Music that means something to me, day 1 – Shiver by Coldplay

I’ve been nominated on Facebook to post a piece of music or a song that means something to me for seven consecutive days.  I’m also supposed to suggest someone else each day to do the same but hate doing things like that for fear of REJECTION, so if you’re reading this and fancy giving it a whirl, consider yourself nominated.

First up are Coldplay.  This will probably be met with much derision, but I really couldn’t care less.  I remember watching their Glastonbury set on the telly in 2000; I must have been 14 at the time and was blown away.  It was just before Parachutes was released and was the first time I’d properly taken notice of Glasto and I remember thinking to myself “this is something that I must attend one day!”  When Parachutes came out, I was obsessed with it and listened to it multiple times a day for months.  My best mates, Jenny and Jane, loved them too and Jane used to send me interviews with the band as we didnt have proper Internet that I read via the jarg email scenario that we had on the telly (did anyone else have that?!) Sidenote – I was and still am technologically inept, and thought that Jane spent hours painstakingly typing out each interview word for word for me.  I wasn’t aware of the copy and paste function at this stage.  Bless.

I finally got to see Coldplay live in the Manchester Apollo in 2001 – to this day, one of my favourite venues, with so many fond memories – after counting down the days for weeks in our homework diaries.  The next time I saw them was their Glastonbury warm-up gig in Mountford Hall – utterly glorious – and the time after that was their headline slot at Glastonbury.  I’d probably never have gone to Glasto that year if they hadn’t headlined – I was a bit shy and thought I wasn’t cool enough to go to such a place – but I’m so glad I did. I’m still not cool, and my love for the band may have faded slightly over the years but Coldplay, that first trip to Worthy Farm and this song in particular will always have a special place in my heart.

The blog is back…

…Probably temporarily. 

I’m in a contemplative mood today and was going to write a rambling, self-indulgent Facebook status about it, but then realised that it was too long for Facebook so I’d write a rambling, self-indulgent blog post about it instead.  Thanks for your patience in advance.

Last year was a brilliant one in many ways, but my platelet probs kept rearing their ugly head and I haven’t been well the past few weeks either so had been feeling a tad glum.  (Get the violins out, will ya?!)  However, today I left the house for the first time since Tuesday and spent the evening at my nan’s.  She told a few stories that made me realise that, really, I’ve got nothing to whinge about at all, and made me look forward to the year ahead with renewed relish.

She talked about her brother who died at the age of 18 – he died of pneumonia a few days after going swimming in a freezing cold lake on a roasting hot day; he had a tumour on his lung that nobody knew about.  She mentioned that her “school” days mainly consisted of going to a neighbour’s house one day a week to learn the basics.  And she spoke of her sister and brother being evacuated during the war – “Did you miss them Nan?” “Dunno.”  HOWLING.

I’ve heard these stories before, but only today did I realise that all of the above are things that we almost certainly will never ever have to experience.  Her brother’s lung problems would probably have already been detected and treated if it was happening in 2016 and not in the 1930s.  Going to school is something that we have all just taken for granted.  And imagine kids being evacuated anywhere now?! “OH I’M NOT GOING ANYWHERE WITHOUT ME MUM/ME PHONE/SKY PLUS/A DECENT JUST EAT DELIVERY CHOICE.”  (Or is that just me?)

I left my nan’s feeling all inspired and like I should be cartwheeling down the road screaming “SEIZE THE DAY!” to anyone and everyone I met.  I settled for making a list instead (and oh, how we love a list) of how I am going to spend my time wisely this year.  (Also I can’t cartwheel so that would never have been an option anyway.)  (Also I turn 30 this year AND LIFE IS TOO SHORT.)

1.  Go to more gigs.  I used to go to loads but the past few years this has tailed off.  Why?  Not entirely sure.  But so far I’ve secured tickets to Father John Misty, Little Mix (YEAH YOU ‘EARD) and Sound City.  So I am doing quite well with this one already.  WELL DONE ME.

2.  Learn to drive.  Me and the 10 bus…it’s been emotional, it’s not me, it’s most definitely you.

3.  Resurrect my blog.  Again, this appears to be going well so far.

4.  Travel.  The furthest I’ve been is Cyprus, for God’s sake.  There’s a whole world out there and I’ve seen approximately 0.00064% of it.  MUST.  ADDRESS.

5.  Lose weight.  I put on two stone over the summer and now everything beautiful in Zara and Topshop is off limits. (Granted, the issue may also be that the aforementioned shops only stock clothes for tiny people, but still.)

6. Win a gold medal in Rio.  But that’s been a work in progress for four years, so definitely won’t be a problem. 

Standing on the shoulders of giants!

As someone who is fiercely proud of my Liverpudlian roots, with a terrible weakness for events which unite the city on a grand scale, it’s safe to say I’ve had a pretty good weekend. I’m still smiling now.

On the face of it, thousands of people lining the streets in the searing heat to witness three giant puppets – a nan, a little girl and a dog named Xolo – meandering along does seem a bit strange. But, just like in 2012, Royal De Luxe, the French street theatre company behind the Giant Spectacular which this time was commemorating the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, put on an incredible show.

Hi there Xolo!  Photo by Helen Crilly.

Hi there Xolo! Photo by Helen Crilly.

Giant Nan wondering what she wants from Lobster Pot on Whitechapel

Giant Nan wondering what she wants from Lobster Pot on Whitechapel

Of course, there were a small number amongst us who found something to complain about. “I don’t ‘get’ the giants.” What’s not to ‘get’ about the city smiling for a whole weekend solid, whilst basking in glorious sunshine? “I got stuck in traffic for hours.” Plan your route better – you can’t say Merseytravel (for once!) didn’t warn you. “Why are our cash-strapped council spending thousands on this event?” Because it will generate millions. Glad we cleared all of that up.

We didn’t let the naysayers bring us down though. There was a tangible air of anticipation and excitement across the city, the type that for some reason always seems to be extra special in Liverpool. I loved that people queued for hours on Wednesday and Thursday just to see the giant nan asleep in St. George’s Hall. I loved how Jean-Luc Courcoult, the founder of Royal De Luxe, basically spent three days dancing on a truck having an absolute ball. I loved it when the nan’s head nearly fell off at one point – “OH MY GOD ME ‘EAD’S FELL OFF!” I loved singing along to Imagine with thousands of others in Newsham Park on Friday evening, against the backdrop of a beautiful sunset as the giants were tucked in for the night.

Newsham Park looking spectacular

Newsham Park looking spectacular

Most of all I loved the fact that the giants’ route took them through some of the most deprived areas in the entire country and showed that, despite the poverty and depressing statistics and negative reputations, they are rich in community spirit in ways that other, more affluent places can only dream of. I love Sefton Park as much as the next staunch Scouser, but I’m glad they chose to put the giants to bed in Newsham Park instead. And I spent Saturday morning in Kensington eagerly waiting the little girl’s arrival, and it looked vibrant and alive, rather than shabby and disadvantaged, such is the magical effect of the giants. I’ve never been so proud to be from Liverpool.

Little Girl Giant having a wander through Kensington

Little Girl Giant having a wander through Kensington

I can’t imagine another city taking the giants to their hearts in quite the same way as Liverpool did. Indeed, Royal de Luxe seem to have a special affinity with us too; after all, the last time they were here was only two years ago. Let’s hope they return very soon.

http://www.giantspectacular.com

http://www.royal-de-luxe.com/fr/

I’ve had a very Merry Christmas. Here’s to the Happy New Year bit now!

So another year is over. I am slightly discombobulated by how quickly 2013 has passed. It seems like only yesterday I was waking up in Erin’s flat after a NYE shindig that resulted in me falling asleep on her couch by 2 a.m. It’s safe to say I peaked a bit too early that night…

I have had an absolute ball this festive season – the best one for years in fact. Sorry if I sound a bit smug but, to be fair, I’m not one to post about extravagant purchases (hardly ever buy anything/bit of a scruff) or exotic holidays (haven’t seen sun since 2011) but I am guilty, especially over the past couple of weeks, of going on about the many brilliant times I’ve had with my amazing family and friends. So shoot me!

The Christmas period has consisted of the work’s night out at a Chinese karaoke restaurant in town (classy), followed by an ill-fated carol service at the Irish Centre, featuring me and our Helen in fits of helpless giggles onstage. Shameful. Next up was Christmas Eve Eve, the memory of which is hazy, but the injuries from which are still very much in evidence, thanks to my many tumbles. Christmas Eve was spent in work feeling just a tiny bit tired (note to self – a full day in work after an hour and a half’s sleep is never a good idea.) Christmas Day was the usual chaos – Nan’s, old next door neighbour’s, back to Nan’s for lunch and then everyone Chez Crilly in the evening for a singsong – with this year’s repertoire being particularly eclectic; Enrique Iglesias followed by O When The Saints, anyone? Boxing Day was our Bob’s 21st, a low key affair that he didn’t mention much. I made my first trip to Goodison of the season. We lost. I am now in Everton exile. We then partied into the wee hours and then got back on it the night after to see our Peter. A flying visit to Glasgow to witness three of the babies’ christenings and naming ceremonies (and to do my guardian duties for baby Mila!), a couple of days in work, and then tonight I’ll be seeing the New Year in with some of my favourites. Even the work bit wasn’t too bad. I’ve eaten lots of meat and drunk a lot of wine and had lots of naps. It’s been basically my idea of heaven.

I don’t understand everyone whinging about the “New Year, new me” type of Facebook status. Yeah, you can make changes in your life at any time, but the start of a new year carries with it a special kind of symbolism, non? However, I very rarely make New Year’s resolutions because – o, lack of willpower! – I never stick to them. My only one for 2014 is the same one I make at varying points throughout the year – to try and get fit. I’m not hugely bothered about losing masses of weight but CHRIST I am a lazy cow. I’d like to be able to walk up the three flights of stairs in work and be able to, y’know, breathe normally.

All things considered, 2013 has been pretty kind to me. I’ve not done anything particularly mindblowing but it’s been largely drama-free compared to other years, so I’m happy with that. Thanks to all who’ve been involved in making it a good one – you know who you are, and you are all incredible. (Sorry for the excessive fromage there.) Happy New Year to you all. There’ll be plenty to look forward to and blog about in 2014. Thanks for reading!

The Inaugural Christmas Jumper Pub Crawl Day

This snappily entitled event occurred yesterday, which, as previously mentioned, is the day that I’d deemed as acceptable to embrace all things Christmassy. The very first Christmas Jumper pub crawl kicked things off and, if the rest of my festive season is as good as yesterday was, I’ll be very fat, very poor, but very happy by the time 2014 begins.

For once in my life, I’d been sensible on Friday night so I wouldn’t be wrecked for Saturday (mainly due to the fact that I was scared that Lauren would shout at me if I was a mess.) Tragically, around half of the group had thrown caution to the wind and turned up with hangovers of varying degrees. The (highly recommended, by the way) stomach-lining burger at Free State Kitchen was an absolute must.

The pub crawl then began in earnest – from the Phil to Heebies, via EVAC; Kazimier Gardens (my favourite part of the day – so, so good, and the food is immense); Slater’s (whoops) and TriBeCa. The numbers dwindled from fifteen at the beginning to four hardy souls sticking it out to the bitter end but I think it’s safe to say that everyone had a ball.

Resplendent in our jumpers, kicking things off in the Philharmonic pub

Resplendent in our jumpers, kicking things off in the Philharmonic pub

The boys

The boys

The girls

The girls

Slater's

Slater’s

Last ones standing in Heebies!

Last ones standing in Heebies!

Oh, and did I mention that I don’t have a hangover today? It’s a CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.

Cheers for a brilliant day everyone. I love my city and I love my friends. Same time next year, oui?

Top 10 highlights of 2013…

All together now! Sing! “It’s the most, wonderful tiiiiime, of the year!”

I’m obviously referring to the many “best of” lists that are now upon us.

Naturally, being a lifelong list lover, I’ve compiled my own. Here, in no particular order, are my top ten highlights of 2013.

1. Flying Ant Day

Or, rather, the lack thereof. Despite daily texts, Facebook alerts and Twitter messages from concerned pals who are well aware of my flying ant phobia, I only saw about seven of the blighters all summer. I fervently hope that 2014 is similar.

2. Alex Turner’s vocals on Do I Wanna Know?

Specifically, the lyric “simmer down and pucker up.” Never has the Sheffield accent sounded so alluring.

3. My birthday

Nothing especially spectacular happened. But I spent it with fabulous people and had an absolute ball. Even better, I didn’t cry once on the actual day, which is a first since I was about 21. PROGRESS!

4. Maria and Phil’s wedding

One of the best days of my life, never mind theirs, I will forever hold dear the memory of bellowing Never Forget at the top of my lungs, with about 200 brilliant people surrounding me. Good times.

5. Abersoch

Our family holiday to Abersoch was a highlight for me, mainly because I got to wake up to this stunning view in one of my favourite places on the planet every day for a week. Bliss.

abersoch view

6. Andy Murray winning Wimbledon

FINALLY. So proud!

7. Breaking Bad

Late to the party as ever, I devoured the whole thing in the space of a couple of months and became obsessed with it about three episodes in. Unfortunately, the lasting effect of it is that my fellow Breaking Bad-loving friends and I say “yo” to each other at the end of sentences. I used to think we were doing this ironically but now I’m not too sure. Ah well. It’s chemistry, bitch.

8. Roberto Martinez

Before David Moyes managed to piss off Evertonians the world over with his outrageous bid for Fellaini and Baines, I was distraught to see him go. I need not have worried – Roberto is working wonders. Plus he looks better in a suit.

9. Starting a blog and joining a choir

Trivial and unimportant events, you may say. However, they were both things that I kept saying I’d do and then, for one reason or another, kept putting off. I would seriously recommend both to everyone – so very therapeutic!

10. Kerry Katona’s high-five getting blanked

Sometimes, if I am feeling sad, I watch this video and I immediately feel happy again. Comedy gold.

“She’s A Bridges” – lyrics and video!

A tradition that we shamelessly stole from the Glaswegian contingent, here’s the parody song we did for Maria and Phil, plus the lyrics! Thanks to Peter, Michael, Charlie, Bob, Helen, George, Patrick, Kieran, Harry, Paul, Caitlin and Isobel for singing and playing your hearts out, and to Rachel for providing the footage!

“She’s got a bad knee

Her spelling’s a little bit dodgy

When she was born she was podgy

But she’s the same weight now

He’s from the dark side

But came over here to find a bride

He met us and didn’t run and hide

So we’re very impressed with that

We weren’t one bit surprised

By your whirlwind romance

It was meant to be

Less than one year from your

First date to your first dance

There’s been loads of

Afternoons in Sefton Park

Upon Lark Lane you’ve made your mark

From day one there’s been a spark

He’s Mr Bridges

Now she’s a Bridges too

She loves Thai Sweet Chillis

Her phobias are numerous and silly

She’ll always be one of the Crillys

Whether she likes it or not

He supports Tranmere

A glutton for punishment, that’s clear

Maria’s a jinx it would appear

But she’s a championship winning bride

Funky Unkey, d’you know

What you’re marrying into?

But you don’t need more time

You both said from the start

That you’d be saying “I do!”

And you’ve proved us…

Right, and now your wedding day

Is finally here, we’d like to say

Let’s sing and dance the night away

He is Phil Bridges

Now Maria’s a Bridges too

Maria’s a Bridges too

Can we all be Bridges too?! X2