While You Are Cooking

sdfjjldsfJack and I have been busy in my little kitchen…and now that we have to wait for 90 minutes for the results (we are making an African dish that has to slow cook!) we are getting comfy on the sofa.

When Jack was flicking through the channels on my television I saw a movie I love…only as soon as I had told him, I realized it is a channel that does not work on my TV. Anyway…Jack has just re-tuned my channels and now the missing channel is back! Which means I can watch the movie.

I don’t know if he is going to regret this though. The movie in question is basically a musical version of Cinderella. It is called “The Slipper And The Rose” and stars Richard Chamberlain and Gemma Craven. It used to be on TV a lot when I was a child, and it is another musical I can sing the entire score of. Some of the songs give me the urge to stand up and either twirl around (like a princess) or do high-kicks.

It is almost three hours long! Jack is going to get so much more than he bargained for when he fixed my television!!

grhiilwhgw

There we go…I found a trailer on YouTube to give you an idea of what Jack will be enduring enjoying with me:

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

The Dazzling Haunted Wordsmith Has Nominated Moi For The Sunshine Blogger Award!

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I have been nominated by The Haunted Wordsmith for the Sunshine Blogger award, as you can see from her fantastic post below:

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2018/06/19/sunshine-blogger-award/

These awards are fun…and a great way to support each other’s blogs.  I loved Teresa’s questions and am pleased to be able use them in this post.  Below are the rules for the “Sunshine Blogger Award”.

Rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you.
  2. Use the “Sunshine Blogger Award” logo on your post.
  3. Answer the 11 questions the selector asks of you.
  4. Nominate 5-11 bloggers you want to give the award to.
  5. Ask the following bloggers that you selected 11 questions of your own.

These are the questions The Haunted Wordsmith has asked her nominees:

  • Which Muppet, Sesame Street, or Jim Henson character is your favourite, and why?

red

Fraggle Rock is one of the first shows I remember watching.  For every obvious reason I wanted to be Red.  I loved her to bits!

I can hear the theme tune in my head now that I am thinking about Red.  I would love to have chance to watch all of the episodes over again.

  • What is your favourite time of day?

bedtimeI think I am going to have to be honest and say BEDTIME.  I used to be a morning person.  But since I received head injuries three years ago, I wake up each morning with pain in my head.  So nowadays,  mornings involve a regime of making myself ready able to face the day!  And getting through the day trying to ignore that my head feels as if it might split in half at any moment!

I cannot tell you how much I look forward to the celebratory moment I have within myself each evening, The moment when I realize I have survived another day and it is perfectly acceptable to lay my heavy head on the pillow and drift away into sleep.  Almost every time I slip into bed, it is just as delicious as it was the night before.  Once I am horizontal, it takes me seconds to be unconscious.  If it was not for setting two alarms (I have even set a third on days I need to wake up for something important) I am not sure how long I would sleep for. Every now and then I have the chance to go to sleep and not have to wake up early.  I can easily sleep for more than twenty hours.

  • If you were to die today, what would you want for your last meal?

lasagna-garlicbreadI am going to admit that I have occasionally had the thought that the pain in my head was so intense that it could be my last day.  That sounds a bit morbid doesn’t it.  I am not a hypochondriac.  It’s just that I have been told it was a miracle I survived what happened to me the night I went to the park.  I have had several scares since then.

Now, we are not allowing ourselves to dwell on the negative, but I have often had reminders that I must make the most of every day!  Life is such a precious gift.  And I do…I know it sounds daft, but I have become just a bit more determined to make everyday a bit special.  I have occasionally thought to myself…this could be your last meal.  I know exactly what it would be…a vegetarian lasagne, with layers of spinach and ricotta cheese (or cannelloni) with a fresh salad and a wedge of garlic bread.  I love lots of dishes, but if I could choose, this would be my last meal.

  • If you could spend 24 hours anywhere and anytime where would it be and what would you want to do?

This…

Does this answer the question?

  • Star Trek, Star Wars, Doctor Who, or something else?

Oooooh…in moderation I think I could cope with a little of the first two.  Doctor Who is a big no I am afraid.  My brother used to watch it when I was tiny and it terrified me.  I remember very literally hiding behind the sofa with my hands over my eyes.  Terrifying. I probably would not find it so frightening now.  But I was exposed to it at such a young age, it put me off for life.

Star Wars – hmmm.  I kind of like the epicness of it.  But there are a lot of very unbalanced characters within it – are there not?  I feel like sitting them down with a glass of milk and a plate of cookies and asking them if we can work through their issues together.  You know how sometimes parents have to confiscate mobile phones from their teenage offspring.  Well, if I were allowed into the Star Wars films, I would be confiscating light sabres until we all learnt to control our hissy fits.

So I guess of the three, it would be more likely Star Trek I guess…which surprises me as I do not consider myself a “Trekkie”.  But there are some interesting characters I can respect to an extent.  Especially Kathryn Janeway.  Finding yourself light-years away from home and having to keep your crew together and motivated to set a course for home.  Yeah – respect to her definitely.

  • What is your favourite musical?

I have seen it on stage at least twenty times.  I am not sure I can confess to it being my favourite musical, it’s just on stage the whole thing with the chandelier always excited me.  Please don’t tell Goldfinch, but I secretly like it, even though I am sick to the back teeth of having to go and see it with friends who visit London.   I don’t think I could sit through it again.

I am probably mad for saying it, but part of me wants Christine to choose to stay with the Phantom.  On stage I quite like the number “Masquarade”, but in the 2004 film I loved seeing these three familiar faces perform “Prima Donna”.

  • If you had to pick a single post written by someone else, what would it be and why?

Ooooooh…so many great posts.  Since I have been nominated by The Haunted Wordsmith I would like to share some of my favourites from her site.  The first post I ever read by Teresa Grabs, the genius behind The Haunted Wordsmith, was “The Interview”.  I love it still.

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2018/05/13/the-interview/

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2018/05/02/holes/

https://thehauntedwordsmith.wordpress.com/2018/05/10/needs-and-wants/

But what I love about Teresa’s site is that she is a prolific writer.  She never seems to tire of coming up with something new and fresh and she consistently publishes fiction that immediately grabs your attention and makes you want to keep reading right to the last word.  She is a pillar of the blogging community too.  I am sure many would agree with me.

  • Do you recycle?

Yes…we have to….we would be fined if we did not.

I was actually thinking of taking a photograph of my recycling box at this point…and then I asked myself why on earth you would want to see my recycling box???  Just getting a bit carried away with the pictures for this post.

  • If you could relive any moment in your life, what would it be?

elevatorIf it was just one moment I could relive, it would be the last time I saw my ex-flatmate, before the night I was the victim of a crime.  I had pressed the button for the elevator and was waiting. The doors opened and he was there on his own.  He scowled at me with so much fury.  I stepped back.  There was no way I was going to be inside the elevator on my own with him.  I went out for a meal with friends.  Afterwards I did not feel I could return home, because I was scared to see him.

I have often thought about what I would change if I could relive that moment.  I am afraid that I really don’t have a clever answer.  But it would be something like this.   I almost feel I would fall at his feet and I would try to say something along the lines of:

Whatever it is that caused this…it really is not worth it.  If there was anything I could do to make this right, I would jump at the chance.  Anything…anything I have I would give for there to be peace between you and I.

  • If you could create anything, what would you create and why?

If I could design and create anything, it would be a shoe that looked elegant and feminine and I could wear with beautiful dresses…but had all the practicality and walk-ability of a pair of running shoes, but was just as comfortable as the snuggly booties I wear during the winter indoors.   Aaaaah.  Perfect!

 

 

  • What gift do you want most? What gift would you like to be able to give someone?

I don’t really like being given things.  Unless they are edible.  I have to be able to leave accommodation with short notice and move on to the next and fit everything into a suitcase.  So anything that won’t fit, I have to leave behind or take to a charity shop.  But I do like experiences.  If someone gifted me with horse-riding lessons, a scuba-diving course or a hot-air balloon ride (not on my own though, I would prefer to go with some of my nearest and dearest) I would be very excited.

Hmmm….gifts.  I am not brilliant with choosing objects as gifts I have to admit.  I always try to find out what a person really wants or likes.  If they want a kindle, sure I will buy them a kindle.  A gift should be what the recipient likes rather than what you like.  I prefer a paper book, to reading from a screen…but blogging involves reading from a screen…so it is growing on me.  But to me a piece of technology does not say “I think the world of you…and so I wanted to give you something special”.

candy chestThere was one gift that I planned for a family we were close to.  They were moving away and we wanted to give them a little goodbye.  I wish I had a photograph… I will have to describe it to you.  So I bought a small wooden chest.  I filled it with chocolate coins wrapped in gold and silver foil.  We also threw in chocolates wrapped in coloured foil which made them look like gem stones.  We put a few shells inside the chest and a toy crab.  I used some orange netting from some satsumas I had bought and put a toy fish inside the net.  We put an empty bottle inside and we wrote out a farewell message, which we aged with teabags and burning around the edges to make it look like an ancient scroll, rolled up and stuffed inside the bottle.  They loved it!

I have often been inspired to organize surprise parties and special tokens for GOODBYES…I find they really pull on my heart strings. Some of my friends have been very moved that I had managed to get so may of their nearest and dearest together without them knowing.  For me a GOODBYE is a real reason to get everyone together and show someone how much they are loved and how many people they have touched.  Then when they move on elsewhere (and they are bound to face challenges) they know how much they are loved and how many people are rooting for them.

My Nominees:

The world of Joy

Don’t Eat It! Soap and Skin Care

Morning Glory

sarahsreadingcorner

blackcoffeepro

erikaallen1980

My 11 Questions:

  1. I was thinking of inviting you over for a cheese and wine night (soft drinks available for those who do not indulge…Do you have a favourite type of cheese?

  2. Did you wear a school uniform?  What was it like?

  3. What’s your most embarrassing typo on your own blog posts?

  4. Do you like weddings?  Why? (Or Why Not?)

  5. Describe your perfect shoe / footwear?

  6. Do you like “abstract” art?  Could you please explain it to me?

  7. If you owned a shop, what would you be selling?

  8. Are you watching World Cup football?  Who do you think will win?

  9. Do you have any former school friends who are famous?

  10. Have you ever been the victim of a crime?

  11. If you were being a tourist for a day in London – where would you like to visit?

If you have been nominated, it is because I have loved your posts and these awards seem like a great way to say thank you for your support.

Have fun! Keep writing…or blogging I should say…and keep supporting each other.  Have a lovely Sunday (I am off to see Goldfinch).