Tuesday, April 30, 2013

2013: Taking a break

Having returned from holiday with absolutely no enthusiasm whatsoever to update this blog, and wondering finally if I've truly run out of steam, I've decided to give it a rest for a while.

'Come back!' I hear no one cry. Well, it's not dead, it's just on hold until I listen to some more music and remember where I was at the time. I don't want to be scraping the barrel with half-remembered nonsense or one-line triggers (something I've got an endless supply of). I'd rather return refreshed with a basket-load of newly-discovered moments in time that I can dissect fully.

But it's been very enjoyable over the past few years, thanks for all your support and I do hope you've liked reading it as much as I've liked writing it, and that the songs have stirred memories in you too.

In the meantime, here's some music (something you'll never find here as it wasn't a hit so we have no connection. But I just love this singer and I'm especially fond of a pop song with an Indian feel, aren't you):

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

1984: People saying that you're no good for me

I felt really Eighties yesterday. All that Thatcher stuff. I was 14 when she came to power, and I remember arriving home from somewhere quite late at night to find my parents in the kitchen with some neighbours toasting a Tory victory.

Politics didn'tm ean much to me then. To be honest, I'm not the most political person now, but I was aware of who was who in government. All those names you heard on the TV and radio I could put faces to. But I wasn't celebrating like they were.

I first became aware of Thatcher during the 1975 leadership challenge. My uncle wanted Willie Whitelaw, but my parents were backing Thatcher. As you've probably gathered, I grew up in a Conservative household. My parents were and still are Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph readers, and the older they get the more conservative with ever 'c' they become, though there was a brief blip when they voted Lib Dem a few elections ago.

But when I say I felt Eighties yesterday, it's because I was transported back to those student days of going to London for marches against Thatcher (in reality sitting in the pub all day or going shopping), the miners' strike, the Brighton bomb and all that. The entire Eighties, almost all of my teens right up to my mid-twenties were lived under the dreaded Thatch.

Now, I'm not one to ding-dong about the death of an old women, no matter how reviled she was, and you wonder if Twitter had been in operation when Myra Hindley died would she have generated the same amount of bile Thatcher did? Devisive is putting it mildly. I was rather shocked by some people's reactions, but then again, perhaps I'm coming at it from a different angle. Politics didn't really affect me.

So how do I feel? Well, I never voted like my parents did, I was shaped by the events of the Eighties which meant I could never bring myself to vote Conservative, but watching that Thatcher bio doc last night - which was fascinating and moreover, had a wonderful soundtrack (Sleepy Shores! Mouldy Old Dough! Chi Mai!) - I got kind of nostalgic and wistful that I lived through this hugely eventful historical period and felt kind of sad it was all over. Of course, if my father had been a miner or something I'd probably be digging out my tap shoes and uncorking the Pomagne.

But then again, would I? Thatcher is all tied up with Red Wedge and Ben Elton and Wham's Freedom (on the common room jukebox the day of the Brighton bombing), a bit of the past that almost gives me a warm glow.

Is that wrong?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

1983: A home for hatred

Whenever it's this time of year and I think of Easter 1983, I always think bleak.

A dull, overcast holiday period, mum back from Bahrain, not doing very much at all except endless trips to London to this new-build flat they'd bought as an investment. They did well out if it after two years, but I've never been able to track down its whereabouts (and they couldn't remember) except that it was in Fulham.

Finally, after parking in a road with a familiar name on Sunday when we took my mother-in-law to the Ideal Home Exhibition (she was concussed by an electric potato peeler but that's another story [not really]), I finally realised this flat's location, and it's more or less directly behind Earl's Court, just around the corner from West Brompton Tube. At the time I thought it was in the arse-end of nowhere.

So why, sitting in that flat for days on end did we not just jump on the Tube and go record shopping or something, rather than sitting in and getting a headache eating Smith's Salt & Shake (which briefly came in actual flavours at this time) and watching Sons & Daughters before heading back in the car on the long journey home?

No imagination, fear of rough Londoners wanting to mug me, no money and general apathy probably, plus having to get this flat ship-shape. So it was daytrips to London and back to that little house we still had on the go which was rented out when we weren't there. It didn't feel like a home anymore. It was devoid of anything personal due to the rental aspect, just a a small table and some bentwood chairs in the 'breakfast room' and all feeling rather ghastly.

When I hear The House That Jack Built I'm reminded of being bored to sobs.

I had a bit of a thing for Tracie (or should it be Tracie!?), especially when when she released Give It Some Emotion. I thought she was amazing and clearly going to be a huge star. With the backing of Paul Weller and all those Smash Hits covers she was bound to be massive. But she wasn't. I thinks he's a DJ in Brighton now? Any ideas?

I wasn't the biggest fan of this song, but I bought it anyway as I bought into the whole Respond ethos. Then I put it away and didn't listen to it for about 20 years until Tracie's one and only album appeared on itunes. So giving it a virtual spin I still thought it was rather empty on the produciton side, though she does have a lovely voice. Give It Some Emotion has still got in a Sixties Belle & The Devotions pastiche way, but the real corker is I Love You (When You Sleep), a single that wasn't a hit. It's gorgeous.

Anyhoo, Easter could never be as boring as that one. My favourite was when me and Mrs P didn't go anywhere but to films every day. It poured with rain and was the best Easter ever. Must have been '93. We went to see Howard's End.

I should add that I got married on Easter Saturday 1996, but that wasn't Easter as such. It didn't feel like Easter. It felt like a wedding. It was an event, not just days off for a public holiday. It was overcast then too. I'm not sure I've ever known a sunny British Easter.