A song for every occasion

I have said it for years (and the BBC show Homes Under the Hammer also proves it, see this blurb about that show): every situation can remind you of a song!

I was watching current affairs on TV and came across a programme on a Belgian channel that had a far-right young Dutch politician I really dislike on their panel. I took a peek (shouldn’t have) and they were discussing something he had said a while back. They played a clip of him saying that women are often left-leaning until they meet a right-wing man who tells her how it really is and she always comes around to his way of thinking in the end… Yes, basically saying women can’t think for themselves! There was a woman on the panel who rightfully accused him of using arguments by men who were opposed to suffragettes a hundred years ago… The pit of my stomach exploded in anger at this politician yet again! I quickly changed the channel, really don’t have to listen to that garbage, and looked up a David Bowie song on YouTube that I thought of as soon as the word “suffragette” was uttered…

This came after I was reading about the latest travel ban news coming from the US, about people being banned from crossing borders after all. It made me think of this Chris de Burgh song, where he sings, “Don’t let go, I want to know, that you will wait for me until the day, there’s no borderline, no borderline…”

Before that I was reading about Richard Armitage and Michelle Forbes going to the ballet together…

Ballet tweet

… and a song from A Chorus Line came to mind…

Yes, it was quite an associative half hour!

Advertisements

5 decades of musical favourites

The latest Mach’ was challenge is to do something with your favourite song or piece of music… That is soooo difficult! Where to start? I have so much music that I love and I have so many, many favourite songs! While thinking this over, I found myself going back to different periods of my life and remembering what songs, artists and albums I liked at different times. As I was born in 1970, it somehow comes naturally to think of music during certain decades: the 70s, the 80s, the 90s, etc. (eek, I’m in my fifth decade now!). So, instead of limiting myself to one song, which I really can not do (sorry, Herba!), I decided to instead recall some absolute favourites in my own personal history.


The 1970s – Childhood 

The first record I remember absolutely adoring was a record of English language nursery rhymes. It was narrated by a man with a deep, melodic voice (is that where my love for deep voices stems from?) and started with a very cheerful “Hello, boys and girls!” This man talked and then constantly broke out into singing nursery rhymes. My poor family had to endure this record endlessly, we only had the one record player in the house… I don’t know who the narrator/singer was but I remember especially liking “Sing a song of sixpence”. A version that comes somewhat close to what I remember is this one I found on YouTube…

Another song I absolutely adored was from my favourite Cinderella movie (with Richard Chamberlain as the prince) called “Protocoligorically correct”…

All the songs in that movie (The Slipper and the Rose) were wonderful, by the way. I blogged about that before here. Take a gander if you like, there’s a very funny one when the prince dances on the graves of his ancestors.

As the 1970s progressed I became obsessed by another song called “Ma Baker” by Boney M., I still quite like it today!

My fave childhood band was ABBA. I lived in Israel as a child where the Hebrew word “abba” means “father” and I always wondered why a band not from Israel would call themselves by a Hebrew name! And why would they want to be called “father”? It was only as I grew older that I realised that ABBA referred to the names of the 4 band members… Anyway, when I got married in 1999, my family performed along to this ABBA song for us at the evening party…

… yelling my husband’s name instead of the word “man”. My mother, in a blonde wig, and a family friend, in a red-haired wig, pretended to be the ABBA ladies; an uncle of my husband’s ‘played keyboard’ on an ironing board and my dad ‘played guitar’ on an old bed warmer. The rest of my family did backing vocals/dancing. It was one of the highlights of my wedding day. 🙂


The 1980s – Teenagerhood

Oh my goodness, the 1980s! That’s when music really started to interest me and I could name about 1000 songs here, still known today, that I loved. We moved to Germany in 1980 (I was 10) and not long after we came, the “Neue Deutsche Welle” hit with German pop songs that also became known internationally. Nena with her “99 Luftaballons” was probably the most famous and I totally loved many of those songs. However, my early 1980s favourites were a bit of a cheesy Italian duo called Al Bano and Romina Power (Romina was the daughter of Hollywood star Tyrone Power, she had moved to Italy to marry an Italian singer). They were very popular in Germany and I especially adored Romina, I wanted to look like her and sound like her… Of course, I could never admit to my friends that I loved them. Wham! and Duran Duran were just getting famous then, and here I was liking this sappy duo…

Around that time, early to mid 1980s, I also came to love an Irish singer called Chris de Burgh. He had a few hits in Germany from his album called “The Getaway”. He’s a little man with odd bushy eyebrows, but he always seemed sweet, he has a good voice and was a great storyteller. We bought the album and I listened to it constantly, then listened to his back log of songs and absolutely loved them. One of my faves was “Patricia the Stripper”. Not a huge hit, I don’t think, but I still love this song…

Later in the 80s he made “The Lady in Red”, which I think became his biggest hit and is one of my least fave songs of his. In fact, after that I soon stopped listening because I really didn’t like the electronic sappy love songs he started making then. He was always somewhat on the sappy side, but I felt that he had sold out to formulaic love songs later and I didn’t like them. I don’t know whether he has become better in later years, I haven’t listened to anything new of his, but I do still love most of what he did up until about 1984.

In the second half of the 1980s, Paul Simon’s “Graceland” album hit and, boy, did I adore that album! To this day I can still sing along to all the lyrics of every song on that album and I wouldn’t know which one to choose as my favourite. “You Can Call me Al” (I loved that video!) and “Graceland” are the biggest hits everyone knows, so let me just plug “I Know What I Know” here…

And of course, there was U2 with their 1987 “The Joshua Tree” album that I loved.  I will forever associate “With or Without You” with studying for my 1988 final school exams…

This year U2 is doing a “Joshua Tree” commemorative tour but by the time they are in Amsterdam, we will be away on holiday in England…


The 1990s – College and into adulthood

In 1990 I fell in love with Sinead O’Connor’s song (and video) “Nothing Compares 2 U”…

I loved the album it was from (“I Do Not Want What I Haven’t Got”) and also bought her first album (“The Lion and The Cobra”) and played those two endlessly. I did lose sight of her after that, though.

For me, the end 1980s and early 1990s were all about David Bowie. Yes, I could’ve also put him on my 80s list, from about 1986/7 onwards, but it was in the early 1990s that he felt like a life-saver for me. I don’t recall exactly how I fell in love with him. I remember loving his “China Girl”  and “Let’s Dance” songs in the early 80s and the love slowly developed from there when I went into his back catalogue a few years later. I loved what I heard there even more than that “Let’s Dance” album. I was devastated when he died in January last year. I wrote a tribute post for him with lots of songs I love in it and the days after that kept on posting more videos in tribute to him on blog here… A song of his that was extremely special to me in the early 1990s was a song from the 1972 album “Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders From Mars” called “Rock’n’Roll Suicide”. I was going through some tough times, trying to figure out what I wanted out of life, and Bowie screaming “You’re not alone!” really helped me through that (the images in the following video are from Bowie’s 1976 movie The Man Who Fell To Earth)…

A week before he so unexpectedly passed away I saw the absolutely wonderful David Bowie Is exhibition that was temporarily shown in the north of The Netherlands. On display were also the handwritten lyrics to that song. Seeing that, some 25 years after those difficult early 1990s, brought tears to my eyes… I probably shouldn’t have photographed it but I just had to…

Rock n Roll suicide

I was also absolutely in love with Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” at the time. I can’t tell you how often I would lie down on the floor in my room with my eyes closed and let the music just wash over me, I especially loved the first and third movements…

I kinda lost track of music in the 1990s. I liked many songs, but nothing really stands out for me, except maybe Alanis Morissette’s “Jagged Little Pill” album which I played a lot. Here’s the very famous “Ironic”…


The 2000’s – New mama years

If the 1990s were a bit of a blur regarding music, the 2000s were that even more so! I became a mother for the first time in 2001, and then again in 2003, and music just wasn’t much of a priority (I’ve always been more of a movie girl than a music girl). I listened to whatever was on the radio and there were good things and bad things but nothing I couldn’t do without. I’d have periods where I listened to virtually nothing at all!

A song from 2001 that sticks out in my memory is one I don’t particularly love myself but it was one my baby son loved at the time! Every time he heard the chorus of this Kylie Minogue song (“La-la-la La-la-la-la-la”) on the radio he’d go all quiet and listen to it in wonder…

I remember loving Katie Melua’s “Piece By Piece” album. Very calm compared to some of the music I have mentioned so far, maybe it’s what I most needed as a new mum. 😉 I already once blogged about the Spider’s Web song from that album. The most famous song from that album is probably “Nine Million Bicyclesbut I have decided to post this song instead. Video is fascinating to watch…

But mostly I think I’ll remember the 2000s for listening to children’s songs, like songs from a Dutch duo called Cowboy Billie Boem who dressed as a Cowboy and an Indian, singing songs like “Toemba Toemba” with the lyrics: “In the forest, Indians live. They don’t know what arrows are and shoot banana’s. Oh, it’s so nice to be an Indian, dancing in the moonshine every evening”. We even saw them live with the kids two or three times!

The kids also liked a Belgian Trio that sang in Flemish/Dutch called K3 (the 3 singers’ names all began with a K). Here a hit of their’s about diversity being cool (“we’re all much more beautiful if we are all together, hand in hand, eye to eye, all the colours of the rainbow”) …


The 2010s – My forties

The 2010s are here and I’ve entered my forties. Again, nothing was really sticking out for me on the music front, although I do enjoy a whole variety of music. Then in 2012, I discovered Muse while watching the first Twilight movie. I really liked what I heard, then went to a concert of theirs in December 2012 in Amsterdam, and the rest is history. The concert completely fanned the flames of Muse adoration and I have been completely hooked since then! The 2010s for me are all about Muse. I haven’t been this enthusiastic about a music act since, well, David Bowie! I listen to them all the friggin’ time and can’t wait for the next time they’ll come to The Netherlands on tour. And now I have to pick a favourite Muse song? Impossible! I’ve already posted links to Muse songs here, here, at the end of this post here and about their latest single here. I even posted about 2Cellos covering their songs here. In all of these links I don’t see a reference to one of their absolute masterpieces “Knights of Cydonia”.  So, that’s the one I’m linking to here 🙂 …

And “Supermassive Black Hole”, the song that attracted me to them in the first place. It was featured in the first Twilight movie, in this scene…

The movie was alright, the song was something else…


So, that’s it, favourite or memorable songs during different times in my life! I’m sure I have forgotten some wonderful favourite music and in a few days I’ll be thinking “oh, I should have also posted this… or that…” But, I’m going with the first things that popped into my head and that’s what you get here. 🙂

We must find a way…

So, Muse has been gripped by the political situation as well, as evidenced by their new single Dig Down that was released a few days ago. Some of the lyrics:

When hope and love has been lost
And you fall to the ground

You must find a way
When the darkness descends
And you’re told it’s the end
You must find a way
When God decides to look the other way
And a clown takes the throne
We must find a way

Face the firing squad
Against all the odds
You will find a way

The music video features model & activist Lauren Wasser, who lost her leg to toxic shock syndrome. The song reminds me a bit of a hit Muse had a few years ago called Madness. I absolutely love Madness…

… so I am very inclined to love Dig Down as well! The lines “Dig down, we must find a way” have been running around in my head in a loop ever since I first heard the song. The video was released on May 18th and is nearing 3 million views already on YouTube. I’m apparently not alone in liking this. 🙂

In an interview lead singer Matt Bellamy said that one of the reasons I wanted to put this out so quickly is because it felt quite reactive to the climate in the world right now.”  This makes me think of what Meryl Streep said during her Golden Globes speech at the beginning of the year, where she quoted Carrie Fisher, saying:” Take your broken heart, make it into art”.

It’s not the first time Muse makes an album (or in this case, a song) in reaction to what is happening in the world. Their 2nd Law album addressed the banking crisis; their last album from two years ago was called Drones and was all about the nonsense of war. So, lately I had been wondering whether Muse would also be addressing the Trump and right-wing politics issues (also prevalent over here in Europe). I got my answer the minute I heard Muse’s new single. They have a knack for taking broken hearts and making it into art, it’s one of the main reasons why I love them so much.  I’m so curious to hear more of their new material! It’ll probably be a while, though, as they have only just started their North American tour.

muse_dig_down

Oh, how I wish I could go see them!

Liebster Award #2

When I was quite new to blogging I was nominated for a Liebster Award and I dutifully answered the questions I was posed. Now Die Pö has nominated me for another Liebster Award. Thank you!

liebster-blog-award-2

The rules are as follows:

  1. Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog into your post.
  2. Answer 11 questions which you have been asked by the nominating blogger.
  3. Nominate 5 to 11 other bloggers who have fewer than 1,000 followers.
  4. Add a new list of 11 questions for the nominated bloggers.
  5. Paste these rules into your post.
  6. Make sure your nominees know about your post and their nomination.

Die Pö posed her questions in German, but I’ll just translate them into English before I answer them.


1- Do you only write on your own blog or do you also write on other blogs or platforms?

For my work I have in the past written messages on our work intranet and I have written some content for a company internet page. Privately, I used to post on a few forums (parenting ones back in the day when I first became a mother and a Richard Armitage one later), I have posted some fan fiction, and I post reactions on other blogs, but basically the only place I ever really post any original content is here on my own blog.

2- Which of your posts hasn’t been clicked on enough?

Nothing really springs to mind. I don’t really evaluate the success of a post by how much it is clicked on, the value comes from my satisfaction writing it. For instance, one of my most clicked-on posts is a translation of a Dutch newspaper article on Richard Armitage but it is not my most satisfactory post – it’s just a piece of translation that actually I did not enjoy doing that much (I’m just not a translator at heart). So, I looked into my blog statistics to answer this question and I see that the least clicked-on post is this one: https://bookesther.wordpress.com/2015/09/26/where-is-my-mind/. It’s about a piano cover that I really loved in a movie I saw and that lead me to reminisce about Greta Garbo.

3- What excites you at the moment?

Besides the fact that France elected Macron as its new president (and not the extremist Le Pen), I have been very happy about Portugal winning the Eurovision song contest this past weekend! We watch the contest every year and we vote in it too, but most years you just sort of vote for the least bad song. This year was different. Well, not that different, as there were so many songs there we didn’t much like! So many songs are about effects and fireworks and being sexy, with all the women screaming out high notes. However, there was one song, the Portuguese entry, that captivated me. This song was so touching in its simplicity, differing very much from most of the other entries. It was a solo performance sung by Salvador Sobral and was written by his sister Luisa. After winning he and his sister sang the song together as a duet. Not only does Salvador have a beautiful voice, so does his sister Luisa! (The song starts at 3:55 minutes)

What excites me is that such heart-felt simplicity can triumph almost unanimously (from juries and audiences alike) over bombastic songs that all sound almost alike.  (P.S. I also liked the Belgian song, despite the young 17 year old singer’s nerves – she came in 4th)

4- Which TV-series did you love in your youth?

Without the shadow of a doubt it was Little House on the Prairie. I adored everything about that series. I loved Laura Ingalls. In hindsight it was dripping in all too Christian values, but that’s OK and I still enjoy re-watching bits today!

5- The first 4 months of the year have passed: what is the best movie you have seen during that time?

May I name two? I absolutely loved both Moonlight

… and Lion.

6- What is your current favourite catchy song?

I love Human by Rag’n’Bone Man. Can’t get enough of it…

7- If you had to summarize your past week in one word, what word would that be?

Reconnecting.

8- What is your favourite photo of the past week on your mobile phone and are you willing to share it?

I was at my mother’s house yesterday and we opened a box of letters that my father had kept that had formerly belonged to my grandfather (his dad). My grandfather had been a theologian and pastor (just like my dad had been) and during the Second World War he had received many letters from parishioners, men who had been deported into forced labour for the German occupiers. In that box of letters (fascinating stuff, btw!) we also found a post-war (1946) invitation for my grandfather to attend a ceremony at Leiden University where Winston Churchill was to receive an honorary doctorate! I took a picture with my phone of that personal invitation…

Churchill invite Leiden 1946

9- Quickly: what does the word “Light” make you think of?

Candles.

10- Which book is beside your bed right now?

I’ve already finished reading it, but Michael Palin’s diaries that I received last year for my birthday is still lying there.

11- For dessert: pudding or ice cream?

Oooh, tough one! After long deliberation I will choose pudding; to be specific: crème brûlée! I hardly ever eat it because I can’t make a good one myself (and don’t have the patience for it) but when I eat a good one, I absolutely adore it!


Paying it forward

The rules state that I can now pose 11 questions myself and nominate 5-11 others to answer them. I like the questions Pö asked, so I’ll use some of them and add my own (and Pö, if you’d like to answer these as well, feel free to 🙂 )!

  1. What excites you at the moment?
  2. In one sentence: what depresses you at the moment?
  3. Cats or dogs? (Picture material appreciated!)
  4. Which TV series did you love in your youth?
  5. Who is your favourite actor or actress no longer living?
  6. What is the best movie you have seen so far in 2017?
  7. The top 3 live theatre and/or concert experiences you’ve ever had?
  8. What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?
  9. What is your favourite photo of the past week on your mobile phone and are you willing to share it?
  10. Your favourite dessert?
  11. For Armitage fans: your favourite Richard Armitage photo ever?

I am curious to hear answers to these questions but I really don’t like to obligate anyone to do anything! So, I’ll just nominate 11 people (Armitage fans one and all, who do not post exclusively about Armitage) and it’s totally up to you whether you want to do this or not!

If others reading this feel the urge to answer these questions as well, please do so, you’re more than welcome to (even if only in the comments, if you wish to)! If you’re not an Armitage fan you can substitute the name in the last question for the name of your favourite actor or actress. 🙂 I’d love to read any and all responses.

Men & DIY

My kids were ready for a little redecoration of their rooms and my daughter wanted a new bed, which we thought was a good idea. The kids have been having a two-week holiday and my husband had more time off than me, so he has started the task at hand. My daughter wanted a light grey on her walls (my husband spent the past two days painting), she has white furniture and now she also has a new white bed. The bed needs to be assembled and that is quite a job, which is still ongoing…

20170505_201816

I looked in on my husband just now and suddenly I found myself giggling, thinking of a certain song! This may only be interesting to German readers out there, but there’s this German folk singer called Reinhard Mey. I think his most famous song is Über den Wolken, a song I very much like (this video also has English subtitles):

A while ago I found this other song of his on YouTube called Männer im Baumarkt. He combines his signature style serious folk tune (at the end even using his famous Über den Wolken tune) with a very comical text of men who go to DIY stores…

I wish non-German speakers could understand the lyrics as well, many universal truths in there! Seeing my husband at work, and he’s been to the DIY store a few times already this week, made me think of this song! Yep, I just laughed! Inwardly till now, that may change when my husband gets around to reading this post. 🙂