It's been a fab day today. I got the lawn mowed, and did some pond tidying up. Also planted some stuff that will hopefully be tasty eventually. Then I retired to the iPlayer, and watched some programmes about Top Of The Pops in 1977 and 1978, and terrified myself by remembering all of it. I was two in 1977, for goodness sakes! Why do I remember every twist and turn of the UK's pop music scene back then, including still being able to sing along with most of the songs?! If I could remember a few useful things as well, I wouldn't mind so much. Blimey, things were scary back then though. Wall to wall Boney M! Also Brotherhood Of Man, in pink nylon, singing a spectacularly cheesy song called Angelo, in which two young lovers commit suicide. Sung complete with synchronised "waving goodbye" dance moves. I don't think it was meant to be funny.

Boney M, though. Forty years on, I still haven't quite figured out what that was all about. Ra-Ra-Rasputin indeed. I went to YouTube, with the intention of posting an illustrative video on the horrors of the likes of Rivers Of Babylon or Brown Girl in The Ring. I wound up getting distracted by the "Recommended for you" thingy at the side of the page though, and hit on this, so you got lucky:

... )
It's the song Style, from the 1964 film Robin And The 7 Hoods, performed by Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin. The film isn't perfect, but it's good fun, and this song always makes me smile.

And here, have some bottled spring:

... )
The first is tulips, the second is my mother's Magnolia stellata. I bought it for her several years ago, as she's magnolia mad, and doesn't have space for a tree. It was tiny, and this year it flowered for the first time. Also, my first ducks of the year!

Now that I've spoken of sunshine and flowers, it'll hail tomorrow. Ah well.
How are we already in week #2? It's going to be 2018 before we've drawn breath at this rate. So far I'm not achieving a great deal. I started the new year by beginning to read The Brothers Karamazov, but that's ground to a resounding halt. Yeesh. There is a not a character I don't want to strangle (and I'd quite like to throttle Dostoevsky while I'm at it). I think I'll give it up for a bit, and try again later. My tenth anniversary rewatch of Torchwood was rather more successful, happily. I was pleased to find that I loved it just as much now as then, including the ones that I hadn't seen since their first showing. It looks quite hilariously cheap at times though. You can certainly tell that it was made in a hurry. Strictly speaking I should wait until this time next year for the tenth anniversary rewatch of season two, but I want to watch the James Marsters episode, so that ain't gonna happen.

In other still-old-but-newer-than-is-usual-for-me telly, I haven't watched any more Heroes since I last posted about it, because stuff always seems to get in the way. I must get back to it (preferably before Trump gets bored, and blows us all up come the summer). I think I've forgotten which episode I watched last though. Damn.

In non-fandom related stuffs... nope, sorry, that's all very boring. I ate a very nice banana this morning, if anybody's interested. Spent the weekend mainlining 1983 episodes of Top Of The Pops on the iPlayer. Peter Powell! Stupid clothes! Peter Powell in stupid clothes! Also Wham! and Spandau Ballet (more stupid clothes). Took the kitten to be spayed last week. She's now sporting a bald patch, although major surgery doesn't seem to have slowed her down any. (Technically she's not a kitten anymore, as she'll be two in May, but she has stunted growth due to a bad start in life, and also she's quite convinced she's still a kitten).

Figure A: Cats (this being the internet, you're probably familiar with the species).

The 2016 Fandom Meme, plus cats... )
swordznsorcery: (e street)
( Nov. 27th, 2015 19:35)
"Flash! I love you! But we only have fourteen hours to save the Earth!"

I suppose 1980 is the year of John Lennon. I don't know that I remember his death so much as the shockwave it caused. It was clearly something really big; something that everybody everywhere was talking about - and then Imagine was everywhere, for the next year. Good things happened that year too though; in the telly department especially. My eldest sister had been a fan of Blake's 7 since it began, so I was aware of it all along. It didn't really engage me to begin with though. Vague memories of finding Servalan a bit scary, and of wondering why they kept Avon around, as he was clearly a bad guy(!). And then, in 1980, Blake went AWOL, and Tarrant and Dayna turned up instead. I've been a fan ever since. :)

I must have been growing up that year actually, as it was the year that Grange Hill won me over as well. My brother was the same age as Tucker and co, and had been watching all along, but it wasn't until series three and four, which both first aired in 1980, that I began to watch properly. That was when Stewpot's year joined (still my favourite GH group). Stewpot, Precious, Pogo and Gripper. It was properly good back then, and well worth a rewatch.

Musically, 1980 was a heck of a mishmash. Adam Ant first caught my attention, with his white stripe and his big boots. Ska was catching on - The Specials had probably been around a while, but I was noticing a lot of stuff for the first time. Madness were getting bigger; and meanwhile Dennis Waterman was singing I Should Be So Good For You, which I don't mind admitting I still love. Actually, if you look at this handy link here, you can see the biggest hits of 1980, and it really is a weird mixture. Some truly great pop, ska, rock, etc; and in the middle of it all, the likes of Doctor Hook and the St Winifred's School Choir, the latter with the most terrifying song ever performed on TOTP. And dear gods, Liquid Gold with Dance Yourself Dizzy. I can't have heard that song in a good thirty years or more, and now I have the chorus prancing about inside my brain, like some ghastly spectre raised from the dead. Please send help. Urgently.

There's Keith Michell there as well, mind, just squeaking into the year's top one hundred, with Captain Beaky. We lost him last week. I highly recommend his 1960s swashbucklers The Hellfire Club (1961) and Seven Seas To Calais (1962), should you be in the mood for some swords and fisticuffs. Yes, I know that's a pretty tenuous link to 1980, but I was raised in a swashbuckle drought.

Some assorted 1980ish stuff is beneath here )
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: (e street)
( Nov. 25th, 2015 20:00)
1978 was quite a good year, I suppose, on the whole. Not that I remember much of it. I started nursery school that year. Vague memories of Ritz crackers, and a tree in the garden with a rope ladder up it. The school was run by a terrific woman much in love with the Montessori method, so we went there to learn stuff, not just to climb trees. She had a tiny little office filled with what seemed like endless collections of short stories that she used to let me borrow. It was great. And I did love that rope ladder!

In the wider world, I mostly remember 1978 as the year of Grease. I wouldn't have seen it until it eventually premiered on the telly, but the songs seemed to be in the charts for the whole year, and were forever on Top Of The Pops. Somebody gave my family the soundtrack album, probably that Christmas. I vividly recall us all happily singing along, totally innocent of the swear words! Or at least, I was. My eldest sister would have turned fourteen that year, so presumably she was a bit more clued up. I'm amazed the record never got itself confiscated. Never did much care for the film though, I must admit. Too long, too slow, and too much John Travolta. Also, if you have to dress like that to get him to take an interest, dear, he really ain't worth it. Still, Kenickie and Rizzo are good.

Must have been the year I started taking a proper interest in Top Of The Pops, I guess. The eldest three would have been fourteen, thirteen and eleven that year, so it was probably inescapable! The others all used to air guitar along with the show, but I was already drum mad. It was a funny parade in those days though, which must have put a strain on the air-guitaring. Alongside Grease, there seemed to be an inordinate amount of Andrew Lloyd-Webber back then. And the least said about Boney M, the better...

Just for the hell if it, beneath the cut is my family's favourite Grease song. ... )



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