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 РChildhood 

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. ūüôā


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. ūüėČ 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 ūüôā …

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. ūüôā

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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. ūüôā

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!

The RA challenge, part 3

Continuing on from here and here, now part 3 of Guylty’s RA challenge! Questions 17 to 24…

2017-ra-fandom-challenge#17 The Character You Love to Hate

Hmm… a love-hate relationship with one of RA’s characters… Had to think on that for a while but¬†then I came up with¬†Gary Fuller from Into the Storm. He’s not a baddie but the hero of the story and yet I could never warm up to him. I’m OK with Richard playing a somewhat one-dimensional character in an action flick but what really bothered me was that¬†I¬†literally cringed¬†every time¬†he spoke! His accent felt¬†so wrong to me and I’m still not sure whether it’s because¬†the accent was badly done or because I find it difficult to hear Richard not speak British-English (FYI, his American-English in¬†Berlin Station¬†doesn’t bother me nearly as much). In any case, I couldn’t bear to hear him talk, or even watch him talk for that matter. The way he moves his mouth when he speaks looks forced to me and he just never felt real.¬†But… he¬†did look¬†like someone I could know in real life, and he wore glasses, and he was a vice-principal, and he is a good man; many things there¬†I could potentially¬†totally love about him!

RA Into the Storm breakfast

So, while I find Gary cringe-worthy, I still occasionally like to go back and take a peek at him.

#18 The Top Three Things on Your To-Do List if You Suddenly Found Yourself face to face with RA

I have already interacted with the man when I expected to see him (at the stage door) and I was all jittery from just those few moments. What I would do if I bumped into him accidentally in the street, I don’t know. I wonder if I could even do anything coherent! I’m not sure I’d be any good at any sort of fleeting contact. However, maybe if I bumped into him in a less fleeting situation… Say that, for argument’s sake, I was by chance seated next to him on a plane or something. I hope that, after the first shock, I would…

  1. Stop my cheeks from burning bright red, breathe and then say hi.
  2. Then hopefully interact with him on a slightly more meaningful level. I’d have to mention I’m a fan, I don’t think I could hide that (I could maybe downplay it a little), but I’d hope to then ignore that¬†and go on to talk with him about movies, books, current affairs,¬†maybe a little personal history,¬†and music, while we each sip our glasses of red wine.
  3. At the end of our conversation we’d arrange to go see Muse¬†live in concert together because we both love the band so much!

#19 A “Ship” in the Fandom You Can’t Stand (canon or non-canon; of characters or RP)

You know what? I don’t follow ships that closely. Bagginshield or RichLee or Guy & Marian or John & Margaret are the ones I am most aware of¬†and there are others that I also come across occasionally. I just don’t do much RA fan fiction these days, I’ve never been big on Tumblr, I don’t do Reddit and I never get on C19 anymore, so I’m missing a lot of these ships now, I think. Of the¬†four I mentioned here, I think Guy & Marian least interests me because those characters are just not that appealing to me…

#20 The Best Fanfic You’ve Ever Read involving RA or Characters

When I first fell in love with RA, I was reading all sorts of North & South fan fiction, mostly on a special website that closed (I can’t recall the name anymore – I think it may have had ‘yellow rose’ in the title? Or maybe that was a fan video site? I just don’t remember…), and I read fan fic on the C19 message board. Was obsessed, it was all I read for quite a while.

After that Richard didn’t do many roles I cared to read fan fiction for, so I pretty much quit reading then and haven’t read much since. I had an interest in Real Person Fiction (RPF) for a bit but I never found one I really liked so I gave up on that as well.

From the old N&S days I remember reading a John & Margaret one set in modern times. I think it was set around a building/project development company in the US. I don’t remember much about it except that it stuck in my mind as the one fic I had enjoyed the most. If anyone knows the one I mean, feel free to point me towards it! I have no idea where I read it, so I’m sorry I can’t link to it.¬†I didn’t think of documenting anything in those days, I was just consuming like someone posessed.

#21 On a Scale from Secret Admirer to Panty Sniffer, How Obessed Are You with RA?

I’m not a secret admirer – at the very latest when I went to see Richard in The Crucible did the people in my life realize how much I like the man. My husband was aware from the beginning. However, I don’t wear a¬†‘I ūüíē Richard’ t-shirt (don’t own one) and while I have some fan items (and Richard is prominently featured on my phone) my house isn’t covered in them. I am not obsessed enough to go ferreting out news actively and when new interviews come out during press tours I admit that after seeing about 5 of them, I tend to not bother with the rest of them. But I do follow certain sites and Twitter feeds for news and as soon as there is some substantial news to be found, I do tend to go into panting mode. I want to see everything he acts in but I don’t listen to his audiobooks (even though I do have a few of them).¬†I have written some of my¬†own, personal, Richard fan fiction that will never see the light of day but which gave me enjoyment. Oh, and I blog about him quite regularly. So, where am I on that fan obsession scale? Not in panty-sniffing mode but I certainly am in quite-preoccupied mode. Why else would I be doing this challenge? ūüėČ

#22 The Character You’d Want as a Drinking Partner

The obvious answer would be Thorin Oakenshield, I think. Dwarves, after all, are known for their fondness of drinking. However, I think Thorin is a little too aloof to let himself go into full-out party mode. I think Claude Monet in The Impressionists knew how to party, so it would probably be him!

Monet Armitage bottle

#23 The Character You’d Want as a Fuck Buddy

John Porter from Strike Back. He was just finding himself again and was a little obsessed with sex after going without for a while. I think he’d make a most ardent (and physically fit) lover…

john-porter-kiss

#24 The Character You Find Most Relatable

That would be Harry Kennedy. I mean, I know it may be unlikely that a guy like him would fall for someone like Geraldine but I like to think that it could happen. He’s just a regular guy and I wish they could have given him more to do on The Vicar of Dibley. Even with the unlikeliness of the love story (it all went so fast too!),¬†I still find him very relatable. It’s like I could know him in real life and share a glass of wine with him while he does my taxes.

P.S. I just adore that little headshake in the gif on the left. Richard does that in I think pretty much all his roles. For me it’s one of his signature moves and I look out for it every time I see him do something new. ūüôā

The final questions to this challenge will be answered next week… off to research. ūüėČ

The RA challenge, part 2

Continuing the Richard Armitage challenge from here that Guylty has set; questions 9 to 16…

2017-ra-fandom-challenge

#9 Funniest moment you have seen RA in

There are many, small, funny moments and I especially love it when Richard giggles or he is in stitches. In the acting department, I loved seeing him on The Vicar of Dibley. His role was pretty straight compared to the other characters there and not really ‘deep’ but the show makes me laugh so very hard, I was just thrilled he was a part of that. I absolutely adored the proposal scene! Alas, I can’t find a clip of that scene online, but I could just watch it forever!

Harry Geraldine kiss

I also laughed so very hard at this little Strike Back scene:

There are many priceless (behind-the-scenes) moments and interviews but the first thing that springs to mind of real-life Richard are the two Cinemax interviews where Martin Freeman interviews Richard and vice versa.

#10 Saddest moment you have seen RA in

Thorin’s death in the last Hobbit movie. I know Richard has died often enough in other things, but this one really tugged at me. Powerful, heartbreaking scene that made me cry and still gets to me when I watch it again…

#11 Something you wish hadn’t happened in context with RA

I don’t really have many things I wish he hadn’t done. I may not agree with all he does but usually I can let the more bothersome things slide. Live and let live and all that. Having said that, I do get annoyed with his tweeting and deleting. I know it’s his Twitter and his right and all, but it’s annoying and confusing when it happens so much and I really don’t like it.

The other thing that comes to mind is that second Anglophile Channel interview he did. I enjoyed the first one (plenty of adorable giggles in it!) but that second one, the interviewer made me cringe so very much, I just wished he hadn’t done it… Not linking to it here, I just can’t watch it…

#12 Something you wish would happen

I don’t have the need to see Richard do any specific kind of role, he has challenged me with some roles he has chosen and I like that! Of course, I wouldn’t mind another romantic hero but no, my wishes are not for certain roles. What I do wish for fervently is that Sleepwalker, Urban and the Shed Crew, Brain on Fire and Pilgrimage¬†would become widely available to audiences everywhere so that I too can see them! For Pilgrimage I have hopes of a wider release and Brain on Fire is supposed to go to Netflix, but where is it already? Basically I hate when my fave actor makes things that I can’t see. I also wish Love, Love, Love had been filmed and I wish for him to return to the London stage! Oh, and he’s always welcome to come spend a weekend at my house! ūüôā

#13 A song that reminds you of RA

I have 3 songs that immediately spring to mind! The first one is Justin Timberlake’s Sexy Back due to a fan video I saw way back when in my early fan days that became very popular! I didn’t know this song before I saw that video and I immediately found it very fitting; the video made me laugh. I always loved the first one most, maybe because it’s the first one I saw, but HeathDances later made two more Sexy Back videos, which are also good.

Also, songs used for other fan videos (see my #3 answer in my previous RA challenge post) always make me think of Richard as well.

The second song I want to mention is the Misty Mountains song that Richard himself sang in the first Hobbit movie. Still gives me goosebumps when Richard starts singing… I had it as my phone ringtone for a while but even at its loudest I wouldn’t always hear it properly when the phone was in my bag, so I recently changed the ringtone again. Nevertheless, I love hearing Richard sing this!

And the third song is Muse’s Starlight. Richard referenced my fave band Muse in his birthday tweet last year and I was incredibly stoked when he did. Now, when I listen to Starlight (or to Butterflies and Hurricanes which he referenced a few months later in an interview), I have the added bonus that it now also reminds me of Richard!

#14 Favourite Villain

Surprisingly Francis Dolarhyde!! I do not to horror well at all, avoid it all cost if I can. So, when Richard got this horror-part, I wasn’t sure I could deal with it. I was always going to watch it but I was determined to feel no sympathy whatsoever for such an evil serial killer. And then Richard pulled off the impossible – he made me feel sympathy for Francis! Very well done, Richard!

#15 A character everybody else loves that you hate

I don’t know about everybody but Guy of Gisborne is quite popular and I just don’t… *ducks behind counch – don’t shoot me*…

Guy Richard

I mean, Richard did good, I really do think that, and I don’t hate Guy, but he just doesn’t do that much for me… Maybe it was the guy-liner that was too distracting?

#16 A character everbody else hates that you love

I’m racking my brain here. Richard has played some hateful characters and I can’t say I love any of them. Maybe the answer to this is Francis Dolarhyde? He’s a difficult one to watch and I know there are fans out there who have never been able to even attempt watching him, which I can totally understand. While I can not love Francis Dolarhyde by any stretch of the imagination, he is the one that surprised me and unexpectedly made me feel sympathy (as I already mentioned above). So, I guess that would be my answer to this.

That’s it! More next week, hopefully!

Doomsday songs pick-me-up

In the news here on Dutch TV this morning: the party of far right leader Geert Wilders (the PVV – ‘Partij Voor de Vrijheid’ which means ‘Freedom Party’ but there’s nothing free about it, in my view) leads the polls. He’s been leading for a few months now and his lead seems to be lessening but still he is leading! We have a multi-party democracy here in The Netherlands where several parties have to form a coalition in order to have a majority to govern. Thank goodness the center right party VVD (which is the largest party now and comes in 2nd in the polls, also one of the current governing parties) has already said there is a 0% chance they will form a coalition with the far right PVV whose main agenda is islamophobia. Even so, I can’t wrap my head around the fact that such a man as Wilders could end up getting the most votes here in our upcoming election in March! Same trend as in the UK with Brexit and in the US with Trump and it is all truly freaking me out! And this coming Friday super-narcissist Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the next US president despite losing the popular vote by almost 3 million votes.

danger

This feeling of danger and doom has me playing all sorts of doomsday songs in my head…

For instance, the song ‘Land of Confusion’ from the mid 1980s by Genesis… I very well remember the videoclip at the time with ‘Spitting Image’ puppets, when we thought Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher were questionable…

Or this R.E.M. song that I have always loved and feels more relevant to me than ever… don’t know if I feel fine about it, though…

‘The End’ by The Doors is depressing…

“Bad Moon Rising” by Creedence Clearwater Revival sounds more upbeat but the lyrics certainly reference doomsday. The lyrics can be taken both literally and figuratively…

David Bowie’s ‘Five Years’ springs to mind (here elections are held every 5 years…) about a world going to pieces…

I also think of Chris De Burgh’s song “Spanish Train”, which is this story about the Lord and the Devil playing cards to win people’s souls and the devil keeps on winning… I only like early Chris De Burgh, he had interesting stories to tell before he became too sappy with “The Lady in Red” and the like… (Not at all about doomsday but check out “Patricia the Stripper” for a funny story and clever rhymes).

And there’s Muse, a lot of Muse, that I am thinking of! Like my go-to song from the time I was going through a downsizing crisis at work and this song helped me release my inner frustration… Naturally, I don’t want to literally shoot some leaders down, but figuratively, yes, I can subscribe to that!

“Hard times are ahead […] your time is now to be heard […] your number has been called”, as sung by Muse in ‘Butterflies and Hurricanes’…

“Time is Running Out” springs to mind, even though it is more personal than the other songs I reference here, but the time is running out feeling is relevant to me…

And then there’s the song ‘Panic Station’: “And this chaos it defies imagination […] you’ve arrived at panic station”

I think of the ‘Psycho’ song, from Muse’s last album, about being part of a war machine…

Or the ultimate protest Muse song ‘Uprising’…

The fact that these songs are out there makes me despair a little less and helps me feel a little better. They tell me: “You’re not alone!”, the same words David Bowie uses in his ‘Rock n Roll Suicide’ song, a song I absolutely love. I still get a thrill at the thought that I have seen the actual lyrics written in Bowie’s own handwriting for myself

There is always hope, right?