UKGE day 2

A full day at the UK Games Expo today!

Geth headed off very early as he and several other friends were playing in a Keyforge tournament all day. I took my time getting to the main hall as I wanted to avoid the ‘opening time’ rammy, so the convention had been open for about forty minutes by the time I wandered in. It was still packed though.

I spent the morning and early afternoon wandering around all the stalls to see what was available this year. I got a good bargain on Forbidden Sky, which is a game I’ve been eyeing up since last year, but the bulk of the shopping will be done with Geth tomorrow.

One of our favourite parkruns to do first though!

OOTD 31st May 2019
OOTD: geeky t-shirt, still doing hotel mirrors! Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), jacket unknown brand (estimated vintage 1990s, bought at vintage shop 2003), t-shirt Gildan for Stranger Things (2018), lanyard UK Games Expo (2019), skirt Miss Selfridge (2004), trainers Reebok (2017).

Today’s earworm playlist:

The Midnight – Lost Boy
The Colourfield – Thinking Of You
Madness – Michael Caine

Booze Alternative: Becks Blue

Another non-alcoholic beer. Geth bought a pack of these a few weeks ago, so I had one to see how it compared to the San Miguel 0.0.

Becks Blue
Becks Blue.

Although it’s very refreshing, the taste is a bit more sour than the San Miguel, and so it wasn’t as downable. This is a good thing, as I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the previous non-alcoholic beer – I found it a bit triggeringly moreish. With the Becks Blue, in contrast, I was happy just having the one – which is something I’ve never been able to say about beer before.

I still don’t think non-alcoholic beer will become a regular drink for me, though – it’s better for my head to stick to the ginger stuff.

UKGE day 1

The UK Games Expo has started! Well, in a way. It’s not actually open yet but we’ve done lots of stuff.

Geth and I drove down to the NEC this afternoon and met up with Sharpy, Heulwen, and Laura, our core UKGE crowd. After going to pick up our convention lanyards (shinily green this year, with added advertising for the latest Catan expansion), we went for dinner at Zizzi’s, and then Geth and I headed to the Bring & Buy to drop off the games we’re trying to sell this year. Hopefully they’ll bring us a bit of extra cash and make a bit of room on our game shelves for new ones!

We then rejoined the others for a few rounds of Spyfall, before I made my excuses and went up to bed (it was a long drive today and it’s going to be a long day of browsing game stalls tomorrow).

OOTD 30th May 2019
OOTD: hotel room, late night, bathroom selfie. Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), jacket unknown brand (estimated vintage 1990s, bought at vintage shop 2003), vest top Batman (2018), lanyard UK Games Expo (2019), leggings Primark (2018).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Gunship – Dark All Day
The Midnight – Gloria
The Midnight – Days Of Thunder
Sister Sledge – Lost In Music
The Midnight – Lost Boy

Phone Box Thursday: A716, Ardwell

Here’s another phone box that Mum and Dad found in the south-west of Scotland. This one still works!

Red phone box
Red phone box, A716, Ardwell, 20th April 2019.

(Coordinates 54°76’95.2″N, 4°94’12.2″W.)

I’m not sure what the blue bit of rope is for, but on the whole this is a very nicely kept phone box. Interestingly, it doesn’t accept coins, only card payments:

Red phone box
Card payments only!

It also accepts BT Chargecards. I still have mine, though I’m probably one of the few remaining people in the UK who does! I’m not sure that Mum and Dad would appreciate me charging a phone call to their bill with my Chargecard nowadays.

It’s interesting that even this still-working phone box has been modernised in some respect though. I wonder how many are out there that still accept coins?

Last day of catching up

The UK Games Expo starts tomorrow, so I wanted to have all my stuff done by the end of today. I’ve just about got everything done – client work finished, writing and admin done ahead of the weekend, TV and radio all caught up with, Wednesday pre-weigh-in food cooked – and all with a very excited husband constantly babbling at me (UKGE: similar to dealing with a small child at Christmas), so I think I’ve done pretty well.

A quick trip to Slimming World in the morning, and then the weekend can start!

OOTD 29th May 2019
OOTD: florals for (the last few days of) spring, even if I am still having to wear a winter jumper a few days out from June! Jumper Ellend (vintage 1980s, bought at vintage fair 2019), skirt UK2LA (thrifted from Steff 2016), tights Primark (2017), trainers Nike (2018).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Buddy Holly – Raining In My Heart
Jim Diamond – I Should Have Known Better
Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Two Tribes
Duran Duran – I Believe/All I Need To Know
Gunship – Dark All Day
Wilson Pickett – Mustang Sally
Ed Sheeran and Justin Bieber – I Don’t Care

Race Review: EMF 10k 2019

For the third year running, Geth and I did the EMF 10k this last weekend. We were both saying before the event that it would definitely be our last one, because Geth wanted to move up to the half marathon next year (I, meanwhile, am not sure which distance I want to do next year – I’m just getting a bit sick of running up Arthur’s Seat having done it in two Great Winter 5ks and three EMF 10ks now!).

EMF 2019 finisher medal
THE EMF finisher medal. It’s cute but a bit lazy, because they just do the same finisher medal for all the races and add a wee plastic tag to say which race it was!

Our friend Kieran was doing the race with us this year, so after a very early start (the race is at 9am, which is great for getting it over and done with, but it does require a 6:30am alarm!) we met up on the bus and headed out to Dynamic Earth, which acts as the hub for the Saturday races.

Since the London Marathon, I’m finding that 10k races are feeling very short. As such, once I was over the hill, it was a lovely quick amble in good running weather, and it felt like I was finished in no time. However, it turned out that I was two and a half minutes slower than last year, so maybe it would be good to do one more attempt in a year when I don’t still have a marathon in my legs.

Following the 10k, we all regrouped and found a good spot to watch our other friend Sharpy, who was doing the 5k. He managed it in super-quick time, so we were soon in a taxi back to Morningside for lunch in the pub!

I will definitely be back at the EMF next year – I just don’t know which distance I’ll be doing. After I informed everyone of the existence of the mad people who do all four races over the course of EMF weekend, there was some talk of doing the Saturday 10k/5k double…so we’ll see!

Always believe in your soul

As you can probably tell from the post title, Gold is still the most prominent earworm in my world today. I’ve been listening to synthwave and playing ukulele all afternoon to try and mitigate it. Not that it’s an unwelcome earworm, it’s just…been there for a few hours now.

Today’s been a fairly productive day. I got some more editing for clients done, and have been catching up with admin in preparation for a busy weekend. I’m on track to get everything finished tomorrow, so fingers crossed!

OOTD 28th May 2019
OOTD: I finally got back out into the garden again! Hoodie Sonar (2006), t-shirt Para (1995), jeans Miss Selfridge (2018), shoes Zara (2018).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Maroon 5 – Payphone
Duran Duran – Rio
The Who – My Generation
Buddy Holly – Raining In My Heart
Spandau Ballet – Gold

Gig Review: Martin Kemp DJ Set at Wylam Brewery, 26th May 2019

Spandau Ballet are having a bit of a quiet period at the moment. Following Tony Hadley’s departure, they did do some gigs with Ross William Wild as frontman, but it’s just been announced that he’s leaving the band, so…not sure when we’ll next get a Spandau tour, or who’ll be singing (Shapers of the ’80s have a rather bleak take on things here). However, it does mean that the individual members currently have free time to pursue their own projects – and in Martin Kemp’s case, that means touring up and down the UK with a hits-laden ‘Back to the ’80s’ DJ set! I am all about this kind of thing, so I bought tickets to the Newcastle event as soon as they went on sale.

The set was bookended by warmup and afterparty sets from the resident Wylam Brewery DJ, Tommy, so there were already some good ’80s tunes going when Geth and I walked into the venue. The main set didn’t start until ninety minutes after doors, so I had plenty of time to settle in and drink lots of Fentimans Rose Lemonade.

Martin Kemp DJ set
Martin Kemp, getting the party started.

Once the set did get going, it was pretty much a non-stop singalong and a great night out! The music tended towards ‘cheesy ’80s’ rather than ‘synthy ’80s’, but I knew every word (unlike some of the people there who were clearly a bit older than me and should have been able to remember the music properly – sort it out and learn the second half of the When Will I Be Famous chorus!) and I had a hoarse voice and sore feet by the end of the night.

As was predicted and welcome, Martin finished with Spandau Ballet’s Gold. Well, not quite, as we then got a bonus track: the Proclaimers’ I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles). I love the Proclaimers and consider I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) to be the unofficial Scottish national anthem (it’s a far better choice than the problematic Flower Of Scotland and the dirge-like Scotland The Brave). However, I can’t stand it being sung by a roomful of drunk people because EVERYBODY gets it wrong – there is no ‘da da la da’ chant after the first chorus, it just goes straight into the second verse, but everybody starts singing the ‘da da la da’ bit anyway and it DRIVES ME UP THE WALL. When it was played on Sunday night, even Martin got it wrong! You’d think that if he finishes with that song every time he does a DJ set, he’d get it right!

Anyway, apart from people not having done their ’80s singalong homework, it was the best night out I’d had all year. I’d been worried that my singing-along-and-dancing days were over after I quit drinking (I actually covered this subject in one of the poems I performed last Wednesday, as it’s really been playing on my mind), as I was always so self-conscious about it without a drink in me. However, I really felt able to let go on Sunday, so I’m feeling a bit more positive about future nights out now. The power of ’80s pop!

Martin Kemp is playing Wylam Brewery again on the 31st of October, so I think that might be my Hallowe’en night out sorted for this year!

Updated Band Aid baby bucket list progress: song artists 5/37 (13.5%); message artists 2/7 (28.6%); total artists 7/44 (15.9%).

Nine to five

A busy day catching up with day job work. No bank holiday for me but I will be making up for it later in the week!

More of the same tomorrow.

OOTD 27th May 2019
OOTD: I was going to wear this t-shirt yesterday but then realised it wouldn’t be appropriate to wear a Duran Duran t-shirt to a Spandau Ballet member’s DJ show! Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), hoodie Sonar (2006), Duran Duran t-shirt Amplified (2018), skirt unknown brand (vintage 1980s, bought at vintage fair 2017).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Gunship – When You Grow Up Your Heart Dies
Sam Cooke – Wonderful World
Duran Duran – Last Chance On The Stairway
Spice Girls – Say You’ll Be There
Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus – Nothing Breaks Like A Heart
The Midnight – Gloria
Buddy Holly – Raining In My Heart
Spandau Ballet – Gold

Music Video Monday: Spandau Ballet: Gold

As I mentioned yesterday, I went to see Martin Kemp’s DJ set at Wylam Brewery last night (show reviewed here). I then listened to his bank holiday show about the New Romantic scene on Radio 2 this afternoon. On both occasions, he finished with Gold, which was (a) absolutely expected and (b) a consequent earworm for the rest of the day.

The song was one of my early loves when I first got into ’80s nostalgia in the ’90s, but the video makes it even better, despite the fact that its attempt at a narrative is typically daft.

It’s about trying to solve a jigsaw puzzle made out of gold. I think? Anyway, at the start of the video, a woman’s hand is shown stealing one of the pieces, making the jigsaw frustratingly unfinishable for everyone else.

Spandau Ballet - Gold

The video then follows Tony Hadley, who has heroically taken it upon himself to track down the stolen puzzle piece, roaming around somewhere in north Africa in search of his objective. There are a lot of sharp suits and sunglasses in this video.

Spandau Ballet - Gold

He occasionally catches glimpses of a gold-painted woman, presumably the gold lover who stole the puzzle piece. The gold lady was played by Sadie Frost, who was later married to Spandau bandleader Gary Kemp.

Spandau Ballet - Gold

There is a really annoying jump cut around the 1:20 mark – it’s meant to be a seamless blending of shots of a guitar, giving the effect of the background changing behind the instrument, but it really doesn’t work – largely because the two guitars are lit so differently! Maybe this one should be classed as ‘the best they could do in 1983’.

Spandau Ballet - Gold
Guitar one…
Spandau Ballet - Gold
…and guitar two, which appears to be a much warmer colour!

The video ends in a way that is possibly meant to be an homage to Goldfinger (it’s not very clear), with Tony finding the gold-painted lady apparently dead from the paint (a murder method that has been debunked, incidentally). He morbidly places her gold pendant on her body and takes back the puzzle piece she stole.

Spandau Ballet - Gold

The video finishes with Tony completing the jigsaw puzzle. A happy ending!

Watch the full video: