That Final Journey, Gerry Cinnamon and “Belter”

Didn’t intend this to be the third post in what has turned out to be a trilogy, but still in shock over the tragic loss of my friend’s daughter, and on Friday the funeral took place in a church right in the centre of our town. An emotional event as expected, which threw our highly efficient local undertakers into a spin, as they’d never before had to try and seat so many people at one service. It was standing room only, which again makes me question what on earth we are doing to our young people. How is it they can feel just so alone, yet have so many people who care about them? Far too complex an issue to go into here but it has left many of us fearful for our own brood.

After a heartfelt poem written by and read out by a family friend, a reading by her sister, and the eulogy covering all the amazing achievements racked up during her brief 18 years, it was time for Holly’s wicker coffin to leave the church. Once outside, the town’s pipe band of which she had been a member, marched in front of the hearse to the cemetery for a private burial. People who didn’t know her or her family came out of their homes and shops to pay respect to this local girl who’d had just far too short a time on the planet. None of us noticed it at the time, but because of the rain that was falling, a rainbow had formed in the sky.

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That very rainbow

But as I always say around here this is a music blog and amongst all this sadness I have made a new musical discovery. I have been tardy as ever, but Gerry Cinnamon, a Scottish singer-songwriter and acoustic guitarist, has been slowly building up a following over the last few years and tickets for his latest stadium concert apparently sold out on Friday in three minutes. Like The Proclaimers before him, he sings using his local accent and has come to prominence purely on the back of word of mouth and social media, his first album “Erratic Cinematic” funded via the PledgeMusic platform.

My friend’s daughter and her buddies were fans of Mr Cinnamon and I have no doubt, had things turned out differently, they would all have been heading to Hampden next summer to see him. For this reason, his song Belter was the one her family chose to accompany that wicker coffin leaving the church. A moment of levity amongst all the sadness. The song was apparently written about that moment at the start of a relationship when things can go either way, trying-to-be-cool and not wanting to let your guard down for fear of rejection, but your heart doing exactly what it wants to do. A realistic, tongue-in-cheek love song.

Belter by Gerry Cinnamon:

Sorry to have written yet another really sad post around here but this is the place where I can share my thoughts anonymously without the real world getting involved or having a opinion, so a great outlet really. As for Mr Cinnamon, he is very unhappy at how those tickets got sold to “corporate goons” just so quickly and are now appearing online at highly inflated prices. He also however realises that if the biggest bands in the world can’t stop it happening or do anything about it, he is likewise stymied.

I hope my friend and her family will be able to come to terms with what has happened in time, but it’s not going to be easy. Listening to the song shared here will never be the same again, that’s for sure, but it will certainly always hold a special place in their hearts.

Until next time….

Belter Lyrics
(Song by Gerry Cinnamon)

She is a belter, different from the rest
Diamonds oan’ her finger and she always looks her best
She is a gangster, with a hundred-mile stare
When she walks her feet don’t touch the flare

She is a belter

She plays wae’ lightning
I’m a hundred miles high
Dishing out the thunder like a god inside the sky
She is a dancer and she dances in my dreams
Reminds me that the world is not as evil as it seems

She is a belter

No happy endings; unless fairytales come true
But she looks like a princess and there’s not much else to do
I think I love her
She gets underneath my skin
But I’ve been stung a few times, so I don’t let no one in
No even belters!

She is a belter
She is a belter
She is a belter

How can she reach me when I’m high above the shelf?
Lost inside a smoke ring
While I ponder tae’ myself
Is she the answer, to the question in my mind?
Is happiness an option, or has love just turned me blind?

Is she a belter?

No happy endings; unless fairytales come true
But she looks like a princess and there’s not much else to do
I think I love her
She gets underneath my skin
But I’ve been stung a few times, so I don’t let no one in
No even belters

She is a belter
She is a belter
She is a belter

Poppies, “Highland Cathedral” and A Brave Little Scot

Today was Remembrance Sunday and a parade took place through the centre of our town. One person was missing however, the person I wrote about last time, the daughter of my best friend who tragically took her own life just over a week ago. I hope this doesn’t come across as morbid but I have stumbled upon a clip I want to keep hold of, and for me this is the best place.

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Holly was a great piper and four years ago the local pipe band staged a “flash mob” kind of event to raise money for the Poppy Scotland appeal. It was held in our local shopping centre and 14-year-old Holly, in her T-shirt and leggings, had to bravely step out into the limelight (or striplight) and play for a full four minutes before being joined by the rest of her band. I now watch the shoppers casually going about their business and want to shout out to them, “Stop, and watch this amazing little girl play her heart out”. The first piece she plays is Highland Cathedral which I will always associate with my dad as we used it at his funeral. The music the band marches out to is Scotland The Brave and watching the clip again through the tears, Holly was indeed a very brave little Scot that day.

Highland Cathedral:

I went to visit my friend this afternoon who is in the throes of doing something no parent should ever have to do, arrange her child’s funeral. There will be pictures, stories, lots of music and not a dry eye in the church. I showed her the post I wrote last time and passed on the messages of condolence left by my fellow bloggers. No need to leave comments this time as this post is more for my own remembrance, my blog being my web diary. My hometown is still in shock and there is so much more to this story I don’t want to go into here, but may do some day. It’s going to be another tough week.

Until next time, RIP our Brave Little Scot xxx

Yet Another Very Sad Post, The Evils of Social Media and “The Sun Always Shines on T.V.”

I had fully intended to return to blogging this weekend after a particularly busy three weeks. There was a lot to write about and many pictures to share – My current propensity to write negative posts could perhaps be assuaged.

Two weeks ago I went to Bergen in Norway with my best friend. For the third year in a row we managed to fit in an October City Break and lord knows we both deserved it, having worked so hard over the summer months both trying to earn the spondulicks and support our families. Luck was on our side and we had three wonderful days of dry weather when the sun shone. A cruise along the nearby fjords was a highlight of the trip and for the first time in years I got that sense of wonderment that comes from being amongst stunning scenery so unlike anything I am used to.

As ever, because of modern technology, there was a live hotline to Scotland whilst we were away, and although we knew my friend’s 18-year-old daughter was currently struggling and a bit troubled, we thought all would come right in the end. Sadly, on Friday afternoon, she took her own life. I have no idea what will go on the Death Certificate but in reality it should state Death by Social Media. It is hard for us of a certain age to comprehend cyber-bullying, but it is very real, and on top of all the other pressures an 18-year-old has to face in today’s world, it can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.

I will share a picture of Holly as I will remember her. She was a member of the local pipe band and was usually the person called upon to perform a bagpipe solo, should it be required at some civic event. She was a great sportswoman and a member of the Scotland squad in her chosen discipline. So much to live for, yet probably as a result of her success, and those who were jealous of that success, all now a dreadful waste.

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Holly, 2001-2019

So, another gloomy post from me but I needed to explain my absence around here and warn you I am not in the best frame of mind for blogging at the moment so may well be largely absent for a while yet. We will all try to support my friend and her family, but the one thing they want more than anything else, we can’t give them – To have their daughter back.

It has often been mentioned around here that social media can be ugly and vile but how can we impress on those youngsters (and those in certain sectors of the press) that what they say about people whilst sitting in the comfort of their own homes, can have a profound and sometimes fatal impact. We now have the first generation reaching adulthood who have never known a world without social media, and we are losing them fast. I know that we could have so easily lost DD at the same age, and many of my friends feel the same in relation to their own children, which is why it is hitting us all so hard.

I invariably was thinking of sharing something by Norwegian band a-ha in this post as it was supposed to be all about my trip to Bergen. It hasn’t turned out that way, but I still want to share this song, The Sun Always Shines On TV. Pål Waaktaar, the writer of the song, is quoted as saying: “The Sun Always Shines On TV was written on one of those down days. Mags and I were in a hotel watching English television on a rainy day and the guy announcing the program says, ‘It’s a rainy day but, as ever, the sun always shines on TV.’ The song is about the power of television and the way television presents life.”

They didn’t have social media when the song was written back in 1985, but the sentiment remains the same in today’s world – The sun always shines on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and so on. It looks as if your friends’ lives are full of holidays, perfect relationships, glowing skin, stylish hair & clothes and nights out on the town. Thankfully many of us are waking up to the unreality of it all and even risk FOMO in order to tend our mental health. Not so easy if you are a teen however and sadly parental influence has to take a back seat during those tricky teenage years, to be replaced by often unstablising peer-group influence.

The Sun Always Shines On T.V. by a-ha:

Not much more to say really. Apologies if I have not visited the comments boxes of the various blogs I follow for a while but hopefully you will understand why. When I started this blog at the start of 2016 life was a lot less ugly, divisive, dangerous and cruel than it seems to be only four years later. A lot of the blame lands at the feet of he who called the fateful EU Referendum, but of course much, much more to it than that. We are living through strange and uncertain times so all the more reason to hold on tight to family and friends – Keep them close and do whatever it takes to protect them.

Until next time, RIP Holly xxx

The Sun Always Shines On T.V. Lyrics
(Song by Pål Waaktaar)

Touch me
How can it be
Believe me
The sun always shines on TV
Hold me
Close to your heart
Touch me
And give all your love to me
To me

I reached inside myself
And found nothing there
To ease the pressure of
My ever worrying mind
All my powers waste away
I fear the crazed and lonely looks
The mirror’s sending me
These days
Please don’t ask me to defend
The shameful lowlands
Of the way I’m drifting
Gloomily through time

I reached inside myself today
Thinking there’s got to be some way
To keep my troubles distant

Touch me
How can it be
Believe me
The sun always shines on TV
Hold me
Close to your heart
Touch me
And give all your love to me

Another Lunar Foible, Wings and “C Moon”

Since discovering that all full moons have a name (given to them by the Native Americans who kept track of the months by the lunar calendar), I have written about each one as they appear in our skies. To accompany the post I always include one of the numerous songs that have been written about the moon and its many foibles.

Well, I really need to get back onto safer blogging territory where I don’t bare my soul in public and fortunately for me there is to be a full moon in our skies on Monday night. Regulars around here will know that I wrote about every full moon for a whole calendar year (and more) but then put the series into retirement when I thought I had exhausted my list of moon-related songs, and could find no new snippets of information about the moon that had not yet been shared. I was however wrong.

Harvest Moon Rising

Last month I shared a second Harvest Moon song as the Harvest Moon, I erroneously thought, was the only one that could occur in either one of two months (September or October), it being the name given to the full moon that lands closest to the autumnal equinox. Interestingly, the Hunter’s Moon is not tied to a specific month either. The Hunter’s Moon is the name of the full moon that lands directly after the Harvest Moon, which means it may occur in either October or November. The way things have worked out, Monday night’s sky will therefore showcase a Hunter’s Moon as opposed to the alternate used for the month of October, the Travel Moon, Sanguine Moon or Dying Grass Moon.

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As for a song choice, here is one that also missed the cut first time around, but because of all the hoopla of late relating to the anniversary of the release of the last Beatles studio album Abbey Road, perhaps time to share something by Sir Paul McCartney. The song C Moon by Wings was released in 1972 as the B-side to Hi Hi Hi which ended up being banned in Britain. As a result C Moon got all the airplay which meant it reached No. 5 in the UK Singles Chart. Paul explained that the song’s title is the opposite of the ’60s expression L-7, meaning a square or an unhip person. A C Moon forms a circle, which is said be cool.

C Moon by Wings:

As for the band Wings, although they never graced the walls of my bedroom in the early ’70s, they were a staple of my teenage years, and I loved pretty much everything they released. The album Band On The Run remains one of my all-time favourites. I had been too young for Beatlemania, but right at the time I was spending most of my free time listening to music, along came Wings, and from the Lennon & McCartney songwriting partnership I was always fondest of the McCartney-led songs anyway (although I only realised that in later life).

I imagine everyone who wanted to, has seen it by now, but I do love the edition of Carpool Karaoke that starred Sir Paul. He may have written a song about people who were “cool” in 1972 but now he is the one who sometimes comes across as a bit “uncool”. He is aged 77 however, and a legend, so I will give him a pass. If you watch until 16:00 you will see the surprise on those pub-goers faces when the curtains pull back – What a day they must have had.

Look out for that full moon on Monday night.

Until next time….

C Moon Lyrics
(Song by Paul McCartney/Linda McCartney)

C Moon C Moon C Moon Is She.
C Moon C Moon C Moon To Me.

How Come No One Older Than Me
Ever Seems To Understand The Things I Wanna To Do?
It Will Be L7 And I’d Never Get To Heaven
If I Filled My Head With Glue
What’s It All To You?

C Moon, C Moon, C Moon Is She
C Moon, C Moon, C Moon To Me

Bobby Lived With Patty
But They Never Told Her Daddy
What Their Love Was All About
She Could Tell Her Lover That He Thought But
She Never Was The Type To Let It Out
What’s It All About?

C Moon, C Moon, Oh C Moon Are We
C Moon, C Moon, C Moon Are We

How Come No One Older Than Me
Ever Seems To Understand The Things I Wanna To Do?
It Will Be L7 And I’d Never Get To Heaven
If I Filled My Head With Glue
What’s It All To You?

C Moon, C Moon, C Moon Is She
C Moon, C Moon, C Moon To Me

SAMCRO, Audra Mae and “Forever Young”

Well, I’ve been residing in the doghouse since last weekend’s rather lengthy moany and whingey post (now heavily edited). Nothing like experiencing the embarrassment of having put your thoughts out there in a public forum however for doghouseyou to see sense, and start counting your blessings. I have many, many things in my life to be grateful for, so in a roundabout way, that post was the kickstart I needed to reinject some positivity into my life. Apologies to those of you who found it in their inbox, as this blog is supposed to simply be where I write about, and share, “the tracks of my years” – Perhaps I need another blog for the ranty stuff, but as I already have another one which is an homage to my favourite Scottish author, it could all get a bit complicated.

Anyway, onward and upward. What have I been listening to this week? I imagine I’m not alone in finding that we are living in a bit of a golden age for television drama – What with streaming and on-demand services, as well as the mainstream channels, the discerning viewer is rarely stuck for something great to watch. I am noticing however that cinema audiences are down (around here anyway), and both our local venues have recently slashed their prices. Good news for those of us who still like the excitement of watching our films on the big screen but probably not good for the art form long-term.

This last year alone we have watched Peaky Blinders, Carnival Row, The Boys, Catch-22, Keeping Faith, Summer of Rockets, Years and Years, Killing Eve, Black Mirror, Chernobyl, Gentleman Jack and Les Misérables to name but a few. Seems like all I do is watch telly, but no, our habit is to finish up whatever we’re doing by 9pm, after which we reconvene in the “living room” (the least-used room in the house nowadays, so no longer a very apt name) and settle down for our nightly fix of the goggle-box, as it used to be called.

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This week we seemed to be all caught up with everything that had been recorded and nothing new to tickle our fancy on Netflix or elsewhere, so we decided to revisit a series we have already watched, Sons of Anarchy, which follows the lives of a close-knit, outlaw motorcycle club (SAMCRO), operating in a fictional town in Northern California. I’ve written about it around here before, as I became really fond of the theme song This Life performed by Curtis Stigers and the Forest Rangers. As I said last time, probably like most fans, I live in law-abiding “nice-world” where the worst crime I ever commit is to park illegally, or perhaps accidentally speed in a built-up area. Our modern day lives are so controlled and safe that it is sometimes necessary to experience something a bit more edgy from the other side of the tracks, albeit from the comfort of our sofas.

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In the penultimate episode of Season 1, a particularly poignant scene was accompanied by a fine version of the song Forever Young written by Bob Dylan, and I was immediately smitten by it. The singer this time was American Audra Mae, who it seems is a great-niece of Judy Garland which might explain the fine pipes. Here is the non-acapella version of the song, but in the show the alternative version was used.

Forever Young by Audra Mae & The Forest Rangers:

Forever Young was originally recorded by Bob Dylan with The Band in November 1973 and first appeared on his album Planet Waves. Dylan had four children between 1966-1969, including his youngest Jakob, and the song was intended as an uplifting message from a parent to a child. The song has endured as one of Dylan’s classics.

As for the show Sons of Anarchy, it took me quite some time to realise that the lead character, played by Charlie Hunnam, was a graduate of British kids telly, first finding his feet on the BBC show Byker Grove along with fellow Geordies Ant & Dec! He next popped up on the award-winning Queer as Folk along with the now seemingly omnipresent Aiden Gillen. Perhaps to those across the pond his accent still has a tinge of Geordie, but he seems to have made the leap from Byker to biker very successfully. I am convinced, and as the anti-hero of the show I have become quite smitten with him, as well as the song featured above.

So, “What’s It All About?” – Again apologies for my rant last time, but hopefully now back on track (no pun intended). Having so much great telly around at the moment, means that whenever we want to side-step the real world for a time it’s right there at our fingertips, and with so many great soundtracks, always something for the discerning music-lover as well.

Until next time…

Forever Young Lyrics
(Song by Bob Dylan)

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the light surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young.

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young
May you stay forever young

A Moan, A Whinge and A Bit of Cathartic Blogging (with Denis Lavant on Accordion)

For anyone who stumbled upon the original moany and whingey post here, apologies. I need to move on and have now realised that with all that is happening in the world at the moment, we are much more susceptible to negative thinking and it can get out of hand.

It’s late September however, and as Rod Stewart sang back in 1971, “I really should be back at school” (or college in my case). Not to be this year it seems, for several reasons, but hopefully I can pick up where I left off somewhere down the line.

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Maggie May by Rod Stewart:

The great thing about having written the original post was that it helped put everything into perspective – I have now given myself a good talking-to and come to realise that negativity breeds negativity. With all that is happening politically, environmentally and economically at the moment, it’s tough to remain upbeat and optimistic, but we must. To have been born in the latter half of the 20th century (tail end of the baby-boomers), I have had a charmed life. How dare I feel sorry for myself.

Time to draw a line under the moaning and whingeing around here and start again. This blog is supposed to be the place where I revisit the tracks of my years so time to get back to that aim. I am perilously close now to having published 300 posts around here and I want to reach that milestone.

I have a bizarre music clip up my sleeve that I’ve long wanted to share but never had an appropriate time to do so. It was billed “The Interval” and came right in the middle of a French fantasy-drama film called Holy Motors starring Denis Lavant. As this post is in effect my interval before I get back to normal blogging, quite apt really. In case you are wondering, yes that’s Denis Lavant on the accordion. Hope you enjoy it as much as I always do.

Until next time…

Tin Pan Alley, Leon Redbone and “Shine On Harvest Moon”

Since discovering that all full moons have a name (given to them by the Native Americans who kept track of the months by the lunar calendar), I have written about each one as they appear in our skies. To accompany the post I always include one of the numerous songs that have been written about the moon and its many foibles.

Well, I thought I was done with “moon posts” as I had kind of run out of familiar moon-related songs, but we had a beautiful Harvest Moon in our skies this last weekend and it made me want to revisit this series. I wrote about the Harvest Moon last year and shared the Neil Young song of the same name (link here) but I have discovered another relevant song, which I think, deserves to be featured.

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First of all a bit of trivia – The Harvest Moon can occur in either September or October, as it’s the name given to the full moon that lands closest to the autumnal equinox. This year we shall reach the equinox, that pivot point in the year after which we can expect more hours of darkness than light in our days, on Monday the 23rd Sept. If it hadn’t landed that way, the full moon would have been called the Corn Moon. A second foible of this month’s full moon was that it was at apogee, the most distant point in its elliptical orbit around Earth, so was called a “mini moon”.  Apparently it should have seemed a bit dimmer than usual, but when I looked out the back door on Saturday night it seemed anything but. Here is my own picture taken quickly on my phone, so not a brilliant image, but if you were lucky enough to see it in person you will probably agree it was a bobby-dazzler!

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The Harvest Moon

But back to the song, after doing a bit of googling and YouTubing (another new verb), I found this great clip where Leon Redbone, who sadly died earlier on this year, performs Shine On Harvest Moon. Mr Redbone was a new find for me, but I do love his quirky delivery and very unique style. He specialised in jazz, blues and Tin Pan Alley classics such as this one, and his signature style was the panama hat, dark glasses and black tie. Of Armenian origin, he was born in Cyprus but then moved with his family first to London and then Canada where he began performing in public at Toronto nightclubs and folk festivals. After a mention from Bob Dylan in an early ’70s interview, he was featured in Rolling Stone magazine, a full year before he had a recording contract. He died in May this year at the very young (from where I’m sitting) sounding age of 69.

Shine On Harvest Moon by Leon Redbone:

The song Shine On Harvest Moon was written way back in the early 1900s and credited to the married vaudeville team of Nora Hayes and Jack Norworth. It was one of a series of moon-related Tin Pan Alley songs from the era and debuted in the Ziegfeld Follies of 1908 to great acclaim, later becoming a popular standard.

It occurred to me that although I have often heard the term Tin Pan Alley used, I have never really taken the time to investigate whether it is/was an actual place. It seems it was, although not called that in reality, but simply the section of West 28th Street in Manhattan, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, where a number of music publishers set up shop from 1885 onward. Once the phonograph, radio, and motion pictures took over from sheet music as the driving force behind American popular music, Tin Pan Alley lost out in importance, and with the rise of rock & roll, the Brill Building became the new home for music industry offices and studios. Some of the most popular American songs of the late ’50s/early ’60s were written in the Brill Building and it is considered to have been the centre of the American music industry at that time.

So, “What’s It All About?” – Didn’t think I’d return with another “moon-post” but still some new things to discover about our only satellite and still a Corn Moon to write about at some point as that’s the only one to date that has been omitted entirely – All down to the timing of the Autumnal Equinox it seems. With a lunar cycle that is shorter than the average calendar month though, I’ll get there in the end.

As for Leon Redbone, what a fine new discovery to have made, but such a shame it had to be just after his death.

RIP Leon.

Shine On Harvest Moon Lyrics
(Song by Nora Bayes/Jack Norworth)

The night was mighty dark so you could hardly see, cause the moon refused to shine
There’s a couple sittin ‘neath the willow tree, for love, they pine
Little maid was kinda ‘fraid of darkness, so she said I think I’ll go
Boy began to sigh, looked up in the sky and told the moon his little tale of woe, oh

Shine on, shine on harvest moon up in the sky
I ain’t had no lovin’ since January, February, June, or July
Snow time ain’t no time to sit outdoors and spoon
Shine on, shine on harvest moon for me ‘n’ my gal

Shine on harvest moon way up there in the sky
I ain’t had no lovin’ since January, February, June, AND July? Now, looka
Snow Time ain’t time no time to stay outdoors and spoon
So shine on Harvest moon

The night was mighty dark so you could hardly see, cause the moon refused to shine
There’s a couple sittin ‘neath the willow tree, for love, they pine
Little maid was kinda ‘fraid of darkness, so she said I think I’ll go
Boy began to sigh, looked up in the sky and told the moon his little tale of woe, oh

Shine on, shine on harvest moon(shine on, shine on) Up in the sky?
I ain’t had no lovin’ since January, February, June, or July
Snow Time ain’t no time to stay outdoors and spoon
So shine on, shine on harvest moon for me ‘n’ my gal, for me ‘n my gal