Examining my musical tastes

In December Spotify decided to let me know that I listened to the same sort of music that I did last year (2019)

Obviously or not so obviously I am a creature of habit but I thought that I had got myself out of that rut and was exploring new things.

The usual favourites Queen, the Fratellis, Paul Simon but also Steve Young and Dave Hanson whom I had seen live in 2016 at the Bedford. I have also seen Queen and Fratellis live as well.

My song was actually by Jon and Vangellis- “somehow I’ll find my way home.” I can visualise myself at a football match in Villa Park and this being played over the tannoy.

The analysis went on to let me know that i listened to 42 new artists and 79 genres.

Whilst my artists ranged from 1970 to 2010’s it seems I am very much a 70’s listener.

One of the more strangest things is I am in the top 29% of listeners to “Mouldy Old Dough” by Lieutenant Pigeon. I must assume that this is not a big song worldwide. I heard this song at a youth club disco in the 80’s and it came up on my ‘suggested listening’ Not sure that I have listened to it more than twice.

For 2021 I have vowed to listen to more up to date music to become less of an ‘old fogey’

However I some of my family share my musical taste (but some don’t) so I’ll keep recommendations!!!!

2021 and all that!!!

Having read a post from my fellow writer (and future son in law) I thought that I should look at my future plans for the year.
If I reflect on where I was this time in 2020 I had made plans to publish some more of my work and start on some further work.
Having been influenced by my fellow performers in various open mic and spoken word events, this was where my path was going.

Instead “Things never turn out how you expected.”
Now we are in 2021
“with the smoking wreck of 2020 at our backs” “In 2021 intend to do the following as an author and blogger:
Read and Review 4 Books

Publish at least one book

Complete the play which I started to write during lockdown
Interview way more folks on here
Sell more of my previous books by promoting them better on my Facebook.
Sort out my Twitter
Link in with my fellow authors and comment on their work
Promotion of my fellow writers.
I will also take better notice of Lee Hall whose post influenced me to write this so I have a plan

Thanks for the quotes which I acknowledge are yours but sum up how this year has been for us writers


JoJo Rabbit

Yesterday I watched JoJo Rabbit for the first time.

Now I am a lover of mixed often surreal comedy and this ticked a lot of boxes.

However this is not a comedy as such because it is set towards the end of the Second World War.

The premise is that a boy joins the Hitler Youth and is being guided by his invisible friend Adolf.

Unbeknownst to him.his mother is hiding a Jewish woman in the house as she isn’t a fan of the regime.

When he joins the Hitler Youth he accidentally injures himself trying to prove his bravery. this then gets him kudos within the troop.

Having a Jewish girl in the home challenges his norms and the beliefs that he had about others who have been made the scapegoat or the bullied by the bully.

If we look at the modern world, how many of us would believe the hysteria that truth was fake news but we have lived through Trump’s America ( still waiting for the fake re-inauguration)

I won’t share anymore of the storylines but it made me think of other works that I read as a child including Anne Frank’s diary, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit and then as an adult, The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas.

This film also makes you reflect on the fragility of childhood, influences and some of the antihero characters who turn out to help save the the day, including one of the ‘baddies’


Hi all

Whilst self isolated this week I have been binge watching Scrubs.

I will not go through the storylines but this is more about reviewing my memories of watching and laughing at the moments in the early episodes and that by the 5th or 6th series that they had come to a resolution.

Instead they became guilty of ‘jumping the shark ‘and instead it seemed to become less funny so by the final series, it just wasn’t quite funny enough.

for those old enough or those who have watched Happy Days, there was an episode where the character Fonzie jumps over a shark while on water-skis. This gimmick strayed absurdly outside the original storyline of the sitcom.

It came to mean that the programme was starting to go down hill.

by the last 2 seasons, the main cast were less and less featured, the new doctors were poor reflections of the originals and the storylines became less humorous and more contrived.

Christmas Adverts

So it is the time of year for those Christmas Adverts on the tv.

The idea is that you are entertained, your heartstrings are tugged remembering previous Xmas’s and you will buy your products from the shop that has spent the money.

There are also the secondary sales based on the “soft toy ” version of the characters starring (previous items include a penguin, carrot family with a parsnip) which sells out.

The music also starts to sell which gives royalties to the singer, original artist and the writer and so on.

For many years all we had to look forward to was “the wonder of Woolworths ” showing the new toys, the giant quality street chocolate tins and a ‘cute ‘ kid at the end.

This year stuff will be different as life goes on but on top of that we have the various Corona virus regulations.

Reflecting back to Christmas past reminds us of what we have and how we can put together fun.

As I am now a grown up finally, I have to fight my own scrooge like tendencies and get into it.

My resolution is to find the joy that I must have had when I was a child.

Let’s see how I do?

Dragons and stuff

So what did you do this weekend?

This is what the civilised or not so civilised often start their conversation with you

What you really want to do is to have something exciting to relate such as fighting a dragon in a mythical world or inventing something useful that’ll get you the next Nobel prize or an investment from one of the dragons (not one you killed earlier) from Dragons Den.

Whilst these are worthy thoughts and reasons to share with your audience, the real conversation usually involves sleeping, eating or cleaning.

If you think a little more laterally, these are some of the adult dragons that we fight most days. They also may be what keeps the mentality unhealthy dragons away and keep you alive.

I bet if George had to keep fighting dragons every day he’d get bored of it. However he needed to just to survive.

Anyway why am I rambling on about dragons.

For those new to me, I wrote a poem about dragons. If you haven’t read my first book then I have been told that it’s a fairly good read.

If you go to Amazon it can be downloaded or bought for a reasonable price.

Who knows you may enjoy it!!!.

Anyway to get back to the subject, writing was one of those dragons I had to conquer.

My English teachers would probably tell you that I could do better but I somehow didn’t.

By putting myself out there has changed my outlook on writing and also performing in that I thought it would be for others but not me.

Reflectimg on the present day, COVID 19 stiffles my writing a bit as I haven’t been out properly, but I have written about a quarter of a new book and need to write a little more

On the positive side I hope to produce something concrete soon.

I have a book in draft form (since March)which ” I will publish when it is my best work “

That’s a tiny glimpse for now

You just keep me hanging on

I can hear America singing this at the TV and remember the scene in Good Morning Vietnam when Robin Williams sings to some prawns on his fingers.

That was an emotional scene where “Adrian Cronauer” is making a decision about a terrible decision.

Sadly Donald Trump doesn’t seem to have any dignity or ability to let go

America is going to provide plenty of laughs (at them) not with them

The dawning of the new democracy

So who will win this US election?

The free world holds its breath.

During the night the polls closed in America (or as Trump tweeted ‘the Poles’)

They have replied with their humour that they are never closed but enough of his xenophobic rubbish. This could not have been a mistake as Polacks (not my word) are the butt of jokes in the US like they used to tell Irish jokes in the UK.

No one better try!!

The usual suspects have voted blue and red which seems odd to us.

It takes some getting used to as in the UK, Red = socialism but in America, this is the anathema of the Republican belief system.

Imagine Donald Trump singing the Red Flag hand in hand with the leader of the Chinese Communist Party or even Jeremy Corbin whilst wearing a Karl Marx or Che Guevara T shirt. Is that why the spittoon squad are called rednecks?

Imagine Joe Biden with a Thatcherite Blue Rinse espousing that there is no such thing as society.

All so strange!!

The plan is for Joe Biden to break down the Red Wall (built to keep the Mexicans out) and show a compassionate side of politics. Also to set some limits on Covid 19. Maybe if elected, he could mandate wearing a mask and teaching some infection control.

This would be in opposition to “Freedom to infect who I like, don’t infringe on my constitutional rights, fake news superhuman”

Maybe some of the votes which Trump tells us he has already counted will not go his way.

Maybe the Supreme Court will discount the election totally and we end up with the biggest dictatorship not democracy.

The anthem will not be Hail to the Chief but “ Bring on the clowns”

Don’t worry, Nigel Farage is on hand to shout at Piers Morgan on GMB today and deny that Trump suggested disinfectant/ bleach injections to fight infection. – but that is a different story.

(none so blind as those who can see!)


So the lockdown will be upon us tomorrow.

Has this changed anything in your life?

Will you still continue to work or will you stay at home?

Will you be furloughed again or does the threat of redundancy post December 2nd feel more real.

Be sure to look at all the supportive measures that you can. Keeping mentally healthy is important.

Maybe ring up that relative that you forgot to yesterday to check that they will be ok.

Arrange a Zoom/Skype/MS teams/ Facebook (other virtual mediums available) meeting to say hi and make sure that you don’t feel alone.

Maybe do something nice today. Cook a nice meal and share a photo. Buy some flowers or chocolates for those you live with.

Start planning your evening viewing or turn the tv off and read a book that is sitting there gathering dust which you promised yourself that you would read weeks or even years ago

Maybe you can play a board game.

Maybe sing along to a song from your voluminous vinyl record/ cd or Spotify collection.

If you are artistic then maybe this is the opportunity to produce something.

Write a book, poem or draw a picture.

Just because life produces lemons you don’t have to be bitter.

Smile ( even under your mask) it does produce endorphins and who knows, someone else may smile back.

The sun will put his hat on and you will reply hip hip hurrah or am I going to far now!

You ask me where to begin?

I have decided to share my latest plans for a piece of writing. In fact, it is a little further than plans, it is a ‘work in progress’

During the lockdown I started to write a play.

Having made a start I realised that this was not an easy task.

So, I am 6000 words in, have 32 pages of dialogue and I have the start of an outline of a story bubbling away.

I won’t share the storyline yet with you, but I’ll share what influenced me to start writing it.

At the end of March 2020, I was unwell. Not Covid 19 unwell but just unwell enough to be off work for two weeks. During one of my lucid moments I was watching the Boris Johnson speech on tv when he sent the UK into lockdown.

As something to take my mind off my impending doom, I started to listen to some of the music from my Spotify account. There was a “go to song” that I liked from the early 1980’s which I suddenly had in my head (earworm) which I usually feel offers hope. It also has a quasi-religious element to it, but I won’t dwell on that.

As I started to listen, I realised that it could conversely be about death and having an end point, the hope for a good afterlife. There will be redemption after various trials and tribulations are overcome.

For me, the song seemed to provide some bones to hang a story from.

I found myself visualising scenes in life (not mine) that could be put together. I could see vanquishing evil and worked out that the evil doer was going to meet their comeuppance. There would be a gnashing of teeth and all sorts of biblical revenge.

After I calmed myself down a bit, I decided that my lead character would be stuck in the lockdown and would meet with this revenge.

The worry was that I also had in my head “it’s a wonderful life” and that didn’t seem very vengeful at all.

Somehow the song by Jon and Vangelis brought these thoughts out.

Anyway a few lines.

“You ask me where to begin, am I so lost in my sin, somehow, I’ll find my way home” seemed to embody these thoughts.

Anyway, thank you for indulging my initial ramblings and I hope that my play will progress further.