A Moments Prayer for Stevie Wonder’s Mum

 I went to see Stevie Wonder in concert a couple of years ago at the O2 in London. I was not expecting to cry all the way through it. He came on late, we were very crochety by then. Our seats were in the back row. It is a bit of a schlep to get to  the O2 and a pretty crappy to get home from, as you have to get on the tube with thousands of other people and just be prepared to wait in line, and ignore any feeling of claustrophobia, or leave before the encore.

Stevie came on and I kid you not, the whole arena just lit up, he  completely filled it with love. His voice was magnificent. He sung every song I asked for, and in the right order too. I sang all the way through it…really loud so he could hear me ( ha ha ha 70 rows back..I don’t think so, I did wonder the next day why I could not speak).

The reason I mention all this was that the death of his dear mother inspired him to go on tour again, and I am so glad I can now say I was in the same building as Stevie Wonder.

Today is the 5th Anniversary of her death.  Her name was Lula Mae Hardaway and was born in 1930.  Lula co-wrote many of her son’s songs during his teenage years including the hit singles “I Was Made to Love Her” and “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours”. For co-writing the latter song, she was nominated for the 1970 Grammy Award for Best R&B Song and was also the subject of a 2002 biography entitled, “Blind Faith: The Miraculous Journey of Lula Hardaway, Stevie Wonder’s Mother” which I think I am going to read, as she was a remarkable woman, and I had no idea she co-wrote some of those remarkable songs….I have arranged and the choir have sung Signed Sealed Delivered. So many good songs. 

SONG OF THE DAYFor Once in My Life -Stevie Wonder -THIS IS SUCH A GREAT CURRENT LIVE VERSION.  Written by Miller and Murden.  This is Miller’s most famous hit song and  was written the night his daughter Angel was born. It is one of the most covered songs in pop history with more than 270 recorded versions.

Bless you Mr Wonder. x x x 

National Megaphone Day – Get Shouty!

I can’t believe that  most people will  have forgotten about this  ancient and rather unusual festival of ours.  The 30th  of May is National Megaphone Day. A long forgotten festival dating back to  the late 17th century, when it had a different name, to do with commoners and noise. The festival was introduced to ‘give the plebs a voice’ just for one day, mind. For many years in market towns around Britain, the plebs and servants  where allowed to  walk round the towns with megaphones and anything they could bang, making as much of a bally hoo as they wanted with absolutely no danger of lock up or  prosecution. All the big wigs went undercover for a day and hid away from the noise. The law has not been repealed so if you want…get out there with your leather or papier mache megaphone, find a market town and make an awful din and quote the Royal charter of 1685 passed  by  Jolly old King Charles the II just before his death (feb 1685). The custom  was quickly quashed by the puritans, who did not like the idea of anyone doing anything that might make them feel better about themselves. It had a bit of a resurgence around the 19th century in some  smaller market towns around Leicestershire like Ashby-de-la Zouch. A few Morris dancing packs  and their prancers keeping going, but it is just not well known enough yet. Now is the time  to bring it back, with a bang, take a friend( or friends) and  a picnic….and your finest shouty voice. Long live the megaphone- shout!

 SONG OF THE DAY  The Wedding Song -Anias Mitchell

from Hadestown, an album that has moved me more than anything I have heard for an age album. I have been listening to it all afternoon and have not got to the end as I have to keep replaying the tracks. So into this at the moment and the whole thing of lots of musicians getting together and collaborating. I miss this.  Here is a  live version.  Different male vocalist on album, Justin Vernon. Such a beautiful song and a great album.

Song of the Day – Day 149

 ‘This Town ‘ain’t  Big Enough for the Both of Us’ by Sparks

My Mate CM and her pal J. do a blinking cracking version of this song with voice and Mandoline, which reminded me of what a brilliant song it is, and how it was so ‘out of the box’ at the time it was released. I am today including the words as I have to say I have heard this song so many times and have no idea what any the lyrics are apart from ‘heart beat increasing heart beat’ and ‘this town aint big enough for the both of us’

Zoo time is she and you time
The mammals are your favourite type, and you want her tonight
Heartbeat, increasing heartbeat
You hear the thunder of stampeding rhinos, elephants and tacky tigers
This town ain’t big enough for both of us
And it ain’t me who’s gonna leave

Flying domestic flying
And when the stewardess is near do not show any fear
Heartbeat increasing heartbeat
You are a khaki-coloured bombadier it’s Hiroshima that you’re nearing
This town ain’t big enough for both of us
And it ain’t me who’s gonna leave

Daily, except for Sunday
You dawdle in to the cafe where you meet her each day
Heartbeat, increasing heartbeat
As twenty cannibals have hold of you, they need their protein just like you do
This town ain’t big enough for both of us
And it ain’t me who’s gonna leave

Shower, another shower
You’ve got to look your best for her and be clean everywhere
Heartbeat, increasing heartbeat
The rain is pouring on the foreign town, the bullets cannot cut you down
This town ain’t big enough for both of us
And it ain’t me who’s gonna leave

Census, the latest census
There’ll be more girls who live in town though not enough to go round
Heartbeat, increasing heartbeat
You know that:
This town isn’t big enough,
not big enough for both of us
This town isn’t big enough,
not big enough for both of us
And I ain’t gonna leave

Song of The Day -Day 148

Song of the Day- Killer Queen -Queen

 I bought 2 singles for my best friends party, when I was about 14. This song and ‘You ‘aint seen nothing yet’ by Bachman, Turner, Overdrive….disco had not quite arrived…..thank god it did.

Some bastard nicked them both…but we did play them many many times through the evening. The boy I was going out with, who ended up becoming a policeman, went off with another girl and I cried almost the whole evening. I was wearing a dress I had made myself….I may not have made another one since!

I still am in shock at the fact that I have blogged every day but one, since Jan 1st of this year, but one day I did two seperate posts by mistake, so I am even. 148 days, my word. That is one big commitment. I know its not like taking a child to school every day, or putting the cat out every night, but it has taken up a huge amount of my time. If I say I averaged, 40 mins a post ( it usually takes me that long to correct the spelling mistakes) that is nearly one hundred hours that  I have spent writing and compiling this year,  so far, which is 3 times more time than I have spent watching Neighbours So it is all good. think I may be having a bit of a dull patch but it is all about the ebbs and flow, the high and low, the silence and the noise…blah blah blah

Not In My Back Yard -The Gravel Theatre Company

I went and helped out with a little bit of  harmony singing with the fab Gravel Theatre  Company,who were rehearsing down at The Old Red Lion ( na na na na na…oops sorry that’s the old bull and bush) at the Angel. They are rehearsing for their  show NIMBY  –  a new comedy that explores what happens when people have to chose between their morals and their quality  of life. ( 18th -25th June Old Red Lion, Angel) I tell you what, if their acting is as good as their singing, and I am assuming it is  even bette, as they are actors after all…. it is going to be a cracking show. I have my comps for helping out, and as it is the smallest theatre in the land, I would   get your tickets soon, it is well worth going along. I remember from Mr P’s many years in fringe theatre, you have to support the fringe BIG TIME. It is where all the real freshness and innovation is…most things are usually past their best by the time they get anywhere near  ‘Up West’.

the cast

The cast, Daniel Curtis, Kate Sichel, Ciaran Dowd, Louise Torres-Ryan, Laura Dalgleish, Ryan O’Donnell are brilliant, and are singing a few of bits of  vocal arrangements from my books between scenes. I had a lot of fun doing a vocal warm ups and sorting out some  vocal stuff for them…woops I have another job I remember I have to do. So good luck chaps.  I am really looking forward to seeing the show.

SONG OF THE DAY They use this song in their show…must sort out the harmonies..

Nothing Changes – Anais Mitchell featuring the Haden Triplets

I posted another song from this album. Hadestown a couple of days ago…rather fine.

No Distractions – Just Writing

Well the calmness of yesterday was short lived. On the journey home on the bus  from Angel, I had to listen to the ‘life and times of a Glaswegian in London’ (usually deeply love the accent , today it was like grating my fingers down) – I think she was under the misaprehension she had to talk so loud so they could hear her in Glaasgee. The woman was half way down towards the back of the bus twanging away at full throttle for 25 minutes, with hardly a pause, apart from when she lost signal for a couple of seconds “och, I thought yer battery had gone dead hen!”….not a dialogue, but a veritable monologue, and I feel like she is family now. Ah!  I heard all the trials and tribulations of her exciting(?) and  complicated(?) life, and  now know where not to eat in Holloway if you don’t want to get mild food poisoning! So with gritted teeth and no distractions I arrived home unable to eat nuts as my jaw was so tense….So now I try to write with no distractions….! Easier said than done, I write  4 words and Mr P arrives home from work with stories from his day, I get to 15 words and he leaves the room again.

–  he returns from the kitchen, with news of the rest of his day, and then my word count stops telling me anything, it  sticks on 15 – oh there she blows…. word count working again, I get up to 51  words without saying diddly squat. It  is day 146 of my post-a-day and I am losing the will to…. anything really. Everyone  in my family seems to be on meltdown and I am trying hard not to be dragged down too, trying to stay upbeat, but it is quite tiring….. ah Mr P re-enters, and now he’s gone again, to lie down. 10 hours of landscape gardening (or smelling the flowers as I like to put it) has obviously taken its toll.

smelling the flowers

So much for the ‘no distractions’. Now I have to put up with all the inner distractions in my head. Need to learn some music for tomorrow, need to find some much more fun songs for my  new choir of 4-11 year olds, need to record parts for lovely  grown up choirs, and have to decide if I can get myself in any kind of shape to get on a train and have a break this weekend , which seems completely absurd seeing as I have such a long list of things to do. If only I had a Tardis or a Scotty to beam me up, so I could be surrounded by sheep and sunsets without having to do the 4 hour  journey.

Ah Mr P is back, what happened to the sleep?…you know what…I am feeling a bit tired myself…got to go to another meeting  in 35 minutes. I might just have a little lie down too. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

SONG OF THE DAY Emmylou Harris, Gillian Welch and Alison Krauss sing their song from“Oh Brother where Art Thou” GO TO SLEEP YOU LITTLE BABY

THERE WAS A HUSH IN THE HOUSE and in the garden

I  have been slightly more calm  at home for a few weeks now, and then the penny dropped! No-one in the area is having their loft converted, their roof done, an extension built on their house, their patio removed, constructing metal furniture with a circular saw (which often happens hourly all weekend). It is short of a miracle. Right at this moment, on this warm May morning, all I can feel is the very far rumble of the main road and all I can hear are distant aeroplanes, a  proper howling dog and  bird song. For about the last three years, a day has not gone by when I would open my windows to the sound of drilling, banging, bashing, friendly Polish and Armenian banter, as each neighbour  seemed to take turns having some major construction done to their house. There are a lot of neighbours as the square of victorian houses at the back consists of about 60, each of them 3 or  4 stories  high ( not many loft conversions left!). They form a square echo chamber, so if anyone is in their garden guffawing, hooting, banging and drilling, we all hear it!

I will enjoy it while it lasts……deep contented sigh.

SONG OF THE DAY

I have a secret love of this track…Maria Carey -We Belong Together -It is sometimes hard to hear the amazing voice over all the  apparent desire to be seen as some sort of sex kitten, but this is one of my secret tracks on my ipod that gets listened to a lot when no one is watching. Maria Carey has a really great ‘falsetto’, if you listen she moves from a twangy sound to a whispery tone in the same line, and has many incredibly dexterous qualities to her voice. She has a remarkable instrument, by which I mean her voice, not her boobs, which slightly over shadow her dulcet tones if you happen to watch the video. My advice would be to look away and concentrate on the voice.