Posts Tagged ‘Bermuda’

Bermuda is still lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to broadband internet speeds. The latest figures released by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for average advertised residential broadband download speeds makes depressing reading.

Bermuda isn’t actually ranked in the OECD list but as of March, 2012, our average of 4Mbps would even put us behind the likes of little Luxembourg. Japan tops the list with a staggering 156 Mbps. I can’t even think that fast …

[Thanks to RDIS Communications for the info.]

Continuing Breezeblog’s countdown of my favourite albums of 2011. See yesterday’s post for albums 10 to 6. Here are numbers 5 to No.1:

5. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds

Gallagher, like estranged sibling Liam and his new group Beady Eye, didn’t take a radical new direction with his first solo album but there was plenty here to restate his position as one of Britain’s better songwriters and his voice has never sounded better. The best Oasis album since Morning Glory and perhaps a hint that some of his best work may still be ahead of him.
Favourite tracks: The Death of You And Me, If I Had A Gun, Stranded On The Wrong Beach

4. Bon Iver – Bon Iver

After the sparse and delicate songs of his critically acclaimed 2008 album For Emma, Forever Ago, Justin Vernon’s follow up was another thing of ethereal beauty but far more diverse and each listen seemed to reveal more layers and textures.
Favourite tracks: Perth, Calgary.

3. The Whole Love – Wilco

Wilco’s first album on their own label (dBpm) was certainly among the year’s most eclectic. The Whole Love switches gears effortlessly from Dixieland to 70s psychedelic and power pop via driving country-blues as only Jeff Tweedy and his ever-changing cast can deliver.  Their best since Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.
Favourite tracks: Art of Almost, I Might, Born Alone

2. El Camino – The Black Keys

I have no idea why Akron’s finest have flown under my radar for so long. For straight-ahead, dirty, gritty bluesy-rock, few do it better right now than Dan Auerbach and Patrick Carney. The fact that this album made many year-end lists despite only being released in early December speaks volumes. With Danger Mouse on board as co-writer and co-producer, it simply takes off with the superb Lonely Boy and doesn’t let up until Mind Eraser, 12 tracks later.
Favourite tracks: Lonely Boy, Gold On The Ceiling

1. 21 – Adele

It’s been a while since an album has dominated globally like Adele’s 21 did in 2011, appealing to so many people across so many social, age and racial lines. Even though I’d tipped her for stardom even before her first album, 19, the scale of her success was as staggering as it is deserved. Inevitably the backlash has started in her native Britain about her ubiquity but make no mistake – this is an album that will be regarded as a classic 20 years from now. A suite of superb, emotionally powerful songs delivered by one of the great voices of our time and enhanced by the understated production of Rick Rubin and Co. Even when stripped back with just a guitar and piano, as it is here in this Tiny Desk Concert for NPR Radio, her voice is stunning. It is hard to believe she is still only 23.
Favourite songs: Rolling in the deep, Someone Like You, Set Fire To The Rain. 

Honourable mentions:

The King Is Dead (The Decembrists) – After the operatic scale of Hazards of Love, a winning return to their country-rock roots.

Ceremonials (Florence+The Machine) – no sophomore crisis on her strong second album.

The Old Magic (Nick Lowe) – Basher reached back to 50s country-blues for inspiration on one of his most finely crafted albums in years.

Battle for Seattle (Little Roy) – A reggae homage to grunge legends Nirvana? Somehow Jamaican veteran Little Roy pulled it off in style.

Young The Giant (Young The Giant) – I know it was released in late 2010 but I didn’t hear of these west coast indie rockers until this year. Besides, a special edition of their debut was released in 2011, so that counts. My Body is still one of the best songs of the past few years.

Ride The Wave, Volume 2 (Various) – A powerful riposte to ignorant claims that there is no good music in Bermuda. Produced by Tony Brannon and Michael Friesenbruch in aid of The Coalition for the Protection of Children, here were 37 rockin’, rappin’ and rhythmic reasons to proudly proclaim: ‘Bermuda’s Got Talent’. And it didn’t even include Collie Buddz or Heather Nova …

And talking of Bermuda, Proud To Be Bermudian might not have pushed any musical envelopes but Johnny Woolridge’s heartfelt song and video was our “We Are The World” moment. In a year of economic gloom and escalating gang violence, it was an emotional and much-needed call for unity and for that reason alone, it deserves to be Song of the Year. Why it hasn’t replaced the embarrassing God Save The Queen as the national anthem remains a mystery.

Ten years after

Posted: September 10, 2011 in Uncategorized
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I’m sure I’m not alone in viewing the media’s intense focus this past week on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks as needlessly sensationalising what should be a solemn and reflective time.

Even so, I too found myself reflecting back to that day. On the morning of 9/11, my daughter – then aged 11 – and her mother were on what proved to be one of the last flights out of JFK, on their way home to Bermuda.

I was driving to the airport to pick them up when I heard the first reports on the BBC World Service that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Centre. Like everyone else at first I thought it was an unfortunate accident but when the second plane hit it was obvious it was a terrorist attack.

As I drove across The Causeway that separates the airport from the main island, reports were coming in that several airborne flights were still unaccounted for and that further attacks were expected. All flights were being ordered to land. It was at this point my stomach churned – was my daughter’s flight one of them? Were there terrorists on board?

The wait for the flight to land was agonizing. We did not know for sure until they began their approach that the plane was safe and had not been turned back.

Fortunately, the passengers did not know about the terrifying events in Manhattan until they landed. The pilot and crew knew but thankfully did not tell the passengers and cause what would have been understandable anxiety and panic.

When the passengers eventually emerged they were visibly shaken and many were in tears. I hugged my daughter as though I would never let her go. We spent the rest of the day glued to CNN and the BBC numbly watching the tragedy unfold, barely able to believe what we were witnessing, yet knowing that the world had changed.

My heart will be full of sadness on Sunday remembering those who died on 9/11 and the families and loved ones who have had to live with the aftermath. I will also remember the thousands of innocent Iraqi and Afghan people who have been killed over the past decade as a direct result of that day.

Yes, a terrible crime was committed on September 11, 2001. But by using it as justification for waging an unjust war, Bush and Blair are guilty of equally abhorrent crimes. As Tom Vesey put it in the Bermuda Sun this week: “They were arrogantly convinced of their own rightness, dismissive of evidence that did not support their views, and deaf to opposing opinions …”