Playlist Pick: Lisa Lougheed, ‘Run With Us’

Everyone has a favourite Saturday morning cartoon theme song. This is mine, and it appears on many of my Spotify playlists, including my running one. Many happy memories of cartoon-watching in childhood (funnily enough, while The Raccoons was a perfectly passable and entertaining cartoon, the theme tune was the best part!).

I used this song to test the way music works for Adventuron games earlier this week, so it currently also feels like a victory song. Jam game released tonight and I will link to it tomorrow!

Saturday ’80s Photo: You Can’t Keep Vintage Hot Water Bottles

I had some hip pain the other week (one of the less fun effects of increased running mileage) and so I dug out my hot water bottle with the intention of getting some nice soothing heat on the complaining muscles. I’ve had the same hot water bottle since I was about six (it lives in a ‘The Snowman’ cover) and it probably wasn’t 100% new then, so I’m guessing it’s been kicking about since the late ’80s.

It turns out that hot water bottles don’t have thirty-year-plus lifespans 🙁

Expired hot water bottle

Since I last used it (not sure when but it would have been years ago), the rubber has hardened to the point where it’s cracked apart. Looks like I’m going to have to replace it with a *sigh* modern one 🙁

I ended up sorting out the hip with some yoga, plus a little help from a microwaveable rice bag. I definitely prefer a hot water bottle though so will in all seriousness be on the lookout for a replacement.

Saturday ’80s Photo: One Car Among Many #3

Today we’ve got a couple of 1981 photos of Mum and Dad (and Granny!) standing next to what seems to be an Opel Manta B. Looks like a nice spacious car!

Opel Manta B, 1981

I came across an interesting article about why cars went from boxy to curved during the ’90s. I wonder if angular cars will ever make a comeback?

1981 fashions

Bonus picture of Mum and Granny next to the car. I love Granny’s coat!

More ’80s stuff (possibly cars) next week.

Saturday ’80s Photo: One Car Among Many #2

Here’s Mum standing next to another car in the ’80s! With me, as it’s now 1985.

'80s Ford Escort
Adventures with cars in Shetland.

Judging by the car registration date (thanks gov.uk for this handy lookup feature!) and pictures online, this looks like a Ford Sierra. I suspect it was one of the Fords that Dad used to hire to get around Shetland before we owned our first family car. They always seemed to be blue for some reason!

More old ’80s stuff next week.

Playlist Pick: Soft Cell, ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’

I’ve been working on both of my ’80s chart playlists this week: my ‘proper’ one, which is ongoing as part of my decade-long video-watching project (explained last week), and my ‘holding playlist’ for favourite tracks I’m yet to get to. Strangely, given that it’s only the alphabet that separates them, the two lists seem to have slightly different tones; the first seems to contain more serious tracks, while the second is more frothy. Maybe it’s just the particular tunes that seem to be coming up regularly at the moment!

An exception to the trend is one of my favourite tracks by a band from the latter half of the alphabet, Soft Cell. ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’ is beautiful and epic and not at all frothy, and I was privileged to see it performed live when Geth and I saw Marc Almond at Electric Dreams 2018 (though I was less impressed by the audience members wearing inflatable pink flamingoes, as I feel the song deserves a little more reverence).

The video is early ’80s perfection and I’m always disappointed when nightclubs don’t look like this. Not that I go to nightclubs that often these days, even in non-pandemic times!

Saturday ’80s Photo: Future/Past Vinyl Adventures

I don’t remember Mum and Dad ever buying singles. When I was a kid, singles were what *I* bought (generally on cassette because it was a quid cheaper than CDs, and also because when I first started buying them we didn’t actually have a CD player in the house). What Mum and Dad did have, as far as I knew, was:

  • A gramophone with accompanying early-mid 20th century record collection. I used to peruse this and found the names of the records fascinating, but the music itself was of little interest to me because (a) my interest in the 20th century only really starts circa 1963* and (b) it was mostly old Scottish tunes, which Dad always put on the gramophone for the kids to dance to whenever I had a birthday party. Mum and Dad eventually sold the gramophone and accompanying collection, enabling them to put a bigger TV in the space.
  • A collection of vinyl LPs dating from the early ’60s to the late ’80s. Half of it was/is Scottish folk, which is nice enough but not a particular musical passion of mine, so it was the pop/rock albums on the other side of the cupboard that I always dug out as a kid (and learnt how to use a record player as a result – something a lot of people these days have only picked up during adult retrohood!) My brother Malcolm and I divvied up a large part of this collection on Christmas Day 2019, as Mum and Dad are strictly CD/Spotify users now. Apparently it’s only really the younger generations that have recently returned to vinyl and cassettes.**
  • A whole bunch of cassettes for car trips circa 1988-2000, 80% of which were taped copies of stuff we had on vinyl or CD.
  • CD albums dating from about 1994, when the family finally got our first CD player. In the 21st century these have replaced the cassettes for car trip purposes. Mum and Dad are still folkies but their preferred folk is more ‘niche’ nowadays and so they still buy CDs as a way to support smaller bands.

During the Christmas 2019 divvying up of vinyl, I was surprised when Dad produced a fairly substantial pile of 7-inch singles that I had never seen before, some of them dating back to the late ’50s. I didn’t expect there to be any ’80s goodies in there, due to my aforementioned memory of Mum and Dad never buying singles – I assumed the 7-inch collection must all have been from their teenage years – but I was wrong!

'80s 7-inch singles

‘Total Eclipse…’ and ‘Say Say Say’ are both 1983 classics, but ‘I Know Him So Well’ was released as a single in December 1984 – the month before I was born. It appeared to be the most recent 7-inch in Mum and Dad’s collection when I went through it – so maybe it was parenthood that put an end to their single-buying!

Anyway, these tiny slices of the ’80s belong to me now, and I really need to fire up my own record player and give them a spin someday. Much more special than burying them in my ’80s Spotify playlist!

*Nothing to do with Chatterley, the Beatles, sex or anything else that Larkin wrote about. 1963 saw the first episode of Doctor Who, and so that’s when the 20th century became properly interesting as far as I’m concerned.

**Pre-pandemic in the late ’10s I used to love going into branches of HMV, heading up to the music floor, and seeing that it was all vinyl and cassette tapes once again – not a CD in sight!

Playlist Pick: Pet Shop Boys, ‘Heart’

I have a mega-playlist on Spotify for ’80s chart hits that I like. Because I want it to be comprehensive, I’ve been working (on and off) since about 2012 on a project where I watch the video of every single track that was ever a UK chart hit in the ’80s… in band alphabetical order. It’s a long project (it took me about two years just to compile the complete list) and I’ve only made it to the letter ‘J’ so far in terms of watching the videos and adding the best ones to my Spotify playlist.

As such, I sometimes get a bit of a craving for hits by bands who are further along in the alphabet, and have a separate ‘holding’ playlist for this purpose! Pet Shop Boys are one of these bands and also one of my favourite acts of the era. I bought tickets for myself and Geth to go and see them in concert in 2020; the gig was postponed first to 2021 and now to 2022, so I need to be patient for that one!

In recent months (since about November) their 1988 number one ‘Heart’ has been a frequent late-night craving for me. I LOVE that intro. Makes me want to dance! (I don’t, as Geth has usually gone to bed by that point and my loud trampling would probably wake him up. Chair-dancing is fair game though.)

The video is a daft story about a wedding and vampires. ’80s videos were the best.

More musical ramblings next week.

‘Race’ Review: Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation Retro Run Series ‘I Love The ’80s’ 10k Challenge

My first proper virtual for 2021 (other than the LEJOG accumulator I’m doing, which started on 1st January and lasts all year) was a 10k run that I did for the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation’s Retro Run Series. I’d seen these virtual runs advertised online last year, and as an ’80s obsessive I was really keen to do the ’80s version.

You can sign up to do a challenge for any decade from the ’60s to the ’00s, or even do all five if you’d like to go for the supermedal! You can also choose any standard distance from 5k upwards, and can change your mind about the distance if necessary before the virtual (as the medal and t-shirt aren’t distance-specific). I decided on 10k, as I really wanted to complete a 10k in January 2021, having not managed to do so in November or December 2020. As it happened, because of the snow, the only 10k I managed to do in January was on the treadmill, and I wanted to do a road 10k for the virtual. I eventually managed to get my ‘official’ 10k in on the first weekend of February – I was really glad that you could choose to do it any day before the end-of-February deadline! The website now states that you can do the runs at any time up to the end of May 2021, so still plenty of time to get those retro runs in if you’re interested.

I was really pleased with the run itself – my running had all been very slow over the winter, but on the day my legs clearly decided it was a race and so I managed a time that was fairly close to my official 10k race PB. One of a number of recent signs that are very promising for when I get back to doing real races again.

I didn’t listen to the ’80s playlist provided during the run, as I generally prefer to run without headphones. I will have a listen at home at some point though! Bling-wise I donated extra in order to get the t-shirt – I don’t normally bother with a t-shirt for virtuals as I have so many from real races and my drawer is getting a bit full, but the Retro Run Series ’80s t-shirt is a fantastic design, with a reference to the infamous Frankie/Hamnett knockoff slogan on the front, and a nice synthwave-esque neon/car/sunset motif on the back.

Retro Run Series t-shirt

The medal is also great, with the featured ’80s item being a ‘Sonny’ Walkman (avoiding a legal issue maybe?) and some nice ’80s colours and fonts that are a very welcome addition to my medal collection. Going to display this one with pride.

Retro Run Series medal

The Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation are going to be doing another virtual series later this year, so I’ll be waiting with interest to see what they come up with!