Tuesday, 20 October 2009

20/10/09 - another day, another blog post!

Greetings to you all! Its been three weeks but, hey, I've made it back to the blog for some more brainstorming. Some of it'll make sense; other's I'm not so sure about! But we'll see how it goes:
Some random thoughts, coming to you from moi's brain as I type away....
My Open University course kicked off just over two weeks ago. Since the offset of my last dose of studentship, in June 2006, I've mainly worked full-time, has a spell of being "Army-barmy" and got a bit of Glasgow in me.
Please spare a thought and a prayer as I go through this degree over the next four years. A few years back, I didn't get to do it as a full-time student for a number of reasons and, now, everything makes sense as to why that didn't happen. Now I'm ready to take it on and have a full bag of tools which equips me to take this course on.

Its been over a year now since I first met Sarah! It'll be a year in January since we started going out but, yeah: I met her in Starbucks as part of the C7 church's "Lifegroup" bible study. A couple of months later, after a lunch in Walkabout and a Celtic Connections gig, things materialised into something truly amazing. Still is today, too! :-*

Its been ten years - 10 - since my uncle David (McAllister) introduced me to the music of David Bowie. I remember one Friday evening, in June 1999, he brought down all these vinyls of Bowie's from between the years 1969-1983. Such classic LP's as Ziggy Stardust, Hunky Dory, Aladdin Sane, Low, "Heroes" and Scary Monsters...
Coming into work the other morning, I had a Bowie track called 'Survive' playing on my iPod - it was the third track on his '99 album 'hours....' which, as a 14-year old, I saved my pocket money to buy and being the first new Bowie release I actually purchased - and, so far, the last! - I still treasure the CD today.
Apparently it won't be long, if not already, when a 40th anniversary edition of Space Oddity gets released and I may just ask Santa for it! Why not...

Glasgow really is a beautiful city, isn't it? Even in the cold, the rain and the hail; there just seems to be an irrepressible charm about it. Now I know that might sound odd but, hey, because I'm not Glaswegian, I have a slightly different take on it all. I don't know.
This morning I met with my good friend Jonathan for a coffee and Bacon 'n' Egg McMuffin (delish, by the way!) and, whilst heading back to 64F a bitter chill came racing down and through the Gallowgate. I'm telling you, it was seriously cold! And, even though its far from the most spectacular of areas, there just felt like an underlying beauty of being there. Maybe it was because I'm away from home and standing on relatively foreign soil. Maybe its because I was with my brother in Christ. Or maybe its because I had just consumed some hot food and drink! Either way, in that bitter Autumn chill, I somehow wasn't complaining to be there.
About two weeks ago, for no real reason other than getting a couple of snapshots, I got in the lift of the Cineworld in the city centre and went straight to the top. I'm scared of heights too! So I got off at "Floor 6", when I'm sure it felt like called Floor 66, and I took a few pictures on my phone. They're not bad pictures, if I do say so myself. Probably not as good as the ones Laura Bridge takes on her camera but I like them; and I like the images they present.

Over the last week or so, the media will have run riot over the death of Boyzone singer Stephen Gately. Let me just say that, once the tabloids and the telly start to go wild over celebrities, it kinda turns me. The late Boyzone's untimely passing was different though, and I'll explain:
Although I'm no boy-band fan by any means, its no secret that I have a deep appreciation for '90's pop music; and, if its somehow associated with Ireland, I'll give it bonus points. What Boyzone gave to pop music in the closing decade of the 20th century was invaluable: classic songs were re-introduced to a new audience through the tightrope art of the cover version; female fans had new pin-ups to add on to their wall after the apparent break-up of Take That; and contemporary pop journals, such as Smash Hits, would be hits at the newsagents. Essentially, a lot of money was made but it was marketed in a way which benefited their record company Polydor, the list of musicians associated with their work and, not to mention, the Irish economy.

What Stephen Gately contributed to Boyzone was invaluable because he had the right type of voice for their songs. It was quite recognisable and respectable.
One thing I remember was post-Boyzone's own apparent demise and Gately's own coming-out: his brief stab at a solo career. Anyone remember it? A single called "New Beginning"? I think, for me, that stands out because of those two words in the song title; which, by the way, was also the title of his album to go along with it.
Ultimately, there was no follow-up. Its sad in so many ways but I think the saddest thing of all is the fact that there was potential there: a "New Beginning" was do-able.
Was it the second coming of pop music? We'll never no. Its easy to say no but, if marketed the right way, I think there may have been more of an impact than what there was.
As far as talent and "new beginnings" go, its just a crying shame that they so often go to waste. I spoke in the last blog about new beginnings as well. Maybe this is another recurring theme, along with cafes, in this page of mine; I don't know. But, if something good and full of so much potential is alive and well, why let it go to waste?...

If you read the last blog, you'll know I was writing from the Esquires cafe in Hope Street. Well, today I write to you from the iCafe on the Great Western Road! (Brilliant coffee shop, I highly recommend it.) Coffee shops, as you'll know, are great for all sorts of things: catching up with friends; reading a book; studying for courses; listening to music, either on the PA or in the comfort of your own iPod. Not only am I updating my blog, I'm also working on my next book. The follow-up to 'An Irish Memory' will be ready early next year. Don't ask when because bits and pieces like work, uni and, um, another thing.......CHRISTMAS will take priority over it; however I assure you, when its ready, it'll be ready.

That's me for now! 'Til next time....