swordznsorcery: (Default)
( Sep. 25th, 2017 19:17)
I'm really bad at this journal thing. More work = less brain, apparently. Still, a general catch up... )
A week or so back, [personal profile] arnie1967 asked about favourite songs, and how they make us feel. It was an interesting question, but I didn't get around to answering it at the time. Kept thinking about it though, and with my usual inability to come to a decision about favourite songs, I shovelled a bunch of them into a folder, and then wrote down the first ten titles that resulted from a random play. This is the result, and it's a playlist that I'm very happy with. As to how they make me feel... Well, they're good songs, so I suppose the obvious answer is "good", but there is a bit more to that, at least occasionally.

... )
swordznsorcery: (e street)
( Mar. 4th, 2016 20:04)
Memed from [livejournal.com profile] meathiel - spell your username in song titles. I restricted myself to songs on my hard drive to make it a bit more interesting (although I do have a lot of music on my hard drive, so I wasn't exactly restricting my choices by much!)

S - Somebody To Love, Queen
W - Wonderwall, Oasis
O - Obviously, McFly
R - Radio Nowhere, Bruce Springsteen
D - Don't Turn Around, Aswad
Z - Ziggy Stardust, David Bowie
N - Nothing Is Keeping You Here, a-ha
S - Suicide Is Painless, Manic Street Preachers
O - On The Sunny Side Of The Street, Dean Martin
R - Run To You, Bryan Adams
C - Carrie, Cliff Richard
E - Eee-O-Eleven, Sammy Davis, Jr
R - Rock This Joint, The Max Weinberg 7
Y - You Really Got Me, The Kinks

If I'd had the foresight to call myself Sswworddznssorcceery, I'd also have included the following:

Start Me Up, The Rolling Stones
What's The Frequency, Kenneth?, REM
Don't Be Cruel, Elvis Presley
Sunday Girl, Blondie
Come Dance With Me, Frank Sinatra
Electric Avenue, Eddy Grant

And my grateful thanks to David Bowie. If it hadn't been for Ziggy Stardust, I don't know what I would have done! Twenty years ago when I signed up for Geocities, that Z looked like a good idea. It does occasionally have its downside though...
swordznsorcery: (xenon)
( Dec. 31st, 2015 20:12)
2014. Guess what?! Yep, still drawing a blank. British politicians being horrible, although admittedly that doesn't narrow it down much. Fabulous summer, if you like hot weather (I do). I spent most of it renovating my mother's garden, digging flowerbeds and unearthing very old dead things, back from when round here was still a sea. I rather wish it still was. Not that I'm entirely advocating life in the Jurassic, as I'm pretty sure the music was rubbish, and internet speeds seriously sucked; but on the plus side I'd be living in an ocean paradise. Also, no electricity bill. Although there's probably a good reason for that.

Yes, I am blatantly avoiding the topic of 2014. It was a pretty good year for television. How To Get Away With Murder started. The first season was very watchable, and so far the second season has been pretty much unmissable. I think it's away until February, dagnabbit. Wretched mis-season hiatuses! (Hiati? No, that sounds more like a country). I only started watching because of Baby Ian Chesterton, but it's so much more than that. He's great, incidentally. Deserves to go far.

Also starting this year was Constantine, which I loved, and Forever, which I adored. Neither made it to a second season, and I am still in mourning. Television is a cruel mistress. Or something.

Good year musically. I discovered a new band, although I can't remember how off hand. Probably mucking about on YouTube. Very good debut album, but it remains to be seen if they'll be worth following further. Queen dug an old song out of the archives, which was nice; and the E Street Band continued to galavant about the globe, and wilfully distract me with YouTubery (Kitty's Back! Stayin' Alive! Hurrah)!

A bad year for fandom, though. Alexandra Bastedo, who played Sharron in The Champions, died this year. Those three were always so close, and as the extras on the DVD release showed, they'd remained so, which somehow made it all the sadder (and turned out she'd opened an animal sanctuary after she quit acting, so she was clearly Nice People). James Garner died too. Not so unexpected, that one, but he was Old Hollywood, and we're running out of them. And of course Mike Smith. And there's nothing else I can say about that.

... )
*collapses in a heap* If I ever decide to embark on something as long and involved as this again, somebody please hit me. Still, I made it! Not doing 2015, because this is 2015, even if it won't still be tomorrow. I can hardly say "Remember when...?" when we're still here. So instead I shall just say Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (three hundred exclamation marks), and leave you with two songs from a pair of bands who came back unexpectedly in 2015.

... )
Have a good 2016!
swordznsorcery: (tardis)
( Dec. 30th, 2015 19:34)
2013 was the year of Roger Taylor's long-awaited (if you're me) fifth solo album, Fun On Earth. Absolutely nothing else happened though, honest. Well, maybe a few things. Television gave me Marvel's Agents Of SHIELD, and then amazingly didn't take it away again after a half dozen episodes. It's still going now, even. Or will be, once they've stopped pootling around with their mid-season hiatusing, and have given it back. It's fab. It's got Agent Coulson and a flying car.

What else? I mentioned Roger's album already, didn't I. Damn. It's very good. Lousy cover, good songs. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band were still on tour, so possibly the reason I didn't notice much else happening was because I was busy stalking them on YouTube? It was fun. As a hobby I highly recommend it. (Look! Cover Me! No Surrender! Live from London in June! Hurrah)!

Um. Some other stuff happened. Maybe I should do this entry as a fill-in-the-blanks? I remember watching Hostages, which was hilarious. I still don't know if it was supposed to be. It was a one-off, which was just as well, as no way was it going to get recommissioned; but despite that less than sterling recommendation, if you didn't see it, you should. It was very, very funny. I especially loved the episode when [spoiler] got shot. Funniest thing I've seen in years.

The Beeb aired Dancing On The Edge this year. It was a mini series by Stephen Poliakoff, who has impressed me greatly in the past (Caught On A Train (1980); Perfect Strangers (2001); The Lost Prince (2003)), but this was just a mess. It was supposedly the story of a black jazz band in London in the thirties, but it turned out to be about lots of white people instead. It even had white people telling black people how to deal with racism, which really shouldn't still be happening on the telly in 2013. Soundtrack was excellent, mind. I bought it before the end of the series. Some lovely bouncy jazz.

And then the Doctor had a birthday. :) And there was feasting and merriment. Well, there was a film, with Ten and Eleven and Eleven-and-a-half, or whatever we're supposed to call him. Best of all was Peter Davison being very silly with Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy though. The Day Of The Doctor was fun, but The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot was demonstrably the best 50th birthday present ever. I hope we don't have to wait until 2023 before they're similarly silly again.

... )
swordznsorcery: (johnblack)
( Dec. 25th, 2015 19:43)
2008 was a mental year. If you made it through, congratulations! Between air crashes, typhoons, hurricanes, mudslides and earthquakes, it's a wonder that anybody did. One earthquake in Sichuan wiped out upwards of seventy thousand people on its own. That's a lot of people.

My year was certainly better than that. Probably depending on which fandoms you swim in, 2008 was quite eventful. Over in Days Of Our Lives-land, recent madness (cost-cutting caused them to kill off their main star, then do a complete one-eighty due to the backlash) had led to many a disgruntled fan taking refuge in classic storylines, and putting them up on YouTube as they went. So I spent a good chunk of '08 up to my neck in dastardly kidnappings, demonic possessions, jungle escapades and mediaeval torture chambers. Truly Stefano DiMera and John Black are the pinnacle of soap. You can keep your EastEnders and your Coronation Street! I was also revelling in the first E Street Band tour since YouTube happened. Footage from all over the world! And boy do some fans have some good recording equipment. So that was nice.

Didn't all go well on E Street this year though, as 2008 was when we lost Phantom Dan Federici to cancer. They brought in a talented substitute, and the tour turned into a huge party in celebration of Dan's life, but it's never been quite the same since. Also bowing out this year were the great Eartha Kitt; Mitch Mitchell, drummer with the Jimi Hendrix Experience; and jazz band leader/I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again supremo Humphrey Lyttelton; so hopefully they all met each other on the way out, as the jam session would have been extraordinary.

The world trying to drown, crush or shake half the population to death aside, this was quite a quiet year, I think? I was rather buried in fandom, due to it being decidedly better than real life. Well, let's face it - how many of us can boast a real life filled with jungle adventures and dastardly kidnappings? Some stuff happened. It was the year of the American Presidential election, which meant that the rest of us had to put up with wall to wall coverage all bloody year. Do I have to put a spoiler warning before saying who won? (Clue - it was an Islamic illegal immigrant. Maybe).

Not much idea about telly this year. It was all happening on YouTube. The Beeb did bring out The Invisibles though, which I loved. It was a comedy drama about two ageing, sort of ex-thieves (Tony Head and Warren Clarke), but I must have been the only person who did like it, as it disappeared after six episodes, never to return. TV that I like is good at that. *grumble growl*

... )
swordznsorcery: (e street)
( Dec. 19th, 2015 21:00)
*flop* I have been putting up my mother's Christmas decorations, delivering my mother's Christmas cards, and madly trying to get most of her wrapping up done, as there's a family get together tomorrow, and it's all got to be done by then. And, predictably, hadn't been started before today. That's enough Christmassing now for me. Can it be the New Year please?!

Oh, 2002. Still old peopling. Getting used to looking after my grandfather, who was actually very little work in actual fact. I never really knew any of my grandparents growing up, as they lived on the other side of the country, and visiting was an issue. I got to know him very well when we lived together though. He knew a hell of a lot. Could have done without getting the same three Naval tales over and over again though! It became something of a family joke after a while.

Excuse me, distracted. Dean Martin is singing. Not actually, obviously. Just on the computer. Why do I remember more of what happened in the 90s than I do in the 00s? I seem to have spent the last fifteen years bored out of my skull, and paying no attention to the world. Except the bits that are shaped like Doctor Who and the E Street Band. Oh! Queen's Jubilee! (The actual queen, not the musical kind). There was the Party In The Park, and Queen played (the musical kind, not the actual one), with the cast of their West End musical We Will Rock You. That was actually pretty fab. Most of the other acts were famous-for-five-minutes types, and I don't remember them, but Queen and co were excellent. And Brian and Roger played God Save The Queen on the roof of Buckingham Palace, because they're Queen, and they do things like that. Springsteen put out his The Rising album, and went out on the road with the E Street Band again. Was YouTube a thing then? I don't think so. I was still on sloooooow dial-up, but I have since caught up with masses of lovely footage. I love the music, obviously, but few things make me as happy as watching Mighty Max play the drums. :)

The Queen Mother died. That was sad. Royalist or Republican, I'd challenge you to think ill of her. Although admittedly it was hardly unexpected, as she was 101 and hadn't been well for some time. Dudley Moore also died, and that really was sad. He'd had some sort of brain condition, poor sod, and hadn't been able to play the piano for several years. He was an amazing pianist. People tend to remember him for the comedy, and fair enough, but he put out some excellent jazz albums too, with his Dudley Moore Trio. John Entwhistle, bass player of the Who, also died. And yes, drink-and-drug related, but what the hell, he was in the Who.

... )
swordznsorcery: (ratpack)
( Dec. 15th, 2015 20:17)
1998 was one of those years that we should just have skipped, and pretended never happened. Sorry if it was a good year for you. If you got married then, or born then or something. But we should just quietly forget about it, and scurry on by to 1999. Or possibly 2015.

1998 began with my sister being diagnosed with acute leukaemia. And not just acute leukaemia; that would have been far too simple. She had to contract a fabulously rare combination of syndromes that had doctors all over the world conferring on her treatment. Which was actually good, in one sense. If you're going to get really sick, you might as well go for something special, and get all the best minds in medicine thinking about you. She was down and out for the whole of the year though, and is still dealing with the consequences now - and whilst it could have been a lot worse (especially for her), it was still pretty rubbish. It was a really weird time though. When a member of your family is ill, people start asking after them in hushed tones. They don't just ask how she is, they sidle up to you, and ask like they're delivering a top secret message from the head of MI6.

The younger of my two grandfathers died this year too. I didn't know him very well, so it wasn't a personal loss, but it was a strange sort of time nonetheless. Mind you, the funeral turned out to be unexpectedly entertaining. Are funerals generally hilarious? I've not been to many, but it does seem that they wind up being a whole lot funnier than they probably ought to be. For this one I somehow got sandwiched between my two more irreverent sisters, with the one inclined to get emotional just up ahead. Every so often she'd sob, and they'd giggle. I didn't dare look at anybody!

Honestly didn't pay much attention to the wider world this year. Government being rubbish, Blair being a smarmy git, etc and so forth. I do remember that General Pinochet visited the UK, and was put under arrest on an international arrest warrant. He was supposed to stand trial for crimes against humanity, but the government twiddled its thumbs for ages, and then Margaret Thatcher said that he was a personal friend, and could they please let him go. So they did. So we very nearly did a good thing, and then didn't. Not that anybody really dared hope that he'd stand trial anyway, but it was a nice idea for a little while.

Babylon 5 ended this year. I was sorry to see it go, although obviously it couldn't have gone on any longer. It was my first proper experience of fandom, with all the obsessive discussions that used to take place on the Channel 4 internet forum. I'd never had fellow fans before! And it was such an amazing series. Cold Feet started. I did quite like that, although it was hardly a suitable replacement. Oh, and The Mask Of Zorro hit cinemas! Now there's a good film. The sword work is excellent, and it's such good fun. Dark City too, although I didn't see that until some time later. Again, though, a terrific film.

Music is a different story. I just looked up the Top #100 for the year, and that's a nightmare! Billie Piper, Aqua, Boyzone, Steps, B*Witched, Cleopatra... blimey. Must have been the International Year Of The Power Ballad too, as the top fifteen includes My Heart Will Go On by Celine Dion, I Don't Want To Miss A Thing by Aerosmith, and Angels by Robbie Williams. Bloody hell! What happened between 1997 and 1998?! Did somebody outlaw rock music?

And, of course, 1998 was the year when Frank Sinatra went off to join Dino and Sammy. Robert Young and Roddy McDowall also died this year, and Cozy Powell, British rock drummer extraordinaire. Admittedly that was rather his own fault, but it was still a shame. Scuppered Brian May's touring plans for the year ahead, too!

... )
swordznsorcery: (queen)
( Dec. 14th, 2015 20:08)
1997. I left college in 1997. Leaving college is decidedly rubbish. One minute you're nice and comfortable, with a well-stocked library and no responsibilities, and the next you're expected to go out into the world, get a job, and be an actual person. This is probably terrifying enough even if you're not me. I wound up working in a factory with a health and safety record that veered between hilarious and non-existent. While I was there, they redesigned the shop floor in such a way as to make it even more obviously life-threatening than it had been previously, which was quite an achievement. It closed down about a year later. I've always felt partly responsible for that. They were going for some sort of European special status, that would have helped them get more contracts abroad, and a top drawer Eurocrat type came and talked to a few of us about our experiences with the company. She asked what it was like to work for them, and we all burst out laughing. They didn't get their special status.

Otherwise, it was the year of my first General Election! I was a bit excited. We were going to drive the ruddy Tories out, at last. Things had got so laughably bad with them, we even had a BBC newsreader randomly standing as an MP in one constituency, just in an effort to get rid of the useless prat who had the job. I soon learned how pointless it all feels though. How your vote doesn't actually count for anything in our stupid system. How the other side soon wind up looking just as bad as the people they've replaced. Especially when the country winds up saddling itself with Tony Blair for the foreseeable future.

Princess Diana died. The country went bleeding insane for a fortnight. Buffy The Vampire Slayer debuted, and the entire internet was chatting about it in an instant. And I couldn't watch it! It was most frustrating. I caught the season one finale courtesy of Sky One when I was at my sister's place one night early the next year, but it didn't come to the BBC until centuries later - at least. Frustration! We did get Dark Skies and Poltergeist: The Legacy that year though. The former was a lovely piece of sci-fi that only lasted one season. Woe. The latter was a great fun paranormal series, that replaced The X-Files in my affections - Mulder and Scully having gone all conspiracy theory in a big way by then. Sadly, P:TL had a massive shake up for season two, and it was painfully obvious that they were now spending less money per season than they once had per episode (literally). And all the good writers ran away. And the grown up, clever elements were abandoned. Still, it was good for a bit.

The first Harry Potter book came out this year. I bought it for my niece's eleventh birthday. Or possibly her twelfth birthday. However old she was this year, that's the birthday I bought it for. Tomorrow Never Dies came out as well. My favourite Bond movie! I love everything about that one. Jonathan Pryce, Michelle Yeoh, the song, the fights, the general willingness of everything to go "boom!" with alacrity. Happy happy happy. And Titanic came out too, but I still haven't seen that.

And some other stuff, probably. And rest assured, that Elton John song is not lurking beneath the cut. I wouldn't do that to myself, let alone you!

... )

PS: An early Christmas present from the bods on the Queen YouTube page! Nice. :) Even if it has all been cropped from 4:3 to 16:9...
swordznsorcery: (tardis)
( Dec. 13th, 2015 20:04)
I seemed to spend half of 1996 trapped in an underground train at Liverpool's Lime Street Station, while the police checked out some suspicious object or other. The IRA had decided to start blowing stuff up again, which was nice of them, and this seemed to lead to just about everything being labelled a possible bomb. Not that I blame the authorities for being overly cautious, but it does begin to get boring after a while! Especially when it's an underground station, and there's sod all to look at while you wait.

The rest of that year was spent online (I say "the rest", presumably I did some work at some point). By now the Net was growing and changing so fast that you'd practically notice the difference over a weekend. Probably inevitably, although most of us didn't have anything much faster than a 28.8K dial-up modem, already the video sharing had started. This meant tiny little videos, barely bigger than an LJ icon, and rarely more than a minute long. Mostly, from what I saw, they were Methos soundbites from Highlander, or clips from Late Night With Conan O'Brien; usually Max Weinberg doing something brilliantly ridiculous, or reading one of his fake public service announcements. Happy days. :)

Otherwise it was a year of highs and lows. Take That split, which was a high. The Spice Girls appeared, which was a low. Doctor Who returned for a one off special, with a truly terrific Doctor, and a truly dreadful script. Well, that's being a bit unfair I suppose. Only half dreadful; the bit with the shoes is genius. A sad time for Who fans otherwise though, as Jon Pertwee died shortly before the film aired. Also bowing out this year was TW3 and I'm Sorry, I Haven't A Clue star Willie Rushton. There's been a Rushton-shaped hole in that show ever since. In American Tellyland, it was also the year that Greg Morris died. He played the great Barney Collier, easily the best thing about Mission: Impossible.

Elsewhere of course, this was the year of Dunblane. Not the best thing to remember a year by. On a distinctly happier note, it was also the year when Jarvis Cocker, slightly the worst for alcohol, gatecrashed Michael Jackson's performance at the BRITs, on the grounds that Jacko was being a tit. In all fairness, he was. I was listening on the radio, and it got a lovely running commentary! Annoyingly though, it was another good year for music, and I have a "short" list of about a hundred songs that I obviously can't fit all of under the cut. It doesn't matter how many times I stare at the list - it refuses to get any shorter!

Some time later... )
swordznsorcery: (ratpack)
( Dec. 12th, 2015 17:58)
A weird sort of coincidence comes with today's post. Today in real time (12th December 2015) is Frank Sinatra's 100th birthday. Happy birthday, Frankie! But today in 40 Years Of Nonsense time is 1995, which is the year that Dean Martin left the stage. On Christmas Day, no less - well, he always did hate parties! Naturally this requires marking in suitable fashion, but I shall leave that until later.

Otherwise, 1995 was basically fun. This was the year that I moved into cyberspace more or less full time. The Net was very much still growing, but there was already a lot going on, certainly in the world of fandom. Lovely early (very simple, largely text based) sites on cult movies and TV shows, many of the kind that the "real" (sadly non-geek-based) world had largely forgotten. Blake's 7 fandom! Actual, real fans, with little pictures lovingly kept from old editions of Radio Times. Fans of Jon-Erik Hexum. As much dinosaur information as I could want, kept up to date, and not written for six year olds, the way that so many of the available books are. And, in modern (for 1995!) Tellyland, lots of people to obsessively discuss Babylon 5 with, on the newly started Channel 4 internet forum. That place was my first internet home, and I loved it. It closed down in 2006, and I've never quite found another place to match it.

It was also the year of Made In Heaven of course: the final Queen studio album to feature Freddie. It made use of the last few songs that he had recorded, as well as some earlier ones that were 'Queenified' - some solo stuff, a song he'd recorded with Roger in the 80s, etc. I was a bit dubious as to how it would all turn out, but in the event it was excellent, and one of the songs on the album wound up being one of my all time favourite Queen tracks. That was a single in 1996 though, so will have to wait until tomorrow!

Lots else in the music world this year. Best of all, the E Street Band got back together! Oasis followed up last year's debut with a mega smash hit second album. The Human League came back after a hiatus of some years. Edwyn Collins was another vintage star with a major league hit this year, so maybe there was something in the water. Pulp had their biggest hit yet with the Different Class album, that really made their name. Supergrass were everywhere, if briefly. Ash made a huge debut with 1977, and Coolio was #1 forever with Gangsta's Paradise, the theme from the Michelle Pfeiffer film Dangerous Minds.

And James Bond came back! With the head I'd been wanting him to have for years. No disrespect meant to Timothy Dalton, who was great, but for me, James Bond is Pierce Brosnan. And GoldenEye was amazing. Fab theme song sung by Tina Turner as well, with some of the most brilliantly appropriate lyrics ever. "You'll never know how I've watched you from the shadows as a child/You'll never know how it feels to get so close and be denied." Still, as it turned out it was for the best that Brosnan did "get so close and be denied" back in 1987.

On the small screen meanwhile, the BBC premiered Due South, and that version of Pride & Prejudice. Darcy-fever, everywhere. A bad year for comedy though. We lost Peter Cook and Paul Eddington this year. Kenny Everett as well, more's the pity. And it was the year when Christopher Reeve had his fall whilst horse-riding. The news came in on the day of my final exam, iirc. A sad start to the summer.

... )
swordznsorcery: (xenon)
( Dec. 9th, 2015 20:09)
Argh, 1992. What do I know about 1992?! I do know that Peter's Friends was released. I went to see it, but the projector broke down part way through, so I had to go back the same time next week to see the rest. Fortunately it was worthwhile! I wound up buying the soundtrack (which I recommend). Windows 3.1 came out, although I don't think I got anywhere near it until probably around '94, by which point it was about to be superceded by 95. I didn't start using 95 until about 2000 though, by which time... I sense a pattern. :)

Oh, what else happened in '92? Um. It was a leap year. (Counts, hurriedly). Yes. Definitely a leap year. Bush and Yeltsin spent ages having talks to decide that they weren't going to try blowing each other up anymore, which was quite nice of them I suppose. Clinton got elected. I like Bill Clinton. He plays the saxophone, and likes fish and chips. Does it show that I'm struggling with this year? I really don't remember a bloody thing, except school sucking.

There was the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert of course, but I wasn't able to watch that. A rock concert in tribute to a member of Queen was not going to happen with my father present. Happily he was out when it got repeated. Whether that was Christmas '92 or '93, I don't recall, but it was one of the two. Springsteen put out a pair of (E Street Band-less) albums, but I was still cross with him for sacking them, so I don't think I paid much attention. Being (mildly) less ridiculous nowadays, I've got over all of that, but I still think those two albums are rubbish (sorry Bruce). Except for Human Touch and Better Days. Least said about 57 Channels (And Nothing On), the better. What were you thinking, Bruce?! About the same as the British public were thinking, when they elected the Conservatives again this year. 1992! If they'd waited one more year, I could have voted. And I'm not trying to make out that this would have made any difference to the outcome, especially given Britain's rubbish first-past-the-post electoral system, but at least I'd have felt like I could have helped. I still don't know who I would have voted for though. No Greens then, at least locally. Never could quite believe in Neil Kinnock, and Paddy Ashdown irritated me. Safe Tory seat here, so it's irrelevant anyway, but dreams are nice.

What was I watching in 1992? That's usually a safe subject. It was the year that Between The Lines started. I love that show. Still good. That first series is a humdinger, although I do still prefer series two. And there was The Good Guys (which I alone seem to remember, with Nigel Havers and Keith Barron swashbuckling their way about. With swords! There were definitely swords in one episode at least). And there was Sam Saturday, which I'm definitely alone in remembering, about a policeman. (It was a nickname - he was Jewish, so they called him Saturday. Because...? Saturday could just as easily be for Catholics. Anyway, I liked it at the time). And the BBC caused national panic airing Ghostwatch, in which Mike Smith and Sarah Greene, with Michael Parkinson just to make it all look extra believable, pretended to discover ghosts in the suburbs. It was brilliant. They were banned from showing it again. Some people have no sense of humour...

Music! That's something that I do know something about. )

1993 is far less of a struggle. Though that's not necessarily a good thing.
swordznsorcery: (queen)
( Dec. 8th, 2015 21:17)
I walked home from work today in bright, warm sunshine, with blossom on the trees and birds singing. I don't know what the hell is up with this December, but the roses are clearly as confused as I am. Did we switch places with the southern hemisphere? Are they getting our ice and snow?!

Anyway, backwards in time. There is, obviously, one event that marks 1991 for a Queen fan. But before we get to the sting in the tail of the year, there's a lot of other stuff that happened first. January started with a war, although they insisted at the time that it wasn't one. It was all over soon enough; if you can call running away and leaving something half done, with all kinds of festering wounds ready to deepen and cause a myriad issues later "over". Back in Europe (and nearly Europe) the changes that had been underway since 1989 were all coming to a head. Yugoslavia was coming apart. The USSR wasn't far behind, and Boris Yeltsin jumped from Prime Minister to President in the space of a few months, replacing Gorbachev when his position became untenable. In South Africa the apartheid system was being dismantled, and in the Middle East - remarkably, given the turmoil caused by the First Gulf War - the last few Western hostages were being released. John McCarthy came home in August, Jackie Mann in September, Terry Waite and Tom Sutherland in November, and Terry Anderson in December. Ötzi was dug up in the Alps. And Robert Maxwell fell off his boat. (Or jumped. Or was pushed). It formed a nice little coda for my favourite Bond film six years later, anyway, which is about all that one can say for the man. Oh, and I finally left secondary school. Joy! Although as it turned out, sixth form was just as bad. Still, one hurdle over, and not a moment too soon.

In other avenues, it was the year of Robin Hood, for some reason. Two movies about him were released this year. One was a smash hit, the other vanished without trace. Guess which is the one that I like?! "Prince Of Thieves" probably had its virtues, but I'd be hard put to point to any. (Except for the excellent stunt team, that is). "Robin Hood", on the other hand, is well worth seeking out, although good luck doing it.

Music-wise, eighties pop was starting to give way to the jangly rock that was a big part of the 90s scene. REM hadn't really bothered the British charts before, but Shiny Happy People was a big hit, and they got a lot bigger from then on. James released Sit Down, the Farm had Altogether Now, and the Wonder Stuff brought out Size Of A Cow. The Manics were starting to creep closer to an actual hit, after lurking down in the recesses of the Top 100 for a couple of years. Blur brought out their debut album, and had their first hit. Hale & Pace released The Stonk (sorry, couldn't resist that one - actually it's worth checking out the video, and seeing who you can identify). But there was only one bit of music news in 1991 that mattered, and there's no sense putting it off.

... )
swordznsorcery: (xenon)
( Dec. 6th, 2015 20:24)
I have been DIY-ing for my folks with, um, somewhat mixed results. And I am slightly deaded. I have screwed all the screws. I have drilled and sawed. No hammering, which is probably just as well. My aim isn't great. But! Enough of 2015, for it is 1989. Fortunately only in a manner of speaking, because I'll be damned if I'm going back there again, even just for a visit.

I mostly remember unrest in 1989. Tiananmen Square. Eastern Europe - Romania, Czechoslovakia, Germany, and then the Berlin Wall coming down. And Hillsborough of course, back in the UK. And did my sister get married that year? I think she did (and no, I have no idea why I'm asking you either). I'd ask her, but it only lasted a year, so I'd get my head bitten off if I mentioned it. ;) My overriding memory of it is making about a billion sandwiches, as we did the catering ourselves.

Otherwise, with the obvious exception of the cancelling of Doctor Who, for me this year was mostly about Monty Python's Flying Circus. Repeats on the Beeb, Michael Palin doing Around The World In 80 Days, books galore on the history of the show, and the release of Monty Python Sings, an album of their songs (which I bought in Our Price, on cassette (can life get any more 80s than that?!)). Played it to death that year, albeit very carefully, given some of the lyrics. You have no idea how many times I have caught myself singing Medical Love Song at inappropriate moments. I'd blame dear old Graham (he wrote it), but of course this was the year that he died, one day before the anniversary. His (sort of) autobiography was re-released a couple of years later, and is still one of my favourite books.

Somewhat Pythonesque goings-on elsewhere too that year - A Bit Of Fry & Laurie debuted, and so did Maid Marion & Her Merry Men. Also KYTV, although that's rather less well remembered! It was all about the goings on in a fledgling satellite TV channel, was very good indeed, won a ton of awards, and then disappeared without trace. And speaking of disappearing, the last Blackadder episode - that Blackadder episode - aired in November.

And the music that year was almost as tragic, because this was the year that New Kids On The Block hit British shores, tangling in the charts with yet more Bros, Kylie and Jason, and now joined as well by Sonia and Big Fun. One big pop nightmare! Added to which, Bruce Springsteen (who was seriously ill with bipolar disorder, although none of us knew that at the time), went and sacked the E Street Band (they got back together again a few years later, when he'd recovered some). Things were bad in Musicland. Fortunately, there were a few exceptions.

Loud stuff here )

Farewell to the 80s, then. Onward to the 90s.
swordznsorcery: (steele/laura)
( Dec. 3rd, 2015 19:14)
This one has taken ages to write, because I hated 1986 at the time, and I still hate it now. So I'm just going to skip all that and bluster about the good bits. Or semi-good bits, since this is the year my jammy-dodger brother got to go and see Queen live (at Knebworth) (hiss, boo, grumble, sulk, etc). I wasn't allowed to go, because I was eleven, and that wasn't old enough. Also, to be perfectly fair, he probably wouldn't have wanted me tagging along anyway! But it turned out to be their last concert. I should have hidden in the back of the car, damn it!

Important to me, though I suspect for very few other people - this was the year when Mike Smith took over the Radio 1 Breakfast Show. Not the weekend one; that was still Peter Powell, with his Aswad fixation and his insanely jolly jingle. The weekday one. 07:00 - 09:30, which meant that I had to miss half of it due to school. I did get very good at sticking around for as long as mortally possible though, in order to hear as much of it as I could. I needed that damn show. I genuinely don't know how I'd have made it through those first few years of secondary school without it.

Big year for news. Reagan and Gorbachev trying to agree on how they shouldn't blow each other up (you wouldn't think that would take weeks of negotiation, really, would you. But it did). The Challenger disaster. Keenan and McCarthy, vanishing into the depths of Beirut, to surface again in 1990 (Keenan), and 1991 (McCarthy). I don't know why their story fixated me so, but it did. The other Western hostages in Beirut were American, and older, and looked like CIA agents. They were all over the news to begin with, but it was far harder to empathise with them. Keenan was just an English teacher trying to help people though, and McCarthy was a kid in comparison; this journalist still in his twenties, trying to make sense of the place. And the government handled it appallingly badly, and I've rarely hated Margaret Thatcher and her cronies more.

Good year for music, though. I used to have a double cassette called Now That's What I Call 1986, and it was about two hours of solid bouncing. Oh, and Chris de Bleurgh, with his confounded Lady In Red. What she saw in him, I can't imagine. Presumably she was tone deaf, as well as sartorially challenged. Some jeans advert (I think) led to a re-release of Sam Cooke's Wonderful World, which was nice. Much appreciated, whichever jeans brand you were. I'm guessing Levi, mostly because it's the only one I can think of just now. The kids from Grange Hill did their Just Say No campaign, with a terrible song, and a video that's actually quite nice now, though only because thirty years have passed it by. They're all so little. The Spitting Image lot put out The Chicken Song, and it's quite possible that I still have it stuck in my head, even after all these years. Still, it's not the stupidest thing that I've caught myself singing. Not quite. Oh, and Jim Diamond had a hit with Hi Ho Silver, the theme song from Boon, thereby confusing half the country, who had thought that he was a woman. And Five Star were everywhere. Why and how, heaven only knows, but somebody was buying their records. If it was you, I'm glaring. Very fiercely indeed.

Read more... )
swordznsorcery: (tardis)
( Dec. 1st, 2015 21:08)
1984 was a pretty sucky year, for reasons that I'm not going into. Partly because it was miserable, and partly because I'd get shot if anybody found out I'd been posting about it! But it's not a year that I remember especially fondly. Still some good stuff though. For instance - Manimal! Only eight episodes. There should have been so many more. We also got Blue Thunder that year (cops in a helicopter); Airwolf (vigilantes in a helicopter); and Matt Houston (rich playboy PI with a helicopter). Clearly 1984 was the year of the helicopter. British TV didn't do too badly that year either, although the budgets rarely extended to helicopters. The Bill and Casualty both started that year. Both went on far, far too long, and became ghastly parodies of themselves, but they were both excellent to begin with. Dempsey & Makepeace started, and so did Robin Of Sherwood. Peter Davison ran away when we'd barely got to know his Doctor, and Rentaghost and Crackerjack both ended, probably rather later than they should have done. (And anybody who didn't just yell "Crackerjack!" is being glared at. Just so you know). How did I manage to do anything else, with all this telly-watching?! I think days must have been longer back then. Probably got chopped in half later by the Conservatives, to save money.

Elsewhere, 1984 was the year when my mother decided that, since I never mixed with people my own age, or spoke to anybody ever, I needed to start going to youth club. Oh joy. Consequently, for the best part of a year, I spent an hour every Friday evening in a room full of noisy people. I still didn't talk to anybody, but I suppose I was not talking to them in a different environment, which was possibly at least part of the idea? When she realised that it hadn't worked, she enrolled me in a local Evangelical Bible group instead. What the bloody hell that was supposed to accomplish, I still have no idea. A safe environment, I suppose! Given that the area's three worst problem children had been enrolled as well, presumably in a last ditch attempt to sort them out, it was an experiment quite hilariously doomed to failure. Anyway, we clapped our hands a lot, sang a lot of songs, and I didn't talk to anybody. I'm sensing a pattern. Being the only introvert in a family with seven noisy extroverts takes some careful explaining! Especially when you haven't heard of the word "introvert" yet.

Oh, 1984. You were a problem year. Perhaps that was inevitable, once George Orwell wrote that blasted book!

... )
swordznsorcery: (jack)
( Nov. 26th, 2015 19:29)
1979 sounds like a heck of a long time ago, doesn't it! It is a heck of a long time ago I guess, but for some reason it really does sound it. The year that Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister.

Sorry, I've just given everybody nightmares, haven't I.

I had no idea of things like that back then of course, so I think I quite enjoyed 1979. I started school that year, which should be cause for horror and nightmares, but I actually enjoyed primary school. I went to a tiny little place with only about thirty other kids and two teachers. It was a Montessori school, and the teachers effectively left me to my own devices for seven years, barring handing over a new text book every now and again. I learnt more in one year at that place than I did in five years at secondary school. Now that was five years wasted. But 1986 is mercifully far in the distance just now. Huzzah.

Elsewhere, 1979 was the year I first started taking a proper interest in music, I think. I knew who sang songs, instead of them being just a noise on the radio or on Top Of The Pops. It was a good time to start taking an interest, too. 1979 was a year of Blondie, Madness and the Police. I just looked it up, and the biggest selling song that year was Art Garfunkel's Bright Eyes, but there was good stuff in the charts too, I promise! The Boomtown Rats with I Don't Like Mondays, Elvis Costello with Oliver's Army, and good old Ian Dury with half a dozen songs that year, it seemed like. Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick was not a good song to get stuck in your head, because if you started to sing it, somebody inevitably would say okay, and oblige.

Beneath the cut are a few songs from that year. And, despite the fact that 1979 saw both Don't Stop Me Now and Crazy Little Thing Called Love, which are favourites of mine, I've kept it Queen free. See? I'm not entirely obsessed. I went for ones that I liked then, and still listen to now. ... )
swordznsorcery: (ratpack)
( Nov. 24th, 2015 20:25)
1977 was a busy year, I guess. For a lot of people it means only one thing - Elvis. Never quite sure whether or not I remember that, or if it's the fuss that there was on the first anniversary that I really recall. Certainly he was everywhere. Which is no bad thing, as at his best he was bloody good. There was a long time when a copy of one of his endless greatest hits was the only album that I owned (not counting a truly terrifying nursery rhymes LP, of which the least said the better).

Elsewhere in 1977, the queen celebrated her Silver Jubilee, and apparently there was a street party, at which my kind and considerate mother dressed me as a white rabbit. I'm happy to say that there appears to be no record of this event. Not that I would admit to it if there were. Mind you, it could have been worse. If the dressing up relics that remained in the wardrobe for years are anything to go by, one of my countless siblings went dressed as a cockerel. Or something orange and feathery, at any rate. Why we had to celebrate twenty-five years of queenliness by dressing as animals, I have no idea - but then, entertainment is scarce when you live in a field in the middle of nowhere. :)

Beneath the cut is my favourite Elvis song. And although I should be having a Queen-free day for a change, given the date today I would be somewhat remiss if I did. So, since it was released in this year, and since it's a huge favourite of mine, one of theirs is under there too. I can't help it. Sorry.

... )



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