Blue Monday

Well, blue sky Monday at any rate…

My endearing memory of this song is doing some kind of rhythm dancing to it in PE. It’s a little bizarre.

I was blessed with Mrs Riley as my PE teacher throughout secondary school. She was a very silent woman. I don’t think she did much ‘teaching’. She told us what we were doing at the beginning of the term in the first year and we got ourselves into a routine. Winter was cross-country, netball and hockey. I’m not a team player. I was rubbish at cross country. It was only when I hit my late twenties that running became an obsession and I clocked up a good 100km a week, easily. I was always last at cross-country. Let’s face it, it was more of a long walk and an excuse for a cigarette on the monkey bridge than it was physical activity.

Summer was swimming, tennis or rounders. That was pretty much it.

And in this routine, we stayed until the fifth year.

She always wrote ‘good’ in tiny, precise, neat letters on my report and that was about the extent of our interaction. The song is, though, of course, a fantastic tune from a fantastic Manchester band.

Last night, we were watching a Robert Carlyle series called Looking after Jojo – it’s pretty old but the soundtrack is right out of my pre-teens. And it made me think.

During my teens, I was an avid list-maker. I listed all the things I liked. I don’t know why. It’s surprising looking back at those lists now. I made specific lists, like ‘hair I want’ (Julianne Regan from All About Eve or Susannah Hoffs from The Bangles) and I made general lists of stuff. Anyway, I thought I would do a list today of ‘Bands I love’ since Looking After Jojo reminded me how much I love The Jam.

  • RHCP – My absolute favourite. There are no times that the chillis aren’t to my taste. Whether it’s funky, unpolished early stuff, super-cool Mother’s Milk, funky Blood Sugar Sex Magik or newer albums (though I confess I was not a fan of the last two – or One Hot Minute. So much of the RHCP magic sits on John Frusciante’s shoulders)
  • Depeche Mode – Chirpy early synth stuff or dark 90s stuff… it’s all good. Black Celebration will always be my favourite album simply because it came out when I was in the second or third year at school and I listened to it ENDLESSLY.
  • The Jam – the anger, the cynicism, the edgy youth. All good for me! Going Underground is my favourite song of all, though I love A Town Called Malice as well. So much good stuff… Down in the tube station at midnight… Eton Rifles… Ahhhh! Much Love.
  • The Stones. I love The Beatles. I love The Who. Sometimes, I have discussions with people over these three and if you could only have one of these bands, which would you have, and I always pick The Rolling Stones. I don’t care for anything past the 80s, though.
  • Queen. Because Freddie – wow – what a voice. Who wouldn’t pick Queen to be in their top 10 if they love music?! If you’ve got ears, you must love Queen. You just must. Sure he’s drama and theatre and opera, but nothing, nothing at all makes me feel like Queen do when I need an injection of energy and fun
  • Hanoi Rocks – because this is uber-fabulous glam metal at its best. Until I get you and Tooting Bec Wreck will always be my favourites. Everything that came after this point – just not as good. You can take your Axl Rose and your Poison, your Motley Crue (who I also love) because they are but pale rip-offs of the edgy, gutsy Hanoi Rocks.
  • The Cult. Ian Astbury might sing like the odd lovechild of Jim Morrison and Glen Danzig, but Electric and Ceremony are great albums. He was made cool by the super-silent Billy Duffy.
  • The Doors – though I don’t listen to them much any more, they were one of my most played bands of my teens and early twenties. Like The Cult, it’s more Ray Manzarek who made Jim Morrison great. Those tinkling notes just rock.
  • Echo and the Bunnymen – I’ve had The Game going through my head on a loop all week. Another of those bands that got me when I was a young teenager seeking inspiration.
  • The Guillemots – their music just makes my soul ache.

I could pick out another forty or so, easily. But these are up there with ‘the best’. In fact, I’d kind of like to put The Killers on there, maybe The Stone Roses, maybe Green Day. And yes, they’re all popular choices. They’re popular because they’re good. I’m not that bad of a muso that I can only like bands that nobody has heard of. I know I do that with travel destinations – I can only profess to liking somewhere nobody else I know has been – for instance, I’ll always say I prefer Fes to Marrakech (well, I do) but with music, I don’t care if they’re ‘stadium rock’.

And no, I haven’t forgotten Bowie or Cohen or Alison Moyet… I’d have to have a separate list for them!

Besides Much Love for Music, I’ve got Much Love for the spring, for the green shoots, for the daffodils in flower, for snoring animals, for home-grown leeks, for leg-warmers, for brocante and bric-a-brac season, for policemen who let you off making an illegal turn, for spray paint, and for découpage.

And now for Pam’s Poetry Corner. I was thinking last week of poems I know off by heart. I am unashamed to admit I learnt this one because of Twin Peaks.

It’s a fabulous poem. It’s from one of my favourite poets (and there’s another list for you…) Shelley. Ozymandias is my favourite poem ever. Full stop. Uncontested.

But here is another of his… a more printaniere poem.

“See the mountains kiss high Heaven

And the waves clasp one another;

No sister-flower would be forgiven

If it disdained its brother;

And the sunlight clasps the earth,

And the moonbeams kiss the sea –

What is all this sweet work worth

If thou kiss not me? ”

― Percy Bysshe Shelley

Happy Monday!

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