After all things Scottish to link with Andy Murray in the Wimbledon Final and all things music to link with the Isle Of Wight Festival, I thought I’d have another theme this weekend – and what could be more apt than rain. We’ve got bucketloads of the stuff! After the wettest June since records began we apparently have had the average rainfall for July arrive in many areas in a period of 24 hours! This year, more than I can ever remember, the British Summer seems little more than the odd break between black clouds!
But what the hell – I’m from Glasgow and the one thing Glasgow prepares you for in life, above everything else, is rain – though preparation for “deep frying food” is a close second!
Something To Listen To……….
In recognition of all things Glasgow and wet, what could be a better combination than Deacon Blue’s Raintown. I bought this in 1987 when it was first released. I loved it – I thought it sounded great, I loved the voices of both Ricky Ross and Lorraine MacIntosh, the songs were clever and different and Ricky Ross had a kind of 1980′s mullet like I did! Since then much has changed but I think it’s an album that’s stood the test of time – at least it’s held up a damn sight better than my hairstyles!
Donkey’s years ago, back in those dark days when we had tape recorders, I taped a live Deacon Blue gig – I recorded it from Radio Clyde I think or it might have been Radio 1! Anyway, the best bit was that it was Deacon Blue live in Glasgow for New Year – and they played a stomping version of Queen Of The New Year of course. I played that tape to death – eventually it just gave up and to be honest I was near to tears. These days I think Deacon Blue might be a bit of a guilty pleasure for some people but there’s no guilt about it for me – I loved everything they did and always will! If you like Deacon Blue there’s a comprehensive site which tells you everything you’d ever want to know about them, and some things you probably won’t want to know, at Glasgow Skyline.
Something To Watch……….
This is cheating a bit, but the best song ever with “rain” in the title is the gorgeous Tinseltown In The Rain by The Blue Nile. Here it is on Later With Jools Holland – worth watching – honest!
Something To Read……….
I‘m struggling to maintain a theme on rain here as I’ve just started Karen Lord’s Redemption In Indigo – it’s set in Africa and is the re-telling of a Senegalese folk tale. Not much connection with rain I guess – however if the weather forecast is correct for this weekend, while there might not be much rain between the pages of the novel itself, it’s going to be battering off the windows here in Essex as I’m reading it!
I’m reading it as part of The Readers Summer Book Club and as you expect with that kind of book list, it’s been a bit of a mixed bag – some of the books were those I’d have read anyway and have loved them, but some were things I’d never have touched – and so far, of those, some have been great and a real surprise, and others haven’t been my thing at all – but I loved having a go at the book club list anyway!
I’m about half way through Redemption In Indigo but already I know it’s going to be one of those what I would never have chosen myself but that I will really enjoy!
I can’t think of a book with “rain” in the title that I have ever read. I do have one on my shelves, Jonathan Coe’s “The Rain Before It Falls”, but I’ve not read it yet (and it’s been on my shelves a couple of years I have to admit.) Coincidentally, I read a review of it the other day on someone else’s blog – but for the life of me I can’t remember whose blog it was! But it was a good review and left me thinking “Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm – maybe not!”. As a result I won’t be reading it any time soon I don’t think!
Something To Eat……….
With only a week now to go of the school year, my daughter has been in full sleepover mode this weekend! After spending Friday sleeping over at her friends house, where they seem to have talked for much longer than they slept, they both spent Saturday night with us – the ratio of sleep to talk improved a bit, but not my much!
However with the kids here we had one of those ‘pick at delicious things’ dinners – all from good old Marks and Spencers and the best were the gorgeous barbeque spare ribs – if you’re in M and S you should try them – they are great!
Messy to eat of course – but great!
Something To Learn Off By Heart……….
I am still learning snippets of poetry off by heart in the hope it will help preserve my memory – though my family might say there wasn’t much there to start with! – and help to stave off the onset of old age. This small piece is by Percy Bysshe Shelley, and as I’m a bit of an old romantic in my head at least, he’s one of my favourite poets!
I’m actually reading Emily Dickinson at the moment – it’s kind of like returning to my youth. I read her work voraciously when I first discovered it at the age of about 15. Since then I’ve read the odd poem here and there but it’s been some time since I read through a collection of her work – and already I can honestly say, I missed you Emily!
It feels like putting on a favourite old jacket, it wraps around you and feels comfortable and right. Much to my family’s amusement, and sometimes horror, I have a collection of t-shirts, jackets, and sweatshirts that I’ve had for years – and I mean more than 15-20 years! We call them my “old campaigners!” If Emily Dickinson was a t-shirt, she’d be an old campaigner!
And Finally, Something To Remember……….
I read the other day in the Guardian the tragic news, that Gabriel Garcia Marquez will no longer be able to write as the dementia from which he suffers now prevents it. The news was released to the media by Garcia Marquez’s brother. It left me feeling so sad that life would somehow perversely take away from this great writer the very skill that defined him and that even more perversely, the cause of the dementia was the chemotherapy which had initially saved him from cancer. It seems to me such a cruel thing to happen to any writer, and indeed to anyone at any time.
But of course, Gabriel Garcia Marquez isn’t just any writer. He was one of the most influential of his time, much loved in his native South America and around the world and a Nobel Prize winner in the 1980′s. I’ve loved every one of his books that I’ve read – ,”One Hundred Years Of Solitude”, “Of Love and Other Demons”, “News Of A Kidnapping”, “Love In The Time Of Cholera” and my own favourite “The General In His Labyrinth”. I’m currently keeping a re-read on the go at the moment – my next one will be a Garcia Marquez, just to remind me how good a writer he was and how much I enjoyed his writing over the years.