A Love Letter To AC/DC

The recent death of Malcolm Young due to dementia has got me reminiscing about AC/DC. They were formed in 1973 and I was born in 1974 so they have always been there in my own personal musical timeline. They are part of the soundtrack to my life and I couldn’t begin to calculate how many hours I’ve spent listening to AC/DC (I’m not very good at Maths, words is what I do).

I heard them long before I saw them live. My mate AC/DC Anna was a big fan (as you might have guessed from her name). Another school friend who lived over the road from me loaned me the Who Made Who LP when we were fourteen. He is also notable for letting me watch him have a nosebleed when we were in junior school (If You Want Blood, You’ve Got It!) we sometimes wave to each other on our respective ways to work and I sometimes remember how grateful I was for the loan of that record.

ACDC2000I first saw AC/DC at Wembley in 2000. I’m not a lover of the venue (too big) but the walkway which extended from the stage so Angus could duck walk and the atmosphere made it great. Seeing the big bells and the inflatable Rosie was a spectacle. I couldn’t help wondering what her bra size was. I bought a scarf outside as a souvenir and it hung on my wall for years.

DCscarf
Maybe I should have been wearing my AC/DC scarf rather than hanging it up.

ACDC2001.jpgI next saw AC/DC at Milton Keynes Bowl. It was a warm day and an all ages friendly crowd. The weekend after I saw an AC/DC tribute band at the Red Lion in Abingdon, meaning I spent two weekends in a white school shirt and tie. I never went to a school where you had to wear a uniform so for me this was a novelty.

AC/DC consistently pop up in my life in little ways. I love it when you go into a pub and they have AC/DC on the jukebox. You know you’re musically safe. Or when you’re chatting to a friend in the supermarket and a Back In Black ringtone is heard and both of you go for your phone. You realise you both have the same ringtone because that riff is so perfect.

AC/DC were part of my big day too. I spent the first four minutes of my married life accompanied by Malcolm’s lyrics. The music we chose as the recessional music (the bit after you have got married and you are walking out of the room as a married couple) was “Up To My Neck In You”.

J&Slr-70
We know AC/DC is about to happen

The number of AC/DC tribute bands currently gigging is a testament to how much people want to play and hear their music. The song writing talent of Malcolm Young was phenomenal. A list on Wikipedia has 93 songs penned by him or with him as a co-writer! He was both prolific and poetic.

The music will certainly live on. I saw dirtyACkDC earlier this year and adored their close to the original, enthusiastic performance. I love watching when women dance to “You Shook Me All Night Long”, it’s so primal and is a template for exactly what good hard rock should be.

Thank you Malcolm, you’ve been a constant feature in my ears and your words and music will continue to be so.

 

 

 

 

A Love Letter To Red Dwarf

DwarfDVDsI’m going to be a bit sad when Red Dwarf XII ends. It’s the only telly I make a point of watching at the actual time it’s on. I’ve long been a fan of the boys from the Dwarf. I hadn’t realised how far I’d slid into nerdiness but when I look at the evidence I realise I’ve gone the full Dwayne Dibley.

It was slow at first. I revised for my A Levels watching my Red Dwarf videos because I couldn’t concentrate in silence. Thankfully I didn’t go into the exam room and write “I am a fish” four hundred times.

A year or two later I would test prospective boyfriends by if they liked Red Dwarf or not. You could say I had a no red, no bed policy. My favourite episode is Parallel Universe from series 2. I love the way it played with gender roles.

In my first term at Reading University my sister and I went to see Norman Lovett. We were so excited to see Holly in the flesh.

DwarfBooksVHS

Then I joined Twitter just to find out when new Red Dwarf was on. The following is an extract from my personal diary; “Friday 24th August 2012 – I ordered my wedding dress today. For dinner we had bacon sandwiches. In the evening I joined Twitter. I’d been planning to join for a while so I can promote my book. I joined Twitter today because Red Dwarf will announce when the new series is soon if lots of people retweet about it”.

Red Dwarf has made its way into my own writing. It gets 28 mentions in my trilogy of Cleo Howard diaries and 17 mentions in my Eviscerated Panda Saga. Here are a few of these;

VMD17Jan1997

VMD21Feb1997MMD14Feb1998EPIIBIBQuoteEPIIBIBQuote2

At 9pm tonight I’ll be putting on my London Jets T-shirt and escaping into space for half an hour with Listy, Rimmsy, Cat and Kryten, ready to share the ups and downs of their intergalactic soap opera. In December I’ll be asking my mum for a Red Dwarf DVD for Christmas, like I’ve done many times before. I’ve had hours of pleasure aboard the small rouge one!

 

 

 

Terminus at The Bell, Bicester, Saturday 7th October 2017

IMG_6765.JPGThe music in the van on the way to the gig was Spinal Tap. Hearing St. Hubbins sing “Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight” always puts me in a good mood. Load in was easy with no stairs. The stage in The Bell has low beams and I hoped no-one would bang their head (or if they did it would be very gently but look funny and be caught on film so Terminus could make £250 on You’ve Been Framed). The Bell is a 17th Century inn and is a proper job of a pub and Terminus are playing there for the first time. While setting up they were asked “Do you do Bon Jovi’s Summer Of ’69?”* which amused me.

Their first set opened with The Cult’s Lil’ Devil (which is currently used on an EasyJet advert. I wonder if this will make it more or less popular with audiences in future?) By song three, Gary Moore’s “Walking by Myself”, some great dancing had broken out. Local DJ Chris King spent some time on tambourine and by half way through the first set it was clear that the Bicestonians in The Bell are really keen for a good night out. I spoke to a friendly couple who had come in at lunch time for two drinks after shopping and then stayed. I hope they hadn’t bought any frozen food.

The Terminus signature tune of Rose Tattoo’s “Sweetmeat” with its grind, wiggle wiggle dance went well. I’m wearing in some new DMs, but due to all the other noise no one heard them creak while I was dancing. I can thank St. Hubbins (the patron saint of quality footwear) for this.

IMG_6725Set two opened with Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak” and then it was classic rock and metal all the way. There was a spontaneous guitar off between Liam and John. As the crowd cheered for one and then the other I reflected that it was the time of  night when people will amiably cheer at the slightest provocation. Hurrah! Yay! Woo-hoo!

A girl standing next to me correctly guessed the last song would be Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing In The Name”. It got bouncy on the dance floor because everyone loves shouting “Flip you, I won’t do what you told me” on a Saturday night when they’ve had a few Honey JD and lemonades. After this there were shouts of “More!” and I thought don’t let The Bell end.

SetList

The gig in brief:

Number of Motörhead T-shirts in venue: 2

Number of crisps flavours available behind bar: Loads, there’s traditional potato plus Monster Munch, Quavers and Mini Cheddars.

Interesting design features: Textured wallpaper in ladies loo, fireplace and kettle on stage behind drummer.

Excitement causing sentence of the night: “Did you know Bicester has a Wimpy?”

 

*No, but we’ll have a go at Bryan Adams’ Livin’ On A Prayer 😉

Free Christmas Short Stories Kindle ebook 1st October 2017

TtTYtC Cover 6Sept2015I’ve written a book of 24 short stories about Christmas and made it free to download today on Amazon. Just use the links below if you’d like a copy (links open in a new window):

Tales to Take You to Christmas UK link

Tales to Take You to Christmas US link

It’s got all my love of Christmas in it! It can be used as a readable advent calendar if you read a story per day from the 1st of December.

I ho ho hope you enjoy it!

 

 

SYKKO DOLLZ EP

SYKKOEP1West Midlands four piece SYKKO DOLLZ have recorded a slice of solid hard rock happiness. It’s so catchy it’s like peanut butter on the inside of your brain. It’s like 1988 in better trousers. It’s an awesome foursome of party music.

It starts with “Cheap Trick Baby” which is full of guitar that will play in your memory long after you’ve finished listening to it. Then we get “Riding All Night” which makes you remember when music was exciting and musicians were outlaws. What are they riding away from? Why do they have to do it all night? Is there not a Travelodge nearby? Who cares, we’ll follow them anywhere by the end of the second verse, even though they claim “Life ain’t easy when you’re riding all night”.

SYKKOEP2Next up, “She’s My Girl”, a satin heart of knicker loosening romantic warbling. It’s Valentine’s Day in musical form. One line especially drew my attention, I can’t tell if Gaz is singing “I’ve got a feeling in my bones” or “I’ve got a feeling in my balls”, but either way it’s a pleasant sentiment. You can listen on Spotify to “She’s My Girl”. Finally “I Win You Lose” is an anti-bullying anthem with a chorus full of wisdom. It’s got drumming like feet running away from a sad situation towards an improvement.

I’ve seen the Dollz live five times and it’s always been fun. Sometimes the experience includes clowns distributing shots. Always it includes a great Singer, Gaz Harris (who you might recognise from his previous vocal work with the Gypsy Pistoleros and Wrathchild UK), a flamboyantly coiffured bassist Neil Franklin, the drumming whirlwind Connor Laight and guitar star Aaron Laight. The Dollz are starting to attract plum support slots and are on the rise, don’t miss them when they come to your town!