St David’s Day, the Stereophonics and Spring Is Here (Isn’t It?)

I have been watching the news coverage from around the country and am frankly amazed that the North of Scotland has got off so lightly in terms of snow. At the moment we seem to have avoided the full impact of what is being called “the Beast from the East”. (Why do weather fronts all need a name nowadays? Makes them much scarier somehow than they often need to be.) Anyway, although very cold here today I am just glad there have been more blue skies, but I’d better not get too smug as we may still bear the brunt of the “Beast” later on in the week.

As today however is meteorologically the first day of Spring, and as my friend’s moon shots seemed to go down quite well last time, here is what he shared on his Facebook page earlier on today. Yes, Spring might not have come to the rest of the country, but it has arrived in the North of Scotland.

Pictures courtesy of R.J.

But today of course is also Saint David’s Day when the people of Wales celebrate the life of their patron saint. It is common, apparently, to pin a daffodil or leek to clothing, but if the snow has been as bad as I suspect it has in Wales today there will have been no picking of daffodils going on. Also, last time I bought leeks in the supermarket they were monstrous things and with only three I managed to make a large pot of leek and potato soup – Doubt if they’re the kind of leeks that could be worn on the lapel of your jacket somehow, but possibly could adorn those giant black hats that make up part of Welsh national dress.

Alms house residents

I am probably going to be unpopular here but I’m really glad that our national dress involves the kilt, as despite being essentially a skirt, it somehow always manages to look macho, and smart – I love seeing Mr WIAA turn up at an event in his kilt outfit (despite being English by birth) whereas if he decided to turn up in one of those Morris Dancer outfits I think I would be less than impressed. Just sayin’.

But this is a music blog, so what comes to mind when I think of Wales? Well here is something from a band I have long admired and who are still going strong after 25 years in the business. Stereophonics are a Welsh rock band that formed in 1992 in the village of Cwmaman in the Cynon Valley, one of many former coal mining valleys within South Wales. The band’s lead singer Kelly Jones does sound really Welsh when he is interviewed, but somehow when he starts to sing it all disappears and he has been described as having “whiskey vocals”. Lots of songs to choose from by that band but as this has been a spur of the moment post inspired by the fine weather (apologies to those currently snowbound), the mobile device I am using only has Dakota saved within, so it’ll have to be it (but a fine choice as it turns out).

Dakota by Stereophonics:

Dakota reached the No. 1 spot in the UK Singles Chart in 2005 and was the first Stereophonics record to chart in the US. It was apparently first called Vermillion after the name of the US town in which it was written but after another band released a song with the same name, they decided to change the title to “Dakota” after the apartment building in New York City (and of course where John Lennon lived at the time of his death).

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Kelly Jones on Live 8 Day

The band have also been praised for their live performances which have landed them headlining slots at many of the UK and Ireland’s most high-profile music festivals. I think most of us of a certain vintage remember Live Aid day well (and I intend to write about my memories of the event at some point). Live 8 however was a benefit concert which took place on 2nd July 2005 to precede the G8 conference held at the Gleneagles Hotel here in Scotland. Unlike with Live Aid, when for one reason or another I missed out on large chunks of the day, I did watch all of Live 8 from beginning to end. On the Monday at work, I discussed the concert with a colleague (who had been present at the original Live Aid as a mere lad of 17) – When asked which act I had enjoyed the most, I decided it was Stereophonics. Considering who was on the bill that day, quite something. Kelly and the boys did well.

For those of you suffering the worst of the bad weather, hope things improve soon. For those of you in Wales, hope you’ve enjoyed your St. David’s Day – Time now to get those leeks off your lapels and make them into a large pot of warming soup!

Until next time….

Dakota Lyrics
(Song by Kelly Jones)

Thinking back, thinking of you
Summertime think it was June
Yeah think it was June
Laying back, head on the grass
Chewing gum having some laughs
Yeah having some laughs.

You made me feel like the one
Made me feel like the one
The one
You made me feel like the one
Made me feel like the one
The one

Drinking back, drinking for two
Drinking with you
When drinking was new
Sleeping in the back of my car
We never went far
Didn’t need to go far

You made me feel like the one
Made me feel like the one
The one
You made me feel like the one
Made me feel like the one
The one

I don’t know where we are going now
I don’t know where we are going now

Wake up call, coffee and juice
Remembering you
What happened to you?
I wonder if we’ll meet again
Talk about life since then
Talk about why did it end

You made me feel like the one
Made me feel like the one
The one
You made me feel like the one
Made me feel like the one
The one

I don’t know where we are going now
I don’t know where we are going now

So take a look at me now

Postscript:

If you follow my Full Moon series, it seems that on top of taking great scenery shots during the daytime, my friend was also busy at night-time on the 1st March and managed to capture the elusive Worm Moon which appeared in its full state just after midnight. Here it is viewed from our (almost) clear skies.

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The Worm Moon: Picture courtesy of R.J.

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team Bacharach and David - The opening line to that song was "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

17 thoughts on “St David’s Day, the Stereophonics and Spring Is Here (Isn’t It?)”

  1. At risk of sounding like a muso, I have mixed feelings about the Stereophonics. I thought their first album was excellent, as was half their second one, but after that they’ve frustrated me more than delighted me. Still, it”s pretty impressive that they’re still in the go since many of their contemporaries from the late 90s are long gone.

    Do you think if the north of Scotland was bearing the brunt of the Beast from the East it would be getting the same amount of airtime as being given to the south of England? I seriously doubt it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep you’re sounding like a muso! Because I’m not really that familiar with their entire body of work I can just appreciate what they come along with on an ad hoc basis and I liked this song, and bought the Decade In The Sun album, and enjoyed them on Live 8 day, and like when I hear Kelly’s Welsh accent when he is interviewed…. I also quite like the duet they did with Sir Tom. Pretty impressive they are still doing their thing although the line-up has changed somewhat over the years. By the way, I always thought that on Live 8 day (see pic above), Kelly looked awfully like that erstwhile Beatle, Stuart Sutcliffe – It was a look!

      No if we had got the brunt of the snow it wouldn’t have been such a news story but then the news story isn’t really about the snow is it, it’s about the disruption it causes on the roads and in the air. That’s inevitable when you have millions of people doing a long commute to work every day in a relatively compact area. Up here, in a region the size of Belgium (it’s always used for comparison purposes) we probably only have tens of thousands of people doing any sizeable commute. As for me, I’m trying to earn my living from home at the moment, so not a problem – One of the benefits of having jacked it all in!

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    1. Looking out the window right now and nada – Not being smug honest but this is s bizarre turn of events as we are usually the worst hit. Stay warm/safe where you are!

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        1. Still no snow but now I know why! – This snippet turned up in the local press from a 90-year-old ex-Geography teacher from Ross-shire – “It did snow on Dingwall, Inverness and bits of the Black Isle, but the wind has dried it up. There is no dampness. I have known about sublimation for years, but I have never seen it. This must be the only place in Scotland where it is happening. It is cold but it’s dry. The snow is going from a solid to a gas without going through a liquid phase. Sublimation is described as the conversion between the solid and the gas phases of matter, with no intermediate liquid stage. It is most often used to describe the process of snow and ice changing into water vapor in the air without first melting into water.”

          As we often say around here – Every day’s a school day, literally.

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  2. Hi Alyson.
    Stereophonics are one of those bands I’ve known of but have never been familiar with their music.

    Where I live the forecasters are predicting very high winds (50 miles per hour and up) for a 12 hour period starting a few hours from now. Not looking forward to it.

    Have a good weekend —

    Neil

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Stereophonics have been around a long time and still going strong – You should have a look on YouTube for some of their other stuff – They did a very good version of Handbags and Gladrags that was used as theme music for The Office, that most cringifying of TV sitcoms!

      As for the weather, this “Beast from the East” is causing a fair amount of trouble but we seem to be getting off lightly here. Hope you escape the worst of your weather front – March now, so should get better soon!

      Have a good weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. No snow round the Litoral but there’s been torrential rain – I gave a couple of walkers a lift to the town’s bus stop, they had already done 12km today but had had enough and couldn’t face the final 2km to the bus. Fortunately the larger dog in the car decided to behave and not try and bite them, placated by some dog biscuits

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha ha – Good that the dog behaved although it sounds as if your passengers might have been sopping wet so not very appealing. Won’t have done your vehicle much good although I suspect you don’t drive around the Litoral in a luxurious town car, although I may be wrong.

      You’ll not miss the snow or rather the disruption it causes I imagine!

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  4. Interesting about your weather bubble! And there was me thinking ‘sublimation’ was something entirely different…. 😉
    Anyway glad to hear you’ve got off lightly, given what we normally hear about the Scottish weather It’s thawing round here now and the daffodil shoots are starting to show again. I cannot wait for Spring proper – so bored with the cold and grey now.
    Wonderful photos, especially of that Worm Moon. Nice choice with Stereophonics too. I don’t own a single thing by them but I am rather partial to Kelly’s voice nonetheless.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What are you like C – As far as I can see the definition is “the phase transition of a substance directly from the solid to the gas phase without passing through the intermediate liquid phase” so we’ll stick with that one for today!! Remember, every day’s a school day!

      Yes, hope your weather improves soon as like you I’m itching for Spring to start proper.

      They are great photos aren’t they and R.J. (better anonymise him) is one of the few real-life people who knows about this place but is happy to let me use his pics, so, a bonus. More will hopefully follow in the Full Moon series. Stay warm this weekend.

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  5. It’s remarkable to hear that you missed out on all the, ahem, fun and games Alyson. I could whinge on about what an awful week I had with the weather, but right now I’m just glad to hear the rain beating down outside and see the temperature gauge nudging 6° as the snow disappears.
    My main memory of Live 8 is being unexpectedly moved by Pink Floyd’s performance, their first for 24 years and, as it transpired, last ever. Longstanding grudges and antagonism were set aside for one day. They could have made millions for a one-off stand alone concert, but instead chose to briefly set aside their differences to benefit a worthy cause.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep we missed out on the “fun” but only because it was too cold to snow apparently! Beautiful blue skies though.

      As for Live 8, yes although I mentioned Stereophonics performance here, when discussing the concert with my colleague we also discussed Pink Floyd as I had been transfixed by them. As you might suspect I was not really a fan back in the day but I made a point of watching them just to find out what all the hyperbole was about. It was an amazing performance and led to a few purchases afterwards. Shame it was a one-off, but good as you say that it was done for the benefit of others.

      Thanks for dropping by.

      Like

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