Day 1: Bridge of Spies – T’Pau (An album a day for 10 days)

I was recently nominated in a post on Facebook to post 10 albums, one a day, that mean something to me. The rules were to originally not add a description, and just post the cover, but that’s changed as it’s went on. I’m blowing that *right* out of the water, by only posting an abridged version on Facebook, and then the full waffle on here. After all, it’s the perfect platform!

I’m starting off with “Bridge of Spies”, by T’Pau.

I’ll be very surprised if I’ve never mentioned this album on here before, as it’s one of my favourites. Let’s start from the beginning. I must have been about 8 years old. At that age, I never really had pocket money. Any money I did manage to come by, went on ZX Spectrum games and magazines. I always had an interest in music, but had no way of acquiring it. Funds were dry, and I didn’t have any way of recording stuff from the radio. Now, Chad (yes, the same Chad who often trolls my spelling on here) obviously saw a gap in the market, and sold me a cassette tape. On it was a really badly recorded version of the afore-mentioned album. In fact, I’ve definitely mentioned this on here, as I have a photo of that exact tape already uploaded on here…

Honestly, this recording was shocking. Both sides managed to fit on one side of a C90, but whoever taped it originally had got the sides mixed up, so side 2 played first, followed by side 1. Personally, I like this running order much more. It starts off with the piano intro of “Bridge Of Spies” and finishes with the upbeat instrumental section of “Sex Talk”.

And, for that reason I’m going to give the album another listen, and play the tracks in the order that I remember them…

01. Bridge Of Spies
A great opener, and one of my favourites on the album. Great instrumentals, great vocals. Also contains a false ending which leads into an instrumental section. The album quickly goes into track 2, and until I actually got a proper copy, I always thought that the first opening bars of “Monkey House” were part of this song.

02. Monkey House
Fast-paced nonsense about “mental hygeine”. There’ll be no more dirty looks, and no more dirty looks. Indeed. The lyrics always bring an image of an Orwellian society, though I didn’t know what it was back then. Another instrumental section, and some strangely distorted guitars.

03. Valentine
Onto the slower paced songs now. “Valentine”. I’ve come to appreciate this one a bit more than what I used to. This was the first track in the album to be released as a single. Over here anyway. “Bridge Of Spies” got a US single release

04. Than You For Goodbyes
Probably the low point of the album for me. If I was to fast forward a track, it’d be this one. That’s a thing. Each day, I’ll name a track that I’d fast-forward. Just for funsies. Anyway, it’s a slow plodder that doesn’t get anywhere. Carol’s vocals are still great. The expanded version of this album features “Thank You For Goodbyes Rides Again”, which is an upbeat reworking of the song. Infinitely better in my opinion, though they do just seem to give up half-way through and ended the song. It sould have been so much longer!

05. You Give Up
We’re back to the great songs again. The song starts with what sounds like a hammond organ warming up, and finishes with the same. Another upbeat tune that also has the hammond solo in it. Overall a great track. On this remastered version, you don’t get to hear much of the afore-mentioned organ powering down, as it quickly segues into…

06. China In Your Hand (Reprise)
This was always a strange one to me, as I never really saw the point of its existence. Obviously, listening to the album tracks in the right order, puts this after “China In Your Hand”, but it’s basically the 2nd portion of the album version, shortened, and instrumental. Even when listening to the album properly, it just doesn’t need to be there. Did they have some spare tape?
Was the album running a minute short? “Oh, just stick that on the end”.

07. Heart and soul
As I mentioned before, my original recording of this was really quiet. Therefore, the extended fade-out of the above song, and the long one-note intro that fades in, made it seem like a really long period of silence. I absolutely loved this song. It was like two songs in one. You have the chanting backing vocals, with Carol Decker’s vocals over the top. I listened to this song many times to decipher both sets of lyrics. I even remember writing them out at one point, as I heard them. No idea how accurate they were. Overall a brilliant track.

08. I Will Be With You
We’re back to the slow ones, but this one isn’t bad. Happy memories of listening to this, playing on the c16 that Chad sold me after I blew up my Speccy. This song was always the fore-runner to the big hit…

09. China In Your Hand
A song written about Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which “plucked violin” synths throughout. Recorded in two versions, one for the radio-friendly single release which is shorter, faster and clocks in at a minute shorter. This album version is more structured. Again, that’s personal opinion. I guess you like whichever version you grew up listening to. This was mine. I also have the demo version, and another strange version I found on a really cheap compilation, which was really good. So that, er, makes 4 versions. This one’s the classic though. Listening to it gives me an image of the blue dusk sky, as me and my dad cross over the Peterlee flyover in his works Transit van, with this playing on the radio. Odd, seeing as I’ve heard it so many times in so many places – that’s the one that my brain decides to commit to ROM.

10. Friends Like These
The song that follows the big hit. An absolutely lovely little ditty, and a great tune. Starts off with the opening bars of “Abide With Me”, then into another fantastically crafted tune, and the most sing-along chorus of the full album. This was also available on the “China In Your Hand” CD single, though they fade it out for some unknown reason. There’s not even any mix between this and the final track, which is…

11. Sex Talk
Released as a single, but recorded as a live version and under the name “Intimate Strangers”. This one was always a mystery to me, as even as a kid, I heard the lyrics “I don’t know when I got so wet”. Obviously at the time, not knowing exactly what the song referred to (spoiler: it’s about two people who called one of those 0898 sex lines, and are clearly mastu(YES, We get the picture – Ed.)), I didn’t know what that meant. The lyrics booklet had it printed as “I don’t know how I got through it”. Oh, I think we know which one’s correct, don’t we! Can I check those fingernails? (Too far, Jamie. – Ed.) Ahem. The track finishes with a brief instrumental section, and that’s it. That’s version of the album I grew up with.

—————–
So, that’s the album. I’ve got nothing else to do so I might as well give a little bit of info on my purchases of this album. First off was an original tape off the Hartlpool flea market, probably back in 1995 or 1996. Think I paid a quid for it. Everything was original. I go and play the tape, and some arsehole had taped Pink Floyd over the top. Absolutely fuming. Bin!

Next up was the LP. This was the first time I’;d heard some of the songs as they were supposed to have sounded. My record player probably wasn’t the best at the time, but it was as close as I was going to get. Next up was the CD. A bit scratched, probnably from the flea market again. Played perfectly though.

At some point, I picked up the “Demos” album that was released. As far as I know, this only came out on (official) MP3 download, which I purchased) though some of the tracks made it onto the 37-track expanded version of the Bridge Of Spies album, and the 4-disc Virgin Years” compilation, both of these I also own.

Right, so that’s day one over with. I hope you found it informative. Probably not, but thanks to the lockdown you’re going to have 9 more days of this crap. Be lucky, stay well, keep off the streets, don’t touch each other, remember to have your pets spayed or neutered and warning: this surface may be hot. See you tomorrow! Maybe.

Day 12 – FFS.

That’s right. There was no day 11. I just found it far too exciting to type about. And by that, I mean, I started typing a post, I got so bored with it, that I abandoned it. Basically, yesterday was the day that I did all my backups. It’s something I’ve neglected in doing for a couple of months, mainly because I couldn’t find the power supply for the external drive. Then I found the drive, then couldn’t find the power adapter, then I couldn’t find the USB lead.

Anyhooooo, the post was about what I use to backup, 2020 style. It got boring very quickly.

Today, however, was a bit of a shit day. Yesteray, I posted on Facebook about the unknown song, and shortly got some disturbing new back about Tom Davies, the DJ whose show this was taken from.

Let’s just say he won’t be doing much radio work in the near future.

Day 10. Watching someone fix an Amiga

If today (well, yesterday now… but stick with it) makes it past a couple of sentences, I’d call that an achievement. I wouldn’t say that’s been the most boring day so far, as I actually left the house. I went to Iceland again. I needed bread, and some more bits for the house. Some of the stuff that I couldn’t get last week because I didn’t have a pound for the trolley.

The day started off late. I don’t think I got up until about 12. This was mainly because I didn’t go to bed until at least 5. My sleeping pattern’s all messed up, but then it doesn’t really matter does it? Daytime and night time are both the same at the moment, there’s absolutely no need to stick to a timetable. I’ll be doing the same thing whether it’s day or night, so it doesn’t really matter.

So, yeah, Iceland, then. Once again, they have the queuing system in place, which is unsurprising. The lady at the door was keeping the amount of shoppers to a bare minimum. I think she was only letting about 5 people in the store at any one time. Can’t say I minded. It’s obviously for a reason, and there were only two or three people in front of me, so I maybe waited 10 minutes or so? Daddykins handed me a shopping list of thnigs he needed too… Cheese, eggs, dilutey juice, some frozen meals, and of course, the bread. I actually remembered all of that. In fact, it was the high point of the day.

One thing I did watch was one of by favourite Youtubers, GadgetUK64 try to fix and Amiga 4000 motherboard by replacing the “Super Buster” socket on the motherboard. Before he did this, and with the chip in place, the machine would only boot up to a yellow screen. This usually means that there’s some type of issue / exception that’s stopping the Kickstart ROM from booting. Usually this is a hardware fault.

In the end he didn’t fix it, but it gave me something to look forward to tomorrow. Which is today, as I never got this published on time. Oops

Day 9… almost double figures

Another day stuck within the confines of Mercuryvapour Towers. Of course, this isn’t new, as the world has to put up with the same restrictions now, but still the novelty wore off a long time ago. And I’m sure the novelty of reading these wore off a while ago did too. Writing them certainly did.

Today, I ventured as far as the kitchen. Other rooms visited include the living room and bathroom. All good stuff.

One thing I did forget to mention is that I cleaned my housemat yesterday. Well, I say mousemat, it’s actually a rubber drip cloth, taken from a nearby pub. Well, I say taken, I did actually ask if I coyl have it. I didn’t just roll it up off the bar and stick it in my pocket.

As you can see in this picture, it’s pretty dusty. I can confirm that this dust has all gone, and it’s currently drying in the bathroom.

So, back to today, then. I’ll give you three guesses what I did. Yes, that’s right. Euro Truck Simulator Not much of a surprise there. What was a surprise to me, however, is that I found something new in the game. I’m not sure if it’s a new addition, but there was an actual accidident in the game, and the road was blocked by a helicopter!

Spoiler alert, there’s no “collision detection” on the rotor blades of the helicopter, so you can easily get past by going over the hard shoulder. Of course, I saved the game before I tested this out.

I also went past another accident on the other side of the road…

Yeah, it’s come to something where I consider this blogworthy, but I insisted on keeping you updated. Bet you wish I hadn’t.

Well, that lasted long. (Days 5-8)

Tsk. There I was, planning to do a detailed description of every single day in lockdown, and I got bored after about 4 days. Actually, I tell a lie. I wrote the posts. I just couldn’t bring myself to post them, because they were just too dull for even this blog….

Of course, nothing’s TOO boring for this blog. In fact, here’s what I wrote for Day 5…

It’s bloody beautiful out here at the moment. Sat in the back garden while my dinner cooks, and it really is spring like. The sun is warm and bright. Today’s the type of day that I’d have gone for a walk on my dinner hour. Instead, I’m sat in the back garden, watching the birds peck away at some leftover bread

Leftovers. That’s a phrase you don’t hear much of these days. Especially bread.

I was never a big bread eater anyway, so all of this bread shortage stuff isn’t affecting me anyway. Now, a pot noodle shortage, that’d be terrible.

The weather really is nice today. I’m sat in the back darden as the remainder of the sun disappears behind the houses. There’s the sound of the birds tweeting, against the low rumble of the dual carriageway. Hardly anything compared to its normal noise.

I’ve not long returned of having my foot checked. It’s looking great, apparently. I think this period of rest is really helping matters. It’s strange how I’m now starting to see positives in all of this.

That was was the Wednesday.

Day 6, the Thursday, consisted of this….

In contrast to the almost summer-like day we had yesterday, today has been pretty dull and cold. It didn’t start off to bad, with a nice sunny morning, but as the day has gone on, the mist has rolled in, and it’s got pretty chilly, which is a bit of a shame.

It’s one of those days where it looks like it could be nice and warm if it wasn’t for the mist sticking about.

I’m so bored. While I was 9n my lunch break, I wondered if Julian Pettifer is still with us. He is. You may remember him from hundreds of news reports from the 60s, and also presented Busman’s Holiday before Sarah Kennedy and Elton welsby.

He’s written a few books and has an OBE now.

That alleviated the boredom for a few seconds

Yeah. So, there wasn’t much happening on the afore-mentioned days. Friday rolled around, and I didn’t type anything. This so far has been the most interesting of the days, as I actually left the house, so I thought I might as well type out that. For you see, us plebs are allowed out of the house to shop for essentials such as food, and to do a minimal amount of excersise. Well, I clearly wasn’t going outside to do the excersise, so off I went to Lidl. Despite it only being a short walk, I got Daddykins to take me in the car, and shortly noticed that I shouldn’t have bothered. For you see, seeing as us humans are such filthy, disease ridden rcreatures, we’re now only allowed within two metres of one another, and to keep our spread of disgusting microbiorganisms (is that a word?) to a minimum, they were only allowing a few people in the store at any one time. It was quite a surprise to see the queue going around the car park, ending near the edge of the car park where Grayfields is. ABANDONED.

I quickly jumped back in the car, and we headed off to Iceland. There was a queue, and once again, our unclean hearts and minds were not permitted to be within two metres of one another. There were only five other people in the queue, and it quickly went down. I was finally able to get some essentials. Bog roll, bread, eggs and Monster Munch. All things that had been sadly lacking. Well, we still had a few bog rolls left , but it always pays to get some more I suppose when the opportunity is there. No, it’s not panic buying, it’s just covering for all eventualities. The shops have finally took the approach of restricting the amount of things you can buy like that anyway, which hasn’t came a moment too soon. Honestly, the mentality / greed of some people astounded me.

It’s funny that I mentioned not really eating bread on Wednesday. I can report that this, for some unknown reason, is the softest, most delicious loaf of bread I’ve had for some time, and I’ve nearly eaten it all by myself. I’m one of those complete weirdos that completely flatten the bread with my hands (yes, I washed them beforehand!), roll it up, then flatten it again. I know of only one other person that does this.

Anyhoooo, enough about that. The front door closed, and I’m now on full lockdown. I’ve became acquainted with an old friend called Euro Truck Simulator again, and I’ve had… some time playing it. Here’s my current “ride”.

Yes, I’ll admit it. I paid 39p to have the Chinese / Year of the Rat paint pack….

Worth every penny (It wasn’t though, was it? Ed).

One game feature is that you can have live music from online radio stations playing, basically acting like the stereo in your cab. Since I discovered this feature, I’ve been listening to Clyde 2. It was one of the only English ones I could find at the time, and I’ve been using this in the game ever since. Last night, it really got on my wick. I’m obviously playing this game to escape the fact that we’re in lockdown for the foreseeable. Unfortunately, the radio station liked reminding us, the listener, of this every five seconds. After a song finished, it was either a mention that we should stay in, or an advert telling us that we should wash our hands at every given opportunity. One slice of good fortune is that the news bulletins for this particular night didn’t play properly, leaving the radio silent, thankfully.

Saturday came, eventually. I didn’t actually go to bed until 3. There’s not much point sleeping at a particular time, as I’ve got nothing to get up for. I think it was about 10 when I finally surfaced. Again, computer on, and Euro Truck similator got loaded back up. Of course, this time, I gave the English stations a miss. If I’m going to have some escapism, I’m going to do it without getting reminded of the thing I was escaping from every 2 bloody minutes. This time, I just happened to put one on called Mint FM, and to pardon the pun, it was mint. Some really good songs, some I hadn’t even heard before. Even better was the fact that it was all automated, and without adverts too. Not a single mention of that bloody C word…. you can make your own minds up which word I’m referring to… 11 letters, or 4 letters…

I even tried my hand at “broadcasting” – streaming your game to anybody who wants to watch it. Apparently, it’s something that the cool kids do, but I had no idea if anyone was watching, so it was all a bit pointless really. Maybe it’s something I’ll experiment more with in the future, but more than likely it’ll be something I forget entirely about.

So, as I’m typing this, we’ve broken into Sunday. Officially the shortest day of the year, as I’m sure that by the time I get this typed, edited and published, the time will have jumped from 1AM to 2AM, and we’ll be officially in British Summer Time. Not that we can actually do anything with it. Sigh.

Day 4 – HariBoJo

Ugh. I’m really not liking this working from home lark. Fair enough, the sleep-ins are nice, and being able to get out of bed at 06:50 and be ready to sign on at 07:00 is a nice bonus. Of course, today didn’t work out like that, otherise I wouldn’t have mentioned. Cirtix required an update, and seeing as the laptop’s instruction manual was printed in Latin, it wasn’t going to be a quick procedure.

Eventually on it came, and the morning was pretty busy. I clearly can’t say much about what I did, that’s because I’ve forgotten most of it.

Lunchtime came, and instead of food, I thought an extra hour in bed would be ideal. A big mistake, and I woke up feeling worse. Food consisted of a frozen kebab in a pitta bread. Pretty disgusting, but it guarantees my daily intake of earholes, eyeholes and arseholes I suppose. Yum.

Later on in the afternoon, Daddykins went out to make sure the car was still functioning. It hadn’t left the leafy gravel driveway of Mercuryvapour Towers since Friday, especially since we had to sack the chauffeur thanks to social isolation. I joined him, because I wanted to see something other than the artexed walls of the kitchen. Technically this trip out is allowed, as I went into a shop in Blackhall to pick up some essentials. 8 cans of coke, a bag of Haribos, packet of beefy Space Raiders, and some apples to balance everything else out. The search for a fresh loaf of bread continues.

And this is where you see me now. I watched the local news. Lots of camera shots of deserted streets, and news reporters with extended microphones patronising the local residents. One woman was asked why herself and her husband were out. She said she didn’t know. Suppose if you don’t have a telly or the internet, you wouldn’t. And especially how we’ve been told to distance ourselves from other disgusting horrible filthy human beings.

Never fear, as the government have sent text messages to all of our phones. To be fair, if you’re out and about now, you’re not going to be taking any notice of this now, are you?

Myyyy Corona!

I don’t really have any need to leave the house at the moment anyway. The charity shops are closed, Maccy D’s has closed. I’ve let my Pokemon Go day streak lapse, so there’s not even any point of walking to any of the nearby pokestops.

So, tonight I’ve been playing records. And I’m quite aware that Days 3 and 4 have been posted within minutes of each other, but I doubt anyone is reading this tripe anyway. As you were!

Day 3 – there’s going to be a lot of days like this

You’ll probably find there’s some days where I don’t do updates. You can safely assume that the day is going to be a carbon copy of what today was.

Woke up early, went downstairs to work. Stayed there until my dinner at 11. I broke protocol by going down to the butchers, in the hope of finding something edible, and there were warm pork pies. Spot on. So, that was dinner. I got talking to the lovely lady behind the counter, and found that they did deliveries for anyone in dire need in the local area. She handed me their business card, and she would be the last person other than Daddykins I would see that day. They also took card payments, which I didn’t know. Hurrah for contactless. I returned home to pouch on my porcine pastry

That was pretty much it. Returned home, and completed my work shift. I finished work, and went straight to bed. I was that bored.

I was awoken by my tablets. I’ll leave it at that. It wasn’t pleasant.

I then went downstairs, and found that the country was on full lockdown. Oh, nice. Of course, this made Boris Johnson the first person to officially end the DFS sale.