Back to normal

A nice quiet day today – I spent most of it working for a client before getting a bit of my own writing done in the afternoon.

Looking forward to spending the evening on my 3DS again!

OOTD 15th July 2019
OOTD: possibly my favourite of my ’80s day dresses. Dress Fink Modell (vintage 1980s, bought at vintage fair 2018), belt H&M (2017), tights Primark (2017), shoes Office (2018).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Tyler Lyle – Lost And Found [The Midnight Remix]
Duran Duran – Rio
Limahl – The Neverending Story
Duran Duran – Girls On Film
The Beatles – She Loves You
Shawn Mendes and Camila Cabello – Señorita
Mika – Grace Kelly
Rod Stewart – Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?
The Midnight – Days Of Thunder
Stormzy – Crown
The Human League – One Man In My Heart
Trevor Something – Summer Love
Mark Ronson and Camila Cabello – Find U Again

Music Video Monday: recent chart catchup

A couple more recently released videos for current chart hits.

Miley Cyrus – Mother’s Daughter

NSFW video full of intersectional feminist imagery. I can’t get over the fact that Miley seems to be wearing Britney Spears’ catsuit from the Oops…I Did It Again video though!

Mark Ronson and Camila Cabello – Find U Again

This is a cracking video with an actual storyline. It’s black and white, and we start off outside a motel, which gives me some nice Psycho vibes. However, instead of a slasher horror, the story is an endearingly daft tale about bounty hunters who are being hired to take out Camila Cabello. They’re all told about their job through the use of retro telephones, which of course I absolutely love.

Mark Ronson is one of the bounty hunters, and is the first to find the club where Camila is performing. He irritatingly parks his car across two parking spaces, and then there’s a completely unnecessarily prominent advert for Marc Jacobs eyewear when he removes his glasses. However, he’s too intrigued by Camila to kill her, and so when the rest of the bounty hunters show up, he rescues her instead and they drive off into the sunset.

So nice when a video has an actual coherent narrative!

More music videos next Monday.

On the road again

Geth and I arrived back in Newcastle this evening after a weekend in Colne with the in-laws. I drove there and back and find that I’m getting more used to my new car now.

We had a nice quiet morning today and then went for lunch with my mother-in-law Anne – Boundary Mill in Colne have a nice new pizzeria. There was a lot of pizza this weekend so Geth and I will be doing Slimming World ‘SP days’ the rest of the week to make up for it!

A quiet evening in with writing and my 3DS before getting back to work tomorrow.

OOTD 14th July 2019
OOTD: comfy driving outfit. T-shirt H&M (2018), belt H&M (2017), leggings Primark (2018), trainers Reebok (2013).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Mark Knopfler – Local Hero
Duran Duran – Union Of The Snake
Rod Stewart – Da Ya Think I’m Sexy
Duran Duran – Hungry Like The Wolf
Hitoshi Sakimoto – Final Fantasy XII Main Theme
Miley Cyrus – Mother’s Daughter

And a bonus track that Geth was humming earlier:

Korobeiniki (the Tetris theme music)

2019 Pizzas #15: Asda Take Away Cheese Feast Stuffed Crust Pizza

I had this oven pizza with the in-laws when I was in Colne over the weekend. I was so hungry that I forgot to take a photo of the actual pizza, so here’s the box instead!

Asda Take Away Cheese Feast Stuffed Crust Pizza
Asda Take Away Cheese Feast Stuffed Crust Pizza.

I’m not usually a fan of multi-cheese pizzas (plain old mozzarella is my preference) but this one was really good. The stuffed crust was nice as well – not too rich like I sometimes find stuffed crusts to be.

Definitely a good choice for a hungry day!

Running up that hill

I went to Pendle parkrun again this morning. I didn’t feel that slow but was quite disappointed with my time – will have to get back to less tough parkruns over the next few weeks to try and get faster.

In the afternoon, I went for a nice lunch with the in-laws, and have had a quiet day otherwise.

OOTD 13th July 2019
OOTD: still indoors, but with one of my favourite plants! Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), dress Topshop (2003).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Miley Cyrus – Mother’s Daughter
Meat Loaf – Modern Girl
The Proclaimers – (I’m Gonna) Burn Your Playhouse Down
Sam Cooke – Wonderful World

And a bonus track that Geth was humming earlier:

The Lancashire Hotpots – We Love The North

Gig Review: Rod Stewart at Newcastle Arena, 9th July 2019

It’s been a while since I went to a gig by myself. Geth wasn’t interested in going to see Rod Stewart, so I just bought the one ticket. I still had a great time, though – concerts for me are about enjoying the music rather than socialising!

The venue had advised showing up promptly for doors at six o’clock, and I can understand why – when Geth and I went to the Culture Club gig we arrived a bit later and it took ages to get through the queues. This has been an understandable feature of big arena gigs in the UK since the Manchester Arena attack a couple of years ago, as everyone has to be scanned and bag-searched and metal-detected before they go into the venue. However, because I showed up bang on six o’clock, the queue was still small and so I was in my seat by ten past six, even with my brief stop at the merch stall to buy a set of badges! It was another hour and twenty minutes before the support act were due to come on, so I settled in with my 3DS to pass the time.

Johnny Mac & The Faithful

The support act for this tour were Johnny Mac & The Faithful, who had co-written a song on Rod’s latest album, Blood Red Roses. I hadn’t heard of them prior to the gig, but they were the epitome of what I would describe as a ‘BBC Scotland’ band – a Celtic rock act from Glasgow, whom I wouldn’t be surprised to see on the BBC’s Hogmanay coverage at some point. They started off with a couple of original songs before launching into a series of traditional Celtic standards such as Galway Girl and The Irish Rover – I hadn’t expected this type of music at a classic pop/rock gig, but it was very high-energy and enjoyable. They then moved onto a couple of Rod Stewart covers in order to get the audience pumped, before moving onto Howling At The Moon (which my Duranie brain misheard as Howling Like The Wolf) and finishing with a track called Johnny Rod, in which the aim was apparently to crowbar as many Rod Stewart titles into the lyrics as possible.

I’ve been to a lot of gigs but I have never seen such a good effort made by a support band at ‘being a support band’ – it was all about getting the audience excited for the main event! They were obviously very grateful for the support slot, and they put me in the mood to start listening to some more folky stuff again.

Johnny Mac & The Faithful setlist:

Little Wild Heart
Took A Train
Galway Girl
Pay Me My Money Down
The Irish Rover
Ooh La La
Handbags And Gladrags
Howling At The Moon
Johnny Rod

After they’d finished, we didn’t have long to wait for the main event. A series of impressive visuals on the big screen heralded the entrance of Rod and his band, who immediately launched into the music – it was a couple of tracks before Rod greeted the audience and introduced the band. Although the current tour is in support of the Blood Red Roses album, the show was really a greatest hits set, which is to be expected from artists who have been going for decades. I certainly wasn’t complaining!

Rod Stewart

The early part of the set included solo hits like Young Turks and Faces classics such as Stay With Me, as well as a rendition of Rod’s ’90s duet with Tina Turner, It Takes Two. Tina’s half of the duet was ably covered by the lead backing singer, one of six women in Rod’s current touring band, the ‘White Swans’. When the six of them had arrived on stage at the beginning, dancing in matching outfits, I’d assumed they would just be doing dance routines, but it turned out that three were backing singers and the other three were multi-instrumentalists, playing violins, mandolins, drums, and many other things. They were really good, as were the rest of the band, and I wish I could find out a bit more information about the performers online.

Because it was a long set, there were quite a few ‘transition songs’ that went on while Rod went offstage for a costume change. One of these was a cover of Mark Knopfler’s Local Hero, which, as I mentioned in my most recent Music Video Monday post, is a revered local anthem in Tyneside, and Rod (famously a football fanatic) introduced it by making reference to Newcastle United. I assumed that they must have chosen a locally important song for each stop on the tour, but apparently they also played Local Hero in Paris a few days previously, so it must just be part of the regular set for some reason. Another of these songs was a cover of Donna Summer’s She Works Hard For The Money, performed by the backing singers. I’ve had it my head for four days as a result!

After a series of slower songs, some of which were tracks from the latest album and some a lot older (a notable standout was a cover of Ewan MacColl’s Dirty Old Town, which Rod first recorded and released fifty years ago this year), the show finished with four mostly-more-upbeat tracks that are arguably Rod’s biggest hits – Baby Jane, Sailing, Da Ya Think I’m Sexy, and Maggie May. The third of these was a lovely kitschy moment that involved pink neon leopardskin visuals onstage and hundreds of giant balloons falling from the ceiling. The final song, Maggie May, was technically an encore, but it was a bit confusing – the curtain only went down for a few brief seconds before rising again between the last two songs, and Rod never said anything along the lines of ‘thank you and goodnight’, and the lights didn’t go up for a good several minutes after the band went offstage for the last time…so there was a lot of clamouring from the audience for an encore that never came. I don’t think anyone could have complained about the set though.

Rod Stewart setlist:

Having A Party
Young Turks
Some Guys Have All The Luck
Tonight’s The Night (Gonna Be Alright)
Stay With Me
Forever Young
Rhythm Of My Heart
The Killing Of Georgie
It Takes Two
Tonight I’m Yours (Don’t Hurt Me)
I’d Rather Go Blind
Rollin’ And Tumblin’
Local Hero
Grace
Reason To Believe
Dirty Old Town
I Don’t Want To Talk About It
Have I Told You Lately
She Works Hard For The Money
Baby Jane
Sailing
Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?
Maggie May

A great hit-laden set and a great night out! I’m always really grateful that legendary artists like Rod are still out touring (rather than retiring like normal people!), as it means we can all continue to enjoy them.

Friday with my keyboard

A nice quiet day of writing today with the chart on in the background while Geth was out shopping with his mum. Boardgaming with the in-laws again this evening!

More of the same tomorrow (plus actually going to parkrun for once).

OOTD 12th July 2019
OOTD: it was dark by the time I remembered to take a picture! Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), t-shirt Lauren Ralph Lauren (modern but bought from Headlock Vintage 2018), jeans Vivid (2018).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Stormzy – Vossi Bop
Mark Knopfler – Local Hero
Rod Stewart – Some Guys Have All The Luck
Rod Stewart – Da Ya Think I’m Sexy?
Traditional – The Irish Rover

New Hits Friday: 12th July 2019

Lizzo – Truth Hurts

It’s a bit repetitive for me, but it’s got a great rhythm.

In the video, Lizzo gets married…or possibly not? There are a lot of people not forever holding their peace. Either way, it looks like a great wedding disco.

Dave and AJ Tracey – Thiago Silva

2016 track, never a hit till now but has entered the charts because of Dave fan Alex who got pulled up onstage to rap at Glastonbury. Not melodious enough for my liking but the beat’s very noddable.

The video is the two artists plus mates hanging around the streets of London and Paris, which is a nice showcase for the two cities.

Freya Ridings – Castles

Freya Ridings benefiting from the Love Island soundtrack effect again. This one’s a lot more upbeat than Lost Without You – I quite like the singalong chorus but on the whole it’s a bit saccharine for me.

The video is all about wandering the streets in floaty dresses and playing fancy pianos. There’s a bit of a rooftop dance routine as well!

D Block Europe – Home

I like the atmospheric piano on the backing track.

The video takes place in a flat (rather thematically), filled with gold discs, drugs and dogs.

Mist and Fredo – So High

It’s got a good atmosphere, and I like the ’90s-sounding female vocals that are interspersed throughout the track.

The video is a shady drug-smuggling (I think? it’s not clear) story involving swimming in pools with dollar bills floating in them, Jeep chases through the jungle, and expensive-looking mansions and helicopters.

Post Malone and Young Thug – Goodbyes

Another good atmospheric backing track.

The video is NSFW but worth watching! In 1950s small-town America, Post Malone gets stabbed to death in a knife fight and then comes back as a zombie. I expected him to take brains-eating vengeance on the gang who killed him but instead he just wanders into a bar where a pompadour-clad Young Thug is performing and scares everyone away except his grieving girlfriend. So it’s a zombie love story…I suppose?

More new hits next Friday!

Nibbling away slowly

I lost another pound at Slimming World this morning. Very happy with that! I’m only having small losses at the moment, but it’s the fourth week in a row I haven’t gained (and also the fourth week in a row that I’ve been keeping a food diary to hand in at group, which is why I’m going to keep doing them until I get back to my target range!). I also broke my streak of always gaining on race weeks, which really proves I just need to avoid overeating after races.

I then spent a nice evening with Geth’s family trying out a new boardgame. Looking forward to a quiet day tomorrow.

OOTD 11th July 2019
OOTD: all in black for weigh-in. Vest top Primark (2018), leggings Primark (2018), trainers Reebok (2013).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Joe Jackson – Is She Really Going Out With Him?
The Beatles – She’s Leaving Home
The Communards – Don’t Leave Me This Way
Donna Summer – She Works Hard For The Money
Trevor Something – All Night
T.Rex – Cosmic Dancer
Charlie Puth – One Call Away
Christina Aguilera – Genie In A Bottle
Ludwig van Beethoven – Symphony No. 5
Peter Hames – Ordinary Man

And a bonus track that Geth was humming earlier:

Tears For Fears – Shout

Phone Box Thursday: Greenwich Pier, London

This is another phone box that I snapped while running the London Marathon – it stands right opposite the Cutty Sark in Greenwich.

Red phone box
Red phone box, Greenwich Pier, London, 28th April 2019.

(Coordinates 51°48’32.1″N, 0°00’94.6″W.)

(We’ll just pause here while I have a nerd moment about that longitude coordinate being so pleasingly close to zero! Annoyingly, in tracing the route on Google Street View, I found that I missed a phone box that was even closer, so I’ll need to go back to the area next time I’m in London.)

What’s interesting about this phone box is that it’s red on the inside as well, which is more obvious now that it’s seemingly been emptied of its contents. I hope it stays around as it provides a nice bit of decoration for the tourist-ridden Cutty Sark promenade.