So, this is Christmas...

SIMON SWEETMAN
Last updated 09:59 24/12/2013

I don't really like being in Hawke's Bay - but it's Christmas. And I do like my family. So I'm here. Bonus: I saw Jakob at the Cabana, in Napier on Saturday night. It was, at times, extraordinary. I stood there with two good friends, one I see all the time, one I hadn't seen in four years. We're bonded by many things, this is our little ole hometown, we all went to school here, we all love music - and work in the music industry, all in different fields. We all love Jakob. Our jaws were on the ground for most of the show.

Nothing but the dead and dying back in my little town...goes the song.

I struggle to write when I'm up in Hawke's Bay - you can probably tell. Perhaps you think I struggle to write even when I'm in Wellington. But anyway...since I've been here I managed just yesterday's Top 10 list, albums I've loved more than any other, albums I've played more than any other for 2013. And I've done one guest post on Off The Tracks - Josh Haden of the band Spain shared Five Albums he's Loving Right Now...that was a good thing to get.

But I really should write a review of the Jakob gig. It was amazing. Seeing the band in its hometown, first show in some time, first time I've seen them in a while, new songs. Songs from next year's album...

I had to make up CDs for a funeral, we buried a man yesterday. They walked the coffin out into the car with a young Aretha Franklin singing Over The Rainbow.

That's been my favourite piece of music to cling to in Hawke's Bay this visit. That and the Jakob gig.

I'm reading Mick Wall's brand new Lou Reed bio. And I'm really digging it, liking it a lot more than I thought I might. Wall's a good writer, he knows how to shape and tell a tale but I didn't think I needed to read more about Reed. It's a good story though, so I'm into it. I like the way he's done it. It's not (just) a cash-in.

For Christmas this year it's a house full of toddlers, four under five and the push-pull is strong. It's hot, muggy, and there are too many people in the one house. We love each other but we can't like each other all of the time.

On Boxing Day we'll be back in Wellington, to do Christmas all over again. Another whole family. More toddlers and little ones, more people we only see once a year or so.

There have been a lot of episodes of Peppa Pig. There have been more episodes of Peppa Pig than albums playing. There is no turntable here. There is only one record. A Solid Gold-type hits comp. I'm not sure why it is here. It is not mine. But it might end up in the car with us. It might end up being mine.

Tomorrow we'll unwrap presents for the little ones. The adults have all bought each other vouchers - the experiential gift, for when we get some of that thing they call free time. (The vouchers are valid for 35 years, I hope).

So far it's been okay mostly forgetting about music.

It's been a big year for music. And a big year for writing about music. I've written more about music this year than any other year. There's been more great music to write about as I told you last week.

There have been a few milestones too - Blog On The Tracks had its sixth birthday. And made it past 1500 posts. Over at Off The Tracks I wrote hundreds of reviews about books and films and DVDs and music; gigs and albums. Mostly reviews about music.

If you want to check in at Off The Tracks over the holidays I will be there - certainly after Boxing Day.

If you are in Wellington and want a night out between Christmas and New Year's I will be playing a bunch of Kiwi music at the San Fran Bath House on Saturday, December 28.

I will be attempting to listen to Handel's Messiah tonight - but that never seems to go to plan.

And I might add a quick post here a couple of times before the end of the year. But this is it - really - until January 6. Time to recharge the batteries. Time to catch up with all that great music released this year that I still haven't had a chance to review.

But time first for family.Merry Christmas

Nothing but the dead and dying back in my little town...and so many of the people I love. Of course. (And one of the best bands you could ever hope to see and hear - Jakob review up on Off The Tracks later today).

Happy Christmas to you all and thanks for reading.

Here's my Christmas music playlist

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You can also check out Off the Tracks for The Vinyl Countdown, reviews and other posts.

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