A month of Songs about balloons (KT’s Top 20 – Number 1)

balloons

Something Changed – Pulp

This was going to be a story about my wedding and how this was the first song that I danced to as a married woman.  As Dom and I wobbled away to it, fuelled by too much champagne, not enough food, and absolutely no sense of natural rhythm, about two hundred purple and green balloons fell from the ceiling.  Apparently Dom did a deal with the balloon seller on the colour, as the wedding colour was most definitely blue.

There we stood, with the closing bars of ‘Something Changed’ fading away, the two of us standing perfectly still, holding each other tightly.  Dom smiling his goofy smile, me trying not to trip over my dress or fall over from the champagne, both of us deliriously happy and wonderfully content.  Both of us knowing that the future is going to be absolutely fucking brilliant.

As the second song started (weirdly ‘Jolene’ by Dolly Parton) about 75 people burst onto the dancefloor and started bashing each other senseless with the balloons.   On the green side, SWC, marshalled by his daughter, precariously sitting on his shoulders, but a worryingly devastating shot at only six.  On the purple side, my sisters husband, James, guided by his eight year old a just as deadly shot. By the time the third song kicks in (Walk Like An Egyptian) pretty much all hell has broken loose and the dancefloor is full of burst balloons, spilt drink and crisps.

But I’m not going to write about that because this is my last piece from TSOBO.  I’m not going to say ever, but it is for a while and I don’t want this piece to be about me.

So I want to take this time to say thank you to the following people and they are in no particular order (apart from the top two).

Dom – for picking team purple at the wedding and for generally just being the best person in the world.

Mum and Dad – even though they don’t read this and would never speak to me again if they knew that I’d told you about the goose punching and the bell ringing and the drinking at parties.  They are my inspiration.

Alice – because you are my greatest friend and times you have been my only friend, and you are a wonderful human being who has taught me so much.

SWC and Badger – for the music, the laughter, the fun, the opportunities and for just believing in me.  Without you guys the last three years would have been much slower and much less fun.  Oh and SWC, I’ve left your copy of ‘The Bell jar’ on your desk.

Mrs Badger – for that chat in the rain in the park.

And finally you guys – Thank you for reading.  You will all never have any idea what it meant to me to have people reading words that I wrote and being (mostly, unless I’m writing about my mate Chris Martin) nice about it. I hope you’ve enjoyed it.  I sincerely mean this but if ever any of you are passing Exeter, come and say hi. The guys know where to find me.

Its been fun, from the Musical Snakes and Ladders, American Road Trips, Weddings, and now babies.

So that’s that.  I’m off to have a baby now. Which feels very grown up and adult, and honestly is not something I thought I’d be writing when I sat down and wrote 500 words about the eyes of a stag.

(Keisha Mugabe Trumpet has left the building – don’t ask)

A month of Songs about giving rockstars a lift (KT’s Top 20 – Number 2)

chris

Shiver – Coldplay

I wasn’t going to mention this story because it is sort of unbelievable, but hey, this is my second to last day in the blogging world.  So here goes, a story about the time I gave Chris Martin from Coldplay a lift to the supermarket to buy coffee.  That folks, is as rock and roll as it gets.

Now, most of you will know that Chris Martin is from Exeter, but what you probably don’t know is that his dad lives around the corner from my mum and dad.  I say around the corner, Chris’s dad is a self made millionaire who owns half of the local countryside (which he probably intends to turn into houses), his house has its own postcode.  Anyway, I digress.

This particular day, I had popped round to my mum and dads unexpectedly I wanted to drop off a present that I had brought back from Cambridge for my dad.  When I got to their house, there was a massive brand new Mercedes parked on the driveway, which didn’t belong to my parents.

It belonged to Chis Martin’s dad. He had turned up to speak to my dad (who is a parish Councillor) about a Planning Application that he had put in (several acres of woodland, to be bulldozed to make way for ‘executive homes’).  They were sat in the kitchen, there was a plate (one of what my mum calls the ‘best plates’) of biscuits and four cups of tea.  Of course I had no idea who the man was at the time.  I also noticed my mum wasn’t there.

My mum turned up about two minutes later followed by another man.  I said hi to mum and went over and gave her a hug.  It was then I realised that the other man was Chris Martin from the popular beat combo Coldplay.  I stood there rather gobstruck and did a double take when my mum said “oh that is good timing, you can take Chris here to Waitrose (of course it was Waitrose, why would it be anything else), we are out of his special coffee.”  She genuinely said that as I stood there and tried to stop my mouth opening and shutting whilst no words came out.  I think my mum had precisely zero idea who she was arranging for me to give a lift to.

Chris looked at me and said “Shall we?”  I nod and grab my car keys.  As he squeezed himself into my 2007 Suzuki Swift I am immediately overcome with shame, I find myself apologising for the pink cushion on the back seat and for the fact that Faithless were bursting out of the stereo when I switched the engine on.

“So” I asked him, “what exactly are you doing in my mums kitchen?”.  He tells me that he is town visiting his dad but when he got to his dads place, his dad’s ‘friend’ (and he did the fingermark quotation thing) told him where he was, and then he walked down to find him.  My mum being the dutiful host offered him coffee which he accepted and then realised she didn’t have decaf so he had tea (peppermint) instead.  He said this like it was the most normal thing in the entire world.  Which it kind of is I suppose.   I expected him to get mobbed at the supermarket but in reality he was back in two minutes, coffee in hand – posing briefly for a photo with a young couple.  A couple who looked bemused to see him then get into a 2007 Suzuki Swift.

Badger – That is nothing.  My parents used to live next door to the man who did the weather on Yorkshire Tonight.  He was a bit creepy and wore a blazer constantly.  Even in the garden.  Yellow

SWCBill, my wife’s brother, went for a job once in Chris Martin’s dad business (which he sold a few year back for £8 million).  He didn’t get it.  That is as close as I can get to knowing Coldplay.  The Scientist.

A month of Songs about being looked after (KT’s Top 20 – Number 3)

stag2

Lucky Man – The Verve

The policeman was very nice and apologised for waking me up at three o clock in the morning.  He told asked me if I was the future wife of a male called Dom.  I nodded and daintily gripped the bottom of the stairs as I braced myself for bad news.  The officer had taken his hat off and I know very well that this means bad news is coming.

“Well” he says. “Dom is currently in a cell in Newquay Police Station”.  Oh God I think, I’m marrying a criminal. “He is not under arrest, he is free to leave at any time”, the officer continues. I sigh a little.  Dom hasn’t been caught with 600 kilos of Moroccan hashish or at the very least the police haven’t found it yet.

“He just hasn’t got any clothes…” the officer says with a smirk and bursts out laughing.

What has happened is that Dom has had his stag weekend.  He and about ten of his mates have gone to Newquay for the evening, they travel down on the Friday book into a hotel and spend Saturday surfing, eating and drinking.  It turns out that around midnight after they have finished in some bar, they end up on the beach and go swimming.  Unbeknownst to Dom, his best man, and I use that term loosely, bribes three of the other chaps on the weekend to remove his clothes – which of course they do.  Then they all bugger off and leave him drunk, tied to a small fence and just standing in his pants on a beach.

Ok it is quite funny.  If not slightly clichéd.

Dom is helpfully untied by a passing drug dealer.  Then he stumbles off the beach at Newquay (where apparently drunken nearly naked men on stag nights are quite common, so common in fact that the police usually reserve a cell for such occasions, a cell they call rather drolly ‘The Wedding Suite’) and pretty much straight into the arms of a nearby Street Pastor (basically kindly vicars who hand out hot drinks, sweets and advice to drunken and lonely revellers).  The Street pastor gives him a blanket, a pair of flip flops (another great idea, usually reserved for women, but Street Pastors in Newquay are armed with cheap throwaway flip flops, which they hand out to women so that they can walk safely to a taxi rank, instead of tottering on high heels and breaking their fragile ankles (which again is quite common)) and hand him over to policeman (I think it’s a PCSO) who takes him to The Wedding Suite for a cup of strong coffee.

At the wedding suite Dom asks the officers if they can call me so I can bring him some new clothes. I am 90 miles away just outside of Exeter, not even in the same county and that explains why a local officer has turned up at my door.  Within seconds the neighbours start to twitch their curtains, as I open the door to the officers in my pyjamas.  In roughly ten minutes, I am in my car with a small bag of clothes and heading down to Cornwall after leaving a very cross voicemail on the best mans phone.

The (now sheepish looking) best man does meet me in Newquay at the hotel and is very apologetic (to the point where he paid for us to have a night in one of Cornwalls best hotel on him) when I get there.

Badger – my stag night was very quiet, four blokes went to the cinema, watched a film, went for an Indian and then went home, content.  These kids don’t know they are born.    On Your Own

SWC – I went to Blackpool for mine and on Sunday morning before I was allowed breakfast I was made to ride the Pepsi Big One right at the front.  I’d had three hours sleep and was very hungover.  This Is Music

A month of Songs about making an entrance (KT’s Top 20 – Number 4)

door

Hey Ya – Outkast

I’ve written before about the first time that I met SWC.  I met him four times in the same day.  Once in my old office (in the recruitment office), then in the Oxfam record shop next door as I delivered a sandwich to my then boyfriend.  Then around seven hours later I met him again at a Metronomy gig in Totnes and then for fourth time, I met him and his wife in a circular bar downstairs in a pub in Totnes and I drunkenly told him that I was going to apply for the job in his office.

What I haven’t mentioned before is my first disastrous meeting with Badger.  In which I managed to give him a nosebleed before I had even spoken to him.

Less than six weeks after my first quadruple meeting with SWC, I had resigned from my post in the recruitment office and was starting work in SWC’s office after joining his team of International People of Mystery.

There I stood on my first day, in my best suit and with my new important looking bag and sensible haircut.  SWC came through the door and say hello again and after we talked about the weekend and grabbed some tea, he then left me with a lovely lady called Liz and said that he had to go and see Badger and that he and Badger would catch up with me later.

I asked Liz who Badger was, and she smiled and said “Don’t call him that when you met him.  It’s a nickname.  I’m told he doesn’t like it.  He is the boss, Tim, really fair, always smells nice as well”.  Liz looks a bit embarrassed when she says that, and to be fair I have no idea why she mentioned it, all I want to do now and is sniff a man I have never met.  I smile and Liz shows me to my desk and spends the next couple of hours taking me round the office I meet a load of people whose names I forget almost immediately.

Just before I have my lunch I ventured into the kitchen to make myself a cup of tea.  I walk confidently into the kitchen carrying my mug and a folder of material that I decided to flick through whilst I make my tea. I’m not really looking where I am going and I push the door straight into the face of a man who is coming the other way (it’s one of those stupid two way door things that has now been replaced with a proper door).  The door makes a kind of worrying crack noise as it connects with the mans face.  There is a crash on the floor and for a second I think I have knocked him out.  Then I realise that it’s just a bowl of pasta (farfalle with pesto) that has been sent flying.  I immediately start to apologise and grab some clothes to help with the pasta.  Its then that I see the blood.

“Oh Jesus, your nose” I say as blood drips onto the man nicely pressed shirt, permanently damaging the collar.  I hand him a couple of those white tissues and tell him to put his head back. He immediately puts it forward and pinches the bridge.

Enter SWC stage left.  He looks at the general carnage that I have caused and then looks at the man and back at me.  “I see you’ve met Badger” he says.  Tim wipes his face – the blood has stopped slightly and he holds out his hand “Tim”, he says but you can call me “Badger”.

My Favourite Things 

Roses

A Month of Songs about Rivers, Bridges and Rings (KT’s Top 20 Number 5)

steps

Run – Snow Patrol

There is an ancient bridge about five miles outside of Exeter that allows cars to cross the River Dart.  It is several hundred years old. An even older woodland straddles either side of the road and in the spring the woodland is full of bluebells and in the summer it is full of other beautiful flowers that I don’t know the name of.

Dom and I went on our first date there, a walk through the woods, with a brief pause for a quick game of pooh sticks on the ancient bridge (he won) and then a march up a big old hill. The hill comes out at clearing and there is a small picnic area – where Dom and I sat and shared some cake, a bottle of water and some fruit.  Then we walked back down the other side of hill to the car park.

One Sunday morning about two summers ago, Dom and I decided to recreate that walk, only this time we had been seeing each other for about eighteen months.  This time we packed a small packed lunch. The sun was perfect and we strolled up the hill hand in hand, pausing to look at flowers, photograph squirrels eating hazelnuts and massive oak leaves.

As we neared the top of the hill Dom’s phone began to ring and he stopped dead in his track and his voice dropped to a whisper I caught the words “Yes about five minutes” and then he hung up.  With that he carried on and we made our way to the top of the hill. I ask him who was on the phone and he looked at me and tells me that it was his dad.

As we reached the small picnic area at the clearing, we laid out our lunch and Dom was suddenly very quiet.  About three minutes later some familiar faces came out of the woods.  It was my mum, my dad, my sister, her husband, their children, and Dom’s mum and dad.  I look at Dom and he has this stupid look on his face.  My dad goes up to Dom, shakes his hand and then gives him, what looks like a small box.

Dom comes up to me and then it dawns on me, he is going to propose to me.  I know this because he is kneeling down in the grass and is grabbing my hand.  He tells me that he loves me and that he can’t imagine spending a day without me and that it would be amazing, wonderful, brilliant if I agreed to marry him.

The world kind of stopped.  Everyone was totally silent, apart from my little niece who shouted ‘Say Yes’ and everyone laughed and so that’s what I did I said yes.  But only because my niece told me to. People cheer and from out of nowhere this song ‘Run’ starts playing somewhere, there are party poppers going off and my mum hugs me like there is no tomorrow and my dad hugs Dom and his parents hug me and my little niece looks at me and says “Can I be a bridesmaid?”.

I nod and say yes at her and then look at Dom and just in case he hasn’t heard me properly I said yes again, with a please on the end.  With that he gives me the small box.  Now I may have mentioned this before, Dom is a baker by trade.  He is a wonderful baker, his cakes are amazing and frankly I would have married him just to keep eating those. In the box was not a ring as I was expecting but a cupcake.  I look at him and he tells me to look inside the cake and hands me a fork.

The ring was baked inside the cake – the ring was just perfect in size and design, and the cake, just lovely.

Run (Jacknife Lee Mix)

Chocolate

Todays Featured Artist…..Number Twelve…..Elephant Man

elephant

Halo – Major Lazer featuring Elephant Man

I’m not sure if I want to talk about Oneal Bryan.  The artist better known as Elephant Man first came to prominence as a member of the Scare Dem Crew before turning solo. He is massively successful in his native Jamaica and the dancehall scene.

He owns a massive house, one of the biggest in Jamaica, which has its own disco and swimming pool a Jacuzzi and 20 bedrooms. He also has a pet shark, 15 dogs, and six rabbits. But…

He is a terrible homophobe (has a song which calls for the murder of gay people), he has been previously been charged with rape and sexual assault (charges dropped after the death of the victim) and is an all round horrible person.  So we will skirt over him quickly and add his name to the ‘banned list’.

Major Lazer on the other hand are rather brilliant.  They are the brainchild of wonderful DJ and producer Diplo (real name Thomas Wesley Pentz Jr) who before he was in Major Lazer had been working with the likes of M.I.A, Gwen Stefani, Beyonce as well as remixing all and sundry.

Demons – Sleigh Bells (Diplo Mix)

Around 2009, he had the idea of Major Lazer, teamed up with a couple of other musicians and then secured a record deal before he had even recorded a single note of music.  Their debut album featured a wealth of guest stars and was very much influenced by the Jamaican dancehall scene, hence the collaboration with Elephant Man.  Which is as you all have probably realised a cover of the Beyonce song of the same name.

One more thing of note, Diplo has a son called Lazer which is a tremendous name for a child.

Hold The Line (Tommie Sunshine Mix)

 

Cover Me – Number 21

the saint

The Saint – Orbital

Originally by Edwin Astley

Also covered by Roland Shaw and his Orchestra

I don’t actually remember the TV programme The Saint, so over to Badger who is old enough to remember it.

Well sort, I remember the re runs, it finished in 1969, when I was one years old (you cheeky bugger). The Saint was an International Man of Mystery called Simon Templar played by Roger Moore and his roaming eyebrows who tackled problems that the law wouldn’t touch.  In one episode Templar saves the UK from Noel Edmonds’ beard (I may have made that up).  In later years Simon Templar was immortalised in song by the comedy pub rock band Splodgenessabounds (which I actually have on 7” and is signed by a member of said band).  The TV series was a poor man’s James Bond, and the fact that Roger Moore quit playing Templar in 1969 so that he could become James Bond, rather proves that point.

In 1997 they made a film of it starring the worst individual to have ever played Batman, Val Kilmer, and the Orbital version was the opening theme.  Now, I hope some of you are not going to think bad one of me, but I can only remember one bit of the film and that is the love scene, between Kilmer and Elizabeth Shue and the only reason I remember it is because this was the song that played in the background as the two of them danced the devils fandango.

Six Underground

The Orbital version of ‘The Saint’ is ok, it replaces the kind of old time swing feel of the original and turns into a more modern techno track (or modern for 21 years ago).  It I think to this day remains Orbitals biggest chart hit and the only time they ever went Top Five in the UK.

A Month of Songs about Nans (KT’s Top 20 Number 6)

bernie

I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face – Bernard Cribbins

Before she died my nan went into a care home.  She had dementia and it had got to the stage where she couldn’t look after herself.  She was in the words of the doctor becoming a danger to herself.   Most weekends I used to go and see her with my mum and my aunt.  My mum and her sister would go in first to see how she was, and if she was ok I would be allowed to go and see her.  It was normally ok.

There were times though that it was heartbreaking.  There were times when my Nan thought her own daughter was the lady from the shop.  There were times when my Nan thought that my mum was a nun from the convent and she would whisper conspiratorially at me, when my mum turned her back to change the water in her vase, that “Sister Assumptia was a sour faced bitch”.  There was times when my Nan wouldn’t recognise us at all and ask us repeatedly who we were and there were times when that made us cry with utter despair.

Dementia is horrible, a helpless and desperate condition.  My Nan was an amazing woman.  A proud Irish woman who overcome tragedy, prejudice and a violent drunk of a husband to achieve greatness.  She fled Ireland in the early sixties, with my aunt aged 4 and my mother unborn inside her.  She caught a ferry and then walked to a relative’s house in Liverpool where she stayed for three weeks, too scared to go outside in case her husband’s family came looking for her.

She achieved great things, she was a celebrated artist and was having exhibitions of her work until she was in her eighties, and her paintings still sell regularly at auctions.  She run her own business and she set up a refuge in Plymouth to help survivors of domestic abuse.  She is the greatest lady who has ever lived and I am proud to have sat on her knee and call her Nan. She’d play this record to me and she would sing it softly at me until I fell asleep.

I miss my Nan.

 

A Month of Songs about Taking Drugs (KT’S Top 20 Number 7)

cannabis

Born Slippy – Underworld

Cornish Ian was the first lad from our village who knew how to get hold of drugs.  He knew people.  In reality his dad knew people (and considering in 2002 he received an eight stretch for being found with five kilos of coke in the back of his Peugeot 306, I’d say he’d probably maintained that association).

Cornish Ian moved to our village when I was about 15.  He moved into one of the council houses that they stuck at the end of the village (how very Heartbeat – nostalgia Ed).  He and his mum and his dad.  He had an older brother but no one ever saw him, the rumours were that he was in prison for armed robbery (rumours we never found out if were true or not).

Ian moved to the village from Cornwall – hence the nickname.  He was a revelation in the village because he literally didn’t care about anything.  He was dangerous, he swore at his parents, he smoked, he rode a motorbike without a helmet, despite only being 15, rarely went to school and he almost always had access to drugs.  My Dad told me that I was ‘to absolutely never hang out with him’.  He was a bit grimy to be honest.

At first it was the boys who hung out with him.  This was usually at one of the camps that we had in the village (normally shelters in the woods or an old shed or barn that was not being used) but as the rumours of illicit drugs, drink and god knows what else circulated around them, we girls drifted up there, high on expectations.

We were largely disappointed, what we got when we arrived at the den was bad music, badly rolled joints, weak alcohol and spotty lads who usually wanted to grope to you in exchange for a small swig of homemade cider pinched from Danny Talbots dad’s cellar.

It was in Danny Talbots dads shed that I had my first ever toke on a joint.  It was a disaster, I coughed up half a lung and the smoke almost sent my eyeballs out the back of my head.  Everyone laughed at me and I sulked for about ten minutes before my sister turned up and dragged me and Alice off home to do something ‘less lame’ and that was kind of it with drugs as far as I was concerned.

Badger – I’m going to pick ‘Rez’ and SWC is away at the moment in France so Ed is going to pick an Underworld song for him.   I also feel like putting a link to the Grange Hill Cast ‘Just Say No’ somewhere on here today.  Also whatever you do – Be here tomorrow, for what I am going to describe as the best thing KT has ever written (so far). 

Ed – Well I quite like Underworld, I remember seeing them live at festival in Brighton when I lived there and when they played it ‘Moaner’ took the roof of the dance tent.

A Month of Songs about Ghosts (and my mum punching things) (KT’s Top 20 Number 8)

goose

Like A Bird – Nelly Furtado

When I was 14 I went on holiday to the Norfolk Broads.  One evening we had parked (moored – boating Ed) our boat at a little village called Belaugh.  We stopped there because of the church.

The church is famous.  By famous I mean that there is nothing at Belaugh, literally nothing, six houses, no pub, a craft shop and a shop and a river (the Bure) so the Norfolk Tourist Board told everyone that the church is famous so people stopped there.  It is famous because of something Cromwell did to the faces of the apostles or something.  Oh and the ghost.

When I was 14 I thought I’d seen the famous ghost of Belaugh church. The ghost is supposed to be that of a thief who broke into the church in the 1600s and tried to steal the valuables from within it.  He was caught by the vicar who in a particular act of ungodliness, killed the thief in what the history books call ‘a scuffle’.   He is said to haunt the area between the church and the river, rising at dusk to make off with his stolen loot only to be dragged down by the weight of it back into the river.

When we arrived at Belaugh my dad told us that we needed to stay the night there because he needed to charge something on the boat.  That night I sat on the top of the boat in the easy chair and looked across the church lawn.  I could see something moving between the river bank and the front of the church.  I whispered across to my sister that I could see the ghost.  At the time my sister was in full on Goth Mode and frankly she jumped at the chance of ghost hunting in a church yard in near pitch darkness.  So we told mum and dad we were going for a walk along the river and trundled off.

Only it wasn’t a ghost.  It was a pair of geese.  A pair of gees who had several young goslings to look after.  A pair of geese that my sister and I had just massively pissed off by thinking it was a ghost.  As we realised that this was not a ghost but two half black, half white geese we turned to head back to the boat.  Only the daddy geese had other ideas.  It chased my sister and then when she was too fast for it, it turned its attention to me and went for me.  I being a girl, screamed like a girl being attacked by a ghost.

The next few minutes were a blur, I heard my mum and my dad shouting, interspersed by loud angry honks.  I ran blindly towards a flashing torchlight and then suddenly I heard a ‘THWACK’ and someone grabbed my hand.  The hand was warm and I knew it was my dad’s hand.

We made it back to the boat, alive, and my dad gave me a nip of brandy much to my sisters annoyance, she was chased as well she complained.  My mother was for some reason wrapping her hand in a tea towel soaked in cold water.  My sister looked at her and after a few confused seconds she said “What did you do to your hand, mum?”

She looked at us both and said without any hesitation “I punched the goose in the neck, I remember Terry Nutkins doing something similar once”.   That would be the THWACK noise then.  My mum had just decked and probably killed a goose, depriving several baby goslings of a father.

At first light my dad fired up the boats engine and we got the hell out of there and we never went back.

Badger – Wow.  One for the animal lovers today.  Unsurprisingly the only other song I have by Nelly Furtado is ‘Turn Off the Light’ so we’d better have that.

SWC – Wait until I see your mother young lady. I own nothing by Nelly Furtado so here is a Nellie Hooper Mix of Six Underground.