Archive for the 'Music' Category

Victoria Wood – Let’s Do It: The Ballad of Barry and Frieda

VW

Victoria Wood – Let’s Do It: The Ballad of Barry and Frieda

Freda and Barry sat one night
The sky was clear, the stars were bright
The wind was soft, the mood was up
Freda drained her cocoa cup

She licked her lips, she felt sublime
She switched off Gardener’s Question Time
Barry cringed in fear and dread
When Freda grabbed his tie and said

Let’s do it, let’s do it, do it while the mood is right
I’m feeling appealing, I’ve really got an appetite
I’m on fire with desire
I could handle half the tenors in the male voice choir
Let’s do it, let’s do it tonight

But he said
I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I don’t believe in too much sex
This fashion for passion makes me a nervous wreck
No derision, my decision –
I’d rather watch McCalmans on the television
I can’t do it, I can’t do it tonight

But she said
Let’s do it, let’s do it till our hearts go boom
Go native, creative, we’ll do it in the living room
It’s folly, it’s jolly
Bend me over backwards on the hostess trolley
Let’s do it, let’s do it tonight

But he said
I can’t do it, I can’t do it, my heavy-breathing days are gone
I’m older, I’m colder, it’s other things that turn me on
Yes, I’m boring, I’m imploring
I want to read this catalogue on vinyl flooring
I can’t do it, I can’t do it tonight

Then she said
Come on, let’s do it, let’s do it, have a crazy night of love
I’ll strip bare, I’ll just wear stilettos and an oven glove
Don’t give me no palaver
Dangle from the wardrobe in your balaclava
Let’s do it, let’s do it tonight

But he said
I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I know I’ll only get it wrong
No angle for me to dangle, my arms have never been that strong
Stop shouting, stop pouting
You know I pulled a muscle when I did that grouting
I can’t do it, can’t do it tonight

But she said
Let’s do it, let’s do it, have a night of old romance
Poetic, frenetic, this could be your last big chance
Read Milton, eat Stilton
Roll with gay abandon on a tufted Wilton
Let’s do it, let’s do it tonight

Then he said
I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I’ve got such a lot of jobs on hand
Don’t grouse around the house, I’ve got a busy evening planned
Stop nagging, I’m flagging,
You know as well as me that the pipes need lagging
Can’t do it, can’t do it tonight

Then she said
Let’s do it, let’s do it while I’m really in the mood
It’s years and years since I got you even semi-nude
Get drastic, gymnastic
Wear the baggy Y-fronts with the loose elastic
Let’s do it, let’s do it tonight

But he said
I can’t do it, I can’t do it, I must refuse to get undressed
It’s chilly, I feel silly to go without my thermal vest
Don’t choose me, don’t use me
Mum sent a note saying you must excuse me
Can’t do it, can’t do it tonight

Then she said
Let’s do it, let’s do it, I really absolutely must
I won’t exempt you, I want to tempt you
I want to drive you mad with lust
No caution, just contortions
Smear an avocado on my lower portions
Let’s do it, let’s do it tonight

Be mighty, be flighty
Come and melt the buttons on my flame-proof nightie
Let’s do it, let’s do it tonight

Not meekly, not bleakly
Beat me on the bottom with the Woman’s Weekly
Let’s do it, let’s do it tonight

How I Feel about David Bowie

Bowie

 

It has taken me a long time to start writing about Bowie.  I wasn’t sure how to say what I wanted to say.

For most of the last two weeks, since his death on 10th January 2016, I have been listening to his music, and continually watching Youtube footage, and generally Googling images of him.  That in itself is not unusual; I very often spend my morning train journey to work listening to one of his albums or another.
But since his death, the songs have taken on new meaning.  I now listen to every note, every off-vowell, and every hitch of breath, with renewed ardour.  I look for it all.  Now that this sparkling commodity has run out, and there will be no more Bowie, his music has become all the more precious.  Whilst in some sense, Bowie has become a non-renewable energy; so fortifying and affirmative to so many, and now sadly run out, he will never really run out.  It is such a blessing of modern life, and the electronic age that we all hate, that generations to come, in fifty or a hundred years, will be able listen to those same off-vowels, and hitches of breath.  Our great, great grand-children, long after we are gone, will discover Ziggy Stardust, and Aladdin Sane, and will laugh at the lines in Jene Genie, and choke at that final performance of Rock and Roll Suicide, when he announced that Ziggy would never perform live again.

Those songs, and recordings, and shaky video footage, and photographs can’t be extinguished.  They live on, where mortal Bowie can’t, as a wealth of fortification for people who haven’t been born yet.

For me, Bowie’s message is; you’re okay.  David Bowie says you’re okay.  It doesn’t matter what you look like, what you wear, whether you dance like a square; you’re okay.  “Hey Babe, your hair’s alright.”  Even though your face is a mess.  At those moments when you feel helpless, and like your life is out of control, and your body doesn’t look the way you feel it should, just remember that you’re okay.  David Bowie knows what’s inside you, and knows you’re a good person.

As an artist, what I find remarkable about Bowie is that despite his persona being ostensibly superficial; constantly changing, all glitter and sequins, and smoke and mirrors, it was all him.  Popstars nowadays are the public face of an army; in front of talented people behind the scenes who write the songs, and mechanically engineer the sound, and their voice, and promote them, and produce their outfits, find their clothes, get them dressed, style their hair, perfectly apply their make-up, and everything about them.

The classic image of a popstar sitting in a chair with people all around, producing a perfect appearance, is all too true.

However, everything you saw about Bowie was himself.  He dyed his own hair bright ginger over the sink. He applied his own make-up, even those distinctive images of Ziggy, and Aladdin Sane, with lightning bolts, and glittering alien foreheads.  He created every inch of those mystical, iconic characters, and the images which have become integral to our culture.

When you listen to one of Bowie’s records, every instrument is played by him.  Read the credits on an album sleeve; vocals, guitar, piano, saxophone, harmonica.  All him.

Bowie didn’t have a team of choreographers, and songwriters, and musicians (apart from Mick Ronson), and stylists, and hairdressers, and wardrobe assistants.  It was just him.

For me, that is the mark of genius, and true talent.  He was a star, with no help from anybody else.  Just him.

The other thing about Bowie is that he wasn’t copying anybody.  Uniquely in the music business, he didn’t follow in anybody’s footsteps.  He didn’t tribute history; he made it.  As Tracey Thorne says in her book Naked at the Albert Hall, Bowie invented whole new vowels, not content with those already available.

Many people, over the last two weeks, have commented on how personal this loss feels.  On the morning it happened, I opened my eyes, reached for my phone, and the newsflash had just appeared.  I immediately went in to tell my mother, and her reaction was exactly like I had told her about a family member.  There was no moment when she thought I might be joking, or it could be a hoax.  Just immediate grief.

David Bowie has always been in my family, as my parents were both enormous fans, and passed that love on to me.  I grew up listening to his songs.  When I was in my teens, we called our German Shepherd Ziggy.

Two years ago, I left home in the North at midnight, and travelled down to London with my Mother, on National Express overnight.  We went to the Victoria and Albert Museum, and stood in a queue of people for over two hours, all waiting to see the David Bowie Is… exhibition.  The tickets had been sold out for six months, so we were risking getting tickets on speck, as a small number are released every morning for that day.  As we approached the final stretch, with around five people between us and ticket desk, they brought down a barrier, and announced that tickets were sold out for that day.  After approximately two minutes of being distraught, we signed up for an annual membership to the V & A, and walked straight in. The experience of seeing his outfits, and shoes, and hand-written lyrics was something I will never forget, and one of the most special experiences of my life.

Part of the exhibition was a screen showing the video for Heroes.  I just stood, mesmerised, and watched it through around four times; watching his face come forward out of the dark background, and listening to his cracking, imperfect voice.  When it cracks, I can hardly handle it.  As Caitlin Moran says it perfectly, it’s like breaking ice.

My favourite part of the whole exhibition was a tiny scrap of tissue with his red lipstick blots on. It seemed so human, and at the same time so extravagant and glamorous. It was like looking at him.

The culmination of the exhibition was a circular room, with 180 degree screens, around 60 feet tall, screening his final performance of Rock and Roll Suicide at Hammersmith.  I had never seen it before.  I just stood there, with my mother, for around 40 minutes, watching it over and over.  That performance is unlike anything I have ever seen.  It’s unlike anything anybody has ever done.  Charisma like that, and a voice which is so flawed and imperfect, but absolutely breath-taking, and when the corners of his mouth turn up in a smile, like he’s pleased with himself at his own lyrics.  It’s magic.  I came home from London, and watched that video on repeat, solidly, for two weeks. I was even watching it silently, when I was talking to a Client on the phone in work.

Since the news broke, I have looked to Caitlin Moran.  As with all matters in life, I can always trust that she will perfectly articulate exactly what I want to say myself, but can’t.

In her Times piece, Caitlin opened;

“What a lucky planet we were to have had David Bowie. So lucky. Imagine how vast all of space and time is — how endless and empty, how black and cold. Imagine a tracking shot across the universe, nothing happening nearly everywhere, nearly all the time. And then, as it scrolls past our galaxy, you can hear, quiet at first, but getting louder as we close in, Rebel Rebel, coming from our Planet, from our Country, in our time, playing on tinny transistor radios, in a million bedrooms, as a whole generation, and the next, and the next, straighten their spines, and feel their pulses rise, and say; “This.  This is how I feel.  Or at least, this is how I feel now.  Now I’ve heard this”

And that’s how I feel.

bowie_aladin_sane_1000px

 

Summer is for Music and Dresses

When the weather is beautiful, all I want to do is put on a dress and listen to music.

Summer Playlist: 

1.  Two Door Cinema Club, Tourist History (Record)

  1. Cigarettes In The Theatre
  2. Come Back Home
  3. Do You Want It All ?
  4. This Is The Life
  5. Something Good Can Work
  6. I Can Talk
  7. Undercover Martyn
  8. What You Know
  9. Eat That Up, It’s Good For You
  10. You Are Not Stubborn

2. The Twang, Two Lovers (Track)
3. The Best of Fleetwood Mac (Record)

  1. Rhiannon
  2. Go Your Own Way
  3. Don’t Stop
  4. Gypsy
  5. Everywhere
  6. You Make Loving Fun
  7. Big Love
  8. As Long As You Follow
  9. Say You Love Me
  10. Dreams
  11. Little Lies
  12. Oh Diane
  13. Sara
  14. Tusk
  15. Seven Wonders
  16. Hold Me
  17. No Questions Asked

4. Dirty Pretty Things, B.U.R.M.A  (Track)

5. The Very Best of The Velvet Underground (Record)

  1. Sweet Jane
  2. I’m Sticking With You
  3. I’m Waiting For The Man
  4. What Goes On
  5. White Light/White Heat
  6. All Tomorrow’s Parties
  7. Pale Blue Eyes
  8. Femme Fatale
  9. Heroin
  10. Here She Comes Now
  11. Stephanie Says
  12. Venus In Furs
  13. Beginning To See The Light
  14. I Heard Her Call My Name
  15. Some Kinda Love
  16. I Can’t Stand It
  17. Sunday Morning
  18. Rock & Roll

6. The Libertines, Boys in the Band (Track)

7.  Blondie

Sunday Girl (Track)

Rapture (Track)

8. Bombay Bicycle Club, Flaws (Album) 

  1. Rinse Me Down
  2. Many Ways
  3. Dust On The Ground
  4. Ivy & Gold
  5. Leaving Blues
  6. Fairytale Lullaby
  7. Word By Word
  8. Jewel
  9. My God
  10. Flaws
  11. Swansea

9. The Emotions, Best of My Love (track)

10. Kasabian, Secret Alphabets (Track)

11. The Rolling Stones (Because it wouldn’t be summer without the Rolling Stones), Beast of Burden (Track).

12. Al Green

1. Tired of Being Alone (Track)

2. How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (Track)

The music you listen to in the summertime has to have a special quality.  It has to be light, and fresh, but deeply funky and soulful.  It’s the kind of music, as some of the tracks above have been for me, the kind of music that comes onto your i-pod when you have it on shuffle, lying on the sand of a beach, and it just feels perfect.  It’s about the music you’re listening to fitting the light around you perfectly; that golden-green light.  Summer music, more than any other, has to be music you love.

I had to restrain myself, because I didn’t want to stop compiling this list.  This is only a tiny selection of the music I’ll be listening to this summer.  Feel free to add to it.

My Favourite Things This Spring: London, Trousers, and Moments.

These are the things making me smile this Spring…

1. London 

One thing I love, and it isn’t a new thing, but something I’ve been obsessed by for years, is when Londoners put ‘The’ in front of a road name.  For example, someone from London doesn’t just say ‘King’s Road’ they say ‘The King’s Road’.  I love anything which is intrinsically and traditionally ‘London’.  I love the people, the streets, and buildings, and parks, I love London as a living entity, and so I love anything which makes you instantly aware of its own metropolitan authenticity. It’s like music to me, that intoxicating London lilt; ‘Where did you see him, Bill?’, ‘I saw him down The Tottenham Court Road’.

This picture was taken backstage at a production of Rocky Horror, at The King’s Road Theatre, in 1976.  It embodies the King’s Road atmosphere and reputation for punks, theatre and creativity.

I love this quote, which I found with the photograph; “Back again.  This time, the first ‘West-End’ production at The Comedy Theatre, re-staged by the original director, Jim Sharman. It was only towards the end of this run that we noticed a strange phenomenon; American tourists who seemed to think they were part of the show  started shouting out stuff, much to their own amusement …

We just thought they were twats.”


The photo is a beautifully typical snapshot of unseen London life, one of those moments that happens with people who aren’t beautiful, aren’t scripted, but are alive in a room together, somewhere down a dark street in London.  This brings me onto my second item…

2. Moments

I love the moments in life, the moments that aren’t planned and often only seen by one person, or a few, which are breathtakingly beautiful.  I was on the train today, it was early evening, about five o’clock.  I was listening to The Cure, looking out of the train window at fields which were green, shining with the rain that had been falling earlier in the day, in bright sunshine.  The carriage was quiet and empty, and it was a beautiful moment.  I think I may have written about this before, but just in case I haven’t… Last year, early in the summer, I was walking the Dog, and I turned onto the Heath, just as the sun was setting, and I looked out across the fields of horses, and boys playing football, and the empty Heath, just as For Lovers by Pete Doherty started playing in my earphones.  I feel like a pompous prig for saying this, but that moment almost made my cry.

I recently wrote in a poem;

What about the English air
steeped in home-cooked chip fat
in late-afternoon sun,
and that place in the Colosseum
where every wayfarer stands to have their photograph taken?
Moments of well-worn summer
like comfortable clothes
in the quietness of a moment alone,
an outfit that no-one will see,
a minute’s picture-idyll,
the light catching the natural arrangement of blonde hair,
like cotton against your legs
that only you will feel.

3. Trousers

Being short in height and somewhat rotund, it isn’t easy to find clothes which are flattering.  In my head I look like a Jack Wills model, in reality I look like a Julie Walters character.  However, I recently found a pair of trousers which I like.  I always believed that I could only get away with certain things, and that I couldn’t go near anything chic or stylish, but these trousers are chic.  They were from Zara, around £22, which is a bargain in my eyes.  I love them, and will wear them all summer.

(I’ll add a picture to this Blog when I don’t have a towel on my head).

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“What a wonderful contribution to National Vegetarian Week”

@FlorentineMuray said it so eloquently, ‘When you cook something you love, you add that little bit of a special spark’.” The Green Beret

Well-Worn Music II

Following on from yesterday’s post https://vikkilittlemore.wordpress.com/2011/04/07/well-worn-music/, I decided to accept my own challenge, and on the train journey home yesterday evening I hit the shuffle button and zipped my i-Pod away in my bag, so that I wouldn’t be tempted to hit skip.  To my utter delight I was treated to a wealth of songs that I haven’t heard for quite some time, and which I’d almost forgotten about.  In the short time it took to travel from Chester to Runcorn I was treated to a long-lost Oasis track that I haven’t heard for years, and which instantly transported me back to the 1990’s, Kings of Leon, Iggy Pop and The Stooges, songs which are there on my i-pod because I love them, but which I rarely listen to.

In the euphoria of this fresh music; invigorated, enlivened, it was only then that I realised how tired and bored I had become with listening to the same small selection of songs all the time.  As I mentioned last week, talking about Winter, you don’t realise how much something is weighing you down and depressing you; whether it be the cold, dark days of Winter, or the mess in the corner of your bedroom, you only realise that a weight has been lifted once it has gone.

So, I have well and truly learned my lesson and from now on I will put complete trust in my own music, and trust that there are no bad songs on my i-pod (which there aren’t), and from now on I will never fall back on the Top Rated Playlist. Ever!

 

Well-Worn Music

 

Do you ever sing really loudly, not caring whether anyone can hear you?  Sometimes the only thing that will lift my mood is filling my flat with my favourite music, loud, and singing at the top of my voice, even with the windows open, completely oblivious to whether or not my neighbours, people walking past down on the street under the window, or anyone else, can hear me.  What’s more, I know I can’t sing.  People often say that they are tone deaf.  I’m not.  I can hear perfectly well just how badly I sing, and it makes me sad, because whereas some people dream of flying high above the treetops like a bird, or ruling the world, or having mountains of gold to roll in, my dream, if I could choose any, would be to sing brilliantly, and play Sally Bowls in Cabaret.

The problem I find when it comes to music  is that I often feel my listening habits are stagnated.  Back in the days before i-tunes, when we actually played CD’s, I would always, without fail, put a CD in and immediately skip between the songs I liked.  I later developed a nagging worry that I was, quite rightly, skipping past many songs that I would probably love if I only gave them a chance, but I never did.  As technology progressed, so did I, and I moved on to creating CD’s of my favourite songs; disks filled exclusively with songs I loved and had listened to over and over again.  While it made me happy to hear these songs, I realise now that I was narrowing my musical taste, and limiting what I was exposing myself to, robbing myself of many opportunities of discovering new, equally loved, music.

Nowadays, I’m guilty of the same flaw.  The luxury of i-tunes has allowed me to create my ‘Top Rated’ playlist (a list of all the songs I love) and I find that I increasingly only listen to these songs.  The reason?  I don’t trust the other songs, the ones that I haven’t earmarked as somehow special, to make me feel happy in the way the others do.  When I put my headphones in, I want to know that I’m guaranteed of hearing a brilliant song.  Now, I know that I should have more faith in the other songs, because I know very well that my i-pod only contains music that I love, by artists who I consider ‘good’.  So, why can’t I have more confidence and just reach for the shuffle button?  It’s a gamble, but I must do it.

 


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Sylvia Plath said; "Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences". My aim in life is to find things and people to love, so that I can write about them. Putting words together is the only thing I can see myself doing. This blog is an outlet, and I hope you enjoy reading it. Please feel free to comment on posts, or contact me by the special e-mail I've set up (vikki.littlemore@live.co.uk) with your thoughts.


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The New Remorse, Oscar Wilde.

The sin was mine; I did not understand.
So now is music prisoned in her cave,
Save where some ebbing desultory wave
Frets with its restless whirls this meagre strand.
And in the withered hollow of this land
Hath Summer dug herself so deep a grave,
That hardly can the leaden willow crave
One silver blossom from keen Winter's hand.

But who is this who cometh by the shore?
(Nay, love, look up and wonder!) Who is this
Who cometh in dyed garments from the South?
It is thy new-found Lord, and he shall kiss
The yet unravished roses of thy mouth,
And I shall weep and worship, as before.

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Music I Love (In no particular order, except that The Smiths are first)

The Smiths,
The Libertines,
The Courteeners,
Nina Simone,
Oasis,
Pete Doherty,
Gossip,
The Kills,
Amy Winehouse,
Arctic Monkeys,
Rod Stewart,
The Doors,
The Rolling Stones,
Etta James,
Babyshambles,
T. Rex,
The Jam,
Morrissey,
Guillemots,
The Kinks,
Jack White,
The Deadweather,
David Bowie,
The Winchesters,
The Cure,
Kaiser Chiefs,
The Kooks,
The Twang,
Kings Of Leon,
Pulp,
Blur,
The Housemartins,
The Ramones,
James,
Robots in Disguise,
The Klaxons,
Kate Nash,
The Raconteurs,
Regina Spektor,
Aretha Franklin,
Stereophonics,
The Contours,
Dirty Pretty Things,
The White Stripes,
New York Dolls,
Yeah Yeah Yeahs,
The Clash,
Style Council,
Velvet Underground,
The Horrors,
The Cribs,
Reverend and The Makers,
The Subways,
The Wombats,
Foals,
Elle S'appelle,
The Troggs,
The Beatles,
Echo and the Bunnymen,
Florence and the Machine.

Olive Cotton, Tea Cup Ballet, 1935

Olive Cotton, Tea Cup Ballet, 1935

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Will it ever be alright for Blighty to have a Queen Camilla?

One less tree from our window each day


Vikki's bookshelf: read

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
1984
Twilight
Of Mice and Men
Pride and Prejudice
The Hobbit
The Da Vinci Code
Lolita
Tipping the Velvet
Wuthering Heights
The Picture of Dorian Grey and Other Works by Oscar Wilde
Bridget Jones's Diary and Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason
Irish Peacock & Scarlet Marquess: The Real Trial of Oscar Wilde
The Peculiar Memories of Thomas Penman
Moab Is My Washpot
The Bell Jar
The Other Boleyn Girl
On the Road
Brideshead Revisited
Revolutionary Road



Vikki Littlemore's favorite books »

Share book reviews and ratings with Vikki, and even join a book club on Goodreads.

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