A Letter To You …

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In the days before social media made it possible to be in constant contact with friends and family, ISmash Hits Five Star cover 230486 used to keep in touch with people the old school way … writing. A prolific letter writer since I was in single figures, when I would regularly correspond with my great, great aunt in Eastbourne, I was delighted when my penpal profile appeared in an issue of Smash Hits.

I was 15 years old when my request for a penfriend was published in the magazine in April 1986. Within days I was inundated with replies, which resulted in me having penpals in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, Nigeria, Alaska and all over the UK, and school friends replying to some of the remaining hundreds of letters.

I continued to write to a number of my Smash Hits buddies for several years, writing at least one letter every SHday, and some went on to become very good friends in reality, not just on paper. In fact, my son’s Scouse godfather is one of those friends I met because of this listing. Who would have thought it back then? Over thirty years of friendship due to a few lines in a magazine.

Now, like many people, we use Facebook rather than letters to keep in touch across the miles and, although a nostalgic part of me misses the excitement of a letter dropping through the letterbox, I cannot deny the advantages of our online updates. Social Media has also been responsible for bringing some wonderful new friends into my life, and had it not been for a friend and fellow 80s fan I met via Twitter, I would not have the images included in this post. I can’t imagine how our communications will develop over the next three decades. I doubt very much that today’s teenagers will look back on Snapchat messages with the same fondness I feel when I look at the shoeboxes full of letters I have kept, and I am certain none of them will be sending rhymes like “Postman, postman don’t be slow. Be like Elvis, go man go!”, which I recently discovered on the envelope of one of those letters.

Whatever the future holds, nothing will ever top my 80’s letter-writing days and the memories they made. Maybe I will even get around to publishing the letters one day.

Romancing The Radio

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Last Saturday I was invited to join Modern Romance as they performed as the house band at BBC Radio Kent. We all had a fantastic time as the band played their hits from the Eighties as well as new material, such as ‘Seven Days’. My vlog on my YouTube channel shows a little of what went on that morning.

Once the band had finished playing, I caught up with lead singer Andy Kyriacou for a chat about his Favourite Five 80s songs. Tune in to Radio Cabin tonight from 9pm to hear the interview we recorded, as well as some rather fabulous music from the decade.

To make a request to be played during the show, which airs every Thursday 9-11pm, tweet me @MyEighties using #My80s, post on the show’s Facebook page @My80sRadioShow or send me an email: my80s@radiocabin.co.uk . I look forward to playing your songs!

Tonight’s The Night!

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Well, that much anticipated day has finally arrived. I don’t mean that first-past-the post race which has had everyone at each other’s throats for the last couple of months. This is something that will bring people together in a 18700345_218780118634836_973354823970803339_n.jpgswathe of fabulous music from a decade when we could have fervent political debates and still remain friends.

Tonight at 9pm, My 80s Radio Show launches on Radio Cabin. Two hours of some of the best music from the Eighties plus a bit of waffling from yours truly. Listen online or on 94.6 FM if you are in the Herne Bay area.

During the show, I will also be on social media so tweet me @MyEighties or the station @radiocabin with your comments and requests, using #My80s or post on the show’s Facebook page @My80sRadioShow. Speak to you later!

 

On Board With Radio Cabin

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You may recall that a couple of weeks ago I was a guest on Herne Bay’s Radio Cabin. I was in the studio to talk about my latest book ‘More Eighties’ on the Thursday evening Fishy & Chippy Show. When we came off air, it was suggested that I host a weekly 80’s show for the NoI-fIM5_400x400station, and I am delighted to announce that from Thursday 8th June I will be doing exactly that.

Following hot on the heels of my DJ pals Fishy & Chippy, the My 80s Radio Show will go out every Thursday from 9pm to 11pm. Those in the Herne Bay area can tune in old school style on 94.6 FM, whereas those further afield can listen online via the Radio Cabin website.

I am currently working on the playlist for the first show, and requests can be sent to me in a number of ways. Contact me via the station’s email: studio@radiocabin.co.uk, Facebook and Twitter pages or through my own Twitter account: @MyEighties using the hashtag #My80s. I have also set up a Facebook page for the show @My80sRadioShow, so come and give us a ‘like’ and a track request.

There are no request rules other than songs must be from the Eighties but, even then, if it can be tenuously linked to the decade, a particularly good tune could still get on the show. Yes, that may well be my way of ensuring some of my favourite releases from The Jam and The Specials get played!

Without giving too much away, the show will include a couple of special request features, and there are also interviews planned with some lovely 80’s artists who have agreed to have a chat with me. During the show, I will be on social media so listen in, let me know what you think and let’s have some proper 80’s fun. Roll on 8th June!

 

 

When Chris De Burgh’s eyebrows were totally on fleek

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thewriteromantics

It’s funny isn’t it, how hearing a certain song can take you back to a time and place in a way almost nothing else can? Every time I hear Chris De Burgh’s ‘Lady in Red’ (deeply uncool I know), I’m reminded of my first ever slow dance. Yes, that magical night when Justin finally asked me to dance! I can’t remember his surname now but, whatever it was, I’d spent at least a term writing Mrs Justin …… all over my text books at school – extra uncool points, but that’s just the type of girl I was.  I was a bit of a late starter and, if you want the real story, even this turned out to be a false start. Justin almost immediately danced with one of my friends who also liked him. Turned out he wasn’t interested in either of us, but just wanted to be…

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The Week That Was

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It has been quite a week, with the publication of More 20170516_122253Eighties on Tuesday, a radio interview on Thursday, a gig on Friday, and throughout all of that trying to learn the art of vlogging – no mean feat for a Luddite whose technical prowess peaked at the vertically split black and white TV screen, when adjusting the tracking on our Betamax video recorder!

As I mentioned in my last post, I marked the new book’s launch with a celebratory lunch with some fabulous friends. While we were in Dover, I visited Banksy’s latest offering and could not resist a little step up the ladder. I also recorded one of my vlogs there, which you can see below, along with the one I recorded at the gig featuring Jona Lewie and The Blockheads. All my vlog posts are available via my  YouTube channel or my website, which also includes the link to the recording of my radio interview. Enjoy …

 

Ladies That Launch

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Tomorrow sees the launch of the third and final book in my trilogy on 80’s popular culture, More Eighties. Available in paperback or kindle version, the book exCover imageplores how the decade provided a backdrop against which creativity and individuality flourished, the social and political factors which shaped the music of a generation, the changing role and influence of record companies, and why the era remains a golden age for so many of us.

Reflecting the diversity of the UK charts during that time, More Eighties offers recollections, insights and observations from those at the forefront of British music during the most exciting, transitional period in its history, and features interviews with David Ball (Soft Cell), Martyn Ware (Heaven 17), Dave Wakeling (The Beat), Pauline Black (The Selecter), Eddi Reader (Fairground Attraction) Rusty Egan (Visage), Jona Lewie, Suzi Quatro, Junior Giscombe, Ian Donaldson (H2O), Karel Fialka, Andy Kyriacou (Modern Romance) and Nathan Moore (Brother Beyond), along with a foreword and commentary by Peter Coyle, former lead singer of the Lotus Eaters, songwriter, and the man responsible for introducing karaoke to the city of Liverpool, completing the eclectic mix. Having recently received and read his copy, Peter remarked that More Eighties “is a gem of a book”. I hope you will think so too.

To mark the book’s release, I will be having a celebratory ‘launch lunch’ tomorrow with friends, whose support has been invaluable during the writing of More Eighties, followed by more radio interviews later in the week. Details and photos to follow on social media.