Desert Island Discs – The Self Isolation At Home Edition

Thursday 9 April, 2020

So i’ve not been watching films, or telly, or knitting, playing games, or reading novels – fictional or otherwise, or building lego or basically doing anything really productive and I haven’t since my mum was in hospital. So what have I been doing?

Listening to music whilst flitting through social media. I mean, my friends and I have been calling each other more, which has been nice, but they can’t be on the phone all day, every day and quite frankly I wouldn’t want them to be. It’s no secret i’m an introvert at heart.

But the music… I always go back to music, whether it’s on the radio, or incessently listening to the same CD on repeat for weeks on end, playlists both sloppily put together or curated with care, it’s music. I can and have layed there with nothing to do for hours on end, just listening to music. It’s what helped me get out of my house when I was going otherwise trapped in my bedroom, between bouts of bed rest. Quite frankly if it was physically possible, I’d be going back to those live music clubs I used to go to ten years ago. But I can’t physically do that anymore, and anyway, we’re in lock down.

And I got thinking, the way you do when you’ve gone stir crazy, if I was on the show Desert Island Discs, what recordings would I choose? And then I changed the format because it’s much easier to think about 5 albums than eight single recordings, a book and a luxury item, when nothing but music is appealing right now.

1) The first album has to be a Beatles one. I can’t be a Beatles fan and not choose to take a Beatles album with me, and so I choose Magical Mystery Tour. It’s one of my three favourite albums by The Beatles. And when I was younger, me and my Dad would play chess to either that album or Sgt. Pepper’s, my other favourite album. I hardly ever won – I’m far too chaotic to be strategic, but every now and then I think my inability to strategise would throw him off and I’d get a lucky checkmate. He did not let me win. Trust me, my Dad is not the type of man to let you win just because you’re a child or his own daughter, it was a dog eat dog world when we played chess.

My favourite song on the album is Penny Lane. I love the descriptions and it’s a story of a morning in Penny Lane.

Confession: Despite being on the same bus route for many years, I have never ever been to Penny Lane.


Album 2 – KT Tunstall’s Acoustic Extravaganza. Oh let me wax poetical about how beautiful this album is. I absolutely love KT Tunstall, I think her on a half arsed day – not that she’s ever had any! – would save the world. If she turned up at my door with a washboard and only hummed at me for an hour, that would be the best hour of my life.

Her voice is just amazing, her guitar playing is perfect, she has the perfect soft tone for softer songs, and then can wrack it up for a more hard rockier sound, and she just seems like such a lovely person? This CD comes with a making of, and watching the process of her making this album was just… it was like watching a shooting star in the sky. And I got this for christmas off That Old Friend We Don’t Talk About in 2007, and I just fell in love with the album ever since.

Her first album – Eye to the Telescope – is great, do not get me wrong, she has perfect production on all her albums. But this acoustic album? It’s just so beautiful. I listened to it on repeat for weeks until I switched over to Drastic Fantastic (Given to me for Christmas off my Dad), which I then also listened to on repeat, until I just made one whole KT Tunstall Playlist of all three of her albums out at that time.

And I already loved Universe & U from Eye to the Telescope, but the acoustic version on this album? Honestly, it made me cry. I’m only a little bit embarrassed to admit that. Her and her guitar are in perfect harmony. Why would I not want that with me on a desert island?


Album 3 – A Night At The Opera by Queen.

I got given this album from my Dad, for Christmas in 2006. My Dad will claim until he’s blue in the face that he is not a Queen fan, and that this is the only album worth listening to. This is the same man who had half of their albums on records, and got them again on CD, and knows some odd details about the business side of the band that I’m sure only hardcore fans would know and bother remembering. But, he’s not a fan and doesn’t actually like their music. Okay. Sure.

My mum was the bigger fan, either way.

So when I first really got into them, not just liking what I heard when I heard it on the radio/telly/movie soundtracks, but going out of my way to listen to their albums, I borrowed my Dad’s albums and found his copy of A Night at the Opera skipped. Under the guise of wanting me to listen to The Only Queen Album Worth Listening To, he got me my own copy later that year for Christmas.

And, just like i usually do, I put it in my CD player and I listened to it on repeat for weeks. This wasn’t like Queen I or Queen II or News of the World or The Works, this was something else. I could understand what my Dad was saying about it being the best. I don’t agree that the others aren’t worth listening to (and clearly neither does he since he still has those albums on CD, and that they’ve survived multiple moves and big clear outs). The production is tied together better than their first two albums and there’s a song for every mood on that album.

But it’s not just for the musical reasons I’d want this album with me, it’s because my Dad is a ridiculous man who clearly wanted to share this album with me but for some reason wants to pretend he’s not a fan.

And choosing my favourite song is difficult, and the best I could narrow it down to is two favourite songs. And hey, this is my format and so I say it’s okay. The first is Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon. It’s so light and airy and fun! And it’s short, so it’s okay that I’ve got two favourite songs.

Just the imagery the song gives of a dapper dressed man going about his weekly business in the Edwardian Era. And the way Freddie sings “Fridays i go painting at the looooooOoOoOoOovre”. It’s just fun!

Which nicely counteracts the severe heart ache that ’39 can give me if I listen to it on the wrong day. Because that’s my other favourite – ’39. Brian May’s voice is so soft and his guitar playing goes without saying, really. And the story the song gives, it’s just so vivid. One of the first things one of my friend’s said to me, whilst we were fresh faced uni students bonding over music in our hall’s flat hallway, was that songs that tell a story always have more heart to them than generic songs that rely on cliches, and it seems obvious, but it’s true. I love The Beatles, but Love Me Do, I Wanna Hold Your Hand or Day Tripper don’t exactly tell a story, do they? But ’39 does. And it’s beautiful and yet sad at the same time.

Confession: I didn’t realise on the first few hundred or so listenings that it was about people going in to space and coming back 100 years later (i’ve got form for this). It wasn’t until about four years later that I twigged what the lyrics meant. Which beats my Dad by about 40 years because it was only just before Christmas last year when he knocked on my door and excitedly explained to me what the song was about.

But it is beautifully sung, with beautiful instrumental arrangement intertwining, and beatiful imagery. It might make me sad, but I think I’d be more sad not being able to hear that song, along with the rest on the album, ever again.


Album 4 – McFly’s RadioActive.

In all honesty, I was depressed when this album came out. My life was just on a stale mate, trapped in an inaccessible house, contained to one floor so I had access to the bathroom. I didn’t feel like I had a reason to get out of bed, or go to sleep, or exist.

This album felt alive.

I got the free one first, which I now regret because of the lack of integrity of the newspaper it was available in – And then the full album came out a few months later, after I started at Uni. I missed the McFly signing in Liverpool because I had to move into campus the same day.

There is not one bum song on the whole album. That’s not to say there’s some songs I like less than others, but there’s no downright bad song. I believe it was made with heart, and it was all of their tastes coming together to be shared with us, the fans, who all had similar tastes. It was Wonderland without the taste of Emo, it was MITO: The PHD Years.

And in 2009, it was my saving grace, as I went to see the band on their Radio:Active tour more than once.

I hear the album now and I think of pushing through hard times, and it doesn’t hurt to remember those times. I think of summer warmth, I think of friends, I think of crappy access I suffered through and came out on the other side knowing how to write strongly worded letters.

My favourite song is Everybody Knows. This was another hard decision to make, and yet not quite. It mentions ships!! I’m only half kidding about that reasoning.

I think the real favourite would have been POV, but the acoustic version, which is not on this album, is a nicer version than the full sound version that is on this album. And I love Smile, Do Ya and Going Through The Motions but not as much as Everybody Knows. (It mentions ships!!). It’s lively, it’s got good lyrics (it mentions ships!!) and good guitar. So I guess you can say, it sails above the rest!

(Also sometimes when they sung it live, they swapped ship for shit which amused me on a See No Evil, Hear No Evil level)


The 5th and Final Album – The Wizard of Oz Soundtrack.

No i’m not joking! I think a soundtrack would be a nice variety to what I’ve already chosen, and it’s a very good sountrack. The Wizard of Oz is a childhood classic that I’ve overwatched and listening to the soundtrack is like watching the film, without wacthing the film. And it has the extra tracks they didn’t use in the film!

It’s light and fun, and it’s dramatic and heart warming. And I like the idea of being on a deserted beach, sitting on a rock somewhere belting out If I Were The King of the Forest.

I got this album on a multi-buy sale from HMV, but I don’t know when. I just know that sometime, somewhere between April and May 2009, I fished it out of my CD case,  I put it on repeat and only took the occasional break from it to listen to Radioactive by McFly.

There’s nothing really deep about it, it was just a fun album from the dark days of monotony.

My favourite song from the album is Jitterbug. It was a song they filmed a scene and dance sequence for, but never used in the film itself. I don’t know what it is I like about it, because it’s jaunty but creepy and, of course because Judie Garland is carrying most of the song, it’s sung perfectly with a warm depth.


Notable albums I’ve neglected to mention:-

Breakout by Miley Cyrus – Not my album. Me and my uni flatmates listened to this almost exclusively whenever we were all in the kitchen together the first month at uni.

2 by The Calling

From Now by Rik Waller – It’s honestly never a good sign when I start listening to this album, because it means I’m stuck being nostalgic over a specific time frame in my life, and listening to it usually makes me more sad over that time. But Rik Waller, despite all of his faults that came across during his stint as a celebrity, has a lovely voice. It’s mostly a cover album, but  I believe the song From Now is an original, and that’s easily my favourite.

Unbreakable by Westlife – Don’t ask. But Bop Bop Baby is my favourite song from the album.

Space Oddity by David Bowie

Let It Go by Avril Lavigne

Justified by Justin Timberlake – Again, not my album.

The Labyrinth Soundtrack


What do you call a film buff that doesn’t watch films anymore?

Sunday 29 March, 2020

I love films. I can’t give an accurate idea how much I love films. I eat, sleep and dream films. I can analyse films, reimagine films, recast films and quote films. I have binge watched franchises, I have rewatched the same film multiple times in a week, a weekend and a day. Ask me about how I only had four DVDs for about 16 months and so just watched them, or at least had them on in the background, over and over and over again whilst I did my coursework for my GNVQ. I love the cinema! I once went to the cinema three times in one week, I once went two days on the run. I’ve seen two films in one day at the cinema at least Twice and i’ve seen the same film more than once in a run because i’ve liked it enough to go see it with two or more people, one at a time!

Except…

Except when my Mum went in to hospital, my concentration went down hill. We watched crappy films with my auntie as we waited for the phone call the first time we were told it wasn’t looking good, and that’s the last time I watched a film.

I’ve tried to watch films I like, and I just lose interest. I’ve tried to watch new films and it feels off and then I switch it off because i’m not paying enough attention to warrant ruining the movie for myself. I’ve even tried to watch crappy movies, something I won’t ruin by emotional association… and that didn’t work either.

I’ve got DVDs there that I bought around my birthday last year, that I never got around to watching because first i was saving them, then I came down sick, and then uni started up, and I fell further and further behind until I deferred, and then I spent a few days catching up on much needed sleep, and then I needed to get into Christmas mode. And then it was Christmas. And then my mum went in to hospital.

The DVDs are sitting there ready to be watched, I just can’t bring myself to watch them.

I’ve got films saved to the digital box. Some are two years old because I was waiting for my mum to be in the mood to watch them with me, they are films she liked enough to ask me to tape them for them and I didn’t have the heart to watch them without her and she always wanted to watch other things instead of these films. I can’t bring myself to watch them without her. There’s other films there that I recorded for myself. I don’t want to watch them either. It’s a mixture of “can’t be arsed”, “Mentally exhausted by the idea” and “I know I’ll lose interest ten minutes into it so what’s the point even starting?”. There’s also the fact that when I am sad, and I watch new films, I then associate the film with feelings of sadness I felt at the time. I can’t watch Lilo and Stitch anymore for that reason. I can’t bare to ruin a film I’ve not even seen yet just by watching it at the wrong time.

My netflix is mostly going unused. I’ve re-watched sections of 6 Underground a few times, but not the full film since the first/last time I watched it, which I watched with my mum and it was the last film we watched together.

I planned to go back to Cinema Paradiso before all this happened, and go back to renting DVDs from the library. I had a list, I had a system. I had all four corners covered and it optimised my viewing capabilities. Now with the corona virus, I don’t fancy receiving DVDs I have to handle, open, and send back through the post system, so that’s Cinema Paradiso out. I still have the list, it lays discarded underneath my bed. I keep picking it up and leaning it against my bedside table but it keeps sliding down. I can’t be bothered to move it elsewhere.

I let my CEA card expire and between this and the corona virus, I don’t see me renewing it any time soon.

The other year when I deferred last time, I watched at least one film a day besides during the world cup when it was just wall to wall football. I’ve not watched a single film, not properly, not taking it in from the background, since the 26th of January.  And I think, at a time like this, when I’m being forced to stay at home for my own health, some sort of entertainment would be a good idea… but it just hasn’t happened yet and I don’t know when it will.

So… What do you call a film buff who doesn’t watch films anymore?


I’m a blogger, so let’s blog

Monday 23 March, 2020

I honestly don’t know what to say about all of this that’s happening in the world. I thought last year was pretty bad, and now this.

I mean I had a chest infection which put behind on uni work, I had to catch up on the uni work and my laptop broke. I had to go to the library and borrow the communal computer on the weekends to get my work done, and then my wheelchair broke. I spent most of seven months in bed, eating cold foods and food I could eat by hand. I got a very low mark for my module and, needing a better set up for next module, I ended up having to put a lot of stuff in storage to re-organise my room so that I could have my overbed table in my room for the laptop.

I got another chest infection, fell behind on uni work pretty much as soon as I started, had to deal with DSA and Student Loans messing up yet again, and alternative formats for books I needed to read over the summer arriving days before my module started. Alternative Formats, by the way, which were not compatible with note taking. I was already reading slower than usual, slower than everyone else on the course, and making notes as I went along slowed me down even further because there was just no efficient way to do it. By the time everyone else was doing their second deeper reading, I was still only half way through my first reading, and that was because most people got familiar with the novels in the summer so didn’t need to spend all that much time reading it for the coursework. I fell further and further behind, needed an extension, missed a deadline on groupwork and deferred. That was in december.

And then we had to rush my Mum to hospital on the 8th of January. I say rush, but actually we waited about 7 hours for an ambulance to turn up. And first it looked like she was getting better, it looked like it was an infection that had just thrown everything out of sync. But then she went downhill again, and the doctor took us into a side room and told us though they weren’t out of options yet, we did have to prepare for the worst.

And another week went by, we were told if the last combination of medication didn’t help, we were going to lose her. And then the Sunday she was put on end of life care, and we lost her on the Thursday, the 30th.

We had over two weeks of sorting the funeral out, and I had to deal with social services because not only was my mum’s care package on the brink of being started just before she went in to hospital, but I’d sked for some emergency help with my mum being my primary carer, and in hospital. And my emergency care to help deal with the fact my primary carer was in hospital took until the week after we lost Mum to start up.

Shortly after the funeral, the coronavirus took over the world.

If borders had been closed, if holidays had been cancelled, if the prime minister of this country hadn’t have said “we just have to take it on the chin” and “I have to level with you, people will lose loved ones”, maybe it wouldn’t be as bad around the world as it is now. But it is, and I am a constant ball of anxiousness.

I’m scared I will get it, I’m scared my Dad and brother will get it, I am scared my friends will get it. I see the blase attitude the general population has and I despair. It’s not just their lives they are risking, it is everyone’s.

They’ve been talking about a possible lockdown all weekend. I wonder, why the wait? It should have been on the table as soon as we saw what it was doing in China and in Italy.

I worry at every cough – even though i have chronic acid reflux and that gives me a cough. I worry everytime I feel a bit hot – even though I have chronic fatique syndrome which throws random fevers at you for a couple of hours, randomly. I have chronic pain. I’m meant to watch out for body aches? I don’t have a single minute where something isn’t aching! How will I know? I worry about being asymptomatic and passing it on to somebody else. I can’t believe there are people out there not worried! If not them, it could be their loved ones. If they don’t care about My loved ones and me, you’d think they’d care about their own!

I’m sure many people feel the same as me, if not worse, because people have actually died but… could the world just stop for a minute? Could I not have gotten my bearings over my degree, and over my mum, first before staring down at the face of an apocolpse? Would that have been too much to ask?


The end of 2019 but this is mostly about Queen… again.

Tuesday 31 December, 2019

Not much has happened in the last two weeks, just a few odds spates here and there that make me think the universe is still on this Queen Alignment Haunting thing.

A few days after my last entry, I woke up after a nightmare at ten past 5ish in the morning. The first song that I was aware of being on the radio finished and then I Want To Break Free came on. Rather apt when you consider the fact I was only awake because I, ahem, “broke free” of a nightmare…

On the 21st of December, I woke up sometime during the traffic update on the radio. The first song after the traffic update was Radio Gaga. Later on that night I went to bed and the first song on the radio after I turned the radio on, was I Want To Break Free (yes, again). Also that day was the day the Sheltered Accommodation’s heating broke on my block, meaning we were all plunged into freezing temperatures and simply told to wrap up and stay in bed if possible whilst we wait for the repair team to be out within 48 hours to fix the problem.

We were told someone was on sight trying to fix the problem Monday afternoon, after the heating went off. They weren’t. Someone came out on the Tuesday – Christmas Eve – and we were told they call out team was staying there waiting for parts. They weren’t. They did try and fix it but unfortunately the boilers are so old, and for some reason the parts from the oldest boiler’s parts were used to frankenstein one of the other boilers and now there are no parts available for the oldest boiler. It’s that older one that’s broken, plunging all of the poeple on the same side of the building as me into freezing temeperatures. So eventually, late into the evening they had to leave. We didn’t get space heaters until the Saturday after Christmas!

On Christmas day, because the cold had kept me awake and tired on the Monday night into Tuesday, meaning I ended up having an early night on the Tuesday/Christmas Eve, I woke up at 7:23 exactly. 7:27, Thank God It’s Christmas came on the radio. A couple of hours later, after telling my mum about my Queen based start to the day, my mum found Queen’s concert in Montreal on the television.

Now my mum is a rather unflappable lady. In fact, she makes fun of Me for being rather, er, flappable. But she took one look at Freddie Mercury standing there on stage, in his very short shorts and nothing else, went a little bit red and couldn’t look at the television. I took pity on her and told her she could turn over. At what point in my life did I become the person who could handle seeing someone in not much clothing!? I don’t know. I suppose a lot changes in 10 years!

On the 27th of December, all traces of Christmas was gone from the music channels. Talk about mood whiplash. I’d just come to accept my Dad watching 24 hour coverage of Christmas no. 1s yet again, and then suddenly there wasn’t any christmas music at all on anywhere!

There was however a 70s Big Hits countdown on The Box, which my Dad put on quite happily. First song, starting as soon as he landed on the channel? Bohemian Rhapsody.

My Dad tried to explain to me that this is all the Green Car Effect, which as you know, I’d quite happily accept and wave away as one big coincidence, if it wasn’t for the timing. It’s not like I’m already listening to the radio and watching TV and whatnot when Queen come on and suddenly wondering why they’re on everywhere all the time, it’s that I turn the radio on, go to turn the radio off, enter a room, exit a room, put something on the telly and suddenly at that exact same time, Queen come on. Of all the channels and stations, of all the times of days, Queen could come on… it’s those exact moments I’m at the most opportune moment to hear them. Right? Not a second later, not a second before, not a different station. Of course I don’t actually believe I’m being haunted… But if there’s patterns in the universe that happens, then this is certainly a pattern.

Anyway where was I going with this? Oh yes. He tried to explain this to me by saying I could have watched a Duran Duran documentary that could have kicked off the Green Car effect for Duran Duran… rather than Queen.

To which I said, “Duran Duran? You mean the band with the Other Roger Taylor in it? Of all the bands you could have used to try and explain the Green Car effect, you used Duran Duran?”.

In the words of Jellyfish (the band, not the betentacled sea creatures) I think I’ve made my point.

And today, the latest and probably the last of this year… Again, nothing else to watch, and we live in a very maudlin household that doesn’t handle new years very well, the Box and a 1970s music video was on. I quite enjoyed the first few videos we saw but I started getting a bit bored at Michael Jackson, Aretha Franklin and, unfortunately, Elton John with one of his lesser favourites of mine when I silently threw up a plea to the gods of music to please put on some Queen some point soon…

Well the gods – or is it Freddie? – heard me, because the very next song was Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Who’s that by again? Oh yes. Queen.

Green Car Effect? I don’t think so!

In other news, we finish up the year with an odd mix of same old same old, some Queen, and a hope that next year is better than this one and the previous two.


Piazza, New York Catcher by Belle and Sebastian

Sunday 22 December, 2019

Years ago now, my Good Friend got me into Belle and Sebastian. Or, to be more accurate, I liked a couple of songs without knowing who sung them and from him being a fan, I put two and two together.

Me and my Good Friend are sadly no longer friends, but the music he shared with me has stuck with me to this day. And in great Dan Rydell style, this one song stuck with me more than most, but not for the reasons you might think.

One very bad day in 2010, I put this song on and I “listened” to it on repeat for 26 hours. And yes, I was awake for 26 hours. Like I said, it was a bad day. And it was only a few sporadic listens over the next few days when I realised I’d completely misunderstood the song. I can’t work out how many listen throughs of the song I must have racked up, but because I only really absorbed sentences here and there and put it together like a badly made patchwork puzzle, the over all sentiment hardly got through to me. I thought it was about a man trying to escape a cult-style religion, not about a Baseball player’s life. I wish I could remember my Good Friend’s reaction to this interpretation.

It must have been the lines about pagan holidays and devils to erase that planted the seed, but it was the “life outside the diamond is a wrench” that solidified for me. I imagined something like Scientology, with a big non-descript building in the middle of nowhere, in a diamond shape, where people gathered to worship their god. And how was their god symbolised? Well, the statue, of course. As in “The statue’s crying”, and “meet you at the statue in an hour”.

And of course, what’s a cult religion without it’s take on sexualtiy? “Piazza, New York Catcher, are you straight or are you gay?”, Who was Piazza? No idea.  What was a New York Catcher? A cult-member who recruited other cult members  (I liked The Orioles, in theory, but that was the extent of my baseball knowledge at that time). And this was clearly a cult based in New York. Yes, New York, you know, the city known for it’s… big open fields…? And they were clearly questioning his sexuality because he didn’t want to marry the women in the cult, and they wouldn’t imagine it was because he wanted to leave the cult, just that he might not be into women.

It all made sense at the time!

And of course a cult would focus on virginity… I misheard “the borrowed bedroom, virginal and spare” slightly. I thought “Virginal and spare” was talking about this Miss Private, and the “spare” was, well, her being the spare sacrifice, which they were giving to the statue.

Other things I mishead where:-
“The statue’s crying too and Willie May” – Who’s Willy May? Possibly the leader of the cult
“The Giants and Maxwell Play” – I’ve never heard of that one, must be a Pinter.
“You betcha boots religion’s first, and rest on holidays” – This one’s self explanatory
“He’s praying for a doorway back into the life he wants” – This poor guy wants to leave the cult!
“The confession of the bench” Must be a cult that’s taken some elements of catholicism.
“Meet you at the statue in an hour” – He’s either defeated, because of how Cults work, and will meet the girl at the statue in an hour because that’s when they’re going to kill her, or that’s it, that’s when their big escape is happening.

See, it all made sense!

This song was absolutely fascinating to me in those 26 hours. What a song! This poor Piazza fellow was imagining a life after leaving a religous cult based in a diamond shaped non-descript building. It was beautiful. I hoped he and this Miss Private would go on to be very happy indeed.

And of course, then I learnt that I was completely wrong and the bubble burst somewhat and my Good Friend explained the information I’d been missing. But I’m nothing if not like Dan Rydell and, like I said above, it’s stuck with me anyway. Mostly because I prefer my interpretation.

Anyway. This came to me because I was looking for Sports Night clips on youtube and an irrelevant video with this song came up and I thought it was too much of a freaky coincidence not to write up about it.

 


More Queen Coincidences

Sunday 15 December, 2019

I went a few days without anything odd happening and then, for the first time in 6th months of being stuck in bed due to illness and a broken wheelchair, I was finally able to eat tea with my family in the living room, in front of the television. I’d just put a forkfull of food into my mouth when Bradley Walsh, quiz master of new ITV show called Cash Trapped, asked the question of “Which opera singer did Freddie Mercury sing Barcelona with?”. I nearly choked on pie.

The next day I heard on the radio an advert for Queen Symphonic. I thought it was a sign! Unfortunately, wheelchair spaces for the Liverpool Philharmonic have all gone and whilst proportional seating is a blog post for another day, let me just say that just 16 spaces for a venue as well known as the Liverpool Philharmonic is ridiculous; Either way, obviously this was not a sign. I put down the phone, and a few minutes later Radio Gaga came on the radio.

The next night my Dad asked me if I’d told my friend about the tickets – I told him she didn’t even know I was considering getting the tickets so there would be no point. My Dad, massive fan of Christmas Music and watching the music video channels for the countdowns from as early as they start showing them, then put on the Top 50 Christmas Songs chart, just before #3 was announced.

It was Bohemian Rhapsody. I decided right then that I was buying tickets to We Will Rock You. I then became annoyed at whatever song was on the radio at the time before I went to sleep, so I switched back over to Absolute Classic Rock.

The next morning I woke up, went the loo, returned to my room and then Killer Queen came on the radio. A couple of more days passed without any coincidences, just mere Green Car effects of Queen being on the very station most likely to play them, until yet again I was sat in front of the television with my parents whilst they watched Cash Trapped. The question was “Who did Rami Malek play in the Queen Biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody?”. Later that night just as I as dozing off to sleep, good old One Vision came back on the radio. I was awake as long as the song was on, and then I must have fell asleep. I woke up to I Want To Break Free.

Earlier on tonight, whilst trying to fix a technological issue with my laptop and listening to music to drown out political conversations – and the election result is also another blog post for another day – I had to take a break to have a drink. I wheeled back to wear my water was, parked up and drunk some water. Just then an advert for a documentary that’s coming on about Fredie Mercury came on the television.

I could have easily delayed having a drink of water, I could have given up sooner waiting for a program to load and had a drink of water a good fifteen minutes earlier than I did, but no, the very minute I decide my laptop can do what it likes – like it always does – is the very same minute that advert came on the telly.

I promise at some point I will blog about something else other than these Queen Coincidence phenomena.


Haunted by Queen – Part 2

Wednesday 4 December, 2019

So of course, two days after my last post, it was sadly the anniversary of Freddie Mercury’s death. I’m not completely insensitive or deluded so much to say that this has been more than a coincidence, but again, the timing of this has been just a little bit odd.

All my thoughts and love go to his friends’ and family.

I will say, though, that I thought, if this is some universe alignment/haunting thing – because I have no other way of explaining these levels of coincidences – I thought it would finish after the anniversary, and the few bizarre coincidences happened after that I could put it down to Green Car effect.

But then last night happened.

I decided to defer from my uni module. I’m really struggling, i’m not well enough to put my full capabilities to the work. As soon as I made that decision, I got up and I turned my radio on. The song that was on when I turned the radio on finished, and the next song to start was One Vision.

I waited for that song to finish and went to go the loo, which is by the living room. My Dad was watching Bohemian Rhapsody. I came out of the loo to the scene where they’re arguing over I’m In Love With My Car. I stayed watching a few minutes but couldn’t stay there for too long so went back to bed. About fifteen minutes later I realised they didn’t do the cupboard scene (Remember, the anecdote which seemed to have set this whole Queen Coincidence Enigma off) and went back in to talk about it with my Dad. By that point, for some reason, a Tony Hadley music video count down on a music channel was on instead.

So, Tears for Fears came on, finished, and then Radio Gaga came on after it. (Side coincidence – a thread went around twitter the other day asking which was your most controvercial Sci Fi opinion, and mine is that I think Metropolis, which has some very good bits, is actually boring over all)

This morning I woke up to I Want It All.

What is this message the universe, or maybe Freddie Mercury himself, is trying to tell me?


I’m being haunted by Queen

Friday 22 November, 2019

I know. I know. It’s a bold claim to make considering only one member is no longer with us on this plane of existence, but it’s true. Either that, or there’s a glitch in the matrix. No way could this be pure coincidence, or worse, the green car effect!

It all started two weeks ago when I read this interesting bit of trivia, which I don’t know if it’s true or not but it is amusing, about Roger Taylor. He was apparently so adament that his song, I’m In Love With My Car, should be on the B Side, that he locked himself up in the cupboard until Freddie and the rest agreed it would be.

So, Roger Taylor is not just an expert drummer and great singer, but he’s also a top notch negotioator too. (If the rumours are to be believed.) And that’s how all of this started.

The next day, I recieved Bohemian Rhapsody in the post from Cinema Paradiso. Coincidence? Glitch in the Matrix? Or, a message? I don’t know.

I watched the film, I loved the film, I then said to someone that, yes, whilst I like We Will Rock You (the song, not the musical – I’ve not seen the musical) by Queen because, obviously it’s a great song, I also quite liked Five’s version back in the 90s. Not to the point where I think it’s better, and it has it’s flaws (what were they thinking with that rap!?) but yeah, I can listen to it and I can sing along.

I listen to Absolute Classic Rock. Any Queen song can come on at any time. The next Queen song to come on after i said that, was We Will Rock You.

A few hours later I struggled to fall asleep, but eventually I started to doze off. And then Hammer to Fall came on the radio. I woke up about 10 hours later. The first song to come on after the song I woke up to finished? It was Hammer to Fall by Queen. Nature of a repetitive playlist? Coincidence? Or something more? I don’t know.

I explained to my brother that these wierd Queen-related things keep happening. Do you know what came on the telvision? An advert for a Visa card, which has Somebody to Love as the background song. It’s not unusual, they’ve been used in Adverts before – a furniture advert if I remember correctly – but the timing is a bit suspicious. Is it a green car effect? Has Queen just been everywhere all this time but finally I’m back in tune with them? I did have a Queen phase a few years ago, but it was more of a subphase to the 1970s/1980s kick I was on at the time and that’s a lot of ground to cover to know every little thing about every artist, and I think I just binge learnt about Meatloaf, Bonnie Tyler and Tiffany, and none of those artists ever seemed to follow me about during my day.

Well, a couple of days without incident went by and then I ended up watching a youtube clip of Ant and Dec where Ant’s a farmer wearing a giant wig and Dec loses it laughing. This one I brought on myself, deliberately, just because I needed to hear Dec say “It’s Brian May!” to Ant in a geordie accent. And then, I went the loo, came back to We Are The Champions on the radio. Could it be Green Car effect? Is this all just a coincidence? I don’t know. All I know is that later than night I wrote in my actual physical journal “This bizarre link to the universe needs to give me less Queen on the radio and more money”, and a split second after I wrote that sentence, Queen’s I Want To Break Free came on the radio. I think if the universe had any sense of humour, it would have actually given me “Money” by the Beatles (Or by it’s original performer Barrett Strong, or the infamous cover version by the Flying Lizards) but maybe this isn’t a case of humour.

Maybe this is all a message. What that message is, I can’t figure out!

And well, that brings us to today. Today, trying very hard to catch up on Uni work through sickness and fatique and major reconstruction works on the block of flats I live in, I had to take a break. I was falling asleep. I needed to laugh at something.

“I know!” I said to myself, “I’ll watch that clip of Paul O’Grady falling off his chair, that always makes me laugh” (sorry Paul O’Grady). And, this is tangenitally related to Queen but I’m taking it anyway. Do you know who was on the couch when Paul O’Grady fell off his chair? Matt Lucas, David Walliams and Anita Dobson. Who is Anita Dobson married to? Brian May.

I told my brother about this latest wierd coincidence, as tangenital as it may be, less than 30 seconds later “I Want It All” came on the radio.

So, Freddie Mercury, mate! I’m listening. I’ve got eyes and ears open! But I can’t figure out whatever it is you’re trying to tell me!

And, hell, i’m being presumtuous here. Maybe it’s not Freddie. Maybe it’s Roger Taylor, or hell maybe even John Deacon. It can’t be Brian May, because he’s quite active on Instagram.

Maybe, whoever it is, they’ve stopped communicating on our plane of existence and the only way they can communicate is through wierd coincidental timings involving me? I have a history of this kind of thing, after all. Maybe I am actually psychic! (or is it a Kind of Magic? hah hah hah)

Never for anything useful like Money or busses, no, but definitely if you want a film on television or a song on the radio, all I need to do is talk about it and your wish will be granted within 48 hours. Usually what happens is that I order an obscure film through Cinema Paradiso that’s not been on television in a while, only for it to be on television the day after I watch it on DVD.

Either way, whatever the message is, fellas, I’m waiting!

 

Edited to Add: The day after writing this blog post, I woke up very late and had a late start on my uni work. The uni work involves interactive videos, so I went to turn my radio off to hear them properly. Just as I reached out to slide the switch off at the back, Queen’s One Vision came on. Later on in the day my laptop crashed. I often sing to myself and as I finished one song – The Joyful Kilmarnock Blues by the Proclaimers – I started singing Bicycle Race. I picked up my phone, checked social media to find a friend had, just a minute before, posted a picture of Freddie Mercury with an inspirational quote about being yourself.

To add to this, unrelated slightly, but just as I sung the line “Jaws was never my scene and I don’t like Star Wars”, another friend posted about playing the latest Star Wars game.

What is this message and what am I meant to do with it?!

*This post is written almost entirely in jest. Though these freaky coincidences have been happening and does creep me out, I do not actually believe Freddie Mercury, or any other member of Queen, is trying to communicate with me through the power of bizarre timed songs on the radio or youtube video clip guests. But it is a nice idea, that out of all the poeple in the universe, I would be the one trusted to recieve an important message should Freddie Mercury or the other Queen Members find themselves trapped in the astral plane. Normally I’m not even trusted to pour milk out the carton.

No disrespect or offense is intended. Especially not to John Deacon, who now lives a quiet life out of the public eye and I almost didn’t mention him due to that fact, but that felt even more disrespectful to him as a person as well as a respected artist.


Weight Loss Journey: Re-Approaching The Last Hurdle

Saturday 2 November, 2019

So, I thought I’d update people on this little issue… This gets gross, so just, be aware. Turn back if you can’t handle icky, gross embarrassing health issues!

I was steadily losing a bit of weight by eating smaller portions, more veg and less potatoes and bread, cutting down on chocolate for unrelated dairy-digestion issues as well as weight… and then suddenly I had another spell of acid reflux that was more like choking on my own saliva than anything else. For six hours, I was regurgitating tiny remnants of food I’d eaten over the last two days – a bit different to outright vomiting, as vomit is (I believe) rejected and projected from your stomach, where as I had food work their way half way up my throat and get stuck, and hiccups that ended up in randomly projection of acidy gunk from… somewhere. My stomach? My throat? No idea. And after that night, I could barely eat for two months as eating anything solid, heavy, greasy, dry or soft and mushy would get stuck in my throat and come back up as chewed, digested bits in acidy gunk, a few hours later.

My diet for weight loss went out the window because I had to eat what I could, when I could. And the weight dropped off me. I don’t know how much, it might not as been as much as it looked, but it looked bad to me. It felt bad. It was also a worry that people who knew I was trying to lose weight would see this as something self inflicted, I’ve had those suspicions before when I had a blockage, but I was suffering, both then and now. For those two months, I wasn’t eating much more than cereal, bananas, chicken and over cooked pasta, chicken and rice, and peanut butter on toast.

I’ve had tests, all came back “normal”. Which means that i’ve been discharged and left to manage it by myself, because obviously if the tests say everything is fine, that means the symptoms aren’t actually happening… Oh to have a doctor like Gregory House!

It was the middle of august when I started to get an appetite back, and I felt I could eat without food getting stuck in my throat. Over the last two months i’ve managed to re-introduce food at more normal portion sizes than what I could over those two months. And I’ve put the weight on. And then a bit more, somehow.

And in these latest two months, I’ve only had an acid attack twice, and that was in the same week. Regular bouts of acid reflux are at the normal level of “every few days”.

And now it’s winter, which means being tempted with halloween themed cake, and hot chocolate, and roast dinners. I’m sticking to my idea of cutting chocolate out, it’s just hard when people offer me it becuase I’m known as the chocolate lover, and the cake eater, and I do love a good donner kebab. That one has nothing to do with diary, but I thought, whilst I was being honest… Though I haven’t had a donner kebab in a long while!

I just want to fit into my jeans again. It’s not about the numbers, it’s a third about health, but it’s mostly about my favourite pair of jeans.


I don’t understand reusable menstrual knickers

Saturday 19 October, 2019

Disclaimer: I have dyscalculia and every calculation on this post was carefully written down and calculated using a calculator, but my understanding of numbers comes and goes so there could be mistakes here and I welcome any corrections.


Thinx? Wuka? Modibodi? I don’t get them. It might be because I’ve not tried them, but a fair few youtubers have and they seem to be hit and miss. And I refuse to call them “pants” or “Panties” because I’m not American. I’m British, they’re knickers.

I’m not trying to make a big song and dance about it, there’s some wild claims out there about how some of these products don’t work and they really only highlight user error or deliberate misinformation, but I just really don’t understand how it’s meant to work. There seems to be a lot of washing involved, and an assumption that you have ready access to a washing machine, and can dry them no problem.

But I’ve been looking into products available. First of all, I was shocked at the price. People on facebook led me to believe that you can buy a set of reusable period knickers for maybe £20-25, so I was shocked and appalled to find Boots sell one pair of the Thinx brand of menstrual knickers for £30 each. I went to the Thinx website, and I found the same prices, or a set of 3 for between £73-77, depending on your style. That’s a lot.

They do say if you’re not happy with them, you can return them within 60 days, no questions asked, so that’s something.

You’ve got to wash them on cold, which makes sense if you understand blood, you can’t bleach them, which also yes, makes sense, but you can’t put them in the dryer, they have to hang dry.

So you have 3 pairs of re-usable menstrual knickers for, say £73.13 because I’m an organic cotton full brief kind of person. And that comes with two heavy day pairs and a medium day pair. So you’re going to want to dedicate one of the heavy day pairs for a night pair… unless you just want to freebleed on your sheets… You probably don’t want to do that.
So, really, you’re going to need 2 sets for one period, unless you only bleed for one day. So that’s £146.26… Wait, what? Sorry, that’s £146.26!?

For that amount of money I could buy 146 packets of Always cotton for 99p from Bodycare! Or 42 packets of TOTM Organic Cotton for £3.36 from Superdrug. There’s 14 pads in the former, and 10 pads in the latter, that means for that amount of money I could buy 2044 always cotton pads, or 420 TOTM pads. Say I use 4 pads a day, for an average of 6 days a month, so that’s 24 pads a month on average. That means for that amount of money, Always cotton would last me 85 months, and I’d get less milage out of TOTM which would last me 17 months. What? 85 months is just a bit over 7 years!
How long do thinx knickers last? Well ordinarily you’re meant to throw your underwear out every 2 to 3 years for health and hygiene reasons, but is Thinx different? There is no information on their website as to how long a pair should last a person, or signs to look out for which show they may need replacing, unlike Menstrual Cups which are lauded as lasting for 10 years. So if you go with the general information for knickers, that’s max 3 years. I mean, you’re not exactly getting bang for your buck, here, are you?

Okay so in this scenario where I’ve forked out £146.26 for 6 pairs of knickers. That’s £24 per pair of knickers btw. Not exactly my normal price range considering I get multipacks from Primark…

So I’ve forked out this money and let’s start with a night, because who risks going to bed when you’re due on without a pad on? Sp I get up the next morning, I rinse it under the tap and then I put it in the washing bag. In this scenario I’m your average person with a job, not a disabled unemployed mature student currently unable to work. The Thinx knickers can take up to an average 8 hours worth of bleeding, but there’s a “heavy” pair and a medium “pair” and it’s hard to say how heavy a person is and how much a “heavy” pair can really take. Let’s say I’m the heaviest I am, in pads I’m changing every 3 hours, because even pads for “heavy” days say they should last 4 hours between changes, so let’s say this means instead of 8 hours, the knickers can take 6. So, i’m at work, I woke up at half 7 in the morning, which means I need to change my pair of knickers by 2 in the afternoon at the latest. Maybe you’re more likely to change them at a convenient time earlier than 2 depending on your break. Okay. And then so, depending on when i’ve changed them, i change again between 7 and 8 in the evening. And then I swap that out for another night pair of knickers and that day’s worth of knickers have gone into the wash. I’ve started with 6, and I’ve already worn four of them, and I’d be wearing the fifth over night. And I’m heavy for two days.

By description, I assume they’d last longer on lighter days, but whether wearing a pair of longer on lighter days is advisable, I don’t know, because I can’t find that suggestion either way on their website. It’s all about how they match up to tampons and pads per amount of blood, rather than an hourly kind of thing. You might be able to get away with 12 hours if you’re very light, if doing so wouldn’t cause a problem like wearing a pad or tampon might.

I’m not trying to sound difficult, but that means you’re going to need to do washing when you get home and hope they’ll be dry by the next morning, to take a pair to work with you. Now as a disabled person who doesn’t go to work, and has limited access to a washing machine and absolutely nowhere to hang dry them… I’d need a third set, I think? At an eye watering total price of £219.39?

I have never once see anyone say they need to buy three sets of Thinx knickers, so what am I assuming wrongly here? Or do you really need to be washing the knickers you’ve worn, every day?

For the record, for £219.39 I could buy at least 221 packets of Always cotton pads, and at 14 pads per packet that’s 3,094 pads, or 65 packets of TOTM organic cotton pads, and at 10 pads per packet that’s 650 pads.

I know what you’re probably thinking. “But they’re disposable! Is the cost so important when it comes to the future of the planet!?” and the problem is, with disposable ones, they’re low energy and I can depend on myself for the most part. I unwrap them, i put them on, I wrap up the old one, I throw it away.

If I was to buy Thinx knickers, I would have to think about having enough between washes, I would have to figure out how best to dry them in a damp bathroom used by other people and the outlay of the cost. When will they start paying for themselves? Will they ever, if I’m forking out £219 every 3 years? It’s a lot to ask of someone to fork out a high financial cost as well as a high personal energy cost when there’s a lot more out of my control that effects these being viable. I could wake up tomorrow to a letter from the social services saying they’re revoking my care package all together, and then what would I do? And I’m sorry to say it but when it’s a choice between 9 knickers I’d need to wait on someone else to wash and hang up to dry for me that might only last 3 years, and 3094 pads which would last 171 months (14 years! Is that right?), or even 650 pads which would last 36 months, also 3 years, I know which sounds more appealing. At least TOTM promise their pads are ecologically friendly and plastic free.

Lastly, going back to a previous post, people need to stop recommending these as something else that homeless people can use. I see it less than with menstrual cups, but I do see it and I think this post highlights as to why menstrual knickers are hardly viable for the average person, let alone someone who is homeless! Asking someone who likely does not have much money in the first place to fork out the crushing expense of between £73 and £219 for not even a full week’s worth of period care, and then having nowhere hygenic to wash them, is cruel. And that offer only seems available online!

If you think homeless people should be using them, then I hope you have an open door policy on your home so they can use your washer and washing line in the garden to facilitate the wearing thereof!

Now if i am completely wrong, which I might be, I would like to know. It does feel a bit “mountain out of a molehill” here, and what do I know? I haven’t used them. But all that expense, all that work, that doesn’t seem viable to me, not in any reasonable circumstances. So I would also like to know if I am right, and this is exactly what you have to do to make menstrual knickers work for you.