post, and Easton showing some early signs of some clever footwork.

Not to be deterred, Airdrie had some strong performers on the wing themselves with Paul McKay finding himself pushing forward on both the left and the right hand sides as the first half progressed, culminating in an excellently struck long-range shot.

Easton continued making a nuisance of himself and a deft moment required agile reactions from Airdrie keeper David Hutton to keep the score level. Fearing, it seemed, that he might be left out in the cold, Austin also had a go with a strike but the bending shot didn’t cause Hutton any worry.

As the first half came to a close, Airdrie looked a team slowing building themselves into the match and with momentum building, Callum Fordyce rose to head past the far post.

A much changed Airdrie side emerged after the break with new recruits, the much-talked-about Frenchman Thomas Robert (son of ex-Newcastle midfielder Laurent) Irishman Eoghan Stokes, joining alongside the more familiar faces of Dale Carrick, Ally Roy, and club captain Sean Crighton. There was also a change between the sticks with Max Currie replacing David Hutton.

The inclusion of Robert and Roy brought swift results with Robert showing shades of his father with a clever, tricky run out wide from the centre circle, passing through to Roy who shot across goal to have the effort deflected into the net by the defender. Giving the goal to Roy could be described as a little generous.

Despite another strong chance for Airdrie a few minutes later with Carrick shooting wide, Kelty weren’t discouraged and continued to push forward and some trickery combined with a poor refereeing decision gave the Fifers a soft penalty, after a challenge from Sabatini who was subsequently booked for kicking the ball away in anger.

A decent, if not stellar, penalty was well-saved by Currie but the keeper was second to the rebound and Kallum Higginbotham pushed the ball over the line to draw Kelty level.

If the energy dropped a little towards the end of the match, neither team showed it and both pushed to win the match, though Airdrie ended the stronger. Stokes attempted an audacious lob from long range causing Jamieson to make a well timed intervention, and both Kerr and Roy had chances.

As the game came to a close, Thomas Robert lined up a free kick that needed a full-stretch save from Kelty’s keeper just on the full time whistle.

All-in-all, Airdrie looked a team needed a little match fitness, but with definite signs of promise and it will be interesting to see what line-up starts on Tuesday night in the North Lanarkshire derby with Albion Rovers. With any luck, Airdrie’s streaming service will be up and running and we’ll get to see the boys back in the red diamond once again.

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