New Year, Nude Ears, New You
January is one long hangover. Payday comes late, all the bills for the cheese, wine, jumpers, postage stamps and late night taxis arrive at once like a swarm of hornets covered in sickly sweet stool. The days are short, its raining Amazonian style without the jungle fun, and snotty sinuses are more common than smiles. All media are choked chock full of "10 ways to make 2014 your best sexiest richest slimmest healthiest funnest evah ever EVER" that always involve spending money and believing in science free scatology.Fuck all that sky high by plugging back into the music.When the number of the year changes is some kind of ancient arbitrary Church created cretinous thing, but there is no fighting that. Just like there is no use wasting an opportunity to take stock of yourself, ask what you can do better and what foul habits to leave behind. The Japanese call it Kaizen (??). Continuous, sustainable, sensible improvement all round. So no spending a month eating nothing but soap to "detox" or signing up to groper founded Bikram Oven Novelty Yoga, but small, smart stuff that makes life a bit less worth losing.It is in this spirit that in no particular order I offer a Funky 5 Ways to dust out your ears and get into a renewed groove anytime, anywhere:Reset your sense of soundAnd I'm not talking about just music. In the midst of the magic "Krautrock" ferment foaming in the 70s, Kraftwerk realised that the humble train bridge was a musical instrument. In a day before CCTV and bomby beardy bastard caused paranoia, they hung around these bridges and level crossings trying to record a new kind of motoric beat. They changed the pitch to make it danceable and gave us Trans Europe Express. I'd not usually recommend most TED talks, as they usually are from are rich, lucky people who think compost toilet powered cars will create world peace or that meerkats hold the key to successful relationships, but this one is different. Hear it, feel it and challenge yourself with it. It reveals that digitally compressed music can make you sick, or at least annoyed.Eat Albums Raw Like SushiOne of the worst cancers caused by the digital devolution is the fact folk no longer listen to whole albums, or even whole sides of LPs. Many bands are singles bands, and that's fine. But take time at least once a week to listen to an entire album, start to finish, with no distractions. No smartphones or dumb TV, or anything else other than your own silence. Dive in and gorge on a full course of song, not a snack.Feel the Shock of the New...Complex social and cultural forces mean that in the mainstream there is less music of lasting value than ever before. It can be hard to find artists to acclaim, and all too easy to end up on an inverse time taste pyramid, where the further back you go in years, the more loved records there are in your soul. It's not just getting old, there was more diversity, more gig honed tour toned quality, and experimentation in music just ten years ago. That means you need to feed the now to keep it alive. Buy something from a new artist at least once a month, and explore a new track at least once a day. Do it....While existing outside of timeThis is not a fucking contradiction. You're better than that. You can love and bleed for the New for its own sake - not just because it is new. One of the most vile diseases affecting humanity today is Neophilia. Obsession with newness and novelty. This instinct got us out of the cave, but also gets kids thinking even a mainstream LP recorded in 2010 is "old" and therefore unworthy of attention compared to the latest lamest ringtone blingtardary from whomever. Art is of its time yet for all time. New and now just keeps it keeping on, but age tests and reveals beauty often unnoticed at the time. How many seminal artists were rejected or slept on when they were young or most active? They were unlucky and in time rather than out of it.Bleed to readCheck out some Lester Bangs. Then Nick Kent. Note we say "some" not "all". Buy at least one book about music or musicians or with a lot of music in it at least once a month. Wikitrace one of your favourite tracks or artists. Read the entry, which hopefully will be good and accurate (Wiki is getting Wack) and follow at least five links that interest you to end up somewhere new. That's how I found the relationship between the old Hollywood Studio System, Motown and Studio One. I always wondered why reggae is so rich. There was a clue.Feel even one of these Funky Five and I promise some kind of life lift. Really.