The Holy Trinity of Topics Best Avoided – Clearing the Backlog and Starting Afresh, Hopefully…

WIAA: Hey Alyson, it looks as if you’ve become a blogger who no longer blogs.

ALYSON: It does look a bit like that doesn’t it WIAA, and I’ve lost count of how many posts I’ve started recently apologising for my much reduced output. It’s kind of getting boring now so I either have to reinvent this place or bow out.

WIAA: How could you reinvent my pages Alyson? I am feeling a bit lonely and unloved to be honest.

ALYSON: Still not sure WIAA, but I think I’ve almost exhausted all my music-related anecdotes and delved into the back stories of most of my rock and pop heroes. I also used to share a lot of personal stuff around here (oversharing was my middle name), but now that I’m not as anonymous as I used to be, not as easy to do without feeling self-conscious.

WIAA: I remember the days when you rushed home from work and couldn’t wait to start blogging.

ALYSON: Indeed WIAA, and here’s a funny thing that’s happened this week. DD has just started a new job at my old workplace and has already met up with many of my old workmates. They have regaled the tales of “Breaking Bad Day” when I wore a Walter White mask, and of how I was generally the instigator of social events. I’m not ashamed to admit I’m in a bit of a rut at the moment and hearing her stories has made me a tad envious of her exciting new start. Although recounted on these pages, I seem to have conveniently erased all my bad work memories and if I did partly give up my job six years ago to spend more time blogging (which I think I did), I really owe it to myself to keep going, but it has to be enjoyable.

WIAA: I get that Alyson. How about we join forces to get you out of that rut and for me to feel less lonely and unloved?

ALYSON: Sounds like a plan WIAA. Give me a prompt and I’ll see what I can come up with?

WIAA: Well last time you wrote about telly shows you’d watched recently. How about we start there. Anything new to add to the list?

ALYSON: Funny you should suggest that WIAA as I’ve partly kept a low profile around here over the last few weeks because of my viewing habits. I know which topics it’s best to avoid around here by now, and lo and behold we’ve had a conflagration of all three of them over the last three weeks: The Royal Family, Eurovision and Football!

I was always going to watch The Coronation but I am also acutely aware it’s something more than half the population most certainly had no intention of watching, Mr WIAA and DD included. It wasn’t lost on me however that it might well be the only coronation I ever see as something that’s been happening for around a 1000 years in the same spot, seems likely to die out on our watch (there seems to be a pattern forming here). Much of it made me feel uncomfortable and I’m pretty sure the new king felt just as uncomfortable – the wording of the oaths, being stripped down to his nightgown and the canopied “anointing”, BUT, there was also much to be in awe of – Penny Mordaunt’s impressive sword-holding skills, Princess Anne’s red feathered hat perfectly obscuring the errant prince, the king’s very professional “hot” kilted equerry and the assembled congregation’s bladder control (they had to arrive at 6.30am).

Music played a large part in proceedings and I learnt a lot from the commentators. I had no idea that the piece of music we most associate with coronations was written by Handel back in 1727 for the crowning of George II. The words, which until now I had always thought were in Latin as hard to decipher, were translated from the biblical account of the anointing of Solomon by Zadok the Priest, and they have been used in every coronation since that of King Edgar in the year 973. Anyway, if you are a fervent Republican you can close your ears now but I found a whole new appreciation for a piece of music I had only ever heard accompanying some very grainy black and white footage of a coronation from 70 years earlier. I give you Zadok the Priest by George Frideric Handel. Rousing stuff at 1:20.

Zadok the Priest by George Frideric Handel:

On the Sunday night after the coronation there was a concert held outside Windsor Castle and for once the line-up was not purely made up of people from the world of pop music, old and new. In fact other than some dodgy singing from Lionel Richie, and Katy Perry looking like the Quality Street toffee penny, it was all very professional and this segment where the pianist Alexis Ffrench and singer Zak Abel performed a cover of the Simple Minds’ song Don’t You (Forget About Me) was for me the highlight of the show. It was a reference to how we must look after the natural world (one of the new king’s passions) and the drone display that accompanied it was beautiful indeed. If you only watch the section at 3:20 where a whale emerges from the centre stage, I hope you’ll agree it was worth it.

Don’t You (Forget About Me) by Simple Minds:

WIAA: Crikey Alyson, considering this was a topic you were going to avoid you really got into your stride there. What was the second topic you decided no-one would want to read about?

ALYSON: Ah that would be the equally marmite-y topic, Eurovision. The song contest that started out in Switzerland in 1956 to bring the countries of Europe closer together (??) was held in Liverpool this year on behalf of last year’s winning country Ukraine. It’s 25 years since it took place in the UK and the BBC certainly milked it, sending all their DJs and television presenters up there to cover the hoopla. I’m a fan of Eurovision, which I mainly put down to my love of facts and figures (just so many), and all things geographical (37 countries take part). The music itself is a real hotch-potch of pop, metal, the bizarre and the beautiful, but the contest has really grown in stature over the last decade and is now a week long extravaganza.

For the first time since before the pandemic our friends who were the other half of Bucks Fizz with us when we went to the contest in 2015 (written about here) came along to join us on the night. DD and her other half were also invited, so a great excuse for a celebration of the food and drink of the participating nations. The music at these get-togethers is often the sideshow but for the record we all voted for the Finnish entrant Käärijä to win, along with the rest of Europe it seems in the public vote. Sadly the national juries had other ideas and the Swedish entrant Loreen won, ensuring the contest will head to Sweden next year for the 50th anniversary of Abba’s win with Waterloo. The conspiracy theorists have been out in force. I will share a clip of the Finnish song Cha Cha Cha which ended up in second place, a song which probably sums up the wacky nature of Eurovision and is typical of the kind of thing entered by that Scandi nation.

WIAA: You’re doing well Alyson, two topics no-one will want to read about, only one left to go. You’ve also gone from Handel to “metal-dance-pop fusion” in one step – what’s next?

ALYSON: In for a penny in for a pound WIAA. Just a short one this but last night I watched a great documentary about how in four short years, Aberdeen FC went from being the nearly men of Scottish football to winning the European Cup Winners Cup. It’s called Aberdeen ’83: Once In A Lifetime and was made because the 40th anniversary of their amazing victory in Gothenburg has just been celebrated. I lived in Aberdeen at the time and the whole city came alive both in the build up to the match, and once the victors returned home. The most poignant part of the programme was watching footage of the 19-year-old Neale Cooper, my friend’s brother, who sadly died back in 2018 and whom I dedicated a tribute post to (link here). He was the youngest of the “Gothenburg Greats” but is the only one to have passed on. I know it will have been tough viewing for his family but they were included in the recent celebrations which must have been really special for them.

When I wrote my tribute to Neale I included this abomination of a song which was hurriedly put together ahead of the big final 40 years ago. Is it the worst football song ever made? Quite possibly, but if you lived in Aberdeen back in 1983 and were a fan of football the European Song would have been played on repeat for sure. Happy memories of a great time for the city.

WIAA: And now a football anthem! If you really are thinking of reinventing this blog Alyson, you’re certainly getting rid of the backlog that’s been building up of topics to avoid. Also if you were going to make things a bit less personal around here I think you’ve failed.

ALYSON: You know what WIAA, I’ve kind of enjoyed writing this one in the end. It’s taken me nearly all day but you’re right, the topics I didn’t think I would broach have now all been broached so a clean slate as they say. Thanks for chivvying me up today as it’s got me writing again. Maybe the rut is just a shallow one.

Until next time…

Don’t You (Forget About Me Lyrics)
(Song by Steve Schiff/Keith Forsey)

Won’t you come see about me?
I’ll be alone, dancing, you know it, baby

Tell me your troubles and doubts
Giving everything inside and out and
Love’s strange, so real in the dark
Think of the tender things that we were working on

Slow change may pull us apart
When the light gets into your heart, baby

Don’t you, forget about me
Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t
Don’t you, forget about me

Will you stand above me?
Look my way, never love me
Rain keeps falling, rain keeps falling
Down, down, down

Will you recognize me?
Call my name or walk on by
Rain keeps falling, rain keeps falling
Down, down, down, down

Hey, hey, hey, hey
Ooh, woah

Don’t you try and pretend
It’s my feeling we’ll win in the end
I won’t harm you or touch your defenses
Vanity and security, ah

Don’t you forget about me
I’ll be alone, dancing, you know it, baby
Going to take you apart
I’ll put us back together at heart, baby

Don’t you, forget about me
Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t
Don’t you, forget about me

As you walk on by
Will you call my name?
As you walk on by
Will you call my name?
When you walk away

Or will you walk away?
Will you walk on by?
Come on, call my name
Will you call my name?

I say
La, la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
La-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
La-la-la-la, la-la-la-la
When you walk on by
And you call my name
When you walk on by