Friday, 26 June 2009

Michael Jackson Has Died

Michael Joseph Jackson (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

Today the world mourns the loss of an extraordinarily talented man who passed away from a massive heart attack yesterday at the age of fifty.

Not only was he a wonderful singer but he was also an amazing dancer, most noted was the famous "Moonwalk" which he invented.

I don't want to get into some of the scandals he was involved in but what I will say is that I believe Michael Jackson was a kind, innocent caring man who had an absolutely horrendous childhood, and would never, ever harm anyone else intentionally. Draw your own conclusions from that.

I also want to say I am shocked and heartbroken. I really wish so much that I was born a lot earlier so I could have been around in the Golden Age of popularmusic, the Sixties and Seventies.

Some suggested watching; Thriller - just incredible, genius, mindblowing; the dancing has been emulated in so many things it's hard to count them all. As a passionate dancer myself, I really love to watch the moves. He was always good at his choreography and music videos. A true artist, through and through.

I leave you with my favourite Michael Jackson video. One which highlights his love of other human beings and animals. I cry every time I see the video and it is all the more poignant now. He did so much for our planet.

Rest In Peace Michael. I pray God is looking after you and watching over your family, whom my thoughts are also with.

Photograph taken from

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Old Man Willow - Elephant's Memory

Friday, 19 June 2009

Happy Birthday Sir Paul McCartney

^ From

Yes I know, I'm over a day late! Sorry!

Yesterday, the 18th of June, was the most handsome Beatle, (in my opinion!) Sir Paul McCartney's 67th birthday.

Describing how much and why I love The Beatles would take up an infinite amount of posts and this isn't the last you'll hear from me about them on here, but I just want to take this opportunity to say Happy Birthday. The Beatles are my third all-time favourite band and Sir Paul McCartney is one of the most talented musicians to walk this Earth. We are very lucky he is still around. Sadly John Lennon and George Harrison are no longer with us.

After The Beatles McCartney recorded a soundtrack for a Rupert Bear film. I happen to have been lucky enough to hear a song that he wrote and recorded but which was left off the finished version. It is, in my opinion, one of the best songs he's ever written. You won't find it in the shops or on YouTube.

Sir Paul also set up a band called "Wings" which were very successful, and he recorded one of the most famous Christmas songs "A Wonderful Christmas Time". He is still touring and does a lot of work for good causes.

Some people think he's a bit of a doorknob and I guess he's done some silly things as we all have. I think he's bloomin' marvellous.

I'll leave you with a relatively recent Paul McCartney video. It's one of my very favourite Beatles classics.

*sigh* if only I could meet a man just like him!

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Kaiser Chiefs on BBC Radio 6

Kaiser Chief fans are being treated to two hours of their heroes every Sunday in the month of June on BBC Radio 6.

Ricky Wilson and Nick Hodgson have been taking over from 3:30PM - 5:30PM, playing some excellent music including that of The Specials.

You can hear previous Sunday's broadcasts at Kaiser Chiefs' Message Board

I lurve the Kaiser Chiefs. "Ruby" was my anthem for 2007 and "Oh My G0D" is on my iPod (I'm gert posh I am, 'avin' an iPod like).

I nearly saw them in 2007 when I went to T4 on the Beach in Weston-Super-Mare, but sadly I had to get back early.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Kylie to have a catholic wedding?

Apparently, the fabulous Kylie Minogue wants to get married in a catholic church and is planning to convert.


Personally, I think it's a wonderful idea if that's what she really wants to do, and is committed to the catholic faith. I get a bit annoyed with people who marry in a church just because it's "pretty". Anyway, this article might be just a load of gossip, but I hope she has found the right man for her in Andres Valencoso. She deserves so much happiness. A few years ago her then fiance Olivier Martinez allegedly cheated on her and then she found out she had breast cancer, which she won a brave battle against in the end.

As for her music; okay, she's not the greatest musician in the world. However, her songs are guaranteed to get me on the dancefloor and from looking at programmes about her, my goodness, can she put on a show!

She's 41 years old now believe it or not, but you have to remember she's been in the charts since the late 1980s.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Children's book - Elliott by Tobin Sprout

Now I am going to do a book review which is very unusual, seeing as this is a music blog, but this is the book "Elliott" by Tobin Sprout - the singer I wrote my previous post about.

The publishers, Mackinac Island Press were kind enough to send me an exclusive PDF preview of the book and I have to say I am very impressed. The story is not only written by Tobin Sprout; he is also responsible for the stunning illustrations.

It's a children's book about a rabbit called Elliott, who works as part of a magician's act, and a little girl called April who is his biggest fan.

Here's a little excerpt:

"Elliott loved when Walter announced the show each night.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I give you The Amazing Magic Show,
featuring. . .ELLIOTT. . .THE MAGICAL! ”
Elliott loved being in the spotlight. He loved the sweet smell
of cotton candy and fresh popcorn that filled the air. When Elliott
popped out of his magic top hat, people cheered.
To Elliott, Walter Wiggins was a hero. His small gestures of love
grew large in the hearts of those he touched. He especially touched
the heart of a little orphan girl named April, the biggest fan the carnival
ever had."

I really loved reading this. I thought it had a beautiful, 'antique' or Victorian quality to it. The drawings were lovely. The story itself is very imaginative and wonderfully written, but also holds important lessons for children, such as loss and learning to let go and carry on with life.

I feel it's a story that children wouldn't necessarily be able to grasp if they were reading it by themselves. It's something that would be perfect for a parent to read their child at bedtime, or a teacher to read to their class in an afternoon lesson.

I feel very privileged to have been basically sent an amazing book for free. All they asked for was my opinion, they didn't even ask me to do this.

Still, it's no substitute for the real book. I might just have to order it from their website at Mackinac Island Press.

While I'm on the subject of writing (and gushing) I just want to say thank you to Pass Your Driving Test for posting my whole article on your blog. And also want to thank Post Secret for reminding me there are people out there with bigger problems than mine!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Tobin Sprout

I admit I've been a bit Youtube-happy lately and this is no exception.

Here is a song by Tobin Sprout, from the 80s and 90s indie band, Guided by Voices.

The song is called "Wedding Song" from Sprout's up-and-coming album "Bevel Web" which is due to be released in the Autumn.

I find "Wedding Song" very relaxing; the sort of thing I'd be very happy to put on the jukebox at the pub while I'm playing pool.

Tobin Sprout is also an author and has written a lovely children's book called "Elliott" - which sold out in its first month - and is going to write a song of the same name.

So, a man of many talents!

The book "Elliott" is available from

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Good Classical Music!

Classical music is not one of my favourite genres, but I have to say that sometimes I will hear a piece somewhere and it will touch me.

I remember a few months ago, I was round the house of a friend of mine. He'd been through a rough time lately but he'd recently bought an upright piano, which he told me he could play.

I didn't hear him play it until one day I heard beautiful music coming from another room to which I was in. I walked in and there he was. He played me about five pieces wonderfully; all were Bach.

I'd never experienced the privilege of being the sole audience member of a pianist before. I was very moved.

Anyway, you may have heard Saint-Saens "Le Carnival Des Animaux". Sections from it often get used for advertisements on the television. My favourite section, "Aquarium" was recently used in one of the trailers for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (excellent film by the way!).

I first heard it in primary school, many years ago. We had a very good teacher who was great at facilitating music sessions and she played us the full "Le Carnival Des Animaux" - section by section, and asked us to write down what they made us think of as we listened to them.

She didn't give us the names of the sections. They are of course all named by the animal they represent. For most of them, there was a wide range of answers. But for "Aquarium", about 90% of the class had put "fish" or the sea.

I loved this piece of music then and I love it now.

Have a listen, and feel free to listen to the other sections of the song. You've gotta love his sense of humour - "Pianists"!

Wednesday, 3 June 2009

10 Songs That Make Me Feel Confident

Do you ever hear a song and suddenly feel really empowered and confident? Maybe you don't; maybe it's just me. I might just be making myself look like a mad person here (well actually, I AM) but I thought some one, somewhere might be able to relate to this.

I know songs can make people feel happy, sad, hopeful or calm, but what about confident?

Sometimes, a certain song will come on, maybe on my iPod, or a pub jukebox, or the radio, and something comes over me. It's hard to explain. It's like a layer of self-consciousness is peeled away. Sometimes I play myself one of these songs before a job interview, or appraisal, or even social situations I feel apprehensive about.

Anyway, enough of the psychobabble, here are ten of my most confidence-boosting songs:

1. Do Your Thing - Basement Jaxx

2. Venus - Shocking Blue/Bananarama

3. Freebird - Lynyrd Skynyrd (note to self: must make a post about this band <3)

4. She's Not There - Santana (" " ")

5. One Way Or Another - Blondie

6. Baby I Don't Care - Transvision Vamp

7. You Know I'm No Good - Amy Winehouse

8. I Know I Can - Nas

9. Strong Enough - Cher

And of course...

10. I Will Survive - Gloria Gaynor

Just to add a bit about that last one, at the time Gloria Gaynor recorded that song, she had been in a terrible skiing accident and her mother had recently died, which is why it's so powerful, in my opinion.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Guitar kitteh!

I have to apologise for two things in advance:

1. This is a rather lazy post.

2. It's rather cheesy.

But... combines two of my favourite things; music, and cats!

Monday, 1 June 2009

Susan Boyle admitted to hospital


Susan Boyle has been "rushed" to rehabilitative care after suffering with "exhaustion".

I really pray this isn't serious and that she gets well soon. I also hope that the press will stop prying into her life and sensationalising every little move that she makes and calling her names like "hairy angel". I hope that the paparazzi stop harrassing her and people stop all the negative comments that they have been making.

I wish her a successful career in singing, and a happy, relatively "normal" life.