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. 🙂

Fingers on Fire

So, yes, I finally got to see Brain on Fire last night! Found a way to watch it and I couldn’t resist… 🙂 Warning: some SPOILERS ahead, proceed at your own risk!

Brain on Fire tells the true story of young journalist Susannah Cahalan (Chloë Grace Moretz) who starts showing erratic behaviour, she deteriorates into psychoses, and is hospitalized while the doctors can’t seem to figure out what’s wrong with her. The movie is all about this deterioration process and the search for answers by her, her divorced parents Tom (Richard Armitage) and Rhona (Carrie-Anne Moss) and her boyfriend Stephen (Thomas Mann).

So, what did I think of the movie? The acting was fine, the camera really likes Richard Armitage (he gets some nice close-ups), Moretz did a decent job, Moss (under-used!) and Mann were good, but the story was… a little tedious. Can’t quite put my finger on it why this movie did not ignite for me, but I think maybe it was because the story was fully focussed on the process of Susannah’s decline and the mystery surrounding her illness, where I had hoped it would be more character driven. Of course, as an Armitage fan, I was particularly interested in the characterization for Tom and it was not what I had hoped either. I remember from reading the book that this search for the truth brought Susannah closer to her father, also due to his diaries he wrote at the time, but I saw little of that in the movie. He and Susannah seemed OK with each other from the start (yes, he was a little annoyed with her sometimes, but no more or less than any parent would be) and he was happy with her in the end. Richard played the worried father very well (he was even scary sometimes when he got angry and felt helpless) but other than the worry and the relief at the end, there wasn’t that much character development for him here, I felt. Oh, and as an outsider, I thought he did a good American accent! End verdict for me: the movie was fine and I will watch it again (especially Richard’s bits) but, alas, it wasn’t a masterpiece movie.

My so-so opinion of the movie didn’t stop my screencapping fingers – they were on fire as I screencapped quite a lot of Richard in this. Finally, some new Richard-work for me to sink my teeth into! Alas, the caps aren’t high-resolution, but they are still lovely to look at. Be warned, there are lots! This post isn’t titled “fingers on fire” for nothing…

This is from the beginning of the movie, Tom working the BBQ, meeting Susannah’s boyfriend and celebrating Susannah’s birthday…

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Tom visiting his daughter’s apartment…

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In Susannah’s apartment after she gets home from a first stay in hospital…

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Rhona and Tom discussing their daughter. Also, Tom’s reactions to his daughter’s odd behaviour during dinner…

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Worried at the hospital…

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Tom watching over his daughter…

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In the doctor’s office, desperate because there are no answers…

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Worried at the hospital and Tom comforting Susannah’s boyfriend…

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More worries…

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Talking with Rhona and then standing alone in the dark. I love the standing alone in the dark shot (and there’s the diary in his hand, which has no place at all in the storyline).

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Worries, then finally some good news, smiles and a tearful release…

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And I think this is my fave screencap.. hugs after the relieving news of a diagnosis… I just love those smile crinkles!

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And then the happy ending… Susannah recovering and daddy Tom happily supporting her…

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So, yeah, this may not be the greatest movie ever but it offers lots of Richard-goodies! Papa Richard is a lovely sight to behold. ❤

Irreverence

Some weeks ago I was recommended a trilogy of books by Paula Aidan that re-tells the story of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice from Mr. Darcy’s point of view. I finished the first book, An Assembly Such as This, about a week ago and on the train on my way home from work this afternoon, I started the second book called Duty and Desire. It is set after Darcy and Bingley quit Netherfield and starts out with a scene of Darcy in church. He is listening to the reverend’s reading when Colonel Fitzwilliam arrives, late. And oh my goodness, that bit of writing made me laugh out loud! The train wasn’t full, but the burst of giggle did earn me some questioning looks. Here is that passage that made me laugh…

Duty & Desire excerpt

This kind of irreverence I love!

There’s humourous irreverence but there is also serious irreverence. The blatant, serious irreverence shown by that bumbling excuse of a US president can not make me laugh at all. I cringe and fear for the future. First the man makes an ass of himself in the Middle East and Europe, alienating European allies, looking like the stereotype of the garish American tourist (I truly cringe for my American friends when I see this, I know how mortified they are)…

… and then he decides to pull out of the Paris Agreement on climate change in such an act of selfishness that I just can not comprehend it! We’re 4 months into his presidency, how will the world survive 4 years of this shortsighted, selfish ignorance? I truly see him as a menace to the world. I do take comfort in the fact that there is loud opposition to this man, and I add my opposition here! I have this German magnet here in my house that I have had for years and which nicely sums up how I feel about every single Trump policy so far! It’s my little sign of protest…

dagegen magnet

“Dagegen” is German for “opposed”.

In the meantime I try not to freak out and try to keep hope alive by consuming protest and more irreverence, like in the following video: Graham Norton, Salma Hayek and David Walliams commenting on part of Trump’s foreign trip last week…

… and new French president Emmanuel Macron poking at Trump yesterday in his reaction to the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, calling to “make the PLANET great again!”…

When I see things like this, I just know there must be hope for the future!

Colin, Cannes and fine eyes

These pics are from last week but I’m just coming across them now… Colin was back in Cannes, as far as I could tell, to support his wife Livia’s ethical fashion campaign.

Colin & Livia Firth Cannes 2017

Doesn’t he look lovely in a grey suit? I like Livia’s outfit too, it’s a dress that used to be owned by her mother.  On a side note: the article in this previous link (and other news sources I have seen) also refers to Colin asking for Italian citizenship next to his British one (Livia is Italian). He is very opposed to Brexit, so it looks like this application has something to do with that. End of side note and back to Cannes: Colin and Livia looked dapper here as well, with Livia again wearing a dress that looks lovely…

Colin Livia Firth Cannes2 2017

In Cannes, Colin looked very pleased, adorable and somewhat goofy, almost fatherly, hugging a young lady…

Colin Firth hugs lady

But the shot I really loved was this one…

Colin Firth Salma Hayek Juliette Binoche Cannes 2017

Colin sandwiched between Salma Hayek and Juliette Binoche. That look on Colin’s face is so tender, amused and adorable…. sigh! I just saw Salma Hayek on the Graham Norton show last week, she is quite funny, I never really knew that about her! Colin seems to like her too. 🙂 Not that Colin is in love with Salma but the look on his face makes me think of this Barbra Streisand song from her movie Yentl

It looks like Colin and Mr Darcy still have an important thing in common: they can happily meditate on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the face of a pretty woman can bestow. 😉

Mirthfully Firthfully

While searching for something in a drawer this morning, I unexpectedly came across something else that I had printed out from the internet on August 22nd, 1996 (!!) when I was well into my first year of Colin Firth fangirling. These were the early days of internet and fan sites and in my craze to know anything and everything about Colin Firth (he had just come to fame less than a year before, with Pride and Prejudice) I frequented a website called “Friends of Firth”. The website is long gone (I can’t remember when or the circumstances surrounding the end of it), but apparently I had printed the terminology that was invented there. It was called ‘A Firthian Lexicon’ and reading it again, 20 years on, has given me great amusement! So, I thought I’d just share some of the highlights from the lexicon here; it was clearly compiled at the height of Colin-Firth-as-Mr-Darcy-mania. 🙂

In the lexicon Friends of Firth is described as: “A group of focused, erudite, conversant individuals dedicated to the discussion and appreciation of the performances of Colin Firth.” I can subscribe to that! 🙂 Without further ado, terms from that list:

Firthland – The official Firthdom with boundaries that extend world-wide.

Colinist – An inhabitant of said province entitled to all privileges thereof.

Colinaneous – A state of being when a colinist can only see “a pair of fine eyes”

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Mr Darcy admiring Elizabeth Bennet’s ‘fine eyes’ to the surprise of Miss Bingley.

Colinatopia – a place where colinists are transported to when viewing the object of their affection.

Firthaholics Anonymous – A 12-step program that is never completed because the participant eagerly jumps off the wagon on the 11th step.

Firth-a-surf-aholic – One who surfs the net in search of pleasure (Colin) instead of business.

Firth Control – The ability to wait patiently for articles, videos, books and list-mail concerning CF.

Firthfully – Loyalty to the Firthdom and the object of our affections.

Firthis Colinitis – High fever caused by not watching Colin for more than a day. Curable by repeated showings of Pride and Prejudice (uncut version).

P&P dvd cover

Firthless (in Seattle) – Not having had a Firth-fix in approximately 1-3 days.

Firthmount – Any steed or mount that has the privilege to be ridden by CF.

Firthology – The comprehensive study of Colin Firth, i.e. films, videos, moles, dimples, thighs, etc…   Not sure about the moles but here are dimples:

And I always loved Colin’s long legs in this P&P scene:

Darcy & Elizabeth Pemberley stroll

Firthopath – A colinist infected by CF, causing occasional mental instability.

Firthophile – A colinist, firthian or firthlander completely obsessed in thought, word and deed.

Firthstration – The mood when not able to access information, pictures or videos.

Firth-weary – Any spouse subjected to multiple screenings of Pride and Prejudice or the complete list of CF films.

Mirthfully Firthfully – Any laughter that bubbles over while reading fantasies submitted by the Firthland School of Creative Writing

Schizofirthic – Someone who can’t decide if they like Darcy or Colin Firth.

Ah, fandom can be so much fun! 🙂