September 2006: Happy Anniversary… now piss off*

My husband is lovely. No, really, he is.

For our wedding anniversary he made me an iPod playlist (the modern equivalent of a mix-tape) – we’d agreed not to buy each other anything, and I thought it was a lovely idea. Until I listened to it.

Goodbye Girl by Squeeze
Goodbye Stranger by Supertramp
I Love You, Goodbye by Thomas Dolby
I Can’t Take It by Cheap Trick
and Kyle’s Mom Is A Bitch from South Park (as D reminded me in the comments!)

I had a moment of ‘well, that’s a great way to break it to me!’ but almost immediately realised that he wouldn’t even have noticed (either that or he’s sublimating his unhappiness into iPod playlists ..). When I told him he was (very) briefly mortified and then thoroughly amused.

But this one was perhaps a step too far – from Todd Rundgren’s Tiny Demons:

One of them plays a piccolo in my ear
Another one makes me smell things that aren’t there
And they know where to hide
And they know everything that’s inside
Of my head
Tiny demons, inside me

Then again, that may explain the whole thing …

* It is/was in February – I’ve been meaning to blog about this since then …

December 2005: Happy now?

Can anyone actually listen to Starmaker by the Kids From Fame without crying? I know I can’t. And my sister can’t. And after the Fame documentary a couple of years ago, Dominik Diamond admitted he can’t either.

What is it about it? The lyrics:

fameHere as I watch the ships go by
I’m rooted to my shore
I keep asking myself why
And if there’s more on the other side
Here as I see the friends I thought I made
A little bit crazed and knowing now
We’ve outgrown one another
Now when I see the things I want
I can take the things I see
But I keep asking myself why
And if there ain’t just a little bit more for me
Here when it’s time to count the cost
I keep measuring what I’ve lost
And wondering if you knew
It would all wind up with you

Here as I watch the time go by
How I’d like to sail away
Leaving all my past behind
But I know I’d only last for a couple of days
Here stands everything I thought I made
It’s the only life I know
And I can’t even call it my own
I’ve got no home, I belong to you

It could be because when Fame was on I was so young and it was all ahead of me and I thought my future would be about great things and excitement and adventure and .. and ..

.. and there has been. Just not quite like I thought. I’ve never danced on top of a taxi in New York, for example. Or it could be that it makes me think of the past I’ve left behind and all the mistakes I’ve made. But that should make me happy because I have learned from them (I hope).

Maybe it’s just because I wanted to be Coco (even though I was more of a Doris) and I now realise I’m not (either) and probably never will be.

Yeah, it could be that.

I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do

Last night Harry, my mother-in-law and I went to see an Abba tribute. I went to see Bjorn Again will my MIL years ago (during the interval of which she uttered the immortal words “Nice to see so many men here without their wives…”) and Harry and I saw an Abba tribute on holiday in Majorca last year and he loved it. I must admit I wasn’t overkeen on going – it was a bit of a miserable night, weather-wise, and I’ve got this stupid head-cold, which means I feel fuzzy and slightly bilious almost all the time, but off we went. And I’m so glad we did. Not because of Abba Forever – although they were great – and not because I just bloody love Abba songs so much, but because of this couple.


Now I know you shouldn’t take photos of strangers and post them on the internet, but I just couldn’t resist. They were sitting in front of us and looked to be in their eighties at least. During Summer Night City, the band told everyone to stand and have a dance and the couple stood up and danced, holding each others’ hands. I couldn’t stop looking at them. And then the band played I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do and they sang it to each other. THEY SANG IT TO EACH OTHER!

It was just one of the best things I’ve ever seen.

George Michael. Still.

A couple of weeks ago I went to see George Michael’s Symphonica tour. A friend of my sister had got the tickets ages ago, they were rubbish tickets for a ridiculous price and then the tour was cancelled. Turned out that was for the best (for us, not for poor George so much) because we were able to get better and cheaper tickets for the rescheduled date. But thanks to all of that, my feeling when I thought about the tour was vague annoyance, which is ridiculous since I’ve loved George since I was 12.

Of course, George does have a way of testing a person. Not just the driving incidents and the, um, Olympic closing ceremony, but I still haven’t forgotten he made us wait 12 years for a new album and then called it Patience. But I forgive him. Because of Faith. And Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 (where the hell is Vol 2, eh?). And Older. And the Last Christmas video. And his gorgeous voice.

It’s weird getting older. When the lights went down and everyone cheered, I felt a bubble of excitement in my stomach, but mostly I was just ‘la la, here comes George Michael…’ When I think about what I would have been like at 14 or even 18, I feel a bit sad. But it’s probably better. I don’t really want to scream myself hoarse or wet my pants at my age.

But then he started singing Cowboys and Angels, which is a song I always think I don’t really like but is actually lovely, and I started to cry. It’s not a special song to me and it’s not a song that has any particular emotional resonance (unlike You Have Been Loved, which has the line ‘If I was weak, forgive me, but I was terrified’ which I can barely stand to hear; or A Different Corner, which reminds me of being a teenager, in my room, listening to it over and over and YEARNING), but there I was, crying anyway. I thought I was being subtle, but my sister’s friend had noticed and put her arm round me and I cried even more. And then my sister passed me a tissue and said, “What are you crying for?” and I said, “I don’t knooooooooow!” and cried some more.

And then the bastard did You Have Been Loved AND A Different Corner, so you can imagine.

I assume it’s because these songs – and George himself – have been part of my life for most of my life. Almost three-quarters, in fact. I remember listening to Faith in my bedroom (and screaming my head off at Birmingham NEC and Wembley Arena). I remember buying Listen Without Prejudice on cassette and listening to it on the bus back to where I lived and worked as a ‘Mother’s Help’ in Richmond, after I moved to London aged 18. I remember hearing You Have Been Loved when I was pregnant with Harry and couldn’t sleep and crying so much that I woke David up. It’s always been George. With all the press and the drama and the nonsense, I forgot that. I’m so glad the Symphonica tour reminded me.

Radio 1: a love story

*cue Our Tune music*

On Twitter yesterday, Jenny Colgan tweeted a photo of a bunch of Radio 1 DJs from the 80s and reminded me of my 80s obsession with Radio 1. The only times I ever bunked off school were Radio 1-related. I remember faking illness because there was something I wanted to hear (and there was no iPlayer back then, kids!). It must have been 1984, cos I remember listening to Culture Club’s The War Song lying on my bed with my legs up the wall.

In 1985, Simon Bates had an interview with Wham! that ran every morning for a week. He said he’d be giving away tickets to The Final concert at Wembley. I bunked off every morning and sneaked into my aunty’s house to listen (my mum was at home, my aunty wasn’t). I somehow managed to miss the competition. (The interview was good though.)

In 1987, we went on a school trip to London and Pippa Taylor and I sat on at bench at Seven Dials to listen to the chart rundown. (It was Tuesday lunchtimes then, yes? With Gary Davies? I bloody loved Gary Davies. I hunted out this jingle yesterday and it made me cry. Really.) I looked in a London phonebook for a G Michael, rang it and asked if George was there. (He wasn’t.) When I came out of the phonebox, a man went in and found the purse I’d left in there. He gave it back to me, thank goodness. I literally don’t remember a single other thing about the trip.

In 1988, I bunked off school to go to the Radio 1 Roadshow in Southport. Someone came into the crowd and asked for volunteers for Bits & Pieces. Do you remember Bits & Pieces? I LOVED it. And I was really good at it. Even though I was shy, I was desperate to get on and do it. When they told me I was going to be on, I rang home and said something like “I know I’m supposed to be at school, but I’m actually in Southport and I’m about to be on radio, can you record it? Yes, yes, you can tell me off later…”

(Thanks to the fabulous website, Radio Rewind, you can hear Bits & Pieces. Not the one I was on, obv – I no longer have the tape – but still.)

Anyway, when the DJ interviewed me (I’m pretty sure it was Steve Wright, but I’m not 100%, which is mad considering how much I loved Steve Wright. You’d think I’d remember) (see update below!), he asked if I was a Bros fan. I answered, “Brosette, yeah.” How did he know I was a Bros fan? I was wearing (fake) Doc Martens, cut-off jeans, a white t-shirt and a bandanna. Shut up. Also, just a year later I would move to London and spend many, many hours standing outside Matt Goss’s house where wearing that outfit and/or calling myself a “Brosette, yeah” would have been the kiss of death. (You can read more about it here. You know you want to.)

So I won Bits & Pieces. Oh yes. And then I was carried offstage by Gaylord the Gorilla. Oh no.


Gaylord was actually Phil Cornwell, who you may remember from Stella Street or, more likely, as Dave Clifton on I’m Alan Partridge. Which puts me just three degrees of separation from pretty much everyone in Hollywood. Result.

Anyway, as with so many experiences in my life, I’ve always remembered the embarrassing Brosette-yeah-bloke-dressed-as-a-gorilla part of the experience and it was only yesterday following Jenny’s tweet that I thought I loved Radio 1 and Bits & Pieces and I went to the roadshow and won Bits & Pieces. Go, 17-year-old me!

Ooh, almost forgot to choose my tune! It’s the song that was number one that day in London…

Updated: It wasn’t Steve Wright, it was Peter Powell. I was googling for more Roadshow details and found this photo. I remember that shirt.

Do you remember The Pasadenas?

No time for a proper post, I’m afraid. I want to get back to Fifty Shades of Grey. No, really.

I first saw The Pasadenas supporting Wet Wet Wet. The Pasadenas were great. Wet x 3 were not. (They did “something from our new album” which, of course, no one knew. Pellow grumbled, “Well you could be a bit more f*cking enthusiastic.” The t*t.) So I came away from that gig much less of a fan of the Wets and mad for the, er, ‘denas. I loved their first album, haven’t heard it for years. But this one takes me right back.

(Just Wikipedia’d – they’re all still alive, thank goodness. Such a risk when reminiscing.)