Thursday, January 29, 2009
Fish Pie, Cookies, Loo Rolls and Modern Art.
I have been trying lately though. (Well, I’m trying most days) But I meant trying at cooking. On Tuesday I made beef stew. I didn’t quite around to the dumplings but I thought the mothballs made an easy substitute and no one seemed to notice the difference! Yesterday, I was even more daring and made fish pie!
I know you're interested in my culinary genuis so here’s how I did it;
Well, I used fish. (Obviously) Now I had some frozen white fish. It may even have been a brand like Cod or Haddock but I’m not sure. (Btw that IS a joke. Just in case you thought I really was that stupid. Yeah okay…don’t challenge me on that will you?) Anyway, it was white fish selected on the basis that the packaging looked pretty. (Well as much as two dead fish with bulging eyes can look pretty photographed next to some strategically placed plastic parsley.) I also had some fresh salmon because on Sunday I went to Costco which is one of those massive cut price places where you can only buy huge quantities of stuff so I came away with a salmon the size of a whale. I was slightly concerned about the green spots, yellow fins and the two rotating heads but what the hell it was cheap.
Going slightly off track for a moment; I never go over board at such supermarkets because I’m always thinking if I buy 48 rolls of loo paper just where am I going to put them? I couldn’t stack them by the loo because with 4 males in the house my 48 rolls of pristine white loo rolls would soon be a lovely shade of yellow.
I suppose I could put the loo rolls in the loft but that would be a bit impractical because that’s a long way to dash with my knickers round my ankles when I’ve found I’ve forgotten to replace the last roll. Or there’s under Master Benedict’s bed but that’s a dangerous proposition because it wouldn’t be long before he attempted to construct some weird flying machine out of the loo rolls with the aid of his glue stick, cardboard boxes and sellotape and thrown himself out his window on a thermal uplift.
Don’t believe me eh?
This is what Master Ben made last night;
Can you see the intricate sellotape work? The unique design? The multi coloured paperwork? Now what exactly is it, I hear you ask?
It’s a Jack in the Box.
Yes, that’s right. A Jack in the Box. I know -where’s the Jack? Well you see the yellow tag? That’s where Master Benedict opens the bottom of the box and inserts his head. No wait a minute, it's the other way round....
Yes, so anyway Master Benedict IS The Jack in the Box. Creative eh?
And this is what he did to his remote controlled car;
Again, some intricate sellotape work…. Btw that’s wooden kindling taped to it (and one odd pen.)
Obviously Master Benedict will be exhibiting at The Tate by the time he’s 12. And I look forward to it cos let’s face it nothing he produces is as riduculous as that Tracey Enema stuff.
Anyway, back to the fish pie.
So, I microwaved the fish and then what I usually do is mix it with some ready-to-make parsley sauce (You know where you add milk and stir.) But horror, horror, there is none left... This means I have to face the prospect of driving to the supermarket, making it myself or using my initiative…….. So luckily I found some savoury white sauce mix! Unfortunately, no fresh parsley… but I did some have some Mediterranean herbs circa 2005. Excellent, excellent…… so I stirred it all together and topped it with mash potato. Now my mash was much, much better than last week's disastrous attempt at a Shepherd's pie where I couldn’t be bothered to mash the potatoes immediately so they congealed into one massive globule that even I couldn’t salvage. Anyway, the mash this week was good. So feeling slightly pleased I’d rescued the situation I spooned it over the fish…
Unfortunately, I quickly realised the benefits of measuring jugs as it might have been a good idea if I’d used one to measure the milk…because now I had too much sauce and not enough mash…. Ah well, I thought, perhaps it would “dry out” a little when I baked it.
Regrettably it didn’t. It turned into a sort of thick fish soup……with some burnt bits round the edges…..
But full credit to Master Jacob who had seconds. Master Sam and Master Ben had what I call “strategic” amounts but Master Jacob said it was “Yummy!” Blimey, I love that boy; he may even get some birthday prezzies this year.
Anyway, I must also recount Master Jacob’s latest cooking experience…
Unlike Master Sam who only told me about school cookery lessons approximately 10 mins before the bus came Master Jacob told me the night before that he needed plain flour, sugar, an egg and chocolate chips for his chocolate chip cookies. My immediate thought was;
Do I have some plain flour?
This was quickly followed by the thought;
Do I have ANY flour?
Well yes, I did. It was that extra strong stuff especially for breadmakers. (Another one of Mr T’s thrilling gifts.) And I had sugar and an egg! Whoppee! No chocolate chips though…. How bizarre! But I did have some dark cooking chocolate, you know the type you have to take a chisel to… So all was well and Master Jacob came home the next day with his plain biscuits.... (No chisel available at school.)
“Would you like one of my biscuits Mummy?”
Master Jacob lays out his biscuits on the kitchen counter
“Of course Master Jacob.”
“Which one would you like?”
Mrs T surveys the scene…..
And turns them over…..
“Um… Master Jacob? They look a bit…. brown.”
Master Jacob smiles at Mrs T in a knowing fashion....
“I made them crispy just the way you like them Mummy.”
Mrs T stifles gagging sounds, puts her arm round Master Jacob…
“What a clever boy! Now let’s not forget to save one for Daddy…..”
Hmmm...now what shall I cook tonight? Any suggestions?
Copyright Jane Turley 2009
Ps You can find my latest short story here at The View From Here. It's a war story, so if you're squeamish stay tuned to the silly stuff here at The Witty Ways of a Wayward Wife.
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Music Monday; Two Little Boys ( A play)
Master Benedict: good looking 8 year old, supremely fit and athletic (inherited from mother) budding comedian, impressionist and generally annoying little chap. Likes his mother to check his “cleanliness” so that he claim 50p a time much to his mother’s general displeasure.
Master Jacob: good looking 10 year old, supremely fit and athletic, (inherited from mother ) shy, sensitive little fellow. Likes to whop the pants of his tennis opponents to the delight and general bragging of his mother so that he can claim a weeks’ worth of abstinence from his mother’s cooking.
Mrs T: Youthful looking 29 year old. (Once) supremely fit and athletic, now letting it all hang out. Amusingly stupid with a penchant for Pierce Brosnan, chocolate and hats. Prone to delusions of grandeur, youth, prescription pralines and writing a best selling book titled “Misery is housework but happiness is being trapped by an obsessed (young male) fan.”
Scene; Mrs T is quietly sipping a glass of rose, feeling replete after roast beef and Yorkshire pudding and getting ready to enjoy an evening of pleasant blogging. Master Ben and Master Jacob are debating what they should do before Top Gear comes on the telly at 8pm.
Master Ben: (Deadpan delivery) I want a laptop.
Mrs T: (General spluttering, and coughing noises)Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?!!
Master Ben: (Evil smirk) I want my own laptop.
Mrs T: (Face contorting into weird positions aka Priscilla Presley) Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!! You’ve got loads of stuff already! You can use the computer upstairs to play on, or the Xbox or the Wii……
Master Ben: (Loud and demanding) But I WANT my own laptop!
Mrs T: (Going red in face and veins on forehead bulging) When I was your age, I didn’t have any of the things you had! We had to make our own entertainment! I didn’t have a computer, a phone, a colour TV; why, we didn’t even have a record player until I was………
Master Jacob; (Abruptly and loudly interrupting the proceedings) WHAT'S A RECORD PLAYER?
Mrs T; (Swigs down rest of rose, refills glass, climbs wearily upstairs using a crutch for support and glasses to magnify the steps, switches on PC, initiates Google search “ Ways to feel younger….”
Here’s a song from my youth by Rolf Harris about Two Little Boys.
And even though my boys can be right pains in the derriere and keep reminding me I’m getting old, I hope that they never, ever have to go to war.
Copyright Jane Turley 2009
Thursday, January 22, 2009
We need to talk about Barack.
But what about the other Black man ?
The other Black man is, of course, Barack Obama.
On Tuesday, January 20th Barack Obama took the Oath of Office of the American Presidency and for that alone whatever follows, be it good, bad or indifferent, his name will always be remembered for the being the first African-American President of the United States.
It was truly a significant moment for the world, the United States and for Barack Obama; a moment that perhaps only those who have shared a similar struggle can truly appreciate. In Britain, this personal triumph was matched by the election of Margaret Thatcher, the daughter of a green grocer who rose from obscurity to become the first British female Prime Minister in 1979.
Barack Obama's achievement as an African-American is no less great but no doubt many women will be pleased that he has found a place for Hillary Clinton in his government. Like Margaret Thatcher, she has made great in-roads for female emancipation in the United States and in her own way her journey has been equally as tough and demanding as Obama's. Living out the greater part of your life in the public domain and having your privacy stripped away is no mean feat for any man or woman but to keep on battling as she has done is a remarkable achievement.
In all likelihood, it could have been easy for Obama to spurn the woman who could have destroyed his dream but it says much of his demeanour that he has not done so. It's possible he believes it is better to have the enemy within but it is unlikely. His motives, his beliefs and ideals appear fundamentally sound. His desire to restore America's reputation and to promote justice, equality and morality both within the United States and abroad is highly commendable; it is the source of much renewed and positive thinking around the world about the role of the United States as a defender of democracy and as a peacemaker.
Whether or not, Obama's ambitions are deliverable are another matter. Dreams come at a price and that price may not, eventually, be one he can bear; it may even cost him his life. But the truth is, it is not a dream he can fulfil without the assistance of women like Hilliary Clinton, of his Black and White supporters, or indeed every man, woman and child, whatever their origin, who believes in equality. Not just the equality of race, religion and politics but the equality of health, happiness and personal freedom.
It is only the outset of the 21st century but already the world faces enormous challenges. Global economic ruin and continuing climate change are uppermost in the minds of people all over the world. There is no doubt that many believe that this a period of transition, of change. The election of Obama has come to signify more than just the acceptance of Black freedoms but to represent hope; a hope that throughout the world we can learn to be tolerant, forgiving and accepting -so not only can man live with bread and water upon his table but also be free from the horrors of war, terrorism and persecution.
But change is difficult. Many people, institutions and nations are inherently afraid of change, especially when it means finding alternative solutions, giving up privileges and accepting new ideas. The process of change too can be just as bloody, cruel and intolerant as the old ways and only history decides whether actions performed in the name of change are justified.
As the leader of arguably the world's most powerful nation Obama's path will be strewn with obstacles from those who resist change. Stones will be hurled from all sides; they will strike and he will stumble. Obama will have to tread carefully; he may choose to walk the path of platitude and diplomacy or he may confront the challenges head on. Will it be possible for him to pick his way through the debris of the 20th century without incurring wrath? Only time will tell.
It was perhaps disappointing to learn that the inauguration speech was the work of a 27 year old writer, although undoubtedly Obama's contribution was significant. But on reflection, maybe it is indicative of Obama's sincerity; it would have been easy for him to have written a speech doused in rhetoric and hyperbole, or to have adapted Martin Luther King's I Have A Dream, or stir the masses up into a fever. But the speech didn't generate goosebumps, or make hairs stand on end or queues for his memoirs but it was well structured, solid and substantial. It was considered and that made it strong. And believable.
But words are just words. We write them down, record them and we even act them. But they cannot replace actions. So while Obama has spoken the words of a man who desires change and progress only his actions will be his real voice. His actions will be his legacy.
Martin Luther King's words, actions, and ultimately his tragic death made his place in history and now we must wait and see what the future holds for his protege. There's no doubt the task ahead of Obama is beyond that of one man but whatever the outcome, whatever the future, maybe finally Martin Luther King can rest in peace.
Because the other Black man is here and he has friends.
Copyright Jane Turley 2009
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
I admit it! I have a fake fur leopard skin hat!
Okay, what's right with it? I refer to this hat fondly as my "Dr No" hat; if you're a James Bond fan you'll know just why. It's actually a very lovely hat made by Viyella (Just gone into receivership - NO comments please.) but I admit I've not had many occasions to wear it. Well not an occasion I want to remember.....
Well, I might as well go the full hog and let you see some of my other hats. Here we go....
This is hat that belonged to my grandmother. It's real fur but unfortunately I can't remember which type. My grandmother probably made it herself or it was made by her best friend, Maud, who was also a furrier. My grandmother died aged 71 but Maud never married and went on to live till she was 100 and at one time taught at the London School of Fashion. I used to wear this hat a lot in my late teens and I still wear it when it's really cold; it has been cut on an angle which helps it to sit rather jauntily on one side which I rather like.
This is my floppy summer hat I've worn for the last two summers. Well, actually I mean those odd couple of days when we've actually some sun....which was approximately 3 days in May last year. Oh well, never mind, if we had more than a week of sunshine I'd probably pass out from just the shock never mind the heat. Hmm..it's looking a bit weary though but somehow I don't think Mr T will believe me if I say we're expecting a heatwave and I need another. Pity.
This my "investigative" hat. When I want to find out which one of the boys has left banana skins on the floor, not flushed the loo or left a red pen in their trouser pocket ( which naturally is always the time I forget to check before washing) I put this hat on ready for the interrogation. It works a treat every time although the tobacco stays in my lungs for days afterwards.
I'm pretty sure this hat was made by grandmother for my mum although it could've been made by Maud but then it's the perfect fit so it could have been made for my grandmother....Oh well I can't check the details now... The fur is mink but before I get a host of complaints can we please remember it was made when to make and wear fur hats and coats was acceptable!
This is a current favourite for wet days as it's got some sort of waterproofing which is great and I happen to think it's quite stylish! I prefer hats to hoods as I find hoods obscure my vision and with little boys one always needs to be prepared for the unexpected dash across the road. A hat, so long as you have the brim upturned, does the job perfectly!
This is a recent summer hat belonging to my mum; I like it and I'm going to wear it; I'm not one for being ghoulish about things. This hat will always remind me of my mum and when I wear it I'll remember just what a great mother she was.
This is my Pocahontas hat! Enough said. Check out my new Hot Horny Housewives Blog. Subscription fees are a large bar of a Galaxy and a cheque made out to S.E.C.R.E.T. (Ssh... don't tell anyone I might get into trouble with Mr T.....)
Well there you go; a look inside the secret world of Mrs T, Housewife Extraordinaire. Ho, hum.
Newsflash! This is turning into a hat meme; Check out Paul Burman's site! Have you got some hats? Come and join in The Mad Hatter Meme!
Monday, January 19, 2009
Anyhow, I wondered exactly where this "Blue Monday" had appeared from as I'd never heard of it before. Was it another gimmick like "Grandparent's Day," "Valentines day" and a host of other "Days" to encourage consumers to spend? So when I got home I googled it and found this; a publicity campaign by Sky Travel presumably to encourage people to book holidays.
The academic behind this theory has also calculated the Happiest Day of the Year for Walls Ice Cream. Yeah right, I believe you Mr Cliff Arnall.... conveniently the happiest day of the year falls in June just when people might want a nice cold ice cream on a hot sunny day. Wow - I never would have guessed that! Hmm...shall we have it June or July? Let's toss the coin! June it is!
Yes, surprisingly the Happiest Day of the Year it is not any of the following; Christmas Day, Easter Sunday, Independence day, the day you break up for your annual vacation, the day your mother in law goes back home after a 3 week "holiday" at your house or even tomorrow when Barack Obama takes office and we wave goodbye to Bonkers Bush after 8 years of hell or even the day you get a pay rise, miss treading in the dog shit on the pavement on the way home and win the National lottery in the evening. No, no no..it is none of these. Gez, Mr Arnall next time you sell your soul may I suggest you write a thesis calculating which day is "Blarney Day." Cos I feel it might turn out to be YOUR BIRTHDAY.
(Or possibly my birthday....)
Can you tell I'm annoyed folks? Anyway, so to cheer myself up and not drive my car into an oncoming truck, stick my head in the oven, my fingers in plug socket or try on my size 10 jeans (which would produce instant thoughts of foraging in the medicine cabinet) I decided I would think about Blue. No, not the blue in the face when you've stuck your head under the bath water for 10 minutes but BLUE, the pop group.
Well that cheered me up instantly! Four good looking fellas, swaying their hips and singing (in tune) is enough to make any depressed middle aged housewife feel..... um....pretty good. (Obviously that's the clean version of my thoughts. I have some other interesting thoughts which you can catch on my new blog Hot Horny Housewives )
Well here's Blue with Fly By II,
Yep, they can Fly By me anytime. And if Simon Webbe flies by I'll have No Worries. But hey ...Wouldn't it be great if we really did have No Worries?
In the meantime I'm going to listen to some good music....
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Music Monday; Hats off to Jay Kay
Sports hats aside, not many men can carry off wearing a hat without having their sexuality or style called into question but one who can is the very talented Jay Kay of Jamiroquai. Jay's got real panache and so has his music. Yep, listening to Jamiroquai is better than wearing my hat!
But today folks I wanna see Jay naked! Perhaps the test of a really talented artist is whether they can perform well without all the gimmicks and the big backing bands. So let's see if Jay can do it without his hat and with very little else..... Here he is with Love Foolosophy...
Yep, he can do it; Jay's got the "it" factor without or without the hats! But hey, let's hear what he does best again in the groove with Love Foolosophy live at Abbey Road.
Ps, Linkys wouldn't work for me last week but if you're interested in Motown you can catch my post here.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Boys, boys, boys spell TROUBLE.
“You find out interesting things when you have sons….”
Now as I have three sons I am in a position to verify the accuracy of the following statements. Naturally, I’ve also added my own comments because that’s just the way I am. (Irritatingly long winded.) I’ve also worked out from point 20 that this circular originates from Australia which means I’ve had to revise my whole thinking about Aussies. Previously I thought the only funny thing to come out of Australia was Shane Warne.
Right here we go;
1. A king size waterbed holds enough water to fill a 200 m2 house to a depth of 10 cm.
Mrs T says - Yep and any kid with a brain knows a hosepipe does a much better job. And if you block up the toilet at the same time Mummy gets really cross which means your brother owes you 50p and a gobstopper.
2. If you spray hair spray on dust balls and run over them with roller blades, they can ignite.
Mrs T says - Hairspray also makes a useful flame thrower for taunting the next door neighbour’s cat. I also finds it useful for lighting the barbecue, caramelising puddings and warming the toilet seat on cold winters’ evenings.
3. A 3-year old Boy's voice is louder than 200 adults in a crowded restaurant.
Mrs T says - True. But not as loud as his mother's.4. If you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the motor is not strong enough to rotate a 20 Kg boy wearing Batman underwear and a Superman cape. It is strong enough, however, if tied to a paint tin, to spread paint on all four walls of a 6m x 6m room.
Mrs T says - Don’t forget to get your son to remove the curtains first and even if he doesn’t it’ll still be a better job than his father’s. An ambitious Mummy will probably strap her son(s) to an electric train set and make him paint the skirting boards at the same time.
5. You should not throw cricket balls up when the ceiling fan is on. When using a ceiling fan as a bat, you have to throw the ball up a few times before you get a hit. A ceiling fan can hit a cricket ball a long way.
Mrs T says - NEVER EVER let your child use a pair of rolled up socks as a cricket ball. When it falls inside the upturned light shade it starts a small fire.
6. The glass in windows (even double-glazed) doesn't stop a cricket ball hit by a ceiling fan.
Mrs T says - Yep, but at least your house is still standing.
7. When you hear the toilet flush and the words 'uh oh', it's already too late.
Mrs T says - That’s not quite true. It’s the second flush when the water starts pouring over the rim and a small child starts yelling “Mummmmy…. Benedict’s put his head down the toilet…” that you really have to worry. You have precisely 15 seconds to rescue son number three from a further drenching from his older brother, botulism and a mouthful of something rather unsavoury.
8. Brake fluid mixed with bleach makes smoke, and lots of it.
Mrs T says - Alternatively, learn from Mrs T’s grandfather; put floor ceiling wax in the engine instead of oil. It’s guaranteed to seize up the whole engine.
9. A six-year old Boy can start a fire with a flint rock even though a 36-year old Man says they can only do it in the movies.
Mrs T says - True. A six year old boy can light a fire with a flint rock. Especially with a flint obtained from his neighbour’s precious fossil collection. However, there IS one man who can light a fire with flint and that is Ray Mears (who also happens to light a fire in Mrs T’s knickers.)
10. Certain Lego pieces will pass through the digestive tract of a 4- year old Boy.
Mrs T says - Again, true. However, it will not pass through the cycle of a washing machine or tumble dryer without incurring a minimum payment of £50.
11. Play dough and microwave should not be used in the same sentence.
Mrs T says; Neither should hamsters.
12. Super glue is forever.
Mrs T says- Superglue is for mere novices. Here’s a tip don’t leave that tubes of DIY mega waterproof sealant lying around unless you want your smart leather sofa decorated in the Rococo style.
13. No matter how many jelly crystals you put in a swimming pool you still can't walk on water.
Mrs T says - True. This is because only a Mummy can walk on water because Mummy is God and her word rules.
However, one unfortunate Mummy has often been known to slip on water, head butt the sink and cry “You little *******” especially at bath time when her sons have been playing “Sink the Bismarck,” “Dive, Dive, Dive,” and “The Cruel Sea.”
(It should also be noted that in the absence of a mop, Pampers Nappies make a useful absorbent pseudo cloth.
14. Pool filters do not like jelly crystals.
Mrs T says- However, crystals are preferable to small brown “movements” that float on water.
15. VCR's do not eject 'BL&T' sandwiches even though TV commercials show they do.
Mrs T says - Neither do DVD players - but now I believe those rumours about Aussies being backwards; I was a disbeliever before. (Ho, hum)
16.Garbage bags do not make good parachutes.
Mrs T says - True, but parachutes make good garbage bags which is why I always use my knickers when I run out of refuse sacks. (Knotted of course, I ain’t silly you know.)
17. Marbles in petrol tanks make lots of noise when driving.
Mrs T says - They also make a (delightful) noise when being sucked up the vacuum cleaner when Mummy can’t stand skateboarding across the kitchen any longer.
18. You probably DO NOT want to know what that smell is.
Mrs T says - Yes, I do. Because I want more than 40 seconds to get out alive.
19. Always look in the oven before you turn it on; plastic toys do not like ovens.
Mrs T says - Nothing likes my oven. Fact.
However, I should point out that it is not advisable to look in any oven too long as your husband may gas you especially if you have a bad track record in producing unwholesome meals. Not that I do; I am a culinary genius. Well sort of… in a sort of dream fantasy way…
20. The fire department in Brisbane, Queensland, has a 5-minute response time.
Mrs T says - The Fire Department rapid response unit has a 13 minute ETA time to my house; the Ambulance Service has 10 minutes and the Police 2 minutes. (A member of the constabulary lives 3 doors down and had installed CCTV in the street to observe any strange goings on.)
I should point out that I know theses factors because;
The Ambulance service visited my house when Master Benedict took a nose dive of the kitchen counter.
I took a trip in the Ambulance when Master Sam head butted a brick wall.
I re-timed the ETA when I visited Casualty of my own choice when Master Jacob had a suspected broken arm from playing tag rugby on concrete. (However, that was not as embarrassing as his previous visit when he’d taken the top off a bottle of children’s paracetamol and was spoon feeding it to himself with a soup spoon.)
Regrettably, The Police have also visited my house. On opening my front door one evening I was duly shocked to find a police officer looking sternly at me;
“Do you have a phone M’am?”
“I’m afraid we must investigate all incidents of heavy breathing.”
It transpired that Master Jacob had phoned 999 and left the phone off the hook after “entertaining” them at the station. Whilst Master Jacob was “entertaining” them according to Mrs C (My friend, the Police officer who lives down the road and was on duty at the station) said they could all hear me vacuuming in the background…….
The last time the Fire Service called….
Oh, I’ll just give you a tip instead…
NEVER roll up your socks into balls………
21.The spin cycle on the washing machine does not make earthworms dizzy.
Mrs T says - Nope, it makes them dead. It also has the same effect on woodlice, beetles and... hamsters.
22. It will, however, make cats dizzy.
Mrs T says - Praise the Lord! I just love getting vengeance on them for vomiting on my carpet.
23. Cats throw up twice their body weight when dizzy.
Mrs T says - Yeah, but it’s kinda satisfying. Especially when you scoop it back up and put it back in their dish.
Well there you go. More drivel from the mouth of Mrs T...
Monday, January 12, 2009
Music Mondays; The Beat of Motown
But the reach of Motown goes far beyond merely producing artists; it gave rise to a whole new brand of music, a merging of pop and soul that became known as the Motown sound. A sound which has since prompted whole new generations of singers and musicians to create music based upon and inspired by their love and knowledge of Motown.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s when I was a young teenager there was a resurgence of the 1950 and 1960’s Mod movement whose followers had originally favoured the sound of Northern Soul a UK derivative of the Motown sound. The 70s' mod revival was headed by The Jam but it was also associated with The Two Tone Record Label whose headline acts were Madness, The Specials, Selector, The Beat and Bad Manners. Like the early Motown groups which had furthered the cause of Black Americans within the music world and within society The Two Tone record label whose groups featured Black and White band members playing Ska music (which was an amalgamation of a number of diverse influences) it promoted racial harmony and even had a strong fan base amongst the controversial Skinhead contingent.
Out of the Two Tone artists my favourite were The Beat although Madness had more hits and more universal appeal - I preferred the more raw sound of The Beat. Their first song released in 1978 was a cover version of the Smokey Robinson song Tears of a Clown.
It was about this time of my life I first started going to discos. Unlike many “discos” which played predominately music like The Bee Gees, Edwin Starr and Earth Wind and Fire discos of this era featured the Ska music of The Two Tone Record label . Ska and Mod music was deemed acceptable to dance along with by adolescent boys ( i.e More than just their usual occasional nod and shift from one foot to the other whilst hiding behind a large potted plant.) Ska had its own particular dance style accompanied by the fashion of turned up jeans, trilbies, pork pie hats, parkas covered with badges or alternatively two tone suits and long thin ties. Girls wore mini skirts, dresses and even shoes in patchworks of black and white.
Amazingly, whilst looking on You Tube I actually found a video some guy has posted of himself dancing in the Mod/Ska style (regretfully without the correct dress but nevertheless wearing some stylish track pants) which if you fancy a giggle have a look below and you’ll see exactly the style of dancing I mean. Crazy! But back then it was really… hip.
Those days were great fun and at times very exciting; music was in our eardrums all the time and hardly a day passed without talk of the latest release. It just goes to show that with good friends and good music you really don’t need alcohol and amphetamines to enjoy yourself. (But chocolate is a different matter altogether - especially if it has a fluid consistency.)
I hope you enjoy all these videos for which ultimately we have to thank Berry Gordy and his aspirational dreams. After 50 years of success for Motown I guess we can say that sometimes dreams really do come true.
Here's The Beat;
And someone who should know better!
Blimey, I love that crazy guy! As we say in England..."He's got balls!"
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
I didn’t find the Blarney Stone. Damn.
Probably just as well don’t you think? I never wanted to be a politician anyway.
However, I did find something else……
On the return journey, I was on the boat feeling rather joyous knowing that later that same night I would be in my own bed. I’m rather particular about beds. I like them very soft not those tortuous “Excellent support for your back” kind of beds that are like sleeping on a layer of reinforced concrete. Anyway, I was fantasizing about my bed and encountering The Milk Tray Man when suddenly I heard a voice calling to me…..
“Mrs T, Mrs T….. Come hither, come hither….”
It was a seductive, mystical voice …. I felt my body being lifted out of my seat and being pulled gently across the boat……
“Mrs T, Mrs T …Come hither, come hither…..”
I threaded my way across the boat, the crowds opening before me like the parting of the Red Sea…I could not fight this strange overwhelming force….
“A little further Mrs T, a little further….”
My limbs became weak, I felt all resistance seep out of me…. A sweet lingering fragrance began to intoxicate me…. My spirit was lost… I was trapped in the power of the magic….
Suddenly a sharp voice broke me out of my trance…
“Will that be a large bottle of No5 or No 19 Madam?”
“I’ll take both….”
Copyright Jane Turley 2009
Monday, January 5, 2009
The View From Here (or possibly from behind the sofa if Aliens is on)
I thought so. You've all been too busy gorging yourself on turkeys, mince pies and heaps of choccys right? Yes, alright so have I! Which means today, as it's the day the young masters return to school, is the day when I have to start The Diet.
Luckily, since I'll shortly be suffering from self induced acute depression I'll have plenty of things to keep me occupied including writing for the literary magazine The View From Here (Yep, that's my new badge) which I was very kindly asked to join by Mike French just before Christmas. I'm not sure if that was before Mike was "let out" but he's going to have to suffer the consequences anyway. It's too late now!
Now I was given a very flattering introduction ( I believe Mike's had a problem with hallucinations lately). Then for my first contribution I was a little sneaky (difficult when you're my size but I try) and I used an abbreviated version of my review of Paul's novel The Snowing and Greening of Thomas Passmore as part of post on the Top Reads of 2008. But today is my first real contribution; it's a short story called Epiphany. If you've got time, please pop over and have a read; I hope you'll enjoy it. It's something a little different from Mrs T.
The View From Here has also been nominated in the Best Weblog Awards as Best British Blog, as has one of its contributors, Kathleen Maher, for Best Literature Blog. So if you like what you see please vote by clicking on the icon below or on the one at The View From Here.
THE VIEW FROM HERE
Next time it's back to the silly stuff!
"Did I do enough grovelling for votes there Mike? No?? WHAT??? Give them my chocolates? Are you kidding?
Okay, okay, I'll get down on my knees and beg. Oh...alright I'll practice then....
Oh please, please, pleeeeeeeeease vote for The View From Here otherwise Mike will beat me with his Le Cruset Saucepan and torture me with his truncheon.
OW! That hurt....put that away Mike.....this is just a rehearsal..... I said stop it!......
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Music Mondays; let's get down to the Bare Necessities
2008 is a year that will be marked in my memory for a long time but I am not alone for across the world we all have our own personal stories of grief and hardship. However, empathy and love can makes losses and suffering easier to bear; it is healing.
But personal stories aside, last year was again fraught with terrorism such as with dreadful acts in Mumbai, numerous wars, famines such as the continuing crisis in Darfur and poverty. When I consider the fatalities caused by these events I know my own grief at family losses cannot match the death of even one innocent child in this world from poverty, starvation or conflict.
It is an awful world we live in if we allow such crimes to exist.
However, 2008 was also significant because many countries that have lived in relatively stable economic, political, and environmental climates began to feel the effects of the escalating global economic crisis. Food and fuel prices rose dramatically hitting families where it hurts most; in their pockets. The housing market, inflated by ludicrous loan schemes, started to collapse causing negative equity and repossessions and financial institutions built upon air and not substance began to crumble. Financial chaos ensued and ultimately the crisis developed into a meltdown of gigantic proportions. These repercussions will be felt for years and 2009 will not be a year for the faint hearted.
While the recession has been biting hard in the US and elsewhere for sometime, in the UK the impact is just starting to have a full effect. In the last few weeks some of our major retailers have gone into receivership, including MFI and Woolworths. The closure of Woolworths alone will lead to the loss of approximately 27,000 jobs. I already know some friends and relatives made redundant but the situation will undoubtedly worsen in the next few months when business contracts end and people begin to search for work in earnest. In a couple of weeks my husband's employers are closing down 50 vacancies at their head office and making another 100 employees redundant; scaling the HQ workforce down from 950 to 800. I'm optimistic my husband will make it through the first wave of cuts. After that? Who knows? No one is indispensable.
As usual over the last few weeks I've been considering my New Year Resolutions and it was with interest that I read Mark Stoneman's list. One particular resolution jumped out at me;
"I resolve to see material possessions for what they are: just stuff."
And you know I think Mark is spot on. It really would be a good idea if all around the world we stopped worrying about the size of our house, the speed of our car or even the latest technological gadget. We need to get back to basics; food, warmth and shelter for everyone. Of course, this sounds impossibly naive and as a history graduate I know that war, terrorism, poverty and famine are often the result of many complex issues which have no obvious or easy solutions.
However, that doesn't stop me from being the eternal optimist and believing that somehow there must be a way for us to progress individually and collectively for the greater good of mankind. Because you know what? I'd feel a hell of a lot happier knowing some child hadn't died of starvation in the time its taken me to write this post.
Maybe with all this current strife in this world our politicians, financiers and businessmen... those who lead the way... will review their actions and learn to make decisions based on both sound moral and financial resolutions before we fall into further ruin from which there might be no redemption. There must surely be a way that we can move forward as individuals within the framework of a caring but prosperous society. I hope so, I really do.
With the election of Obama there is an air of expectation, a desire for change amongst the masses and moreover there is now the opportunity for change. We need to embrace this moment. We need to get back to basics. We need to remember that food, shelter and warmth is a fundamental human right.
It's time to get back to the Bare Necessities and then maybe like Baloo and Mowgli we'd all be a lot happier.
This post was inspired by Mark Stoneman and Mr Geoffrey.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
The Ladies' Friendship Award
Now let me introduce my second award; it's called The Ladies' Friendship Award. Now there are no rules or anything with this award; do with it what you will! Pass it on, ignore it or as in my case use it as a screen saver and dribble over it. Here it is...
Ooh Pierce is just so sweet and innocent looking; I'm sure he never gets into any trouble!
Now in pole position for this award is Usha for sending me this little New Year Ditty;There was a droolable man called Pierce
For whom two ladies fought fierce
They never settled quite
For whom he was right
Those silly quarrelsome old dears
Excellent, excellent Usha. But where's the second verse detailing the rolling pins and the mud wrestling?However, I also confer this award on ALL my lady friends on my blogroll and on blogcatalog and indeed all ladies the world over who respect the lovely Pierce for his fine acting abilities. (Cough, cough.) A special mention to Tamera, Eve's Lungs, Hill Grandmum and Onedia for following this blog from its early days. Thank you!
Now currently under development is The Male Friendship Award; all suggestions for suitable accompanying illustrations will be gratefully received. I will naturally give them careful consideration whilst getting plastered drinking martini (shaken not stirred) and painting my toenails.On a final note, the new Doctor Who has just been announced. It is 26 year old Matt Smith;
Now, am I right? Isn't 26 just too young to play Dr Who? Peter Davison (also of All Creatures Great and Small was the previous youngest doctor at 29) was a complete disaster. More mature ladies like myself, Mrs A, Mrs M and all indeed ladies of my acquaintance prefer an older Doctor Who. At the moment Mrs T predicts sales of the 2010 Dr Who Annual will drop dramatically.
What say you readers? Will the new Timelord prove capable with his sonic screwdriver or will he just get lost in his tardis looking for his nappies? Let's have your thoughts!
Copyright Jane Turley 2009
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