Music, Music, Music. And More Music.

CDs? I have a few!

Even though I rarely buy them these days I still have a pile that I haven’t played & am getting to know. Despite my enthusiasm for new music I’m still old-fashioned enough to be into ‘albums’, not just single tunes. When I play a new CD I like to ‘get to know it’, as an entity in itself, not just a collection of individual tracks, so I’ll give it a good few plays before adding it to my collection and moving on. Unless of course, it’s rubbish! Then it gets fewer plays…

Being CDs, often ones that I bought some time ago,  they tend to be of older music, unlke the Spotify choices in my last post which were mostly newer.

Often they’re for playing in the car; I haven’t quite got my act together with digital music there yet – but I will. Because of that I like to have them in some specific and different flavours.

There’s the Mellow One: for winding down, relaxing. I often stick this on when I’m driving home late at night and want to relax before bed.

Then I like to have an Up-Tempo One. Something fast, lively & uplifting. Great for driving on a motorway or in preparation for a night out! Uusually fast, energetic rock or some bangin’ dance tunes!

At the moment I also want a Feel-Good Summery One. Warm weather: chilled, but uplifting, happy songs for a hot day. Yes, I live in Wales: never say I’m not an optimisist! And we do get some lovely warm days here y’know!

Aside from a few sundry picks that I just like the look of I also have a Wifely One! Yes, the “Separated and who gets the CDs?” thing! No fights here though: we seem to have been pretty clear about whose was whose. I think it’s fair to say that I’ve been into music more than her, although she has some great picks. I’m onto the last one – it feels momentous…

What I’m playing at the moment? These:

The Mellow One: ‘The Sound of Bread’

I did say there was some older music here! ‘Bread‘, fronted by David Gates with Jimmy Giffin, were a laid-back Los Angeles based ‘soft-rock’ band that was popular in the 1970s, known for their slow, countryish West Coast ballads. They’re sometimes “a bit sad Ted!” but they have some great songs, & my pick from this “Best Of” type album is the iconic ‘Guitar Man’. It wasn’t a big hit at the time but remains one of their best-loved songs.

 

The ‘Wifely One’: Original Music from the Motion Picture ‘Shine” feat. David Helfgott

I love many different kinds of music, including ‘classical’, and this album is a pleasure from start to finsh, full of wonderful music. ‘Shine’ is a bio-pic about David Helfgott, an Australian-born classical pianist who struggled with the mental illness schizophrenia. Superbly played (as an older man) by Geoffrey Rush, the film highlights his musical virtuosity and his personal problems, although his family have been very critical of its portayal of the latter. Helfgott himself provides the piano soundtrack. Anyone who’s seen the film will understand that there can only be one pick for a top track from this, the infamous and tortuously difficult ‘Rach 3‘!

 

The Feel-Good Summery One: 37 Brits 2001 Hits, Disc 1

You’re driving around in your car, it’s hot, the sun is shining, you have the windows rolled down, people around town seem almost happy: all seems right with the world. This is the sort of music I want playing! This is a mixed bunch, as you’d expect, with some stonking tunes & some – let’s be honest, rubbish – but overall I love it. Best of the bunch – although probably not the most ‘summery’ choice –  has got to be the fantastic Iggy Pop (again!), this time with Death in Vegas playing the stunningly sinister “Aisha”. (Warning: the video is quite ‘steamy’: best avoided if easily offended!)

 

The Loud One: The Freeborn Brothers, ‘Gypsy Hobo Trash Grass’

I’ve never seen anyone even remotely like this lot. The Freeborn Brothers  are a bunch of young Polish guys who are all incredible musicians. Every year as part of their Europe-wide tour they stop off to perform at a tiny pub in my small Welsh town, and just for the cost of a donation or two. They are honestly one of the best live acts I have ever seen, not only unbelievably talented musicians but also terrific showmen, taking their music into the realms of performance art. They are also very funny. Musically they’re hard to classify: a combination of traditional Polish ‘folk’ music, bluegrass & punk! I think. They simply have to be seen to be believed, and I am very grateful that I’ve been able to. The track I’ve picked is called ‘Down to Hell’.

 

Another Summery One: ‘Sounds of the Summer’, from ‘The Big Issue’ Magazine

I’ll be honest: I mostly chose this one from the title. It’s not my idea of ‘summer music’. Summer nights in a sweaty night-club or at a festival maybe, probably not for pootling around in my car! I first played it while in the kitchen cooking with my daughter Ellie (8); in hindsight probably a mistake. We both noticed about the same time “Daddy, they’re saying some rude words!”. I put on the Brits CD instead: that was better! I do like the music though, even though it wasn’t what I was expecting. My favourite so far is probably the seriously funky, Mark Ronsonesque ‘The Turnaround’ by The Herbaliser.

 

Dermot O’Leary Presents: The Saturday Sessions 2013

This album is taken from the former X-Factor host’s BBC Radio 2 show where top musical acts would perform live in studio, often doing covers of well-known songs. It’s full of beautiful live music, and this is among its best: James Blake just on piano covering Joni Mitchell’s ‘A Case of You‘. Entrancingly beautiful!

 

Let the music play on….

 

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The Princess and the Poo

Jake was heading on upstairs & asked for my company.

What that actually means is that he wanted me to play music from ‘Frozen’ on my ‘phone while he had a poo. That’s become something of a tradition here. 

After ‘Frozen Heart’ (his favourite) & a little ‘For the First Time in Forever’ Ellie decided to join us.

“Hello Ellie”

“I’m not Ellie, my name is Shakora”

I don’t even know where she gets this one from.
Continue reading “The Princess and the Poo”

How to Get Through a Car Breakdown With Young Children

I’m speaking from experience here! I had the great misfortune of breaking down 3x in 2 weeks at Christmas, each time having to be rescued by the AA.

The 3rd time was the most concerning as I had Jake & Ellie with me. We were heading off to soft play in the Astra, & it just didn’t feel right: its usual acceleration just wasn’t there. It felt suspiciously like the little car did before its clutch failed (breakdown #1). Unfortunately I was right.

They’d fallen asleep anyway, & I decided to turn around & go back home. There was a hill though;  a long one. Try as we might the car just wouldn’t make it! The best I could do was to stop on the hard shoulder of a dual carriageway, just past the slip road. Hazard lights on, of course.

Continue reading “How to Get Through a Car Breakdown With Young Children”

The gift that keeps on giving

My in-laws were here last week & as usual they came bearing gifts.

They gave Jake a remote-controlled robot.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a human being so utterly excited & happy.

1-DSC_0510
Apologies for the poor picture quality – lightbulbs & fuseboxes gave out at the same time in the new house & my ‘phone’s camera isn’t great in low light

Continue reading “The gift that keeps on giving”

Doggie Don’t!

We were talking about a new game that Jake & Ellie got for Christmas: Doggie Doo.

Basically it involves feeding pretend doggie food to a pretend doggie then rolling a (real) dice which gives you the chance to get pretend doggie to do a pretend doggie poo. Whoever has the most pretend doggie poo at the end of the game wins.

Lovely.

1-DSC_0441Just what is it about poo that young children find so hilarious anyway?

Ellie however wasn’t convinced.

“I don’t want to play Doggie Doo because it’s too smelly.”

Us: “It’s not real poo, it’s just plastic.”

Ellie: “Oh. Well I think that’s just silly. And quite odd.”

It’s amazing how grown up she can be sometimes!

The game however is actually quite fun, as long as you understand that with 3-year-olds any rules are entirely optional & can be ignored at any time – usually when 1 of them isn’t winning.

And it’s not at all smelly, but definitely very silly!

For more posts like this just click the pic:

Wot So Funee?

The Magic of Christmas?

Christmas is many things, but there’s one aspect of it that you don’t hear much about in the consumerism-obsessed, slick advert-soaked world of the media.

I’m sure though that it’s one that most parents will be aware of: that extra little weapon it adds to our armoury in aiding our  little darlings in their eternal battle between Good and Naughty:

“Father Christmas is watching!”
Continue reading “The Magic of Christmas?”

The Gallery: New

New.

Where do I start?

We’ve had lots of ‘new’ here lately!
Continue reading “The Gallery: New”

Tired, scared, sore, smelly & frozen!

I’ve had an eventful December, especially the last couple of weeks! I’m just now finding the time to write about it.

In less than 2 weeks  I’ve been in 3 car breakdowns, having to be towed each time. The last one  – Saturday – was on the hard shoulder of a busy dual carriageway just ahead of a slip road, in the dark & the cold.

With Jake & Ellie.
Continue reading “Tired, scared, sore, smelly & frozen!”

A New Game!

Jake has invented a game!

Everyone else has to close their eyes while he goes away to find a toy which he then hides under some paper.

Once hidden away we’re allowed to open our eyes. Next he tells us the sound that the object’s word starts with, & what colour it is.

We then have to guess what it is, asking questions if we’re not sure:

“Is it soft or hard?” “Can you eat it (in real life)?” and the like.

Once guessed it becomes someone else’s turn to find & hide a toy for the rest to guess.

He came up with this completely unbidden, all by himself, with no help at all from anyone else.

I’m proud as punch!

I wonder if there’s time to get the board game out for Christmas? Mr Hasbro?

By the way, games marketers: it’s copyright already, so don’t go getting any funny ideas, OK?

A Very Christmassy Adventure

We had a great day out on Saturday, & a rare family foray outside! This autumn we’ve all been taking turns catching one lurgi or another; there’s hardly been a time when at least 1 of the twins hasn’t been sick with something or other so we’ve mostly stayed inside where it’s warm & dry!

Saturday however was special – & luckily for us we were all relatively well – because we’d booked to go to our local country park to see Father Christmas feeding his reindeer!
Continue reading “A Very Christmassy Adventure”