ON THE TRAIL #1: BOLTON ABBEY

One of the things we’re constantly spoiled for in the UK is amazing places to visit and with a wealth of walking trails, nature reserves or countryside highlights in every county, there’s always somewhere to go and explore and potentially discover a whole new adventure.

This past weekend, I found myself alongside friends in the gorgeous and always impressive Yorkshire Dales and this time we started the expedition at Bolton Abbey. Steeped in history and featured heavily as the highlight and starting point to what was to come, this trail would serve as one of the most unpredictable walks I’ve been on in a long time. This 12th century monastery sits before a gorgeous and well-kept estate which leads to the beginnings of the trail and even on a grey and drizzly Saturday afternoon there were still a lot of people on site. As with most, there are a variety of different routes that can be taken depending on your abilities, but of course we aimed to conquer the longest, five-mile, hike right the way up the River Wharfe as it twisted and turned, navigating the many hills and inclines before finding a bridge to explore the other side on the way back. This trail whilst sticking to the path and seeming quite moderate still manages to wear you out and with all the hills and twists along the narrow riverside path, the calves were burning long before the end.

 

One amazing feature of the track was its minimalism and lack of fencing and barricade. As essential as safety procedures are, the fact that there was at no point a barrier between you and what seemed like a 60ft drop at times only made the task more exciting. The views are astounding and there really isn’t any countryside like te Yorkshire Dales, but with the Abbey in the background as you reached your furthest point, you really began to realise how hard you’d worked. Another great corner of the Dales explored and one I’d recommend to anybody, especially if heritage and history is your cup of tea.

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SORT YOUR HEAD OUT

So at total risk of sounding like your average self-indulgent blogger, come life coach, I do want to share something with you and it might be something that you’ve never even considered before. I do this only because I’ve seen the benefits and think you could too. Hands up, how many of you reading this can honestly say that the pressures of the world don’t get on top of you and weigh you down, whether it be work, relationships, finances or lack of all of the above, the world is a place full of expectations, goals, targets and then subsequently and unfortunately sometimes failures. Our minds are filled with the details of the day ahead and the ongoing to do list that becomes our entire lives.

Introducing meditation…

Seriously. I know that most of you immediately thought of the baboon off Lion King sat on a rock humming to himself but it is a real thing and it does have the answer to all the problems created by your mental traffic jams, constant racing thoughts and relentless internal chitter chatter. The practice of meditation isn’t just for monks or hippies, it’s for everybody and it’s extremely easy. Most people will come home and wind down by popping on the TV, cracking open a beer or even diving head first into an extra curricular project, but the thing these ideas all have in common is that it’s moving your thought process from one thing to another and the mind needs as much down time as the rest of your body. Meditation centres mainly around breathing, and taking stock of the smaller things going on, such as the way your body feels, the rhythm of each breath or the peace and quiet around you as you do it. It’s the human equivalent of going into standby mode and ten minutes of this a day can help massively. Through doing this you’ll train your mind to maintain focus, avoid distraction and develop a level of mindfulness that will improve your entire mental state. I, for example, started it around a year ago and found it to be extremely helpful and as somebody who does store up a lot of pent-up tension and irritability from the never ending work load i’ve been keeping up for years, I can sometimes feel it all physically leave my body and I’m left feeling rejuvenated and awake afterwards. Still not sold? Well why not do what I did and just give it a try. There’s a couple of great apps that can talk you through the beginning stages and get you off onto the road to clearer mind such as Calm and Headspace. The latter is a perfect way to start and was a lot of fun, however Calm has a lot more as an app such as music to help with sleep, focus and relaxation as well.

Honestly, take a chance and get involved. Your psychological state is just as important as your physical state, and trying something new never hurt anybody. Good luck.

THE GREAT GUINNESS CHALLENGE

So if you’re anything like me and absolutely LOVE a decent pint of the black stuff, St.Patricks day this past Saturday would have been the perfect opportunity to over indulge in Dublin’s greatest export, and over indulge we did. However this year it was done with a great deal more intention than just going home and throwing your lungs up after a 12 hour binge, it was also the conclusion to a very beery experiment.

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At the end of last month, me and my much more gorgeous half headed over to Dublin for a few days of Irish exploration and it was during this time that I managed to put an age-old tale to bed. It has been said for years, by every man and his dog that the Guinness in Dublin is without doubt better than in England. Excuses like “it doesn’t travel well” or “we don’t know how to pour it over here” have been explained, but I’ve always assumed it was nothing more than a load of bollocks. How could it become so dreadful in such a short distance, I mean we’re right next door. Also, the English are renowned boozers and although the Irish (and Scottish) might have us beat in that area, we certainly hold our own against the rest of the world. But could it really be true? Only one way to find out…

Yes it is, its incomparable. It’s not even close.

Whether its the way they run the lines, the way they serve it or the fact it’s so fresh considering its produced right there it is undoubtedly better and in fact a pint of Guinness from the world-famous Guinness storehouse is as close as you get to perfection.

Still, that doesn’t mean we just have to roll over and take it, so I decided to embark on a quest of Indiana Jones proportions as I set out to find the best pint of Guinness in Lincoln! I tried my fair share and assessed them all, taking into consideration flavour, pouring technique, the little bit of fizz on the tip of the tongue and the length of time it took to settle. Some were good, some were great, some were shit, you know, there’s no denying it they were dreadful, but after much consideration, here are the top three pubs for a decent Guinness in Lincoln:

The Horse & Groom

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Despite only serving Guinness extra cold, which as we know, shouldn’t pack as much of a punch, it did. It had all the flavour, all the colour, settled nicely for a few minutes and was so easy to drink I could have shifted it away in around 30 seconds. A great effort.

The West End Tap

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It was news to me, until seeing a picture on social media, that the West End Tap even sold Guinness but after rushing in to try it I was not disappointed. The thing that always gets me worried is when the long glass comes out and not the classic wide and short pint glass, but it had it all and no points could be deducted from this perfect example of our favourite St.Patricks day tipple.

The Jolly Brewer

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Standing out massively for its choice of BOTH original and extra cold versions, The Jolly Brewer served a perfect pint, and despite it not being a place I frequent, it’s reputation for being an expert of fine ales was certainly on show. Oh and if you’re wondering, I went for the original…

So there you have it. I assume that for all three it’s a massive honour to have been picked for the top, but more importantly, I’ll be seeing you all a lot more from now on… cheers.

INTRODUCING…THINKING GREEN

In a world so painfully connected, when each and every persons poorly educated or misinformed opinion is not only available but right there in front of you at all times with nothing more than a scroll or a swipe of a finger, and where self-indulgence, narcissism and self-importance are in grand supply, the blog is one of the most popular ways of expressing your opinions and thoughts and posting it out for the world to enjoy. With this in mind I’d like to welcome you to THINKING GREEN.

My name is Stuart Green and many of you will know that I previously ran Mojo20 and of course Mojo20.com, which was a site delivering music news, updates, reviews and interviews for many years and that came to its conclusion this past New years eve. After some time away from the keyboard, the time is right for a brand new project and a whole new medium. Thinking Green is not just music but everything I care about and need to vent, moan or get excited about. Whether it be passions and ideas like climate change, local events, good food or craft ales, or maybe it’ll be a detailed review of the latest record to hit the charts, the newest restaurant to open or the latest wrestling event to be on television. It’ll be political, it’ll be personal and it’ll always, always be honest. You’ll get involved in my latest challenges and ideas and will hopefully come away with a lot more than when you arrived.

2018 is a brand new year and there’s never been so much to talk about. So get involved, let us know your thoughts, and enjoy…

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GOODBYE FROM MOJO20!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY! A huge, huge thank you to everybody that came and celebrated New Years Eve with us and made it one of the greatest ends to the year we could have asked for.

2017 isn’t the only thing that ended last night, as it also signified the end for Mojo20. Friday the 6th of August 2010 was the first time Mojo20 got behind the decks at Back To Mono 60s night and I could never have imagined what was to follow. We’ve played numerous venues, club nights and festivals as well as seeing Mojo20.com become a globally successful website, however , whilst still on top and whilst being lucky enough to go out on a high, the beginning of a new year seems to be the perfect time to make a change and head off in a different direction, seeing what else life has to throw at us and what other adventures there are to take on. To all of the friends we’ve made and supporters we’ve known, we say a massive, genuine and heartfelt thank you and a final good bye…

YES!

YES!

YES!

 

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Words by Stuart Green… of course (@mojo20_music)

MOJO20’S TOP 10 SONGS OF 2017

We recently looked at our Top 5 favourite albums of 2017 in a nostalgic dissection of the year in music. Now we delve a little deeper and pick out those individual tracks that stood out from the rest over the past twelve months. Take a look…

10. Blondie – Fun from Pollinator

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One of the biggest bands of the last five decades, made one of the biggest returns of 2017 and unveiled one of the most “fun” tracks of the year.

9. Foo Fighters – Run from Concrete & Gold

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Heavy as hell and completely without hype, but why the hell would you need hype when you’re the Foo Fighters and you’re that damn good.

8. The XX – On Hold from I See You

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Effortlessly cool and without a doubt enjoying their peak in 2017 with some of the most endearing original releases of the year, but none better than ‘On Hold’.

7. Lana Del Rey – Love from Lust For Life

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With a new look, style and positivity, this hopeful new track stood as a departure from Del Rey’s previous work and this new position held such power and solidified one hell of a comeback.

6. Arcade Fire – Everything Now from Everything Now

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One of the most popular bands in the world with one of the undisputed stand out tracks of the year. One and only reason this falls into the latter half of the list is become of the massive radio play and over exposure. Damn you commercial radio.

5. Wolf Alice – Beautifully Unconventional from Visions Of A Life

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No chance of the old difficult second album issue for these guys. Coming back with new material that only complimented their wonderful first record, this highlight from the album was also a highlight from the year.

4. Alt-J – In Cold Blood from Relaxer

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One of the most unique and experimental bands on the commercially successful spectrum of alternative rock bands, Alt-J returned and captivated us all over again with their obscure style and sound

3. The Killers – The Man from Wonderful Wonderful

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The Killers dominated the scene with their debut album ‘Hot Fuss’ back in 2004 and are still enjoying its success even today but they never really released anything as epic as they did back then… until 2017. This is without doubt one of the biggest single releases of the year and a real return to form.

2. Paramore – Hard Times from After Laughter

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With a fresh new sound and a more 80’s reminiscent style Paramore dominated the summer with this intensely fun and endlessly exciting new single. One of the true soundtracks of the summer.

Track Of The Year 2017 / Graham Coxon & Luke Daniel – Falling

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The most recent release on this list but one of the most powerful releases of the entire year. Written by an unknown talent in Luke Daniel, who sadly took his own life, Graham Coxon recorded and released the track and had all proceeds go to the charity, CALM. A heart breaking story and an amazing piece of music. 

Merry Christmas everybody and thanks for another great year for Mojo20.com. You’re support is much appreciated and we look forward to bringing you even more next year.

Words by Stuart Green (@mojo20_music)

 

MOJO20’S ALBUMS OF 2017

It’s that time of the year where everybody looks back at the year that was and what a year it’s been. Despite being dominated by political and cultural change and controversy, it’s been a great year for music and as 2017 grows ever closer to it’s inevitable end, many different publications have added their two cents and cast their opinion on the best/their favourite albums of the year. Well with only a couple of weeks until 2018 begins and a whole new journey presents itself, here’s Mojo20’s top 5 albums of the year 2017…

5. Little Dragon / Season High – April 14th

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As one of the most exciting, interesting and obscure indie electro acts on the planet returned with their fifth studio album, the lead track ‘Sweet‘ has all hooked following its unveiling. The rest of the album had just as much to offer as it made twists and turns and covered every sound possible.

4. Sundara Karma / Youth Is Only Ever Fun In Retrospect – January 6th 

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We’ve commented many times on how indie rock has changed in sound, style and substance but one of the bands keeping us happy with the direction in which it’s moved is Sundara Karma, and their infectiously fun and increasingly impressive debut LP. Tracks like ‘Flame’, ‘She Said’ and ‘Loveblood’ have had dance floors going crazy for the past six months and excitement is already high for their second offering.

3. Life / Popular Music – March 17th

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A little more underground and a lot more dirty but Life have been one of the fastest rising bands on the live music circuit this year and rightfully so too. After catching them once again at this years 2Q festival in Lincoln, we were reminded of the power and observational genius that is Life, and their debut record ‘Popular Music’ may just be the finest soundtrack to the bat shit mental year that was 2017. See our full review of the album, here as well as the gig review from 2Q here.

2. LCD Soundsystem / American Dream – September 1st

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One of the most anticipated albums of the entire decade as James Murphy returned with the first new music record by LCD Soundsystem in a very long time. It did not disappoint and was met with positive reviews and critical acclaim, however it wasn’t the hype machine that led to ‘American Dream’ being heavily favoured, but the content within as the album plays wonderfully from beginning to end and covers the entire spectrum of what makes LCD Soundsystem so great.

1. Dan Auerbach / Waiting On A Song – June 2nd

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We said on our original review of the album that it was a very strong contender for album of the year and as great as the latter half of 2017 was, nothing surpassed it. The soundtrack to the summer it was indeed and it sound tracked some of the most incredible moments of the year for us. With it’s simplicity and incredible musicianship, the Black Keys frontman went solo and stole the entire show. Thank you Dan Auerbach, for a great 2017.

Words by Stuart Green (@mojo20_music)