Tag Archives: rock music

Music- therapy for the soul


Serious question – how long can you go without listening to music?

I honestly don’t know the answer to it and it’s not an experiment that I’m about to try.

I do recall about ten or eleven years ago being on holiday in the USA with the kids and, about eight or nine days in, I realised that something didn’t feel quite right. I felt tense and out of sorts. It took me a wee while to figure out what it was that was bothering me. It was a lack of music. I hadn’t heard a tune in over a week! We were having a fantastic trip but, when we had been out and about in the car, my uncle had been playing story CDs for the kids. (The Baby Snooks radio shows from the 1940’s to be exact – these have to be experienced at least once in a lifetime. Check them out on You Tube) Even in the house the radio hadn’t been on and we’d not watched anything on TV other than the news or kids’ cartoons.

My music drought ended the next day when the kids and I spent a couple of hours on the town beach at Cape May NJ. I borrowed Boy Child’s mp4 player. Paradise City has never sounded so good!

These days I’m surrounded by music. (Wasn’t risking the trauma of another drought!) My iPod is always on via the docking station while I’m in the kitchen. In the car, there’s always music on. At lunchtimes, if I go for a walk, my ear buds are safely snuggled in my ears and the music is playing. Bliss!

The benefits of listening to music have long been heralded. Charles Darwin is quoted as once having remarked, “If I had my life to live over again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once a week.”

Scientific research has proven that when you listen to music that you enjoy, your brain releases the “feel good” neurotransmitter, dopamine, thereby generating a natural high.

Another study found that listening to your favourite tunes reduced levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, in the body.

A study conducted in the Netherlands determined that listening to music while driving can enhance the driver’s mood which leads to safer, calmer driving habits. (I’m not sure about the safer bit but I do remember, a long time ago, my mother was playing Strauss waltzes while she was driving. She is a particularly nervous driver! On that occasion though, she “waltzed” happily round a twisty section of road humming and smiling to herself!)

To quote Berthold Auerbach, a 19th Century German-Jewish poet and author, “Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

I couldn’t agree more!

So the next time you’re feeling a little frazzled or a bit downhearted, dust off that iPod or dig out your CDs or even better your old vinyl and fill your heart with some of your favourite tunes.

You’ll be amazed at how good it makes you feel!


(images sourced via Google)

Rock Chicks Night Out ..In Theory

After the safe arrival of Book Baby and of surviving the first few surreal days of Book Baby motherhood, it was time for some normality – I use the term loosely- to be restored to my world.

It was time for a post-Book Baby night out!

No, Rock Mum was not out to play. ALL children were left at home. Rock Friend was out though!

In chilly, but glorious, sunshine I headed off mid-afternoon for Rock Chicks Night Out.

Breaking with my usual pre-gig routine, I had arranged to meet up with my fellow Rock Chick writer friend, Karen Soutar,  for an early dinner then we were heading off to see Theory of a Deadman at my favourite venue. Yes, you’ve guessed it – the O2 ABC. Well, I’ve not been there since mid- February! Withdrawal symptoms were setting in!

I had just settled into my seat on the train when my phone buzzed. Voicemail! It was a panicky message from the restaurant to say their gas was off and they could only offer a restricted menu, did I still want the table at 4.30? Before the train plunged into the lengthy tunnel that runs under Greenock (it used to be Europe’s longest at one point in time) I called them back. Yes, pizza was still available. Whew! Panic over.

It was only a short walk from the station to the restaurant and I’d  just taken my seat (too cold to wait outside!) when Karen arrived, equally frozen.

Cue two hours of girlie chat as we caught up on several month worth of news and gossip all washed down with pizza and beer!

Having paid the bill, we meandered our way up to the venue debating whether or not we had time for coffee or not. (Really RnFnR I know but I had to be safe to drive home from the station so no more beer allowed.)

As we approached the O2 ABC, the caffeine fix got cancelled. A lengthy queue was already snaking up the hill beside the venue. We hiked up the vertical slope to join the end of it- oxygen required!

I’d seen Theory of a Deadman last October when they were the first support act for Black Stone Cherry. I think it’s fair to say that wasn’t their best night on stage. The half hour slot felt too short for them and they were plagued with sound issues. Karen had them before too, a few years back,  as a support act so we were both curious to experience their full set.

After the obligatory trip to the merchandise stall for another black t-shirt ( a girl can never have too many), we took up our positions for the evening near the front, about 5 or 6 rows off the barrier.

There was only one support act for the evening- Beasts. They were a three piece band and were OK. Good, entertaining but not brilliant. There is definite potential there. After their short half hour set , we both agreed that their energetic bass player needed to bulk up on the muscle front a bit, lose the scoop neck t-shirt from under the leather biker jacket and ultimately go for a more “stripped back” look!

Now, I have an uncanny knack at gig for ending up behind the tallest and usually widest person in the room. This was no exception, except on the width front! I ended up behind two students who could have passed for Ents! They towered over little 5’ 3” me. C’est la vie.

I find Theory of a Deadman a hard band to categorise- a bit of rock, a bit of grunge, a bit tongue in cheek, a bit of country and a lot of “break up” songs. How about some “make up” songs, guys?

Loved their ninety minute set. They played most of my favourites –Lowlife, Panic Room, The Bitch Came Back, Santa Monica and I Hate My Life. I’d have liked to have seen World War Me on the set list but, hey ho, you can’t have them all. The crowd lapped it up, And, I even managed to get a few photos in between the branches- sorry, arms- of the Ents. Happy days!

All too soon it was over, ending with Bad Bad Girlfriend. Ending on a high.

Karen and I made our weary way back down Sauchiehall St then said our farewells as we headed home from different stations.

A great Rock Chick night out. Need to do it again soon – but can we make it a warmer night! Nearly froze my ass off waiting for the train!

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Stronger Within —-the dream’s come true!

Well, the day is finally here! The wait is over!

(My hands are trembling a little with nervous excitement as I write this.)

Book Baby has been born!


Stronger Within, my debut novel (eek!) is live in the Kindle Store on Amazon for the all the world to see. (Takes deep breath…..)

Actually seeing it on there, with my name and a price tag beside it, has stirred a plethora of emotions within me – a bit like childbirth does, to continue with that analogy.

The last few days have been an emotional rollercoaster. Despite my best laid plans – I had the whole week off work to complete the final edit and preparations – Mother Nature threw a spanner in the works. For the first time in almost twenty years, I was ill and spent two days in bed and another under a blanket on the couch – flu! It cost me three precious days of calm, organised preparation time. Easter Monday was a write off too as I spent most of it in floods of tears, mourning the loss of my beloved white cat, Gandalf. One of the toughest days of my life but at least he’s not suffering anymore.

By Tuesday I felt semi-human again and, four days later than planned, the final edit began.

This final spelling, grammar and punctuation check truly was a long, laborious process (yes- pain relief and Lemsips were required – no natural birth for Book Baby I’m afraid!) Finally with one almighty push, I had my completed word document.

It was stark naked but Stronger Within was ready to be uploaded onto my Kindle Direct Publishing account.

This proved a little tricky and fiddly. It was a bit like trying to wrestle a baby into an all-in-one sleep suit. Bits kept wriggling free! Some of the legal disclaimer page didn’t sit quite right. Some of the title fonts were too big. My author’s note and biography pages (the two hardest bits to write, by the way) also tried to escape. However, like all new mothers, I persevered and soon had it all snuggly dressed.

I sat in the kitchen, on my own, music blaring as usual, staring at the screen before reaching out to hit submit.

There were no fanfares. No fireworks. No party streamers. No champagne corks flying.

Just me, a half-drunk glass of Lucozade and Myles Kennedy singing in the background.

I’d done it! I’d really done it!

Book Baby had become Stronger Within.

The four handwritten A4 notebooks had been transformed into a Kindle e-book.

Even now, several days later, it’s still not quite sunk in.

As a child, I was always scribbling stories in notebooks, seldom finishing any of them.

As a teenager, writing was my escape from the bullying I was subjected to in school. Most lunch hours were spent huddled in a quiet corner, safely lost in my own creative bubble.

Marriage and children came along and for years I never wrote at all. I still kept my diary but that was about it until five or six years ago. I found myself with an hour and a half to myself once a week while Girl Child was at dance class. While she pirouetted and tapped upstairs, I sat in the local theatre’s café writing poetry. It was a start.

Almost two years ago I couldn’t keep the characters in my imagination quiet any longer and, in true Coral fashion, bought a new A4 notebook and a new pen and began to write. The end result is Stronger Within.

Some of you are possibly wondering – “Why launch a book on a Wednesday?”

The 15th April was chosen as Book Baby’s birthday a few months ago. It’s a date that means a lot to me personally. It was my Wee Gran’s birthday (she would have been 113 today if she was still with us). She discovered the joy of reading late in life. Like most of us, she began with Enid Blyton. The only difference was that she was in her late seventies at the time! My mum suggested that she join the local library and my Wee Gran soon developed a love of a good doctor/nurse romance. I wonder what she would have made of Stronger Within?

There’s a second reason for choosing the 15th April. Twenty one years ago today the Big Green Gummi Bear asked me to marry him. Yes, I’m a romantic fool at heart!

So what’s next?

Well, there’s no rest for the wicked! I’m planning to spend the next few weeks writing, promoting Stronger Within and trying to re-charge my batteries then I’ll start typing up Book Baby 2. It’s already written (well the first draft is) and fills another four A4 notebooks.

None of this would have been possible without the support and encouragement of my “infamous five” alpha readers. (Have you each worked out who the other four are yet?) Without their love and friendship, Stronger Within would still just be a story in four notebooks in a box under my kitchen table. Thank you just doesn’t seem enough here.

A huge thank you to my beta readers who arrived like the cavalry a few weeks ago to read over the final drafts.

To my artist friend who gifted me the Celtic dragon design – thank you from the bottom of my heart. It’s perfect.

And a final thank you to my “writing fairy godmother” for waving her Photoshop magic wand for me!

So all that’s left to say is make yourself a coffee or pour a glass of wine, sit back, relax and enjoy Stronger Within.

Love and hugs to you all




Drookit But Still Smiling

Anyone who follows my activities can probably guess what’s coming next…..

Rock Mum was out to play again last night.

After a mad dash home from the Salt Mine, a quick change of clothes and a much needed bacon sandwich, I rushed off to catch the 5:25 train to Glasgow, ably chaperoned by Boy Child.

Our destination this time was the O2 Academy in Glasgow. (Boy Child’s favourite venue) We were off to see Rival Sons.

The only drawback – the weather. It was pouring with rain, there was an icy wind howling and it was Baltic! Just how far did we Spring forward when the clocks changed last weekend? To Winter? Brrr

For once even Boy Child had dressed for the elements – confirmation of just how awful it was if the teenager was feeling it!

As we stood outside the venue in the growing but shivering, damp queue (no coffee shops next to the venue so no caffeine fix- BOO!) I couldn’t help but wonder what kind of an evening we were in for.

We’d seen Rival Sons back in December and much as I’d loved their set, there was something not quite right about it. Don’t get me wrong, they were brilliant but that little je ne sais quoi was missing.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so relieved to see a venue’s doors open so we could scurry in out of the rain.

Dripping, we stopped off at the merchandise stall to purchase the obligatory t-shirts. Moral victory- we managed to agree on two different designs so no mother/son t-shirt clash to mark this occasion. I also treated myself to a canvas tote bag. (Beats paying 5p a bag in the shops and it’s small enough to fold up and fit in the back pocket of my tardis-like handbag.) Result all round!

There is only one spot to stand at a Rival Sons show – especially if you are with Boy Child. Right in front of Scott Holiday. We found ourselves among the same group of die-hards that we had been beside back in December. See we’re not the only looney tunes happy to see these guys again so soon.

Much to my surprise there was only one support act lined up for the show, New York duo, The London Souls. I’ll be honest – I’d never heard of them. This two piece band, comprising of guitar and drums, transported the Glasgow crowd back in time by about forty five years and played a short but solid soulful set, heavily influence by 1960’s/70’s icons. Worth checking this band out when their debut album is released later this year.

The intro tape played the theme from The Good The Bad and The Ugly. As it rang out over the expectant fans, Rival Sons appeared out on stage.

Glasgow was in for a treat! The boys from California were all dressed in kilts. While frontman Jay Buchanan had gone for a more traditional look, guitarist Scott Holiday was rocking his pointed toe boots and leather jacket with his black kilt. Hot Hot Hot

Their set started with the incredible Electric Man and over the next ninety odd minutes they powered their way through a further seventeen songs, including a short five song acoustic set in the middle of proceedings.

Cue clothing issue as Scott Holiday realised the fans on the rail were seeing a bit more of him than usual when he sat down to play. Thank God he’s not a true Scot!

Highlight of the night for me was their performance of Where I’ve Been. I LOVE that song!

This time the whole set shone- sparkled even. I realised what had been missing from December – smiles.

All of them looked more relaxed and seemed to be genuinely enjoying playing this iconic art deco venue. There was even a hint of mischief from Jay Buchanan as he flicked up the back of Scott Holiday’s kilt during the encore.

It was a joy to see them having fun.

When we emerged into the dark, I  was relieved to find that the rain had eased up. After a short sprint towards the station, with a brief pit stop at KFC (Boy Child was hungry) we boarded the train home. Both of us tired but happy.

We may not have done the mother/son t-shirt thing but it was a cracking mother/son night out.

As Boy Child prepares to leave high school and move on to university, I can’t help but wonder how many more gigs will he will be content to enjoy with his Rock Mum?

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Can You Take A Loaf Into A Gig?

Five twenty five and I’m on a train. It can only mean one thing. Rock Mum aka Rock Friend was off out to play.

Little did I realise……

After a few last minute changes of plans due to illness, I was accompanied by Boy Child, Girl Child. FB Son, Rock Chick Friend and a new addition to the posse, who will be christened later in this tale.

Our destination was the legendary Barrowlands Ballroom in Glasgow where the American rock band Halestorm were headlining for the night.

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As the train pulled into Glasgow’s Central Station, FB Son and the as yet un-named member of our group declared that they needed to grab something to eat. While I darted off to the loo, the two boys headed off in search of some food. FB Son duly returned with a sensible healthy sandwich and some fruit juice. His friend returned with a loaf of bread. Not just any old loaf – an M&S loaf!

Cue every bread joke imaginable!

Bread Boy, no longer nameless, promptly began to munch his way through said loaf slice by slice.

On the taxi ride out to the venue, the loaf was securely tucked into the seat belt just to ensure it arrived safely at the gig.

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It queued patiently with us for forty minutes without a murmur of complaint, although it was now reduced to less than half a dozen slices.

I bumped into my fellow rock chick writer friend and her husband in the queue and they too were duly introduced to Loaf and Bread Boy.

“Are you allowed to take a loaf into a gig?” was a question I never thought I would ponder.

The loaf made it through security and was escorted upstairs via the merchandise stall into the ballroom.

At this point our tale splits – or should that be slices?

The three boys, having dumped their hoodies and assorted t-shirts with Rock Chick Friend and I, disappeared off with Loaf in search of some moshing and crowd surfing. It had already been pointed out that a baguette would’ve been a smarter choice for crowd surfing.

Us girls took ourselves across the hall and secured a spot fairly far forward with a clear view of the stage.

The first support act, Wilson, took the stage by storm and played a blistering half hour set. In front of us, two “females” had pushed their way in and stood drinking throughout the entire set.

Second support band, the amazing Nothing More, followed Wilson and held the audience captivated with their performance. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more athletic display of drumming. Awesome set! Check both these bands out if you haven’t done so already.

The two “females” still stood in front of us downing pint after pint.

As the hall filled up, it was getting to be more tightly packed around us and it was getting hotter (not helped by the fact I had three hoodies tied round my waist and at least three t-shirts stuffed down the various sleeves).

Halestorm took to the stage, opening their set with Mz Hyde. Love that song!

The two, now very drunk, “females” launched straight into full on dance mode. Both of them were completely oblivious to the carnage they were causing with their drunken gyrations. One had also by now soaked Girl Child down one side as she had thoughtlessly discarded the remains of her beer. After too long watching my baby girl getting bodily thumped and smacked in the face with hair, I stepped in between her and the gyrating drunk.

Now I’m not a large person and I am most certainly not a violent person but I will not stand back and watch my kids getting hassled.

Bracing myself, I let the “female” bounce off me a few times, barely able to retain my own balance. At least Girl Child was out of the firing line.

The crowd was tightly packed around us and there was no visible alternative spot to relocate to. If we wanted to see the stage, we had to stay where we were.

At the end of the number, the “female” turned round to face me and hurled a foul mouthed rant at me about what did I think I was doing. Cue angry rant back about what did she think she was playing at and did she realise that she had repeatedly battered into my daughter. She spat a mouthful of abuse back at me. It was clear to see she was too drunk and too ignorant to care!

To our left, another mother was having a similar conversation with the drunken friend to the same effect.

Despite our best efforts neither of us could attract the attention of the security staff at the front of the crowd. We were stuck with them. I silently prayed that the beer would take over entirely and that they would run out of steam.

Girl Child had had enough. She bailed out to sit at the side of the room. I offered to go with her but she said to stay and enjoy myself. Awash with guilt at my baby girl missing out due to the thoughtless actions of the two drunks, I opted to stay put.

OK, there’s a stubborn streak in me- I wasn’t moving for anyone least of all an ignorant foul-mouthed drunk.

Rock Chick Friend had wandered off to the side to get some air so I hoped Girl Child would find her and not be entirely on her own. (Sadly she didn’t)

Out on stage Halestorm were playing a blinder of a set that included three of the songs from their forthcoming album Into the Wild Life. The main set ended with a fabulous rendition of I Miss The Misery.

And during that who did I spot?

FB Son crowd surfing!

The two drunks had thankfully long since run out of bounce and were at long last not disturbing those around them. Hallelujah!

During Halestorm’s encore someone threw a Scottish Saltire flag up on stage which Lzzy duly held up before tying it round her neck. Wearing it like a super hero cape, Lzzy and the rest of the band ended the show with Here’s To Us.

As the lights went up, I quickly located Girl Child and greeted her with a huge hug. I still felt like I’d failed her.

As the crowd dispersed we waited for the boys and Rock Chick Friend to reappear. The boys turned up first, minus Loaf. The loaf had enjoyed Wilson and Nothing More but after a bit of crowd surfing (humble apologies to Halestorm – those naughty boys lobbed a slice on stage!), the loaf failed to survive the moshing and was trampled underfoot in the mosh pit.

R.I.P. Loaf!

If only the two females in front of us had used their “loaves”. If they had had a little – ok a lot- less to drink and actually been aware of their surroundings then perhaps all of us could have enjoyed a memorable gig.

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Aftermath – due to adverse weather conditions the trains had been disrupted while we were at the gig. Shortly before midnight, tired, wet and weary, the six of us boarded the last train out of Glasgow. It was jam packed. There’s nothing worse than being stone cold sober on the “Piss Head Express”. The train service terminated five stops from home and we were all herded back out into the wind and rain and onto coaches to complete the journey. The six of us ended up on a bus filled with folk who had been to see Lionel Ritchie at the SSE Hydro and who insisted on serenading us with “All Night Long”.

A long night it had been. A long surreal night!

You Can’t Do That To That Song! It’s Just Not Right…….

After last week’s Hayseed Dixie gig I showed some of my video footage to Boy Child.

He threw his hands up in horror and declared emphatically that certain classic rock songs should be “listed” in a similar way to buildings.

He may be on to something here.

For those of you unfamiliar with the term, if a building is “listed” in the UK it cannot be demolished, extended or altered without special permission from the relevant authorities. I believe many other countries have similar legislation covering buildings of historic interest.

In Scotland, there are three categories of “listed” buildings depending on their significance – A, B and C listed.

An example of a Class A listed building would be the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, a Class B example is the Mitchell Library in Glasgow and a Class C example is my favourite haunt, the O2 ABC, Glasgow.

You get the picture, right?

So, if this theory of classification were to be applied to rock songs what would/should be classified as “Listed”?

Do you put an age caveat on eligibility? For example, does the song have to be over ten years old?

Do you categorise it by the number of copies the original sold?

Or the number of downloads on iTunes?

This could get complicated!

Let’s keep it simple for starters, shall we?

Class A listed songs – ones that should never be messed with but may be covered with permission as long as the cover version remains true to the original.

Top of my list would be “Bohemian Rhapsody”. When I asked Boy Child to name his Class A songs he instantly replied “Everything by Led Zeppelin.” I’m sure many of you would agree, I may however be a bit more precise. I’m sure there are a few B’s and C’s in there!

Class B listed songs– ones that may be covered with a modicum of deviation away from the original.

I’d include “Sweet Child O’Mine” in this list, despite the fact it may be my all time favourite song. There are only a handful of vocalists who can do this song justice! A perfect example of an ideal Class B version would be the treatment this song is given by Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators. (note- I still prefer the original)

Class C listed songs – could be altered to a greater degree, with the original act’s explicit consent. This one is harder to choose an example for!

The first song that springs to mind is “London Calling” by The Clash. This was covered last year by Brent Smith and Zach Myers of Shinedown. Their acoustic version of this classic track is significantly different to the original but still retains the song’s identity.

Ok I’ve started the lists – which songs would you add?

A Green Triangle To Paradise City – dreams do come true!

I’ve sat down several times over the past few days to pen this blog. The end result has been the same every time. As soon as I start to write, a smile creeps across my lips and all coherent thoughts vanish in a cloud of twinkly stars.

For several months, Thursday 4 Dec has been marked on my calendar- Slash featuring Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators (aka SMK&C) at the Hydro Glasgow. When the tickets were purchased, this show was scheduled to make the dream of finally seeing Slash play live come true. That dream magically became a reality on Nov 7th as I’ve blogged previously. Last Thursday, however, turned into a completely magical “once-in-a lifetime” experience.

Through the wonders of rock music and social media interaction, I’ve become friends with a lady from Indiana, USA. Over the past few months, we’ve chatted online and the friendship has grown. To cut a very long story, that is her’s to tell, short- HINT HINT about that journal, young lady!- the final stop on her European Tour 2014 was also to be the Hydro on Dec 4th. Finally, I was going to get the opportunity to meet my FB friend face-to-face!

There had been whispers of promises of great things for the evening that I hadn’t dared to get my hopes up about. Mid-afternoon, she confirmed she had a treat in store for us.

Chaperoned by my usual teenage minders – Boy Child, Girl Child and FB Son (Boy Child’s friend) – plus one of my Rock Chick friends, this Rock Mum headed out to play.

One minor issue – how do you find someone that you’ve never met in a crowd of circa 10 000? Easily as it turns out!

As we queued to gain entry to the arena’s bowl, I spotted her coming through the main door, looking all round her. Waving and calling out her name, I caught her attention and she came rushing over to greet us. With the hugs and introductions complete, she opened an envelope and passed me five green triangular stickers – one for each of us. Clearly written across the sticker it said   “Slash Aftershow TDK”!

With arrangements made as to where to meet after the show, we all headed into the arena. It was the rock show to end all rock shows! Despite sound quality issues the first support act, Twenty Two Hundred, did a stellar job in front of quite a small crowd for such a big room. As the rock fans piled in, the second band of the evening took to the stage. This was Glenn Hughes’ new band California Breed. He may be over sixty now but boy can that guy sing! Fabulous set! With the crowd roused to the brink of ecstasy, California Breed left the stage.

Shortly before nine, the house lights dimmed and the creepy clown freak show music began to filter out signalling the imminent arrival of SMK&C. For two hours, SMK&C ruled the stage and commanded the Glasgow crowd. The set ran to some twenty one songs and was a fantastic mix of new and old SMK&C material, classic Guns N Roses and a sprinkling of Velvet Revolver. They played almost all of my personal favourites. Throughout the entire set, I drank in every note, watched every movement and, to be honest, was completely and utterly mesmerised.

The band had a treat in store for the Scottish fans. At the start of their encore, they welcomed Glenn Hughes and Andrew Watt out on stage and played a fantastic rendition of the Deep Purple classic “Burn.” An incredible sight to behold!

As the confetti rained down (guess who forgot to close over her handbag- oops!) during the show closer “Paradise City”, I could feel my nervous excitement mounting.

If watching these guys rule the stage wasn’t enough of a dream-come-true moment, part two was about to commence.

As the rest of the audience trooped happily towards the exits, with trembling hands, we applied our magical “green triangles” to our shirts. Along with a couple of dozen other lucky fans, we were ushered through a door beside the stage and along a maze of backstage corridors into a very basic room, littered with tables and chairs and instructed to wait. While we waited, we all began to chat, introducing ourselves and forming friendships. After about an hour, the door opened and The Conspirators came quietly into the room. Well, two of them did. One definitely failed to slip in unnoticed! It was bassist Todd Dammit Kerns’ birthday and his arrival was met with a loud chorus of “Happy Birthday” that he lapped up with a huge grin.

The next forty five minutes were magically surreal. Even now, five days later, I have to pinch myself and look at the photos (any excuse!) to remind myself it actually happened. The content of our conversations will remain private as these few moments are treasured memories. I became a very proud Rock Mum as Boy Child and Girl Child politely chatted with these rock stars, neither of them the least bit fazed. Much to my great surprise, it was Rock Chick friend who was a tad shy and star struck – meeting Todd Kerns left her completely tongue tied!

I surprised myself, if I’m being honest. I joked and chatted to Todd Kerns, then with Frank Sidoris, who was particularly sweet with the kids, then Brent Fitz, who laughed when I confessed to having zero sense of rhythm. In some respects, it felt like the most natural thing in the world to be doing late on a Thursday night/early Friday morning. In others, it was the most unbelievable few minutes.

The icing on the cake was still to come.

The door opened and a fourth rock star crept quietly into the room, all bundled up in hat, scarf and jacket in readiness for the cold December night air that awaited them all.

It was Myles Kennedy.

Yes, I met Myles! Yes, I spoke to Myles and even managed a brief but sensible conversation with him. Yes, I got my photo taken with him and got a hug into the bargain. Yes, it actually happened! Dream come true!

As the guys were ushered out to the waiting tour bus, I watched them depart, already thinking – did I just dream that?

There’s photos to prove that I didn’t!

I can’t find words to describe how grateful I am for the kindness and friendship shown to us by one wonderful lady from Indiana. If ever there was someone who truly lives the “pay-it-forward” ethos, it is this larger than life rock fan. She is an inspiration!

Thanks to her, many of us around the world have memories to treasure for a lifetime.

I’ve teased her relentlessly on FB over her dedication and devotion to SMK&C, particularly Todd Kerns, calling her their “Rock Mama”.

Last Thursday night, she was everyone’s Rock Mama and, I’m pretty sure I speak for all of us who were given the gift of a magical “green triangle”, when I say a HUGE thank you to the one and only, Janette Martin.

Rock Mama, you took us all to Paradise City!

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