Months of the Year in Song: December Departed

Yet again I’m up against a deadline, sneaking the latest edition of this series into the tail end of the month, and what a month it’s been. I had fully expected this edition to be a really festive one, full of jollity and Christmas songs, but for me, December 2022 has been memorable for the sheer number of deaths there have been both in the world of celebrity and closer to home.

The latest tally ‘closer to home’ is now seven deaths since the start of the month. None of them family or really close friends, but people I knew through their offspring, through work, or from my neighbourhood. Out there in the wider world the obituaries just keep on coming. Last night we heard of the death of Vivienne Westwood (would punk have happened in quite the same way without her?), and yesterday we also lost Pele, whose playing style probably gave football the moniker, ‘the beautiful game’. On Christmas Eve we lost Maxi Jazz, lead vocalist of British electronic band Faithless. To be honest, until reading a comment about him on another blog just before his death, I wouldn’t have known his name, but there can’t be many of us who weren’t aware of him. Such a striking man whose struggle with Insomnia gave us the dance track that even those of us who missed the Ibiza boat knew well. I’ve already written tributes for Christine McVie and Terry Hall this month, but we’ve also lost Jet Black of the Stranglers, and many others from the world of music and entertainment.

In clockwise direction: Vivienne Westwood and pals, Christine McVie, Terry Hall, Maxi Jazz, Jet Black

Insomnia by Faithless:


But this is supposed to be a post full of December songs and appropriately I’m going to kick things off with George Michael, who himself died on Christmas Day, 2016. That year had been incredibly cruel for losses but his death was the one that hit me hardest as his music had accompanied me throughout my entire adult life up until that point. I’ve shared his December Song (I Dreamed of Christmas) around here before, but no reason not to share it again.

December Song (I Dreamed of Christmas) by George Michael:


It always seems a bit odd listening to Christmas songs after the 25th so apologies for the timing of this post. Hope everyone who visits this place had a good time over the peak festive period, but I am also aware it can be a tough time for many. For the second year in a row we went out for Christmas lunch as it seemed high time that DD and the new fiancé gave it a bash. I can report back that everything went really well and I think she got a lot less stressed than I usually do when juggling so many dishes at the same time. When we got back home in the evening though it was just the two of us, so very different from the years when we had our own parents, Mr WIAA’s siblings and DD to entertain. Just the place we’ve reached on the conveyor belt of life I suppose.

DD’s Christmas table complete with fancy napkins!

Before I get on with the song suggestions, here is the bit of trivia I found really interesting back in September, but now find a bit boring and repetitive. Yes, yet again the month of December is named after a Latin number, this time ten, or decem, all because the Roman calendar used to have 10 months with a gap for an ‘unorganised winter’. Phew, think we’re done with all that now, so it should get a bit more interesting once we head into a new calendar year.

The first suggestion last time came in from Rick who thought the line, ‘I wanted to assassinate Christmas’, in the Teenage Fanclub song, December, was a really good one. First time this Scottish band has put in an appearance around here, so thanks Rick, and yes, a sentiment many of us probably agree with.


Our next pick came from Ernie Goggins who suggested Merle Haggard’s song, If We Make It Through December. Listening to the lyrics I can’t help thinking there must be many, many families out there thinking exactly the same thing this year. Sadly, the way things are going, I don’t think there will be much respite in January, or February, and the current incumbent at No. 10 is not going to offer up any easy fixes. But thanks Ernie, a new song for me, and I do like Merle’s voice despite the sad lyrics.

Got laid off down at the factory
And their timing’s not the greatest in the world
Heaven knows I been workin’ hard
Wanted Christmas to be right for daddy’s girl

I don’t mean to hate December
It’s meant to be the happy time of year
And my little girl don’t understand
Why daddy can’t afford no Christmas here


Next up we have a suggestion from Khayem who for the second time in this series came up with something from the band The The (I think he must be a big fan). Here are his own words:

‘Unsurprisingly, lots and lots of December songs out there, so I’m just going to stick with one, although it’s been re-recorded and covered several times over. It’s DecemberSunlight (no spacing) by The The. The original version appeared on the 2000 album NakedSelf.’

Thanks Khayem, and anyone who wants to investigate some of the many covers can find them in last month’s comments boxes (link here).


Rol promised to be kind this time, with fewer suggestions to drown me with. As it turns out, a couple of the songs he mentioned, I would have included myself anyway. First of all, I can’t write a December themed post without including this song from the Four Seasons. I always used to think it was simply called, Oh What a Night, but the official title is December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night). This time the lead vocals came from drummer Gerry Polci, with Frankie Valli just singing the bridge sections and backing vocals. Whenever I hear this song I am transported back to 1975 when our newly minted community centre was the focal point for teenage social life (no iPhones in those days). Most of our year at school headed along every Saturday night for the ‘disco’, where the decks were manned by some of our enterprising classmates. Fun times played out to songs like this one, and as I’ve said around here before, I think the Four Seasons provided the backdrop to my first kiss!

December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night) by the Four Seasons:


Another of Rol’s suggestions was this one, December, by Count Basie & the Mills Brothers. The Mills Brothers, originally known as the Four Kings of Harmony, were an American jazz and traditional pop vocal quartet who made more than 2,000 recordings that sold more than 50 million copies. They were active from 1928 to 1980 and were the first African-American artists to have their own show on national network radio in the US.

December by The Mills Brothers:


I am reminded of a Christmas several years ago when our blogging buddy Jez used to ask for suggestions for his very entertaining feature, The Chain. I’m not sure how it came about but I remember offering up this Mills Brothers song back then as I had it in my library, and no suggestions were ever rejected. As it turns out Jez isn’t very well at the moment, so if he reads this, we’re all wishing you well and hope you can get back to the important business of blogging soon. No pressure though, health comes first an’ all that.

A suggestion now from C of Sun Dried Sparrows fame. Here are her own words:

‘The first song that springs to mind for me is My<Dsmbr by Linkin’ Park featuring Kelli Ali – I know, you’d have thought they could have spelt it correctly, will it be disqualified on the grounds of having no vowels? I’m no Linkin’ Park fan usually, but I like Kelli Ali for her time with Sneaker Pimps and creator of some great solo material and there’s just something about this song that seems to fit the mood of the month.’

No, won’t be disqualified C, so lets give it a listen. Yes, I do hear what you say about it fitting the mood of the month. Thanks for this one.


This next song was alluded to by Rol, but it was left to Rigid Digit to come out and suggest it properly. December Will Be Magic Again, by Kate Bush from 1980. Kate, who now lives quietly in an English village, became the artist de jour this last summer after her 1985 song Running Up That Hill was used for an important scene in the hit television drama Stranger Things. After 37 years it finally made it to the top spot on the UK Singles Chart, Kate’s first No. 1 since Wuthering Heights in 1978. For some reason her Christmas song is not one of the staples you hear on the radio much nowadays, which is a great shame, as classic Kate Bush.


The final song for this post comes from our blogging pal The Swede, who has been conspicuous by his absence this festive period. I suspect he might be too jiggered for blogging after long shifts keeping the nation fed, but hopefully all is well with him. Here are his own words:

‘My suggestion for the next instalment in this series is Fred Neil’s cover of December’s Dream, a song that unfathomably remained unreleased in his lifetime. Fred’s voice can reduce me to a blubbering wreck at the best of times, but here he just about finishes me off. The original version of the song by John Braheny is also excellent.’

Crikey TS, I see what you mean about that song, it’s got me reduced to a blubbering wreck too. A new artist and song for me, but what a beautiful and pure voice he has. Thank you for that suggestion.


Right, that’s definitely your lot for this month, and for the 2022 segment of this series. The next edition will come out before the end of January so yet again I would be most grateful for any of your song suggestions for that month (but please be sparing as these posts take a lot out of a person – I was warned!).

It’s going to be a quiet Hogmanay for us this year as there has been a radical change in our neighbourhood over the last few years meaning that the people we used to party with have either moved away, suffered illness or sadly passed away. On a positive note, I went to visit my mum in her care home earlier today and despite many of them having come down with flu, she was in good spirits and sporting a hat made out of balloons in the shape of a reindeer. (They’d had a magician in to entertain.) The mum I used to know would never have contemplated wearing a balloon hat, but the mum I now have is much more fun-loving and up for anything, so a bit of a blessing really.

Whatever you do for Hogmanay, whether it be watching a firework display, heading off to a party, or cosying up in front of the telly, I hope you have a good one.

Until next time…

December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night) Lyrics
(Song by Bob Gaudio/Judy Parker)

Oh, what a night
Late December, back in ’63
What a very special time for me
As I remember, what a night

Oh, what a night
You know, I didn’t even know her name
But I was never gonna be the same
What a lady, what a night

Oh, I, I got a funny feeling
When she walked in the room
And my, as I recall
It ended much too soon

(Oh, what a night)
Hypnotizing, mesmerisin’ me
She was everything I dreamed she’d be
Sweet surrender, what a night

And I felt a rush
Like a rolling bolt of thunder
Spinning my head around
And takin’ my body under
(Oh, what a night)

Oh, I got a funny feeling
When she walked in the room
And my, as I recall
It ended much too soon

(Oh, what a night)
Why’d it take so long to see the light?
Seemed so wrong, but now it seems so right
What a lady, what a night

Oh, I felt a rush
Like a rolling bolt of thunder
Spinning my head around
And takin’ my body under

(Oh, what a night)
Do do do, do do, do do do do
(Oh, what a night)
Do do do, do do, do do do do
(Oh, what a night)
Do do do, do do, do do do do
(Oh, what a night)
Do do do, do do, do do do do.
..

Months of the Year in Song: November Nights (with a Nip in the Air)

Well, I had my doubts about this series but with all the great suggestions I got last month this post will practically write itself. As it’s the last day of the month however (also St Andrew’s Day here in Scotland) I’m going to have to be quick or I’ll miss my window of opportunity.

Yet again, as with September and October, the month of November is named after a Latin number, this time nine, or novem, all because the Roman calendar used to have 10 months with a gap for an “unorganised winter”. As we head into next year things will get a bit more interesting, promise.

Another picture by Veli Bariskan, who kindly let me use the banner image above

So far in this series we’ve had Sad September and Orange October. I had hoped there would be an obvious alliterative word to tag on to November, but all I can think of at the moment is Nights. Back in September there was a bit of debate about whether that month was really the tail end of summer rather than the start of autumn. At this point in November, as it’s very cold and dark much of the time, it feels more like winter than autumn. The clocks change back to GMT at the end of October and from then on it starts to get dark at around tea-time (if like me you live in the North of Scotland). If you’re busy at work for much of the day, any social activity will probably be done at night-time, and it will probably be very dark indeed. Great for Bonfire Night on the 5th of November (link here to a previous post) but also for other outdoor extravaganzas where darkness is required. We headed along to Brodie Castle the other week where the castle and grounds were illuminated with all sorts of relevant images and colours. Really pretty indeed and a nice warming hot chocolate to enjoy at the end.

Spot the wee windows on the castle (famous for its daffodils in Spring). We were also blessed with a full moon and a starry, starry night.


But this is supposed to be a music blog, so where are the songs?

Last month the first suggestion came in from Charity Chic, Mr. November by The National, although he did add a warning that it contains ‘sweary words’. If you’re likely to be offended, cover your ears. I was struggling to work out what the song is about, but here is a possible explanation. ‘He was a high school quarterback. November is playoff season for football. He was carried in the arms of cheerleaders. He was a hero. This character has peaked way too early. He’s had his big accomplishment already, so now he sleeps late.’ Makes sense.

The next suggestion came from C of Sun Dried Sparrows, Late November by Pavlov’s Dog. Here are her own words:

‘It comes from around 1975, I think. Sort of uncategorisable. David Surkamp’s vocals are… erm… not easy to describe in a complimentary way, you wouldn’t think they could work, and yet, and yet! – there is something incredibly charming about this – I just can’t put my finger on why. Probably not everyone’s cup of tea and I wouldn’t have thought it could ever be mine. But in this case, it is. Maybe it’s the song as a whole that just gets in there.’

Crikey, I see what you mean about those vocals C, but you are right, it does have a certain je ne sais quoi.

Next up we had a suggestion from Graeme, who remembered that Mike Oldfield had a song called Man in the Rain where the month of November is heavily featured in the chorus. Coming from the Orkney Islands Graeme is probably often a man who finds himself caught in the rain. Let’s have a listen.


Very nice indeed. The vocals on that one were apparently performed by Irish folk singer Cara Dillon.

Rol as ever was not found wanting when it came to suggestions, but one of them also overlapped with a second suggestion from C, so I’ll include it first. Here is what she said about it:

‘Another (different) Late November that comes to mind is the hauntingly beautiful, melancholy song by Sandy Denny. (There are a few versions floating around, some quite stripped back with just piano and vocals but the one I like most has more instrumentation on it.)’

Let’s hope I’ve found the one you were thinking of C.


But back to Rol, here is what he said about this next song, November Rain, the one I would probably have picked myself if thinking of one relating to this month.

‘November begins and ends with Guns n Roses for me. It was my late nephew’s favourite song too, and they played it at his funeral, so much as I enjoy Axl’s histrionics, it always comes with bittersweet memories.’

Hope you don’t mind that I shared your words Rol, and understandable that it would be a tough listen for you nowadays. From the era of the really big budget music video. They don’t make ’em like that any more.

November Rain by Guns N’ Roses:


For the record, Rol’s other suggestions were as follows:

Carter USM – Born On The 5th of November
Tom Waits – November
Harry Chapin – November Rains
Morrissey – November Spawned A Monster
Stornoway – November Song
The Waterboys – November Tale

Quite a range of styles there but an all-male line-up. Maybe we should shoehorn in some Julie London to redress the balance a bit. Here we have her singing November Twilight from her Calendar Girl album (always a good source of material for this series).


Last but definitely not least we have a suggestion from Khayem, who came up with this:

‘I was surprised to find I’ve relatively few ‘November’ songs in my collection. However, I will give a nod to November by Echo & The Bunnymen. The song was a B-side (if it can be classed as such) to their 2009 digital single I Think I Need It Too. I’m not going to pretend that this is anything close to imperial phase E&TB, but I love the opening bassline and musically, it’s far jauntier than I’d expect a song with that title to be.’


To be honest I hadn’t even realised that Echo & The Bunnymen are still active as a band as I don’t think I’ve listened to them since their ‘imperial phase’ as Khayem calls it. A nice reminder of how they used to sound back then, and still do today.

So, that’s your lot for this month, something for everyone I suspect. I’ve been shocked at how quickly winter has come upon us this year and despite all my good intentions about not turning up the thermostat, I have indeed succumbed, so it’s feeling pretty cosy at WIAA Towers with the curtains shut tight of an evening. If you do venture out, as well as fireworks and lightshows, you might have spotted a pretty spectacular crescent moon this week. Some of the planets have also been visible in the night sky.

Next month is December – how the heck did it come round so quickly, but then I say that every year. There will be plenty of song choices for that month I’m sure but feel free to add your tuppence worth to the comments boxes. Always grateful for any of your suggestions.

Until next time…

November Rain Lyrics
(Song by Axl Rose)

When I look into your eyes
I can see a love restrained
But, darlin’, when I hold you
Don’t you know I feel the same? Yeah

‘Cause nothing lasts forever
And we both know hearts can change
And it’s hard to hold a candle
In the cold November rain

We’ve been through this such a long, long time
Just tryna kill the pain, ooh yeah
But lovers always come and lovers always go
And no one’s really sure who’s lettin’ go today, walkin’ away
If we could take the time to lay it on the line
I could rest my head, just knowin’ that you were mine, all mine

So, if you want to love me
Then, darlin’, don’t refrain
Or I’ll just end up walkin’
In the cold November rain

Do you need some time on your own?
Do you need some time all alone?
Ooh, everybody needs some time on their own
Ooh, don’t you know you need some time all alone?

I know it’s hard to keep an open heart
When even friends seem out to harm you
But if you could heal a broken heart
Wouldn’t time be out to charm you, whoa-whoa

Sometimes, I need some time on my own
Sometimes, I need some time all alone
Ooh, everybody needs some time on their own
Ooh, don’t you know you need some time all alone?

And when your fears subside
And shadows still remain, ooh yeah
I know that you can love me
When there’s no one left to blame

So, never mind the darkness
We still can find a way
‘Cause nothin’ lasts forever
Even cold November rain

Don’t ya think that you need somebody?
Don’t ya think that you need someone?
Everybody needs somebody
You’re not the only one, you’re not the only one
Don’t ya think that you need somebody?
Don’t ya think that you need someone?
Everybody needs somebody

Months Of The Year In Song: Orange October

Welcome to this second instalment of my new series, where I plan to share songs relating to all 12 months of the year. I didn’t start in January but that’s ok as the months just keep rolling by in a continual loop, or so I thought until last month’s discovery that the calendar year used to have 10 months with a gap for an “unorganised winter”, which is why October is confusingly named after the Latin word for eight. In time that got sorted out and we now have the calendar we are familiar with where October is the 10th month, and what a month it is for those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere. I don’t know about you but over the last couple of weeks I have been privileged to witness the leaves changing colour all around my neighbourhood and what a treat it’s been.

Last month in the comments boxes there was a bit of debate about September being the first month of autumn, as although meteorologically it is, it still feels like the tail end of summer (again I’m referring to those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere – sorry if I’m alienating my Southern Hemisphere followers). But October is ‘proper autumn’ and what with the colour of the leaves, our warm woollen clothes back on rotation and Halloween making its presence felt at the end of the month, a very orange one indeed in terms of the hues.

But this is a music blog so where are the songs? Last month it became obvious that September songs are quite nostalgic and melancholy, but mainly because the month’s name rhymes with the word ‘remember’. October doesn’t rhyme with much so by default there are less songs that mention it. No matter, some great suggestions were put forward in the comments boxes last time, so I still have plenty of material.

First of all, both Lynchie and The Swede came up with this song for inclusion, October Song by the Incredible String Band. It wasn’t until I watched a recent documentary about the history of popular music in Scotland that I discovered this band. All the usual suspects were included, from Lulu to the Proclaimers but the Incredible String Band were new to me as from a bit before my time and not the kind of band that would have ever popped up on prime time telly when I was growing up. But despite sounding as if they had San Francisco origins, they actually hailed from Edinburgh, and were really successful during the period 1966 to 1974. As you will hear, they were pioneers of psychedelic folk and by fusing a wide variety of traditional music styles and instruments, helped develop world music. October Song was from their first album released in 1966 and it certainly is full of the imagery of autumn. Beautiful in its way but maybe not my thing.

The fallen leaves that jewel the ground
They know the art of dying
And leave with joy their glad gold hearts
In the scarlet shadows lying


Another suggestion came in from Rol who offered up October Swimmer by JJ72. The period that gets mentioned least around here is the turn of the millennium, as I think I was just so busy working, and being a mum to a small child. This could explain how I have absolutely no memory of this song or band at all despite the fact they did really well with it in 2000 and appeared on ToTP. No imagery of autumn this time just quite bleak lyrics, so thanks, but again not really my thing. The band was from Dublin and lead singer and songwriter Mark Greaney (he of the somewhat unusual voice) for a time lived next door to Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy. Wonder if the young Mark had been inspired to get into music by Phil?

The splash of October swimmers
The cheers of Helsinki winners
My barbed bones of futility
Leaking marrow of ability


Another new discovery in this next clip and this time it came from Darcy. Here are his own words:

“Regarding October songs the only one that immediately comes to mind is Outubro by Azymuth. The album’s title track is very relaxing and fits the northern hemisphere September and early October vibe very well. There are no words, which you may want, and Azymuth are a Southern Hemisphere band which may mean they are going for a Spring feel, but I think it works for us Northerners too.”

Going a bit left field with this one, and an instrumental, but it follows on nicely from my last post which featured Sérgio Mendes & Brasil ’66. Azymuth are also from Brazil and are a jazz-funk trio that formed in 1973. Outubro is Portuguese for October, and as this series of songs relates to months of the year, not seasons, quite appropriate to include it. Very mellow and pretty like the theme music to many a ’70s television drama.


The final suggestion I’m going to include came from C of Sun-Dried Sparrows fame. She had done a bit of research and found something by Amy Winehouse called October Song. I too found that one but hard to work out if it has any connection to the month. Here’s what C came up with:

Amy Winehouse had a track called October Song which was apparently written in memory of her pet canary… or was it about her use of marijuana? … both have been suggested!”

Sadly, we will now never know, and it can be hard to watch clips of the supremely talented Amy looking so healthy when we now know she only lived another seven years after this was filmed. Tragic, but like watching something in slo-mo, we could almost see it coming.


To be honest I’m not entirely sold on any of the above, but they do fit the remit of this series so happy to include them. Something that doesn’t fit the remit at all is this song by Bobby (Boris) Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers but as Halloween is almost upon us, time for a little Monster Mash I feel. This is the kind of song that popped up on Ed (Stewpot) Stewart’s Junior Choice when I was growing up and actually reached the No. 3 spot on the UK Singles Chart in 1973. Bobby Pickett co-wrote Monster Mash with Leonard Capizzi in May 1962. The song was a spoof on the dance crazes popular at the time, including the Twist and the Mashed Potato, which inspired the title. The song also featured Bobby’s impersonations of veteran horror stars Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. This must be one of the few novelty records I haven’t tired of as I still find it quite good fun. Maybe just me though?

Monster Mash by Bobby (Boris) Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers:


So, ‘What’s It All About?’ – October is not it seems a month that lends itself to the writing of songs. There were plenty to choose from for September but kind of all over the place this time, what with psychedelic folk, alternative rock and jazz-funk putting in an appearance. Not all the lyrics even mention the month and only one song mentions nature and the falling of leaves.

For me, October is all about the falling leaves and the spectacular colour show natures gives us, but I suppose if you are a city dweller, the month might not conjure up those images. For some, October is all about Halloween, which isn’t a big deal for us nowadays but at DD’s abode she still likes to put up spooky decorations and invite friends over for a themed party. Why I decided to include that old favourite of a song.


Hopefully November will turn out to be a bit more inspirational when it comes to the writing of songs. As ever, your suggestions will be invaluable and gratefully received.

Until next time…

Monster Mash Lyrics
(Song by Bobby Pickett/Leonard Capizzi)

I was working in the lab, late one night
When my eyes beheld an eerie sight
For my monster from his slab, began to rise
And suddenly to my surprise

He did the mash, he did the monster mash
The monster mash, it was a graveyard smash
He did the mash, it caught on in a flash
He did the mash, he did the monster mash

From my laboratory in the castle east
To the master bedroom where the vampires feast
The ghouls all came from their humble abodes
To get a jolt from my electrodes

They did the mash, they did the monster mash
The monster mash, it was a graveyard smash
They did the mash, it caught on in a flash
They did the mash, they did the monster mash

The zombies were having fun
The party had just begun
The guests included Wolfman
Dracula, and his son

The scene was rockin’, all were digging the sounds
Igor on chains, backed by his baying hounds
The coffin-bangers were about to arrive
With their vocal group, ‘The Crypt-Kicker Five’

They played the mash, they played the monster mash
The monster mash, it was a graveyard smash
They played the mash, it caught on in a flash
They played the mash, they played the monster mash

Out from his coffin, Drac’s voice did ring
Seems he was troubled by just one thing
Opened the lid and shook his fist and said
“Whatever happened to my Transylvania Twist?”

It’s now the mash, it’s now the monster mash
The monster mash, and it’s a graveyard smash
It’s now the mash, it caught on in a flash
It’s now the mash, it’s now the monster mash

Now everything’s cool, Drac’s a part of the band
And my Monster Mash is the hit of the land
For you, the living, this mash was meant too
When you get to my door, tell them Boris sent you

Then you can mash, then you can monster mash
The monster mash, and do my graveyard smash
Then you can mash, you will catch on in a flash
Then you can mash, then you can monster mash

Wah-ooh, argh, monster mash, wah-ooh
Easy, Igor, you impetuous young boy
Argh, mash good, mm, argh
Monster mash, wah-ooh, monster mash, wah-ooh

Months Of The Year In Song: Sad September

I can’t believe I’ve reached the age I have, without noticing the names given to the last four months of the year come from the Latin words for seven, eight, nine and ten: Septem, Octo, Novem and Decem. It’s so obvious now but of course at first glance it makes no sense as we have 12 months in our calendar and those months find themselves sitting at ninth, tenth, eleventh and twelfth positions. That would be because the first calendar was a Roman one, and they liked the decimal system of doing things in tens. Their calendar year started in March but of course the summer and winter months would soon become misplaced so additional days belonging to no particular month were added as an “unorganised winter”, allowing things (nature) to restore to their proper place.


In time the Julian and then Gregorian calendars took over which included January and February, and the introduction of an extra day every four years (a leap year) to more closely approximate the 365.2422-day solar year determined by the Earth’s revolution around the Sun. The mathematically astute amongst you will notice that every so often another adjustment has to be made to keep things in line, but the last time that happened was in the year 1900 and the next time it’ll happen will be the year 2100, so not going to be during my lifetime.

But why am I rabbiting on about calendars? Well, I had prewarned you I intended to start a new series featuring songs relating to months of the year and despite this month having not turned out as I had expected here in the UK, what with the passing of our monarch, there is still time to list the great suggestions put forward for September. As I’ve already written about the Earth, Wind & Fire song September as part of my Wheel of the Year in Song series (link here), I’ll concentrate on new finds.

The first song I’m going to include is September Gurls by Big Star, that suggestion put forward by both Charity Chic and C from Sun Dried Sparrows. This is a new song for me, and to be honest, until I saw the band pop up on some of the other more serious music blogs, I had always assumed Big Star were a pop outfit, lumping them in with Big Fun and Five Star! My bad, but thanks guys for drawing my attention to a band from my favourite era who are very much in my wheelhouse. This song often talked about by fans as “the greatest number-one song that never charted”.


The next suggestion comes from Khayem who is a relatively new follower of this blog but his recent comments have been much appreciated. We could probably include this one again in 11 months time because of the title, but here is August & September by The The. Powerful lyrics there from Matt Johnson.


Another relatively new follower to this blog is Lizza, who is the same age as me and seems to have led a bit of a parallel life, enjoying the same songs in similar contexts. She first mentioned these two suggestions last year when I wrote a post about the Autumnal Equinox and Harvest Moon, which happened to coincide that year. Here are her own words:

“I love September Song, J P Cooper’s 2017 tale of teen romance, and also a much earlier September Song, first recorded by Walter Huston in 1938. It was one of my mum’s favourite songs – it was featured in a 1950s film, September Affair, which she saw on one of her first visits to the cinema after she moved to London to begin her career as a teacher … The singer admits that he’s lost a tooth, and is a little lame – but on the plus side: “I have a little money and I have a little fame”. September Song has been recorded by many other artists since Walter Huston, from Frank Sinatra to Jeff Lynne, but I think they all leave out the reference to the lost tooth and the lameness!”

A couple of great September songs there and the first one takes me right back to my teenage years. Both sad songs however as many that mention the month of September invariably are.



To finish off I’m going to share a couple of songs from opposite ends of the spectrum. The first by Green Day and the second by Julie London who made an entire album of songs, each of them featuring a different month of the year. The Green Day song was an ode to the songwriter’s father, who died in the month of September. Julie’s song is a standard and has been recorded by many others, but again a sad song, this time about nostalgia (first shared by CC who liberated the album from one of the many fine charity shops in his locale and created a whole series out of it!).

Wake Me Up When September Ends by Green Day:

September In The Rain by Julie London:


So, ‘What’s It All About?’ – I always feel a bit sad when we hit September and it seems I’m not alone as the month does seem to be a bit of a metaphor for the passing of time and the end of things (for those of us who live in the Northern Hemisphere). Others however, like my daughter, who enjoy wrapping up in their winter woollies and sitting around roaring fires, would beg to differ.

Whatever camp you fall into, there certainly seem to be plenty of songs out there featuring the month of September. Will there be as many about the month of October? Not sure yet, but hopefully some of you will be able to help me out. As ever, suggestions would be most welcome.

Until next time…


September In The Rain Lyrics
(Song by Al Dubin/Harry Warren)

The leaves of brown came tumbling down
Remember, in September, in the rain
The sun went out just like a dying ember
That September in the rain

To every word of love I heard you whisper
The raindrops seemed to play our sweet refrain
Though spring is here, to me it’s still September
That September in the rain

To every word of love I heard you whisper
The raindrops seemed to play our sweet refrain
Though spring is here, to me it is still September
That September in the rain
That September that brought the pain
That September in the rain

My First Job (As A Pre-Schooler), Kenny Chesney and ‘Shiftwork’

Well, I seem to have turned into a bimonthly blogger. Or at least I thought I had until I discovered bimonthly can mean either occurring twice a month, or every two months. All very confusing so you have to add something else to clarify which of the two you mean i.e. ‘a bimonthly blogger only publishing something new twice a month’. Seems to me it’s probably best to avoid the word altogether.

It probably comes as no surprise to regular followers around here, that when life gets a bit angsty, my blogging suffers. Watching rolling news is a recipe for disaster but nigh impossible to avoid. Like many others, I sometimes wish I could turn back the clock and change some of the events of the past six years, both in the wider world and closer to home (Brexit, that pesky bat in Wuhan, my mum’s Alzheimer’s…).


The hot topic at the moment is the ‘cost of living crisis’, as it’s being coined. Basically, everything is getting more expensive. I cannot imagine how tough it must be for families with young children coping with the current onslaught of rising prices – energy, petrol, food, etc. Can it go on long-term? Hope not. I had thought we would be ok when retirement comes along but now I’m not so sure – my decision to give up my secure office job ten years shy of pension age, so that I could spend more time blogging, was maybe not one of my best, but hey, who knew back then what lay ahead.

Talking of jobs, something nice happened recently that made me reflect on my very first experience of the world of work, when I was aged just four. Every now and again I get contacted by one of the people I used to know from my old village primary school. It’s still a close-knit community and although I am no longer part of it, they know I have a good memory for things that happened in the dim and distant past. A booklet is going to be published soon containing stories from the 1960s and they wondered if I would contribute. Here’s what I came up with (some of it in Doric, the local dialect):


Going to Work for the Doctor

One of my very first memories is from when I was aged four. Doctor Campbell, our local GP, had opened the back door to our house on Meadow Avenue to find us sitting at our little kitchen table supping our lunchtime soup, possibly broth, or maybe tattie it being a Saturday.

‘Isn’t it time you were getting back to work quine?’ he said to my mum who was still in shock from this unannounced visit (but no-one locked their doors in those days and village doctors didn’t stand on ceremony).

I think the year was 1964 and it turned out he was in need of assistance as his wife, Mrs Campbell, who became my Primary Three teacher, was heading back to the classroom. A new appointment-based system was going to be set up and there would be a need for reception/secretarial staff at his little surgery within the grounds of his house on Western Road. He had obviously remembered my mum from her time at John Robertson Ltd, the local building firm, where she had worked for many years prior to having me.

‘But what about Alison?’ asked my mum once a brief discussion had taken place between the good doctor and my parents. (Our soup by this time had quite probably gone cold.)

‘She can come too,’ he replied.

The young worker in her favourite office attire – a dress with rabbits on it! (My dad’s bumper ‘tattie’ crop in the background)

And so it came to pass that my mum and I headed off to work every morning, me on my trike and her in one of her smart outfits that hadn’t been needed for some time, those pencil skirt and edge-to-edge jacket combos that were popular in the early ‘60s. It couldn’t happen nowadays of course, and I can’t imagine any of my 21st century bosses agreeing to such a thing, but I think I must have been quite a well-behaved and trustworthy child who was good at amusing herself, so it worked well. There was the waiting room to ‘file’ comics in (I couldn’t actually read them yet as Miss Margaret, my Primary One teacher, still had to work her magic on me); the garden and conservatory to ‘make house visits’ in; and the paths to ride my three-wheeled ‘ambulance’ on. If I ever had a fall and ‘skinned my knee’, as children are prone to do, there was medical assistance close at hand. Come lunchtime we headed home again and the other lady, who had been recruited at the same time, took over, ready to greet the afternoon’s batch of patients.

In due course, I started school, so my days of ‘going to work’ were short-lived but my mum carried on supporting the local GP practice for another 31 years right up until she retired in 1995, at age 60. There were many changes of course during that time with some doctors retiring and other new ones joining the practice. It happened after I had left the village, but there was also the move to the fancy new Health Centre, and the advent of computerisation which had to be grappled with and conquered.

My mum lives in a care home now, not far from me, but on her wall she still has the cross-stitched picture she was given upon her retirement, of her sitting at the Health Centre reception window in her red cardigan. Happy memories for her indeed, of being at the heart of the community and of a job well done.

____________________

But what the heck – this is supposed to be a music blog. I have pretty much used up all the wordcount already so nothing much left to do but share a song relating to the world of work – this one called Shiftwork by Kenny Chesney. I can’t say I know much about Kenny other than that he’s American and is a very successful country music star, having won many awards. The song Shiftwork was recorded with George Strait in 2007 for his album Just Who I Am: Poets & Pirates. Both singers express their frustrations with constantly working shifts at a convenience store.

Shiftwork by Kenny Chesney (feat. George Strait)


So, ‘What’s It All About?’ – The world of work has changed a lot over the generations and in the 21st century it has changed again. Although there seem to be plenty of job vacancies out there, most of them are down to the after-effects of Brexit, and the pandemic, so not always the quality jobs our offspring need to get them on track for adult life. Many of DD’s friends already have two (shiftwork) jobs and she has recently taken on a second job herself. Life is tough for some of them and without help from the mythical ‘bank of mum and dad’, the idea of ever owning their own home is a non-starter. I think I may have thrown in the towel myself, a tad too soon.

Until next time…

Shiftwork Lyrics
(Song by Troy Jones)

Shift work, hard work, tired body
Blue-collar shirt and a baseball cap
You knew me

He’s hot, sweat drops, ’round the clock
Door never locks
Noise never stops
Not all day
Work seven to three
Three to eleven
Eleven to seven

Shift work, tough work for the busy convenience store clerk
Two feet that hurt, going insane
She’s mad at some lad
Drove off and didn’t pay for his gas and he won’t be the last
’round the clock pain
Work seven to three
Three to eleven
Eleven to seven


Talking about a bunch of shift work
A big ol’ pile of shift work
Work seven to three
Three to eleven
Eleven to seven

Well I work, shift work,
Ten years man, i hated that work
I made a break with the money i saved
It took me to the beach to have a beer by the edge of the sea
And this ’round a clock place
I drank my money away
We partied
Work seven to three
Three to eleven
Eleven to seven

Work seven to three
Three to eleven
Eleven to seven

Harvests, Autumnal Equinoxes and ‘Can’t Fight The Moonlight’

Did you see it? Last night it was time for the Harvest Moon to put in an appearance and I was lucky enough to catch sight of it before heading to bed. The moon in the picture I took on my phone is a bit blurry, but what with the clouds and the treeline, I thought it looked a bit like a celestial scene from an old master painting.

September’s Harvest Moon

Harvest Moon by Neil Young:


So, September’s full moon appeared in our skies last night, and today is the Autumnal Equinox, one of only two dates in the annual calendar when there is an equal amount of night and day. Regulars around here might remember two of the series I’ve put together since starting this blog, the Full Moon Calendar in Song and nature’s Wheel of the Year in Song. Although both are now complete, I still take enjoyment from marking the relevant dates.

September by Earth, Wind & Fire:


I would like to say we’re planning a wee soiree tonight to give thanks for the harvests and the fact crops have yet again been stored for the coming winter, but I can’t, for two reasons. I don’t know about where you live but our supermarket shelves are all looking a bit empty. I had never thought much about supply chains until recently, as in the 21st century we are used to being able to quite easily source whatever we need. Now, not so much.

The national shortage of lorry drivers is causing real problems, especially for us here in the North of Scotland. With the anticipated CO2 shortage coming into play as well, it sounds as if fresh meat and vegetables will become a bit of a rarity. Will we have to be issued with ration books and queue up for a few under-the-counter sausages?

The second reason for the lack of a soiree is that my house looks as if a bomb has dropped. Who knew that putting in a new bathroom would cause such chaos (well I didn’t anyway) and if you have a smallish house it’s disruptive indeed. Again, because of supply chain issues we had to order the bits and bobs early to avoid problems with delivery, so currently have a bath in our living room and a toilet sitting in DD’s old bedroom (not plumbed in of course!).

At least the walls are up again!

With dustsheets and other bathroom paraphernalia spread liberally throughout the house, a get-together with friends really isn’t an option. I shouldn’t use wartime analogies yet again, as really not in the same league, but with the water and electricity also turned off for much of the day, you do need to muster up a bit of Blitz spirit.

But this is a music blog, so time for the song. It’s astronomical autumn as of today so it’s getting pretty dark early on in the evening. Although it’ll now be starting to wane, the moon will still look pretty full for a couple of days yet, so hopefully you’ll catch sight of it, cloud cover permitting. A moon-related song that failed to make the cut for my series first time around is this one by LeAnn Rimes, Can’t Fight The Moonlight. Here’s the official video clip showing Ms Rimes doing her thing standing on the bar, in the film Coyote Ugly.

Can’t Fight The Moonlight by LeAnn Rimes:


The song was the film’s main theme and did really well in the charts, reaching the top spot in the UK Singles Chart in November 2000, and it did the same in another 12 countries. The rom-com got its inspiration from an article written about a real-life bar, the Coyote Ugly Saloon, which in the late ’90s became a favourite with New York’s Lower East Side hipsters. The film seems to have become a bit of a cult classic, an icon of early-2000s fashion and culture, but if I watched it again now I think I would be troubled by it. Twenty years on, is it still ok to enjoy a film about girls dancing on a bar, in wet T-shirts, for tips – It was supposed to be about female empowerment, but really, are we still buying that? As it turns out the ‘saloon’ is still in operation today and has spawned a franchise model that seems to be working well for them, so what do I know.

As for the song, it was written by that most prolific of songwriters Diane Warren and was produced by Trevor Horn, so it almost couldn’t fail. Just like most other moon-related songs, it’s all about being out at night in the moonlight with the one you love.

You can try to resist
Try to hide from my kiss
But you know

But you know that you can’t fight the moonlight

I’ve seen the day, but being quite honest, if Mr WIAA suggested we go out in the moonlight tonight I think I would find it quite easy to resist. It’s suddenly got quite cold around here so a mug of cocoa and a box-set it’ll have to be. The plumber has just left for the day but will be back in the morning so I need to get all those jobs out of the way that require water and power – That would be just about everything. Only a week of this still to go – Argh.

Until next time…

Can’t Fight The Moonlight Lyrics
(Song by Diane Warren)

Under a lovers’ sky
Gonna be with you
And no one’s gonna be around
If you think that you won’t fall
Well, just wait until
‘Til the sun goes down

Underneath the starlight, starlight
There’s a magical feeling, so right
It’ll steal your heart tonight

You can try to resist
Try to hide from my kiss
But you know
But you know that you can’t fight the moonlight
Deep in the dark
You’ll surrender your heart
But you know
But you know that you can’t fight the moonlight
No, you can’t fight it
It’s gonna get to your heart

There’s no escape from love
Once a gentle breeze

Weaves its spell upon your heart
No matter what you think

It won’t be too long
‘Til you’re in my arms
Underneath the starlight, starlight
We’ll be lost in the rhythm, so right
Feel it steal your heart tonight

You can try to resist
Try to hide from my kiss
But you know
But you know that you can’t fight the moonlight
Deep in the dark
You’ll surrender your heart
But you know
But you know that you can’t fight the moonlight
No you can’t fight it
No matter what you do
The night is gonna get to you

Don’t try then
You’re never gonna win

Underneath the starlight, starlight
There’s a magical feeling, so right
It will steal your heart tonight

You can try to resist
Try to hide from my kiss
But you know
But you know that you can’t fight the moonlight
Deep in the dark
You’ll surrender your heart
But you know
But you know that you can’t fight the moonlight
No, you can’t fight it

Justin Timberlake, ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling!’ and 2016, A Happy Year

My last two posts have seen me hark back to 1976, the year of The Long Hot Summer, and I think I even came out and said I keep doing that because it was the last time I was truly happy with no worries of any kind.

What a load of tosh!

We definitely have a selective memory when it comes to revisiting the music of our youth and somehow forget the upset caused by a missed homework deadline, or the feeling we get when the boy we have long admired becomes romantically involved with our best friend.

40 years on from 1976 was the year 2016 which was a really happy one for me as I launched What’s It All About? Looking back at my stats for that year I published 109 posts and wrote over 110,000 words. I don’t know how I did it now as I still went to work every morning, ran the family business in the afternoon and looked out for my elderly mum who was still living semi-independently. DD even came back home to live in the middle of that year. I definitely didn’t watch a lot of telly in 2016 (I seem to have become an addict since Lockdown 1) and Mr WIAA was probably somewhat neglected, but I had this new hobby and was loving all the interaction with my fellow bloggers. To call me a ‘music blogger’ is probably a stretch, but people were kind and added me to their sidebars which helped this place build up a following that’s kept me going ever since.

Perusing the pop charts of 2016, I definitely wasn’t writing about current music back then, as once the BBC called time on TOTP, I kind of lost track of new chart artists and their output. Oh no, instead I was revisiting decades past and strangely enough discovered a new affinity for the music of 1967 which I had been too young to truly appreciate back then. It all made me very happy.

The music of 2016??

One song I do remember well from 2016 however was Can’t Stop the Feeling! by Justin Timberlake – A really happy song written for the film Trolls.

I got this feeling, inside my bones
It goes electric, wavy when I turn it on

I got that sunshine in my pocket
Got that good soul in my feet

I can’t stop the feeling
So just dance, dance, dance

Justin got to perform it as part of the interval act at the grand final of the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden, watched by an audience of around 180 million. Regulars around here know I am a fan of Eurovision and even went to the live event in Vienna in 2015. A year too early to witness Justin in action but he probably made a lot of new fans, as the Eurovision audience is broad indeed. Prolific Swedish songwriter/producer Max Martin was behind the making of the song which might also have had an influence on his selection.

Can’t Stop the Feeling! by Justin Timberlake:


I was too old to really appreciate Justin when he first appeared with boy band NSYCH in the late ’90s, but over the years his music kept popping up on DD’s compilation CDs and even I couldn’t fail to notice he was becoming a bit of an all-round sensation. He could sing, dance, act and had a real charisma on stage which can’t be manufactured (although many try). He is now aged 40 and is apparently referred to as the President of Pop by contemporary journalists. Until I looked up his bio for this post I really don’t think I’d appreciated how big a star he has become and is already a contender for ‘Best Male Pop Star of the 21st century’. Who knows, as still nearly 80 years to go until decision time and I won’t be around to see it, but quite something.

So, ‘What’s It All About?’ – Apologies for having been a bit miserable around here of late. It’s been a tough couple of years and like most of us I’ve had my ups and downs, and mood swings, which can come through in the blog. Still plenty of happy songs out there though and we don’t always have to go back to the 1960s to find them. I went to bed last night thinking yesterday had been a really good day, a happy day. In this post-pandemic world that’s about as good as it gets.

Until next time…

Can’t Stop the Feeling! Lyrics
(Song by Justin Timberlake/Max Martin/Johan Shuster)

I got this feeling inside my bones
It goes electric, wavy when I turn it on
All through my city, all through my home
We’re flying up, no ceiling, when we’re in our zone

I got that sunshine in my pocket
Got that good soul in my feet
I feel that hot blood in my body when it drops
I can’t take my eyes up off it
Moving so phenomenally

Room on lock the way we rock it
So don’t stop

And under the lights when everything goes
Nowhere to hide when I’m getting you close
When we move, well, you already know
So just imagine, just imagine, just imagine

Nothing I can see but you
When you dance, dance, dance
Feeling good, good, creeping up on you
So just dance, dance, dance
Come on
All those things I shouldn’t do
But you dance, dance, dance
And ain’t nobody leaving soon
So keep dancing

I can’t stop the feeling
So just dance, dance, dance
I can’t stop the feeling
So just dance, dance, dance
Come on

Ooh, it’s something magical
It’s in the air, it’s in my blood, it’s rushing on
Don’t need no reason, don’t need control
I fly so high, no ceiling, when I’m in my zone

I can’t stop the feeling
So just dance, dance, dance

I can’t stop the feeling
So just dance, dance, dance
I can’t stop the feeling
So just dance, dance, dance
I can’t stop the feeling
So keep dancing, come on

Postscript:

Justin’s Eurovision performance also featured the song Rock Your Body which I have in my digital library courtesy of one of DD’s Pop Party CDs from 2003. She’s all grown up now, and such CDs have long gone, but her mum obviously had the foresight to load them onto her computer in the event she might someday start a music blog. Probably didn’t expect to write about this song, but just goes to show, ‘the tracks of our years’ are rich and varied indeed.

Rock Your Body by Justin Timberlake:


In case anyone visiting this post hasn’t experienced the phenomenon that is the Eurovision Song Contest, here is the other item from that interval break in Sweden in 2016. Touted as being one of the best fillers ever, and showing that the contest really doesn’t take itself too seriously, here is Måns Zelmerlöw (the winner of the 2015 contest) and Petra Mede giving us a pastiche of past Eurovision songs. Love, Love, Peace, Peace was very funny indeed and possibly formed the inspiration for the Will Ferrell film Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga written about here last year. Enjoy.

Six Years of Birthday Blogging and the Phrase, ‘We All Now Know How That Turned Out’

I had a birthday this week, my sixth since starting this blog, and it occurred to me to look back at what I was writing about in each of those years at this time. It made for interesting reading, as although there is always a song around here, from the get-go it has also been my web-diary, and I’ve been pretty honest about all the ups and downs that life has very naturally thrown my way.

2016 – Back then I was still concentrating primarily on the music, and for my birthday post I decided to write about music from the year of my birth, music that certainly didn’t feature in my own musical memories, but it might have done for my parents had they not been quite so busy coping with a new baby in the house. My next post was all about that momentous decision we were about to make, which could possibly take us out of the EU. (Well, we all now know how that turned out and a right hullaballoo it’s still causing all these years later, this week regarding the humble British banger.) But getting back to the year of my birth, here’s a bit of Adam Faith for you.

What Do You Want by Adam Faith:

2017 – This was the summer of terrorist attacks and tragic fires. The Manchester Arena and London Bridge attacks and then the horrors of Grenfell Tower. At the same time our new PM Theresa May decided to hold a snap election to consolidate her majority in The House of Commons ahead of Brexit negotiations. (Again, we all now know how that turned out.) On a more positive note, a very successful benefit concert called One Love was held in Manchester shortly after the atrocity at the arena, and we also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ seminal album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles:

2018 – By this time I was really getting into my blogging stride and in early June I wrote a couple of wedding posts, one a very royal affair (we all now know how that turned out – there’s a pattern forming here) and one for a girl from our neighbourhood. To challenge myself I also embarked on a whole week of blogging which culminated with me posting 7 in 7 (seven posts in seven days). I was very proud of myself but now realise whenever I set myself these kind of challenges I understandably lose followers along the way, as overkill really. It certainly does help flex the blogging muscles though. On a positive note, my Full Moon Calendar in Song series was really gathering pace and is still my favourite because of all I discovered, both about our only satellite, and about the many moon-related songs that were included. I thought Carly Simon’s version of Moonlight Serenade was just perfect for June’s Strawberry Moon.

Moonlight Serenade by the Glenn Miller Orchestra:


2019 – By the time my birthday came around two years ago I was already headlong into greeting guests at the holiday hideaway we had taken on earlier in the year, but having worked in an office for 35 years it turned out I wasn’t ‘match fit’, and my back, neck and shoulders were already giving me gyp. I wrote about the sleepless nights that ensued, compounded by the sheer number of troubling television dramas that filled our screens of an evening. One BBC drama called Years and Years portrayed a worrying picture of what life might be like in only five years time, with everyone working from home at their kitchen tables, communication all being done virtually via screens, and everything we consume being ordered online. (Well, well, well – Again, we all now know how that turned out and it didn’t take five years, just one.) On a really positive note however, I finally made it down to London that month to meet long time blogging buddy C from Sun Dried Sparrows. As we used mock-ups of our first albums to recognise each other this song by the Clash seems appropriate (for C anyway – my first album wasn’t quite as ‘cool’).

London Calling by the Clash:

2020 – This is the big one isn’t it. I had reached a milestone birthday but couldn’t celebrate it with anyone as we all had to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. Not complaining of course, as there seemed little other choice at the time, but by June it was becoming apparent there would be no V-shaped bounce back to the economy and that restrictions could be in place for another few weeks yet (a year on, we all now know how that turned out). DD’s life in Glasgow was in disarray and there would be a complicated manoeuvre to get her home safely – It was going to be a Cruel Summer, I could tell. One positive thing from that time was that our country’s entertainers rallied round, and I enjoyed a fair few online concerts cobbled together via the wonders of modern-day technology. One was by Take That which aired just before my birthday. I had been a bit too old for the Take That phenomenon when they first appeared on the scene in the early ‘90s, but they are now a middle-aged man band as opposed to a boy band, with a great back catalogue of songs, so it was a real treat to watch them in action when everything was still looking very bleak. The song that always ends their shows is Never Forget, and I think we can all agree, unlike Y2K which came and went with very little drama, none of us will ever forget the year 2020.

Never Forget by Take That:


2021 – So, ‘What’s It All About?’ – It has become apparent from writing this post that life can throw us some pretty spectacular curve balls and from one year to the next we find it impossible to predict how things might turn out. I wasn’t able to celebrate my big birthday much last year, but the +1 version was a whole lot better – Afternoon tea at a posh hotel courtesy of DD. Very nice indeed. Who knows what next year’s birthday will throw up, but let’s hope it will be that life is a whole lot better for all of us.

Until next time…

Never Forget Lyrics
(Song by Gary Barlow)

We’ve come a long way
But we’re not too sure where we’ve been
We’ve had success we’ve had good times
But remember this

Been on this path of life for so long
Feel I’ve walked a thousand miles
Sometimes strolled hand in hand with love
Everybody’s been there

With danger on my mind
I would stand on the line
Of hope and I knew I could make it

Once I knew the boundaries
I looked into the clouds
And saw my face in the moonlight

Just then I realised what a fool I could be
Just ’cause I look so high I don’t have to see me
Finding a paradise wasn’t easy but still
There’s a road going down the other side of this hill

Never forget where you’ve come here from
Never pretend that it’s all real
Someday soon this will all be someone else’s dream
This will be someone else’s dream

Safe from the arms of disappointment for so long
Feel each day we’ve come too far
Yet each day seems to make much more
Sure it’s good to be here

I understand the meaning
Of “I can’t explain this feeling”
Now that it feels so unreal

At night I see the hand
That reminds me of the stand
That I make the fact of reality

Never forget where you’ve come here from
Never pretend that it’s all real
Someday soon this will all be someone else’s dream
This will be someone else’s dream

We’ve come so far and we’ve reached so high
And we’ve looked each day and night in the eye
And we’re still so young and we hope for more
But remember this

We’re not invincible, we’re not invincible, no
We’re only people, we’re only people
Hey we’re not invincible, we’re not invincible
So again I’ll tell you

Never forget where you’ve come here from
Never pretend that it’s all real
Someday soon this will all be someone else’s dream
This will be someone else’s dream

Never
Never forget babe
Never pretend that it’s all real
Someday soon this will all be someone else’s dream
This will be someone else’s dream

A New Season, George Michael and ‘December Song’

Well, is it just me, or has today suddenly marked the start of Christmas in a really big way? It’s probably because this year has been so generally awful, anything that brings a bit of cheer into our lives is going to be welcomed with open arms. It felt as if every song played on the radio today was a Christmas one, and lots of people seem to have put up their trees and decorations already. How ridiculous – I would usually say – except this year I joined in! My bare little tree in the front garden is now festooned with lights and I can see a few more bits and bobs going up over the next few days. Meteorologically we have finished with autumn and are now heading into winter, but that first winter month is December, and for most of us in the western world December means Christmas.

Trying to bring cheer to my front garden

I’ve not had too many rants around here of late which is probably a good thing. The pandemic has affected all of us in so many ways but it seems the ‘new normal’ (as we used to call it) is now just normal life. I was in a state of high alert for the first few months of the crisis and became a bit of a doom and gloom merchant, but have since learnt to keep my own counsel. It’s going to be a tough winter for many, but hopefully there is now light at the end of the tunnel.

I have been doing a bit of tidying up around here of late and my attempt at being a daily blogger last month really helped with that. I have reinstated some posts that had been taken down and topped up some of the categories that only had one post attributed to them. One category that has been incomplete for some time however is The Seasons In Song. In my first year of blogging I wrote a Summer post on the 1st June and an Autumn one on the 1st September. A couple of years ago I wrote a Spring post on the 1st March, but Winter has so far eluded me so it’s time to right that wrong.

It often feels as if this blog is a George Michael fansite as he appears around here so often. It’s not of course, but what better day than this to share one of his last successful single releases, December Song. It reached the No. 14 spot on the UK Singles Chart in 2009, but would probably have reached a higher position had physical copies of the record not sold out in only one day.

December Song (I Dreamed of Christmas) by George Michael:


What I hadn’t realised before was that December Song starts off with a sample from Frank Sinatra’s The Christmas Waltz. I’m a bit early really with the whole Merry Christmas thing, but I doubt if many people at the moment would object to the next line, ‘May your every New Year dream come true’.

So, ‘What’s It All About?’ – We had the November full moon in our skies last night which was a great way to end autumn but now we are most definitely heading into winter. There was a beautiful sunset in the sky this afternoon and I took a rather long detour on the way back from the shops just to appreciate it. Hopefully there will be more just like it.

It’s obvious that December 2020 is going to be very different from those we are used to but we humans seem to adapt and I’ve almost forgotten what my old life was like. I feel desperately sorry for all those people who have suffered loss this year, of any kind, and recognise this time of year makes it even tougher. Those of us who are able to, should go the extra mile in doing what we can to help them. Hopefully, all our dreams for 2021 will come true.

Until next time…

December Song (I Dreamed of Christmas) Lyrics
(Song by George Michael/David Austin)

Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas
May your every New Year dream come true

Sweet December song
The melody that saved me
On those less than silent nights
When snow would fall upon my bed
White sugar from Jesus
And take me to the day
She could always smile
The Virgin Child would always show, you see
Just to save me
(Just to save me)

There was always Christmas time
To wipe the year away
I guess that morning theyd decided
That the war would have to wait

There was always Christmas time
Jesus came to stay
I could believe in peace on Earth
And I could watch TV all day
So I dreamed of Christmas

Maybe since youve gone
I went a little crazy
God knows they can see (the child)
But the snow that falls upon my bed
That loving I needed
Falls every single day
For each and every child
The Virgin smiles for all to see
But you kept her from me

There was always Christmas time
To wipe the year away
I guess that morning theyd decided
That the war would have to wait

There was always Christmas time
Jesus came to stay
I could believe in peace on Earth
And I could watch TV all day
And so I dreamed of Christmas
Yes, I dreamed like you

Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas
May your every New Year dream come true

Britney, Richard and ‘Oops!… I Did It Again’

Well, regulars around here will know I had set myself the challenge of writing 30 posts in 30 days to come out in solidarity with my college chums who are taking part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). As I’m unlikely to ever write a novel, I set myself a blogging challenge instead and what fun we had that first couple of weeks. A NaNoWriMo Facebook page was set up and we all jumped in on a daily basis to share what we’d achieved. Then it became every other day. Then not at all. It seems you’ve got to be hardy to keep up the punishing regime of writing so much every day (when it’s not for work or financial gain). I did manage 17 posts in 18 days, but by then the fun had gone out of it, and real life was getting in the way.

I have now removed the ’30 in 30 #’ from all the titles and those posts will join the others in the archive, where they may or may not be stumbled upon at some point in the future. My output this month still represents over 12 weeks of business as usual however, so all in all, not too shabby.

Since calling time on the challenge I’ve had a bit of an earworm (from the German ohrwurm) going round and round in my head. I thought it was purely because I had yet again tried to turn myself into a daily blogger, only to yet again realise it just doesn’t suit my style of output – Oops!… I did it again. But then, after watching some prime time telly last night, I decided it was more likely down to this Christmas advert from a large and well-known supermarket chain. Very much made for ‘the times’ we are living through.

It wasn’t until I wrote about the Music of Sweden recently, that I discovered Oops!… I Did It Again was actually written by Swede Max Martin. Britney Spears flew across to his Cheiron Studios in Stockholm to record it in 2000. Max and his team were behind many of the big hits of the day and unbelievably only Paul McCartney and John Lennon have had more Billboard No. 1s. When I wrote that post, I conjectured the songs of Max Martin have perhaps been written to a successful formula and may not stand the test of time compared to those of Lennon and McCartney. But hey, here we are 20 years on listening to it in an advert, so I’m pretty sure it has stood the test of time as a catchy pop tune.

Max and Britney – Don’t get me started on her trousers!

As for the video for the song, it follows on nicely from my last post which marked the start of a new series called the Solar System In Song. Britney herself created the concept, saying she wanted to be dancing on Mars dressed in a red jumpsuit. I think she ticked both those boxes with bells on. What I hadn’t noticed before (at 2:50), was that the astronaut in the video gifts Britney ‘The Heart of the Ocean’, the blue diamond from the film Titanic. She questions him about it, as she thought the ‘old lady’ (Rose) dropped it into the ocean at the end, to which he replies, ‘Well, baby, I went down and got it for you’. In keeping with the lyrics from the song, she just says, ‘Aww, you shouldn’t have,’ and walks away. The poor astronaut shrugs and leaves.

Oops!… I Did It Again by Britney Spears:


It was around this time we seemed to accumulate lots of this kind of fodder, as DD was often gifted Pop Party and Now! compilation CDs for birthdays and Christmas. It always bothered me that the emphasis seemed to have shifted in pop music from the song, to the dance routines. No self-respecting Pop Princess could appear without a full support cast of dancers and each three minute song had to be accompanied by the most complex and energetic of dance moves. I blame Madonna who had started out as a dancer herself. You would never have seen Sandie Shaw or Lulu in red jumpsuits or low slung trousers gyrating across the stage like that. Oh no, it was always a simple dress, a mic and a bit of a sway from side to side for them. What can I say – Things had most definitely changed.

What is quite interesting however is that some of these memorable pop songs from the turn of the millennium are often covered by the most unlikely people. When doing a bit of research for this post I found this clip. It seems even Richard Thompson OBE, that English singer/songwriter/guitarist, ex of Fairport Convention, decided to give it a whirl. If proof be needed, here he is in full flow – He certainly does add a touch of gravitas to the song.

So, ‘What’s It All About?’ – Well I certainly gave the daily blogging challenge a really good try, but it was always going to be a bridge too far I think. I should have learned my lesson by now but Oops!… I tried it again. I promise I won’t subject you to such a rush of posts ever again.

As for the song, I tended to think these pop tunes churned out to a formula would never stand the test of time, but here we are having Oops!… coming into our living rooms every night in the form of an advert, so it seems not. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it ends up back in the charts.

Until next time…

Oops!… I Did It Again Lyrics
(Song by Max Martin/Rami)

I think I did it again
I made you believe we’re more than just friends
Oh baby
It might seem like a crush
But it doesn’t mean that I’m serious
‘Cause to lose all my senses
That is just so typically me


Oh baby, baby
Oops!…I did it again
I played with your heart, got lost in the game
Oh baby, baby
Oops!…You think I’m in love
That I’m sent from above


I’m not that innocent
You see my problem is this
I’m dreaming away
Wishing that heroes, they truly exist
I cry, watching the days
Can’t you see I’m a fool in so many ways
But to lose all my senses
That is just so typically me


Baby, oh
Oops!…I did it again
I played with your heart, got lost in the game
Oh baby, baby
Oops!…You think I’m in love
That I’m sent from above


I’m not that innocent
Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah


Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah
“All aboard”


Oops!…I did it again to your heart
Got lost in this game, oh baby
Oops!…You think that I’m sent from above
I’m not that innocent