The Princess and the Pea’r: A (Tongue-in-cheek) Work of Fan Fiction

For the benefit of any new visitors to the blog, this post is not representative, but a few weeks ago I issued a challenge, asking followers to come up with ideas for future posts. One of these was from Deidra, who after reading my tribute to David Cassidy (link here), suggested I should write some fan fiction in fairytale form involving the man and his music. Anyway, this is a bit tongue-in-cheek, and probably not what Deidra was expecting at all, but always fun to take on a new challenge and run with it. You probably need to be of a certain age to “get” a lot of what is to follow, but if you do, hope you enjoy it.

david cassidyThe Princess and the Pea’r

Princess Deidra looked down from the castle window. The boy from the village had just arrived with baskets of pears from his family’s orchard, and was heading towards the entrance to the large kitchen where he would no doubt laugh and joke with the kitchen maids. Deidra felt sad, and jealous that she could no longer join in their fun, but her mother had deemed it no longer appropriate for her to spend time with Maryberry the cook, Baldrick the kitchen boy and the feisty but fun, Daphne and Celeste.

The boy was called Davyd and his family supplied the castle with much produce in the course of a year. They reared partridges at the back of their humble dwelling so inevitably came to be known as, The Partridge Family. He had a sister called Susan and a brother called Daniel, who also visited the castle from time to time with their mother, a pretty, petite woman, with light coloured hair. The four of them were accomplished musicians and came to entertain guests in the great hall whenever a banquet was being held. The mother and Susan both played the harpsichord whereas Daniel played that strange stringed instrument which looked a bit like a lute. As for Davyd, he was the singer within the group, and as far as Deidra was concerned, had the voice of an angel.

The reason for his arrival today, was because festivities were being planned in honour of a visiting prince. She knew this prince was being thought of as a possible suitor, but fortunately her mother and father, the King and Queen, were kind and loving parents who would never force her into an arranged marriage. The prince, she had learnt, was called Donald and he came from a far away land that had a great salt lake. She’d also heard he had many brothers who wore tabards of different colours so that their parents could tell them apart. Donald always wore purple, and although they denied it, his parents considered him the handsomest of them all, as he had a beautiful smile and dazzling white teeth. Even when his younger brother James arrived, despite his long hair and loving ways, Donald was still their favourite son and they hoped he would find a deserving princess, perhaps in Deidra.

Not for the first time however, Deidra wished she had been lowly born and could simply marry the boy from the village who was now leaving the castle grounds, his baskets empty. He would return home to his family, checking the partridges on the way, no doubt perched on the many pear trees in the orchard. Prince Donald may well be someone she could fall in love with, but right now, all she could think of was Davyd, and the songs she imagined he sang just for her. “Yes, I think I love you too”, she thought to herself, remembering the words of the last song he had performed in the great hall, at the same time knowing full well nothing could come of it.

I Think I Love You:

But the day was warm, and it was time for an afternoon nap ahead of the evening’s banquet and entertainment. She removed her headdress and lay down on her counterpane, but before she could drift off to sleep Daphne appeared, having run up the stairs from the kitchen. The pair had been friends since they were young but of late Deidra had been unable to spend much time with her at all, her mother insisting that she fill her days with needlework, scripture and music lessons.

“Excuse me Princess, but I just had to let you know that Prince Donald is on his way.”

“I know Daphne, but what will he be like I wonder. Will he be as handsome as Davyd from the village? I see he has just been to the kitchen. Did you speak with him?”

“Why of course Princess. He was asking after you but that Celeste had to push in and act all brazen in front of him as usual. Ooh, that girl has no shame but we all knows he only has eyes for you so stick you Celeste. He also told us he has some turtle doves for the princess. Real beauties they are.”

The kitchen maids Daphne and Celeste

“Oh, how kind”, said Deidra feeling wistful that she would not be allowed to accept them in person. “Is he coming up to the castle with his family tonight, to sing and play for us?”

“He is”, replied Daphne excitedly, “and they have a new song he wants to sing just for you. He knows about Prince Donald and told me to let you know, it’s a magical song that can transport you through time. Time and… relative dimension in… sound, he called it. Means nothing to me but he said you would understand”.

Daphne then headed off, to return to her duties in the kitchen but Deidra was left feeling confused. As a young princess she had been allowed to spend time with the village children, and when playing their games had often told Davyd she believed we would one day travel through time. Had he remembered those conversations she wondered, and had he found a way of really making it happen? It was all very baffling, but time for a quick nap now as Trinny and Susannah, her ladies maids, would soon be along to help her choose the perfect costume for tonight’s banquet, and the inevitable introduction to Prince Donald.

The ladies maids Trinny and Susannah

By the time the sun went down, Deidra was ready for the evening of festivities. Trinny and Susannah had picked out the perfect gown and headdress for her and after much pushing, prodding and pulling had secured the bodice into place. They had also brought with them an undergarment called majicnikkers which although made of a very strange fabric that was new to her, had the effect of making her waist appear very small indeed. This was going to be quite an evening, and although she was curious about the meeting with Prince Donald, it was the idea of Davyd’s magical song that truly excited her.

At the banquet Deidra was seated next to Prince Donald. He was indeed very handsome, his dark hair framing his smiling face. His party’s journey to the castle had been an eventful one however, as something had caused their horses to start acting crazily. Something in the air perhaps, an air very different to what they were used to by the great salt lake, over there on the morning side of the mountain. But Deidra could already tell that this was not her prince. He was too young, and for him it would just be a puppy love.

Jacques, Jules et Henri

At the end of the table was a cage with the turtle doves that Davyd had sent up to the castle earlier in the day as a gift. He had also presented the cook, Maryberry, with three hens which had curiously been given the names Jacques, Jules and Henri. All we need now she thought to herself, would be some birds that could sing, and we would have quite the menagerie. Just at that moment, The Partridge Family appeared on the minstrel gallery, ready to play for them. Davyd gave her a knowing look, and once his brother tightened the strings on the lute-shaped instrument, the song began. “Could it be forever, or is my mind just rambling on…… .”

Suddenly Deidra’s head started to spin and she had to look down to gather her composure. The words in Davyd’s song were ringing in her ears. “Could it be forever?”, she thought regretfully. “No, not in my world, where princesses just don’t marry commoners.”

Princess Deidra

The spinning stopped and Deidra looked up. It took a few moments for her to work out where she was. It was still Windsmoor Castle but everything looked different. Her family and Prince Donald still sat next to her but they were all dressed in strange clothes and her flaming red hair was no longer covered by a headdress. The plate, and glassware, was finely crafted and large drapes covered the table. The Partridge Family were no longer up in the minstrel gallery but stood on a low, nearby platform surrounded by large boxes from which the sound seemed to come. Soon the song ended, and instead of retreating to the chambers behind the banquet hall as was usual, the family descended from the stage and came to converse with the guests. Just then, she remembered that Davyd had not just said it was to be a magical song, but that it was perhaps made up of sounds that could transport them through time. “What was it again?”, she frantically tried to remember. “Time and relative dimension in sound. TARDIS for short.”

She was still reeling from this revelation when Davyd came to speak to her. He had done it, he really had. Found a way of traversing through time until they came to an age when red-haired princesses could marry dark-haired, common born entertainers. Without further ado, Davyd got down on one knee and presented Deidra with a pear, from the orchard behind the castle of olden days. When she looked at it quizzically, he just said, “bite into it and see what you find.” Inside was a gold ring, which to everyone’s delight found its way onto her finger. “I started off with five pears and five gold rings”, he said, “but only this final one made it through the sound vortex. It wasn’t until then I knew the time was right to sing my magical song.”

And that my friends, is where the story ends. Davyd and Princess Deidra married in the chapel at Windsmoor Castle a few weeks later and many of their friends came to join in the celebrations. Sir Idris of Elba, Sir George of Clooney and of course Lady Victoria of Beckingham. Prince Donald returned to the land of the great salt lake, married, and had many, many children. Will they all live happily ever after though? Why of course they will, because as we all know, breaking up is hard to do!

 

The End


Could It Be Forever Lyrics
(Song by Wes Farrell/Danny Janssen)

Could it be forever or is my mind just rambling on
[No, it can be forever Davyd, thanks to TARDIS – Time and relative dimension in sound!]
Well I touched you once and I kissed you once
And I feel like you’re mine
Well I feel like you’re mine and I see in your face
I’m not wrong to have these feelings
Well I feel like you’re mine and I’ve never known a time before
That’s had so many meanings

Could it be forever or is my mind just wasting time
Well I don’t think so because you let me know
You make me feel like you’re mine
Well I feel like you’re mine and I can’t remember
When the feelings have been stronger
And all I know is I can’t let go of you
Or be with you just a little while longer

All my feelings come together
All of me is here
Never known when I felt better
Cause I know this won’t disappear

But could it be forever
Or is my mind just rambling on
Maybe it is, if it is
Then I’ll be moving on
Well, I feel like you’re mine
And I see in your face
I’m not wrong to have these feelings
Well, I feel like you’re mine
I’ve never known a time before
That’s had so many meanings

Suits of Armour, Kiss of the Gypsy and “Whatever It Takes”

Well, there was a bit of “throwing down of gauntlets” going on around here last time and the upshot is that I now have a couple of posts to write as a result. Whilst I mull over how best to tackle those posts, I thought it would be a great opportunity to share another picture from our recent trip to Edinburgh. A suit of armour featured, and at the time I wasn’t sure how to shoehorn it in, but now, with all this talk of gauntlets, I think I’ve found the perfect time.

First though, in the comments boxes last time, C over at Sun Dried Sparrows mentioned that she did love that ancient phrase, and would be interested in its origin. Basically, it seemsthrow gauntlets are those long thick gloves which protect your hands, wrists, and forearms and back in medieval times, a knight would throw down one of his metal gauntlets if challenging another knight to a duel. If this second knight picked it up, he was in effect accepting the challenge. Nowadays, if you throw down the gauntlet, you simply do or say something that challenges someone to take action (much less life-threatening).

But back to my suit of armour picture. One of the reasons for our trip to Edinburgh was because Mr WIAA wanted to visit an aunt and uncle who had recently moved to a new house. Rather than downsizing when they reached their eighties, the couple in question seem to have upsized, but we did love our visit and admired the many artefacts which were on display, collected over the course of a lifetime. One of the more recent acquisitions was a suit of armour which now resides in their hall, complete with…, yes you guessed it – gauntlets!

I had promised myself I wouldn’t write any more “wedding posts” as not overly popular with my readership it seems, but a few years ago, Mr WIAA’s cousin decided to get himself married in a suit of armour! It’s the bride’s day they always say, but in this case it was definitely a 50/50 split. The upshot however was that after the wedding they didn’t have space for the suit in the marital home, so it has, along with all sorts of other ephemera, gone to reside at his parent’s abode.

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The magazine spread about the event!

But this is supposed to be a music blog so why am I wittering on about suits of armour? Well I’ve not mentioned this before, but we actually used to have a bona fide rock band in the family and the aforementioned cousin was very much part of it all. As a boy Mr WIAA spent most of his summers with his two cousins, and all they ever wanted to do when they grew up was to play music and join a band. Enter Kiss of the Gypsy.

KOTG were formed in Lancashire in the late ’80s and were described as a blues-based hard rock band. In 1991 they were signed to Atlantic Records USA and their first eponymously named album was released in 1992. Their first single, Whatever It Takes, reached No. 4 in the Rock Charts and was Single of the Week in Kerrang! magazine. Although this is not a great quality clip, it shows that they did reach the dizzy heights of filming in LA with glamourous blondes (neither of the cousins by the way is the lead singer).

Whatever It Takes by Kiss of the Gypsy:

Despite receiving critical acclaim for this first album it seems they were the victims of bad timing, as their style of rock music was coming to an end in the early ’90s and grunge was taking over. After the UK branch of their record company folded, they lost their record deal and the second album was never released. They are still however fondly remembered by those in the know, and of course when one of the brothers got married, it was always going to be quite a unique affair what with suits of armour, a drum kit for guests to autograph, vinyl place settings and a “sign of the horns” wedding cake.

As for me, at the time this kind of music was about as far from what I was familiar with as is possible, but of course not long after Mr WIAA and I became a couple, I got the chance to meet the brothers. As luck would have it I worked in an office quite near Mr WIAA’s parents’ house so I was to drop by after work to be introduced to this new branch of the family. I kind of knew about KOTG but didn’t really know much about the sub-genre of rock music called hair metal (although they wouldn’t take kindly to me calling it that probably), so when I did meet them, all I could think of was, “What a lot of hair!”.

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Kiss of the Gypsy 1991

They are of course now both bald as coots, and two of the loveliest guys you could ever meet, but back then it was a tad disconcerting to be standing in your future in-laws’ suburban sitting room, chatting with what looked like members of Guns N’ Roses. It was also really bad luck that I had come straight from work that day in an office-y type outfit which was about as frumpy as they come. I must have been having one of those days when inspiration left me, so had teamed up a tweed skirt with a old “going-out” blouse – Not up to my usual standard and although he didn’t say it at the time, I’m sure Mr WIAA had hoped I’d change before coming over. All water under the bridge now of course, and so many years ago, but definitely a first meeting I’ll not forget in a hurry.

I shall leave you with another of the tracks from their album which is more of a power ballad, and one I like a lot. Not many of us ever get to live the dream, even for a short while, but these lads from Lancashire did – Something to tell the grandchildren about, although I have a feeling they would scarcely believe them!

Take This Old Heart by Kiss of the Gypsy:

Take This Old Heart Lyrics
(Song by Tony Mitchell)

Lets fly away now on the wings of wonder
Touch me again
The cold breath of winter, hold me in your arms
Shield me again
Like the shadow of night I’ll haunt you
Behind me wherever you may go
Like a kiss on the wind I’ll find you
No matter how far you wish to go….

Take this old heart of mine
It can sustain anything from you but
I can’t face loneliness again
I’ll keep my promise
If it means I’ll never lose you again
I’m going in with my eyes open wide

You can ride on my shoulders
Through the skies like an eagle I’ll carry you
Like a rock I’ll stand and support you
I’ll be earth between you feet, I will be here to hold on to
If you ever grow tired hold on to me….

Tithe Barns, Sixpence None the Richer and “Kiss Me”

The other week I wrote about the evils of Facebook (link here), or rather the fact you can never admit over there, to having anything other than a dazzlingly perfect life. I decided that when the chips are down we have to keep our troubles to ourselves, but it turns out I was wrong – An old friend who also has a poorly parent messaged me, and offered to step up to the plate in terms of caring duties so that we could all go to the ball! Well, a wedding to be precise, down in Royal Berkshire. This time the couple weren’t Royal, but it was still a grand old affair where one of our own tied the knot with someone who back in the day would have been called a Sassenach. The bride, having grown up in our street, invited most of the neighbours and despite no two journeys being the same, we all (even 91-year-old Albert) managed to make it down to the other end of the country on time. Scotland came to Englandshire for a day, and even in the warm and muggy weather, kilts made an appearance.

The wedding itself was held in a place called a Tithe Barn which I had never heard of before because I’m pretty sure we don’t have them in Scotland, but it was absolutely beautiful and all very rustic, so the decoration of choice tied in with the surroundings – Lots of sunflowers, ivy, hessian and the pièce de résistance, a wedding cake constructed with a stack of artisan cheeses. (The eagle eyed amongst you will also have noticed some Swizzels Love Hearts and disposable cameras on the table, but hey, there had to be a few modern-day concessions.)

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The Wedding Cake: A cheesecake!

But of course this is supposed to be a music blog so what song ties in with a wedding themed post? I have written about a previous wedding we were invited to on these pages (link here) but that was a very different affair, where at the end of the evening I coerced Mr WIAA into joining me for the full seven minute “re-enactment of the lyrics dance” to Bohemian Rhapsody – The cringe moment I suffered the next day was almost worse than the hangover, but this time a ceilidh band was provided which means you need to stay sharp in order to perform the sometimes complex dance routines. Less alcohol was consumed so luckily for me, no cringe moments.

The ceilidh band were good, although our neighbour who is a retired PE teacher adept at Scottish Country Dancing (it’s part of the curriculum up here) got a bit fed up with the 10 minute explanation of the “steps” that preceded each dance. Looking around he quickly assessed the situation and said to the band, “We’re all Scottish here, we know the steps, so just get on with it” – A bit brusque and to the point, but it did save a lot of time which in turn led to more dances, so all good.

thCT1C1ZFHBut earlier in the day during the meal, music was played – It was a digital “mix-tape” of the bride’s favourite songs, and listening to it I realised an awful lot of them have appeared in this blog. But then again her parents are around the same age as us, so the music she grew up with will also have been their favourites, and then the music she discovered herself will have been the same as that played by darling daughter, once she started taking an interest. All the songs had a romantic theme but this is the one that stayed with me for the rest of the day – Kiss Me by Sixpence None the Richer. Somehow it was just perfect for our rustic setting, what with the bearded barley, the green, green grass, the milky twilight, the moonlit floor and the fireflies dance.

Kiss Me by Sixpence None the Richer:

It occurred to me I knew nothing about Sixpence None the Richer other than they did really well with that song, reaching No. 4 in the UK Singles Chart in 1998, when our bride would have been aged only nine. Turns out they are primarily a Christian Rock outfit from Texas and the name of the band was inspired by a passage from the book Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis. Despite only reaching No. 2 on the Billboard Chart, Kiss Me had great longevity, spending 35 weeks on the chart in total making it the 6th best-selling record of the year. It has also been used on several film soundtracks which is why I must have it in my collection.

220px-KissMe

So, “What’s it all about?” – I have mentioned this here before, but as Hal David wrote in the lyrics to the song Alfie, it’s all about love and could there be anything more loved-up than a wedding? The music playing in the background was all about love, romance and kisses and our bride and groom certainly had that glow about them on their big day.

Here’s the thing though – As per that very recent Royal Wedding, both sets of parents are no longer together, so as is often the case at weddings nowadays, there was the tricky business of who sits at the top table, who gives the bride away and who is left out altogether. But despite all this, youngsters don’t seem to have been put off the idea of marriage and willingly spend a large chunk of their hard-earned cash on their nuptials. My generation on the whole have not been great role models for marriage, but cupid’s arrow is still alive and well it seems, and the instinct to settle down with another is as strong as ever. I wish our young couple all the best for the future and I have a sneaking suspicion they are going to do just fine.

Until next time….

Kiss Me Lyrics
(Song by Matt Slocum)

Kiss me out of the bearded barley
Nightly, beside the green, green grass
Swing, swing, swing the spinning step
You wear those shoes and I will wear that dress

Oh, kiss me beneath the milky twilight
Lead me out on the moonlit floor
Lift your open hand
Strike up the band
And make the fireflies dance
Silver moon’s sparkling
So kiss me

Kiss me down by the broken tree house
Swing me upon its hanging tire
Bring, bring, bring your flowered hat
We’ll take the trail marked on your father’s map

Oh, kiss me beneath the milky twilight
Lead me out on the moonlit floor,
Lift your open hand
Strike up the band
And make the fireflies dance
Silver moon’s sparkling
So kiss me

Kiss me beneath the milky twilight
Lead me out on the moonlit floor,
Lift your open hand
Strike up the band
And make the fireflies dance
Silver moon’s sparkling
So kiss me

A Right Royal Affair, Barry White and “Just The Way You Are”

Well, it was a bit busy around here yesterday as we had to get our outfits organised for heading to a wedding…. down south…. near Windsor!! No, sadly it wasn’t that wedding but a bit of a coincidence that our young friends are to tie the knot amongst those very iconic surroundings so soon after the Right Royal Affair. No big crowds for them though, and no long carriage rides (I don’t think anyway) but looking forward to it all very much. I’ve mentioned here before that we live in a very sociable street, and as the bride-to-be is one of our own, having been brought up in the house next-door to us, all the neighbours are going. Even Albert, who celebrated his 90th birthday last year with a party in one of our gardens, is going to make the long trip south in his capacity as honorary granddad.

windsor

But I do also love a Royal Wedding and I will admit to having spent much of yesterday watching the build-up to it all and then the actual service itself. I know these events are not for everyone, and the family in question does come in for much criticism at times, but not from me. Luck was on Harry and Meghan’s side though, and the deep blue skies shining above Windsor Castle yesterday made that little corner of England look absolutely stunning – So much history, and just so scenic. Considering there was to be an estimated 2 billion people watching the event on television, I would guess that tourist numbers are going to be well up for the foreseeable future. In view of all the “exiting” that’s been going on around here of late, a bit of a relief that at least one aspect of the economy might have been given a fortuitous boost.

Who-Performed-Prince-Harry-Meghan-Markle-Reception

The actual wedding itself was certainly like no other royal wedding any of us have watched before, and despite the bride having had to contend with family difficulties in the build up to her big day, her mother, Doria Ragland, presented a highly dignified figure as the sole representative on the Markle side. A million miles away from her comfort zone no doubt, but how cool that for once, the mother of the bride sported dreadlocks and a nose stud. But of course for most of us who watched it, the unexpected star was the Reverend Michael Curry who treated the congregation to an evangelical-style sermon which to be fair did go on a bit, and caused several members of the royal family to exude nervous giggles (Camilla?), but even for non-believers this was rousing stuff. We had the usual musical offerings from the St George’s Chapel choristers, but lo and behold we also had Stand By Me from The Kingdom Choir. Who would have thought a generation ago, that the works of Ben E. King would feature so prominently at such an event.

Stand By Me by Ben E. King:

But the featured song today is going to be something else. I used to like the flow of it all when I linked each post in this blog to the one before – Last time I wrote about Billy Joel and his album “The Stranger”, so what better song to include here than another one written for it, Just The Way You Are. This time it won’t be Billy doing the honours however, but a man who recorded the song in 1978 and reached No. 12 in the UK Singles Chart, Mr Barry White – I do love a bass-baritone voice, and I also love the languid and sensual delivery he gave to all his songs, but also a very appropriate song for this post. Turns out that had he still been alive, he could have made the perfect contribution to yesterday’s very romantic royal wedding.

Just The Way You Are by Barry White:

“So, What’s It All About?” – Harry, unlike so many royal princes that have gone before him, has been allowed to choose his own bride and in Miss Markle he seems to have found the perfect match. If there was ever an actual form, complete with tick boxes, of the traits a potential royal bride should possess (and I suspect there will have been), Meghan would have failed spectacularly, but that form seems to have been quite rightly now torn to shreds. From a first date to the wedding day itself has been quite a speedy process, so they also seem to still exhibit the touchy-feeliness that comes with that first flush of romance. As a slightly more mature bride, Meghan has not been railroaded into having to adapt and change to fit in with the very unique family that are “The Windsors”. At some point Harry must have said to her, “Don’t go changing, to try and please me,” before adding, “I love you just the way you are”!

Until next time….

Just The Way You Are Lyrics
(Song by Billy Joel)

I never take anything for granted
Only a fool maybe takes things for granted
Just because it’s here today
It can be gone tomorrow
And that’s one thing that you
Never in your life ever have to worry about me
If I’ll ever change towards you because
Baby I love you
Yeah I love you
Just the way… You are…

Don’t go changing, trying to please me
You never let me down before
I don’t imagine you’re too familiar
And I don’t see you anymore
I would not leave you in times of trouble
We never could have come this far
I took the good times, I’ll take the bad times
I’ll take you just the way you are

Don’t go trying some new fashion
Don’t change the color of your hair
You always have my unspoken passion
Although I might not seem to care

I don’t want clever conversation
I don’t want to work that hard
I just want some someone to talk to
I want you just the way you are

I need to know that you will always be
The same old someone that I knew
What will it take till you believe in me
The way that I believe in you.

I said I love you and that’s forever
And this I promise from my heart
I could not love you any better
I love you just the way you are

The 5th Dimension, “Wedding Bell Blues” and Embarrassing Dances

Always a lot of talk in my little corner of the blogosphere relating to what constitutes a guilty pleasure – In song terms of course. After a fair bit of discussion, the upshot always is that there really should be no guilty pleasure tag, as some songs were specifically written to be short-lived bursts of pure bubble-gum pop. Of course we do all get a bit fed up when there is such a plethora of these songs around that they distract and detract from all the other good stuff (e.g. the machine that was SAW in the late ‘80s) but it happens from time to time, always has, and always will.

I feel as if the song I am going to feature today should come under the guilty pleasure tag, but as we are no longer going to use that term I will instead just explain how it came to mind. First of all, we had a wedding to attend yesterday and much of the week was spent preparing for it. When the song Wedding Bell Blues by The 5th Dimension came on the radio one afternoon, I was therefore already tuned into all things “wedding-y”. Secondly, as explained in my last post, of late I seem to have found myself continually gravitating towards songs from the late ‘60s, which I find bizarre as from a time when I was still a little kid. Finally, just as my fellow bloggers felt a tad uneasy about their appreciation of Jason Donovan, I felt a little uneasy at my appreciation of The 5th Dimension but in no time at all I was dancing around the room and made a sneaky little purchase on iTunes.

Wedding Bell Blues by The 5th Dimension:

What I find fascinating about the ‘60s is that during that decade, in the wink of an eye, we moved from boy and girl bands, dressed very smartly in identical matching outfits and very rigid hairstyles to the wild abandon that constituted the hippy counterculture. The 5th Dimension were probably best-known for the song medley Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In, from the stage musical Hair. Hard to believe now that full-scale nudity even came to Scotland in the form of a touring production of the show in 1969 – I clearly remember my parents discussing it, and unbelievably they didn’t even seem that shocked by the concept, but then again they had lived through a war (and not the Vietnam one so integral to the plotline of the show) so perhaps they could adapt to change in a fast-moving world more quickly than we perhaps do now?

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The cast of the musical Hair

But back to Wedding Bell Blues, it is a song that was written and originally recorded by Laura Nyro in 1966 but only really became a big hit when covered by The 5th Dimension in 1969. The song is written from the perspective of a woman whose boyfriend has not yet proposed to her, and she wonders, “Am I ever gonna see my wedding day?” The woman obviously adores her man but there is definitely a theme of frustration going on there as well.

As it happens, other than the word “wedding” being in the title, the theme of this song was not relevant to yesterday’s event at all as the couple getting married have been together for quite some time and were both equally as excited about tying the knot. For the second time in two months we were invited because we are friends of the parents – Yes we have now been to all our own friends’ weddings and there have been quite a few “second marriage” weddings. In these cases the couple in question are usually a bit more mature, so can spend a fair bit of money on their big day and it becomes quite a lavish and extravagant affair. Now we are seeing our friends’ children getting married and these are turning out to be the most enjoyable. There is something really pure and satisfying about seeing two local youngsters, you have known since they were kids, set out on that journey.

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A Scottish wedding in Richard Curtis world – The cast of Four Weddings

I have mentioned before in this blog that part of the reason I seem to have omitted listening to song lyrics in my youth, was because my relationship with music was often more about how it made me feel, and if it made me want to dance I most definitely did. There is a bit of a problem with dancing however in that once you reach a certain age, the chances to indulge your passion are severely limited. No-one wants to be the oldest swinger in town so it is only at events like weddings that the dancing shoes get an airing.

As it turns out, because it was quite a simple, local wedding with a DJ playing songs requested by the guests, there was a definite joie de vivre in the air last night and unlike with some of the very grand weddings we have attended (think the Andie MacDowell one from Four Weddings) where you really need your wits about you in order to remember all the complex steps for certain obscure Scottish Country dances, last night was all about having fun. We had party dances, a few golden oldies and even a bit of Shang-a-Lang by The Bay City Rollers (always a crowd pleaser here in Scotland so not even a hint of the guilty pleasure tag there).

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What we really dance to at weddings in Scotland!

Now as you may have guessed, hubby and I have been known to put on a bit of a show at such affairs, and last night was no exception. You can kind of read the crowd at certain points in the course of the evening and sometimes a record comes on where you can just “flick the switch” and turn in a bit of a performance – We are not talking Strictly Come Dancing level here but it does usually clear the floor and we are given the space to “do our thing”. Because we were a bit of an unknown entity to most of the guests who had not seen this happen before, it was not really seen as showboating at all, and they really did seem to enjoy it – And there was my downfall! One woman in particular (a Miranda Hart lookalike) raved about how great we were to such an extent I got a bit big-headed, and when the very unlikely choice of Bohemian Rhapsody came on I decided to embark on the full six minute “re-enactment of the lyrics” dance, with hubby in tow. Despite the fact I have had my longish hair cut quite short of late, and hubby is now on the number 2 hair clippers, we even did the head-banging scene as last seen in Garth’s car in Wayne’s World. Again the crowd were entertained but today I am suffering both a slight hangover and the worst sort of cringe moment, as I replay the horror in my head of my good self lying on the floor in my best wedding frock, right at the song’s denouement.

So, “What’s It All About?” – I think it’s about being true to yourself and not feeling guilty about enjoying certain types of music just in case your cool friends might disown you. It’s also about getting out there and doing your thing on the dancefloor for as long as physically possible – My knees may be suffering today but the adrenaline rush made it all worthwhile. Note to self however, the days of Bohemian Rhapsody showdances should probably be behind me now, although my daughter, who had to be escorted home in tears last time she witnessed us perform aforementioned showdance, is now a bit older and was actually quite proud of us when we recounted the tale – And in my book, that must stand for something.

As for me I’m off to tend to my aching, but hopefully soon to recover, limbs. Until next time – Keep on dancing!

Wedding Bell Blues Lyrics
(Song by Laura Nyro)

Bill I love you so
I always will
I look at you and see
the passion eyes of May
Oh but am I ever gonna see
my wedding day?
Oh I was on your side Bill
when you were losin’
I’d never scheme or lie Bill
There’s been no foolin’
but kisses and love won’t carry me
till you marry me Bill

Bill I love you so
I always will
and in your voice I hear
a choir of carousels
Oh but am I ever gonna hear
my wedding bells?
I was the one came runnin’
when you were lonely
I haven’t lived one day
not loving you only
but kisses and love won’t carry me
till you marry me Bill

Bill I love you so
I always will
and though devotion rules my heart
I take no bows
Oh but Bill you know
I wanna take my wedding vows
Come on Bill
Come on Bill
I got the wedding bell blues