Just Another Monthly #2

Something to think about:

baby child close up crying

My most hated word in the English language? Just.

“Why are you doing it like that? Just do it like this?”

Just do it”

Just don’t do it”

“It’s easy. Just…”

Just. Just. JUST

Why does such a seemingly inoffensive word rile me so much? It presumes so much. It presumes that the answer to your problem is simple and why haven’t you thought of it? It’s ok, the irony is not lost on me. The word just is in both my blog name and this post’s title. However, it’s the use of the word just when telling someone to do something that specifically gets my goat. Here’s an example:

Some years ago, when I was having terrible problems settling my baby in a cot for the first time, I had a little moan about it at the baby group I regularly attended.

“She won’t settle. She screams. She cries. She doesn’t like the cot at all and was much happier in her moses basket.”

“Ah,” interjected a fellow mum, “just put her in a sleeping bag in the cot”

“I’ve done that. It didn’t make a difference” was my reply

Just put her in the moses basket in the cot, to get her used to it”

“Yep, tried that too. Also didn’t work”

Just comfort her whilst she’s in the cot crying, so she knows there’s nothing to be scared of”

“I mean, I’ve definitely done that….”

Just leave her to cry it out”

“Sure, I’ve done that too, but she seems particularly unhappy…”

“Well, I don’t have any other suggestions. Sorry”

And that was the end of the conversation. The thing was, I wasn’t looking for advice. I merely wanted to have a moan. To get it off one’s chest as it were. And all I wanted in return was a “oh dear, that must be shit. It will be ok though” type response.

Here’s the thing, it’s my theory that most of the time when someone is upset about something or having a moan about something, they rarely want or need advice. Chances are if they’re relatively intelligent, they’ve already tried all the obvious solutions. All they need is someone to listen and allow them vent. We all need this outlet.

In a world where mental health is on the increase and we are encouraged to talk about our problems, we need as much encouragement to ensure people know how to listen and give people space to talk. It’s all very well giving advice and I’m sure people like the mum in my example have good intentions, but we should not underestimate the power of just listening and just letting people talk. Ha. Oh ok, perhaps I don’t dislike the word just all the time.

By the way, my baby got used to the cot. All she needed was a bit of time to get used to it. Nothing else.

Something to be cheerful about:

  • 5,000 people queued up in the rain to see if they were able to help save the life of one little 5-year old boy. Oscar Saxelby-Lee has a very rare form of blood cancer and needs a stem cell transplant in the next 3 months. After an appeal for potential donors, almost 5,000 people turned up at Oscar’s school to register for testing to see if they’re a match. This is over double the amount of people that have turned up for any other appeal for donors from the DKMS blood cancer charity- the previous record being 2,200. A further 1,000 people have since registered to be tested to see if they’re a match for Oscar.

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  • India has opened its first hospital for rescued and abused elephants. The hospital in Uttar Pradesh has already treated 26 elephants. The elephants have mainly been rescued from tourist attractions such as circuses, street-riding and also from private owners. Elephants held in these conditions results in them developing many health conditions and malnutrition. The hospital has plenty of sophisticated equipment such as ultrasound scans, radiology, laboratory testing and a hydrotherapy pool to help nurse the poor elephants back to health. Once they are healthy again, they are sent to elephant sanctuaries to spend their retirement in full health and happiness.

animal elephant tusk close up

Something to buy:

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Louche Jude Pooch Pyjama Shirt, £45, from Joy the Store

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Senora Ceramic Vase, £39.99, from Okla

Something to read:

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I’ve already talked about my love of food HERE and mentioned Ruby’s newsletter there, but I implore you to read this book by Ruby. It’s one long love song about food and reasons to enjoy it guilt free. Honestly, you won’t be able to read it without salivating. There’s also the odd recipe sewn in between all the chapters about why food matters and why we should enjoy it. It’s all about the pleasure.

Something to watch:

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Anybody that follows me on Instagram, will know that I’m currently obsessed with the Netflix reality makeover show Queer Eye. It’s so much more than a makeover show though. There’s more focus on making people feel happier with themselves and their lives. The Fab 5 (Karamo, Jonathan, Antoni, Tan and Bobby) spend a lot time sitting down with their heroes (as the participants are referred to as) talking to them and finding out about their lives and pasts. The show is engineered to be incredibly emotive,  but if you’re like me then you’re rather partial to a tearjerker. I’ve become obsessed with the show, binge watching the first two seasons, but for me the best thing about the show is the Fab 5. Their charisma and warmth is infectious. I am desperate for them to be my new best friends. And the good news is that the new season is on Netflix from today. So grab a box of tissues and get watching Queer Eye.

Something to cook:

Shakshouka

Okay so boiling an egg in a frying pan of tinned tomatoes, may not sound the most appealing, but trust me this recipe is delicious. It’s a very comforting and warming dish (and looking out of the window right now, we still need that comfort and warmth) plus the ingredients are usually always at hand. It’s traditionally a North African/Middle Eastern breakfast, but I have it for lunch.

Ingredients (serves 1)

Olive Oil

I garlic clove

Chilli flakes (as much as you like)

Paprika

1 egg (or 2 if you’re hungry)

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

Salt

Parmesan

Method

  • Fry the garlic in the oil with the chilli flakes for a minute
  • Chuck the tin of chopped tomatoes in and get them boiling
  • Crack the egg in the middle
  • Sprinkle parmesan on top (again, as much as you like)
  • Put a plate or lid over the frying pan and leave to simmer on a low heat for about 5 mins
  • Serve with a thick slice of buttered bread and more parmesan on top

Tip: you can pad this meal out with sliced peppers and/or onions. Fry them first before you add the tomatoes and egg. You can also add other spices to it that you might enjoy such as cumin and cayenne pepper.

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Sorry my food photos are pretty rubbish, but trust me- this is bloody lovely.

Something to help save the planet with:

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Natural Dental Floss £5

Plastic-free dental floss! I use this regularly (do I get a sticker?) and it’s as good as regular floss. It’s made from natural and sustainable silk, PETA certified cruelty free, 100% natural with no chemicals and it comes in a little reusable glass jar. When you finish the floss in this jar, you can buy refills, which in turns helps limit plastic waste. You can buy it in either mint or cardamon flavour. Oh and the floss is compostable. So what are you waiting for? Get flossing! You can get it HERE

Something to enjoy from the Blogosphere:

Please pop over to Angela’s blog and have a read of her candid and (as always) thoughtful post on co-parenting HERE. She always writes so well and this is an exceptional post on the difficulties of having to regularly wave goodbye to your child.

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Something to listen to:

Just Another Playlist #2- A weekly mix tape of an eclectic collection of tunes (maybe to listen to while you make the Shakshouka)

Something to laugh at:

Imma just gonna leave this here without comment:

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***Don’t forget you can sign up to receive this monthly newsletter straight into your mailbox. Just click the little “Follow” box at the bottom, right hand of the screen and enter your email address***

See you next week for the top The Cure songs and Just Another Monthly will be back in a month’s time!

Top 15 Tori Amos Tunes

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First of all, did you know that Tori was originally in a pop-synth 80s band called Y Can’t Tori Read? To appreciate how amazing they were, HERE is a video of theirs. I think you’ll agree, they were pretty special. Oh and here’s an even more special photo of Tori from those days:

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You can hardly tell it was the 80s

Tori seems to be an artist that divides opinion. She’s marmite. You either love her or hate her. I think it’s safe to say, that I indeed love her. I first discovered her as a 15 year old in my bedroom getting ready for school one morning, engulfing myself in Exclamation! perfume and cleansing with Anne French cleanser when Simon Mayo played Silent All These Years on his radio breakfast show. It was love at first…listen. Tori has supported many a teenager during the 90s through any difficult times. So many people of a certain age, will have that Tori album that helped them survived. Little Earthquakes, Under the Pink and Scarlet’s Walk all did that for me. Tori has built a fiercely loyal fan base and for good reason. She connects with her listeners, she tells her stories candidly and wears her heart on her sleeve. She has also consistently released new material throughout her career, rarely taking a break. She is undoubtedly an album artist rather than a singles artist, as you’ll be able to tell from this list, many of the songs listed are album tracks rather than singles. And which is my favourite of her albums?

Favourite Tori Amos album: Little Earthquakes (1992, no.14)

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And, here are my top 15 Tori Amos tunes.

15. Jackie’s Strength (1998, did not chart, From the Choirgirl Hotel)

14. Icicle (1994, album track, Under the Pink)

13. Happy Phantom (1992, album track, Little Earthquakes)

12. A Sorta Fairytale (2002, no.41, Scarlet’s Walk)

11. I Can’t See New York (2002, album track, Scarlet’s Walk)

10. Putting the Damage On (1996, album track, Boys for Pele)

9. Precious Things (1992, album track, Little Earthquakes)

8. Yes, Anastasia (1994, album track, Under the Pink)

7. Spark (1998, no.16, From the Choirgirl Hotel)

6. Taxi Ride (2003, did not chart, Scarlet’s Walk)

5. Professional Widow- Armand’s Star Trunk Funkin’ Mix (1996, no.1, Boys for Pele)

4. Me and a Gun (1991, did not chart, Little Earthquakes)

3. Silent All These Years (1991, re-released in 1992, no.26, Little Earthquakes)

2. Cornflake Girl (1994, no.4, Under the Pink)

And my all time favourite Tori song is…

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1. Winter (1992, no.25, Little Earthquakes)

The one that almost made it: Smells Like Teen Spirit (1992, B-side to Silent All These Years in the UK)

Don’t forget to tell me which is your favourite Tori Amos track below.

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See you next week for Just Another Monthly #2 and the following week will be top tunes from The Cure!

For other musical artist top tunes click on the link:

Beatles Blur Björk George Michael Kylie Minogue Madonna Prince Pulp Suede

Top 15 Suede Tunes

 

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Older and less heroin addled Brett Anderson is fit.

Oh yes, (just) another blog post, (just) another Britpop band. And today, we’re talking about Suede. So we had the Oasis vs Blur thing. We had Pulp challenging both of those bands for the Britpop crown and then we had Suede. Suede who sometimes (wrongly) get forgotten about or dismissed when discussing the best bands from that era. Suede who’s loss of their key songwriter after (actually during) the recording of their “difficult second album” spelled the demise of the band, but leader vocalist (and their other key songwriter), Brett Anderson was having none of it. 30 years after forming (happy anniversary guys) they are still churning out the tunes. In fact, their 8th studio album was released last year and I named it as one of my favourite albums of the year (right HERE in fact). Also, slight side note, but am I the only one that remembers the original rivalry was in fact between Suede vs Blur and not with Oasis? Does this make Blur the real troublemakers?

Favourite Suede album: Suede (1993, no.1)

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Here are my favourite tunes by our Suede.

15. Stay Together (1994, no.3, non-album single)

14. The Invisibles (2018, did not chart, The Blue Hour)

13. Sometimes I’ll Float Away (2013, album track, Bloodsports)

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12. By The Sea (1996, album track, Coming Up)

11. Saturday Night (1997, no.6, Coming Up)

10. Beautiful Ones (1996, no.8, Coming Up)

9. So Young (1993, no.22, Suede)

8. We Are the Pigs (1994, no.18, Dog Man Star)

7. Pantomime Horse (1993, album track, Suede)

6. Trash (1996, no.3, Coming Up)

5. The Drowners (1992, no.49, Suede)

4. Metal Mickey (1992, no.17, Suede)

3. The Wild Ones (1994, no.18, Dog Man Star)

2. The Next Life (1993, album track, Suede)

And my all time favourite Suede song is…

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1. Animal Nitrate (1993, no.7, Suede)

The one that almost made it: Brass in Pocket (1992, track featured on NME‘s charity compilation album Ruby Trax)

Don’t forget to tell me your favourite Suede song below.

See you next week for the top Tori Amos tunes!

For other musical artist top tens click on the link:

Beatles Björk Blur George Michael Kylie Minogue Madonna Prince Pulp Tori Amos

Top 15 Bjork Tunes

 

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Little baby Bjork

God, I love this woman. I love that she is like no other musician. That her music conveys so much beauty. Her voice so much emotion. I’ve loved her since I first heard the Sugarcubes track Hit (one of the greatest pop songs of all time) back in 1992. However, it was her first single Human Behaviour, as a solo artist that I rushed out and bought on 7″ (yes I am that old) that cemented my lifelong obsession and adoration of the Icelandic singer. Yet, she is more than just a singer. She is an artist, a songwriter, a performer and a composer. Her innovative and eclectic artistry has spanned a 30 year career and I have no doubt that she has a lot more to offer. Her artistic style is so remarkable that you can currently catch a Björk exhibition at MoMA. Tragically, I still haven’t seen her live and can we please not talk about the time she played a Glastonbury that I was attending and heroically drunk on Somerset cider, I didn’t quite get round to making it to the NME Stage in time to watch her. Don’t. It’s almost as bad as the time, I didn’t quite get round to watching David Bowie at Glastonbury (you can’t possibly despair of me as much as I despair of myself).

Favourite Björk album: Homogenic (1997, no.4)

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And here are all my favourite Björk songs. There’s a Spotify playlist at the end as per.

15. The Dull Flame of Desire (2008, did not chart, Volta)

14. Triumph of a Heart (2005, no.31, Medúlla)

13. Like Someone in Love (1993, album track, Debut)

12. Army of Me (1995, no.10, Post)

11. Human Behaviour (1993, no.36, Debut)

10. Unravel (1997, album track, Homogenic)

9. Pagan Poetry (2001, no.38, Verspertine)

8. Big Time Sensuality (1993, no.17, Debut)

7. Come to Me (1993, album track, Debut)

6. All Is Full of Love (1999, no.24, Homogenic)

5. Isobel (1995, no.23, Post)

4. Jóga (1997, did not chart, Homogenic)

3. Venus as a Boy (1993, no.29, Debut)

2. Bachelorette (1997, no.21, Homogenic)

And my all time favourite Björk song is…

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1. Hyperballad (1996, no.8, Post)

The one that almost made it: Cosmogony (2011, did not chart, Biophilia)

Don’t forget to tell me your favourite Björk track below.

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See you next week for top Suede tunes!

For other musical artist top tens click on the link:

Beatles Blur George Michael Kylie Minogue Madonna Prince Pulp Suede Tori Amos

Just Another Monthly

Something to think about:

accomplishment ceremony education graduation

Once when I casually mentioned in passing my attendance at university, it was met with a scoffing dismissal “Pah, I went to the University of Life, mate. No amount of education can teach you that”. True, BUT…..This wasn’t the first time me being a graduate has been criticised and met with an assumption that I know less about life because of going to university. It begs the question, do people who do this, think people stop living and experiencing life when they attend university? Like many students, I held down a part-time job during term time and worked full-time during the holidays as well as -of course- studying full-time. I met and lived with people from all different backgrounds. And I worked my tiny derriere off to obtain my degree (unlike the lazy stereotype that all students are lackadaisical). None of this is “not learning about life”. Also, university is for only 3 years (4/5 years max) of one’s life. If it truly does take you away from learning about life, it really is only for a small amount of time. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t by any means think that going to university is a superior life choice. I’m not some kind of arsehole that walks around thinking they’re better than anyone that hasn’t been to university. And of course, being or not being a graduate is not an indicator of someone’s intelligence. I knew plenty of people at uni, who I would squint at and wonder how on earth they managed to get into university and there are countless people I know who are very clever and successful, but did not attend uni (my husband being one of them). There are many life choices people can make and university is just one of many. So here’s the thing, why is it ok for some people to openly criticise my life choice of going to uni? And to criticise it in a way that demeaning my character seems to be the motivation. I give very little fucks whether you’ve been to uni or not. Why do you give any that I have? We’re all different and all make different choices about our lives. Just because something is the right choice for you, doesn’t mean that it is for everyone. Relax. Like I said, I really don’t think people care what your choices are regarding your education (and if they do- they aren’t worth worrying about). Literally, all people care about is whether you’re a wanker or not. And insinuating that I know less about life than you do because I studied for an extra 3 years than you, is you know…a bit wankerish.

Something to be cheerful about:

It ain’t all going to shit you know. In this week’s news:

  • sandwich chain Pret A Manger has opened a new hostel this week that will provide jobs and housing for the city’s homeless. I worked for Pret for several years and can vouch that they have always cared for the homeless. In its infancy, any left over sandwiches would be bagged up and taken to local shelters. Nothing would go to waste. Pret hopes this hostel will be the first of many to open across the country. What a great idea to break the cycle of homelessness.
  • scientists have said the ozone layer is continuing to recover well. The northern hemisphere is due to be repaired by 2030 and the entire layer by 2060. This is due to global reduction of harmful gases. Great news, but drastic action is still needed to help further protect the planet from climate change.
  • goat yoga is a thing of the past. In England, you can now do Alpaca yoga. Yep, in sunny Devon you can now do yoga classes in a field of fuzzy alpacas and mediate amongst the herd in a mindful manner. Sign me up!

photo of a llama

 

Something to buy:

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Gingham flower dress, £85, Coco Fennell

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Please Go Away clutch bag, £25, from I Love Mel

Something to read:

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Whether you have depression, have suffered from it in past, know someone who is suffering from it or just want to learn more about it (and life), then please stop and read this book. Beautifully written by Matt Haig, who relays his own personal experiences with depression and anxiety. It will make you laugh and cry in equal measures. One of those books that you feel everyone should be made to read.

Something to watch:

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Roma won the BAFTA for Best Film this week (and Best Film not in the English Language, Best Cinematography and Best Director). I absolutely adored this film. Honest, moving, sweet, artistic and at times funny. After I watched it, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Whilst, I’m still not 100% sure it should have won the Best Film category, it was most definitely worthy of the other three wins. You can watch it now on Netflix and if you’re a fan of films like this, then I guarantee you’ll love Roma.

Something to cook:

Chocolate Raspberry Heart Cake

Has it been Valentine’s Day this week? Well as you know, I’m not one for romance (you can read about it HERE), but I do like any excuse to bake. So, every year (if I can be bothered), I make this chocolate raspberry heart cake originally created by Annabel Karmel and slightly amended by me.

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A not very good (and old school Instagrammed) photo of my chocolate raspberry heart cake

Ingredients:

180g soft butter

180g caster sugar

180g self-raising flour

30g cocoa powder

3 large eggs

2 tbsp milk

Filling:

200ml double cream

Fresh raspberries

Icing:

100g dark chocolate

30g unsalted butter

Raspberry jam

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 160/180/gas mark 4. Grease and line the bottom of a heart shaped tin (or whatever cake tins you might have at hand. I got my silicone heart shaped tin from good ole M&S)
  2. Chuck all the cake ingredients together. Take Mary Berry’s advice and make sure everything is at room temperature. If your butter is still hard and cold- melt it in the microwave for a few seconds. Give everything a jolly good mix.
  3. Whack it in the tin and bake it in the oven for 35-40mins. Take the tin out and leave for a couple of minutes. Then take the cake carefully out of the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.
  4. Now, let’s make the icing. Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl over the pan of simmering water. Then leave to cool.
  5. Next, the filling. Whisk the cream until stiff. Mix with a good handful of the raspberries.
  6. Once the cake is cooled. Carefully, oh so very carefully slice in half. Then slather a bit of raspberry jam on the bottom half. Then dollop the cream filling on top. Then place the top half on and carefully press down.
  7. Slather more raspberry jam on the top half.
  8. Once the icing is cool. Paste it on top of the cake and around the sides (if you like or leave the sides “naked” if you prefer that look).
  9. Cover the top of the cake with the rest of the fresh raspberries.
  10. Stuff it into your face and enjoy every mouthful.
  11. Sharing this cake with your partner is not compulsory.

Something to help save the planet with:

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Beeswax Wraps kids pack of 4

Beeswax Wraps: Every little helps, eh? These little gems have been fantastic. I literally haven’t used any cling film since I bought them (coupled with silicone lids I also invested in). These beeswax wraps cling to food, just like cling film. I use them to wrap sandwiches, snacks, cheese, halved veg and there’s probably lots of other ways you can use them too. You just clean them along with all the rest of your washing up and when you have used them so many times, you can no longer use them any more, they are compostable. I’ve had mine for 6 months and there’s plenty of life left in them. Buy them HERE.

Something to enjoy from the Blogosphere:

Go have a read of this blog post HERE. It is one to cheer you all up. Features a mum who is now my role model quite frankly.

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Seriously, don’t mess with her.

Something to listen to:

Just Another Playlist #1- A weekly mix tape of an eclectic collection of tunes (maybe to listen to while you make the cake)

Something to laugh at:

  • Look no further than the SimonCowellsShoes.jpg Twitter account HERE. I am so thankful for this account. It is exactly what the internet is for.
  • And lastly, these french bull dogs with googly eyes are EVERYTHING:

***Don’t forget you can sign up to receive this monthly newsletter straight into your mailbox. Just click the little “Follow” box at the bottom, right hand side of the screen and enter your email address***

See you next week for the top Björk tunes (and Just Another Monthly will be back in a month’s time)!

 

Top 15 Pulp Tunes

Whilst many were fighting over who was superior- Blur or Oasis, there were many sitting to one side of this musical battle wryly commenting that it was in fact Pulp, that was the better band. Some may have said this just to be different or because they were sick of hearing about Blur or bloody Oasis. However, there was a good point to be made with that statement. Pulp were one of the best bands of the period and for me personally one of all my all time favourite bands. My affection for them started when I first heard Razzmatazz all the way back in 1993 and rushed out to buy the 7″ single. Imagine my joy when I discovered they had already been knocking out tunes since 1983 and there was already quite the back catalogue for me to delve into. But, for me, it was with their 1994 album His ‘n’ Hers that my love for Pulp really peaked. It is still to this day, one of my favourite albums. I was lucky enough to have caught them live several times, but my favourite concert of theirs was when they supported Blur at Alexandra Palace in 1994. I was right at the front and was mesmerised by their performance and Jarvis Cocker’s delectable charm. Whilst, Different Class was a fantastic album, my love for Pulp did wane some from This is Hardcore onwards.

Favourite Pulp album: His ‘n’ Hers (1994 no.9)

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Have a gander at my selected favourite Pulp tunes below and let me know which are your favourite.

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15. Lipgloss (1993, no.50, His ‘n’ Hers)

14. Something Changed (1996, no.10, Different Class)

13. My Legendary Girlfriend (1991, did not chart, Separations)

12. After You (2013, no.101, non-album single)

11. Mis-Shapes (1995, no.2, Different Class)

10. My Lighthouse (1983, did not chart, It)

9. She’s a Lady (1994, album track, His ‘n’ Hers)

8. Disco 2000 (1995, no.7, Different Class)

7. Masters of the Universe (1987, did not chart, Freaks)

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6. Bar Italia (1995, album track, Different Class)

5. Acrylic Afternoons (1994, album track, His ‘n’ Hers)

4. Do You Remember the First Time? (1994, no.33, His ‘n’ Hers)

3. Razzmatazz (1993, no.80, non-album single)

2. Common People (1995, no.2, Different Class)

and my all time favourite Pulp song is…

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1. Babies (1992,1994, no.19, His ‘n’ Hers)

The One That Almost Made It: Birds in Your Garden (2001, album track, We Love Life)

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All the interchangeable covers for the Different Class album (the three of them dancing was always my favourite).

Don’t forget to tell me your favourite Pulp track below.

See you next week for the very first Just Another Monthly. A monthly news letter, that will feature something to cook, something to read, something to buy, something to watch, something to laugh at and something to listen to. Plus other stuff that I might get round to cobbling together. Hope to see you there! The following week will feature all the best tunes from Björk.

For other musical artist top tunes click on the link:

Beatles Björk Blur George Michael Kylie Minogue Madonna Prince Suede Tori Amos

Top 20 Blur Tunes

Imagine, you’re at school and you feel a little different from everyone else. Not in a way that makes you special or some kind of teenage maverick genius. Just a bit different in an ordinary way. You find solace in music. You obsessively read NME, Melody Maker and Select every week. Holding on to every word spoken by every musician, like these music publications are your version of the bible. You enthusiastically bang on about your favourite songs, your favourite lyrics and your favourite guitar riffs to your bemused friends, who are wondering why you aren’t just satisfied with listening to the Dirty Dancing soundtrack like everyone else. Then you meet someone at school, who is just like you. Is as obsessed with music as you are. Who happily listens to you endlessly talk about music, who has as much to say about it as you, who listens to all your recommendations and loves them as much as you do and who is magically also obsessed with the same British band. A band who released a mediocre debut album (in 1991), but you both love them anyway. It was their championing of subculture that got you both, it was their lyrics, it was the sound of their guitar, their trail-blazing celebration of British culture and yes, it also happened to be the prettiness of their lead singer and bassist.

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I’m talking about Blur of course. It was my friendship with my fellow Blur loyalist and our need to see what else was out there outside of our hometown that led us to following Blur around on their tours, somehow ending up at their after show parties (uninvited), where I may or may not have done the following: vomited on Damon Albarn’s Adidas trainers, gifted Alex James with a poem a wrote about stars (CRINGECRINGEFUCKINGCRINGE), my friend and I drank their whole rider of wine without their permission, Graham gave me a packet of cigarettes when I’d just asked for one, I questioned Emma from Lush on when her baby was due (she wasn’t pregnant), I tried to kiss Food Records boss Andy Ross, I actually did kiss Phil Daniels in exchange for an access all areas backstage pass for me AND my friend and my mum accosted Damon outside a venue they had played at, much to mine and my friend’s horror as we were just leaving a Blur’s aftershow party feeling particular cool. That quickly dissipated seeing my mum wagging her finger in Damon’s direction. Damon and Dave were always very kind, polite and respectful. Graham was bit of a dick, but in a funny and likeable way. Alex was just a dick (but so pretty). We went on every tour of theirs, but the access into their parties soon came to an end once they became hugely successful. There was no sneaking into aftershow parties at Wembley. Quaffing riders aside, from the first album their music went from strength to strength until for me personally it dipped a bit circa 1995. From 1997, Blur returned to form with a new sound and one of their best albums, reinventing themselves in a way that their key rivals Oasis were never capable of (for the record the notorious “battle of the bands” in 1995 between Oasis and Blur when they both vied for the no.1 slot, was just embarrassing. Both records were equally dire). Blur have been together for 30 years now and in celebration of this here are my favourite songs and albums by them. There’s a Spotify playlist at the end for you all because I love you.

Best Albums

8. The Great Escape (1995, no.1)

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7. The Magic Whip (2015, no.1)

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6. Leisure (1991, no.7)

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5. Think Tank (2003, no.1)

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4. 13 (1999, no.1)

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3. Blur (1997, no.1)

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2. Modern Life is Rubbish (1993, no.15)

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1. Parklife (1994, no.1)

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Top 20 Songs

20. You’re So Great (1996, album track, Blur)

19. Sunday Sunday (1993, no.26, Modern Life is Rubbish)

18. Under the Westway (2012, no.34, non-album single)

17. Beetlebum (1997, no.1, Blur)

16. Entertain Me- Live it Remix (1995, B-side for The Universal and original version from The Great Escape)

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15. Tender (1999, no.2, 13)

14. Popscene (1992, no.32, non-album single)

13. There’s No Other Way (1991, no.8, Leisure)

12. Theme From an Imaginary Film (1994, B-side for Parklife)

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11. Young and Lovely (1993, B-side for Chemical World)

10. Coffee & TV (1999, no.11, 13)

9. Battery in Your Leg (2003, album track, Think Tank)

8. Out of Time (2003, No. 5, Think Tank)

7. End of a Century (1994, no.19, Parklife)

6. No Distance Left to Run (1999, no.14, 13)

5. Sing (1991, album track, Leisure)

4. Girls & Boys (1994, no.5, Parklife)

3. For Tomorrow- Visit to Primrose Hill extended version (1993, no.28, Modern Life is Rubbish)

2. Song 2 (1997, no.2, Blur)

And my all time favourite Blur song is…

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1. This is a Low (1994, album track, Parklife)

The one that almost made it: The Wassailing Song. This was given out free on 7″ vinyl at a Christmas Blur gig I went to in Fulham in (if my memory serves me right) 1992. It’s a cover of a traditional British Christmas song and this vinyl was one of my most prized possessions. However, I have no idea where it is now (sad face).

This post is dedicated to my mate Angela. My fellow Blur loyalist.

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Don’t forget to tell me your favourite Blur tune below.

See you next week for my top Pulp songs!

For other musical artist top tunes click on the link:

Beatles Björk George Michael Kylie Minogue Madonna Prince Pulp Suede Tori Amos

Top Ten Tunes- 1975

Every Friday, I’m publishing my top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1975.

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1974 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

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In 1975, Margaret Thatcher defeated Edward Heath and became the first female leader of the Conservative party in its history, 43 people were killed in the Moorgate tub train crash, a large National Front protest took place in London against Europe integration, after brake failure a coach plunges off a bridge in West Yorkshire killing the driver and 31 female pensioners becoming the worst UK road accident in history, 67% of voters in a referendum voted to remain in the EEC, the London Hilton hotel was bombed by the IRA killing 2 and injuring 63 people, Fawlty Towers was broadcast for the first time, an IRA bomb exploded near Green Park tube station killing 1 and injuring 20 people, an IRA bomb intended for politician Sir Hugh Fraser kills oncologist Gordon Hamilton Fairley, the first vicim of the Moors Murders is discovered in Leeds, the first public performance by Sex Pistols takes place, racing driver Graham Hill (Damon Hill’s father) dies in an air crash, the co-founder of the Guinness Book of Records Ross McWhirter is shot dead by the IRA, the Vietnam War ends, VHS is introduced to the world, the 15 year civil war in Lebanon starts between Maronite Christians and Muslin militias and the films Jaws, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Dog Day Afternoon, One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest, Monty Python and the Holy Grail and Tommy are all released (what a year for film!) and I started to make my mum look like she ate all the pies….

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Oh gang, I can’t believe this is it. This is THE final Top Ten Tunes. I started this feat of an idea way back in November 2017 and here we are in 2019 and I’ve finally gone through every year from 1960 to 2018 with my Top Ten Tunes from each year, along with the news form each year, a bit of reminiscing and some rather wonderful photography hopefully capturing the various eras. I’ve learned a lot, it’s renewed my passion in music from the past and it has also taken me down memory lane. I thoroughly enjoyed doing these lists and thank you so much for joining me every week or even if you just popped in from time to time. And I really hope I didn’t let you down when it came to your birth year’s selection of music (and sorry if I didn’t cover your birth year). At the end of this post, I’ve gathered together a renewed selection of facts about these playlists similar to how I did with this post HERE  and there’ll be a playlist at the end of every favourite song of mine from every year (all 59 songs!).

So, here we go, for the final time, my 10 personal favourite tunes from a particular year and this week, it’s 1975.

1. You Sexy Thing by Hot Chocolate

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2. Young Americans by David Bowie

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3. Lovin’ You  by Minnie Riperton

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4. I’m Not in Love by 10cc

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5. Black Country Woman by Led Zeppelin

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6. Make Me Smile (Come Up and See Me) by Steve Harley & the Cockney Rebels

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7. Never Can Say Goodbye by Gloria Gaynor

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8. Love is the Drug by Roxy Music

9. Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen

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10. Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen

I mean, I’m so basic, I’m going to pick Queen this week. I tried really hard not to go for the obvious one, but I had to pick the one that just so happens to genuinely be my favourite (which is exactly as I have done every other week). So, please don’t be shy (especially not on our final week), tell me which is your favourite.

When I did the years 1976-2018, the nationality of acts that appeared the most was British and that was by quite a long way, but interestingly between 1960-1975, the most popular nationality for these playlists was American. In fact, for this period, all the acts were either American or British, apart from just 3 acts (who all hailed from the Caribbean).

My top 4 acts from 1960-1975 are:

4. Elton John (features 4 times)

3. Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye & David Bowie (5 times each)

2. Stevie Wonder (7 times)

1. Beatles (9 times)

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That means, my overall top 5 acts (from 1960-2018) are:

5. Bjork (features 7 times)

4. George Michael & Beyonce (8 times each)

3. Beatles & Blur  (9 times each)

2. Madonna, Stevie Wonder & Kylie Minogue (10 times each and Madge has been knocked off the top spot by…..)

1. David Bowie is my most popular artist throughout all of these Top Ten Tunes, appearing 12 times. First appearing in 1969 and featuring for the final time in 2016. I think that really says something about Bowie as an artist.

Bowie's Thin White Duke persona, smoking a Gitanes cigarette, 1976.

All of those top artists are favourite artists of mine unsurprisingly, apart from Elton John. I must like him more than I think I do!

Last thing, from next week onwards I’ll be doing posts on my favourite songs by certain artists, so I hope I still see you all on some of those future posts.

And here’s that final playlist of every one of my favourite songs from every single year from 1960-2018. Phew!

See you next week for my Top Blur Songs!

Top Ten Tunes- 1974

Every Friday, I’m publishing my top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1974.

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1973 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

1974 General Election - Prime Minister Harold Wilson

Harold Wilson becomes Prime Minister

In 1974, the IRA bomb a coach on the M62 in West Yorkshire, killing 12 people (2 of which were children), Grenada becomes independent from the UK, the general election takes place and results in a hung parliament, Ted Heath announces his resignation and Harold Wilson becomes Prime Minister leading a minority Labour government, 180 Brits die when a plane crashes near Paris– killing all 346 people on board, the Eurovision Contest takes place in Brighton and a band called Abba wins with the song Waterloo, 34 people are killed in bombings that take place in Dublin and Monaghan, clashes between the far-right National Front and counter-protesters results in a 21 year old student being killed, the IRA bomb the Houses of Parliament, another IRA bomb explodes at the Tower of London killing 1 person, the Guildford pub bombing kills 5 people, a second general election takes place, which results in Labour winning, another IRA bomb explodes at the Brook’s club in London, Lord Lucan disappears after the death of his children’s nanny, the IRA bomb a pub in Woolwich killing 2 people, McDonald’s open their first restaurant in the UK, 21 people are killed in an IRA bomb in a pub in Birmingham, the London home of Ted Heath is bombed by the IRA– he only narrowly missed the explosion, Richard Nixon becomes the first American president forced to resign after the Watergate scandal, the Rumble in the Jungle takes place when George Foreman and Muhammed Ali fight in a much hyped boxing match- Ali wins, Gerald Ford becomes the President of the United States, Isabel Peron becomes the first female President in the world when she becomes President of Argentina, West Germany wins the World Cup and the films Chinatown, The Godfather Part II, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Death Wish, The Towering Inferno, The Man With Golden Gun and Swallows and Amazons are all released.

Al Pacino In 'The Godfather: Part II' Woody Allen And Mia Farrow In 'A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy' '

This week contains one of my all time favourite songs, lots of familiar faces from previous Top Ten Tunes and the introduction of some band called Queen. Spotify playlist at the end.

1. Killer Queen by Queen

2. Jet by Paul McCartney & Wings

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3. You’re The First, The Last, My Everything by Barry White

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This photo of Bazza is perfection

4. You Are Everything by Marvin Gaye & Diana Ross

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5. That’s the Spirit by Judee Sill

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6. This Town Ain’t Big Enough For the Both Of Us by Sparks

7. Rebel Rebel by David Bowie

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8. Don’t You Worry ‘Bout A Thing by Stevie Wonder

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9. I’m In Love by Aretha Franklin

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10. Candle in the Wind by Elton John

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Queen and Bowie are my runners up, but Judee Sill is easily my favourite this week as it’s one of my all time favourite songs. Please let me know below which one of these 1974 gems is your favourite.

See you next week for the final ever Top Ten Tunes and 1975!

Top Ten Tunes- 1973

Every Friday, I’m publishing my top ten songs from a single year and this week it’s the turn of 1973.

For previous top ten tunes, please click on the year: 1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972 1974 1975 1976 1977 1978 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018

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Princess Anne’s wedding

In 1973, the UK enters the EEC (European Economic Community), 400 children attack British troops in Derry, Northern Ireland, Pink Floyd release The Dark Side of the Moon the best-selling album of all time by a British artist, two IRA bombs explode in London killing 1 and injuring 250, the Northern Ireland sovereignty referendum voted in favour of remaining within the UK with 98.9% of the votes, the new London Bridge was opened, women were admitted into the London Stock Exchange for the first time, the Bahamas gains full independence, 18 coal miners are killed in Derbyshire in a cage brake failure accident and 7 miners die in West Yorkshire in another coal mine accident, more IRA bombs explode in both Manchester and London, the Princess Royal (Anne) marries Captain Mark Phillips, the US ends its involvement with Vietnam after signing the Paris Peace Accords, the American Indian Movement (AIM) occupied Wounded Knee in South Dakota taking 11 hostages to highlight the injustices that Native Americans faced, Sears Tower in Chicago is completed, the Sydney Opera House is opened, the World Trade Center is also opened, Basque terrorists kill the Spanish Prime Minister Luis Carrero Blanco, the films The Exorcist, American Graffiti, The Wicker Man, Live and Let Die, and Mean Streets are released and both my big brother and my husband were born.

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Another absolutely storming week this week. Only two more weeks of these Top Ten Tunes after this week!

1. Nutbush City Limits by Ike and Tina Turner

2. Top of the World by The Carpenters

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In 1973, The Carpenters performed at the White House.

3. Killing Me Softly With His Song by Roberta Flack

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4. Living For the City by Stevie Wonder (Whilst the song is from 1973, this video isn’t quite, but almost. Listen to that voice!)

5. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road by Elton John

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6. Love Train by The O’Jays

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7. You Can’t Always Get What You Want by The Rolling Stones (from the 1969 album Let It Bleed, it was randomly released as a single in 1973)

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8. Piano Man by Billy Joel

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9. Life on Mars? by David Bowie

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10. Love Reign O’er Me by The Who (this had to be in here this week as Quadrophenia is one of my all time favourite films)

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Struggling to pick a favourite from those last three songs, but I’m going to go for Billy Joel this week. If you can pick one, which one is your favourite?

See you next week for 1974!