Music that means something to me, day 4 – Rebel Rebel by David Bowie

He was going to feature in this list anyway.  How could he not?

When I first heard the news that David Bowie had passed away, I hoped – prayed! – that it was a hoax; a cruel, awful hoax.  Then I realised that it wasn’t, and that one of my ultimate heroes was gone.

At first, I was surprised and slightly embarrassed by my reaction – I cried all morning getting ready for work, I shed a few tears on the bus into town, I even (much to the bemusement of my colleagues) welled up in the office.  After all, I didn’t actually know him.  But then I realised that we all did, in a way; he’s always been there.  He’s soundtracked some of the best days and nights of my life.  He reminds me of being in love.  His music has lifted me when at my lowest ebb.  You just don’t expect someone as iconic as him to ever leave.

I’m devastated that I’ll never get to see him play live, but his glorious music will live on forever; a cliché, yes, but a welcome consolation on a terrible day like today. If nothing else, it’s a reminder that life is short and we should fill the rest of our days on this planet with love and laughter and lots and lots of music.

On that note, Rebel Rebel is the song that made me fall in love with him all those years ago.  Let’s go out and dance to it on Saturday night.  Rest in peace, you beautiful man.

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. 

I love the Brits, even if hardly anyone else does

So the Brit Awards are taking place in London tonight, and I for one cannot wait. The Brits are one of those events that seem to come round very quickly, like the Oscars, and Christmas, and I unashamedly adore them. I even went one year in 2007 with our Maria, after I won a competition on Juice FM against a cocky little fool who was so utterly convinced that they were going to win before we’d even started that they announced “I’ll be taking such and such a person with me, can’t wait!” Actually, pal, you won’t be taking anyone anywhere because you were beaten by little old me. (We won’t mention the fact that the seats were so far away from the stage that we’d have been better off watching at home, because I still hold memories of that sweet, sweet victory dear.)

I know it’s corporate nonsense. I know that all the music snobs will fume when someone like Macklemore & Ryan Lewis wins Best International Group over, say, Arcade Fire. But I really don’t care. I watch it, like I watch the likes of X Factor et al, solely on the basis of entertainment. I love the controversy and the random choices of people they pair up to present awards together and the dresses and the inevitable bad performances. I’m so enthusiastic about it that I’m even in the tiny minority that finds James Corden amusing as a presenter.

As I am currently on Princewatch, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for my beloved Purple One to perform, and for Janelle Monáe to win Best International Female. Neither of these things are likely to happen, but I live in hope regardless. Roll on 8pm!

…and top 5 low points

There are no highs without the lows. Here are five of my darkest moments from 2013.

1. Arcade Fire’s new album.

I can’t say that I hate it. I can’t even say that it’s a bad album. But I have never felt such a keen sense of disappointment in a band in my entire life. It genuinely makes me feel a bit teary just thinking about it. Yes, I need to get a life.

2. X Factor – the whole thing

I can’t even defend it any more. It’s been absolutely atrocious from start to finish.

3. My continuing battle with Arriva

They exist solely to irritate me. (And to bus people around the city, obviously. But they even struggle with that sometimes.) It is a mutual hatred. I ring them at least once a week to complain about something. And they still haven’t whacked the heating on on the 61.

4. Glastonbury

Or rather, the fact that I did not attend Glastonbury this year. ‘Twas no-one’s fault but my own and I am still fuming at myself for being so financially woeful that I didn’t get to go. Next year though! Next year, I’ll make up for it, and then some.

5. My hair

It was dyed for the first time in my life in May and I haven’t had it done since and now the highlights are white and mismatched and I haven’t got a clue what to do with it. SEND HELP.

Please note that my list of low points is half the length of my list of highlights. This surely means that, against all odds, and considering that my life is an ongoing farce, 2013 must have been alright.

“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