Lockdown Headwear, Trainspotting and “Lust For Life”

A lovely post last week from C over at Sun Dried Sparrows was inspired both by the lyrics to David Bowie’s song Queen Bitch, and by the fact we’re all soon going to have to wear bippity-boppity hats to cover up our uncut and uncoiffed hair.

She’s so swishy in her satin and tat
In her frock coat and bippity-boppity hat

Well, it’s taken a global pandemic but I’m becoming a lot less shy around here. The Swede over at Unthought of, though, somehow has already shared his “hat picture” in reply, so here is mine. It’s from a long time ago, when I still looked young and cute, taken on our honeymoon in Edinburgh in 1992. No far-flung trips to foreign climes for us, as money was tight, but I have such fond memories of that week and a simple three hour drive down the A9 was all that was needed to get there. My hat was a favourite from the time and seemed to stay on my disproportionately big head just right.

Who else is willing to share a picture of themselves in their favourite headwear? I nominate C.

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My Honeymoon Hat

Regulars around here might remember that a few years ago, whilst having yet another trip to Edinburgh, Mr WIAA and myself made a short film recreating scenes from the film Trainspotting (written about here).

trainspotting

My last post was quite a serious one so in order to lighten the mood I’m happy to humiliate myself again by sharing the practice film we made on day one, and the final cut from day two. Twenty five years on from the picture above and everything looked pretty much the same. Right now, Edinburgh will be a ghost town.

(Just in case anyone missed out on Danny Boyle’s black comedy about a group of heroin addicts living in an economically depressed area of Edinburgh, I have added the official trailer from 1996 to the bottom of this page as a postscript. My little films will thus make more sense.)

Day 1 – Carrying out the Recce and the Outtakes

Day 2 – The Final Masterpiece (soundtrack by David Bowie and Iggy Pop)

There were plans afoot for a mini-blogger’s summit to take place in Edinburgh towards the end of the summer. Will we really still be in lockdown mode then? I for one sincerely hope not.

Until next time, look out those bippity-boppity hats and get snapping.

Lust for Life Lyrics
(Song by Iggy Pop/David Bowie)

Here comes Johnny Yen again
With the liquor and drugs
And a flesh machine
He’s gonna do another strip tease

Hey man, where’d you get that lotion?
I’ve been hurting since I bought the gimmick
About something called love
Yeah, something called love
Well, that’s like hypnotising chickens

Well, I’m just a modern guy
Of course, I’ve had it in the ear before
‘Cause of a lust for life
‘Cause of a lust for life

I’m worth a million in prizes
With my torture film
Drive a G.T.O.
Wear a uniform
All on government loan

I’m worth a million in prizes
Yeah, I’m through with sleeping on the sidewalk
No more beating my brains
No more beating my brains
With the liquor and drugs
With the liquor and drugs

Well, I’m just a modern guy
Of course, I’ve had it in my ear before
‘Cause, of a lust for life (lust for life)
‘Cause of a lust for life (lust for life, oooo)
I’ve got a lust for life (oooh)
Got a lust for life (oooh)
Oh, a lust for life (oooh)
Oh, a lust for life (oooh)
A lust for life (oooh)
I got a lust for life (oooh)
Got a lust for life

Postscript:

Trainspotting – The official trailer.

Division, Extremes and “Pinball” by Brian Protheroe

I can’t be alone in noticing that this crisis is throwing up the most awful contrasts in the lives of our citizens. I also can’t be alone in cringing when I see “celebrities” (the more pointless of them thankfully now redundant) sharing pictures from their luxury mansions, bemoaning the fact that lockdown is like being in jail. No it’s not – You have five bedrooms, a pool, and access to a stash of cash. If ever there was a time for them to leave social media behind, it would be now.

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Ignore the missing apostrophe, not my doing

But even closer to home, I find myself getting a bit fratchety with some friends and neighbours who just don’t seem to be showing any empathy at all for what certain groups of people are currently going through. How can you live in 21st century Britain without realising this is not all just a bit of an inconvenience but something really, really far-reaching for the future. The division between rich and poor has never been so marked and during a global pandemic it turns out that in the main, it is those who earn the least that are the most valuable. Every day they are putting their lives at risk, for which I am truly grateful, and tell them so at every opportunity.

Poverty-Line

As for our many friends who also work in the craft industries (one of whom always told us his ambition was to one day reach the poverty line), I not only worry about their ability to tick over during this lockdown, but also their mental health. Being a creative type does tend to go hand in hand with a heightened sensitivity to bloody everything, and the NaPoWriMo poems coming in from my writer friends is bearing that out.

But hey, rant over, this is a music blog and I heard a wonderful song from 1974 on the car radio last week as I headed out to forage for provisions. It was all about that feeling of ennui, which makes you hole up at home, not bothering to go out. Ironically we are nearly all now holed up at home, but not from the feeling of ennui, but because we are frankly terrified of going out both for health reasons and for fear of falling foul of fast-changing lockdown rules (unintentional but lively alliteration there).

Brian Protheroe still is and was primarily an actor back in 1974, but he also wrote a few fine songs and released some albums on the Chrysalis label. His most successful single was Pinball and I have become quite smitten by it.

Pinball by Brian Protheroe:

Brian had been out of work and was living in a flea ridden room in Covent Garden. The song came out of the mundane things he saw over the course of the weekend. There is a sax solo but other than that it’s a very simple song, just folky verses and no chorus. It also references the Beatles split from a few years before and all of Brian’s songs are noted for their use of wordplay, some nonsensical, in the vein of John Lennon.

So, “What’s It All About?” – Funny how we are happy to go with the flow when life is normal (and not “the new normal”), but at times of crisis, the glittering lives of those we have elevated to celebrity status are suddenly unimportant. Also, those many acquaintances and Facebook “friends” we are happy to engage with when times are good, are now showing their true colours. I have been really touched by some of the offers of help old friends have given to DD, as her situation is really difficult at the moment. Not needed as yet but I will remember them. I will also remember those who have laughed at me and told me I’m just overthinking things as everything will soon be back to how it was. I know we have to remain positive, but deliberately burying your head in the sand when so many are going to suffer, is just crass. Post-coronavirus all bets are off and only time will tell what “the new, new normal” will really look like.

Until next time, take care as ever, and feel free to leave a comment. I need to know I am not just another music geek, who overthinks things.

Pinball Lyrics
(Song by Brian Protheroe)

And I’ve run out of pale ale
And I feel like I’m in jail
And my music bores me once again
And I’ve been on the pinball
And I know longer know it all
And they say that you never know when you’re insane

Got fleas in my bedroom
Got flies in my bathroom
And the cat just finished off the bread
So I walk over Soho
And I read about Monroe
And I wonder was she really what they said

Got a call from a good friend
Come on down for the weekend
Didn’t know if I could spare the time
I knew a woman who was crazy
About a boy who was lazy
But it didn’t work out ‘cos they just couldn’t make it rhyme

Hey Jude you were alright
I could have grooved with you all night
But you turned your back on the part again
Mama if i keep my head clean
Will I really have a good dream
Or will I wake up in confusion just the same

And I’ve run out of pale ale
And I feel like I’m in jail
Got fleas in the bedroom
Got flies in the bathroom
Got a call from a good friend
Come on down for the weekend
Hey Jude you were alright
I could have grooved with you all night

And I’ve been on the pale ale
And I feel like a pinball

Postscript:

When doing a modicum of research for this post I discovered that Brian Protheroe has been the narrator for the Channel 4 dating show First Dates since 2013. When I travelled south to meet up with the lovely C from Sun Dried Sparrows last summer, we had lunch in that very location.

The Night Sky, Nick Drake and A Super “Pink Moon”

We may be living through the rigours of a global pandemic, but the moon knows nothing about it, and we are about to witness a Super Pink Moon on Tuesday night – Super because it’s at that point in its elliptical orbit when it comes nearest to Earth, so looks larger than usual. I’ve written about the Pink Moon before so time to revisit that post and the song of the same name I think. Looking up at the sky tonight, it’s easy to forget that all is not as it should be in the world right now, but even in lockdown, we should still be able to enjoy this celestial spectacle on Tuesday night.

What's It All About?

Since discovering that all full moons have a name (given to them by the Native Americans who kept track of the months by the lunar calendar), I have written about each one as they appear in our skies. To accompany the post I always include one of the numerous songs that have been written about the moon and its many foibles.

It passes in a flash doesn’t it? Ever since following the full moon cycle for this blog, the lunar months seem to have rocketed by. This calendar month, on the 30th April, we are to have a Pink Moon appear in our skies. This time the name comes from one of the spring flowers the ancient Native Americans would have seen covering the ground around April’s full moon – The pink Moss Phlox.

Well I can’t say I have such a flower in my garden, but I can…

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NaPoWriMo, The Crusaders and “Street Life” (Or Rather The Lack Of It)

Well, how are we all doing? A whole new collection of words and phrases has entered our vocabulary (self-isolation, social distancing, on furlough et al) and it somehow feels as if they’ve always been with us, but they really haven’t, it’s just that everyone seems to have adapted overnight to “the new normal”.

I’ve already been for my daily walk and fortunately timed it just right, as yesterday we did not, and ended up striding along the banks of the Caledonian Canal in sheet rain. I was wearing one of those coats with a complicated hood full of channels for cords and toggles. By the time we’d worked out how they kept sheet rain out it was too late, but no matter, I certainly wasn’t going anywhere important where I had to look smart and coiffed, just back home.

Home.

hsh

I spend a lot of time at home in my normal life, so not a big change for me. The big change is that economically I now have no purpose, as my purpose was to help Mr WIAA run his business and to prepare for guests coming to stay in the holiday hideaway. Neither of these businesses can operate in this strange new world of staying at home and social distancing, so all a tad disconcerting. I know we have to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives, but my goodness, the fallout will be with us all for many, many years to come and I fear for the younger generation whose job it will be to navigate this brave new world.

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Spread your wings, but not for a while it seems

A very pleasant distraction that came along yesterday was the start of NaPoWriMo – National Poetry Writing Month. Although I am currently a lapsed student, I am still part of a NaPoWriMo FaceBook group, and a fair few efforts have already come in. I shared some of my fellow students’ work last year (link here) as I was really blown away by their poems, having quickly realised it was not a discipline I had any talent for at all. Whenever I did post something it tended to be a comedic tum-ti-tum kind of affair, and true to form, my first contribution this year seems to have gone along the same lines.

A Loo Roll Dystopia

Handed in a story once upon a time
Up for an assessment, thought it would be fine
Looked forward to the outcome, but ’twas a massive fail!
“Too far-fetched… , dystopian” was deemed to be my tale

But that was then, and this is now
And I find myself with furrowed brow
I had foretold what might come to pass
But missed the obsession we’d have with our ass

Paper products stripped from the shelves
Even those in a pack of twelve
When the threat recedes of what came from Hubei
We’ll be trapped inside, by Triple Velvet 3-ply

(I’ll get my coat!)

No mention of music yet in this post, but I am inclined to share a song I heard on the radio last night before heading to bed. When Randy Crawford started to sing Street Life, the song she recorded with American jazz band The Crusaders, it really hit home that street life as we know it has all but gone, and we miss it. The song reached No. 5 in the UK Singles Chart in 1979 and represented the peak of the band’s commercial popularity. Randy has appeared around here before, a couple of times, as I have always had a great fondness for her voice.

I usually share an audio clip of the featured song but it seems I don’t have The Crusader’s Street Life in my library. What I do have however is another Street Life by Roxy Music, this time from 1973. He certainly was a very dapper chap that Bryan Ferry wasn’t he? Again the lyrics about a world I now know nothing of, bar the suburban streets that run adjacent to the place we call home.

Street Life by Roxy Music:

I hope you and those you love stay safe and well. It hasn’t really hit home what we are up against yet here in the North of Scotland, but for any of you who are key workers caught up in the eye of the storm, you have my immense admiration and gratitude for what you are doing.

Until next time….

Street Life Lyrics
(Song by Will Jennings/Joe Sample)

I play the street life
Because there’s no place I can go
Street life
It’s the only life I know
Street life
And there’s a thousand cards to play
Street life
Until you play your life away

You let the people see

Just who you wanna be
And every night you shine
Just like a superstar
The type of life that’s played
A temptin’ masquerade
You dress you walk you talk
You’re who you think you are

Street life

You can run away from time
Street life
For a nickel or a dime
Street life
But you better not get old
Street life
Or you’re gonna feel the cold

There’s always love for sale

A grown up fairy tale
Prince charming always smiles
Behind a silver spoon
And if you keep it young
Your song is always sung
Your love will pay your way
Beneath the silver moon

Street life

Street life
Street life
Oh street life

I play the street life

Because there’s no place I can go
Street life
It’s the only life I know

Street life

And there’s a thousand cards to play
Street life
Until you play your life away – oh
Street life
Street life
Street life
Oh street life

Alyson’s Archive #8 – More Local Hero-Related Pictures and Music

Ok, deep breath, stick to the routine.

This year I’ve done a pretty good job of sticking to a new routine of blogging on a Saturday morning whilst Mr WIAA is at our local sports centre engaging in a bit of yoga. He’s been going for over 10 years now, and is often the only male in the class, but after a back operation a good few years ago it was obvious that going forward he needed to really look after that part of his body and I think he could now give the average 30-year-old a run for their money. As the sports centre is closed he’s taken to the kitchen to create his poses, so I’ll just stick to my usual routine of playing Rol’s Saturday Snapshots and then share something new.

220px-Local_Hero_Poster

Last time I included another of the little films I made a couple of years ago around the time of the Spring Equinox. It featured the Mark Knopfler instrumental Going Home from the film Local Hero and regular commenter Lynchie jumped in and regaled us with his tale of having been the first journalist to meet with David Puttnam and Bill Forsyth to hear about their planned production (link here). The village of Pennan on the Aberdeenshire coast had been chosen as the setting for the fictitious village of Ferness which was to be the site for a new oil refinery. The hot-shot executive sent to close the deal gradually adapts to the slower-paced life however and gets to know the eccentric residents. As time goes by he becomes conflicted, as he knows the deal will mark the end of the quaint little village he has come to love. Unbeknownst to him however, the villagers are tired of their hard life and are more than eager to sell, although they feign indifference to induce a larger offer. This all leads to some great comedic moments.

A couple of years ago we decided to take an Australian visitor along the coast to visit Pennan and I managed to get my picture taken outside the iconic red telephone box. I’m pretty sure everyone must do that but only if they successfully navigate the steep single track road down into the village. At one point we had to reverse backwards up the hill to let someone past and I was pretty alarmed by the burning smell coming from under the bonnet. Anyway, the car survived, and we had a really pleasant afternoon in a village that feels as if time forgot.

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Standing by the Local Hero telephone box

Well, it took a Herculean effort to upload those pictures, as my broadband is rubbish at the best of times, but much slower at the moment. Not important in the grand scheme of things but I hope we can all continue to stay connected through these difficult days and weeks.

I only have one other piece of music on this device by Mark Knopfler and it’s called If This Is Goodbye, a duet he recorded with Emmylou Harris. Very beautiful but not the most positive of sounding songs, so to end this post I’ll just share another clip of Mr Knopfler playing a different version of his instrumental from the film.

Until next time….  Take care and keep well.

A Shower Room Update, Appreciating the Little Things and “Going Home”

I have absolutely no idea how to pitch my blog posts at the moment as in the few days between writing something new, the world has yet again been transformed into a place none of us would have recognised only a couple of weeks ago. I admit to having had a rather large wobble over the last 24 hours (too much social media), but after the massive treat of going to the local supermarket for a basketful of basics, and having just met some of my neighbours (at a distance) for the mass round of applause for the NHS, I think I’ve just swung the other way – What a roller-coaster of emotions. Still haven’t spoken to my mum or had any communication from the care home and DD is at the other end of Scotland with her boyfriend in their one bedroom flat (true test of a relationship), so tough.

Last time I wrote about how I had eventually treated myself to a new shower room after 20 years of making do with the previous owner’s version. Although last week the plumber was confident it was a CV-19 Free Build, by late Monday it was obvious he wouldn’t be able to come back. I paid him in full, as he is one of the many self-employed tradesmen who now have no work. A plan came through to help the self-employed this afternoon but many will fall through the cracks, including ourselves – Not complaining as any help should go to those most in need, but I do worry about a lot of the locals who depend on tourism and the service sector for their livelihoods.

Last time I also shared one of the little films I made at the 2018 Spring Equinox after taking a few classes at the Apple Store. Here is the second one, this time featuring a piece of music by Mark Knopfler, which seemed to suit the particular scenes around here really well. I give you Going Home from the excellent 1983 film Local Hero. Watching it now, I cannot believe how quickly something like going for a leisurely drive has turned into a pipe dream. At the moment, I feel as if I will never take anything for granted again.

Until next time, I hope you and your loved ones stay safe and well.

If you are a frontline worker, we are so grateful for all that you are doing. At times like this it becomes obvious which jobs are worthy and necessary, but sometimes poorly paid, and which are very well paid but not necessarily worthy. The Cult of Celebrity has been seen for what it is and for that I am grateful.

ELO, “Mr Blue Sky” and I Won’t Be Hoarding Toilet Paper As I Have No Toilet!

Tough knowing how to pitch our blog posts at the moment, as yet again things have moved on apace, and we can barely keep up with what is unfolding day by day. After finding a new positive side to my personality this year after a couple of whingey and moany years, I have struggled this week. The virus itself has not really made too much of an impact up here yet on our health services (although I know it will), but of course the measures to contain it have, so it just takes a while to adjust and regroup.

I can’t see my mum at the moment but I have put cards offering help through all the doors of our immediate neighbours, and those others we know who are over 70. Our estate was built just over 40 years ago so many of the original residents still live here and are obviously now in the age group we need to shield, by asking them to self-isolate. A livelier bunch of septuagenarians you would be hard pressed to find, so it’s gonna be tough – We will endeavour to do what we can for them.

DD lost her job this week but hopefully will be joining the ranks of the NHS 111 teams very soon so trying to do her bit. Myself and Mr WIAA certainly have skills that could be invaluable at this time, so we too are ready and willing.

We watched The Last Leg on telly last night which did provide a bit of light relief, however the show ended on a serious note and it definitely struck home. The team made the point that at this difficult time we will be sorely tested – We should endeavour not to behave like the lawyer in Jurassic Park who runs off to hide in the toilet, but try to behave responsibly and help others in whatever way we can, directly or indirectly.

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Gennaro the Jurassic Park lawyer.

And here is a moment of levity in this sombre post. There is no chance of me running off to my toilet anyway, as this week, of all weeks, was the one we were scheduled to have a new shower room put in. Here is a picture of what my bedroom looks like at the moment! It is due to be finished next week but with things changing at such a pace, starting to wonder if that will be possible.

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Where has the toilet gone?

Believe it or not there is a very close connection between the current state of my shower room and this blog, specifically my Full Moon Calendar In Song series. 25 years ago I worked for the NHS myself, although not on the frontline. For 5 years I shared an office with RJ who has provided me with so many great pictures of the moon for my series. We both left our jobs at around the same time – I gave birth to DD and became a full-time mum, whilst RJ went on to try his hand at an array of new professions. Somehow, he ended up becoming the installer of fabulous kitchens and bathrooms and our paths have now crossed again at this most unusual and uncertain of times. Yes, he liked his coffee back then and he still likes it now!

I am at a loss to know what to share musically, but as yesterday was the Spring Equinox I am reminded of the little film we made a couple of years ago on the dashcam. I’m sleeping in DD’s school bedroom at the moment whilst the work is going on, and as her bed is situated right by the window, I woke up yesterday to beautiful blue skies and birdsong. For a few seconds I forgot that life as we know it has totally changed at the moment and might never quite return to what it was ever again. Nature is having a well-earned break from the worst effects of what we as a race have been throwing at it. If you can, I urge you to go out and enjoy a brisk walk. Really listen to the birds and check out what Mother Nature gives us at this time of year.

Until next time…. Hope you and your loved ones stay safe and well.

Mr. Blue Sky Lyrics
(Song by Jeff Lynne)

Morning! Today’s forecast calls for blue skies

Sun is shining in the sky

There ain’t a cloud in sight
It’s stopped raining
Everybody’s in a play
And don’t you know
It’s a beautiful new day
Hey ay ay!

Runnin’ down the avenue

See how the sun shines brightly
In the city
On the streets where once was pity
Mr. Blue
Sky is living here today
Hey ay ay!

Mr. Blue Sky

Please tell us why
You had to hide away
For so long (so long)
Where did we go wrong?

Hey you with the pretty face

Welcome to the human race
A celebration
Mr. Blue Sky’s up there waitin’
And today
Is the day we’ve waited for
Ooorrr

Oh, Mr. Blue Sky

Please tell us why
You had to hide away
For so long (so long)
Where did we go wrong?

Hey there Mr. Blue

We’re so pleased to be with you
Look around see what you do
Everybody smiles at you