Monday, 28 November 2011

'The Yuletide 24' 2011 - the complete list of musodad's favourite songs of the year

So, 'The Yuletide 24' is now complete.  For those of you wondering what this is, it was a list of my favourite 24 songs in 2011.  I decided to collate it as a personal tribute to the great man John Peel and his annual 'Festive 50' and I've really enjoyed putting it together, listening to loads of great music along the way.  If you'd like to read my blog post tribute to John Peel, you can do so here - Introducing 'The Yuletide 24' - it's like a rubbish version of John Peel's 'Festive 50'

For those of you who use Spotify, you can now listen to the full playlist here - The Yuletide 24 - 2011 For those of you who don't, below is the list, in reverse order.  Please imagine that 'The Wizard' by Paul Hardcastle is playing in your head to give it a 'Top of the Pops' atmos :

24 - 'Writing's on the wall' by Plan B
23 - 'I want the world to stop' by Belle & Sebastian
22 - 'Still Life' by The Horrors
21 - 'A Heavy Abacus' by The Joy Formidable
20 - 'Lions in cages' by Wolf Gang
19 - 'Live those days tonight' by Friendly Fires
18 - 'Don't sit down 'cause I've moved your chair' by Arctic Monkeys
17 - 'The City' by Patrick Wolf
16 - 'L.I.F.E.G.O.E.S.O.N.' by Noah and the Whale
15 - 'Honey all Over' by Gruff Rhys
14 - 'Pumped up Kicks' by Foster the People
13 - 'Sappho' by Tribes
12 - 'You are a Tourist' by Death Cab for Cutie
11 - 'AKA...What a Life!' by Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
10 - 'The Words that Maketh Murder' by PJ Harvey
9 - 'Lippy Kids' by Elbow
8 - 'Good for Nothing' by Hard-Fi
7 - 'Give up the Ghost' by Radiohead
6 - 'Two kinds of Happiness' by The Strokes
5 - 'Walking Far From Home' by Iron & Wine
4 - 'Video Games' by Lana Del Rey
3 - 'If you Wanna' by The Vaccines
2 - 'How it ended' by The Drums
1 - 'Lights Out, Words Gone' by Bombay Bicycle Club

So, what do you think? Agree / disagree?  Any songs I’ve missed?


Well, now it’s over to you – other than any comments on the above, it would be great if you could let me know your 2 favourite songs of the year so we can build a ‘Top of the mums and pops’ (TOTMAP) 2011 playlist together.  As I mentioned in my John Peel tribute post, you don’t have to be a mum or a dad to submit songs, I just liked the name and it stuck.  Either comment here or send them to me on Twitter - @musodad

You've got until the 31st December and then I'll publish the Spotify playlist in the new year.  It doesn't matter if your 2 songs are in the above list or have been featured on a previous playlist.  Oh and it won't be limited to 24 songs (if I actually get 24 songs in total, I'll be a very happy man!)

Finally, once one door closes, another opens.  ‘The Yuletide 24’ 2011 playlist may now be complete but it’s time to start another.  This is going to be called (drum roll, please) ‘24 Bands that should have been bigger’.

This playlist is all about bands who are no longer with us, and it’s a bloody shame that they’re not.  These are bands who might have enjoyed moderate success, but never the success they deserved, for example, they never headlined Glastonbury but they should have.  These are bands who split up too early and who we would love to have back (you never know, some might still be touring tiny pubs somewhere, we just don’t know about it).

I’m going to try and make this interactive as well, so if you have any suggestions, please use the hashtag #bandsthatshouldhavebeenbigger and an example of the band / artist they should have been as big as.  To give you an example (and for thanking you for being one of the first people to read this blog post) I am going to tell you that tomorrow’s Song of the day is ‘Great Things’ by Echobelly.  An excellent band who I wish were still around and really should have been as big as Blondie.


You can also subscribe to / follow the Spotify playlist here - 24 Bands that should have been bigger

Thanks for reading.

Mix-Tape Monday #4 : A song from the best gig I have ever been to

As soon as I saw the theme for Boo and Me's Mix-Tape Monday this week it was always going to be between two of the most recent gigs I have been to - Elbow and the Arctic Monkeys.

Elbow are terrific live, I've never seen anything like the interaction Guy Garvey has with the audience before. I saw them first about 10 years ago and I don't think he spoke once - when I saw them earlier on this year though, he wouldn't stop!  I have to admit, on that particular night, it caused me to develop a bit of a man crush on him.  I even tweeted him after the gig to tell him (and again while I was watching them on telly at Glasters).  He never replied - deep down I like to think it's because his feelings were mutual and he just couldn't handle it.  He therefore had to cut me out of his life forever...

Arctic Monkeys are also amazing live.  I'm going to sound like my dad now but "they sound just like they do on record".  Also their energy live is second to none, they lack the interaction of Elbow, and I'm not too keen on Alex Turner's new haircut, but I've never been blown away like that at a gig before.  It is for that reason, and not because Guy broke my heart, that I am going to pick them over Elbow.

Now, which song to pick - they have so many great ones.  The obvious choice would be 'I bet that you look good on the dancefloor', other classics are of course 'The View from the afternoon', 'Brianstorm' and 'Mardy Bum'.  However, I am going to stick with what has been my favourite song of theirs since day one - 'When the sun goes down' - when played live, this is a belter!


To take part, click on Boo and Me's Mix-Tape Monday meme - it's over to the right and down a bit.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

"O. darling, there ain't no appeasing you" AKA 'Two Honeymooners and a baby vs two American cops and a yellow fluffy duck'

For today's blog post I'm going to take you back to March 2008 - the date my wife, our eldest daughter O. (then 11 months old) and I went on our Honeymoon.
 
We had decided to do something a bit different for this. Rather than spending 3 weeks on a beach somewhere hot, we booked to travel by car from Las Vegas to San Francisco. One of the influencing factors was because we thought it would have been unfair on O. to be in the soaring heat of a tropical beach destination. It was a great decision and without doubt the best 3 weeks of our lives - we saw the Grand Canyon, we drove through Death Valley, stopping off at Ghost Towns along the way, stayed in Yosemite National Park (our favourite place on Earth) and drank wine in Napa Valley before finishing up in the amazing San Francisco.
 
O. had a great time too and charmed the Americans no end and they made a huge fuss of her back.
 
Actually, I say she had a good time but we did get off to a bit of a shaky start and the whole Honeymoon could have turned out a whole lot differently...
 
We landed at Las Vegas airport in the late afternoon and once we'd got through customs headed to pick up the hire car. We'd also requested a car seat for O. cause we didn't want to lug ours halfway around the World. Unfortunately it was perhaps the worst car seat known to man - uncomfortable looking, threadbare in places and bloody hard to fit. We asked for help and were met with "sorry that will invalidate your insurance". He agreed to help eventually, his conscious, and our jetlagged mannerisms, probably got the better of him.
 
On leaving the car hire place, the heat of the afternoon sun finally hit us and O. started freaking out! To her it was about 10pm, so way past her bedtime, and instead it was bright sunshine.  She must have wondered what the hell was going on!
 
She was inconsolable, we'd never seen her like this and on top of that we were lost - we'd only just left the car hire place as well! We saw the sanctuary of a retail park so pulled in there. When we pulled in we were grateful to see a nice friendly looking Policeman stood by his car so I approached him, local map in hand.
 
"DO NOT APPROACH A POLICE OFFICER,SIR!!!", he shouted, with his hand on his gun. Gulp!
 
"Sorry, erm...hi. We've just flown in from England, please can you tell us where Las Vegas Boulevard is please", my voice resembled Joe Pasquale as if he’d just been hit in the nether regions (also note the double use of the word 'please').
 
"Sure, turn left out of here and take the first right.  Have a nice day!" he added cheerfully.
 
We made it to the hotel shortly afterwards. The first thing I did was change my underpants.
 
However, it wasn't to be our only brush with the law on our Honeymoon.
 
On leaving Vegas, en route to Death Valley, O. Woke up from a deep sleep and again threw a strop, I think it was the uncomfortable car seat that was mostly to blame. We decided to pull over and let her have a cruise around (she wasn't quite walking at this stage).
 
There wasn't a soul for miles as we walked her up and down the side of the road but suddenly a police car appeared out of nowhere.
 
The cop pulled over, got out and asked me "what's your business here, Sir?"
 
"Oh, hi officer" I replied "we're here on Honeymoon. My daughter was a bit upset so we pulled over to let her have a wander around".
 
"Please follow me, Sir" - he walked around to the front of our car. "Did you see a sign back there?" he asked. "Yes”, I replied “but my daughter was so upset I didn't get a chance to read it properly".
 
"Sir" he continued "you are on the boundary of a restricted military zone" (double gulp, more clean underpants required). "Okay" I replied, my voice wavering, this time resembling a 12 year old boy going through the ‘changes’.
 
"Sir, (I was going to tell him at this stage that he had probably overused the word ‘sir’ but I decided to keep quiet) if you had been 2 miles further down the road, I would've had to have taken you 'in' (triple gulp - should’ve worn one of O's nappies!). The nearest jail is 60 miles from here. Could I have your passports please. You can now re-join your wife and child".
 
The next few minutes are a bit of a blank, I can’t remember what I said to my wife, what she said back, all I remember was that the cop sat in his car looking like he was doing something important, then came back over to us.  “If you'd like to follow me in your car past the sign then I will give you your passports back to you” he said.  Phew!
 
We followed him in our car and stopped behind his.  He got out, went into his boot and pulled something yellow and fluffy out of it. "Here are your passports and here is something for the little one" he said. He gave a yellow fluffy duck to O. "Have a safe journey".  And he was gone…
 
I can't remember for the life of me where that duck is now. Maybe we binned it as it triggered issues in my tummy region every time I saw it - the memories of that encounter coming flooding back.
 
I really wish I'd taken a photo of the sign but we decided not to, we didn't even look back just in case - I'd probably be in a Louis Theroux jail documentary now rather than writing this.
 
It was the last run in we were to have with the US Police Force while we were there. We nearly got attacked by a coyote in Yosemite National Park later on in the Honeymoon, and had to be rescued by a nice German lady called Claudia, but that's another story...

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Mix-Tape Monday #3 : When you've got that lovin' feelin'

Last week I chose the penultimate song that was played at our Wedding Reception. 
This week my Mix-Tape Monday choice is the final song that was played at our Wedding Reception.
It’s the ultimate love song that brings back some very happy memories…


Click on Boo and Me's Mix-Tape Monday meme over on the right hand side of this blog to get involved.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Friday, 18 November 2011

Double A-Sided blog post - 'Fiction Fridays' / 'Music as Therapy'


This is a Double A-Sided meme blog post featuring 'Fiction Fridays' and 'Music as Therapy'.
 
Side A1 will feature a favourite book of mine that I read my kids and Side A2 is something that I've been meme-ing to do for ages (“ha ha! Did you see that?! He said 'meme-ing' instead of ‘meaning’ because they are both memes! This guy is brilliant!" "Thanks mum").
 
Before we get to the main event though ("get on with it!" "sorry, dad"), in true muso style, I'd firstly like to talk about 'Double A-Sides' as frankly it's not a term you hear much nowadays is it?!
 
And what were they all about anyway?! If there are any Music Execs reading (I very much doubt it!), I'd love to know.
 
Was it because each song wasn't strong enough to stand up on its own so it needed a back up? Was it to get more radio airtime - potentially on different stations if the songs were different styles? Was it because the Record Company was so indecisive that they thought ‘Sod it - let’s put them both out!’?
 
I would love to have been at a Record Company meeting years ago where someone piped up with "do you know what? I think we should make this a double A-sided single". Everyone probably nodded in agreement without questioning it (apart from Norman, the most junior member of staff present). "But why?" asked Norman, "Erm...'cause I said so. Now where’s my tea?!"
 
Right, I'm going to Google it and find out!
Oh, erm…”The practice was introduced by The Beatles (who are they when they’re at home?! ‘Fly by nights’!) in 1965 for their single ‘Day Tripper’ which appeared on the same single as ‘We can work it out’".
Okay, fair enough. I love The Beatles and they were ‘fairly’ successful but tell me ‘Wikipedia’, why did they do this?
“That’s a very good question, Simon” (blimey, ‘Wikipedia’ has turned into Nina from ‘Nina and the Neurons!’) “Well, occasionally double A-sided singles are released with each side targeting a different market – for example, Dolly Parton released double A-sides where one song was targeted to pop radio and the other side to country”.
Thanks Wikipedia.  I did sort of imply that above, don’t you read my blog? “No, I don’t. I think it’s rubbish”.
 
Okay, fair enough.  Right, moving swiftly on…
 
Side A1 - 'Fiction Fridays : The Magic Faraway Tree’
My choice for this week is ‘The Magic Faraway Tree’.  I never really knew about this series of books when I was little.  I was more into Enid Blyton’s ‘Castle of Adventure’ and ‘Secret Seven’ books instead so when my wife purchased this for O. I thought ‘great’ as it was completely new to me as well.
O. is really getting into older kids’ books now. We currently also have ‘Mary Poppins’, the first ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘The Folk of the Faraway Tree’ on the go at the moment but this is probably her favourite.
Even though the founders of Google state that the company name came about from a misspelling of googol, I like to think that it is really because they were read this when they were younger and were familiar with the ‘Google buns’ in it.

Anyway the opening paragraph (sorry @homedad, I’m breaking the rules here!) is - "Once upon a time there were three children, Joe, Beth and Frannie. They lived with their mother and father in a little cottage deep in the country. They had to help their parents both in the house and in the garden, as there was lots to do”.
Please note that musodad has never used this opening paragraph as an example to his children that they should help his wife and him out more around the home. Okay, I admit, I did do it once but Moon-Face made me.

 
Side A2 – ‘Music as Therapy’
 
As I mentioned earlier, ‘Music as Therapy’ is also a meme. I was tagged in this meme by the rather wonderful @SAHDandproud (cheers fella) and I’ve been really excited about doing it for weeks (24 days in fact – it’s been in my Twitter favourites for that long), I just haven’t had time.  But, here it is, finally!
‘Music as Therapy’ was originally thought up by @mammywoo. One evening, once her child was in bed, she ‘plugged herself into her music library and chose three songs that she had recently heard and enjoyed and felt touched by and copied down the lyrics that spoke to her’.
She tagged a number of bloggers in the post and it eventually got to me.  This was the brief to the other bloggers :
Pick 3 beautiful songs, 3 different bands and 3 sets of lyrics that touch you in any way you want to show.
Here are my 3 choices :
1.              “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys
This was our first dance song at our Wedding so it is obviously very dear to my heart.
I think the lyric ‘God only knows what I’d be without you’ says it all really.
Here’s the song on You Tube :

2.              “We all need love” by Tim Burgess
I first moved in with my wife in April 2003. Two days after we moved in together, due to a pre-planned holiday with my friends, I buggered off and left her alone in our new flat and went travelling around Scotland for a week in a camper van! I look back now and wonder what the hell I was thinking but, after almost 9 years, I think she has nearly forgiven me…
Anyway, we played the album ‘I Believe’ by Tim Burgess loads on that holiday and as we were making the long trip back to London on the last night the lyrics “I need to spend some time with you, my love” really hit home as I was missing her so much.
3 years later I returned to Scotland, with my wife this time, and asked her to marry me next to a waterfall near Loch Lomond. Thankfully she said “yes”. Great memories.
The song isn’t on You Tube but here’s a Spotify link if you use it and want to have a listen :
3.              “Wilder” by The Boo Radleys
I love the Boo Radleys, they are one of my favourite bands of all time and I can really relate to a lot of their lyrics.  The lyric I’ve chosen though is from this song. 
Sometimes it's all about the simple things in life and as long as you’ve got your family and friends, why should anything else matter?
The lyric I have chosen, which never fails to make my spine tingle, is “If I were much wiser, maybe I would realise that it’s not where you are, it’s who you’re with”.  Beautiful.
Here’s the song on You Tube :

So, that’s it.  Hope you enjoyed reading my Double A-Sided blog post as much as I enjoyed writing it.  To end though, I am going to tag 5 people - 2 dad bloggers, 2 mum bloggers and 1 soon-to-be music blogger who I know will like the ‘Music as Therapy’ meme and hopefully blog about their 3 songs.  Oh, and while you’re at it, give @homedad’s ‘Fiction Fridays’ a bash as well – details are here : Fiction Fridays
I am tagging :
2 dad bloggers – @himupnorth and @infantisaurus01
2 mum bloggers – @lisajarmin and @stressymummy 
The soon-to-be music blogger - @stevenswift

Monday, 14 November 2011

Mix-Tape Monday #2 : A Guilty Pleasure

Do you know what? I love 'Guilty Pleasures' music!

It's a music genre that unites so many people no matter what you're into. Evidence of this has to be the regular Club Nights at Koko in Camden. We've only been there once post kids but pre-kids we went quite a bit. It's one of those clubs that as soon as it opens at 10pm the whole place is dancing until 3am - punching the air to Bon Jovi, having a boogie whilst watching 3 beer bellied topless blokes dressed as angels grooving to Bucks Fizz on stage and singing along to a special guest doing karaoke (we've seen Terry Hall and Charlotte Church play there previously). It is amazing!

So, when Boo and Me said this week's music subject, for the second of her Mix-Tape Mondays, was going to be this, you can imagine I got pretty excited!

I have to admit though, it's been difficult to choose a song as there are so many candidates.

In true X-Factor judge style though - "I've made my decision" - and this is based on two reasons (and neither of them is because the song reflects the state of my marriage!) :

1) this was the penultimate song played at our Wedding Reception so it brings back happy memories of all our family and friends having a great time on the dancefloor. At the end of the song everyone formed a circle and my wife and I were in the middle singing our hearts out to each other - what an amazing day!

2) it reminds me of my late Nan. A few years ago she gave me all of her old vinyl records and one of them was the album "Musn't Grumble" by this duo. It will go wherever I go (I mean when we move house - I don't carry it with me at all times or anything) until I pass it on to one of my daughters / grandchildren in years to come and so on and so on...

So, there you have it - are you ready?! All together now - "Oh darlin'! There ain't no pleasing you..."

Friday, 11 November 2011

Fiction Fridays : Santa is coming to Manchester

@homedad has come up with a cracking idea called 'Fiction Fridays'. It's all about the favourite books we read our kids. You can learn more about it and join in here - Fiction Fridays

My choice for this week is 'Santa is coming to Manchester'.  We bought this book for O. at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) on our recent trip to Manchester. It's been a regular bedtime story choice since and I'm sure it'll get even more popular in the run up to Christmas. It's also a great memory of a fantastic day out.

The opening line is - "Well?" boomed Santa. "Have all the children from Manchester been good this year?"

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Mix-Tape Monday #1: A Song That Makes You Want To Get Up And Dance

The excellent Boo and Me has come up with a great idea of compiling a Mix-Tape Monday where other bloggers provide their favourite songs based either on a theme @BooAndMe_ has provided or just a song they bloody love.  I found out about this via the equally brilliant SAHDandproud - the dad blogger answer to Bill Hicks.  Loving music as much as I do I accepted the challenge straight away.  The first theme is 'A Song That Makes You Want To Get Up And Dance'. 

I am an Essex boy.  In the early 90s we used to go to an indie night at Hollywoods night club in Romford every Monday.  This is one of the songs I remember from that era that never failed to make me dance - and yes, we used to dance exactly like they do in the video!!  Even now it makes me want to get up and boogie.

Just one question though - what's with the ostriches?!!


To join in click on the meme on the right hand side of the blog.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Nick Cave and The Bad Parents - what not to do in the Peak District with two young children

WORLD EXCLUSIVE – “musodad in blogging about something other than music shocker!”  You can see the front pages of the newspapers tomorrow already, can’t you?! (Or maybe page 54, hidden within the classified section).
So why the change in direction? Well, in true music industry style, sometimes you need to diversify or get left behind.  As much as I love them, if Oasis (“oh bloody hell – I didn’t think he was going to talk about music!”) had experimented a bit more, they might still be around today.  It’s good to keep things fresh and keep on moving – a bit like The Littlest Hobo.
So anyway, here is my first non-music related blog post (*takes deep breath*), which incidentally has a few music references in it anyway!
Last Friday, my wife and I took our kids (aged 4 and 11 months) down a cave in the Peak District.  You’ve probably guessed by now that the cave wasn’t called ‘Nick’, it was in fact called ‘Speedwell’. 'The Bad Parents' are my wife and I. 
My wife and I had been down a couple of the caves there on previous visits (pre-kids) but had never experienced Speedwell – the one with the boat – as the queues are usually massive.  Today though we were in luck - we were first in the queue!
Just before we went in, spirits were high and we were beaming at the thought of ‘going underground’ (by The Jam).  O. was a little scared but our excitement soon rubbed off on her.
An hour later, on breathing the fresh Derbyshire air again, our thoughts had turned from ‘this is going to be brilliant’ to ‘what the hell were we thinking?!!’
Now, I don’t know if you’ve been down Speedwell Cavern but when you first go in you have to descend 106 steps – ‘easy peasy’ we thought.  However, when the ceiling is as low as it was, it’s bloody difficult to negotiate with two kids!  While I held O’s hand, my wife carried C.  All the adults were given hard hats but the kids weren’t and poor C. had no protection from the unlevel, sharp rock sticking out of the ceiling (Bad Parenting example 1).
Once we had descended the stairs we came to the boat – it held about 20 people.  We were still in a positive mood at this point, looking forward to seeing some cavernous erm…caverns with stalactites of all shapes and sizes.  Just to let you know – these were a bit rubbish! 
The tour guide sat at the front of the boat and literally had to push us down the river using the cave ceiling and walls to help the boat along.  Again there was a lot of head ducking to be done. 
At this point C. was getting restless so we plied her with rice cakes, and then a rice cake dropped on the floor of the boat – nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!  Then, she wanted to stand up but she wasn’t wearing shoes (Bad Parenting example 2) so her socks got all soggy!  It was horrendous – and there was no escape!  The tour guide then told us the boat trip would last about an hour – nooooooooooooooooooooooooo! (again).
Eventually, after about 20 minutes, we made it to the other end of the river where we got out and the people who were already there stole our boat and we had to wait for the next one.  As the boat was a bit wobbly on disembarking, I handed O. to the tour guide and he put her down on safe ground.  I then handed him C. and he tried to stand her up without support on unlevel cavernous ground! (Bad Parenting example 3 – don’t ever hand your 11 month old to a tour guide with no kids!)  Luckily I got there just in time to catch her!
Anyway, we stayed at the ‘not as impressive as other caverns I have visited’ cavernous bit for another 20 minutes, were shown about 6 really tiny stalactites and a flat (!) stalagmite – and then it was time to get back in the boat and go back.  And for some reason (the tour guide did explain why but I can’t remember cause my head was so numb!) it was bloody freezing on the way back!
We made it back to the stairs eventually and then had to walk back up them all until we finally made it back to street level and breathed a sigh of relief.  FREEDOM!!!!!!!
Would I recommend it?  Of course - it's an experience you're not going to get in many places, just please leave any kids under the age of 4 in the world above (accompanied by someone, of course).
So there you have it, my first non-music related post.  Hope you enjoyed it.  If you think I should stick to music, then please don't hesitate to let me know.

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