Writing, and not much else

Geth is away visiting family for a couple of days, so I’m taking the opportunity to get a really good chunk of writing done. I did my Tuesday recovery run (just forty minutes this week – it feels like nothing!) this morning, and have spent the rest of the day working on my Camp NaNoWriMo project, along with a few other things.

Same again tomorrow, except without the run, and hopefully I’ll manage to squeeze some ukulele practice in there too.

OOTD 16th April 2019
OOTD: an in-the-house outfit. Jumper unknown brand (vintage 1980s, bought at vintage fair 2017), leggings Primark (2018), socks unknown brand (2007), trainers Reebok (2013).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Duran Duran – The Chauffeur
Duran Duran – Sound Of Thunder
Status Quo – Margarita Time
Nik Kershaw – Wouldn’t It Be Good
ZZ Top – Gimme All Your Lovin’
Whitesnake – Here I Go Again ’87
EO – German
Sheena Easton – For Your Eyes Only
Chicago – If You Leave Me Now
Queen – Killer Queen
Steve Winwood – Valerie
The Rolling Stones – It’s Only Rock ‘N’ Roll
Billie Eilish – Bad Guy

A slow start to the week

I got up early this morning because I needed to do some urgent work for a client, but other than that I’ve just spent today doing bits and pieces of writing and looking at cars that I might buy. I did get out for a walk as well, which was nice.

Hoping for a more focused writing day tomorrow.

OOTD 15th April 2019
OOTD: it feels like I’m never going to get out of these winter jumpers! Jumper unknown brand (vintage 1980s, bought at vintage fair 2019), jeans H&M (thrifted from Steff 2016), trainers Reebok (2017).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Duran Duran – Big Thing
Calvin Harris and Rag ‘N’ Bone Man – Giant
Kenny Loggins – Footloose
Duran Duran – The Chauffeur
Prefab Sprout – Cars And Girls

Music Video Monday: recent chart catchup

A couple more videos have recently been released for current chart hits.

Marshmello and Chvrches – Here With Me

Following the placeholder neon video from a few weeks ago, a new video has been released for this song that follows the story of a firefighter and his family. It’s a sweet story, but I think I prefer the neon one.

Meduza – Piece Of Your Heart

There’s not much to this video – it’s all about people skateboarding, dancing, and being in love in an urban setting – but there are some cool upside down shots of the cityscape.

Back to the classic videos (and possibly a red phone box) next week.

Doing Sunday like an actual adult

I hired a car from the car club again this morning so that Geth and I could collect a crate of beer for UK Games Expo (it’s a good month and a half away yet, but Geth had a Majestic Wines voucher that he wanted to use up) and then take some of our junk that we’d been keeping in the garage to the dump, like real grown-ups do at the weekend. We will be repeating this highly exciting chore next week, because there’s a lot more junk still to get rid of.

We then went to the local pub for lunch, as Geth was meeting some friends for boardgaming. I’ve been avoiding our local since I quit drinking, because I didn’t really want to be around somewhere that had so many cider associations for me. However, today it was okay – they do a nice ginger beer that I will log soon.

I then got some work done for clients that I hadn’t managed to finish during the week. More day job work tomorrow – I’m hoping for a bit of a lull over Easter so I can have a good go at my own writing projects as well.

OOTD 14th April 2019
OOTD: it got too late and dark to take an outdoor picture. Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), jumper Ellend (vintage 1980s, bought at vintage fair 2019), jeans Vivid (2018).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Pink – Walk Me Home
Duran Duran – Late Bar
Duran Duran – Is There Something I Should Know?
Richard Marx – Right Here Waiting
Alec Benjamin and Alessia Cara – Let Me Down Slowly
Duran Duran – The Reflex
Prefab Sprout – Cars And Girls

Letting the legs recover

It’s been a good day. I got up early to go to one of the record shops in town for Record Store Day – I had to queue for an hour to get in, but I got my Duran Duran vinyl so all is good!

I then got on the treadmill and did my last properly long run of the marathon training programme (I do have a ‘long run’ to do next weekend but at only an hour and twenty minutes it’s going to feel very short compared to what I’ve been doing recently). Fifteen days to go till race day!

Now for an evening of writing, music, and writing about music. My kind of evening.

OOTD 13th April 2019
OOTD: comfy post-run outfit. T-shirt Cyberdog (originally early 2000s, thrifted from Geth 2014), belt H&M (2017), tights Primark (2017), shoes Zara (2018).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Khalid – Talk
Duran Duran – White Lines
Duran Duran – Faster Than Light
Duran Duran – The Edge Of America
The Undertones – My Perfect Cousin
Duran Duran – New Religion
Fleetwood Mac – Dreams
Duran Duran – The Chauffeur
Alec Benjamin and Alessia Cara – Let Me Down Slowly

(Another Duran Duran-heavy brain day. I have been listening to them a lot this week, which is probably why!)

New Hits Friday…uh, Saturday: 12th April 2019

I was too busy with Now! #102 to get this post up yesterday, so here it is today!

There were five new hits in the chart this week.

Jonas Brothers – Cool

Cheesy theme, and it’s a little too acoustic-y for me (except for a slightly halfhearted electric guitar solo in the middle).

The video is nice and colourful, I love the retro sportswear on the dancers, and OMG I BELIEVE THAT’S AN HOMAGE TO ELTON JOHN’S I’M STILL STANDING VIDEO WITH THE HUMAN DOMINOES ON THE BEACH. Awesome!

Alec Benjamin and Alessia Cara – Let Me Down Slowly

There’s something a bit epic and summery about it, which is nice. Quite like this one.

The video is a bit depressing and wistful due to the breakup theme, with lots of people sitting around looking sad in darkened rooms, but it’s quite pretty.

Blackpink – Kill This Love

Nice upbeat bit of K-Pop. Good stuff.

The video is a riot of bright colours, funky costumes, and dramatic settings, which is exactly what you want from a girl group.

Khalid – My Bad

It’s a little slow for me, but again it’s got a really nice chilled-out summery vibe.

There’s no video for this one yet.

Jax Jones, Martin Solveig and Madison Beer – All Day And Night

Solid dance tune, but there’s nothing to make it stand out.

The video is a street scene with hundreds of copies of Madison Beer singing to the camera, with a million messy, confusing animations in the background. The camera spins constantly, making the viewer feel sick. Not recommended.

Back next week with more new hits.

An even more hectic Friday!

I expected my day job work to take up the morning today, but no more. What actually happened is that I’ve only just finished for the day and still have a bit to do tomorrow, because there was a lot of fiddly formatting stuff that I wasn’t expecting.

Another busy day tomorrow, then, but I will be doing fun stuff as well!

OOTD 12th April 2019
OOTD: this is one of my favourite ’80s dresses. Dress unknown brand (vintage 1980s, bought at vintage fair 2017), tights Primark (2017), shoes Office (2018).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Stephen ‘Tin Tin’ Duffy – Kiss Me
Duran Duran – Read My Lips
Nicole Scherzinger – Don’t Hold Your Breath
Mud – Tiger Feet
Lewis Capaldi – Someone You Loved
John Williams – Cantina Band
Billie Eilish – Wish You Were Gay
Duran Duran – Like An Angel
Tom Walker – Just You And I

Music Review: Now! That’s What I Call Music #102

Now! #102 has been released today, 12th April 2019! EDIT: I only just realised that it’s been a whole year today since I started my marathon of the first 100 Now! compilations with Now! #1. Great timing!

April 2019
This is the way the world looks in April 2019, with me and my ‘absolute beginner ukuleles’ classmates doing our thing up on stage. Fun fact: one of the songs we performed appeared on Now! #54, while the other has never been on a Now! compilation.

Let’s have a look at the Now! compilers’ roundup of what’s been going on in the chart recently.

Now! That's What I Call Music #102

Track 1: Ariana Grande – 7 Rings

New Hits Friday review.

Still think this is a bit of a daft interpolation, but I don’t hate it as much as I used to.

Track 2: Ava Max – Sweet But Psycho

New Hits Friday review.

Pretty much loved this bit of synthy pop from the start, and I’m still a big fan. Should have been Christmas number one!

Track 3: Mark Ronson and Miley Cyrus – Nothing Breaks Like A Heart

New Hits Friday review.

Another great pop track. At first I wasn’t keen on the country edge, but I’ve really grown to love this one.

Track 4: Calvin Harris and Rag ‘N’ Bone Man – Giant

New Hits Friday review.

I’m still not a huge fan of this one – it just doesn’t hook me.

Track 5: Pink – Walk Me Home

New Hits Friday review.

Still too acoustic-y for me, but I have grown to like the epic feel on the chorus.

Track 6: Sam Smith and Normani – Dancing With A Stranger

New Hits Friday review.

I originally felt this one was a bit generic, but it’s become a fairly regular earworm for me, and I find I quite like it now.

Track 7: Tom Walker – Just You And I

New Hits Friday review.

It’s a little cheesy, but it’s a pleasant upbeat tune.

Track 8: Jonas Brothers – Sucker

New Hits Friday review.

A decade ago, I would not have believed you if you’d told me I would ever grow to like a Jonas Brothers song. They’ve grown up now, though, and they make much better music. This is a fairly decent pop song, and I always nod along when it’s on the radio.

Track 9: George Ezra – Pretty Shining People

New Hits Friday review.

I still can’t get over the blatant REM title ripoff. Urgh.

This one’s a little bland (can’t win ’em all, George), but it’s an okay tune.

Track 10: James Arthur – Empty Space

New Hits Friday review.

This one’s not been in the charts since last year, so I’m a bit surprised they’ve held it back for this Now! instalment. As is usually the case with James Arthur’s stuff, it’s too saccharine for me, but I’ll grant you it’s got a good atmosphere on the chorus.

Track 11: Lewis Capaldi – Grace

New Hits Friday review.

I first heard this one on the BBC over Christmas, and at first I thought it was a bit too wistful/singer-songwriter/acoustic-y etc. for me. But I’ve really come to like it – it’s a gorgeous tune.

Track 12: Jason Derulo, David Guetta, Nicki Minaj and Willy William – Goodbye

New Hits Friday review.

I could have told you that my feelings would not have changed about this ridiculous bastardisation of Andrea Bocelli’s Time To Say Goodbye. Awful interpolation that has me running screaming for the comfort of the original every single time.

Track 13: Little Mix and Ty Dolla Sign – Think About Us

New Hits Friday review.

Another frequent earworm. I quite like the staccato on the verse.

Track 14: Marshmello and Chvrches – Here With Me

New Hits Friday review.

I find this one a bit forgettable, though the tune is very pleasant when I do remember how it goes.

Track 15: Cardi B and Bruno Mars – Please Me

New Hits Friday review.

Still love the retro feel on this track. Straight out of 1988! Well, apart from the NSFW lyrical content.

Track 16: Khalid – Talk

New Hits Friday review.

I really like the soft bubbly synth effects on this one.

Track 17: Mabel – Don’t Call Me Up

New Hits Friday review.

I wasn’t keen at first, but it’s been a grower and I quite like this solid pop track now.

Track 18: Charli XCX and Troye Sivan – 1999

New Hits Friday review.

Liked it when it came out, love it now! Shamelessly retro, actually sounds like the year it’s celebrating. Great stuff.

Track 19: Sigrid – Don’t Feel Like Crying

New Hits Friday review.

Another good danceable pop track, probably my favourite of Sigrid’s output so far.

Track 20: CamelPhat, Cristoph and Jem Cooke – Breathe

New Hits Friday review.

It’s kind of nice to have a dance track on here now that dance tracks are becoming a bit rarer in the charts. Nice tune, too.

Track 21: Jax Jones and Years & Years – Play

New Hits Friday review.

Good tune – I always nod along to this one.

Track 22: Zedd and Katy Perry – 365

New Hits Friday review.

I do like the Spanish-tinged opening, and the atmosphere is great when it gets to the chorus.

Track 23: Zara Larsson – Ruin My Life

New Hits Friday review.

This one makes me really uncomfortable! I can’t get past the awful message in the lyrics, which is basically ‘go back to someone who’s really bad for you’.

Track 24: Dua Lipa – Swan Song

New Hits Friday review.

There’s some great stuff going on with the instrumentals, but I find the vocal line pretty bland.

Track 25: Ariana Grande – Thank You Next

New Hits Friday review.

Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Ariana Grande on track 1.

The tinkly instrumentals are quite nice, but I’m not sure how I feel about the ex-dissing lyrical content.

Track 26: Lewis Capaldi – Someone You Loved

New Hits Friday review. (LOL I said it was too slow for me and now it’s my favourite song in the chart!)

Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had Lewis Capaldi on track 11.

Not complaining though, because this is an absolutely beautiful tune that has deservedly just scored a seventh week at number one. Song of the year, whatever happens in the next eight months.

Track 27: Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper – Shallow

New Hits Friday review.

One of those tracks that I found a bit slow to begin with and have grown to appreciate. Lovely acoustic track from the A Star Is Born soundtrack (no interest in seeing the film, but the song is gorgeous).

Track 28: Keala Settle and The Greatest Showman Cast – This Is Me

Another one where the Now! compilers have been a bit tardy – this track first entered the charts well over a year ago – but it’s a great feelgood musical number, and probably the best song on the soundtrack.

Track 29: Jess Glynne – Thursday

New Hits Friday review.

I’m still not particularly keen on this one – I just find the theme a bit awkward.

Track 30: Freya Ridings – Lost Without You

New Hits Friday review.

I do appreciate the simplicity of the song, but it’s just a bit too slow for me.

Track 31: James Arthur and Anne-Marie – Rewrite The Stars

New Hits Friday review.

Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had James Arthur on track 10.

One of the tracks from the Greatest Showman Reimagined album, where pop stars do karaoke versions of the songs from the musical. It’s okay, but not a patch on the original.

Track 32: Jack Savoretti – Candlelight

This wasn’t a hit – it only got to number 70. As I’ve been discussing since Now! #99, the Now! compilers have recently started to include songs that haven’t actually made the Top 40, but have been featured on hit albums – there’s less crossover than there used to be between the album and singles chart (mainly because the former is for older people like me who prefer classic pop and rock, and the latter is for the kids who like these strange new songs I’m always ranting about on here after listening to the chart on Fridays!). I wasn’t sure about this at first, but I think I’m okay about it now. After all, it’s probably an older demographic who actually still buys Now! albums. The Radio 2 demographic, if you like. This album got to number one, so I think it’s allowed.

Anyway, this track’s got a great atmosphere – lovely eerie instrumentals, lots of piano. Love this kind of epic tune!

Track 33: The 1975 – It’s Not Living (If It’s Not With You)

Again not a hit on the singles chart – it only got to number 46 – but this was also a number one album.

Wonderfully retro-sounding as ever from the 1975. Great tune, great beat.

Track 34: Westlife – Hello My Love

New Hits Friday review.

This one’s still a bit too cheesy for me.

Track 35: Take That – Everlasting

This track wasn’t even released as a single, but again the album got to number one.

As I understand it, this is one of the few new tracks on Take That’s recent remastered retrospective. It’s a bit dull until the second chorus kicks in. Also, the self-referential spoken word bit at the end is a bit odd.

Track 36: Hozier – Almost (Sweet Music)

The single only got to number 82, but the album went top ten, getting to number six.

Great bit of soft rock – really like this one.

Track 37: Bryan Adams – Shine A Light

No single release for this song, but the album got to number two.

Great beat, but it’s a little too acoustic-y for me. Nice to see Bryan Adams still rockin’ up Now! compilations though.

Track 38: Michael Bublé – Love You Anymore

Again no single release, but it was a number one album.

As usual for Bublé, it’s far too saccharine for me, but it is nice and feelgood.

Track 39: Rod Stewart – Look In Her Eyes

Yet another one that wasn’t released as a single, but the album went to number one.

Love this danceable, atmospheric song! So yeah, this is the point where I’m officially on board with the Now! compilers including songs-from-hit-albums that didn’t make the singles chart, because the notion of Rod Stewart still managing to get his new songs onto Now! compilations is the BESTEST THING.

Track 40: Hugh Jackman, Keala Settle, Zac Efron, Zendaya and The Greatest Showman Cast – The Greatest Show

Repeated artist alert! We’ve already had the Greatest Showman cast on track 28.

Great stompalong number though. Fab track.

Track 41: Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Relax

We’ve already had this track on Now! #2! How dare they be so lazy…wait. I can’t really start ranting in this case, because what’s going on here is that the Now! compilers have chosen to include six tracks from Now! #2 in order to advertise the fact that it’s had a re-release on CD today, the same release day as Now! #102. I’m hopeful that this pattern will continue, and will be scouting out the re-release for my collection this weekend!

Anyway, see the link for my review – it was track 16 on Now! #2.

Track 42: Nik Kershaw – Wouldn’t It Be Good

Still a classic from Nik Kershaw.

See my review on Now! #2 – track 2.

Track 43: Matthew Wilder – Break My Stride

I have this one on my running playlist these days!

See my review on Now! #2 – track 11.

Track 44: Cyndi Lauper – Girls Just Want To Have Fun

One of my earliest ’80s favourites.

See my review on Now! #2 – track 9.

Track 45: Culture Club – It’s A Miracle

Still love that daft boardgaming video!

See my review on Now! #2 – track 25.

Track 46: Thompson Twins – Hold Me Now

If you spend any time watching the Now! ’80s channel, which often replays the classic TV adverts for the classic ’80s Now! compilations, you will be familiar with this song as the centrepiece for the Now! #2 advert due to it’s ‘hold me now‘ (geddit?) refrain on the chorus. Still a great track, and it was a highlight when I saw Tom Bailey supporting Culture Club in November.

See my review on Now! #2 – track 3.

Great choices for those bonus tracks. Could have done with a bit of love for Duran Duran’s New Moon On Monday (track 29) but I’m hopeful for The Reflex if they do this again when they re-release Now! #3!

A slightly hectic Thursday

I did a short non-speed run this morning as instructed by my training plan (which felt really strange!) and then went to Slimming World, where I was happy to find I’d lost a pound and a half. Just four pounds to get back into range now.

I then had to take a detour into town to meet Geth after discovering I’d left my house keys at home, and have been spending most of the afternoon tidying up as we have a guest round for boardgaming tonight.

Back to work tomorrow.

OOTD 11th April 2019
OOTD: still hoping for it to warm up a little more! Jumper Carlo Colucci (vintage 1980s, bought at vintage fair 2017), leggings Primark (2018), trainers Reebok (2018).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun
Duran Duran – Do You Believe In Shame?
Oasis – Songbird
Duran Duran – Is There Something I Should Know?
Duran Duran – Read My Lips
Duran Duran – Like An Angel

(Music brain was having a real Duran Duran day. Even more than usual, I mean!)