Olly Headey

December 27, 2023

2023 and all that

Another year gone. I’m not going to bore you to death with a dreary list of accomplishments. No, instead I’m going to bore you to death with lists of music and films and culture stuff that I liked in 2023. 


I love albums. Long players. The Spotify robots confirmed this.


There have been some great ones. I speed-listened to lots of albums that all the best of lists fawned over and I didn’t like a lot of them. Here are the ones that I absolutely loved:

  • Ragz Originale – BARE SUGAR
  • Barry Can’t Swim – When Will We Land?
  • Matthew Halsall – An Ever Changing View
  • Slowdive – everything is alive
  • Raye – My 21st Century Blues
  • Josef – Permanent Damage
  • Not3s – Son of the Soil
  • Art School Girlfriend – Soft Landing
  • Billie Marten – Drop Cherries

The Ragz Originale album is incredible. I only discovered it by accident which is the best way. I was sat in a hotel room in Amsterdam looking at what gigs were on the following night. PJ Harvey was sold out but there were tickets available for Ragz, who I’d never heard of. I listened to his album on Spotify and was utterly transfixed. I put it on repeat several times, then booked tickets to the gig which despite the weird half-seated venue was bouncing.


I also listened to Fred Again’s Actual Life 3 (and the complementary Piano EP which is mesmerising) a LOT. You could say I’m completely obsessed with Fred. His sunset Glastonbury performance was something truly special and his Tiny Desk performance was out of this world. 

Here’s a playlist of some 2023 tracks that I liked if you're interested.


Edinburgh isn’t at a Glasgow-level of gig nirvana but it’s getting better. The first two gigs on this list were leagues ahead of the others (notably neither in Edinburgh 😅). 

  • Chvrches, Glasgow Barrowland.
  • Ragz Originale, Melkweg, Amsterdam
  • Billy Marten, Summerhall, Edinburgh
  • Roy Ayers, Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh
  • Cinematic Orchestra, The Queens Hall, Edinburgh
  • Tim Minchin, The Queens Hall, Edinburgh
  • Josef, The Queens Hall, Edinburgh

Film and TV

Not too many trips to the flicks but I saw some of the big ones. I’d probably pick Past Lives as my favourite. A total gem of a movie.

As for TV, nothing came close to Season 2 of The Bear. The back to back ‘Fishes’ and ‘Forks’ episodes were outstanding – small wonder they get a near perfect score on IMDB.

  • Past Lives
  • The Bear
  • Beef
  • Lessons in Chemistry
  • Killers of the Flower Moon
  • Stop Making Sense (saw this on IMAX – wow 🤩)
  • Daisy Jones and the Six
  • Barbenheimer
  • The Fabelmans
  • Air
  • Triangle of Sadness
  • Fleishman is in Trouble


A distinct lack of reading this year. Must. Do. Better. Still, of those I read here are a few that I enjoyed.

  • Elon Musk – Walter Isaacson
  • Lessons in Chemistry – Bonnie Garmus
  • Klara and the Sun – Kazuo Ishiguro
  • A Crooked Tree – Una Mannion
  • Watermark – Joseph Brodsky
  • Fire Rush – Jaqueline Crooks

What are your recommendations? Hit me up!

About Olly Headey

Journal of Olly Headey. Co-founder of FreeAgent. 37signals alumni. Photographer.
More at headey.net.