My Job At The Record Company

music

I once had a job at a record company.  It was a small independent label, well, two labels actually for two different styles of music.  But the same owner.  His name was Kevin Kinsella Senior.  He had a son named Kevin Kinsella Junior.

img_20180704_145939.jpgWe went to the Manchester Museum the other day, which is on Oxford Road in Manchester.  I realized I was not far from where the record company was.  I walked down Grosvenor Street to see if there was any possibility it was still there – it is over twenty years since I worked there.  There was a building that might possibly have housed the offices were the Kevin Kinsellas were based.

I am not sure if it was this building.  It is so long ago.  I noticed a white door with an intercom panel, which did resemble the entrance to the offices on the top floor of a building, which presumably the Kinsellas rented.  Wel,l if it was not this building, then it must have been another one nearby which presumably has been demolished long ago to make way for Sugden Sports Center.

The main task I recall was dealing with sacks of fan mail that was arriving for Robbie Williams, who had just left Take That.  Other than that, I just dusted the office, made tea and completed any other task they could find for me.

I went to see a lot of live music, back in the day.  Mostly at the Manchester Academy and The Students Union, which were very close to the record company.  I also went up to the Roadhouse which was up near Piccadilly.  I have some stories, but I am think I will have to save them for other posts because this post is already too long.

Have you heard of “Britpop”?  If you are around my age and grew up in the UK…then you know exactly the genre I am referring to.

britpop.jpg

Do you remember the band Blur?  Their song “Country House”?  One of my first concerts was a Blur concert.  I was 13.  They played at a venue called the G-Mex in Manchester.  Now, I was a good kid on the whole, but I had a bit of a rebellious stint which was around the time I started listening to Britpop bands.  The day Blur performed at the G-Mex, I bunked off school for the day, because I had a detention that day and thought I would be late for the concert (I did the detention the following week – forging my mum’s signature).  We were queuing up all day outside of the G-Mex.  Oppositebattle of the bands was a construction site.  The builders put up a massive sign which said, “What’s The Story Morning Glory?” which was the title of the music album that the band Oasis had just released.  I remember that “Country House” had beaten “Roll With It” to the number one spot in the charts.  There seemed to be a lot of rivalry between the two bands – but who knows how much was just the media fanning the flames to create stories?  It was no wonder that the more popular band in Manchester were Oasis.  My memory may be a bit foggy, but I thought they had a connection with Burnage.  It is over twenty years ago though, so I may have that wrong.

Well…although we were all queuing to see Blur, we were obviously all even more keen on Oasis at the time because we all started singing Oasis songs outside the G-Mex.  When the audience was inside the arena waiting for the concert to begin, the crowd carried on singing Oasis songs.  But I do remember once Blur came onto the stage they were fantastic and the audience responded with great enthusiasm.  Some bloke lifted me up onto his shoulders, and before I knew it, I was being passed along a sea of hands and one of the security guys at the front grabbed my feet as I reached the front of the crowds.  I seemed to be dangling there for a few seconds before he put me upright and made sure I was alright.

britpop bandsDid you like all the Britpop bands?  Did you have any partiality when it came to Blur and Oasis?  Not that it matters now, but at the time it was quite a devisive issue which band you were a fan of.  I saw pretty much all of the Britpop bands live – mostly in Manchester.

For a while, I was pretty obsessed with the music I was listening to.  I used to study music journals like The NME and Melody Maker and Kerrang.  I listened to music at every opportunity.  At night would put headphones on and fall asleep with music playing my ears.  I became a fountain of knowledge on Britpop bands.  I don’t remember much at all now.  Redundant information.  Occasionally, I frighten a teenager who I find listening to Liam Gallagher by telling them some trivia that has popped into my mind from the olden days.

I liked all the music so much.  I was wrapped up in the culture of Manchester lads and I guess I was trying to fit in with the Adidas Sambas and three striped jackets.  I thought it was all so cool.  I would make my parents grimace by grumbling “WHATEVER!” and being miserable, even though it did not suit me remotely. My parents had raised me full of sunshine and joy.  I must have looked completely daft imitating a bunch of musicians who had an air of arrogant and wreckless carelessness.

But just before I was 16 I started to see things in a more sober light.  I was developing a growing distaste of the behaviour I was seeing with my own eyes while I worked for the record company.  In addition the public image of a lot of the musicians I had been a fan of was becoming more contemptible to me.  The media alleged that Noel Gallagher said something which triggered the dislike switch inside me.  Allegedly he said, “taking drugs is like having my morning cup of tea”.  I don’t know if he really did say that or if the press were exaggerating.  But it was all to easy to believe it because it was not out of harmony with other behaviour we had seen.

WhateverI realized from what I had seen, that this culture was producing jabbering idiots, the young men and “ladettes” I had befriended were coming across as rather stupid.  I had been excited to make new friends with young people a little older than me, in a big city that seemed so exciting.  But these Manchester lads that I had been so impressed by suddenly seemed like utter fruitcakes to me.  For the first time, I saw how much they were under the influence of alcohol, drugs or this hype…this egotistical arrogant showy culture of not caring what anyone thinks and doing “WHATEVER”.  I suddenly saw how unhealthy it was.

I did not like who I was becoming.  During those months, I was listening to all these lyrics and pretending to be a “ladette”, I had done things I am ashamed of and regret, I had seen people who disgusted me.  The excitement evapourated and I just saw filth.  My site is child-friendly (I hope) so I won’t recount any detailed description of the revolting things I had seen – but you know the phrase “Sex, Drugs and Rock & Roll” (and throw in alcohol) by the age of fifteen I had seen enough to convince me of something: MUM AND DAD WERE RIGHT ALL ALONG AND RULES ARE GOOD. THERE IS NO NEED TO REBEL AND BREAK ALL THE RULES. UNLESS YOU WANT TO END UP IN HOSPITAL AND MAKING DAILY VISITS TO YOUR LOCAL PHARMACY FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!

little miss sunshineSo, drastically, I threw out all my CDs….eventually – it took me a while to part with some of them.  But for the previous three years I had been walking round singing these songs and I realized I was on my way to becoming a miserable, unappreciative, arrogant twit.  I did not like that.  Therefore, I decided to make decisive changes.  I wanted to breath in pure air and be a little ray of sunshine again.  Goodness, it suited me better.

That is when I started listening to Mum and Dad and all of the lessons they had been trying to teach me started to seep down into my heart.  Slowly, slowly, something transformed inside me.  I was unshackled from the doldrums of teenage angst and so I switched off and looked for other things to get involved in…and looking back I am glad Iconstruction did….I ended up working on construction projects and learning things I never imagined and making friends all over North Wales, Cheshire, Merseyside, Manchester and Lancashire. I learnt British Sign Language and interpreted for several deaf in the Liverpool area.  I learnt some Chinese and had chance to teach several students.  I was able to travel to various countries to visit friends I had made.

And that led onto me moving to the south and then led to me being invited to become a full-time volunteer.  And then life became better than I had ever imagined and I was able to meet people and work with people I had read of for decades and work on incredible projects and meet many thousands of people of scores of nationalities.

I learnt something about myself at the age of fifteen:

HAPPINESS REALLY SUITS ME!

I HAVE AN AMAZING SMILE!

I LOVE BEING KIND AND HELPFUL!

I can enjoy some of the anthems of the Britpop era now.  I don’t want to appear as if I don’t recognize that there were some brilliant tunes churned out by those Britpop bands during the 1990s.  But if I detect an arrogant unfeeling, uncaring attitude towards others, well, I just don’t approve.  To thrive as a human you need to love and be loved.  Walking around with a miserable look on your face and muttering “WHATEVER!” is not going to help you taste what life is all about.

I don’t listen to any songs that are obviously about taking drugs or songs that are disdainful towards others.  But I love guitar music and I like the bounce and fun of a lot of the songs as well as some of the classic melodies from some of the very big tracks these Britpop bands released.  There is no way I am going to pretend to be like them or put on a hard front like I used to as a teenager.  Thank goodness it lasted for less than a year.  My parents would have been dismayed if I had carried on like that much longer.

I may listen to tunes on the radio or on YouTube, but I am not interested in the artists – I dread to think what some of them get involved in.  Not all of them, but it takes strong characters to not get swept along by the crowd you are working and mixing with.

Well…as we are reminiscing…and it is summer, a real proper summer.  Here is a tiny bit of Britpop nostalgia for those who would appreciate it.

This is my Saturday post by the way…I don’t think I will have chance to use the internet tomorrow, because of travelling.

Spent The Whole Of Sunday Sticking You Together

IMG_1345You may have noticed how much of a fan of “SONG-LYRIC SUNDAY” I have become. It is a musical extravaganza. I love how many completely different songs are offered up by the various bloggers who get involved.

“SONG-LYRIC-SUNSDAY” originates with Helen Vahdati, the creator of This Thing Called Life One Word at a Time.

This week’s theme is: LAST, as you can see from Helen’s post below:

https://helenswordsoflife.com/2018/12/01/song-lyric-sunday-theme-for-12-2-18/

Well, like last week, there are so many songs that came to my mind and that’s exactly what has happened to me this week. I was so so close with going with a song that was on the first Kylie Minogue album my Dadda ever bought for me when I was about eight years old.

However, I then realized that this is a priceless opportunity to showcase one of my favourite songs of all time.

I worked for a record company during the Britpop era when the likes of Oasis, Blur and Pulp were in their heyday. There were a multitude of British bands that were incredibly popular at the same time.

One of my favourite bands were Sleeper. They were great to watch live. We loved to see bands fronted by talented rock women. Louise Wener was the very talented singer and guitarist who wrote many of the tunes the band became famous for. Apparently, she has since written four novels and an auto-biography and has also taught novel-writing. She is still a creative genius by all accounts.

The song “What Do I Do Now?” was one of my favourite songs from the Britpop era. I loved the lyrics. Amongst my favourites lines are the following:

Oh I’ll miss you every day of your life
Oh you’ll feel it too, you’re not that strong
You know I’m on to you

and, my absolute favourite:

Tore up all your photos, didn’t feel too clever
Spent the whole of Sunday sticking you together

Here is their video for my favourite of their songs – do you recognize the film it was based on?

Quickly she came, dressed up for fame
Riding her perfume downstairs
Make up like glue, she danced round the room
To the sound of her corduroy flares
“Lets go to town, taxis all round
We could stop for a couple of beers”
He looks at it all, stifles a yawn
She tries not to look like she cares

What do I do now, are we going under?
What did I do wrong, I thought we had it sorted
Out the other day maybe I’m just stupid
Can’t we try again?
No one told me it was raining

Can’t face a club they walk to a nearby pub
Watch a couple of bands
Draining the glass, they walk home at last
Reaching for each others’ hands

Nothing is said, he goes to bed
Dreaming of her on his own
She stays up all week watching him sleep
Scared that she’ll wake up alone

What do I do now, are we going under?
What did I do wrong, I thought we had it sorted
Out the other day maybe I’m just stupid
Can’t we try again?
No one told me it was raining

Oh I’ll miss you every day of your life
Oh you’ll feel it too, you’re not that strong
You know I’m on to you

Oh I’ll miss you every day of your life
And maybe when you’re dead
I’ll get some rest from holding onto you

What do I do now then, are we going under?
What did I do wrong? I thought we had it sorted
Is there someone else, or am I too familiar?
Was it when I said I wanted to have children?
Tore up all your photos, didn’t feel too clever
Spent the whole of Sunday sticking you together
Now I’d like to call you, but I feel too awkward
Some things need explaining
No one told me it was raining

 – Louise Wener / Sleeper

La La La…Can’t Get You Out Of My Head

He has been at it again!  Another amazing challenge from A Guy Called Bloke and K9 Doodlepip!

If you have not seen one of the “Game-On” challenges before, please look at Rory’s original post which details the rules and explains the challenges:

Game On – Series 2 – The Beauty of Great Music

music

Daily Topic Subject

– The Beauty of Great Music

Q1] How important is music in your life?

Well…I enjoy music – A LOT!!!!!  How important is it in my life? I think it is like pudding…I can go without it to be honest. But I enjoy it so much and look forward to it…it sweetens my life and makes me a very happy bunny.

But I keep it in it’s place – I will explain that remark a bit later in the post.

I had singing lessons from a fairly young age and did a year at stage school (acting, singing and dancing). I have sung and danced in front of various audiences. So music has been something I have had a lot a lot of fun with. But I also had a handful of negative experiences.

Q2] What is most favourite type of music and what is your least favourite?

rainbowsI love variety.  It is really hard to choose a favourite. There are some pieces of classical music which absolutely take my breath away and make me feel such an exquisite rainbow of profound emotions.

But I chop and change my musical mood all the time and I like a bit of everything – right across the musical spectrum. Pop, golden oldies, all sorts of genres…I like a diverse array of music.

The only music I don’t like is music which doesn’t sound like music, it just sounds like a lot of noise and shouting. I don’t like any music with profanity and obnoxious lyrics.

And I have a prejudice against a small number of bands. One of my older siblings (who was an absolute delight until they started hanging round with “the wrong crowd”) started listening to music/lyrics that I came to feel were like poison – a happy child turned into a miserable, grumpy, disrespectful, rebellious so-and-so.  My sibling left home under a cloud (because my parents were not going to allow us little ones to see someone come home drunk or under the influence of other substances) and went and carved a name in the hall of fame for them-self (and made a lorra lorra cash on the side lot of which has been spent on harmful practices).

I never ever wanted to like the bands my sibling became wrapped up in. If their songs start playing on the radio, I turn them off.  All I can do is associate them with the horrible change in my beloved sibling that took them away from our adorable family for twenty five years.

My sibling has fallen (I am not sure I will ever write about it because it hurts so much) like Humpty Dumpty and currently it’s my parents and the rest of us who are gluing my kin back together again.  All the famous rich “friends” they used to have seem to have vanished. It seems like the world he was striving after was just an illusion. (As you can tell, there is a lot I am not telling you here, it’s all a bit raw.)

Can I just say at this point…I have mentioned some of the bands I used to like and even linked to some of their songs…but I want to make something clear: I can’t abide harmful practices…drugs, excessive consumption of alcohol, (and tobacco of course) and cheap casual relationships are often promoted in the music industry, as well as a disdainful, arrogant attitude.  I don’t like any of that, in fact I detest it..  It is frankly annoying that some amazing guitar anthems are linked with lyrics which are plainly about taking drugs.

Q3] Do you own a music collection or do you simply listen to whatever on whatever?

britpopI used to have a huge music collection.  I worked for a record company when I was a teenager and I became pretty obsessed with music!  Literally obsessed.  I used to study NME, Melody Maker, Kerrang!, Smash Hits.  I would listen to radio stations every moment I could.  I would climb into bed with my head phones on, still listening to Radio One presenters like Steve Lamacq and Jo Whiley, and Mark and Lard (I know not many of you may know who I am talking about – but they were of note back in the day).

All my money went on buying singles and albums and tickets to go and see bands performing live (mainly in Manchester).  I met a lot of musicians at a young age.  I had a couple of horrid experiences (voluptuous blonde teenager hanging around arrogant hedonistic apes) and I decided I was repulsed by seeing things that made me feel sick.  You know the old phrase about the music world “sex, drugs, rock & roll”…I saw things that still make me feel sick twenty years later!

There came a point where I realized I didn’t like the effect that some song lyrics and the attitude promoted by a lot of the music culture at the time were having on me.  My parents were deeply anxious about my change in personality when I became devoted to music. Especially after what they had already seen happen with my older sibling.  They tried so hard to reach my heart.  Little Miss Sunshine was becoming Little Miss Obnoxious.  But my parents’ loving appeal won me over. The excitement of meeting musicians I thought were cool (before I saw them up close) evapourated, the illusion melted away.

little missI wanted to escape, I wanted to breath fresh air.  It was really hard for me to get my addiction to music and bands (and I don’t use that term lightly) under control.  I really struggled to win my mind back.  Eventually I went “cold turkey” and threw my entire music collection away. I started to read again. I started to spend more time outdoors running and hiking and spending time with my family and friends. Gradually, my joyful personality and sunny disposition started to blossom and flourish again.

So…I no longer have a music collection.  I do have a few different playlists on Youtube though – a classical one, a dance one,  beautiful songs, melodies for maladies, and one just for Kristina Train – because that woman could sing anything to me and I am convinced I would love it – I love her voice.

But I can enjoy music in a much more balanced way now.  It is like pudding.  I don’t let myself have too much.  When I do indulge, I savour all the flavour.  My attitude to music now is cautious in the same way that someone who had a problem with binging on cakes and chocolates, and then became very sick and had to work hard to win their battle, has to be cautious. They may have to exercise balance for many years. Even years later, I have to be a bit careful and keep an eye on myself when it comes to the amount of music I listen to, the effect it is having on me and keep control of my own mind.

Q4] Are you a singer, a hummer or a whistler?

I am a singer! Oh yes, no doubt about it!

PQ5] Show through links your five best songs?

So hard!!!! Oh Rory- how could you!!!!  I am going to try to give you five, but five is not enough!

Ask me tomorrow and you will get a different five!

Q6] Have you ever been to an outdoor concert?

Oh yes.  Many.

PQ7] Do you ever go out to listen to music live? When was the last time you went to a concert/gig?

Not anywhere near as often as when I worked for a record company. But I do go, mainly when friends say “do you fancy going to see…?”

In August Goldfinch and I went to the Godiva Music Festival in Coventry.

Q8] Do you sometimes feel like dancing when you hear music? Under what circumstances do you dance?

Oh yes, I often feel like dancing when I hear music.  I don’t need a lot of encouragement. I will dance both at home on my own and in front of workmates, friends and strangers.

I know I am always guaranteed an invitation to parties because I will be one of the first to be up there on the dance floor and making sure everyone joins in.

In London, I still receive lots of invitations to Salsa parties – and I am hopeless at Salsa!  But any other dancing/music I love.  Michael Jackson, Whitney and a lot of modern pop is sure to get me up on the dance-floor.  At least twice a year I go to huge reels…or ceilidhs – Scottish country dancing – oh my goodness – so much fun…but it’s a sweaty business!

Q9] When do you listen to music?

Funny enough, I don’t often switch music on when I am on my own.  I always have things to do, things on my mind, people to call.

When I arrive at work someone has always turned the radio on already.  My friends often have music playing at their homes or in their cars.  Most venues we go to for drinks or dinner have music playing.

Q10] If you answered yes to Questions 6 & 7 – who did you go and see?

Long long list…here goes:

Ash

Blur

Cast

Pulp

Lush

The Levellers

Elastica

Kula Shaker

Sleeper

The Longpigs

Texas

Space Hog

Bis

Northern Uproar

Octopus

Oasis

Paul Weller

Katherine Jenkins

Peter Andre

Boyzone

Ronan Keating

Hot Chocolate

Leslie Garratt

Suzie Quattro

Mud

Supergrass

Bluetones

The Charlatans

Manic Street Preachers

Menswear

Echobelly

Jessica Ware

Paloma Faith

Tony Kristie

Ronan Keating

Jason Donovan

Coldplay

Ok…I am getting bored with this, and I am sure you are too!

I have seen many many others…I feel terrible because I have heard so many small bands, acts, solo singers or musicians – and I cannot always remember them.  I have heard a lot of Asian music live, but I am a bit foggy about who I have seen.  I have seen a lot of bands playing Scottish or Irish folk music.  I have seen lots of independent rock bands and singers who work really hard and have never had “a big hit” or been nurtured by a big record label.

Q11] Is there a song that makes you emotional?

Sinead O’Connor – Nothing Compares To You

Ask me tomorrow and I might have said one of these:

I Have Nothing – Whitney Houston

Can’t Live If Living Is Without You – Harry Nilsson or Mariah Carey

Sometimes All I Need Is The Air That I Breathe And To Love You – The Hollies

Unchained Melody – The Righteous Brothers

Somewhere Over The Rainbow – Eva Cassidy or Isreal IZ

Tears I Heaven – Eric Clapton

PQ12] Do you feel that you have a special connection with some types of music? Which types?

I am not sure of a special connection as such…

The era when I worked for the record company was Britpop era.  I published a post this summer about my job and the music I used to listen to:

Q13]  Have you ever tried singing in a karaoke bar? What was the experience like?

karaokeI am a Karaoke Queen – not many bars…more hotels and parties.  If you have been involved in singing/performing  professionally in front of a paying audience, it can be a very pressured environment with lots of critique, which can take a little out of the enjoyment.  Karaoke is just fun – sheer fun!

The funny thing is, you get an amazing reaction when you perform in front of complete strangers…more so than in front of your friends who have heard you a hundred times before.

I love it. Adrenaline ripples through me when I am singing with a microphone.  I love a crowd cheering me on.  I have many karaoke experiences that I intend to write more about one day.

Q14] Do you listen to music when writing? If so which?

Not often…only when the post I am working on is featuring a song that has inspired me to write.  I do publish a lot of posts with a song attached.  Often hearing a song on the radio gives me ideas for a post…especially love-songs – they make me think of Goldfinch of course!

PQ15] Have you even gone to see a musical? What was it, provide link please.

Yep…

Cats

Phantom Of The Opera

Love Never Dies

Les Miserables

The King & I

The Sound Of Music

The Lion King

Charlie And The Chocolate Factory

Beauty And The Beast

Singing In The Rain

Love’s Labours Lost

…and more…I can’t remember all of them…

(a lot of opera too)

We have tickets for Hamilton – looking forward to that!

Q16] Do you know the lyrics to all the songs you like?

portaloo.pngI think I pick up some of the lyrics, but not all. In fact sometimes my sister Mandy gets really annoyed with me for singing the wrong lyrics.

For years I have been singing “Upside Down” instead of “Uptown Girl”.

I also sing “Portaloo”  instead of “Waterloo” (one day I will post the full version of the song we re-wrote to the famous ABBA tune and explain how it came into existence).

Q17] When you are listening to music – are you listening just to the music itself or the lyrics too?

I think a bit of both…depending on the song.  Some modern pop music songs have awful lyrics but are really well produced and have a fantastic beat, rhythm, arrangement etc and they can get away with pathetic lyrics because the team that work on the final production are so clever.

Q18] Do you listen to music when you go cycling/jogging or when you’re working out at the gym? [or any other physical activity]

jogger.jpgI love sport and outdoor activity (I am not keen on the gym at all)…I have rarely brought music into my enjoyment of running or cycling.  Partly for security reasons (scared of being grabbed by someone with very bad intentions), partly because of practical reasons (I am going to trip over and break my music device) and partly because I just love being outdoors and being active.

When I run I often sing in my head and use different songs to vary my pace, depending on whether I am running on the flat or uphill or needing to get my breathing under control. Running to a beat can be very helpful.

Q19] Many operas are in French, Italian or German. If you listen to opera, do you understand the libretto (text) or are you happy to get the gist (main idea)?

I am often lost with operas…I have stopped worrying about it.  It’s just an exciting night out where you can get dressed up – I do love my gorgeous dresses.  I love the whole experience. Normally…it’s dinner before the opera…and pre-ordered drinks at the intermission and at times we have finished the evening with a walk along the Thames – weather -permitting!

I liked The Merry Widow – that is easy to follow and Carmen of course is easy to follow.  I prefer the more well known operas – Puccini etc.

I have been at the opera (or classical recitals) and half-wished I had brought ear-plugs because I wasn’t enjoying myself at some points, but then suddenly a really well-known song or piece begins and I start enjoying it again.

I have some friends who play instruments in professional orchestras and they have “educated” me a little bit when it comes to being a member of an audience at one of their performances.

PQ20] Are you deleting any questions, if so which ones?

No…I don’t believe I am…

I was half thinking of posting a link to “No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no…”  2 Unlimited…but it is sooooooo annoying!

Q21]Do you enjoy watching music videos? What sort of music videos do you enjoy most?

Some…

…at times I have fallen in love with a song and then been really disappointed in the video. Others have the opposite effect. Sometimes, it is the video that has made me like the song. But nowadays, I rarely see videos. It’s been over twenty years since I last saw MTV.

I am going to say something controversial…I think Blur beat Oasis to the Number One spot because they had a better video. The video for Oasis’ “Roll With It” was the band on stage. At the time, I think my allegiance was to Oasis, but looking back, I can see that an unbiased audience would probably opt for the Blur it.

At that time I liked Oasis, Blur and Pulp…and a whole load of other bands…and I watched their videos over and over.  That is over twenty years ago my friend!

Well…this has been a treat…a bit like a naughty pudding.  But that is enough for me. I am already feeling a bit sickly after thinking back to the atmosphere I was immersed in as a teenager.  I want to breathe some fresh air and clear my mind of this fog.  Time for sleep!

 

 

FOWC with Fandango — Illusion