Category Archives: music

International talk like a pirate day

international talk like a pirate day

The 19th of this month was international talk like a pirate day and I missed it. I found out on the 20th and felt like I had been cheated out of a days worth of fun with the kids. Being a teacher means different things to different people. To me it’s all about having as much fun as possible and carrying that over to the learning. Pirate day would have been awesome. I also own a pirate costume, that helps get in the spirit. yarrrrrr.

International pirate day got me thinking about what other made up days we should have. If I could get the world to buy into a day what would it be? A list of made up days you say? Go on then.

1)International music amnesty day. I like a certain type if music and I believe that style of music to be socially acceptable (at least to those in my social circle). Rock, metal and most stuff with guitars to be honest. I do have a few guilty pleasures though. Bands or artists that, when they come on my all songs shuffle list, make my friends give me the look. The look that starts off as surprise, turns to disappointment and ends in anger. What I’m suggesting is that we have a day at work where we all bring in our secret CD stash and sing along. I’ll start off with mine… I own every Robbie Williams album. Sorry guys but it’s not just on my iPod because my wife likes it. It’s all mine.

2)International David Hasslehoff day (Hoff day for short). I love the Hoff. I think we should pay homage to this great icon and give him his own day. Adults could wear wigs, orange shorts and talk to their cars. We could reminisce about all the wonderful television he has given us and sing the bay watch theme (I reckon you may be doing so at this very moment). And for the kids, a history lesson about the Berlin Wall and his part in its downfall. I would definitely get a curly wig, leather jacket and learn the lyrics to his songs. Who’s with me? Good. I’m thinking Friday the 28th of September. Facebook, tweet and let the world know of the mighty Hoff.

3) International wear your pyjamas to work day. I think this would make for a great atmosphere and many fun pub crawls after work. We have done it a few times at school for charity and the kids loved it. Maybe it could coincide with comic relief or some other charitable event. Either way, worth a go.

For fun I asked my kids at school what day they would like. Two lists in one week? Oh go on then.
1. National Rollerskate everywhere day. Self explanatory.
2. Lasagne day. We all have lasagne for dinner.
3. National dress up like a superhero day. According to the child I asked this should coincide with national dress up like a super villain day. Genius!
4. National celebrity day. As I understand it, celebrities are allowed a day off from the paparazzi as long as they take the bus and shop in Asda. They also have to visit schools and have their photo taken with the kids.

Love it!

What about you? If you could introduce a national or international holiday what would it be? I’d back you if I thought it was a goer.

I leave you with this link. It’s from my sons favourite show and teaches you how to talk like a pirate. Yo ho lets go Just hit the play button and sing along.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

international hoff hasslehoff day

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My 12th annual 21st birthday

It’s my birthday today (only if you’re reading it on the 15th) and I’m actually quite excited. The thing that’s exciting me this year is the fact that my little boy knows what’s going on. A bit sad? You bet.
It got me thinking about how my view of birthdays has changed over the years and what birthdays mean at different ages. A list you say? A list with a twist.
Early years – early birthdays are all about the chaos and confusion of it. A house full of family, as much cake and sweets as you can eat and a conveyor belt of presents. It’s the presents that I remember (maybe its a false memory as I’ve seen, and am lucky enough to have, video tapes of those early years) and the fact that they kept on coming. A conveyer belt of ripping, shaking and discarding before moving on to the next item. The other side to the coin was if you got the one you really wanted early on then the others waited for a long time to be opened. I love the start of ‘Toy Story’ when you see it from the perspective of the toy, the panic that new toys bring, “pull my string the birthday party’s today!” a shocked Woody exclaims. One of the best openings to a film I’ve seen.
woody the cowboy toy story
Primary school age (4-11) – This is now more about the party and a little less about the presents. At this age you get to invite your whole class and run around like nutter, high on sugar, for a few hours. The doorbell has never been such an amazing noise. The party food and spread is also very important. This is something I tried to capture in the second Squidge book. I wanted to write about Christmas but not all totally about it. I came up with the idea of the big elf celebration (they were far to busy and then exhausted to celebrate Christmas) being a birthday party, and who better than Santa to throw the biggest party of the year. Here’s a little excerpt.

Now, if you are an elf, then Santa’s birthday party is the best time of the year. Elves don’t really celebrate Christmas like us because they have no time to prepare. Christmas takes a lot of hard work to make great and the elves are too busy making toys. Santa knows this and so makes sure that all of the elves get to have a great big party on his birthday. To give you an idea of how big a party it was, here is one page of Santa’s party preparation list:

 

Jelly and ice cream

Crisps (all flavours, shapes and sizes)

Donuts (jam and chocolate)

Fizzy drinks

Sweets (soft, hard and chewy and all the colours of the rainbow)

Sausage rolls

Pizza (one of each topping and 2 pepperoni as its Santa’s favourite)

Jam sandwiches (with the crusts cut off)

Ham sandwiches (with the crusts left on)

Balloons (the ones that float)

Streamers

A Piñata (full of marshmallows so they don’t hurt you when they fall out)

A gigantic birthday cake (must be chocolate sponge with chocolate icing and chocolate buttons)

 

And there are 20 more pages just like this one. I bet if you can think of something you would like to have at a party, you would find it on Santa’s party list.

squidge Christmas elf

Teenage years – as you get a bit older the party at your house, with the cake and cliche, just won’t cut it. It’s a time in your life when it’s all about you. I want this, I want that, and so on. You want one big present (usually very expensive) and a cool party at the bowling ally, swimming pool, fast food restaurant, quasar (look it up kids) or cinema. What you don’t realise is the expense. Your parents have to pay for the lot. At 13 or 14 though you don’t really care or consider it.
Early 20’s – clothes and a pub. It really is that simple. You can legally drink and you wanna look good doing it. The choice of pub though is very important. You want somewhere cheap, and that usually means a chain, but you also you want somewhere with atmosphere and that means expensive. Do you go to the local or somewhere different. These decisions are very important in your early 20’s and the clothes choices infinitely embarrassing when you look back.
the chequers billericay
Early 30’s – my 30th was a massive event. Bouncy castle, fancy dress (I went as a Jedi), old school sweets, shed loads of beer and pumping 90’s tunes. Everything from the Chillies to MC Hammer and all that is in between. This birthday though will be as the last couple have been, very low key affairs. A couple of friends, a couple of kegs of beer and laugh or two.
adnams broadside and bitter in my fridge
I’m off for a swim with my son now (partly so he’ll have a good nap and not be grumpy when my friends show up later) and then maybe out to lunch to line my stomach for the beer ahead.
I envisage a Sunday morning hangover followed by a fry up and many cups of coffee. Enjoy your weekend people. I know I will.
The final picture is of me and my dad at my 30th. He says he’s meant to be John Wayne, I think he looks Like Woody. You decide.
me and my dad peter
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He’s just a rascal.

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In true British fashion I expected the opening ceremony to be awful. I’m happy to admit that I was wrong. The ceremony was funny, interesting, spectacular and above all else culturally relevant. Where did this cultural relevance come? One man, Mr Dizzee Rascal.

Before the ceremony began the BBC did a very lengthy build up. Veeeery lengthy. It included a picture/video montage, another look at the torch relay, a chat to Olympic champions, yet another look at the torch relay and lots of pundits filling time. All of this was nice. What was great was the Dizzee Rascal segment.

Mr Rascal took us around east London and spoke very passionately about the area. He shared where he grew up (a council estate in Bow) and chatted to the people he met, some young and some old. It felt very real, not contrived or a show. He spoke about the diversity of London with pride and actually brought a lump to my throat.

Having lived in Bethnal Green and Bow for the better part of a decade I also agree that the Olympics has gone to a part of London that really needs it. The regeneration of the area has been huge and the investment by the council massive. I may not agree with where all the money has gone but it has gone on the local area.

I’ll put up with the Olympic lanes, the closing off of my local park, the massive influx of tourists and not being able to use the public transport system, all because of the words of a grime rapper from Bow. His pride in this area (the jacket he wore onstage at the opening ceremony had E3 stitched on it, our local postal code), the way he speaks about London and his love of all things ethically and culturally diverse in our great city.

London has an effect on people. I was not born here but I feel that it is my city and I couldn’t be prouder. I know loads of people who feel the same.

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A God Damn Disaster?

It had all the makings of a great night.

1) Son dropped off at parents. Check.
2) Meeting friends and Sis at a pub. Check
3) Friends band playing an awesome venue. Check.
4) Bowling alley booked. Check.
5) karaoke booth NOT booked. Check.

And it didn’t disappoint.

The first sign of a good night in the making was that we walked into the pub about 20 seconds before our friends Alex and April. We sat, we chatted, we had drinks and we waited for my little sister to show. This was the second sign of a good night as my sister was only 15 minutes late. So we sat drinking, chatting and having a laugh without having to do that sly looking out of the corner of your eye thing, while hoping the person you are talking to doesn’t notice,  while waiting for someone who hasn’t shown up yet to show.

We strolled up to Bloomsbury bowling and walked straight in. No cover charge for us (as we were bowling), no queue and it was the same story at the bar. The fun part was walking past the karaoke booths and trying to guess what the drunken groups of girls (stereotypical I know, but true) were singing and watching the dance moves. Some of them were really going for it.

So far, so good.

We then went to the diner part and ordered food and then the band we had come to see started to play. Bad. The diner table had a direct view of the stage and the audio was being pumped throughout the venue, Back on track! Even better than that was the fact that the bowling alley we had booked was as close to the stage as you could get.

The band themselves were great. A mixture of guitar twanging, drum thumping, bass pounding Rockabilly originals and unique covers.   The lead singer interacted well with the audience through both his banter and rockabilly growling tones, the double bass filled the stage with both its size and sound (and was expertly played), the rhythm guitar was driving and didn’t falter and the drums were a skillful mix of background metronome and foreground fills (and even a solo).

Better than all this though was the fact that I was winning the bowling.

Next on stage was a burlesque act. I shall say very little about them due to the fact that some of my students may read this. They did what all burlesque acts do and did it very well.

Our great night ended with 2 wonderful things. A) we caught the last train home and B) there was still a slice of pizza left in the fridge. Spot on.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

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Ugly Kid Joe: The Comeback Gig

Ugly Kid Joe are back! And they are fantastic. From the chugging chords of Neighbor, to the acoustic version of Cats in the Cradle and the inevitable encore of Everything About You, it was as if they had never been away.

Before they could take the stage, the support act of Fozzy attempted to get the crowd going. They were not great. The crowd sung along when directed to and waved their hands with the lead singer. I think this was mainly because of his size of the lead singer and the fact the he was (and still is I suppose) American wrestler Chris Jericho. Big? yep. Scary? yep. Camp? Very much so. They came on and left with a meh, then it was time for UKJ.

They opened with the shout along classic VIP and the crowd responded as expected. The crowd itself was a real mix of people of all ages. I was surprised to see some people there under 20, not surprised to see lots more 30 somethings and happy to see the old rockers with the obligatory Stones and Pink Floyd t’s on. As the set progressed it became clear that they had practiced for this gig. They were tight, enthusiastic, humble and seemed to enjoy (unlike most other bands who have not had a fifteen year break between gigs) playing the old stuff.

The new stuff was good also. The only song that stuck out was Another Beer and only because it was played acoustically straight after Cats in the Cradle. The crowd went from shouting the lyrics as one, to complete silence. The new EP was available from the merch stall (we were informed by lead singer Whitfield Crane that they don’t have, nor need, management or a label) or can be downloaded. I must admit to downloading the greatest hits a few days before the gig. I must also admit to not buying the new EP (yet). A further admission was that of being drawn to the old school t shirts (the ones with the cartoon dude with the back to front hat on) as appose to the new ones.

I personally think that the new stuff is not standalone. In my humble opinion, as long as they keep playing the old stuff they have a money spinner. I would highly recommend going to see them, if only for that being fifteen feeling. I leave you with the set list. If you are going to see them, prepare yourself for a nostalgic treat.

Setlist:

VIP
Neighbor
God
Dialogue
Panhandlin’ Prince
Milkman’s Son
C.U.S.T
Cats in the Cradle
Another Beer
Sweet Leaf
Make Me Sick
I’m Alright
Tomorrow’s World
God Damn Devil
Everything About You

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I don’t like that band but…

I love one of their songs.

I was talking to one of my friends the other day about music. I stated that I have got to a point in my life where I have a playlist of a few hours (7 hours, 51 minutes, 27 seconds to be precise) where I love all of the songs. Don’t worry, I wont list them all here. I then realised that the fact that I had such a playlist has coincided with my use of iTunes. In the good old days, when I used to like one song of a band I didn’t really like I wouldn’t bother buying the whole album. But now, I can get whatever songs I like.

So here it is, my list of songs that really make my day. Songs that I never skip on my playlist. Songs that can make me smile. Songs where I don’t really like the band but love one of their creations.

1) Kiss ‘God gave rock ‘n’ roll to you II’
This one I put down to the end of Bill and Teds bogus journey. They go off to write the song that unites mankind. I personally think they pulled it off. I tried looking for this song for ages but was under the false impression it was Z Z Top. I think it was the connection with the beards Bill S Preston esquire and Ted Theodore Logan sported.

2) Ben Harper ‘Walk away’

I had a friend who was effortlessly cool. She was like the person Ben Folds describes in his song ‘Kate’ (When all words fail she speaks. Her mix tape’s a masterpiece). I stole one of those mix tapes and this song was on it. Sorry Sara, I still have it if you want it back.

3) Alice in chains ‘Them bones’

When I was younger I spent a great deal of time round a friends house. There were 2 reasons for this: 1) he was a mate and I enjoyed his company and 2) his parents went out often. We used to get drunk and watch films, usually the same ones over and over. One such film was street fighter 2, the animated movie. It was a manga style film that had a fight scene to the above song. The fight was between Ken and Bison, in case you were interested.

4) Blind melon ‘No rain’

It was covered by a band I saw and fancied the singer. Got a snog off her eventually.

5) Squeeze ‘Tempted’

You will hear me singing this at the top of my lungs if ever you shower with me (offers on a postcard). I think it was in the film Reality bites. Anyway, it’s in my vocal range and I think I sing it amazingly. Not sure my wife agrees.

6) Bon Jovi ‘Wanted Dead or Alive’

I once played on stage with Bon Jovi. Seriously. It wasn’t as cool as it sounds though, I was pretending to play the trumpet. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I used to be in a drum corp (marching band) and we got asked to mime the start to one of his songs. Me and my fellow band mates stood on stage, in front of 60,000 people and faked playing for 30 seconds. Rock and roll baby!

So there you have it, a useless list of songs I like.

Before I sign off this week, yes I have tried the other songs from the bands in question. I just don’t get on with them.
I know some of you will love whole albums and discographies of one or two of the above bands. I also know how frustrating it is when I love an artist and someone says ‘oh yeah, I like one of their songs’. Well, you can take a stand, or you can compromise…

You can work real hard or just fantasize
But you don’t start livin’ till you realize – “I gotta tell ya!”

God gave rock and roll to you, gave rock and roll to you
Gave rock and roll to everyone
God gave rock and roll to you, gave rock and roll to you
Put it in your soul.

Bet you sang that in your head.

As always, feel free to share the link, re blog or point people to my new (fancy pants) website address http://www.andrewauthor.com

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