A Manic Summer, 50th Anniversaries and “Dancing In The Moonlight”

What’s it all about indeed – I seem to have lost my blogging momentum, that’s what, due to the fact there is just far too much to blog about at the moment and I can’t keep up! Although this place is ostensibly where I have a saunter down memory lane, revisiting the “tracks of my years”, it is also my web-log, or web diary, where I record what I’ve been up to, ponder on what’s happening in the world (rather a lot!) and post pictures taken whilst out and about.

I am still gutted that I missed writing a “moon post” on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, as between Nov ’17 and March ’19 I wrote a total of eighteen posts featuring a song inspired by the ancient name given to the full moon by the Native Americans. Most of the time the song referred to the beauty of the moon, the colour of the moon or its part in creating a setting for romance, but on the 20th of July 1969, it was all about the science. When Neil Armstrong made that small step for [a] man, his name in the history books was set in stone (or moondust).

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I watched much of the news footage between the 16th and the 20th of this month, where Michael Collins (the astronaut who didn’t get to walk on the moon) was present at the anniversary celebrations and gave some great interviews recounting their experiences. On television, some fabulous programmes were aired, and if you haven’t yet watched it I would thoroughly recommend Channel 4’s Moon Landing Live made up of original footage from 50 years ago. I was only aged nine back then so despite being really excited by the news stories of the launch and subsequent moon landing, I don’t think I would have appreciated the sheer significance of what was happening. Also, what did all those men dressed in identical white shirts and black ties do at Mission Control? Something a few kilobytes of computer fire power could probably do nowadays, but just makes it all the more impressive that in those far less technologically advanced days, it could happen at all. Poor old Lyndon B. is looking a bit hot and bothered in this clip but had it not been for this famous speech, and the statement made at 1:30, things might well have turned out differently. (Anyone else transfixed by JFK’s accent here? – Mixture of Boston-Irish, Trans-Atlantic, RP and pure Kennedy apparently.)

Coincidentally, a partial lunar eclipse took place in the UK on the 16th of July 2019, coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch and despite missing it last time, my friend with the perfect camera for such shots, managed to capture it.

Pictures courtesy of R.J.

Considering this post was going to be a summary of what I’d missed blogging about over the last fortnight – DD’s departure, trips to Edinburgh and Glasgow, a steady stream of guests in the holiday hideaway and my elevation to Superhost, my continuing “pain in the neck”, two more cinema visits, Mr WIAA’s stint as zoo-keeper for a day and resignation from his nice secure job (purely coincidental), the current heatwave, the new occupant of No. 10, a long lost cousin from Australia appearing with a full account of my paternal family tree, the “loft project” and the anniversary of those moon landings – I only seem to have touched on this last one it seems, but apt because of what has gone before I suppose. I will therefore include two moon-related songs, the first being a suggestion made by Brian from Linear Tracking Lives, and the second, one that just didn’t make the cut whilst the series was in full flow.

Swingin’ on the Moon was a 1960 album by Mel Tormé (with a great cover), where every track but one contained the word “moon” in the title. The moon certainly seemed to be a favourite theme for artists of a Swing/Vocal Jazz persuasion, as Mr Sinatra also recorded many such songs. Mel was probably more familiar to our friends across the pond, as he also appeared in many films and television shows in America from the 1940s onward. Here’s an interesting snippet, he apparently composed the music for seasonal favourite The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) and co-wrote the lyrics. Not a bad earner in terms of royalties that one.

My next pick is a song that features dancing in the moonlight, which is a fine pastime I imagine if you live in a country where it is warm enough to do so. I don’t (current heatwave aside), but I still like the idea of it. The band Toploader had a big hit with a cover of Dancing in the Moonlight in the year 2000. I always loved the intro to this song (great percussion) but didn’t realise at the time it had been written and originally recorded by the French-American rock group King Harvest. It was released as a single in 1972 and reached number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. In view of the fact I recently discovered the band Looking Glass, who look and sound very similar to King Harvest, not much wonder it is now my favourite version of the two.

Dancing In The Moonlight by Toploader:

So, “What’s It All About?” – I don’t think I knew what I was going to end up writing about when I sat down at my desk today, but nice to be back, and I’ll try to keep up the momentum now I’ve cleared the blockage, so to speak.

Two years ago I had a very distinct routine to my day and to my week, but with all the changes that have happened since then every day is now different, with no discernible routine at all. The biggest change is that we will now have to earn all the spondulicks from self-employment alone and Mr WIAA is trying to be the calm one, whereas I’m running around like Corporal Jones shouting, “Don’t panic!”. Can I justify putting as many hours into blogging when I should really be trying to earn a crust? Probably not, but as has been pointed out around here many times, it does serve as a great stress-buster. I suspect I won’t be going anywhere soon, and to those of you who came up with a number from the master spreadsheet of “posts pending”, I have not forgotten about you, I have just been distracted.

Until next time….

Dancing In The Moonlight Lyrics
(Song by Sherman Kelly)

We get it on most every night
When that moon is big and bright
It’s a supernatural delight
Everybody’s dancing in the moonlight

Everybody here is out of sight
They don’t bark and they don’t bite
They keep things loose, they keep things light
Everybody’s dancing in the moonlight

Dancing in the moonlight
Everybody’s feeling warm and bright
It’s such a fine and natural sight
Everybody’s dancing in the moonlight

We like our fun and we never fight
You can’t dance and stay uptight
It’s a supernatural delight
Everybody was dancing in the moonlight

Dancing in the moonlight
Everybody’s feeling warm and bright
It’s such a fine and natural sight
Everybody’s dancing in the moonlight

Everybody here is out of sight
They don’t bark and they don’t bite
They keep things loose, they keep things light
Everybody was dancing in the moonlight

Everybody’s dancing in the moonlight
Everybody’s feeling warm and bright
It’s such a fine and natural sight
Everybody’s dancing in the moonlight (everybody)
Dancing in the moonlight
Everybody’s feeling warm and bright
It’s such a fine and natural sight
Everybody’s dancing in the moonlight
Everybody’s dancing in the moonlight
Everybody’s feeling warm and bright
It’s such a fine and natural sight
Everybody’s dancing in the moonlight (everybody)
Dancing in the moonlight
Everybody’s feeling warm and bright
It’s such a fine and natural sight
Everybody’s dancing in the moonlight

Yesterday, The Delights of Suffolk and “She’s Leaving Home”

Yesterday, I went to see Yesterday, the new Danny Boyle/Richard Curtis film where the premise is that in the blink of an eye (well, during a 12 second global power cut actually), an alternate universe has come about whereby the Beatles never existed. This being the case, no-one has ever heard any of their songs. No-one that is except a certain Jack Malik (excellently played by Himesh Patel), who during the power cut was hit by a bus and rendered unconscious for the pivotal 12 second period.

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I have probably given too much of the plot away already for those who have not yet seen it, but needless to say, there is much comedy to be had from an alternate universe where throwaway remarks such as will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64 are met with blank faces. The film was directed by Danny Boyle, whose films I always really enjoy, and the screenplay was by Richard Curtis whose films I also always really enjoy, so it was a no brainer I would go and see it twice, once yesterday (with Mr WIAA) and once last week (with a cinema buddy).

A strange coincidence has come about however in that I’ve spent the last week or so coming down from the high of travelling to London to meet up with my Suffolk-based blogging buddy C, and this film is set in Suffolk. I’ve spent much of the last fortnight hearing about Suffolk, eating produce from Suffolk and watching Jack and his manager Ellie travel the highways and byways of Suffolk in her little Mini Clubman. Apparently the film is already having an effect on the East Anglian tourism industry with visitors wanting to see more of this corner of the English countryside. Lowestoft here we come!

Of course with the film being set in Suffolk it made sense that local resident Ed Sheerin would put in an appearance. This was no cameo however (remember him in Game of Thrones?), he had a full blown part, and whatever you think of Ed it worked well for the whole premise of the film. With someone like Jack effortlessly coming up with songs such as Yesterday, The Long And Winding Road and In My Life, he had to admit that his songwriting crown should now transfer to this new kid on the block, or kid on the beach in this case, it being Lowestoft an’ all.

The great thing for me about this film is that it has made me fall in love with all those great Beatles songs again. I think they had almost become over-familiar to my ears so the appreciation I should have had for them left me for a while. I tried to find my copy of The Red Album last night and it’s not even downstairs amongst the vinyl, so it must be upstairs in the loft, mouldering away in some box of long-forgotten memorabilia I no longer visit. How can this have happened? It was the first album where I poured over the lyrics on the inner sleeves and could see the progression made from Love Me Do in 1963, to Eleanor Rigby in 1966. Only three years apart, yet even at age 12 I could tell the songwriting style had evolved so much.

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Eleanor Rigby by the Beatles:

Another Beatles song I’m going to have to include here is She’s Leaving Home, because as of this weekend, DD will be doing just that. I’ve written a post using this song before (link here) but the theme that time was of a very different nature. The years roll by however and here we are again. It’s been lovely having her back in the house for the last few weeks helping her prepare for the big move south. She hasn’t actually lived “at home” for quite a while now, but she has always been a mere ten minute drive away, so this is a very big change for both her and us. The time is right though, and we wish her all the best. The lyrics are not really relevant to our situation this time around (thankfully), but there is still a tear in my eye as I listen to them. As I said above, the film has really awakened that dormant part of my hippocampus where the Beatles songs hang out.

She’s Leaving Home by the Beatles:

For those of you who haven’t yet been to see the film, but want to, I hope I haven’t included too many spoilers. I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it seems both Richard Curtis and Ed Sheerin are marmite figures around here, so it might not be your bag. A wonderful thing however to imagine a world where we are just hearing all those great songs for the first time. As soon as I get the chance, I will fight my way through the contents of my loft (now added to somewhat in light of DD’s pared down move south) in order to seek out “The Red Album” and enjoy pouring over those lyric-strewn red inner sleeves, second time around.

Until next time….

She’s Leaving Home Lyrics
(Song by John Lennon/Paul McCartney)

Wednesday morning at five o’clock as the day begins
Silently closing her bedroom door
Leaving the note that she hope would say more
She goes downstairs to the kitchen clutching her handkerchief
Quietly turning the backdoor key
Stepping outside she is free

She (We gave her most of our lives)
Is leaving (Sacrificed most of our lives)
Home (We gave her everything money could buy)
She’s leaving home after living alone for so many years. Bye, bye

Father snores as his wife gets into the dressing gown
Picks up the letter that’s lying there
Standing alone at the top of the stairs
She breaks down and cries to her husband
Daddy, our baby’s gone
Why would she treat us so thoughtlessly
How could she do this to me

She (We never thought of ourselves)
Is leaving (Never a thought for ourselves)
Home (We gave her everything money could buy)
She’s leaving home after living alone for so many years. Bye, bye

Friday morning at nine o’clock she is far away
Waiting to keep the appointment she made
Meeting a man from a motor trade

She (What did we do that was wrong)
Is having (We didn’t know it was wrong)
Fun (Fun is the one thing that money can’t buy)

Something inside that was always denied for so many years
She’s leaving home, bye, bye

Postscript:

Anyone reading the comments boxes will spot that I wrongly labelled this place as Lowestoft (where the film is set) when I first pressed the publish button – It was quickly pointed out by TS that it’s actually Southwold. Duly corrected.

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Southwold beach

London Calling, “Summer In The City” and A (Mini) Bloggers’ Summit

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The view across London from the Tate Modern

Another week, another picture post. I’m not sure how this happens, but every time I visit London I seem to be faced with a heatwave. Temperatures on Saturday hit 35 degrees at one point, but luckily for me it was a bit more manageable on the Friday, as that was the day I was to meet up with long-term blogging buddy C, from Sun Dried Sparrows. But in the anonymous world of music blogging, how would we recognise each other? Why, with mock-ups of our Swedey McSwedeface “first album” sleeves of course!

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Alyson and Elvis
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C with the much cooler Clash

Having successfully met at the planned rendezvous, and not made any major blunders mistaking total strangers for our blogging pals, central London was ours to explore, punctuated of course with lengthy stops for coffee, lunch and drinks of the non-alcoholic nature (we are both lightweights nowadays it seems).

Somehow, in a short space of time, we managed to visit the Tate Modern, cross the Millennium Bridge to St Paul’s, have a boat trip down to Westminster (to give them a few tips on how to run things), pass by Downing Street and Whitehall, catch the wildlife in St James’s Park, all before heading back to Trafalgar Square to find our respective lines on the Underground.

As suspected, even with a blogging buddy whom until this point I had only “spoken to” online, the conversation flowed freely as we already knew each other so well from our respective blogs. I am well-known around here for over-sharing but maybe that’s a good thing as we were already like old pals. A fine day was, I’m pretty sure, had by all and I for one hope we’ll be able to do it again sometime.

Luckily for me, I have a wide network of old friends and ex-flatmates I somehow have recently become reacquainted with via social media. Yes I know it can be evil at times, but it can also be useful, as one of these old friends lives in Wimbledon and she was happy to put me up (or was it put up with me) for the weekend.

On the Saturday, we were to meet up with an extended group and head into town to catch the new Dior Exhibition at the V&A. It was spectacular indeed and is to be recommended. The Dior name is internationally renowned but the man himself died young at the age of 51, having only run his “house” for 9 years. Luckily, since 1956, a steady stream of visionary designers such as Yves St Laurent and John Galliano have taken over as Creative Director for the house, leaving us with gowns that are more works of art than items of clothing. Our favourite pieces however were those created by the current in-house designer Maria Grazia Chiuri. Stunningly beautiful.

But what is it I usually say at this point – Oh yes, this is supposed to be a music blog so where is the song? I have veered far off topic on this one I think, but I really wanted to record the events of a weekend which would never have happened had I not decided to start revisiting the tracks of my years just over three years ago. I certainly hadn’t expected to make such good friends out of this blogging malarkey but here we are. I can confirm that C is just as lovely as you would expect from her blog.

One of my abiding memories of the weekend however is the heat. The local Tube Station on Saturday was closed, probably getting a bit of last minute maintenance before the onslaught of visitors who will be using it over the next fortnight whilst that very famous Tennis Tournament is in session. We had to bus it into London, and then bus it home again, in temperatures a lady from the Highlands of Scotland is just not used to. When I got off the bus late afternoon on Saturday, my trousers were sticking to my legs, courtesy of London Transport’s moquette seat upholstery. Yes, it was a hot town and the back of my neck was getting dirty and gritty. Cue the Lovin’ Spoonful and a song from over 50 years ago, Summer In The City written by John Sebastian and still ranked as one of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

Summer In The City by The Lovin’ Spoonful:

I did tell C I would probably write a post about our meet-up but keep it low key. Not sure if she’ll see this as low key at all, but my thinking is everyone is either at Glastonbury, or watching Glastonbury on telly this weekend, so this post will slip under the radar. I myself have watched much of the footage this afternoon, and really enjoyed the Pyramid Stage performance last night by The Killers. I don’t think it was quite as hot down on Worthy Farm as in Central London on Saturday, but I did hear the showers had to be switched off at one point to conserve water for thirsty festival goers. It is on my bucket list to go one year, as I never have, but considering my distress at merely traversing London in the heat I’m not sure how I would cope with both the camping and the lack of showers. Then again, three years ago I would never have thought I would travel to the other end of the country to meet a “virtual friend” met via this place, so it just goes to show, you never can tell.

Until next time….

Summer In The City Lyrics
(Song by John Sebastian/Mark Sebastian/Steve Boone)

Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn’t it a pity
Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city

All around, people looking half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head

But at night it’s a different world
Go out and find a girl
Come-on come-on and dance all night
Despite the heat it’ll be alright

And babe, don’t you know it’s a pity
That the days can’t be like the nights
In the summer, in the city
In the summer, in the city

Cool town, evening in the city
Dressing so fine and looking so pretty
Cool cat, looking for a kitty
Gonna look in every corner of the city
Till I’m wheezing like a bus stop
Running up the stairs, gonna meet you on the rooftop

But at night it’s a different world
Go out and find a girl
Come-on come-on and dance all night
Despite the heat it’ll be alright

And babe, don’t you know it’s a pity
That the days can’t be like the nights
In the summer, in the city
In the summer, in the city

The Sweet, “Little Willy” and Jings, Crivens, Help Ma Boab!

One for the Scottish contingent of bloggers. Out and about yesterday evening tracking down the “Wullies” that have come to town via this summer’s Big Bucket Trail!

Oor Wullie is an iconic figure in the world of comic strips, and along with The Broons, kept generations of Scottish kids amused on a Sunday morning, as we read of their antics in the “funny papers” as the Americans call them.

Oor Wullie’s Big Bucket Trail will run for 11 weeks from 17th June to 30th August culminating in a series of Farewell Events and nationwide auctions in each of the five host cities, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Inverness. Scotland’s first ever national public art trail aims to unite the country as it raises awareness and vital funds for Scotland’s children’s hospital charities.

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As for a song, what else to include but Little Willy by Sweet! Scottish born Brian Connolly could not have looked more different from Oor Wullie with his enviable long blond hair and “glam” clothes, but Sweet but were one of the biggest bands of the 1970s, first of all releasing records of the bubblegum pop persuasion but evolving into more of a hard rock band by the latter part of the decade. This single was one of their early ones from 1972 and looking at the clip I’m pretty sure I had a shirt/trouser/tank top combo very similar to the one worn by Brian at the time. It never ceased to amaze me how he could simultaneously look somewhat girly, but also very macho.

Anyway, a short picture post this one as I have lots to do before next weekend, as I have a trip planned. It’s going to be a blogging first for me and one I’m looking forward to immensely – Watch this space!

Little Willy Lyrics
(Song by Mike Chapman/Nicky Chinn)

North side, east side
Little Willy, Willy wears the crown, he’s the king around town
Dancing and glancing
Willy drives them silly with his star shoe shimmy shuffle down

Way past one and feeling alright
‘Cause with little Willy ’round they can last all night
Hey down, stay down, stay down down

‘Cause little Willy, Willy won’t go home
But you can’t push Willy ’round
Willy won’t go, try tellin’ everybody but, oh no
Little Willy, Willy won’t go home

Up town, down town
Little Willy, Willy drives them wild with his run-around style
Inside, outside
Willy sends them silly with his star-shine shimmy shuffle smile

Mama done chase Willy down through the hall
But laugh, Willy laugh, he don’t care at all
Hey down, stay down, stay down down

‘Cause little Willy, Willy won’t go home
But you can’t push Willy ’round
Willy won’t go, try tellin’ everybody but, oh no
Little Willy, Willy won’t go home

Little Willy, Willy won’t
Willy won’t, Willy won’t
Little Willy, Willy won’t
Willy won’t, Willy won’t
Little Willy, Willy won’t
Willy won’t, Willy won’t
Little Willy, Willy won’t
Willy won’t, Willy won’t

Little Willy, Willy won’t go home
But you can’t push Willy ’round
Willy won’t go, try tellin’ everybody but, oh no
Little Willy, Willy won’t go home

Little Willy, Willy won’t go home
But you can’t push Willy ’round
Willy won’t go, try tellin’ everybody but, oh no
Little Willy, Willy won’t go home

Little Willy, Willy won’t go home
But you can’t push Willy ’round
Willy won’t go, try tellin’ everybody but, oh no

Postscript:

Couldn’t get a picture of this one last night as inside the locked Shopping Centre. Got one today though, so that completes the set of 10 Wullies.

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Earworm of the Week #1 – Motown Supergroups and “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me”

In my last post I mentioned that I now had 83 ideas backing up in my list of “posts pending” and needed some help in making inroads. C from Sun-Dried Sparrows stepped up to the plate and randomly picked no. 63. That turned out to be an idea added only last week (as this list is in spreadsheet form and is sorted by category then alphabetically). It was also potentially going to kick start a new series called Earworm of the Week.

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We all know what an earworm is – That catchy piece of music that continually repeats in your head long after you’ve heard it, and apparently a calque (a word or phrase borrowed from another language via a literal word-for-word translation) from the German Ohrwurm. Two weeks ago my Earworm of the Week was Tony Christie’s Avenues and Alleyways, but the moment passed for me to write about it, despite having done the research (the theme tune to the TV show The Protectors I discovered). This last week, the earworm was I’m Gonna Make You Love Me by Diana Ross & The Supremes and The Temptations.

Not sure if this part of the song is the “hook”, if fact I’m pretty sure it’s not, but the line that keeps going round and round in my head is this one:

“I’m gonna try every trick in the book”

Having studied such things as part of my course this last year, poets and lyric writers make great use of the sound patterning of words, and both trick and book end with the hard letter k, which means that line exhibits the sound pattern called consonance. Perhaps that’s why it has really taken hold this last week. Whatever, lets have a listen to the whole song, a wonderful example of what can happen when two of Motown’s top groups get together for a recording. The song was incidentally written not by Holland-Dozier-Holland in this case, but by that wonderful team Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff who went on to form Philadelphia International Records as a rival to Berry Gordy’s Motown.

I’m Gonna Make You Love Me by Diana Ross & The Supremes and The Temptations:

The song peaked at No. 2 on the Hot 100 in the United States and at No. 3 on the UK Singles Chart in January 1969. Putting those two groups together was a masterstroke, but long delayed, as they had known each other since their Detroit school days. The Supremes were originally called the The Primettes, the sister group to a singing group known as The Primes formed by Paul Williams and Eddie Kendricks who would go on to become The Temptations. As a Motown supergroup however, the name is a tad cumbersome what with the word “and” featuring twice. At least one is an ampersand, but still, a bit of a mouthful.

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Gamble and Huff

From experience, earworms don’t usually last longer than a week, which is fortunate as although this is a fairly pleasurable one, they can be really annoying. Around the time of the Eurovision Song Contest it’s important to avoid catching the 1981 winner Making Your Mind Up by Bucks Fizz on the radio, as once it’s in there, impossible to budge.

So, “What’s It All About?” – My long list of ideas is going to take a fair while to eat into, as it keeps being added to at a faster rate than I can keep up. I think I can knock two ideas off the list now though, as poor old Tony Christie doesn’t look as if he’s going to be written about now, although a shame, as I had no idea he’d had such a long and interesting career, continually reinventing himself. I had also assumed when I was young that he was American, as he always seemed to sing about places in the US such as Amarillo. Not so, he was a product of the Working Men’s Clubs of the North of England and lived most of his life in Sheffield.

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Tony Christie – Still going strong

Thanks C for the prompt. Happy to oblige if anyone else wants to throw me a few numbers between 1 and 81? You can take the number cruncher out of the workplace, but you can’t take the number crunching out of the girl!

Until next time….

I’m Gonna Make You Love Me Lyrics
(Song by Kenny Gamble/Leon Huff/Jerry Ross)

I’m gonna do all the things for you, a girl wants a man to do.
Oh, baby (Oh, baby)
I’ll sacrifice for you, I’ll even do wrong for you.
Oh, baby (Oh, baby)

Every minute, every hour.
I’m gonna shower you with love and affection.
Look out it’s coming in your direction.
And I’m… I’m gonna make you love me.
Oh, yes I will.
Yes I will.
I’m gonna make you love me.
Oh, yes I will.
Yes I will.

Look it here.
My love is strong, you see.
I know you’ll never get tired of me.
Oh, baby (She’ won’t) (Oh baby)
And I’m gonna use every trick in the book.
I’ll try my best to get you hooked.
Hey, baby (Take me I’m yours) (Hey, baby)

And every night, every day.
I’m gonna say.
I’m gonna get you, I’m gonna get you.
Look out boy, ’cause I’m gonna get you.

I’m gonna make you love me.
Ooo, yes I will.
Yes I will.
And I’m gonna make you love me.
Ooo, yes I will
You know I will.

Every breathe I take.
And each and every step I make.
Brings me closer, baby.
Closer to you.

And with each beat of my heart.
For every day we are apart.
I’ll hunger for every wasted hour.

And every night and every day.
I’m gonna get you, I’m gonna get you.
Look out ’cause I’m gonna get you.

And I’m gonna make…
I’m gonna make you love me.
Oh, oh. (Yes I will)
I’m gonna make you love me.
Ooo, yes I will. Yes I will.
I’m gonna make you love me.
Yes I will. (Yes I will)
Ooo, I’m gonna make you love me.
Yes I will.
Yes I will.

Sleepless Nights, Summer of Rockets and The Music of 1958

Not sure what’s happened but experiencing a bit of blogger’s block at the moment. For me, it’s never about lack of inspiration as at the latest count I have 83 “posts pending” (yes really), a new series on the go, 3 series on hiatus and 4 “series pending”. I think it’s more that my senses are being over-stimulated at the moment, so can’t concentrate on one topic long enough to write about it without being distracted by something else.

My sore neck and shoulder continues to trouble me, so sleep is being disrupted, and when you can’t sleep your mind inevitably goes into overdrive. The darkest hour is just before dawn as we all know, but difficult to control what pops into the old noddle at that time. So, what does a person do when they want to clear their head a bit? – Why they have a notebook at hand at all times ready to capture ideas, thoughts and observations as they pop into the brain, freeing up a few of the terabytes left to fill up with other worries!

I’m making it sound a bit worse than it is as I don’t really have too many major worries compared to a lot of other folks, but being home-based as I am nowadays, I do watch an awful lot of news on telly, and there’s not a lot going on at the moment to give one much hope for the future. Combine that with watching the BBC drama Years and Years which portrays a worrying (but totally believable) picture of what life might be like in just 5 years time, and sleep patterns are inevitably disturbed.

Funnily enough, another drama we binge-watched last week on the BBC iPlayer was Summer of Rockets set in 1958, now over 60 years ago, which should have portrayed a picture of simpler times when we didn’t lie in bed worrying about the future. Not so however, as that was the year of the first hydrogen bomb test, the cold war was ramping up and issues arising from immigration brought out the worst in people. On the upside, I do love a period drama set in the 1950s, as I love the clothes the girls wore – All those wide skirts and petticoats. The omnipresent Keeley Hawes played one of the lead roles, but I was most impressed with another younger actress, called Lily Sacofsky, who played a reluctant debutante being prepared for “the season”. Britain however was on the cusp of major social change and her character Hannah plays a large part the denouement of the main plot. I won’t give too much away as some of the episodes have yet to air on real-time telly, but one to be recommended.

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Hannah the reluctant “deb”

But as I always say at around this point, this is supposed to be a music blog, so which song to include? I wasn’t yet born in 1958 when people were lying in bed worrying about the Bomb, and social change, so have no direct memory of the music of the time. We all know however that rock ‘n’ roll came to our shores in the late ’50s so a really exciting time for young people who were lucky enough to have invested in a record player for the corner of their bedrooms. Looking at the Official UK Singles Chart for this week in 1958 however, there isn’t much rock ‘n’ roll to be found, the top spot being taken by Connie Francis and the Top Ten containing an awful lot of ballads and show tunes.

One band on that list is The Mudlarks, a family group from Luton comprising Jeff, Fred and Mary Mudd who obviously sang like larks! In 1958, they attracted the attention of radio DJ David Jacobs, who got them an appearance on the Six-Five Special TV show, and a recording contract with EMI. They did a cover of the American novelty song Lollipop, but later in 1958 they released Book of Love, which is a song I am familiar with. At the end of the year The Mudlarks were voted top British vocal group by readers of the New Musical Express.

Here is an interesting snippet – Fred Mudd married Leila Williams, who co-hosted the children’s telly show Blue Peter from 1958 until 1962. Most of us of a certain age grew up watching Blue Peter, and remember well the making of the advent crown from tinsel and coat hangers, the annual Appeal, Freda the tortoise and that baby elephant called Lulu, who trod on John Noakes foot after running amok all over the studio. My era of Blue Peter featured presenters Valerie Singleton, Peter Purves and the aforementioned John (get down Shep) Noakes. I also think that was probably the last time I lay in bed and didn’t worry about “stuff”. Note to self: must do better.

Well, that clip never ceases to amuse, and made me laugh out loud. Lulu, I salute you.

Until next time….

Book of Love Lyrics
(Song by Charles Patrick/George Malone/Warren Davis)

I wonder, wonder who, who-oo-ooh, who
(Who wrote the Book Of Love)
Tell me, tell me, tell me
Oh, who wrote the Book Of Love
I’ve got to know the answer
Was it someone from above
(Oh, I wonder, wonder who, ummbadoo-ooh, who)
(Who wrote the Book Of Love)

I love you, Darlin’
Baby, you know I do
But I’ve got to see this Book of Love
Find out why it’s true
(Oh, I wonder, wonder who, ummbadoo-ooh, who)
(Who wrote the Book Of Love)

Chapter One says to love her
You love her with all your heart
Chapter Two you tell her you’re
Never, never, never, never, never gonna part
In Chapter Three remember the meaning of romance
In Chapter Four you break up
But you give her just one more chance
(Oh, I wonder, wonder who, ummbadoo-ooh, wWho)
(Who wrote the Book Of Love)

Baby, baby, baby
I love you, yes I do
Well it says so in this Book Of Love
Ours is the one that’s true
(Oh, I wonder, wonder who, ummbadoo-ooh, who)
(Who wrote the Book Of Love)

Awesome Mixtapes #1 – Propaganda and “Duel”

If it seems I have been largely absent of late, don’t worry, I’m not giving you all the cold shoulder, instead I have a cold shoulder as a result of the ice pack currently attached to it. I don’t know about the rest of you, but too many hours spent in front of a computer really goes for my neck and shoulders. On top of it being gardening season, being busy with changeovers at the holiday hideaway, and a spot of sewing, I am currently in agony. Here is one that was largely already written however, so I’ll try and finish it off before the ice pack melts!

I recently wrote about one of the songs that featured in the second Guardians of the Galaxy movie. It formed part of the excellent soundtrack which became known as, and was released under the moniker, Awesome Mix Vol. 2. It certainly was an awesome mix of lesser-known 1970s pop hits, all carefully chosen by James Gunn, who directed and wrote the screenplay for the film.

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If like me you were born right at the start of the ’60s, you would have been just the right age for mixtapes, as we became teenagers right at the time those newfangled cassette recorder machines came into our lives. Right through the ’70s, I created many, many mixtapes by recording songs from TOTP and Sunday night’s Official Chart Show, where just before 7pm, we discovered who now held the top spot in the UK Singles Chart.

In time however, as our equipment became more sophisticated, mixtapes were made by selecting our favourite album tracks and tailoring them for specific people. Over the years many mixtapes were exchanged between friends, lovers, or more likely, potential lovers – Of all the ones I received, this one was probably the best. There was also an IC1, an IC3 and an IC4, but IC2 was my favourite, which is why I still own it all these years later despite no longer having anything to play it on. I’m not going to say who IC was, but suffice to say he was a friend with a fantastic record collection who was also a born entertainer. He was one of my first friends to own his own house, and being an excellent cook, many dinner parties were held. This mixtape was made in the autumn of 1986, when for a brief nano-second I think I became part of the city’s “cool” set. It was fun for a short time, but as a naturally “uncool” person, the pressure was on to always wear the right clothes, read the right publications and generally be on point at all times. Luckily, I got a job in another town soon afterwards, so could extricate myself quite easily from this group, clocking it up to a short-lived, but exciting time in my life when I think I did fake it by trying to be someone I was not (wouldn’t ever recommend it).

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Anyway, I am in need of a new series I think as I seem to be jumping all over the place at the moment. As a nod to the GOTG soundtrack, I am going to use this mixtape of my own, and work my way through the tracks from IC’s awesome collection. When I first started seeing Mr WIAA he picked out this tape as one of his favourites and it accompanied us on holidays, on car trips and the like. It was very much from his era as an art student and the tracks reminded him of those days. He has a great fondness for the song Duel by Propaganda, partly because it reminds him so much of how the girls at art school looked in the mid ’80s – The hair, clothes and make-up was on point (unlike when I tried to recreate the look to fit in with my new “cool” friends). So, time to find out a bit more about this band and the song.

Duel by Propaganda:

What I wouldn’t have known back then was that Propaganda are German and were signed to Trevor Horn’s ZTT label between 1984 and 1986, which is when the song Duel was released. It was their highest-charting single in the UK reaching No. 21 in April 1985. Recording music of a synthpop nature they would naturally have found favour with the art school set of the mid ’80s. Lead singer Susanne Freytag certainly did have quite a distinctive look. (If like me however you had poker-straight fine hair back then, the voluminous spikey look was a challenge indeed that required much “product”).

As for the song Duel, the reason I’ve started off with it, is because it is often played in football stadiums ahead of kick-off, where two adversaries are about to challenge each other. It is the song played at the Heart Of Midlothian stadium during home matches and only last weekend they made it to the final of the Scottish Cup at Hampden. Perhaps because they didn’t have the adrenaline rush of coming out to the sound of Duel in familiar surroundings they lost 2-1 to Celtic, after initially being ahead. Earlier this week we had the Europa League final in Baku where Chelsea won the big prize and later on today, we are to have the Champions League final in Madrid. Jez over at Dubious Towers has already written about that match earlier today and will no doubt hope his beloved Spurs will take the crown.

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Propaganda

In news closer to home, it seems DD’s boyfriend is off to join one of the country’s biggest football teams for the new season – We wish him all the best, but as DD (who knows nothing about football) seems to be going with him, it will be a big wrench for our little family. Big changes round the corner but after years of having little interest in all things football-related, suddenly it’s become a pretty big deal.

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So, “What’s It All About?”. I seem to have pulled this one off, despite my sore neck and shoulders. I will be cheering on Spurs tonight in support of Jez who has had a tough time of late and could be doing with a bit of good fortune coming his way. I doubt if we will hear the song Duel as they enter the pitch in Madrid, but good for me to have found out a bit more of the backstory, which just wouldn’t have been possible back in the day. As for the DD footballing story, there will no doubt be more on that over the next few months. Football is not coming home for her, it’s taking her away, but perhaps time to fly the nest – We hope she will soar.

Until next time….

Duel Lyrics
(Song by Claudia Brücken/Ralf Dörper/Michael Mertens)

Eye to eye stand winners and losers
Hurt by envy, cut by greed
Face to face with their own disillusion
The scars of old romances still on their cheeks

And when blow by blow the passion dies
Sweet little death just have been lies
The memories of gone by time
Would still recall the lie

The first cut won’t hurt at all
The second only makes you wonder
The third will have you on your knees
You start bleeding I start screaming

It’s too late the decision is made by fate
Time to prove what forever should last
Whose feelings are so true as to stand the test
Whose demands are so strong as to parry all attempts

And when blow by blow the passion dies
Sweet little death just have been lies
The memories of gone by time
Would still recall the lie

The first cut won’t hurt at all
The second only makes you wonder
The third will have you on your knees
You start bleeding I start screaming