Tag Archives: jazz

Re-learning the A-Z of Music

There are some jobs around the place that you keep putting off and putting off. There is one I have been putting off for years….
And what is it?
Sorting the family’s CD collection back into some semblance of order.
Once upon a time, a very long time and a few hundred CDs ago, they were all stored neatly in alphabetical order. Finding the CD you wanted to play was easy and took seconds.
Then we moved house…. and then moved again…. so for the past nineteen years the CDs have been stuffed randomly on a shelf.
As time passed and the kids grew and music tastes evolved, the collection has grown and grown…. and has never been put back into order.
Hours have been wasted scouring the shelf in search in search of a particular album only for the search to be abandoned in favour of an album that you found while searching that you haven’t heard for years!

CD collage 1Finding myself with a free morning last week, I decided to bite the bullet and tackle the chore.

After the first half an hour, I was questioning the wisdom of the decision.

CD 2

After the first two hours, I was questioning my sanity!



Methodically, I lifted bundles of CDs down from the shelf and split them into the letters of the alphabet by artist name.


Slowly the piles grew.

B proved to be the most popular letter of the alphabet, closely followed by S. But what to do with the growing pile of compilation CDs?

With all the CDs now off the shelf and stacked all over the study floor, it was time to sort each letter’s bundle into alphabetical order and to return them to the shelf.

I reached N and decided it was time for lunch. This was taking a lot longer than planned!

Finally, I was left with the large pile of compilations. How best to arrange these? ….. hmm….

I split out all the musicals/film soundtracks and put these in alphabetical order. I put the NOW CDs ranging from 44 to 81 into numerical order. The rest I split by genre and placed them back on the shelves.
(The High School Musical and Disney CDs were stashed in the awkward corner where they will no doubt lie untouched forever…. Hannah Montana is there too!)

It might have taken me over three hours and, at first glance, look exactly the same as when I started but it’s a job well done.

CD collage 5

Some useless musical trivia about the 600 strong collection:
-Stars by Simply Red was the first CD purchased (before we even had a CD player!)
-Bob the Builder actually belongs to The Big Green Gummi Bear
-Boney M also belongs to the The Big Green Gummi Bear
-No one is claiming ownership of the Boyzone and Westlife CDs!
-I’ll confess, the Status Quo ones are mine

It’s an eclectic mix of music and just highlights that we all have differing tastes in music. No one’s taste is better than anyone else’s – it’s just different. (Well, the rest of us might argue we have better taste in music than The Big Green Gummi Bear) There truly is something to cater for every taste on that shelf!

CD collage 6

A Mad Mental Musical Cultural Week in October

If you’ve been reading my weekly posts of late you’ll know that “Rock Mum” has been out to play once or twice.

Well, last week, she escaped several times to attend some quite diverse musical events.

I’ve been looking at the last week of October in my diary with a mix of eager anticipation and silent dread for several months. How would I make it from Saturday to Friday in one piece?

Ok, I’ll start at the beginning –

Saturday 25 October – up at the crack of dawn to catch a flight from Glasgow to London, Heathrow for a day out with the Big Green Gummi Bear. He had bought me tickets to the West End musical Miss Saigon for my birthday back in June. Secret confession – I love musicals! I’ve been desperate to see Miss Saigon for a long time. We arrived in London to a beautiful autumn day – a total contrast to the cold wet windy day we had left in Glasgow. By now it was late morning, so we enjoyed a leisurely stroll through Hyde Park, Mayfair, down Regent Street and eventually made our way to SoHo and theatre land. I say leisurely – the Big Green Gummi Bear does not know how to take a leisurely stroll. Military style route march is closer to the truth! (Only kidding, darling).Our tickets were for the matinee, so after a well-earned caffeine fix and a bun, we walked round to the Prince Edward theatre. I’ll not give away any spoilers regarding the show in case you haven’t seen it and want to. It was fantastic! The performance was breath-taking and emotional. By the closing scenes, the tears were flowing freely down my cheeks. A rapturous standing ovation. Loved it! Cue return route march to Paddington then on to Heathrow airport for dinner, some vino and our return flight home. Fabulous day! Thank you, Big Green Gummi Bear.

London Collage

Sunday 26 October- another eagerly awaited event was upon me. This time it was Black Stone Cherry, a rock band from Edmonton, Kentucky, at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow. Yes, Rock Mum and Rock Friend was out to play! Having rounded everyone up, we headed off into the rainy dark night towards Glasgow. (Huge thanks to my friend who drove us there and sincere apologies again for the contraband Mars Bar that was left in the car) Among the group (there were seven of us) we had a “Rock Concert Virgin”. Lady Luck was shining on us and we managed to secure a good spot in the standing arena near to the front of the stage. The four older teenagers escaped into the centre, hoping for and ultimately finding, a mosh pit or two. Yes, Rock Mum’s heart was in her mouth as she silently fretted over Boy Child’s safety. (He eventually emerged slightly damaged around the shoulder area) Black Stone Cherry were supported by Theory of a Deadman and Aussie rockers Airbourne. Quite a diverse choice of support bands but both excellent. I had thought that I’d prefer Theory of a Deadman but Airbourne were great fun- total RnFnR! After their set, I turned to the “Rock Concert Virgin” to ask what they’d thought. “That guy’s fucking mental,” came the immediate reply. Comment of the night! Black Stone Cherry were fabulous and it was a privilege to be there to enjoy their first ever UK arena outing. They played a blinding set that included all my favourites. “Hollywood In Kentucky” played live was every bit as good if not better than I had hoped it would be. I loved Ben Wells’s hat! The night ended with the Glasgow choir helping front man Chris Robertson with “Peace Is Free”. An awesome gig to lose your concert virginity at! Hurry back, boys! Missing y’all already!

BSC collage

Monday 27 October- almost glad to be at work! The day was powered by caffeine and magic beans!

Tuesday 28 October – a half day at the salt mine then out to play again at night as Rock Mum and Rock Friend. This was not my gig of choice I hasten to add. Girl Child had pleaded to be taken so, in good Rock Mum fashion, I agreed. I must be insane! Accompanied by a close friend and her teenage daughter (another concert virgin), we headed back to Glasgow to a small city centre venue called The Garage. And the headline act this time? – post hardcore heavy metal band Escape The Fate. One look at the crowd and I could tell we were in for a rowdy night! A couple of songs into the first support band, New Year’s Day’s set and the girl children bailed out to the far side of the room. Both in agreement that this was not the place to be seen with their Rock Mum’s. Their loss! Trying not to panic about the girls’ whereabouts as the circle pit opened and closed repeatedly, my friend and I genuinely enjoyed the gig. All three bands (second on the bill were Glamour of the Kill) were brilliant. Not my music genre of choice, a bit too heavy for me, and I’ll never be a fan of growling but a great and memorable evening all round!

ETF collage

Wednesday 29 October- a muffled day at work as I was deaf as a post! My ears rang and hissed merrily til bedtime. Another day highly caffeine fuelled with the additional support of multiple handfuls of magic beans.

Thursday 30 October- final outing of the week! This time it was neither Rock Mum nor Rock Friend who went out to play. Instead it was Proud Mum. Accompanied by my folks (Parents 1&2) and the same friend from Tuesday night, we headed along to the school for the annual Jazz Night. Watching Boy Child playing his trumpet with the Jazz Band and playing his solos with confidence made me glow with pride. Jazz certainly is not my favourite genre of music but it was a fabulously entertaining evening as staff and pupils shared the stage. Jethro Tull will never be the same again after a memorable performance by one music teacher. Loved it!

Friday 31 October – I’d survived! Four nights out in six days and I was still standing.

West End musical, rock, metal, jazz – I’d seen and done it all and loved every note of it!

Suddenly a Halloween sleepover for half a dozen fancy dressed teenage girls seemed like it was going to be a walk in the park….. but that’s perhaps a story for another day. My poor Boy Child may never be the same again!

The Ultimate Playlist – what should or shouldn’t be on it?

I love it when, out of the blue, you end up involved in one of those conversations that leaves you with tears of laughter running down your cheeks. These usually happen at the most inopportune moments and that’s exactly what happened mid-week at work. Having giggled my way through it, I now can’t remember exactly what innocent comment started it but a colleague and I ended up discussing the music we would like played at our funerals.

Both of us were singing from the same hymn sheet, so to speak, and agreed that funerals shouldn’t be a mourning of the person’s passing but instead be a celebration of their life and reflective of their personality.

My mum secretly wants a New Orleans jazz style funeral. As this was mentioned in conversation, I got my first fit of the giggles as I was struck by an image of Boy Child playing his trumpet at the head of the school jazz band leading the funeral procession through the local streets towards the crematorium playing “When The Saints Come Marching In”. (I later shared this vision with my mum who fortunately saw the humour in it.)

Anyone who knows me will completely understand that the 23rd Psalm and Highland Cathedral aren’t going to feature when my time comes!

I asked my colleague, who is fifteen years my senior, what he wanted played. “Anything by Guns N Roses,” came his instant reply. He quickly added that he wants to be cremated but that his wife has already vetoed “Smoke on the Water” for that part of the service. I lost it! – cue laughter and tears. I promptly suggested “Burn” as an alternative- cue more giggling from both of us! (sorry, work colleagues) Apparently “Another One Bites the Dust” is also off the playlist. His Good Lady Wife is however a huge ACDC fan so he may have a glimmer of hope of playing “Highway To Hell” …. I doubt it though.

I came home from work still smiling at the conversation and asked The Big Green Gummi Bear what he wanted played. “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go,” came his reply. I should be grateful it wasn’t the Goombay Dance Band!

It got me thinking about my own choices and, I’ll be honest, I’m struggling. There’s so much good music to choose from. It would be easy to go down a rather reflective rock route and select “Wonderful Life” or “In Loving Memory” by Alter Bridge or “The Crow and the Butterfly” by Shinedown. While it could be fun to play “Stairway to Heaven” it would be giving the mourners false hope and sending them on a wild goose chase. Chris Rea’s “Road To Hell” takes them in a more likely direction!

Perhaps “One Last Thrill,” by Slash should be played? Or Avenged Sevenfold’s “Requiem”? As I wish to be buried rather than cremated when the time comes, Iron Maiden’s “Fear of the Dark” may also fit the bill. Regardless, the celebration should include Garth Brooks “Friends In Low Places” and culminate in “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.”

Now that I’ve got you thinking, hopefully with a smile on your face, what songs would you choose?