Friday, 5 October 2012

50 years of The Beatles - my own reflections

I feel nervous about writing a post about The Beatles. It's a mix of fear that people will know the truth about why I love them so much and that they will judge my thoughts and taint the relationship somehow. This however is a timely post as it's 50 years to the day that The Beatles released their first album.

Please don't take this as a list of my favourite Beatles songs because if you want that then I suggest searching for "the beatles track list" on Google and deleting a few McCartney Ballads and any of the songs Ringo sang (sorry Ringo!).

I was brought up by a family that adored The Beatles. My Dad and my Brother especially. Not that The Beatles featured in a long list of favourite bands; more that they topped any list and the life lessons and memories I have of growing up is so completely embedded in the songs that I sometimes feel like my own memories might have merged with Lennon's lyrics.

In our house we used to have photographs in the hallway. My Dad had taken the prints from the white album and put them in frames in the hall for all visitors to see as soon as they walked through the door. A couple of friends, whose names I will withhold out of pity, had asked if they were my relatives. "No, John Lennon and Paul McCartney are not Uncles of mine" and I won't be inviting you round again, I would think to myself.

This is the first song I remember hearing by The Beatles:

My Dad would sing this to me when I was little to help me go to sleep. It's going to be the song I sing to my children, should I have any, because it's truly magical. In my humble opinion.

When I got older my Brother and my Dad would play lots of guitar and I be so envious that I couldn't do what they did and frustratingly resigned myself to playing Piano. There was never as much satisfaction playing a McCartney track as there would have been nailing this on guitar:

I watched The Beatles films and was in complete awe of the four men that made my favourite songs. Help was for me the best and apart from breaking up with an ex boyfriend to the album (if you look at the track listing you'll see it wasn't my finest or most sensitive moment, sorry about that!) the album is still my favourite.

There are so many great songs on this album I can't even chose one but if I had too then this one I remember for singing at the top of my lungs when my Dad would play it on guitar because he could never remember all the words:

Oh and maybe this one:

As I've got older my opinion of The Beatles has developed. They are not just the songs that my Brother and my Dad used to play and they are not a 60's pop band that so many people refer to as over exposed and overrated. They developed during their career and recorded songs that even now I'm astounded as they were so ahead of their time. (Again, my humble opinion).

This song still makes me want to get on a bar and thrash about:

And this song makes me think if they were still here together and releasing songs that there would be some current bands shaking in their boots watching the masters show them how it's done:

As I was once advised, I listened to this song one day with my friends when the sun was out, there was a little smoke and suddenly it all began to make sense:

When I was a teenager I secretly hoped that should a relationship get into trouble or you had a fight that a real man would pen a song, drive up to your house and sing his lungs out with a declaration of love similar to this. How wrong and disappointed I was...

I've visited The Beatles experience in Liverpool with my Brother and we both went very quiet in the White room with the piano and Imagine playing. When you love a band so much it's impossible to feel nothing when faced with their pictures, instruments and belongings especially when you'll never get to see some of them in person. 

My boyfriend and I went to the Cavern in Liverpool before a Laura Marling gig last year and again, I sobbed my way through the cover set of this song (along with all the other drunk Beatles fans in there I'd like to add):

Finally, and mainly because I could go on all day through the Beatles back catalogue, B sides, Lennon's own songs and their visit to India, I want to finish with this song which still when I play it now puts a lump in my throat. It captures everything that I hope to reflect on and experience one day and that's all the introduction it needs. Enjoy:

Monday, 24 September 2012

While the cat's away the mice will play!

So my Mother's long awaited trip to Europe begins tomorrow so I will be house sitting, cat sitting and fridge raiding for a little less than 3 weeks with the Boyfriend. Even at the old age of 27 I still get excited about the prospect of a "free house" and my friends and I are still using that term regularly should we want to invite people over; with no shame!

As the weather has suddenly turned horrible and rainy and freezing cold I went out today to buy a few pick-me-ups as well as trying to decide what shmancy things to cook for the Boyfriend now I have the WHOLE kitchen to myself.

Firstly and completely unrelated to food I purchased a few little things to add to my Autumn wardrobe...

Racing green Soft Skinny Jeans from New Look (£20 - Bargain!!)

Barry M Nail Paint in Cappucino

Studded Suede look boots

Next onto the food and as this was more a spur of the moment shop than a considered trip with a list etc it shows more what I fancied for lunch rather than any sort of planning for the week ahead!

Firstly I bought some Nutella so that I could make Miss Glamorazzi's Nutella hot chocolate which you can see HERE! I would normally have the Hotel Chocolate Caramel hot chocolate but with the weather as it is the supermarket alternative would have to do!

The honey is because of my sore and croaky throat. After the Boyfriend's fancy dress party at the weekend my voice has gone and I sound a little "Macy Gray" today. I like honey in or on anything but as it's cold I'm going to make honey and lemon tea and NOT HAVE ANY MORE CIGARETTES!!

I've picked up some veggies which aren't terribly exciting (hence the use of Instagram!) but it does mean I'll be able to make Jamie Oliver's Butternut Squash Soup which is my all time favourite and a Shepherd's Pie with Sweet Potato mash a la the Good Food website HERE.

I am on the hunt for some more Autumnal recipes especially if they go well with a glass (bottle) of wine! Obviously just as a hot toddy ;)

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

30 before 30: Learn to dance - ballroom, ballet or hip hop?

When I deciding I want to learn to dance I didn't anticipate that it would be so difficult, so expensive and quite so embarrassing!

In theory, I wanted to emerge from my twenty-something cocoon like a cross between Ballet Beauty Darcey Bussell and Strictly Come Dancing's lush Latina Flavia Cacace whilst still being able to do a pretty good "Thriller" should the opportunity present itself. It seems I may have set the bar (barre) too high in wanting to learn to dance and I'm heading for a Napoleon Dynamite tribute act.

See example 1:

And even he made it look good in the end!!

I feel I may have missed the boat and if I leave it any longer I may do more damage than good - physically and socially! At 27 can I honestly join a hip hop class or sign up for the ballet class I left when I was 6?

The point of the 30 before 30 list was to do the things I've missed out on them whilst I can get away with it so the selfish, twenty-something me is going to bloody well learn to dance.

Now that Strictly Come Dancing is back on the TV I'll again start moaning to the Boyfriend that I want to dance like they did during wartime. Swtiching from Waltz to Foxtrot with a cheeky Swing Dance and then a Quick step. Like they would never see each other again; gazing into each others eyes in a tornado of sequins, kiss curls and sweetheart romance. Whilst we've tried to strut our stuff at weddings there's only so much shuffling you can do before you're found out as a fraud.

Another option is to go back to mirrors and tights and bleeding toes just with the added pressure of cellulite by taking up an adult Ballet class. (Do they actually exist?) I'm not delusional thinking that my Prima Ballerina  Dreams are within reach but something like this from "Centre Stage" would be an achievement:

Finally, and this is probably what I'm secretly hoping to do is the type of dancing that anyone who knows me would not ever think me capable of doing is Hip Hop or Commercial Dance. Even typing it makes me cringe a little as I'm about as "street" as Mary Berry and have never owned joggers or listened to NWA. The attraction is simply the fact that it is so far from what I would normally do. So in tribute to my 30 before 30 list maybe that's exactly why this is the perfect choice:

So there are the options; I don't know whether to try all three and see how I go but I know it's going to be one thing ticked off of the list. To say I tried it, I smiled and I danced like no one was watching.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Royal scandal #2: Topless Kate Middleton Photos

Our regal Royals are drowning the tabloids again. Maybe not the British rags but the scandal is still out "there". The next morning after the news about Kate Middleton broke I don't think any of us had to look very far to find the link to "those" topless photos of Princess Kate Middleton on holiday with her new Husband Prince William.

Immediate reactions were naturally inquisitive, some vulgar, a few found it hilarious that a Royal was naked so soon after Prince Harry's Vegas exposure and one person I spoke to simply said it was "very sad".

Under normal celebrity circumstances I would scoff at the desperate attempt at a badly veiled "surprise" money shot but this left me feeling a little uncomfortable. I don't profess to be a Royalist; nowhere near in fact but I am a woman and I just felt very sorry for Kate Middleton and angry that the French magazine disregarded the mutual understanding of Royal privacy after the tragic loss of Princess Diana.

Kate is not as highly regarded internationally as Diana (although that may change) and I'm not attempting to compare the two but lessons could have been learnt about what's required of a Royal (former or current) as part of their public duties in exchange for stolen moments of privacy that are off limits to the press.

Neither Kate or William surrendered their legal rights when holidaying at Lord Linley's French Chateau so they have every right to challenge the publication due to it's tidal wave of repercussions for both them, their families and the representation of the British Government internationally.

These photographs did not uncover a scandal, they did not right a wrong or act as judge for a crime committed by anyone involved but exposed an intimate moment between newly weds for which we all hold guilt for our part in the staining of Kate's reputation.

Please don't think I'm a prude and that seeing a topless shot will make me think any less of our new Princess because it doesn't but on a personal note I appreciate how private and special certain parts of a relationship and character can be and for a media company to rob that is unforgivable.

As we move forward into a digital age where citizens are the journalists and ownership of images and words becomes blurred and irrelevant it's only a matter of time before we are all exposed to some extent.

Hobbies, Extra Curricular, fill your time: A 20-something's take

It's Monday and I'm doing my normal weekly review of my 30 before 30 list and gasping in horror at how, apart from the Wine tasting, the camping (sort of) and the "all nighter" I've not made much of a dent in the list. and I've only got 2.5years to do it all!

It's made me think why I felt like there were things I was missing out on before 30 that I might not experience unless I gave myself a challenge. When you're young it's generally your parents that dictate what you do with your free time, what will set you up in the future, what will educate you and provide a good foundation and range of experiences that you may continue when you're older. 

Well if you're anything like I was as a child I changed my mind every 5 mins about what I wanted to do as a hobby! Below are some examples; please don't judge!!

  • Piano lessons
  • Guitar lessons
  • Clarinet lessons
  • French
  • Flower pressing
  • Rainbows, Brownies, Scouts! (Guides were had the boring trips away!)

Guten tag!

Due to injury a VERY short Ballet career

I still ride a little but not at 6am!

Quilling - straight out of Downton

We used to skate to pass the time

It may be that as you get older and you have more responsibilities you have less time for hobbies or new adventures but isn't it a shame to not try new things in case you don't get another chance?

So it's back to my 30 before 30 list because I don't want it to be too late to get away with skinny dipping!! ;)