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Neighbours vs Zombies – Hallowe’en 2014

Now don’t shy away, I KNOW that there are other Neighbours fans out there following me via this website and social media ;)

I’ve recently discovered the, online only, Neighbours Hallowe’en YouTube specials released this week.

WELL worth a watch, especially if you were a fan of the show about 10 years ago… I shall say no more!

Watch the trailer and have a listen to this amazing version of the theme song, and then try to tell me that it’s not freakin’ awesome!!

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ALBUM REVIEW: Annie Lennox: Nostalgia (2014)

Annie_Lennox_-_NostalgiaNostalgia has absolutely been an album that I’ve been looking forward to – big Annie Lennox fan. A really great album covering some classic songs – not too dissimilar in concept to Aretha Franklin’s latest release, reviewed by me here.

A track by track review follows:

Memphis in June – explodes in to Annie Lennox fabulousness, a great easy listening song.

Georgia On My Mind – really shows off Annie’s voice

I Put A Spell On You – sorry Nina, this is probably my favourite version of this classic!

Summertime – a great track where you can just get ‘lost’ in Annie’s voice. Absolutely gorgeous.

I Cover the Waterfront – a ‘new’ song to me, nice earthy Jazz tone.

Strange Fruit - I’ll be honest, it’s all starting to sound the same at this point… well sung and nice to listen to.

God Bless The Child – enjoyable, a chance to really get vocal!

You Belong To Me – my absolutely most favourite song on the planet – she does it justice!

September In The Rain – again, enjoyable, sounds like all the rest.

I Can Dream, Can’t I? – bit of a vocal showcase, as always, enjoyable.

The Nearness of You – by this point, I’ll admit that my attention was starting to wander…

Mood Indigo – a nice step in to Blues – a relief!

A collection of poignant 20s-50s, smokey jazz club, street corner swing,  American songbook classics – I have to say, I’m glad for a few new versions of a few of the classics, but ultimately am left yearning for an album of Annie originals.

A good album but one for die-hard fans perhaps.

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SHIA LEBEOUF! Best thing I’ve seen online in 2014!

This has to be THE BEST thing that I’ve seen on the Internet all year!

Please, just watch it, appreciate the awesomeness (THAT choreography and choral sound – gorgeous) and then head to iTunes and buy it ;)

If anyone can recommend any songs that have this lovely dark choral sound on them, please throw me a comment!

Rob Cantor is my new favourite online singer/songwriter, and the effort that’s gone in to this (and his other creations – see his other YouTubes) is clearly immense. More please!

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F**k you – Cancer

So, this is a post that I never thought would get written.

I always try to project positivity in every thing that I do. In fact, I even ‘managed’ telling online folk about my cancer super carefully as I was worried about upsetting people with a “Cancer lol” status update (yes, I have seen one of these!) – I appreciate the image that people hopefully have of me, and that I’m considered thoughtful and straight-down-the-line as it were. I’m a simple guy like that – I hate smoke and mirrors.

However, throughout my cancer diagnosis and treatment I’ve been told that I’ve been dealing with it so well, and that somehow this makes me brave. To be clear, I didn’t sign up for brain cancer and I’d have run a thousand miles in the opposite direction if I could have. Brave are the friends and relatives who face it with yWallpaper-1680x1050ou, never letting you fall by the wayside, despite knowing there may be a terminal timeframe on your relationship with that person. Ultimately, dying isn’t brave – being there and going through it, now that must be worse than anything that I, or the majority of other Cancer patients have gone through. All I have to do is show up and get spoilt rotten, unfortunately, and it’s this I hate most, it’s the loved ones whom this disease takes it’s toll upon.

Essentially just because I put a ‘brave’ public face on it, but I really don’t want anyone to think it’s a wishy-washy disease that isn’t ‘that bad’. To be clear, this is a foul disease, striking so many people, so many friends and families, turning lives upside down. I hate Cancer. Yes, I’m in the ‘reasoned-but-angry’ phase after many months of placid acceptance.

Do you know what I hate at the moment? I’m afraid of dying before I fulfil all that I set out to fulfil, and the impact of the loss on my partner at any time after, everything he has done for me (I cannot even begin to say how much!). You automatically think a lot about death after a cancer diagnosis and, until recently, it’s really not bothered me. There, I said it. I know that sounds bloody selfish and stupid, especially when I currently hold a tentative ‘all clear’ – but this is the poison. I’m well, I have an MRI scan on Friday now things have ‘tidied up’ post-surgery, and miraculously I’m making a super swift recovery from the surgery/radiotherapy – so why am I now so worried?

Anxiety is a common ‘side effect’ of a cancer diagnosis and one all too easily dismissed in my opinion. Yes, it’s healthy to have fears about mortality – certainly don’t bottle them up, but at the same time you have to master how not to let them control you. I think the wrong message often gets sent out and anxiety gets an unfair rap sheet!

This condition has affected my mobility, my speech, some of my friendships and, of course, my home life.

All of this is a little bit hard to quantify in that simple but genuine question that we’re all guilty of asking “Are you alright?”. I’ve been asked that question a lot today, which has been lovely and genuine. Unfortunately, for once, I was unprepared for the question, despite being asked it more than 20 times – so instead of a well-balanced and prepared answer each time, I just shrugged my shoulders and made a funny tired noise, time and time again. – an honest and not pre-planned answer.

I’m incredibly happy at the moment, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be fired up about cancer – sometimes, perhaps like you’re doing now, you’re searching the web and you come across my post and hey, all you want to hear is someone agree that cancer is shitty (but that you can get over it – just don’t let it consume you. Stay positive!).

PS – Yes, the cover doodle on this post is from the HeadSmart brain cancer campaign.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Aretha Franklin: Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics

Regular readers will know that I am a MASSIVE fan of ‘music’ as a whole, and there are a few choice releases this autumn that I plan to review on.

My excitement, however, has been near ‘fever-pitch’ with the upcoming release of Aretha Franklin’s new record, “Aretha Franklin Sings The Great Diva Classics” – concept wise, basically, it just sounds like Aretha got jealous of all the other talent and wanted to reclaim her title ha!

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Everyone else seems have been as excited as I was when it came to her version of Adele’s Rolling In The Deep, which I thought she absolutely owned!

Typically much more seems to have been made of her very airbrushed-looking album cover than the contents of the recording, but once you hear Aretha’s voice, it’s hard not to get drawn in!

Age shouldn’t play a part in it, but at the magnificent age of 72 and still going strong! Wow. Most kids these days couldn’t sing with this kind of energy, playfulness, and sass.

  • At Last – I was sold from the first note!
  • Rolling In The Deep – Mentally crazy/stratospherically good!
  • Midnight Train to Georgia – A light version – doesn’t beat Gladys and her Pips I’m afraid, but very pleasant
  • I Will Survive – A bit strained and I didn’t enjoy this track as much as I’d hoped to.
  • People – Not a song I was aware of at first, still not a song I particularly enjoyed if honest.
  • No One – Not quite the haunting vocal of the original, but I defy you not to bop along.
  • I’m Every Woman / Respect – “PUMP UP THE GROOVE!” Chaka who?! Get ready to dance yourself dizzy!
  • Teach Me Tonight – Soulful and lovely.
  • You Keep Me Hangin’ On – Disco funk.
  • Nothing Compares 2 U – Completely switched up version – more Swing/Jazz than a ballad, perhaps the biggest disappointment on the album.

All in an album that I’d recommend, Rolling In The Deep is definitely the torch song, but there are some other gems on the album. It’s great that in this tragic age of the manufactured ‘diva’ – a real one, Aretha, can come back and seemingly effortlessly show the kids how it’s done. Hope that she does some TV spots to promote the release – I’d love to see her perform.

 

UK based musical theatre geek with a brain tumour!

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