I’ve never been to Penny Lane

Saturday 4 July, 2020

I’m a massive fan of The Beatles, and I live in Liverpool, but I’ve never been to Penny Lane. Not even on patient transport. My mum never let me!

I used to live on the bus route where I could get on just by mine and, if I was so inclined, go all the way to Penny Lane, but my mum, who lived her life to a strict shopping list and the phrase ‘we’ve got food at home’ never deviated her plans to allow this to happen. And she forbidded my dad from taking me! I never found out why. I began to suspect Penny Lane never actually existed…

It does exist. I’ve seen the photographic evidence!

The most frustrating thing is, it would have been so easy! Just get on and stay on the bus. No changing buses, no walking to another bus stop, just one bus, one route and back again. But the suggestion always went the same way.

“No you’re not going to Penny Lane.”

“why?”

“Because I said so, and that’s that!”

“We could just go, and stay on the bus and get on the next bus back.”

“You’re not going to Penny Lane, don’t go on.”

When I was a bit older and traveling on buses and trains by myself, to friends houses and a bit further afield, I thought if I planned it all out and just told my mum, like, ‘hey so on Saturday, me and this friend are gonna go to Penny Lane, okay? We’ll eat at this place at this specific time, and get this time bus back. Okay? Cool, all sorted!’ she’d have no option but to just accept it.

She did not accept it.

“You are not going to Penny Lane!! Don’t you even think about it!!”

The thing is, I got away with a few things, where I could prove my parents over protectiveness was over the top, after the fact, and some other things without mum and dad knowing, but I didn’t think I could get away with sneaking off to Penny Lane. And then just as my parents started accepting my own decisions on where I went, and what time I was getting home, my mobility worsened and I became a full time wheelchair user.

The bus route to penny lane didn’t have wheelchair access.

And then they changed all the bus routes and that bus didn’t go to Penny lane anymore. And then they dissolved that bus route altogether.

By the time I came through the other side of university the first time and being bed bound operation recovery and moving away and moving back, all the routes had changed. One good thing is wheelchair access is almost universal, but the route I’d have to take would involve changes, and getting there and back again within my social call time. Or an expensive taxi journey.

I think ive been thinking of this lately because of lockdown. I’m potentially looking at being stuck inside until there’s a vaccine, as people take more risks to get back to normality. The risk of dying from this hasn’t changed, and I worry as the death count continues to fall, it’ll go the same way as the flu, and the same attitude towards the coronavirus that has simmered under the surface from day 1: it’ll be up to the most at risk of dying from it to prevent themselves from catching it.

I feel like nobody has considered the idea that maybe the death count is falling because the virus is running out of people susceptable of dying from it, besides those of us lucky to have not caught it so far.

And the idea of having to stay indoors until there is absolutely no risk, when others are going back to work, education, visiting family, going on holiday, to the pub, not wearing a mask, not caring that they may be asymptomatic and spreading it… It’s so frustrating. So much of my life has been spent stuck inside as it is! And if I do my best to ensure I don’t catch the flu, and catch it anyway because other people aren’t ensuring they don’t spread it, then it’s obvious what the outcome will be eventually with this.

It makes me wish I’d have been able to do things when I had the opportunity to do them, cos I don’t know when I’ll have the chance to next without literally risking my life, and the life of the people around me.

I need to get over my fear of heights so I can enjoy the skyline of Liverpool properly, I need to get over my fear of water and try and swim, and I need to go to Penny Lane, and get a photo of myself by the sign!

It will be so much more difficult than twenty years ago. Why couldn’t I have gone there twenty years ago?

Maybe when I get there, I’ll find out.


Let me tell you this useless information

Friday 12 June, 2020

Some years ago I watched a cheaply made, badly put together documentary about the history/progression of the music industry. I watched it on DVD through LoveFilm, sometime between January 2013 and before Amazon took over LoveFilm completely. I can’t remember it’s name. I wish I couldn’t remember the documentary at all to be honest…

There was this snippet that talked about the music video, and the documentary narrator stated that there were three claims to the creation of the concept of the music video. Keep in mind, there was absolutely no footage or statements shown that proved these bands/artists actually made these claims, just photos/video footage as the narrator spoke.

The remit for creating the concept of the music video was that it had to be a video exclusively to work alongside the music, not on stage footage or a TV show performance repurposed for the sake of a music video.

The first was The Beatles, which seems believable.

The second is David Bowie, which, if I saw evidence of it I’d believe it, but I’m not so sure on the creation element. There are musical interludes in A Hard Day’s Night which were specifically written to show the audience that this was a real band they were watching, a purposefully directed visual element to work with the musical one. And a Hard Day’s Night predates David Bowie’s first music video.

The third was Cher.

No, I don’t understand that one either.

There was no mention of Queen, who actually have stated they created the concept of the music video with Bohemian Rhapsody. They had a director and everything!

But were they really the first? Again, A Hard Day’s Night’s Train scene where they’re singing I Should Have Known Better fits the remit too, and so do the musical interludes in Help!

The problem is, when you search for this information, you get the Queen claims, and you get forums where people are absolutely sure it was The Beatles. They’re no more informed than I am. (I don’t see any mention of Cher though, or this terrible documentary) So you have to take what you find with a pinch of salt. Is this all egos at battle, or, maybe they did all create a concept of the music video, but different ones at different times? And you put all those elements together, and it’s what you get today.

Maybe at some point in the future, a better quality documentary will cover this exact topic and put me out of my misery, because this has bugged me for years now. Hell, maybe there’s already one floating around right now waiting for me to watch it!


Underrated Duets that just worked anyway

Saturday 16 May, 2020

I was sitting here listening to what is now the first song on the list, When You’re Gone by Bryan Adams and Mel C whilst also thinking to myself, what should my next blog post be that doesn’t slip into depressive misery about the state of the world or losing my mum?

And then my mind wandered on to other songs that other members of the Spice Girls did with other artists, and this blog post was born.

1) Bryan Adams and Mel C – When You’re Gone

I know it get’s flack now, and I don’t know why. Their tones of voices just work so well together and the song is good! I know it’s got some, erm, rickity lyrics – “even food don’t taste that good” – but so what? There’s worse out there, in my opinion, that people like more. This was a good chart hit which hit number 3 in the UK.

2) True Steppers, Dane Bowers and Victoria Beckham – You’re Out of Your Mind

This was a wierd one! Nobody could really understand that it was this completely other duet’s song, True Steppers, that had Dane Bowers and Victoria Beckham on the track… Which might actually make this a quartet and inelligible for this list. Hm.

Moving on quickly. Yeah, neither of these singers were actually all that good at singing and it was very true to the time it was released in, with it’s Cher-style voice tech tuning for a futuristic sound, and the rapping. But despite those small problems, I think it’s still a good song. I liked it then, and I still like it now. It deserves some of the flack it gets, but not all of the flack it gets.

3) Mel C and Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes – Never Be The Same Again

Okay, I promise you this list isn’t going to be all Spice Girls related, but this was such a good song! And again, Mel C’s voice blends nicely with her duet partner. And Lisa’s rap really adds a good kick to a song that could have just been a samey ballad, even with Mel C’s voice. I can’t imagine this song any other way.

Unfortunately mid-promotion for this song, rumours of Mel C and Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes being an item (denied by both artists) sort of hovered around every interview I watched and heard, and it seems that anytime this song is brought up now, more people want to talk about that rumour than about the actual song.

R.I.P Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes.

4) McFly and Lulu – Shout

Does it count if half the duet is a four-membered band…? Yes. I’m making the list, we’re playing by my rules.

What I like about this, is that although McFly don’t add much, they add enough without taking anything away from the original song. It feels like they make a rounded song just a bit more fuller, if you get me.

And finally,

5) Ozzy and Kelly Osbourne – Changes

I know Kelly Osbourne’s music career flopped, but I thought she was alright! And I thought this song, sung with her father, was beautifully done. I really did. It’s made me cry on many occasions. People slate her for so many reasons, but this shouldn’t be one of them.

 

Now, i’m going to also mention Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman’s duet on Something Stupid. But I know it’s not underrated, many people like their version of the song. The thing is, although they sung it well together, I can’t actually stand the song. So I’m going to take this opportunity to ask them both to come back and sing together on a much better song, so when I do another list along these lines, I can actually add it.


Let’s have some fun on this blog!

Saturday 25 April, 2020

Life is pretty hard right now, and so blogging is even harder. So I’m going to take part in an old style blog/livejournal/xanga survey, based on music because it’s been the only thing I’ve been able to absorb for the last four months.

First 20 songs on shuffle, and your favourite line/lyric from the song.

  1. Collide by Howie Day – “Don’t stop here, I lost my place, I’m close behind”
  2. Sweets for my Sweet by The Searchers – “Darling, I would chase that bright star nightly and try to steal it from the sky”
  3. He Mele no Lilo – The Lilo and Stitch soundtrack – “He Inoa No Kalani Kalakaua Kulele”
  4. Words of Love  by The Beatles – “Words of love you whisper soft and true”
  5. My Eyes – The Doctor Horrible Soundtrack – “It’s plain to see, that evil inside of me is on the rise”
  6. Fallen in Love by McFly – “I wanna put it back together, cos it’s always better late than never”
  7. Newport Living by Deathcab for Cutie – “Just look at that social clique, do you really wanna be a part of it?”
  8. Between You and Me by The Ataris – “But everytime you hear this song you’ll know you made a mark on my heart and in my mind
  9. If You Buy This Record Your Life Will Be Better by The Temperer featuring Maya – “If you buy this record your life will be better, if you buy, if you buy, if you buy.”
  10. I Want To Hold Your Hand by The Beatles – “And when I touch you I feel happy inside”
  11. What’s The Story, Morning Glory? by Oasis – “Tomorrow never knows what it doesn’t know too soon.”
  12. Innuendo by Queen – “Just turn yourself into anything you think you could ever be”
  13. Then I Met You by The Proclaimers – It’s a tie between “Thought the song was sung and I could never sing another” and  “And then one night I went to Morningside and you were waiting”
  14. Down and Out from The Bugsy Malone Soundtrack – “Lady luck’s a fickle bird, but a lady is allowed to change her mind”
  15. Meet You There by The Malloys – “Down the lanes that we used to take back home (oh oh), I’ll meet you there”
  16. Soak up the Sun by Sheryl Crow – “It’s not having what you want, it’s wanting what you’ve got”
  17. Trucker Hat by Bowling for Soup – “Nothing in the world could ever make me look as good when you fit me like you do”
  18. Cruel to be Kind (Originally by Nick Lowe, this version by Letters to Cleo – “Well I do my best to understand, dear, but you still mystify and I wanna know why”
  19. Letter from America by The Proclaimers – “But you know our sense of timing; we always wait too long”
  20. World of Our Own by The Seekers – “And I know you will find there’ll be peace of mind when we live in a world of our own”

Confession: I am clearly more of a romantic than I generally admit to being.


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.