Charity Shops, ‘Madness’ and Another Mini-Bloggers Summit

A bit of a niche post this, for those in the know, but I can’t let the occasion pass without a mention. I don’t know about you, but heading into autumn 2021, I’ve been finding there’s not much going on in the news to raise our spirits. Combine that with the fact life is most definitely not back to normal, nor going to be for some time, and you need to find things that give you a bit of a lift – Things that get you out of the house, meeting up with people again.

Little did I think this week’s lift would be a meetup with long-time blogging buddy CC, from Charity Chic Music. He likes his October holidays does CC, and this year he and his wife were going to be staying in a cottage not far from my home town. When he suggested a get-together over lunch with our other halves, it was a no-brainer we would head through to the beau lieu (beautiful place) written about here recently.

Of course despite having visited each other’s blogs for over five years, there is a large element of anonymity amongst the music blogging community and I wondered how we would identify each other. To avoid any confusion at the restaurant, I made a small sign out of A4, and wrote my blog’s name on it. Having a diner hold up a bit of paper in front of her with the words, “What’s It All About?”, must have alarmed the serving staff at 12.30pm on a Tuesday – Was I having some sort of existential crisis, and would they have to deal with the fallout? Fortunately, I didn’t have to hold my sign up for long, as at the appointed hour, in walked CC holding a newly acquired charity shop album with the lovely Mrs CC by his side.

Of course as happened with blogging buddy C (no relation) when we met up in London, the conversation flowed freely as we’ve known each other virtually for years. Mr WIAA very proudly admitted to never reading my blog, which is good of him, as he likes giving me the freedom to write freely. It wasn’t lost on me however that in some ways our blogging pals know more about us than our real life family, as when you revisit the tracks of your years, as I do, all manner of anecdotes come out. The veil of anonymity means we can do that…, until it comes down that is. Anyway, thankfully CC didn’t spill any beans (as we all went for soup and a sandwich!).

I’m not sure if CC’s purchase, Absolutely by Madness, is really his thing, but as he said, at only a pound he couldn’t not buy it. Madness have popped up around here a couple of times, as they most definitely are my thing. I loved the ska and rocksteady revival of the late ’70s and of course had to go and see them live in 1979 when they came to town as part of the 2 Tone Tour (written about here). Exactly 40 years later they came north again, and I was lucky enough to see them then too (also written about here). They have a vast back catalogue of hits and are still happy to perform them with all the humour and energy they deserve. Lead singer Suggs may be a grandad now, but I never think he has changed that much over the years – Another artist who found his style early on and stuck with it.

Madness

The single releases from Absolutely were, Baggy Trousers, Embarrassment, and this one, The Return of the Los Palmas 7. It’s mainly an instrumental with a bit of ad-libbing at the beginning from Chas Smash and it reached No. 7 in the UK Singles Chart in 1981. Whether you are a fan of Madness or not, the videos for their songs were always a lot of fun and as well as being seen in both a greasy spoon and a posh restaurant in this one, the boys also took on the persona of another set of magnificent seven chaps, albeit this time in Kenwood Park, London and not Mexico. If you concentrate, you will also get a potted history of just about every big event in politics, science, sport and entertainment that took place over the previous few decades, via the many clips interspersed throughout the short video. Blink and you’ll miss some of them.

The Return of the Los Palmas 7 by Madness:

No song lyrics this time so I’ll end with another picture which proves you can’t realistically create a joint Swedey McSwedeface with only one album, but we tried, so points for effort. Also, make sure you don’t have both partners take the shot at the same time, as you end up looking in different directions, which is a bit weird. Oh well, should we ever meet up again, which I hope we will, we’ll be much better prepared.

Until next time…

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.

22 thoughts on “Charity Shops, ‘Madness’ and Another Mini-Bloggers Summit”

  1. How excellent that the two of you got to meet up, and amusing that you made a sign… though I’m sure CC would have recognised you. He, on the other hand, really is a masked man. Glad to finally put half a face to him.

    Glad to see that this meeting inspired you back to the blog… hopefully we’ll hear CC’s side of the tale too. I’ve missed you both lately.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha ha – I’ve been finding it hard to get back into blogging of late, so you are right, our meet-up inspired me back onto these pages again.

      It was great being able to meet up in person and fortunately my sign didn’t have to put in much of an appearance as we spotted each other immediately. Must have a ‘blogger’s aura’ about us (and the fact I’ve been a bit liberal of late with sharing pictures of myself).

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  2. It was really nice to meet you both and to chat over a lovely lunch. I will be putting up a post when we get back home. Suspect the music and the photos may be similar!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was indeed and with Mr WIAA and Mrs CC along too, some faces put to names. Hope you’ve managed to make some more purchases whilst on your hols but for me, that Madness album on its own was a real winner. Others may choose to disagree!

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  3. Oh Alyson, oh CC, this is brilliant. It’s so heartwarming that you got to meet up and had a good time. I love the image I have of you sitting in the restaurant holding up your handwritten ‘What’s It All About?’ sign – like something straight out of an art film, very Andy Warhol. And CC’s response ‘Madness – Absolutely’ is more than a little apt in these times…
    Just the kind of lift we all need, good on you both!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was good to meet up and of course it reminded me of the time this country bumpkin made it all the way down to London to meet up with you. Bit of poetic licence with my sign as in reality it turned out to be quite easy to spot each other (although the staff must have wondered why a middle-aged chap walked in holding a Madness album over the lower half of his face!).

      Madness – Absolutely. Yes very apt for the times we live in.

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  4. What a great video that is, not just for the history clips but more for the late 70s cafe and street scenes – a time capsule in itself!
    In a bloggers near-miss, I cycled right through your town last month…
    I often wonder whether it would be possible to organise a bigger blogger’s summit, a gathering of the clan, so to speak. Pick a central location (preferably somewhere with some live music going on), invite everyone, make a weekend of it…. maybe one day.

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    1. It is a great video and you kind of forget how basic our ‘caffs’ were back then – Not the Coffee Shop chains of today with their multitude of beverage options. Our kids would be horrified.

      I knew you were passing though my home town last month and had I been able to work out how to use Strava I would have known when and where, but I’m afraid I missed the opportunity to give you a wave and a friendly bit of encouragement. Hope it wasn’t too gruelling although I suspect it must have been.

      A larger blogger’s summit has been mooted many times and plans were in place for last year but then the pandemic changed everything. Speaking with CC, who managed to be part of a bigger get-together in Glasgow a few years back, it can be done. Tough to coordinate with everyone’s schedules but as you say, one day.

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      1. I love a caff like that though, few and far between as they are now.
        It was arduous, for sure, but a terrific experience. I’ve been writing up the whole thing over on my cycling blog – the day I rolled through your neck of the woods was Day 8.
        Maybe the answer to the summit is to all sign up to one of those retro music weekends at a Butlins or similar – you know the sort of thing, they’re always called “Shiiine On” or similar, have a decent line-up of reformed bands and provide cheap accommodation to boot. Mind you, I say that having never been to such an event – they may be terrible!

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        1. I’m definitely still up for it once we can all be relaxed about travelling/maskless indoor mingling – damn this pandemic! My own preference would be some kind of city break and with a mix of things to see and do (music, art, coffee, wine and all round randomness!) Still hopeful! (Next Spring?)

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    1. Just a lunch, but yes, it was great to meet up in person. Had the pandemic not come along our plans for a much bigger shindig would have no doubt gone ahead, but the will is obviously there, so I’m hopeful for early 2022.

      Thank goodness for Swedey McSwedeface (his ears will be burning) – Much better way of identifying yourself than holding a copy of the Times or wearing a red carnation.

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    1. Yep, you really started something with your ‘Sleeveface’. I missed a trick by not taking an album along to our meet up – I’d made a mock-up for when I met up with C and jokingly said I’d do the same for my meet up with CC. Didn’t think he’d take me up on it. He’s now only partially a man of mystery.

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  5. A lovely story, Alyson, and so good that you got to meet up with CC. Likewise, commenting on other music blogs, contributing to The Vinyl Villain and then finally getting back to my own blogging has been a great way of connecting in this last, surreal 18 months. This was a particularly heartwarming read and of course, how can you go wrong with Madness’ Absolutely? Brilliant!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your lovely comment and having just visited your blog you certainly have been prolific over the last 18 months. A great way of connecting with others as you say.

      Madness, Absolutely – A great find for CC indeed.

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