Months Of The Year In Song: January, A Time For New Beginnings

At last I find myself writing about a month whose name isn’t derived from a Latin number. That would be because we have moved on from the Roman calendar to the Julian and Gregorian ones. The ‘unorganised winter’ period became ‘organised’ and the months of January and February were added to the calendar so that it covered a standard lunar year of 354 days (a slight flaw there but in time it was adjusted for). The month of January is named after Janus, the god of beginnings and transitions in Roman mythology. Sounds about right.

A statue of the god Janus

Here in Scotland, which is in the Northern Hemisphere, it is the coldest month of the year, and true to form it has been very parky around here of late. A bit of a disaster in a year when our heating bills are sky-rocketing. Conversely, for all you lucky people in the Southern Hemisphere, it is your warmest month.

The actress January Jones – much prettier than Janus

As for songs relating to the month, I ended up with a few more suggestions than I expected, so let’s crack on with them. Before I start here are a few words from C of Sun Dried Sparrows fame:

“I have a slight case (is that the right word?!) of synaesthesia, and see the months (along with days of the week and letters of the alphabet) as colours. January is a colour that I can’t even describe, kind of grey but also purple.”

I hear you C, and although the colours in my head are not quite as vivid as the ones you possibly see, that grey/purple hue sounds about right, just as orange was apt for the month of October.

Just about everyone suggested the song January by Pilot for this edition of the series but I’m going to leave it for last, as it would have been my suggestion too. Other contributions came in first of all from Ernie Goggins, who put forward January Song by Lindisfarne. I see that song is from the album Fog On The Tyne which has been written about here before when I shared photos of my late father-in-law, who also came from Newcastle. The band really were at the top of their game back in 1971 when this beautiful song was recorded.


The next set of suggestions came in from Khayem and here are his own words:

“First up is Dave Goulder from 1970 with his song January Man, covered by the likes of Bert Jansch, Christy Moore and Martin Carthy. I’ve just got one, a rather fine version by Rachel Unthank & The Winterset, link here. Also, Nick Heyward eschewed folk for frenetic acoustic pop with his same-name-song in 1993.”

Two very different styles of song there and as I said in my reply to him last month, I was a big fan of the very cute Nick Heyward back in the day, so lovely to hear something from him that was new to me.  


The next contribution was from Rol:

“Very late to this, so I’ll keep it brief. I had a few suggestions, but I’ve narrowed it down to just one, The Decemberists with January Hymn.


Another beautiful folksy song and a great clip made up of footage from a harsh 1960s winter it seems (check out the person at 1:38 – very funny). Thanks Rol.

The final suggestion was from The Swede, who thought he might be too late, but because of my tardiness he wasn’t!

“I hope I’m not too late to offer a January song suggestion. Khayem beat me to it with my first thought of January Man, so I’ll head off in a 1960s psych/prog direction with The Doorway to January, an instrumental piece by Mandrake Paddle Steamer, a band formed in my home town of Walthamstow in 1967.”

Crikey TS, it seems the Summer of Love came to Walthamstow after all, but being only aged seven I imagine you missed out. Very psychedelic as you say.


But here is the song that immediately sprang to mind for many of us of a certain vintage, January by the Scottish band Pilot. Written by lead singer David Paton and produced by Alan Parsons (he of The Project fame and Dr Evil’s scientist) the song was their sole No. 1 hit, reaching the top spot this exact week back in 1975, where it stayed for three weeks.

January by Pilot:


The song, however, was not about the month but about a girl named January, the name taken from a female protagonist in a book that David Paton’s wife was reading at the time. It’s obvious now of course but I’m not sure if it clicked back in the day, it becoming a big hit for them at this time of year.

Before I go I want to share a discovery just made this morning. I was only 14 when Pilot appeared on TOTP with their song. A few months later an artist called Andy Fairweather Lowe also appeared on TOTP, as he had a hit with the song Wide Eyed and Legless. Until today I always thought the lead singer of Pilot and Andy were the same guy, who had now gone solo – separated at birth or what? I feel really silly now, but hey, I was young and had no access to any of the info we have at our disposal nowadays.

Andy on the left and David on the right

Next month will be February, so any song suggestions will be gratefully received as ever. The worst of the winter will be past by then hopefully, and our thermostats will return to more economically manageable settings. Lighter nights too, or rather lighter afternoons, which is always a good sign.

Until next time…

January Lyrics
(Song by David Paton)

January
Sick and tired, you’ve been hanging on me
You make me sad with your eyes
You’re telling me lies
Don’t go, don’t go

January
Don’t be cold, don’t be angry to me
You make me sad, come and see
Oh, January
Don’t go, don’t go

Life gets me higher (Higher)
I can show, I can glow
I can wake up the world, little world
Gotta know you, gotta show you

Sun, like a fire (Fire)
Carry on, don’t be gone
Bring me out of my home sweet home
Gotta know me, gotta show me
You’ve been facing the world
You’ve been chasing the world

January
Sick and tired, you’ve been hanging on me
You make me sad with your eyes
You’re telling me lies
Don’t go, don’t go

January
Don’t be cold, don’t be angry to me
You make me sad, come and see
Oh, January

Don’t go, don’t go

Time, it’s a flier (Flier)
Sunny day, fly away
English summers are gone, so long
Gotta go up, gotta blow up

Sun, like a fire (Fire)
Carry on, don’t be gone
Bring me out of my home sweet home
Gotta know me, gotta show me
You’ve been facing the world
You’ve been chasing the world

January
Sick and tired, you’ve been hanging on me
You make me sad with your eyes
You’re telling me lies
Don’t go, don’t go

January
Don’t be cold, don’t be angry to me
You make me sad, come and see
Oh, January
Don’t go, don’t go

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: 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

Back to Business As Usual at the BRITS, Adele, Ed and Little Simz

It’s going to be a really busy few months for me, so I might not be posting quite as regularly. My college course has not been what I’d hoped for, mostly down to the pandemic. I’ve not been inside our local college for nearly two years and it seems they are more than happy to keep things that way. I’m therefore going to try and complete this semester’s module as best I can from home, and then pick up the resulting qualification, but an awful lot of research/reading/writing to be done before then. I’ve enjoyed all the modules so far but this one, quite rightly, is a highly academic one, so a bit more graft involved.

As we are now in the month of February, we are well and truly into Awards Season. I was pleased to see that the film Belfast, written about last time, is up for many BAFTAs and Academy Awards. Hope it does well although I have a sneaking suspicion it might hog the runner-up spot in most categories. We’ll have to wait and see. This week (here in the UK) we had the BRIT Awards back on telly in all their former glory. Unlike last year, the word ‘pandemic’ wasn’t even mentioned, and not a mask or a socially distanced performance graced our screens. After the last couple of years where such shows have had to be either cancelled altogether or held in a limited capacity in open spaces such as Railway Stations (93rd Academy Awards), it was the biggest sign that life is hopefully going to return to a semblance of normality this year.

Unlike Mr WIAA, who is not a fan of award shows, I have always watched the BRITs as that’s when I find out about some of the new artists/bands who would otherwise never have crossed my radar. This blog is very much a retrospective one, where I revisit songs from my youth, but important not to get totally stuck in the past and over the last few years I’ve been blown away by some of the live performances on the show – Stormzy in 2018 and Dave in 2020. As a middle-aged female living in the North of Scotland I know nothing of what life must be like for young, black, urban males but when you watch these guys in action, they definitely help you understand.

This year, the performance that stood out for me most was by Little Simz – She won the award for Best New Artist (although she has been around for a while it seems). The actress Emma Corrin also appeared on stage with her in a very spectacular hat. Together they gave us Introvert and Woman.

Introvert and Woman by Little Simz:


The big change this year was that the awards were gender neutral with no Best Male or Best Female categories at all. This made room for some new categories which included Best Dance Act (Becky Hill), Best Rock/Alternative Artist (Sam Fender), Best Hip Hop/Grime/Rap Act (Dave) and Best Pop/R&B Act (Dua Lipa). I’m afraid when it comes to genres such as these I come a bit unstuck and would probably fail spectacularly if it came to categorising songs in such a way myself, but the winners of these new awards certainly were pleased, some deliriously so (Becky Hill?), so in turn I was pleased for them.

Another big change this year was that I managed to persuade Mr WIAA to watch the show with me. “There’s always a really big memorable moment,” I told him. “From Jarvis Cocker’s very justified storming of MJ’s stage, to Madonna in her cape falling down those steps, to Geri’s Union Jack dress, to Freddie’s last appearance…”. Yes, lots of memorable moments over the years, but as luck would have it, not this year, so I had to eat my words.

The really big winner was Adele, so a lot of the industry ‘suits’ as she called them at a previous BRITs would have been happy, but all a bit safe and predictable. She lives in LA now, stages big shows in Las Vegas (although that’s a whole other story) and looks nothing like the Adele we first saw on the show back in 2008. Was all a bit disappointing and samey, in my humble opinion.

The girl’s come a long way, but I miss the old Brit School Adele:

Although I totally agreed with the move to gender neutral awards (needs to happen in the world of film too I think), one key difference between the vast majority of men and women at the BRITs was the footwear they chose to wear on the night. I couldn’t help but notice that many of the women were sporting shoes that were detrimental to their health. Adele’s spikey heels got caught up in her long dress when climbing the steps to pick up her first award and poor Anne-Marie fell down some steps in her platform boots whilst performing Kiss My (Uh-Oh). Not quite as spectacular as Madonna’s tumble a few year’s back but she still took a tumble, and landed on her Uh-Oh. She was a trooper however and carried on as if nothing had happened. We’re still a long way off from equality in footwear it seems, which is a shame, as at my age I regret many of my younger self’s footwear choices. My younger self would of course have ignored my older self’s advice, and there lies the rub.

Poor Anne-Marie took a tumble

Like Adele, he’s been around a long time now, and he’s not for everyone, but I do still have a soft spot for Ed Sheeran. He too looks a bit more polished than the lad who first rolled up at the BRITs back in 2012, but whatever you think of his music there’s no denying he knows how to write a successful pop song. He didn’t win big on Tuesday night like Adele, but he did win the award for Songwriter of the Year and I enjoyed his performance of The Joker and the Queen. Many a metaphor/pun can be found in a pack of cards it seems. I was trying to work out what it reminded me of, and of course it’s music from a classic film score, which is what was intended.

The Joker and the Queen by Ed Sheeran:

I really should be doing college work today but procrastination came along in the form of this blog post. Exactly what used to happen first time around, although there weren’t blogs back then, or an internet, or Netflix, just lots and lots of fellow students to be distracted by. Changed days. I’ve just heard back from my course tutor who tells me I can keep going with the course one module at a time – I really thought there was a time-limit on it but they don’t want to lose any students it seems, even ancient ones like myself. Decisions to be made.

I enjoyed the BRITs this year, for the many performances, but also because it felt as if things are truly getting back to normal again. Lord knows we all need that.

Until next time…

The Joker and the Queen Lyrics
(Song by Ed Sheeran/Johnny McDaid/Samuel Elliot Roman/Fred Gibson)

How was I to know?
It’s a crazy thing
I showed you my hand
And you still let me win

And who was I to say
That this was meant to be?
The road that was broken
Brought us together

And I know you could fall for a thousand kings
And hearts that would give you a diamond ring
When I fold, you see the best in me
The joker and the queen

I was upside down
From the outside in
You came to the table
And you went all in

With a single word
And a gentle touch
You turned a moment
Into forever

And I know you could fall for a thousand kings
And hearts that could give you a diamond ring
When I fold, you see the best in me
The joker and the queen

And I know you could fall for a thousand kings
And hearts that would give you a diamond ring
When I folded, you saw the best in me
The joker and the queen
The joker and queen

Postscript:

Before I started writing this one I looked back over the years to my previous BRIT Awards posts. It seems I wrote something about all of them except the 2019 show. Remiss of me but perhaps also a bit of an unremarkable one that passed without incident.

What I do remember about that show however was that Scottish DJ Calvin Harris (along with Dua Lipa) won the award for British Single of the Year. He appeared on the night and it occurred to me that had he not, I wouldn’t have known what the world’s highest paid DJ, a Scot, looked like. Remarkable how anonymous DJs can be. The standout collaboration that year was when Calvin manned the decks whilst Dua, Sam Smith and Rag’n’Bone Man sang. Only three years too late but I give you a medley of Giant, Promises and One Kiss.

One Kiss by Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa:

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.

The Eclectic Mix of Abba, S’Express and Fred Astaire

Well, things seem to be cautiously opening up again around here, as I imagine they are where you are. A lot of empty units in our local shopping centre though, what with Debenhams, Top Shop and a few other high street stalwarts having shut their doors for good, but still a reasonable vibe about the place. I was chuffed to see that our local HMV is still open for business, as I do love a good browse up and down their aisles. It seems half the store is now given way to vinyl, either classic albums reissued in those beautiful original sleeves, or new stuff by artists who were probably born a good decade after vinyl ceased being the primary vehicle for music consumption.

The inspiration for this post was a clear-out. Yes, Mr WIAA and I have restarted our efforts into clearing some space in our loft and cupboards, but it’s tough, as I get sentimental about keeping things. This morning when tidying out a drawer I found something that reminded me of 7-inch singles, or 45s as they were called. For music lovers this image will probably cause apoplexy, but a few years ago, after a visit to a craft fair, DD presented me with a gift. Someone had set up a stall selling plant pots and little dishes made from old vinyl records. I think we’ve all probably melted some of our vinyl by accident (for me it involved a cold 1970s night in rural Scotland and the close proximity to our stylish 2-bar electric fire), but now it feels like sacrilege to deliberately render a 45 unplayable. Of course I thanked DD very much for her gift at the time, which looked remarkably like an impractical ashtray (not that I’ve ever had need of one).

Take A Chance On Me by Abba:

The little dish/ashtray was made from an Abba single. The song on the A-side was Take A Chance On Me from 1978, one of their many top 10 hits. It occurred to me to check out the B-side and found it was a song called I’m A Marionette, not one I’d ever heard of so time to find out more.

Hmm…, not sure about that one but it seems it was a song from a mini-musical called The Girl With the Golden Hair performed as part of their 1977 concert tour along with Thank You for the Music and The Name of the Game. Now it makes sense.

I don’t have many 45s still in my possession, but the little dish/ashtray made me want to seek them out. What a mixed bag. Really old stuff belonging to my mum and dad, some soppy songs by my teen idols, a few singles given as presents (probably had deep meaning attached at the time), purchases from bargain bins and a few from the dying days of ‘the 45’ as a music format.

Somehow my copy of Queen’s Somebody To Love got accidentally “ironed” (see nick out of top left) when sitting on a table in our student flat, so the first minute was lost to us!

I’m sure many of you will recognise some of the names there, as pretty mainstream stuff, but each piece of vinyl has a story behind it and some of the songs have already put in an appearance around here. Something I had forgotten all about was the single in the middle of the picture called The Brits 1990 (Dance Medley). The medley went down really well on the night of the awards show that year and was released as a 7 inch single straight after. It made it to the No. 2 spot in the UK Singles Chart. I was a bit long in the tooth for such fodder by 1990, but as an avid dancer, who often invited everyone ‘back to mine’ after a night out, it was good to have it for the turntable. Bit of S’Express anyone? Yes please, along with some Double Trouble and the Rebel MC, A Guy Called Gerald, The Beatmasters, Jeff Wayne, 808 State, D Mob and The Cookie Crew. Hard to believe it’s from over 30 years ago now as the video clip (although a bit cringifying in places) doesn’t look as dated as something from 1960 would have looked in 1990. A very different kind of 30 years in terms of the evolution of music and dance (and of course in colour).

Theme From S’Express by S’Express:

All this talk of dancing has reminded me of another clip I have been meaning to share for a while but not got round to yet, going back much, much further in time. The video clip has been doing the rounds for some time but it has been excellently edited and really showcases the talents of some of Hollywood’s greatest dancers. Bruno Mars was just a toddler when Fred Astaire died at age 87, but somehow his 2014 rendition of Uptown Funk (a Mark Ronson song with Bruno on vocals) lends itself well to a medley of some of the best-choreographed dance sequences in film history, many of which inevitably involve Fred.

I think Fred Astaire was my first crush, as I spent so much time watching him in old black and white movies when I was a child. Yes he was balding, yes he wasn’t that strong a singer, but boy could he dance and he had a certain boyish charm. In the 1930s his films were adored by audiences who craved escapism. Maybe why I went on to have such a love for dance, and why I was always the one who took over the dancefloor should the occasion arise (much to the chagrin of my friends who always said I put boys off asking us to dance). But hey, it was my thing, and fortunately I found a willing partner in Mr WIAA when he came into my life.

A Fine Romance by Fred Astaire:

The thrill of dance has always stayed with me, until now of course. Pre-pandemic there were few opportunities left for us ladies of a certain age to exercise their love of dance, but the odd wedding or party sufficed. In the last 15 months there has been no dancing at all for me and as I still seem to be recovering from the broken ankle I suffered a few months ago, I fear George Michael’s lyrics may become a reality – I’m never gonna dance again… the way I danced with you. Let’s hope not, as I don’t think I’m quite ready to hang up my pumps yet.

So, ‘What’s It All About?’ – A bit of a strange ramble this one, so apologies for that, but I’m trying to be more disciplined about my blogging and Thursday seems to be my new regular day. This week the stream of consciousness flowed from old 45s, to dance medleys, to Fred Astaire. You just never know where it’s going to go, which is part of the fun of it.

Until next time…

A Fine Romance Lyrics
(Song by Dorothy Fields/Jerome Kern)

A fine romance, with no kisses
A fine romance, my friend this is
We should be like a couple of hot tomatoes
But you’re as cold as yesterday’s mashed potatoes
A fine romance, you won’t nestle
A fine romance, you won’t wrestle
I might as well play bridge
With my old maid aunt
I haven’t got a chance
This is a fine romance

A fine romance, my good fellow
You take romance, I’ll take jello
You’re calmer than the seals
In the Arctic Ocean
At least they flap their fins
To express emotion
A fine romance with no quarrels
With no insults and all morals
I’ve never mussed the crease
In your blue serge pants
I never get the chance

This is a fine romance

A fine romance, with no kisses
A fine romance, my friend this is
We two should be like clams in a dish of chowder
But we just fizz like parts of a Seidlitz powder
A fine romance, with no clinches
A fine romance, with no pinches
You’re just as hard to land as the Ile de France!
I haven’t got a chance, this is a fine romance

A Better Week for Women, Taylor Swift and ‘The Lakes’

Last week I said I’d decided to delete all the draft posts I had backing up around here so that I could start again with a clean slate – Well, here is that clean slate, but already I’m torn between several blog ideas I’ve had over the last week, not all of them relating to music it must be said. I think I’m just going to have to accept that this blog has indeed morphed into something quite different from what was originally intended when I started out, but nothing wrong with that I suppose. There will always be a song(s) though, and that will never change.

I made no mention of it last weekend, but anyone watching the news that week will know it hadn’t been a good one for women. On International Women’s Day, a young, high-profile, mixed-race woman was lambasted and disbelieved by a white, middle-aged, male broadcaster (who trust me, could never have truly understood how she was feeling); the next day, the body of a murdered girl who had simply risked walking home on her own after dark, was found in Kent; at the weekend, those who met up for a peaceful vigil in the place where she had gone missing were found to be flouting covid restrictions, and there were ugly scenes of women being pinned to the ground and handcuffed by police.

As someone who comes from a long line of strong women who pretty much ran the show in their respective households (in a good way of course), I have always found it hard to personally relate to those who class themselves as feminists. Born at the start of the ’60s, by the time I reached adulthood all the hard work had been done (for which I am very grateful) and I have never felt that any barriers have been put in my way, other than those which were self-imposed. My working life was mainly in the public sector where the majority of my ‘bosses’ were always female, at one point all five departmental heads being of that gender. Life can be tough at various stages along the way, but if we all pulled together as a diverse group of humans (as opposed to humans with labels) it could all be so much easier. It seems we still have a way to go. As for walking home alone in the dark, it has always been something I’ve avoided unless absolutely necessary. It’s scary, for both sexes, and however much guidance is put out on how to make us feel less scared and vulnerable, I would always advise against it. Sad but true.

On the upside, the big winners at the Grammys this year were women, which was a first. Hopefully not purely down to a bias within the judging panel, so good to see. I haven’t been able to watch much of the show, but it seems it was all very covid-safe, which made it a bit of a different affair from the usual extravaganza. As Album Of The Year is usually the big one, here is something from Taylor Swift’s winning album folklore. The other ladies who did well were Beyoncé (she broke the record for all-time wins by a woman), Billie Eilish, Dua Lipa and Megan Thee Stallion.

Taylor’s new album was a bit of a surprise, even to her, as it was conceived during lockdown in 2020, after her planned tour had to be postponed. She describes it as a collection of songs and stories that flowed like ‘a stream of consciousness’. It consists of mellow ballads telling stories rooted in escapism and romanticism reflecting her desire for the music to have a lasting legacy, akin to folk songs. This song, the lakes, was inspired by a holiday Taylor once had in that very beautiful region of England called The Lake District (with Harry Styles, another big winner at the Grammys).

Take me to the lakes where all the poets went to die
I don’t belong, and my beloved, neither do you
Those Windermere peaks look like a perfect place to cry
I’m setting off, but not without my muse

In carrying out a modicum of research for Taylor’s new album I discovered a term that is new to me, cottagecore, which is what the album’s artwork and aesthetic was based on. Apparently it reflects a movement that celebrates idealised rural life and is popular with Generation Z. It developed throughout the 2010s and values traditional skills and crafts such as baking and pottery. It’s obvious when trawling through the various television guides of an evening, that programmes championing such traditional crafts are very much in vogue and we ourselves really enjoyed the final of the Great Pottery Throw Down last weekend (won by a woman). I myself spent much of this last week finishing off some tiny garments I had knitted all the pieces for, but never got round to making up – As a stress-buster, crafting takes some beating and I felt really chuffed when they were finished. All I need now is for the button shop to open up again, and for some grandchildren to dress them in (but no pressure DD).

Spring flowers and teeny weeny garments

Yet again I’ve veered way off topic and haven’t got round to some of the other ideas I had for today. I have one or two ‘new series’ ideas which I hope to explore soon though, so watch this space as they say.

As for Taylor Swift, she has become one of the best-selling artists of all time, in a relatively short space of time. I remember her being interviewed on a breakfast telly show many years ago when she was still a teenager. A clearly talented youngster, she and her family had relocated from Pennsylvania to Nashville when she was aged only 14, so that the young Taylor could pursue her career in country music. It was 2008 and she had just released her second album Fearless which I know DD was a fan of, and I seem to have some songs from it in my digital library.

Love Story by Taylor Swift:

Taylor wrote Love Story about a relationship that was not popular among the narrator’s family and friends. A common theme for teens, and one that’s been around since time immemorial – Why she decided to relate the song to the plot of Romeo and Juliet. Luckily for the couple in question, she replaced the play’s original tragic conclusion with a happy ending. The song was a huge commercial success and received widespread critical acclaim. The start of big things for an artist who has been able to cross over into other genres, transcending her country roots. I wouldn’t be surprised if like Dolly Parton, she manages to stay relevant and popular for many decades to come.

As for me, my poorly ankle is well and truly on the mend, so not long now before I can get about without ‘the boot’. In the meantime, I feel a bit more crafting coming on. Mr WIAA got me some new balls of wool this morning so the cottagecore aesthetic certainly is alive and well in our house at the moment. As for Taylor Swift, I hope she’s enjoyed her foray into yet another new genre – I think it suits her. Also, bit of trivia, she was named after singer/songwriter James Taylor so that was a masterstroke by her parents as it’s obviously brought her good luck (although with her prodigious talent I don’t think she needed a bit of it).

Until next time…

the lakes lyrics
(Song by Taylor Swift)

Is it romantic how all my elegies eulogize me?
I’m not cut out for all these cynical clones
These hunters with cell phones

Take me to the lakes, where all the poets went to die
I don’t belong and, my beloved, neither do you
Those Windermere peaks look like a perfect place to cry
I’m setting off, but not without my muse

What should be over burrowed under my skin
In heart-stopping waves of hurt
I’ve come too far to watch some name-dropping sleaze
Tell me what are my Wordsworth

Take me to the lakes, where all the poets went to die
I don’t belong and, my beloved, neither do you
Those Windermere peaks look like a perfect place to cry
I’m setting off, but not without my muse

I want auroras and sad prose
I want to watch wisteria grow right over my bare feet
‘Cause I haven’t moved in years
And I want you right here
A red rose grew up out of ice frozen ground
With no one around to tweet it
While I bathe in cliff-side pools
With my calamitous love and insurmountable grief

Take me to the lakes, where all the poets went to die
I don’t belong and, my beloved, neither do you
Those Windermere peaks look like a perfect place to cry
I’m setting off, but not without my muse
No, not without you

Jay Gatsby, George Gershwin and ‘Rhapsody In Blue’

Had life been remotely normal at the moment, I could perhaps choose to start this 6th year of blogging with a 30, 40 or even 50 year retrospective (as I did last year before discovering some real stinkers made it to the top spot on the UK Singles Chart in 1970). I could add to some of the series that are still in progress or perhaps start a new one. I could share an earworm of the week… . But life isn’t “normal” at the moment is it, and that kind of blogging requires a calm and uncluttered mind.

We have had relatively low infection rates here in the North of Scotland up until now, but those days have gone, and part of me just wants to hunker down until I get my jab (the preferred medical term it seems). In the early days of the pandemic when the outlook seemed bleak, many of us probably had a few sleepless nights thinking this might be it – I know I did. As time went by we got used to this new way of doing things, and sleep came easier. With all these vaccines coming onstream, hope is now on the horizon, and if things pan out as they did in the aftermath of the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, we might even end up having another Roaring ’20s. Cue Jay Gatsby’s pad on Long Island, circa 1922 (Baz Luhrmann style).

I’m not going to hold my breath about that, and I think we’ve got more pressing problems to sort out before we party, but it seems many bank accounts are full to brimming at the moment as if you’ve been lucky enough to stay in work there has been very little opportunity to spend your spare cash of late (despite Mr Bezos waltzing off with much of it). In a balanced economy everyone gets a share of the pot, so I’m hoping some of this cash will help those hard hit sectors get back on their feet again.

It occurred to me I have never shared something from as far back as 100 years before, but then I looked again and discovered I have, all from film soundtracks of course. Rhapsody in Blue, written by George Gershwin in 1924, was used in the Woody Allen film Manhattan and I included it in my New York post, when journeying round the 50 States in Song (link here).

Apparently F. Scott Fitzgerald was of the opinion that “Rhapsody in Blue idealised the youthful zeitgeist of the Jazz Age” and in subsequent decades Fitzgerald’s literary works have often been culturally linked with Gershwin’s composition. Rhapsody in Blue was used as a dramatic leitmotif (a short, recurring musical phrase associated with a particular person, place, or idea) for F.Scott’s character of Jay Gatsby in Baz’s 2013 film. A nice bit of synchronicity for this post.

Rhapsody in Blue by George Gershwin:


If you watched the Gatsby party clip at the top of the page you might have spotted the bandleader was none other than Cab Calloway. He had a very distinctive look and performance style, so it could only be him. Most of us know of Cab, not from the 1920s (as I doubt if many visitors to this place were around back then), but from the film The Blues Brothers where he hooks up with the boys and turns in a great performance of Minnie The Moocher (link here).

Cab Calloway

Cab was one of the bandleaders at the infamous New York Jazz Club The Cotton Club, and after watching the film of the same name last year I wrote about it here. This time it’s an actor playing Cab but I think he did a great job.

So, “What’s It All About?” – I have no idea what happened here as I certainly had no intention of revisiting the music of the 1920s when I sat down at my desk today, but here we are. I suppose I am just hoping against hope that things do start to get better now that vaccines are being rolled out, and the idea of meeting up with more than one person at a time becomes a possibility. Watching these scenes at parties and jazz clubs however fills me with horror, as after only ten months we have become so acclimatised to social distancing and mask-wearing, I can’t yet envisage venturing into such a venue ever again, not that I’m ever likely to be invited to a Jay Gatsby kind of party anyway, no longer being of the right demographic. Cue Young and Beautiful, the haunting song from The Great Gatsby soundtrack by Lana Del Rey.

Young and Beautiful by Lana Del Rey:


I think I’m going to have to seek out our DVD copy of the film for tonight’s viewing, as I’ve been reminded how much I enjoyed it when it came out in 2013. It was one of the films I watched with my Last Thursday of the Month Film Club friends. Who knows, maybe Film Club will be able to be resurrected before too long – Like many others, I think I’ve missed going to the cinema more than just about anything else.

Until next time…

Young And Beautiful Lyrics
(Song by Lana Del Ray/Rick Nowels)

I’ve seen the world
Done it all
Had my cake now
Diamonds, brilliant
And Bel Air now
Hot summer nights, mid July
When you and I were forever wild
The crazy days, city lights
The way you’d play with me like a child

Will you still love me
When I’m no longer young and beautiful?
Will you still love me
When I got nothing but my aching soul?
I know you will, I know you will
I know that you will
Will you still love me when I’m no longer beautiful?

I’ve seen the world, lit it up
As my stage now
Channelling angels in the new age now
Hot summer days, rock ‘n’ roll
The way you play for me at your show
And all the ways I got to know
Your pretty face and electric soul

Will you still love me
When I’m no longer young and beautiful?
Will you still love me
When I got nothing but my aching soul?
I know you will, I know you will
I know that you will
Will you still love me when I’m no longer beautiful?

Dear lord, when I get to heaven
Please let me bring my man
When he comes tell me that you’ll let him in
Father tell me if you can
Oh that grace, oh that body
Oh that face makes me wanna party
He’s my sun, he makes me shine like diamonds

Will you still love me
When I’m no longer young and beautiful?
Will you still love me
When I got nothing but my aching soul?
I know you will, I know you will
I know that you will
Will you still love me when I’m no longer beautiful?
Will you still love me when I’m no longer beautiful?
Will you still love me when I’m not young and beautiful

More From Laurel Canyon, Fiona Apple and ‘In My Room’

Thankfully I’ve managed to keep most of my pandemic related thoughts to myself around here of late. I’m all pandemicked-out, so instead have been enjoying writing about some new musical discoveries. Most of these discoveries have come about via telly, which I seem to have been watching an unhealthy amount of recently. It feels wrong, but my regular trips to the cinema/theatre are in abeyance, and trying to meet up with with friends is becoming a bit of a logistical nightmare. With the nights drawing in and the weather getting a tad colder, it’s quite comforting to curl up on the sofa with a cuppa and a full set of remotes – Hopefully I’ll not start morphing into a Maris Piper anytime soon.

Before the rules changed (yet again), I’d been regularly meeting up with my friend Eve, as we are working our way through The Affair, that award winning drama starring Ruth Wilson and Dominic West. Somehow I’d missed it when it aired first time around, but it had been mentioned in the comments boxes around here in relation to a particular song, so I got curious and thought I’d give it a whirl. I should have known from the title there would be many, many scenes of a sexual nature, and although I’m no prude, it can be a bit awkward watching such shenanigans with your ‘walking buddy’. Now that we can no longer meet indoors here in Scotland, my blushes will be spared for the foreseeable, but as we both intend to carry on watching it independently, we’ll still be able to discuss the latest twists and turns when we meet up for our weekly walk outdoors. Such times.

And here is where a wonderful bit of synchronicity has kicked in. I have really been enjoying the show’s theme song, Container, but only took note of who recorded it last week. It was Fiona Apple, an American singer-songwriter who was new to me, as I seem to to be firmly stuck in the last millennium when it comes to such things.

Fiona Apple

How good is that? Fiona also wrote the song and in the first line she is ‘screaming into the canyon’. Over the last week I have spent much of my time revisiting the music that poured forth from the artists who lived in California’s Laurel Canyon in the late ’60s and as well as the documentary written about last time, I’ve also watched Echo In The Canyon fronted by Jakob Dylan, son of Bob.

The young Bob and Jakob

He looks and sounds uncannily like his dad at times during the film, where he and a selection of other musicians cleverly intersperse candid interviews with performances of some of the most memorable songs from the era. One of these guest musicians was my new discovery, Fiona Apple. I was bowled over when they got up on stage to sing the Brian Wilson song In My Room. Short, but oh so beautiful.

In My Room by Fiona Apple and Jakob Dylan:


Brian Wilson from the Beach Boys had been a Laurel Canyon resident in the late ’60s and despite starting out writing songs that represented the youth culture of southern California (basically surfin’, surfin’ and more surfin’) it soon became obvious that Brian was a bit of a musical genius, the like of whom doesn’t come along very often. Their album Pet Sounds, written and produced by Brian, was released in 1966 and is often cited as having inspired the Beatles to make Sgt. Pepper.

Apparently Brian had been an agoraphobic during his teens and had refused to leave his bedroom for some time. The song was written from the perspective of a teenager who felt safe and comfortable there. I’m pretty sure DD doesn’t have agoraphobia, but the amount of time she has been spending in her old school bedroom since returning home is concerning me. She is studying, and possibly doesn’t want to interfere with our routines, but as for many other young people who may not have work right now and can no longer be with friends, it just doesn’t feel very healthy at all. Maybe why I’ve been affected by the song so much.

Although it’s the Fiona Apple/Jakob Dylan version that I’ve fallen in love with this week, I can’t go without sharing the original by the Beach Boys themselves. Lots of screaming from the girls in the audience, but I think we still get the sense of it (and a lovely boyish smile from Brian at 0:35).

So, ‘What’s It All About?’ – I may have over-egged the pudding about how much television I’m watching, but with many other leisure-time activities still unavailable to us, it has become a bit of a saviour. I’m trying to avoid watching rolling news channels nowadays and instead am finding escapism in quality dramas and documentaries – Why so many people flocked to the cinema during the war to watch Hollywood musicals I suppose.

As for DD, she is currently ‘in her room’, but hopefully she’ll join us to watch Gogglebox later on, which always raises a smile. The world in 2020 – We work from home on laptops, socialise via Zoom, and sit in our living rooms watching television programs about other people sitting in their living rooms watching television programs. Like a wacky hall of mirrors, it really doesn’t sound healthy at all does it?

The ‘Stars’ of Gogglebox

Until next time….

In My Room Lyrics
(Song by Brian Wilson)

There’s a world where I can go and tell my secrets to
In my room, in my room
In this world I lock out all my worries and my fears
In my room, in my room

Do my dreaming and my scheming
Lie awake and pray
Do my crying and my sighing
Laugh at yesterday

Now it’s dark and I’m alone
But I won’t be afraid
In my room, in my room
In my room, in my room
In my room, in my room

Film Nights, The Waterboys and ‘How Long Will I Love You’

I wrote a bit of a depressing post last time, so want to follow it up with something a whole lot lovlier. With trips to the cinema no longer happening in my neck of the woods I have gone old-school and am hosting a socially-distanced weekly soiree at the holiday hideaway (now sitting empty for obvious reasons) where we take turns in picking a DVD to watch. With so much choice out there nowadays via the various streaming services, it’s sometimes more satisfying to just pick a single film and run with it, a bit like when we all went to the local arts centre on the last Thursday of the month to watch whatever was on at 8.30pm. (Made some amazing new discoveries that would otherwise have been missed.)

It was my turn to pick and as the only customer in our local HMV last Saturday I felt duty bound to buy something, so started looking at the section for films starting with the letters A-D (I’m a great fan of alphabetisation). I know he’s not for everyone, but I am also a great fan of Richard Curtis movies so went for this one, About Time from 2013. Mr WIAA is not and never has been a member of Film Club, so the fact it was a very girly movie didn’t matter as he could stay home and watch Movies For Men. Despite finding common ground most of the time, we do occasionally like to veer off to the extremes of the genre spectrum.

As it turned out, the film was not vintage Richard Curtis, and seemed to have been written to a very familiar formula. Plenty of posh middle class Englishmen and smart American women, but somehow not as funny as the other films I’ve written about here and a basic premise that was slightly ridiculous – Time travel effected by standing in a wardrobe and clenching your fists (not quite the Tardis or a DeLorean). One aspect that did work for me however was the soundtrack, and I have been afflicted by yet another earworm this week because of one particular song choice. In the film it was sung by a group of tube station buskers (played by Jon Boden & Friends), who also provided the version for the end credits, but for me, the best version is still the original – How Long Will I Love You by The Waterboys.

How Long Will I Love You by The Waterboys:


It’s a love song, but a low key and not overly sentimental one. A simple proclamation of undying love written by band member Mike Scott for their 1990 album, Room to Roam. I am a great fan of The Waterboys and they have appeared around here before as I shared their 1985 masterpiece The Whole Of The Moon as part of my Full Moon Calendar in Song series. Back then they were proponents of “The Big Music”, anthemic rock popularised by many Scottish and Irish bands of the time, but by 1990 they were more of a folk rock band. Surprisingly this song was never released by them as a single, which is a shame, as 23 years later Ellie Goulding reached the No. 3 spot in the UK Singles Chart with it, no doubt because of the publicity it received from its connection to the film.


Not sure why this song has affected me quite so much this week – Touch wood Mr WIAA and I are still good, despite his occasional foray into the world of Movies For Men and my fondness for the odd rom-com. With DD back living at home I am once again involved in the lives of her friends, and really feel for them trying to navigate this brave new world filled with anxiety, and hurdles to be overcome. Finding love has never been tougher, and I doubt very much if Mike Scott considered a global pandemic when he wrote his beautiful lyrics back in 1990. No, I doubt it very much indeed.

Until next time….

How Long Will I Love You Lyrics
(Song by Mike Scott)

How long will I love you
As long as there are stars above you
And longer if I can

How long will I need you
As long as the seasons need to
Follow their plan

How long will I be with you
As long as the sea is bound to
wash upon the sand

How long will I want you
As long as you want me to
And longer by far

How long will I hold you
As long as your father told you
As long as you are

How long will I give to you
As long as I live to you
However long it you say

How long will I love you
As long as are stars above you
And longer if I may