Exploring the known world

Another 4,000 words on my NaNo novel took me to 80,000 words today!

I also cleaned and tidied the house, or some of it anyway, because Geth and I were having guests round for boardgaming tonight.  Having guests round during NaNo month is a good thing because otherwise the house would literally not get cleaned for a full month.

We’re playing Pandemic Legacy series 2, which is the latest legacy game in a series of legacy games that we’ve been playing with the same group of people for three years.  It’s a bit scary that it’s been three years.  I’m really enjoying this one, though, and I’ll do a review of the full campaign when we finish it sometime in 2019.  It gets more and more interesting as you explore more of the world map.

Looking forward to a full day of catching up with admin tomorrow.

OOTD 20th November 2018
OOTD: busy boardgaming Tuesday! T-shirt Katharine Hamnett for Help Refugees (2017), jeans Zara (2018), boots Carefree (2017).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Thompson Twins – You Take Me Up
Def Leppard – Pour Some Sugar On Me
Tracey Ullman – They Don’t Know
Duran Duran – Winter Marches On
Duran Duran – White Lines
Leo Sayer – Moonlighting
Duran Duran – Hungry Like The Wolf

A non-stop weekend!

Over the past three days I have:

  1. Volunteered at parkrun
  2. Gone to see Fenwick’s Christmas window (a Newcastle Christmas tradition)
  3. Gone to a vintage fair
  4. Gone to an incredible Culture Club gig at the Metro Radio Arena
  5. Run the Town Moor Half Marathon
  6. Recovered in the pub
  7. Eaten recovery pizza
  8. Got a whole load of recorded TV watched and started my annual Christmas TV project
  9. Started a new bucket list project
  10. Got a total of 12,000 words written on my NaNo novel, taking me up to 76,000 words

Tomorrow is busy again as I’ve got lots of admin and a boardgaming evening!

OOTD 17th November 2018
Saturday OOTD: gig-going outfit. Blouse Hermann Lange Collection (vintage 1980s, bought at vintage fair 2018), jeans Levi (2018), boots Primark (2017).
OOTD 18th November 2018
OOTD: post-race recovery outfit. Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), jumper Jac (vintage 1980s, bought at vintage fair 2018).
OOTD 19th November 2018
OOTD: busy Monday catching up! Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), hoodie Internacionale (2000), t-shirt Gildan for Beat:Cancer (2017).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Taylor Dayne – Tell It To My Heart
Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper – Shallow
Arcadia – Election Day
Duran Duran – Girls On Film

Race Review: Town Moor Half Marathon 2018

Geth and I hadn’t done any races put on by the North East Marathon Club before, but having heard good things about the Town Moor Half Marathon, we decided to give it a go this year – even though it did mean (a) running a half marathon the night after a gig and (b) stretching our race season into November, which is when we’re usually curled up at home for our winter running slump!

The North East Marathon Club’s aim is to put on affordable marathons for people in the north-east of England.  Most of their events are lapped courses, so you can choose what distance you do – the Town Moor Marathon is seven laps of the Town Moor, and if you choose to do the half, you do a special half distance lap first before doing three laps of the main course.

I’m glad I did it for the experience, but boy, doing a lapped half marathon is tough.  You have to run past the finish funnel three times before finally being able to run into it on the fourth occasion, and every time you pass it, your legs beg you to call it a day and your brain screams ‘do we really have to run that full lap AGAIN?’  I was better trained for this one than I was for the Great North Run, and I did end up running it about three minutes faster (so I got a PB, somehow!) but it felt much, much harder.

Also, that gravel.  It hurts your feet and gets in the way when you’re running a 5k parkrun.  It hurts much, much worse when you’re ten miles into a half marathon.

Great goodie bag though.  Gloves instead of a t-shirt!  Gorgeous medal!  And I really, really needed that chocolate bar.  Good stuff.

Gig Review: Culture Club at Metro Radio Arena, 17th November 2018

I was really looking forward to this gig.  Not even the fact that Geth and I, at some point in the past, got it into our heads that it’d be a clever idea to sign up for a half marathon the day afterwards could spoil my excitement!

Culture Club
Culture Club – and for once, my gig photo is only semi-blurry!

First of all, the support acts for this tour were cracking.  Geth was more excited about the support bands than the main act!

Tom Bailey, formerly the lead singer of the Thompson Twins, was first on.  He played a mixture of Thompson Twins classics and stuff off his new album.  I really quite enjoyed the new stuff and will be checking out the album, but it was definitely the classics that went down a lot better with the audience.  My highlight was Doctor, Doctor, which has long been a favourite of mine due to its gorgeous synth line and its frequent use in Doctor Who montages.

Tom Bailey setlist:

(We Are Detectives – the band came onstage to this tune)
Love On Your Side
Science Fiction
You Take Me Up
Lies
Lay Your Hands On Me
Doctor, Doctor
Hold Me Now

Next up was Belinda Carlisle, who was brilliant and still rocks the stage like she did thirty years ago!  Her voice is still gorgeous too.  My highlight from this set was Heaven Is A Place On Earth, because it’s been a favourite ’80s song of mine for such a long time, and I couldn’t believe I was actually getting to hear it live – but there were so many great hits!

Belinda Carlisle setlist:

Live Your Life Be Free
We Want The Same Thing
In Too Deep
I Get Weak
Circle In The Sand
Summer Rain
Leave A Light On
Heaven Is A Place On Earth

Culture Club are one of those bands where you’re never entirely sure how long a reunion is going to last, because there have historically been tensions among the members.  Indeed, the full original band was not a hundred percent present, because drummer Jon Moss left the tour partway through the US leg and is not performing on the UK leg.  I’m sure he has his reasons, but I was super disappointed not to see him, not least because it means I’ve now got to track him down separately for my new Band Aid baby bucket list project!

It was a fantastic gig though.  So many hits that I’ve heard all my life and never dreamt I would actually see performed live by Culture Club.  So many nods to classic artists beloved by me and clearly also by Boy George – the wee Wham! tribute during Church Of The Poison Mind, and the glam rock section during the encore with T.Rex and Bowie covers.  Victims, my favourite Culture Club song, which I’d been praying they’d play since I bought the tickets.  The wonderful finish of Karma Chameleon, with moments from my life flashing before my eyes: the hilarious Lothian Buses number 26 bus that never fails to crack me up; the crappy old Audiogalaxy download that I had of the song for years that had a slight jump during the first repetition of ‘you’re my lover, not my rival’; the time that my old schoolfriend Laura wrote the lyrics down wrong in my homework diary in high school and I had to correct them:

Homework diary, 7th October 2000
Homework diary, 7th October 2000.  It’s actually ‘lovin’ would be easy’, but I was closer than she was.

I got super emotional during Karma Chameleon, in short.  I’ve had the Now ’80s channel on all day today, and every time it’s come on, I’ve just been staring at the TV all like ‘I actually saw that performed live by Culture Club at the weekend’.

Wonderful concert.  Probably my favourite of the year so far.

Culture Club setlist:

God And Love
It’s A Miracle
Let Somebody Love You
Time (Clock Of The Heart)
Everything I Own
The Truth Is A Runaway Train
Do You Really Want To Hurt Me?
Victims
Different Man
Miss Me Blind
Church Of The Poison Mind/I’m Your Man
Life
Let’s Dance
Get It On
Karma Chameleon

Updated Band Aid baby bucket list progress: song artists 1/37 (2.7%); message artists 0/7 (0%); total artists 1/44 (2.3%).

Vintage fair haul: Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair

Saturday was a hectic day, but I managed to squeeze in a quick trip to a vintage fair!  I brought Geth with me for the first time, having lured him in with the promise of cake, and so he was able to sit down with a big piece of cake and a cup of tea in a proper teacup while I had my quick nosey round the stalls.  I also had a taste of the cake, which was a nice chocolate orange flavour.  I’ve never sampled the cakes at vintage fairs before, ’cause I’m usually just in and out quickly with my clothes haul!

Vintage fair haul
Shiny, shiny blouse.

Just one piece bought this time – this lovely shiny blouse.  I wore it out the same night for the Culture Club gig we went to!

Lou Lou’s is one of my favourites, so I’ll be keeping an eye on when they’re back in Newcastle.

Being a Band Aid baby, or: one hell of a bucket list

If you’re lucky, there’s something special about the song that was number one when you were born.  Maybe it symbolises something about your life, or your interests, or the person that you ended up growing up to be.  Maybe it’s just a really awesome song.

If you’re unlucky, you end up like Geth and get Theme From M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless) (UK number one from 25th May 1980 to 14th June 1980, fact fans!) as your birthday number one.  It’s not bad as TV theme tunes go, but it’s not special to Geth – he didn’t grow up to be a soldier, or an expert on the Korean War, or even much of a M*A*S*H fan, really.

I was lucky, and my birthday number one is special to me.  I love it as a Christmas baby, as an ’80s throwback, as a chart geek, and as a lover of music in general.  It’s an extremely well-known Christmas song – one of those tracks you hear constantly from the middle of November until early January.  It held the record for the best-selling single in UK chart history for more than twelve years, only ever being overtaken by Elton John’s Candle In The Wind ’97 after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in September 1997.

My birthday number one is Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas?, one of the most famous recordings in music history.

Do They Know It's Christmas?

I was born on 3rd January 1985, the twenty-sixth day of the thirty-five day period (9th December 1984 to 12th January 1985) that Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas? spent at number one in the UK.  From the 1984-1985 UK birthrates available online, I estimate that I share my birthday number one with approximately 71,000 other Band Aid babies, including Georgia Moffett, Lewis Hamilton, and Newton Faulkner.  (I would love to be able to work out the exact number, but the internet is not forthcoming at the moment!)

Due to the ubiquity of the song, I grew up with it, and it became my favourite Christmas song long before I realised that it was my birthday number one.  I pored over the upside-down answers to Smash Hits quizzes that challenged readers to name all the artists involved in the song, and memorised names that were unfamiliar to me in the context of the early ’90s pop music landscape.  I dutifully learnt to sing the song with my primary school class in preparation for our Christmas performance at the local old folks’ community centre.  I waited excitedly for it to come on as soon as my brother and I were allowed to play the family’s Christmas compilation CD (That’s Christmas) on the 1st of December every year.  It’s one of those songs that you hear hundreds of times every year, and so it never really goes out of your mind.  That’s not something you can say about Theme From M*A*S*H (Suicide Is Painless).

The finer points of Bob Geldof’s project to put together a charity supergroup and the song’s recording on 25th November 1984 are well known, detailed in a hundred different BBC4 documentaries and summarised fairly well on Wikipedia (though I highly recommend the Smash Hits coverage of the recording day included in the collection book The Best Of Smash Hits: The ’80s for a bit of period flavour – it has a great group photo of all the artists involved except for Boy George, who infamously didn’t show up till six o’clock in the evening due to oversleeping in New York and having to get on a Concorde back to London).

I’ve been to a lot of concerts in my life, including a lot of concerts by artists who were big in the ’80s due to it being my favourite music era and favourite era in general.  But the other day, it occurred to me that I had never gone to see a single one of the thirty-seven artists who performed on my birthday number one.  I had never even seen any of the additional seven artists who couldn’t make it to the recording and so sent recorded Christmas messages to be used on the B-side of the single.

This is the part of the post where I get to the point.

I will never get to see every single one of the artists involved in my birthday number one.  Sadly, two of the musicians who contributed to the song (George Michael and Rick Parfitt) and two who recorded B-side messages (Stuart Adamson and David Bowie) have since passed away.  But I have decided that I will make a concerted effort to see as many of the rest of them as possible.  After all, I have more opportunity than some.  My brother’s birthday number one is Ben E King’s Stand By Me (a re-entry at UK number one between 15th February 1987 and 7th March 1987), which means that since King’s death in 2015 he has no longer had the possibility of seeing his birthday number one artist.  People who were born between 14th December 1980 and 20th December 1980, when (Just Like) Starting Over was number one following John Lennon’s assassination, have never had the chance to see their birthday number one artist.

Enter the Band Aid bucket list!

For most of my bucket lists, I reckon that if I’m lucky enough, I’ve got another fifty or sixty years left to get them completed.  Time is not so much on my side for this particular list, given that all the artists on it are now in their fifties and sixties and won’t be performing or alive forever.  As such, rather similarly to the huge hoard of ’80s vintage clothing I’m collecting while it’s still cheap and plentiful, I aim to get the bulk of this project achieved while I’m still in my thirties, and so I’m targeting >50% list completion by my fortieth birthday on 3rd January 2025.  That gives me six years, one month and fourteen days as of this post to see as many of the following artists as possible.  I’d better get a wiggle on.

The artists who sang on the track:

The extra artists who recorded messages for the B-side:

Current progress: song artists 5/37 (13.5%); message artists 2/7 (28.6%); total artists 7/44 (15.9%).

I have arranged to find out about future performances by all of these artists using the extremely lazy 21st century method of following them all on Twitter!

I’ll keep updating this post as I see more artists.  I’m looking forward to this project!

Flying Sunday post

Another flying post today because between running a half marathon and writing another 4,000 words on my NaNo novel, I’ve been really busy.  I’ll update with lots of posts tomorrow, though, ’cause I’ve got lots and lots to say about the weekend!

Today’s earworm playlist:

Arcadia – Say The Word
Europe – Carrie
Silk City, Mark Ronson, Diplo and Dua Lipa – Electricity
Loud Luxury and Brando – Body
Calvin Harris and Sam Smith – Promises
Boy George – Everything I Own
Will Young – Leave Right Now
Sacre – London Marathon

And a few bonus tracks that Geth was humming earlier:

Tracey Ullman – They Don’t Know
Urban Cookie Collective – The Key, The Secret
Metallica – Sad But True
Metallica – The Memory Remains
Covenant – Dead Stars

Flying Saturday post

Just a quick post today because Geth and I are heading off to a gig!  Will update fully tomorrow, as it’s been a very busy weekend of running stuff and vintage fairs and lots more.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Duran Duran – Make Me Smile (Come Up And See Me)
Little Mix and Nicki Minaj – Woman Like Me
Duran Duran – Notorious
Wham! – Last Christmas
Duran Duran – Late Bar
Level 42 – Lessons In Love
Culture Club – Victims
Sacre – London Marathon
Calum Scott – Dancing On My Own
Dennis Waterman – I Could Be So Good For You

Towards ‘the end’

I got another 4,000 words done on my NaNo novel again today.  It took a while because I was trying to catch up with the last few weeks’ worth of music charts as well, but it got done.  I’m determined to (a) keep this streak going and (b) finish this story!

I also got my music practice in again – keyboard this time.  I may not have time to do it next week (and definitely not over the weekend) but we’ll see.

Going to try and get an early night tonight, because I’ve got a very busy weekend ahead of me with a couple of early starts.

OOTD 16th November 2018
OOTD: day in the house. T-shirt Gildan for Infest (2018), jeans Vivid (2018), boots Carefree (2017).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Duran Duran – Come Undone
Elton John – Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting
Duran Duran – Burning The Ground
Duran Duran – A View To A Kill
The 1975 – Too Time Too Time Too Time
Loud Luxury and Brando – Body
Pulp – Sorted For Es And Whizz
Paula Abdul – Straight Up
Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush – Don’t Give Up

Suddenly Christmas…sort of

Another 4,000 words on my NaNo novel, taking me up to 60,000!

Today’s music practice: back to the tin whistle and those last few slightly difficult tunes from Recorder From The Beginning.

I’ve had a couple of weeks where I’ve not really watched much TV ’cause I don’t like having the distraction while I’m writing.  Tonight I turned the TV back on – first because I wanted to watch a couple of BBC4 documentaries on iPlayer (one with Boy George talking about the 1970s, which is (a) pertinent to my novel and (b) excitement-building for the Culture Club gig I am going to see on Saturday, and one about vinyl singles, which was just glorious and nostalgic and featured lots of excellent talking heads), and secondly just to have some Now! ’80s on the go as background music for the rest of the evening.  A couple of alarming things that have apparently happened in the last couple of weeks:

  1. Vintage TV (channel 82) has disappeared from our channel list.  I need to look into this.  I’ve not been watching Vintage TV anywhere near as much as I used to since Now! ’80s appeared on the channel list, but I’d still like to have the option.
  2. Every advert is suddenly a Christmas advert.  I am not at all ready for Christmas yet (I’ve just been so busy and so have been unable to get in the mood) and so all the carols and turkey dinners are leaving me a bit cold (and also panicked, because ARGH you always have to do lots of stuff to prepare for Christmas).

Still getting a lot done, but still very behind on managing the actual to-do list at the moment.  Hoping to get that sorted tomorrow morning.

OOTD 15th November 2018
OOTD: a non-Pilates Thursday. Hoodie Internacionale (2000), vest top Primark (2016), skirt Gap (2007), tights Primark (2017), boots Primark (2017).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Duran Duran – Come Undone
Queen – Bicycle Race
Duran Duran – Rio
Duran Duran – Skin Trade
Leo Sayer – Moonlighting
Alannah Myles – Black Velvet
Arcadia – Say The Word
Technotronic – Pump Up The Jam