More Trail Blazers

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Just a reminder for those of you with satellite TV (Betamax toploaders are still revolutionary for me!) I will be appearing on tomorrow night’s edition of Trail Blazers. On Sky Arts from 9pm, and narrated by Noddy Holder, the episode explores Songs of Conscience from the Eighties.

Trail Blazers

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Nu Shooz Have It In The Bag

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Whilst I will always be an 80’s girl (some may say a technology laggard) at heart, there are certain aspects of the 21st century I positively embrace. One of those is Skype or, as I prefer to think of it, the everyday manifestation of the videophones we were promised during my favourite decade. Invaluable when meeting in person is not possible, due to time or geographical constraints, Skype has come to my rescue on a number occasions. Last Thursday was one such time.

As much as I would have loved to hop across the pond to visit Portland, Oregon, home to Valerie Day and John Smith of Nu Shooz, I have still to win the lottery in order to fund such a trip. So, when the opportunity came to interview the husband and wife team, whose 1986 No. 2 hit “I Can’t Wait” spent 11 weeks in the UK Top 40, Skype it was.

Bag Town - Nu Shooz

Back performing live after a 25 year hiatus, and with their album “Bag Town” released earlier this year, there was plenty to discuss. We covered topics from musical influences to 80’s fashion mistakes, creative inspiration to favourite tracks on the album, all of which will appear in my next book, More Eighties. Some of the content from our interview will also appear in another publication on which I have been working. Watch this space…

In the meantime, it really is worth checking out the latest offering from the band. A fusion of R&B, Jazz and Latino influences, “Bag Town” holds a wide appeal, with touches of Shakatak, Janet Janet and Gloria Estefan, yet remaining creatively unique. Anyone in search of  fantastic sax need look no further than “The Real Thing”, the first single from the album, whilst “Way Outside” brings a hint of Hip-Hop to the R&B mix, to give a track straight out of an 80’s disco. For me, the best was saved for last in the track listing with “The Rail I Ride”, a beautiful blend of acoustic guitar, harmonies and the soulful purity of Valerie’s vocal. A truly gorgeous song.

For your copy of Bag Town, visit http://www.nushoozmusic.com/

Memory Chips

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One of the things I looked forward to at primary school was when the latest Chip Book Club magazine was given out. I loved browsing through the pages, seeing the latest titles on offer, then eagerly awaiting the arrival of my book of choice. Although the Puffin book club brought me delights such as Meg’s Eggs, Fantastic Mr. Fox, The Owl Who Was Afraid of The Dark, and Mrs Pepperpot’s Outing, it was the offerings from Chip which I preferred. None more so than the Chip Club Diary.

A few weeks ago, I found my diaries from 1980 and 1981. Although I hadn’t written much in them on a daily basis, I had completed the information pages in the front of the books, which I thought I’d share with you. Remember, I was only 9 years old in 1980!

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As much as I would like to believe that I’ve evolved since I was in single figures, gypsy tart is still one of my favourite foods, I still support Liverpool (although I’m no longer confused by having blue and white as my favourite colours), and my favourite animal is still a cat. I’d probably still have a chuckle at The Benny Hill Show too if I’m honest!

My tastes had not really changed much the following year, although Elvis had replaced John Travolta as my favourite film star. I think that may have been due to his films being played throughout the summer holidays. Also, Mum is a huge fan of The King so my sub-conscience was probably being influenced by overexposure to his music.

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One of the entries I find interesting is my favourite film. Cactus Jack was a short film starring Kirk Douglas as a cowboy. In the days when going to the pictures involved seeing such a film before the main screening, I had watched it on a family trip to the cinema. I can’t remember what main film we had gone to see, but this spoof Western remains firmly ingrained in my memory.

The 1981 Chip Club Diary contained an additional section I had completed. Now, although my shoe size hasn’t changed since I was 10 years old, I think I may have a modicum of modesty more than I did at that age (see Special Features and Good Points/Bad Points).

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I think my artistic talents may have developed a tad more too!