When I got my grandmother to review Kurth Hentschläger’s ‘Zee’ exhibition at FACT late last year, I had no idea that it would get such a good reaction. She was just as overwhelmed too. Although she doesn’t use the internet, I printed out the comments, tweets and Facebook messages for her and she was pleased people loved it. She told me she wanted to have another go sometime. Gran, it turns out, found a passion late in life: reviewing stuff. As if it wasn’t difficult enough for journalists anyway, now you’ve got an 74 year old as competition.
So, this week, after the nominations for the GIT Award were announced, I got her to come around to my house to listen to the nominees. In case you’re not aware, the GIT Award is basically a new award for Merseyside artists. Reaction locally to the award’s been positive but cautious – does Liverpool need to pit artists against each other? But the shortlist, it turns out, is an interesting cross section of what’s going on in the city. My gran enjoys music, but it’s the obvious stuff – Michael Buble, Tom Jones, Radio Merseyside as background noise. Listening to the awards’ shortlisted bands was an eye-opening experience to say the least.
Lark Lane indie-pop trio
Oh, this is quite nice. It’s very pleasant. This would be nice music to sit in my garden listening to. What are they called? Singing Sheep?
Yeah, all of them.
That’s wonderful. I like their voices. It’s good. It’s summertime music. Yes, I like this. You can write down that I like this one. Good on them.
Liverpool urban pop vocalist
What would you call this?
It’s soul, a bit of R&B.
He’s got a very lovely voice. It sounds like an old jazz song. I’d like to hear him do a Motown song. You know, one of those old classics. I think he’d be good at that. He sounds nice. I’d like to hear him do something a little faster.
Twiddly math/post rock boys
No – Ninetails. They’re a pretty new band. They study at LIPA.
Paul McCartney’s school?
They must be very talented then. Does he teach there?
No, but he puts his name to it. He goes along every year and does the graduation ceremony.
That must be funny. I’d like to meet him. I saw The Beatles when they started out but I didn’t get around to talking to them.
Were they good?
I didn’t really understand the fuss. There were lots of good groups around then. They got the most famous though.
What do you think of this band?
It’s quite fast isn’t it. I find it hard to concentrate on it. It’s a bit of a blur.
Dubby, droney Wirral soundscaper
It sounds like music you’d hear on a film.
What type of film?
Maybe a western. Those Clint Eastwood films. It’s cowboy music.
This is just one guy.
He does all this himself?
That’s very impressive. I’m not sure I could listen to it for very long, it’s quite loud.
That’s just the volume of my laptop. I can turn it down.
No, don’t worry. I quite like the song. The voice on it is good.
Former Coral guitarist, now composer extraordinaire
This is nice. Who is it?
Bill Ryder-Jones. He worked with an orchestra for this.
Wonderful. It’s very relaxing. This one also sounds like it might be on a film.. a drama maybe. Or on a television show.
What kind of television show?
You know… maybe a drama or something. One of those period dramas. Although I don’t really watch those.
What’s your favourite show?
Coronation Street. This wouldn’t really go with that though.
Melancholy Wirral-based pop chaps
The singer used to be in a band called the Seal Cub Clubbing Club.
Oh, that’s horrible. Why would they call themselves that?
These are called Loved Ones.
See, that’s much better. I like this. The singer has a lovely voice. It’s quite high. The drums are quite noisy though.
City expats, now London based
This sounds quite relaxing. (Four minutes in) Does it keep going like this for a while?
It’s six minutes.
It’s a bit too long. They don’t really play songs this long on the radio do they? It’s pleasant though. But not much is happening. I don’t know. It’s OK. I’d probably get bored after a while.
Hip hop upstart, signed to urban label Big Dada
What is this?
Bang On. He’s a rapper from Toxteth.
It sounds like something I’d hear coming from a teenager’s car when I’m doing my shopping. You know, one of those songs that is really loud and annoys everyone.
Would you listen to it in your car?
I don’t drive, do I. I wouldn’t listen to it on the bus though. I’d rather listen to the one before (Loved Ones) if they were to start playing music on a bus I think.
What do you think of this?
I’ll be honest, I don’t like it. I can’t really understand what he’s saying. It’s more shouting than anything.
Space rock explorers
I’m not fond of this. It’s too noisy.
This is Mugstar. They describe themselves as ‘the sound of ten thousand suns exploding’.
It’s a bit scary, isn’t it. No, this wouldn’t be something that I’d listen to, to be honest. I’m sure they’re nice people though.
The Tea Street Band
Lush indie dance troupe
What is this, a guitar?
It’s very relaxing. It sounds like something on an advert.
Do you like it?
I like this. I think so. It’s very relaxing. Very summery. It’s good for this type of weather isn’t it.
Scouse grime queen
I suppose this type of thing is popular now. This is rap too?
It’s called grime. But it’s similar. You just have to think of it a bit like poetry. There’s rhymes in there.
I understand that. But I can’t really understand what she’s saying, it’s all so fast. She should slow it down a bit. She sounds angry too. She just needs to slow down.
Ex-Easter Island Head
Percussive/modern classical gang
Oh, this is nice. It’s something I could listen to.
Where would you listen to it?
You know, maybe just on in the background when I’m reading. Or when my TV or radio is off. It’s good background music.
It’s actually very complex.
Hmm. I can’t really hear that. I’ve never played an instrument in my life. It just sounds like a lot of xylophones to me.
Those are guitars.
Really? That’s interesting. Whatever it is, I’m enjoying it.