I was catching up on reading blog posts when I saw Nellindreams’s tribute to UB40 in memory of saxophonist Brian Travers who died recently. Seeing the Red Red Wine video she shared brought back a lot of warm feelings for me.

In my later teens/early twenties I played a lot of reggae, mostly Bob Marley and UB40 with some The Specials thrown in as well. I always meant to go to a UB40 concert, they have always been popular in The Netherlands, but somehow never made it (I did once see The Specials live, who were awesome). I never really knew any band members names at the time or knew much about them, I just always loved a lot of their music and if I still had my cassettes, I know I would have a couple of reggae/UB40 ones amongst them.

So, here is my own little tribute to UB40 and that wonderful saxophone that was often an important part of the UB40 sound, along with lead singer Ali Campbell’s voice.

Looking back, I think my favourite UB40 songs would be Kingston Town

… and Food For Thought (prominently featuring Travers and his saxophone).

I really loved their anti-apartheid song Sing Our Own Song

Of course Red Red Wine was very popular but it was almost overplayed. Hearing it again now, though, I do get a little nostalgic and it really still is a very good song…

I think I knew and loved the UB40 and Chrissie Hynde version of I Got You Babe before I even knew the Sonny and Cher version…

Speaking of covers, they also made a very famous cover of the Elvis Presley song I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You

… and a cover of the song Homely Girl. I don’t think I’ve ever heard the original.

And speaking of Chrissy Hinde, UB40 sang another duet with her…

I was always very partial to Rat In Mi Kitchen

And The Way You Do The Things You Do was a great song too…

Don’t Break My Heart I used to sing in my mind to my unrequited love when I was 17…

… and in my mind I used to threaten my unrequited love with If It Happens Again, I’m Leaving (not that he would have noticed)…

I also like the soulful Many Rivers to Cross

… and I could probably go on but let met end with Maybe Tomorrow which is a nice one to dance along to. Well, all of the UB40 songs really are, whether slow or more upbeat. I guess it’s the reggae rhythm in them.

I think it’s time to make a UB40 playlist on my Spotify so that I can listen to them more often again (thank you Nell for inspiring me to do so!). It’ll be a perfect list to play in the car as well, I’m already looking forward to driving to my mother’s later today.

Thank you UB40 for some awesome music and rest in peace Brian Travers.

Stirring news (good and bad)

My son is over the moon excited that his favourite basketball player, Giannis Antetokounmpo, won the NBA championships with his fave team, the Milwaukee Bucks. His instagram stories are filled with pictures celebrating that (I took screenshots)…

And also a little video of Giannis celebrating…

Junior has been walking around the house in his Giannis jersey, basking in the win even now, two days later. This is good excitement!

Less good is the news from a day or two ago that the Norwegian women’s beach handball team was fined for playing in shorts instead of bikini bottoms.

I hope other teams will join them in their protest and that the (misogynistic) rules will indeed change!

And then today I read some Eric Clapton news…

I had no idea he was in the covidiot category and I now find that he is a racist too. Apparently there was even a Rock Against Racism movement in the 1970s formed directly in opposition to what Clapton had said. I had somehow never heard of this before. Bowie in the seventies also made some controversial statements (I did know that) which also led to this anti racism movement but he retracted them vehemently later, something Clapton does not seem to have done. Not that I have ever been a huge Clapton fan but I do like some of the songs he made and reading this caught me by surprise (not in a good way) and made me cringe. I have never given Eric Clapton that much thought or have known that much about him but somehow I had never pictured him being someone with views such as these. Is it a coincidence that there seems to be a big overlap between covidiots and racists? Another example for me that these views aren’t only held by a few fringe lunatics but are more mainstream than many wish to believe. That is scary. So, yes, go ahead, cancel his concerts if he doesn’t want to abide by common sense Covid rules, I’d be fine with that.

Let me end on something more positive: a librarian from Northampshire got a Richard Armitage life-size cut out for her retirement! Lucky woman.

And ooh, I am just reading some more Armitage excitement: Guylty has received a package from the man himself that will go into the upcoming birthday auction that she is organizing! Pop over to her blog to see. The excitement builds! It looks like it may be an item related to this role… or not…

Isn’t it great that there is always some good news to balance the not so good?

Italy’s having a good year

Earlier this year, the Italian group Maneskin won Eurovision

… and there’s more high profile Italian success to be celebrated.

I’ve been following Wimbledon this year (I love Wimbledon!) and an Italian player I didn’t know called Matteo Berrettini made it to the finals. I’d seen him in the semi-finals as well where he had been impressive but yesterday in the final he lost to Novak Djokovic in 4 sets (Djokovic held on to his nerves better and won deservedly). Still, he won second place at Wimbledon which is impressive and he sure is easy on the eyes as well. I’m sure I’ll be hearing more of this Italian in the future.

And then last night Italy thankfully won the UEFA 2020 European football championships…

I won’t go into it again why I supported Italy, already did so in my previous post with lots of discussion to boot, but suffice it to say I felt more than justified in supporting Italy. Not only did English football fans prove yet again how awful they are (again starting to boo the opponents’ national anthem and I think the TV broadcast then switched off microphones so that it wouldn’t be heard and then later in the game booing when Italy was at the ball) but the Italian play (apart from maybe the first 20 or so minutes) was better too, as confirmed in match statistics. It’s a pity the winner had to be determined by a penalty shoot out.

In the aftermath, the three young Englishmen who missed scoring during the penalties are now receiving a whole load of extremely ugly racist abuse. Thankfully that is condemned but wow, something needs to be done about these so-called ‘fans’. How about banning England fans from stadiums (and social media) altogether until they can behave themselves?

Anyway, back to Italy – I’m very pleased with the Italian win, they deserved it. Richard Armitage has been gracious about the Italy win too…

Congratulations, Italy! ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

My goodness, I never knew I could ever get so invested in football. It must be my daughter’s fault. Now that she’s been playing herself for these past two years, we watch it on TV far more. For now, it’s back to normal life and lower heartbeat rates.

A joke, dinner & Eurovision

Came across this the other day and it made me think of my father. He was a doctor in Theology with almost illegible handwriting that pretty much looked like the handwriting on this sign…

Terraces outside restaurants are open here now till 8 pm instead of 6 pm. Mr Esther and I were eating alone yesterday evening, so decided to go out for dinner in the center of our home town for the first time since (we think) last summer. We were done at about a quarter to eight, walked around for a little bit and then saw that at 8 pm indeed everyone was asked to leave and all the chairs were empty again.

Vaccination has finally been picking up here and two older siblings of mine have recently also had their first shots. Those born in 1970 (which is me) will soon be called for vaccination as well. My sister in law will soon receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which requires only one shot. The Covid 19 infections are going down here, as are hospitalizations and deaths. It really feels like we are heading into the home stretch now.

In further news, we watched the Eurovision song contest last night, as we do every year. Italy (the winner) was on Mr Esther’s and my shortlist for our vote but in the end we both chose other songs to vote for. We didn’t much like the many young women and women’s groups with all the same kinds of backing dancers but we did like a few of the other songs. In the end I’m more than OK with the Italy win, even though I had other favourites I voted for. The ones we liked all did end up in the top 10, though, which was good.

My fave was the song from Ukraine. I’d visited my mom in the afternoon and had played it for her, she hated it…

She liked France, which had strong Edith Piaf vibes. I liked that one too (it came in second).

Mr. Esther quite liked the Lithuania entry (I did too). Campy Right Said Fred, really.

None of these songs are songs we necessarily normally would listen to but it was fun.

Anyway, we couldn’t really choose so we texted 4 votes each for songs we each liked. We texted them well on time from my phone but apparently our votes were never received on time. Only an hour after the show ended did I receive the first voting confirmation text and then throughout the night the confirmations of the next seven votes we had cast also came in. All of them said, “Thank you for participating. Alas the voting has already closed.” So, eeek! Our votes were never counted and we weren’t the only ones here in The Netherlands. According to the news at least hundreds of people were affected.

A statement released today says, “The EBU says the votes were not processed and sent on time due to the problem at the Telecom provider. “We are sorry for any disappointment this has caused, but the EBU had no control over it.” The EBU did not disclose which provider and how many votes it concerns. Despite the problem in the Netherlands, the outcome of the vote is valid, the EBU reports. “We were only able to take votes that came in on time,” said a statement.

There go my โ‚ฌ3,60 in voting fees but more importantly, our votes didn’t count and through no fault of our own. Not a matter of life and death, of course, but somewhat frustrating anyway. Better luck next year?

Modified to add that Richard Armitage seems to have enjoyed Eurovision as well. Nice to see him mention Rotterdam so enthusiastically. ๐Ÿ™‚

A little music on Saturday

First off, the very fun rendition of The Cure’s The Lovecats by the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain (thank you, Servetus, for introducing me to them some weeks ago)…

And maybe more importantly, here is Christopher Plummer singing Edelweiss in his own voice (and not dubbed as it was in The Sound of Music)…

I always really liked Christopher Plummer, he was a great actor whose work I always enjoyed watching. Before bed yesterday evening I heard of his passing at the tender age of 91 and this little tribute today felt fitting.

May he rest in peace.