We’re only six weeks into 2011 and it’s already shaping up to be the finest vintage year for album releases in half a decade, probably longer.
Time after time in the past month, bands and artists I love have produced the goods, headed towards their peak form or returned with true passion and creativity after a gap.
In fact, I have heard almost enough albums in January alone to equal my 10 favourites from the whole of last year.
For me the clear masterpiece so far is PJ Harvey’s Let England Shake, which repositions her as a world-class outward-looking war artist.
I might not be the person you’d expect to call for more measured rhetoric from “our side” in the current escalating cuts conflict but I’m going to.
Last year, when Camilla Parker Bowles’s terrified face was splashed across the tabloids to much hilarity after she was “poked with a stick” by protesters who attacked the royal car, an unexpected reaction I felt was sympathy for the old lady.
Of course the Establishment press ran with the story, a convenient rug under which to brush far worse abuses of peaceful demonstrators by police officers, as well as the wider and quite appalling hurt caused by the kettling tactic.
Even this week, after a weekend in which non-violent protesters were assaulted with CS gas on Oxford Street, the mainstream media will under-report and equivocate.