You can’t hide in suburbia

Geth and I did the highly ‘suburban couple’ thing of driving to B&Q to get gardening supplies this morning. While we were there, Geth started eyeing up the giant ostentatious barbecue sets they have by the front doors. I am not ready for this level of being an adult.

I have spent the rest of the day attempting to counter this feeling by listening to synthwave playlists and reading about films online. You can’t make me grow up!

OOTD 19th May 2019
OOTD: the garden is gradually getting more membraned and pebbled. Hoodie Internacionale (2000), Duran Duran classic lineup t-shirt eBay/Fruit of the Loom (2018), skirt Calvin Klein Jeans (2004), tights Primark (2017), trainers Reebok (2018).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Duran Duran – I Believe/All I Need To Know
The Midnight and Nikki Flores – Jason
Thought Beings – Hazy
Duran Duran – White Lines
Gunship – Dark All Day

Music Review: Howard Jones: Transform

This new offering from Howard Jones came out last week. I’m a little gutted that I won’t be able to catch him on tour this month (his Newcastle gig clashes with the UK Games Expo), but at least I’ve got the new album to explore.

Howard Jones - Transform

The One To Love You

We open with some chilled-out synth lines, and with that vocal I’m taken straight back to the classic hits of the ’80s! This is highly playlist-worthy and a great opener for the album. Lovely bit of piano at the end too.

Take Us Higher

A slightly more modern electro sound to this one, with the instrumentals a bit reminiscent of ’90s videogames. Very danceable.

Beating Mr Neg

This one is slightly more chilled out on the verses before launching into a nice big ’80s pop chorus, then goes all melancholy and pretty towards the end.

Transform

Lovely dreamy synthscapes on this one, and the beat is fantastic – I can’t stop chair-dancing!

Hero In Your Eyes

We’re back to the slightly videogame/8-bit feel, with a nice classic pop vocal over the top.

Tin Man Song

Some great jangly, slightly jazzy synth lines on this track, which has a lovely soulful feel to it.

At The Speed Of Love

We slow right down for a pretty synth ballad. Gorgeous tune!

Eagle Will Fly Again

Great atmosphere on this one – there’s a slightly ominous tension to the synth lines, and then another big pop chorus.

Mother

Another pretty ballad, this time with lots of piano and an epic, sweeping feel.

Stay With Me

The album closer is a funky, upbeat dance track with a bit of a ’90s feel. It feels a little jarring after the preceding super-slow ballad, but it’s a great tune.

Well, after listening to the album, I’m even more disappointed that I can’t go and see Howard Jones live this time around. I’ll just have to hope that he tours again soon!

All the tunes

I skipped parkrun this morning as I’ve got a few aches and pains that are playing up (and besides, Geth was off to a boardgaming event so he wasn’t going to parkrun anyway). As such, I’ve had a very nice Saturday of not being out in the rain. I’ve listened to a lot of music, haphazardly played some of my own on my ukulele, and got a bit of writing done.

I’m really enjoying this quiet weekend. More of the same tomorrow!

OOTD 18th May 2019
OOTD: a good day for lounging around in jeans and Dad’s old university t-shirt. T-shirt Ron Holland for Cambridge University (vintage 1970s, thrifted from Dad 2012), jeans H&M (thrifted from Steff 2016), trainers Reebok (2017).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Jonas Brothers – Sucker
The Proclaimers – Letter From America
Mark Ronson and Lykke Li – Late Night Feelings
Thought Beings – Hazy
The Midnight – America

Music Review: Bananarama: In Stereo

I’m about three weeks late with this review as I’ve just not had a chance to listen until now, but Bananarama’s new album has been worth the wait!

Bananarama - In Stereo

Love In Stereo

We open with a gorgeous synth line that just dropped out of the ’80s, coupled with an upbeat vocal. Very danceable!

Dance Music

The electro line in this one sounds very ‘videogame’, and the atmosphere is jazzy and cool. It reminds me a bit of the Moloko/Goldfrapp type stuff from the early ’00s.

I’m On Fire

Great epic atmosphere on this one, especially on the chorus, and it’s another one with a good beat for dancing.

Intoxicated

Nice funk sound on this track, and the vocals are super ’80s! One for my regular playlist.

Tonight

A slightly slower track, with the vocals being noticeably more chilled out, but it’s still got a great beat.

Looking For Someone

This one is interesting – it has slightly more of a ’90s indie sound, but the tune is still very classic pop.

Stuff Like That

I listened to this one a couple of months ago when I featured the video for Music Video Monday. Still loving the shameless ’80s vibes on the track!

It’s Gonna Be Alright

I really love the atmosphere on this one – the synth line is gorgeous.

Got To Get Away

This one is more guitar-driven – in a slightly acoustic-y way sometimes, so it’s not quite as much my thing, but it’s still a good tune.

On Your Own

Lovely epic atmosphere on this slower, chilled out track (and I love the hint of Spanish guitar!). Great tune to close with.

Overall this is a really solid, cracking album. There’s a bit more harmony in Sara and Keren’s vocals than there used to be, but it still sounds very classic Bananarama – most of the tracks sound straight out of their ’80s heyday, which is no bad thing as far as I’m concerned. Hoping to see a few more videos for these songs soon!

The comfort of my living room

A nice quiet day for catching up with stuff today! I got all my accounts done, caught up with a bit of writing, got some ukulele practice in, and listened to a lot of music I’d been meaning to check out for a while.

More peace and quiet tomorrow!

OOTD 17th May 2019
OOTD: it was still nice enough for a walk this morning! Sunglasses Ray-Ban (2019), jacket Mercy (2007/2009, due to a complicated story that I still don’t have time to tell you at the moment), blouse CD (vintage 1980s, bought at vintage fair 2017), bag CXL by Christian Lacroix (2018), skirt Miss Selfridge (2004), shoes Vivienne Westwood Anglomania for Melissa (2018).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Thought Beings – Hazy
Outhere Brothers – Boom Boom Boom
Gunship – When You Grow Up Your Heart Dies
Spandau Ballet – True
Eiffel 65 – Blue (Da Ba Dee)
FM Attack and Kristine – Magic
Mark Ronson and Lykke Li – Late Night Feelings
Duran Duran – The Chauffeur
The Midnight – Kick Drums And Red Wine

New Hits Friday: 17th May 2019

Five new hits in the chart this week.

Mark Ronson and Lykke Li – Late Night Feelings

I’ve loved this one for weeks and am really glad it’s got into the top 40 today! Lovely retro sound, great piece of pop.

The video is super ’70s retro and features Lykke Li dressing up and dancing around her house while taking lots of drugs and gazing at pictures of Mark Ronson. The decor and costumes are fab!

DaBeatFreakz, Swarmz, Dappy and Deno – Motorola

I like the slightly Latino atmosphere on this one.

The video is all mansions and high-stakes poker until they get raided by the police. There’s then a very long car chase in a Lamborghini that appears to be haemorrhaging money, before they all get together for a good stand around in front of some cars.

James Arthur – Falling Like The Stars

Saccharine and mumbly and acoustic-y as ever from James Arthur. Not really my thing.

There’s no official video for this one yet.

Skepta – Greaze Mode

Too repetitive for me, with not enough melody going on, although the backing track does get more atmospheric as it goes on (there’s a slight videogame edge to it).

Again, there’s no video for this.

Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber – I Don’t Care

This unholy mash-up of Sheeran and Bieber sounds exactly as you would expect. It’s an okay tune but it’s a bit cheesy. I thoroughly expect it to make far too many appearances on my earworm playlist over the next few months.

The video is utterly bizarre and has some serious ’80s/’90s retro vibes, with the two singers being badly greenscreened into a succession of random scenarios while wearing comedy costumes.

More new hits next week.

And breathe

It’s been a nice quiet day today – Geth and I went to Slimming World in the morning, but I’ve spent the rest of the day getting on with admin and writing.

Similarly quiet tomorrow I hope!

OOTD: not with my car today, but matching it 🙂 Hoodie Internacionale (2000), t-shirt Punk Masters (2018), leggings Primark (2018), trainers Reebok (2017).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Gunship – When You Grow Up Your Heart Dies
The Midnight – Days Of Thunder
Soft Cell – Say Hello, Wave Goodbye

Phone Box Thursday: B724, Cummertrees

This is another phone box spotted by Mum and Dad while out and about in Dumfries and Galloway.

Red phone box
Red phone box, B724, Cummertrees, 18th April 2019.

(Coordinates 54°98’55.2″N, 3°34’69.2″W.)

This is one of a number of countryside phone boxes that have been turned into defibrillator boxes – useful for places in the middle of nowhere where it takes longer for the emergency services to arrive.

Again, the Google Street View image linked above is ten years out of date (maybe the Google cars will visit Dumfries and Galloway again one day…), which shows us that this phone box was previously one of the many that were upgraded (in the early ’00s from what I remember) to an email/text/phone box – which are themselves fairly obsolete now that everyone has email/internet on their mobile!

Welcome home car

Another busy day, but I’ll get back to my regularly scheduled review posts with Phone Box Thursday tomorrow!

I went to finish the paperwork for my new car this morning so that I could drive it home. It’s nice to have it sitting on the driveway! I’m planning to keep it in the garage long-term, though, so Geth and I need to do some tidying up in there.

I spent the afternoon doing work for clients, and then headed to ukulele class in the evening. I’m really enjoying the beginners’ class – we’re learning some interesting songs.

A slightly quieter day tomorrow!

OOTD 15th May 2019
OOTD: I will stop posting pictures of myself with my car eventually. Not today though! Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), jacket unknown brand (estimated vintage 1990s, bought at vintage shop 2003), t-shirt Punk Masters (2018), jeans Vivid (2018), trainers Reebok (2013).

Today’s earworm playlist:

The Midnight – Gloria
The Prodigy – Spitfire
Deacon Blue – Dignity
Thought Beings – Hazy
FM Attack and Kristine – Magic
Wilson Pickett – Mustang Sally
Buddy Holly – Raining In My Heart
The Midnight – Kick Drums And Red Wine

Girl on wheels

Another day that’s been a little too busy for a review post. I do have a good reason though.

I bought a car today!

After months (years, really) of dithering about it and feeling like the whole thing was far too complicated, I made the most of Geth’s family visiting and went to the dealership to do some test drives. Due to some help from my father-in-law, I am now the owner of a nice little Skoda that will carry me, Geth and our increasing amounts of luggage when we want to go places! I’m picking it up tomorrow and am very excited about welcoming it home.

Following some sterling work on our garden (as well as the help with the car-buying), Keith and Helen headed off this evening after we’d had a nice meal in the local pub.

Another hectic day tomorrow, but it’s mostly the fun kind of hectic!

OOTD 14th May 2019
OOTD: to be fair it’s mostly the car in this picture – my comfy driving outfit was of secondary concern today! Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), jacket unknown brand (estimated vintage 1990s, bought at vintage shop 2003), bag CXL by Christian Lacroix (2018), t-shirt H&M (2018), belt H&M (2017), leggings Primark (2018), trainers Reebok (2013).

Today’s earworm playlist:

The Midnight – Lost Boy
Robert Parker and Miss K – ’85 Again
The Midnight – Kick Drums And Red Wine
The Midnight – Gloria
Gunship – When You Grow Up Your Heart Dies
Gary Numan – Cars
The Midnight – Crystalline
Duran Duran – The Chauffeur
Prefab Sprout – Cars And Girls