Tag Archives: nostalgia

End of an era….. Start of another…

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I guess it’s more usual to write about the “firsts” in life.

I’m going to buck the trend here and write about some recent “lasts”.  Humour me….

After fifteen years all in….

I’ve made my last school packed lunch.

I’ve completed and signed my last permission slip for a school trip (Lord, I hated those forms!)

I’ve written my last note to a class teacher.

I’ve attended my last parent’s evening.

I’ve ironed my last ever school shirt – Hallelujah!!!!

I’ve driven to the school for the last time.

I’ve waved my Baby Girl off on her last school trip – prom.

 

It seems like only yesterday that I took her to school for the first time. Thirteen years have passed in the blink of an eye.

Back in August 2004, I took a tiny, shy, little, girl to school. (She was the smallest and the youngest in her class.)

Last Friday night, I took a petite, confident, young lady to school for the last time to attend the pre-prom reception. Proud Mama moment.

As I drove away, waving to her as she stood in line to board the bus that was taking them to prom, for a split second, she was that tiny, shy, little girl once more.

(image sourced via Google- credits to the owner)

 

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Superbikes, Nostalgia and a Large Inflatable Man….

It was my birthday at the end of last month and, as is his usual want, the Big Green Gummi Bear bought tickets to an event for us. Much to my enormous surprise these tickets came inside a birthday card! I don’t think I’ve had a birthday card from him since my 21st– a long time ago! (He did confess to having to ask a work colleague where you went to buy birthday cards!)

So what event had he chosen for us to attend?

My face lit up in a huge smile when I saw the tickets. We were off to see the British Superbikes race at Knockhill Race Circuit in Fife.

I love watching motorcycling. In fact, I love almost all motorsport but bike racing is my favourite. My all-time hero is the late great Barry Sheene. This is a love that goes WAY back – even further than when the Big Green Gummi Bear last bought me a birthday card!

Visiting Knockhill was also a bit of a nostalgia trip. Pre-children we used to go there a couple of times a year to watch the likes of Formula 3 or the British Touring Car Championship. Somehow we’d never gone to a bike event before.

Both of us share fond memories of Sundays spent trying to shelter from the wind and rain at various corners round the circuit. Treasured memories of being soaked to the skin and frozen to the bone as you watched the drivers battle it out on track. One vivid memory of getting myself locked in the ladies loo – that’s another story.

Yesterday was race day. We headed off just after eight o’clock to drive through to Fife. Much to our great amazement it was warm and sunny!

We timed our arrival nicely (by design or default – who knows!) and were directed by the parking attendant to head up across the hill to park at an obscure angle on the grassy hillside above the circuit. (Cue the Big Green Gummi Bear panicking a tad about how he would get his rear wheel drive car back out if it were to rain heavily.)

With the sun on our backs we walked back down the hill to the circuit, grabbed a coffee and made it to trackside for the start of the first race.

This was the start of eight leisurely hours of wandering round the track, watching each race from a different vantage point and enjoying a fair amount of people watching as we went. You’ve never seen so much leather in one place! It was more of a family affair than I’d expected with lots of little kids around and older ones hurtling around on pushbikes. One little girl caught my eye as we walked up past the hairpin. She had to be about three with her hair neatly up in a bun with a glittery pink scrunchie round it, her little leather biker jacket and tight black leggings set off with purple glittery pumps. A little biker princess in the making! Too cute!

Knockhill is a short undulating track with many good viewing points. It was all a bit of a nostalgia trip as we reminisced about previous days at the different corners but we both agreed we preferred to watch down at the hairpin or at the dip just after the first corner.

Our tickets included access to walk the pit lane during the lunchtime break just before the first of the two scheduled Superbike races but when we saw the length of the queue we opted to give it a miss, heading instead across the bridge to watch the race from the mound in the centre of the circuit.

The sun shone down on us for most of the day. Wandering round Knockhill in t-shirt and jeans instead of being wrapped in about five woolly jumpers and a thick anorak with the hood up was a bizarre experience. There were a few short showers of rain later on in the afternoon – well it wouldn’t be Scottish racing without them!

Rain stopped the second Superbike race part way through which led to a re-start a few minutes later and a cracking 11 lap dash.

We meandered round the back end of the circuit for the final race of the day, the juniors (13-18 year olds) before being allowed access to walk the circuit in the early evening sun.

For some reason, we ended up walking round the course counter clockwise, spotting tear-offs from visors at every corner and noting the chunks of half-melted race tyres (marbles) that were scattered about. It was incredibly peaceful. No PA. No engine noise except a dull throbbing thrum from the surrounding bike parks as most of the crowd headed home. Down at the hairpin, a Blondie tribute band were playing. Least said about them the better. Suffice to say, the huge inflatable Dainese man was attracting more interest as spectators posed for photos in front of him. (Yes I did too)

Having completed our lap, we walked wearily back up the hill towards the car. As we passed the campsite some folk had their BBQs lit and the cooking smells reminded me just how hungry I was.

Finally we reached the car, sank down into its sumptuous leather seats and headed for home. As we drove home I began to notice something. It was a completely alien concept in relation to a trip to Knockhill.

I was sunburnt!

No, definitely not frost bite or wind burn as you’d usually expect. Most definitely sun burn!

Our day had been fabulous. Great racing. No serious crashes. No major injuries to the riders. Good weather. Rounded off with a huge pizza and a nicely chilled beer. Happy Days!

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Music, Music Everywhere

Yesterday I spent several frustrating hours battling with the wonders of modern technology. For the record, after about five hours, I won only to waken this morning, check my Facebook and find a You Tube link to the damn thing! C’est la vie!

The battle? Oh it was nothing life threateningly vital. I was merely attempting to download some video footage from a recent MTV live show.

It did set me thinking though about how the world has changed with regards to obtaining new music.

I clearly remember walking into my local Woolworths store circa 1982, with my money tightly clutched in my hand, to purchase my first ever 7” single. And the record was? “Best Years of Our Lives” by Modern Romance and, yes, I do still have it and have a soft spot for it.

This triggered the start of my addiction to music. Lunch money was squirrelled away in order to save up for the next single or album (Sorry, Mum). Trips to Woolworths became a weekly pilgrimage as my vinyl collection grew.

Although I had a cassette player, I never bought pre-recorded tapes, preferring to buy vinyl instead.

In time, I joined the local record library and, like every other local member, took the discs home for the allotted period, having closely inspected them for scratches, and invested in a stack of C-90 blank cassettes. I’ll leave you to figure out the rest of that bit.

The first CD I ever bought was “Stars” by Simply Red. Again, this proved to be the first of many; the first of a collection that continues to grow today on a regular basis.

For a couple of years vinyl and CDs co-existed quite happily in my wee world then, largely due to the demise of the stylus on the turntable, CDs won that round of the music battle.

And so it continued quite happily for many years until Hey Presto! Enter iTunes and mp3 files. The Digital Download age was upon us, signalling death of many a good record shop.

I will confess to being VERY late to this particular party.

I only purchased my iPod eighteen months ago but have been making up for lost time at a rapid rate of knots as my bank balance will testify!

Now it’s second nature to head to “Digital Music” on Amazon or straight to iTunes. Some bands themselves are making mp3 files available via their own websites. Just yesterday I downloaded a whole live concert from Hogmonay on mp3, for a fee, direct via the band in question’s website. Happy days!

As I stare at my small purple iPod, it never ceases to amaze me the amount of music it holds. Even more incredible is the amount contained in the SD card that I use in the car’s stereo.

At the end of the day though I can’t help but feel that there’s something missing from the whole music buying experience when you purchase digital downloads. Even when you buy a CD a bit of the magic is missing.

I was given a turntable for my birthday some eighteen months ago. The Big Green Gummi Bear may argue it was the worst thing he ever bought me. I would vehemently disagree!

Despite all the media that music is available on, you just can’t match that feeling of buying a new album on vinyl, bringing it home, slipping it out of the sleeve and setting it on the turntable for the very first time. That subtle “dunk” as the stylus connects with the black, or coloured, vinyl disc.

You just can’t beat it!

And on that note, I’m off to see if Amazon has any decent vinyl in their January sale!

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The Ghosts of “mix tape” Days Gone By…

Do you remember the days when you sat with your fingers poised over the “pause” and “record” buttons on a Sunday evening, ready to tape your favourite hits from that week’s Top 40? The care that was taken not to get the DJ talking but also not to miss the start of the song?

Or the challenge of getting the needle to land in exactly the right spot to select a single song to play off an LP?

Remember the hours spent putting together a “mix tape” to play on your clock/radio/cassette player or, if you were lucky, your Walkman?

Perhaps I’m showing my age just a little here…..

I have many fond memories of compiling “mix tapes” for myself and friends. Agonising over the choice of songs to include and then debating what order to record them in so that it sounded best. As a teenager I always seemed to be the hard rock fan among pop music friends who decried my music as “too loud” and “too heavy”. I recall arguing with one friend that rock bands played softer stuff too – cue a mix tape of Status Quo ballads such as “Livin’ On An Island” (still got a soft spot for that one). One point to me. Happy days…

Somehow these days pulling together a playlist for your iPod doesn’t quite hit the mark.

I guess the closest I’ve got recently to re-living the “mix tape” days was earlier in the week when I was pulling together some songs to introduce a friend to new music. Reading through the track listings in my music library on the pc, I agonised like a teenager once more as to which were the best songs to choose. Would they like this one? Would they prefer that band? Was this inappropriate for them to play in the car if their young children were in the back seat? Would that one make their ears bleed?

Eventually I was happy with my choices and with the order they were in (blame lingering teenage OCD for that) and the discs were burned.

Somehow holding a “mix cd” in my hand didn’t feel quite as rewarding as a “mix tape” – perhaps it was the fact that I could only get just over 70 minutes of music on there instead of the magic 90 minutes of taped music.

I’m still awaiting feedback on the compilation. I just hope I haven’t made my friend’s ears bleed.

The Soundtrack to My Life vol. 1

A Facebook post by a friend caught my eye earlier and got me thinking (seldom a good thing).The post asked you to add a link to your own wall to the song that was at number one in the charts on the day that you were born. I’d seen a similar post a while ago and knew the answer but it got me thinking about songs that would make up the album “The Soundtrack to My Life vol. 1″– a compilation of the tracks that were number one in the UK charts at salient points of  my life. Now you’re all starting to think about songs from your past, aren’t you?

So, after a bit of research, here’s my track list for volume one: –

Aug 1975 (when I started primary school) – Typically Tropical “Barbados”

May 1988 (when I left high school) – Wet Wet Wet “With A Little Help From My Friends”

Sept 1988 (when I met The Big Green Gummi Bear) – Yazz & the Plastic Population ”The Only Way Is Up”

Mar 1993(when we bought our first home together) – Shaggy “O Carolina”

Apr 1994 (when we got engaged) – Take That “Everything Changes”

Sept 1995 (when we got married) – Blur “Country House”

Dec 1997(birth of Boy Child) – Various Artists “Perfect Day”

Feb 2000 (birth of Girl Child) – Gabrielle “Rise”

 

And the song that was number one when I was born? – Mungo Jerry “In The Summertime”

Now that I’ve got you thinking, go and compile your own soundtrack. You may find some surprises in there that you’d forgotten about.

The Perfect Present

Sometimes…just sometimes… in life you are lucky enough to be given the perfect present.

This happened to me on my last birthday thanks to the Big Green Gummi Bear.

In a way the present was twofold and if I’m totally honest I’m not sure which part I was more excited about.

So what was this wondrous gift? Diamonds? Gold? Designer shoes? A holiday?

None of these luxuries.

He bought me a record player.

The second part of the surprise was that he liberated my treasured vinyl collection from its exile in the loft. After more than ten years cowering in cardboard boxes up there those beautiful black discs had survived! They were still perfect!

Opening the boxes again after all these years was like opening a door back to my teenage years. (I did complain the albums were out of order and the Big Green Gummi Bear confessed the box had been too heavy to lift so he’d moved it in stages). In front of me, in two beautiful tatty cardboard boxes, lay my personal musical road map with all its twists and turns of genre.

Those of you who know me will appreciate that I’ve never been a fan of “popular” music but boy did I buy an eclectic collection of vinyl! Yes there is every Status Quo album from the late 1960’s through to the late 1980’s (my first musical addiction) but alongside them- now restored to its strict alphabetical order- lurk Chuck Berry, Black Sabbath, the Kinks, Def Leppard, Enya, Huey Lewis  and the News and I’ll even confess to Kajagoogoo plus many more. The box of 7” singles is even more varied or worse depending on your personal taste. Amidst a plethora of Quo there’s Diana Ross, ACDC, Wham (why did I ever buy that?), the Boomtown Rats, Iron Maiden, Alvin Stardust and The Love Theme from The Thorn Birds tv series. Each and every one holding its own special place in my heart for a myriad of reasons.

Sliding the precious black grooved disc out of its sleeve and placing it carefully on the turntable for the first time in many years was a wonderful feeling. That little crackle the stylus gives as it finds the track. Ah the tiny sounds of nostalgia! I love them! The novelty of having to turn the disc over to hear the other tracks. The hilarity of explaining double albums to a 21st century teenager when I said the track being played was on side 4. Watching my children discovering the joys of vinyl- even if it did take Boy Child six months to touch it for fear of damaging something.

This re-discovery of my love of music has opened the flood gates. They were already in the process of being prised open but that’s a tale for another blog. All I can say with certainty is that they are most definitely open wide now!

So over the years have my tastes changed since I was saving up my pocket money or scrimping and saving the change from my school lunch money in order to buy the latest release in Woolworths on a Saturday? Not in the slightest! It’s still rock and metal all the way with a healthy dose of folk, country and the obscure thrown in.

And the best find in the magic box? Well it has to be “Appetite of Destruction” by Guns N Roses. Still as fresh over a quarter of a century down line. Timeless …… and the first one I played when I received the best birthday gift ever.

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