Old tunes; new words

So yesterday I heard a rendition of some old hymn on the radio and it took me back to my school days when we had to sing those dreary old dirges during the morning assembly. I usually quite liked the tune but the words always left me a bit cold. All that Onward Christian soldiers! Marching as to war…and on to victory! stuff kinda felt a bit like after the Crusades to me. Either that or it was all I would go on the pilgrim’s journey, onward to the promised land. I’m not trying to be provocative but what exactly was a pilgrim anyway and how did it relate to me as a 12 year old who had a daunting maths lesson next? The reality was these songs meant something to a fearful congregation some 150 years beforehand but they were pretty uninspiring to pubescent lads from Poulton-le-Fylde.

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Album Part 2

Just to let you know I’ve updated the Album posting with a bit more detail on why I made the particular selections. Check it out by following this link or pressing the previous button at the top of the page. I hope this helps turn it into more of a story rather than just a selection box and encourages you to let me know of one or two of your own favourite LPs and why. The hills are alive folks and what else are you doing eh?

pavaloving paulie

 

Albums

You’ve probably seen the thing going around Facebook asking you to share one image per day of the covers of the 10 albums that defined your musical tastes. My lovely sister Hel nominated me and ordinarily I don’t do this sort of chain letter shit. But because it was her I responded but lumped them all together as I knew I wouldn’t be arsed doing one album cover at a time. Continue reading

Nostalgia

It’s an interesting word isn’t it? Nostalgia, the sense of looking back fondly. Then we have the word reminiscence, from an entirely different root, which means virtually the same thing. And very few other languages have words at all to compare with these unless they rob from English. We have an infinitely wonderful language that draws from Latin, Greek, Arabic, German/Dutch, Scandinavian, ancient sub-continental, modern American and so on. Anyway the point is I had a feeling of wistfulness (another lovely synonym) today when I listened to Beautiful South singer Jacqui Abbott on Radio 2 talking abut the Tracks of her Years. She recalled happily (I’ll stop doing similar phrases now) a song which her mum loved and played a lot – And I Love You So – sung originally by Don McLean. It is a haunting little tune for sure

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So long Myoldsite

I’ve been thinking about  my old friend Steve, from Plympton, who shared a flat with me very briefly in Aberystwyth in our first bonkers few weeks at the Uni. I so hope he’s found happiness and success. I really liked him but his Uni life hinged on his relationship with a local Welsh Uni girl. But it didn’t last and after some turbulence, including a major subject course change on Steve’s part, they split. It hit him pretty hard and I spent many, many hours listening through the walls to Leonard Cohen’s So Long, Marianne on his record player before he left Uni for good and a life back in Devon.

I got to thinking about all this recently as the lady who Cohen sang about, his muse Marianne Ihlen, who died 3 years ago, shortly followed by the poet/singer, have been in the news again of late but I can’t remember why.They met nearly six decades ago on the Greek island of Hydra. She, a beautiful Norwegian blonde, alone with a young son. He, a dark, handsome, soulful Canadian poet struggling to write a novel. These were the hippy days of drugs and free love. His love song to her featured on his debut album Songs of Leonard Cohen in 1967.  That song, already 5 years old when I reached Aber, seared into my mind though I haven’t heard it much since then….

Now for something completely different.  I’ve been going through some website/domain reviews recently, relinquishing a number of sites and addresses that I no longer use or can justify maintaining, which has been a bit poignant. And a particularly sad farewell was for my website itswriteforyou.co.uk – a writing service I set up when I was dealing with my cancer treatment 6 years ago. It was for people who needed some words delivering – on things like CV’s, LinkedIn profiles, promo copy for business materials, website content, speeches etc.  I’d let it fall fallow in recent years to be honest but was surprised to find out how many people were still intrigued by it and how many wordy/occasionally humorous blogs I’d written on the site. Loads of them. I cannot believe how much splodge I’ve written over the years. Don’t go and have a look because the site is really cack – I never really liked the design but somebody was advising me at the time and I followed his suggestions rather than my own instincts. Lesson learned. Anyway I’ll surely be re-cycling any decent blogs on pp. Ha!

But the thing is this site was my salvation when I thought my commercial life was finished because of my illness. I was right about that as it happens – so few of my many business contacts came through with work opportunities – but hey you get on with life and I ended up re-establishing myself as a content writer and marketing/social media specialist for loads of local businesses who don’t have the dedicated resources to do any decent marketing on their own.  And I help people because I want to, not necessarily for the money. Plus I get to write more words – lots of them. Right now I’m writing about impactful designs for work spaces, the joys of bee-keeping and making naturally-based skin care products, sourcing fantastic furniture, the history and heritage of Brackley, gas appliance engineering, the delights of Turkey and, oddly and quite separately, Turkish cuisine, space planning as well as dozens of profiles on people in business. And I’m an expert in absolutely none of them. No knowledge but a bit of imagination, a browser and loads of opinion. Christ I sound like a speech writer for Donald Trump.

Anyway I’ve so much writing work in fact that I don’t really need the website anymore. No more requests from women of a certain age to transform their CV’s and turn them from seeming dullards into sassy, fascinating, achieving, highly-qualified, delivering, energetic, task-challenging, focused, driven, learned, uber-tasking, imaginative, super-intelligent, brain-sexy women which any company would be foolish to reject. Ah no pressure then. I’ll miss those conversations with women discussing their foibles, tiny flaws, insecurities and vulnerabilities. Men were always so dull by comparison. So I guess you could say with the end of the website it’s…

…so long flatterman.
It’s time that we stopped our chats
and for you to try and try and write your own CV again.

From one Leonard to another, here’s to you Mr Cohen

pp

 

YOY SOS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Words almost fail me but not quite. This is the cover for the new debut album from TV presenter-cum-builder Nick Knowles released just in time for Xmas. Sigh. You’d think to yourself who the f88k’s going to buy that pile of self-indulgent crap? Well his record company thinks 100,000s will. Eh?

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And the operator says…

In my early days working in the International Telecommunications part of the GPO (a bit that would later be hived off to become part of the new British Telecommunications) there were huge buildings in central London which delivered the international telephone operator services functions. They housed thousands of operators (mostly women and a surprisingly large number of gay men) who worked in shifts 24/7 to deal with callers’ queries and helping connect them through to overseas destinations. They were also the most militant centres of union activism in the early 70’s (the Communication Workers Union made the miners look like Sunday school teachers at times).

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Don’t make me laugh Ray

ray davies 1

Last week-end our very good friends L & S came to stay and I had a quick browse through L’s paper of choice the Mail on Sunday. I came across an interesting feature in the Event section about how some of Britain’s biggest music stars wrote their signature hits. In other words what was their method of composing and their inspiration?   Later the same evening I watched a programme on BBC 4 about the most valuable songs of all time which asked a similar question. One illuminating fact shone out for me.

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