A quiet Monday

A fairly relaxed start to the working week. I did some admin for a client I’m editing for tomorrow (I’m quite glad to have editing work again as the last month has been pretty dead!) and then got on with my writing for the rest of the day.

Geth is out boardgaming tonight, so I’m going to take the opportunity to get on with my ukulele practice, which I’ve been neglecting a bit this week.

OOTD 11th February 2019
OOTD: day in the house. Jumper Jac (vintage 1980s, bought at vintage fair 2018), jeans H&M (thifted from Steff 2016), boots Moda In Pelle (2018).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Jess Glynne – Thursday
Pet Shop Boys – On Social Media
Lewis Capaldi – Someone You Loved
KT Tunstall – Suddenly I See
Heaven 17 – Let Me Go

Music Video Monday: Heaven 17: Let Me Go

Today on ‘Dee’s Favourite ’80s Music Videos All Have Classic Red Phone Boxes In Them’, we’re looking at Heaven 17’s 1982 video for Let Me Go. Fun fact: this was never a Top 40 hit. However, it is my favourite Heaven 17 song, and was my absolute highlight when I saw them at Electric Dreams in December.

Heaven 17 - Let Me Go

The video opens in a black ‘n’ white deserted London, where the members of Heaven 17 are approaching a red phone box with its door hanging open, rather like the ones you see nowadays in areas where councils are not performing proper phone box upkeep. The phone is off the hook and repeating the automated voice from the speaking clock on a loop.

Heaven 17 - Let Me Go

It’s not clear at this point what has happened to everyone else in London – there was a discarded Evening Standard fluttering about at the start of the video with the headline ‘British Electric Foundation crashes – Share prices halved – city rumours confirmed’, but that doesn’t really tell us anything (British Electric Foundation was the predecessor project to Heaven 17, so it’s probably just an in-joke!). However, Heaven 17 are still here and still walking purposefully towards…something.

Heaven 17 - Let Me Go

In addition to the classic red phone box, we have a bonus classic red postbox that has spit out all its post (this doesn’t really make any sense, but the alternative explanation is that when people found it was full, they just dumped their envelopes in front of it instead of going off to find a different one that wasn’t full, and frankly that’s just silly). I’m not as obsessed with postboxes as I am with phone boxes, largely because the former are still in common use and therefore not an endangered species on British streets.

Anyway, this is the point when Glenn Gregory realises that Martyn Ware and Ian Craig Marsh have disappeared into thin air (I suppose that must be what also happened to everyone else, although I’m not sure what it has to do with the British Electric Foundation crashing).

Heaven 17 - Let Me Go

I’m sure this slo-mo sequence of Glenn running past the National Westminster Bank (the old name for NatWest, fact fans) is meant to be very artistic and beautiful, but as a recreational runner, every time I see it I just think, ‘He’s not wearing the appropriate gear!’

Heaven 17 - Let Me Go

Inside the…train station? (it’s sheltered but open to the elements from the sides, and there’s a bench), there’s lots of cash fluttering about, adding to the forboding feeling of ‘London city types in the ’80s all disappeared into thin air’.

Heaven 17 - Let Me Go

The video then briefly turns to colour for a ghostly crowd sequence. This type of ‘single person swimming against the tide of a crowd’ scene is something I associate more with Kate Bush’s 1985 video for Running Up That Hill, but apparently Heaven 17 did it first.

Heaven 17 - Let Me Go

But soon Glenn returns to the empty black ‘n’ white world, and what’s this? Why, it’s a GPO 332, the standard GPO phone issued between 1937 and 1959! Glenn doesn’t bother using it – it’s clearly just here in the video for aesthetic decoration, and it performs that job beautifully.

Heaven 17 - Let Me Go

The video ends with a shot of the swinging receiver in the phone box again, with the speaking clock still repeating itself over and over to a nonexistent listener. A nice, suitably haunting image to finish on!

Watch the full video:

Twenty-four hours on holiday

Geth and I are back in Newcastle after a night in Leeds for the Tears For Fears gig! The gig was epic, and so was the restaurant we went to beforehand (Livin’ Italy), so we now have a new favourite place to eat in Leeds. There was pizza and ginger beer, both of which I will blog about soon, but it was the bruschetta that really made the meal – it was just immense.

After a relaxed morning in the hotel reading magazines (Geth had booked us on the 11:51 train back home, but my current sleeping pattern meant I was awake at 7am as usual!), we travelled back to Newcastle, and I did my Sunday long run on the treadmill. Other than the moment when I discovered the machine automatically stops after 100 minutes ’cause it doesn’t have space for longer on the time display, it was a much more enjoyable long run than having to dodge roadworks and cars like I’ve been doing for the past few weeks, so I think this is going to be my habit for the next few Sundays!

A quiet evening ahead before another week of writing and editing.

OOTD 10th February 2019
OOTD: comfy travel outfit. Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), scarf unknown brand (2019), hoodie Sonar (2006), vest top Batman (2018), jeans Vivid (2018), boots Clarks (2016).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Yazoo – Only You
Bucks Fizz – Making Your Mind Up
Duran Duran – Is There Something I Should Know?
Belinda Carlisle – We Want The Same Thing
Tears For Fears – Change
Howard Jones – New Song
Sister Sledge – Frankie
Culture Club – Karma Chameleon
David Bowie – Starman
Pet Shop Boys – On Social Media
Pet Shop Boys – Heart
T’Pau – China In Your Hand
Ariana Grande – 7 Rings
Heaven 17 – Let Me Go

And a bonus track that Geth was humming earlier:

Alison Moyet – All Cried Out

Gig Review: Tears For Fears at Leeds First Direct Arena, 9th February 2019

I’d been looking forward to this one for a long time.

I first became aware that Tears For Fears were doing a tour when they appeared on the Strictly results show during the 2017 series. To my disappointment, I couldn’t get tickets at the time (see my longwinded story about that here), but when the tour was postponed from 2018 to 2019, my ticket hunt had a happier outcome.

A major bonus was that Alison Moyet was supporting. I’ve loved her stuff since I was a kid, ’cause Mum and Dad had her Singles compilation and used to play it in the car all the time. As such, I made sure that Geth and I were at the venue promptly, ’cause I knew it would take a while to get in (security at big arenas has been understandably beefed up ever since the Manchester attack, so it takes longer to get into gigs these days).

(There was a bit of unintentional comedy thanks to Geth’s utter astonishment that this huge concert arena had ‘suddenly appeared’ in the middle of Leeds! He spent a lot of time in Leeds when living in York between 2000 and 2004, but the First Direct Arena was only opened in 2013.)

After grabbing a Tears For Fears badge pack from the merch stand (I love badges and have collected loads – I need to do something with them at some point) – we found our seats and settled in for the show!

Alison Moyet
Alison Moyet. Gig photography only semi-blurry for this one ’cause we had quite good seats!

Alison Moyet’s set had been advertised as an electronic set, but overall it was probably a fifty-fifty mix of Yazoo classics and her more modern blues-type tracks. I would have liked to hear more of her post-Yazoo ’80s electro stuff, but I really did enjoy the modern songs even though I wasn’t familiar with them, so I can’t complain.

My absolute highlight was obviously Only You. It’s one of my favourite songs of all time, to the extent that I walked down the aisle to it in 2012. Getting to see Alison Moyet perform it live was a really, really special thing for me.

Alison Moyet setlist:

I Germinate
Nobody’s Diary
Do You Ever Wonder
Beautiful Gun
All Cried Out
The Rarest Birds
The Sharpest Corner
Only You
Love Resurrection
Don’t Go

An interval and some more drinks later, it was time for the main event!

Tears For Fears
Tears For Fears. It was so awesome to see these two live!

Tears For Fears were doing a shameless greatest hits set – signalled from the start when they came onstage to Lorde’s cover of Everybody Wants To Rule The World and then launched into the original version – and they have a lot of hits, so there were very few tracks I didn’t recognise. It was all enjoyable singalong numbers from start to finish, which was exactly what I wanted to hear.

It’s hard to choose a highlight, but I’m going to go with Mad World, which has been a favourite of mine for decades now (it was on the first ’80s nostalgia playlist I created back in the ’90s, and I remember in 2003 trying to convince my brother that the original was better than the Michael Andrews version). Again, it was such a nice moment to hear it live at long last.

Unusually, there was only one track played as part of the encore – but it was Shout, and it went on for ages, so it was a suitably epic finale!

Tears For Fears setlist:

Everybody Wants To Rule The World
Secret World
Sowing The Seeds Of Love
Pale Shelter
Break It Down Again
Everybody Loves A Happy Ending
Mad World
Memories Fade
Suffer The Children
Woman In Chains
Advice For The Young At Heart
Badman’s Song
Head Over Heels

Overall a great gig to start the year’s live music, and it will take some beating. A bonus was that Geth was really impressed by the First Direct Arena, so he’s now very happy to join me in my endless ’80s musical indulgence when bands play in Leeds. We’ll be back there for A-ha in November!

Semi-flying Saturday post

Just a quick post today as Geth and I are heading off to a gig! I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow.

(I do want to mention that I watched that Eurovision: You Decide show and the chosen UK song is not hook-y enough in my view. The show was worth watching for the Fizz and Katrina during the ‘history of UK Eurovision entries’ bit though!)

OOTD 9th February 2019
OOTD: gig-going outfit! Top Rinascimento (vintage 1980s, bought at vintage fair 2019), skirt Miss Selfridge (2004), tights Primark (2017), boots Primark (2017).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Tears For Fears – Sowing The Seeds Of Love
The Specials – Ghost Town
Haircut 100 – Love Plus One
Pet Shop Boys – On Social Media
Culture Beat – Mr Vain

Music Review: Pet Shop Boys: Agenda

There was a new Pet Shop Boys EP released yesterday, which is always a good thing! I’ve never listened to a Pet Shop Boys record I didn’t like, largely because they are extremely reliable and consistent in what they do (i.e. great synthpop tunes). The new release, Agenda, is no exception.

Pet Shop Boys - Agenda

Let’s have a listen to the tracks.

Give Stupidity A Chance

Lovely happy synthscapes to kick off. Bit of a contrast with the doomy lyrics, but after the Specials last week I’m starting to get used to that!

On Social Media

Classic upbeat synthpop that was an instant earworm when I first listened to it on Thursday night. The rhymes are daft in an endearing way, and it’s a bit ‘old men ranting about modern technology’, but the tune is awesome and I’m going to be listening to it all week.

What Are We Going To Do About The Rich?

Great chant-along track! Another one for the daily playlist. The rhythm is fantastic.

The Forgotten Child

Something a bit slower, but gorgeously atmospheric, for the last track. Love the twinkly melancholy instrumental – it’s almost Christmassy for a minute, and then the beat drops. Gorgeous stuff.

Classic and classy as ever from PSB. Love this EP!

Tap tap tap tap

Another good productive writing day! I got some more work done on my submission package for my first 2019 novel pitch, drafted some treatments for stuff I will be submitting to competitions, got a lot of poetry written, and got some more editing done on another novel.

I also got some advice in response to the draft submission materials I’d sent to the Jericho Writers service, and it’s given me a good few things to think about – some of it confirmed what I’d thought myself (need to cut down the novel wordcount a bit, need to focus on the premise rather than the characters as the selling point), but there were a couple of extra things I’d not considered. As such, I’m going to spend another fortnight or so editing the manuscript further before I start sending it out. I’m sort of dreading it, because I am honestly so sick of this MS after nearly eight years, but I know I need to do the work to give it more of a chance of getting picked up.

I’ve not really done anything other than writing today (which is the best kind of day!), but I do want to note my happiness that the Specials got to number one in the album charts with Encore. Quality still rules (sometimes) in the album chart, even if I despair at the state of the singles chart most of the time!

OOTD 8th February 2019
OOTD: summer dress with winter accessories to keep warm! Hoodie Sonar (2006), dress Primark (2018), tights Primark (2017), boots Moda In Pelle (2018).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Duran Duran – Hold Back The Rain
Arcadia – Say The Word
Duran Duran – A View To A Kill
The Bangles – Hazy Shade Of Winter
Sigala, Ella Eyre, Meghan Trainor and French Montana – Just Got Paid
The Bangles – Walk Like An Egyptian
The Specials – A Message To You Rudy
Busted – Year 3000
Lewis Capaldi – Someone You Loved

New Hits Friday: 8th February 2019

Four new hits in the chart today!

Lauv and Troye Sivan – I’m So Tired

Well, at least there’s a tune to it, and I quite like the electro-tinged backing track. It’s not hugely exciting though.

There’s no video for this yet.

21 Savage and J Cole – A Lot

The lyrical content of the rap is a lot cleverer than most stuff out nowadays, and I quite like the soul singing in the background.

The video, which compares the fronts people put on in public to the realities of their lives, features a lot of 20th century trappings like vinyl records, flashbulb photography, and classic dishes, so I’m all about it.

Fredo and Dave – All I Ever Wanted

Great epic electro atmosphere on the backing track, and the rhythm of the rap is quite nice. I’ve not been keen on Fredo’s previous stuff, but I quite like this one.

The video’s a fairly standard London rap video – urban setting, lots of weed – but at least there’s a semi-story going on.

Billie Eilish – Bury A Friend

Great beat, interesting and unusual vocals. Nice to have something different in the chart.

The video is suitably haunting and full of horror imagery, which I really, really like!

Still chipping away

It’s been a pretty good day, but also quite tiring! I had a first go on our new treadmill this morning and immediately remembered why I find treadmill running quite hard. You have to go at the exact pace you’ve set, rather than intuitively speeding up and slowing down like you do on the road. However, the documentary I’d put on helped to distract me, so once I got the speed right it actually went okay.

I lost two and a half pounds at Slimming World, so cutting out the second Healthy Extra A choice is clearly working! A couple more good weeks and hopefully I’ll be back into my target range.

In the afternoon I submitted one of my novels to the Northern Writers’ Awards – always worth a try – and got a bit more writing done before I had to head off to Pilates class.

Just a few more writing jobs to do and then hopefully I can relax for an hour before bed! It’ll be nice to have a full day with my sofa and laptop tomorrow as well.

OOTD 7th February 2019
OOTD: couldn’t get a picture where the wind wasn’t playing some kind of havoc with my hair! Jumper Carlo Colucci (vintage 1980s, bought at vintage fair 2017), leggings Primark (2018), boots Clarks (2009).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Kraftwerk – The Model
Yazoo – Only You
Duran Duran – Rio
Gene Kelly – Singin’ In The Rain
Pet Shop Boys – Heart
Jess Glynne – Thursday
Hue & Cry – Labour Of Love
Tears For Fears – Head Over Heels

Phone Box Thursday: Harbour Street, Kincardine

This is another phone box that Mum and Dad spotted while on holiday – this time in Canada.

Red phone box
Red phone box, Harbour Street, Kincardine, 1st August 2017.

(Coordinates 44°17’69.8″N, 81°63’67.4″W.)

When UK councils first started getting rid of red phone boxes, a lot of them got sold abroad as tourist attractions, which is why you sometimes find them outside the UK. Better that someone appreciates them this way than they get thrown into the creepy red phone box graveyard (although I have to confess I would like to visit that graveyard one day).

Something closer to home next week!