Busy week of conferencing and planning meetings. Away four out of five days, living out of a suitcase.
The conference was excellent but it's good to be home.
I've been listening to two new albums as I travel - driving is a good time to vet new music.
The first is Coldplay's new one X&Y. Yes, I know it's cool to be disparaging of Coldplay's output - too earnest, over-produced and grandiose. But - as George Michael once said - we should listen without prejudice. And what we hear are great tunes, lovely singing, faultless playing and bucket loads of emotion. Chris Martin can't help it if he believes that it's possible to work for a better world, that people could be nice to each other and that there's more to a pop song than boy meets girl.
I know he can be over-wrought and that he has a tendency to over-parade his insecurities. But he writes interesting songs - high praise in a terrain of bland and unchallenging music.
The other one is the debut by The Magic Numbers. This is bright, breezy, guitar pop with a decidedly hippy bent. The four-piece from Hanwell in West London have been hailed as a new Mamas and Papas - a reference surely lost on anyone under 40! It's not a bad comparison, though. Their harmonies are sensational, their tunes gossamer light, fragile explorations of love and life in a troubled world. It's great stuff.