When Eurovision Went One Step Further

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Continuing lasSATt week’s glimpse back at 80’s Eurovision with Johnny Logan, I was delighted to chat recently with Sally-Ann Triplett. Hugely popular amongst listeners of Absolute 80’s Forgotten 80s’ radio show, for her role as the female half of Eurovision duo Bardo, Sally-Ann first entered the contest in 1980 as a member of the group Prima Donna. I knew that her double appearance in the Eurovision Song Contest made her the perfect interviewee for a Eurovision feature in this year’s 80’s annual. However, until we spoke, I was unaware of the fabulous tales she had to tell about my favourite decade and some of its most famous faces.

Currently living in New York, the former pop songstress was walking through Central Park as she told me how she went from panto to Eurovision to the West End and Broadway. Those recollections are wonderfully entertaining, but then Sally-Ann went one step further (see what I did there??) and spoke about hanging out with Limahl, lending a helping hand to Samantha Fox, and snogging Sting. The fact that she also loves the Eighties as much as I do meant our interview was every bit as fun as you would expect from someone whose hip-wiggling, high-kicking dance routines were copied by a generation of forty-somethings.

Although you will have to wait until November, when The 80’s Annual, vol. II is published, to read Sally-Ann’s interview, you can see our 1982 Eurovision favourite in action in the video below. Just be careful you don’t pull something trying to copy the routine!

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Announcing The 80’s Annual

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After months of researching and writing, today I can finally reveal the project on which I have been working. The 80’s Annual is a fun mix of everything we loved back in the day, combined with news and views from 80’s artists on 2016 and beyond. As a huge fan of the decade, I have endeavoured to put together something I would want to read, so I’m hoping it will appeal to all you 80’s fans too.

Here’s the publis1980s annual cover (2)her’s blurb to tell you a bit more about it:

A full-colour retrospective of the year, with more than a nod to the teenage magazines of the era, The 80’s Annual embodies the excitement felt by the generation who grew up receiving an annual at Christmas. Featuring celebrity commentary on 80’s popular culture, 20 Question interviews, Top Tens, with contributions from Bruce Foxton, The Selecter, Johnny Hates Jazz, Musical Youth, Londonbeat, Then Jerico, Phil Fearon, Brother Beyond, Modern Romance, John Parr, Paul Hardcastle, Hazell Dean, Steve Blacknell, Garry Bushell, Matthew Rudd and more. Not forgetting the obligatory cheesy photo story, 80’s fiction, crosswords, puzzles, and quizzes including Lyrically Challenged, Pop Quiz and Which 80’s Group Are You? The 80’s Annual offers the perfect combination of nostalgia and new. A great read for every adult 80’s child. Going back to the 80s has never been so much fun!

The 80’s Annual will be published by New Haven Publishing on 1st November, and is currently available for pre-order from Waterstones.

 

 

Our Fabulous Friend, Cat Dodsworth

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In a fast-paced world where time is precious, social media can become a means of distantly keeping track of friends at the cost of real interaction. However, what is often overlooked are the real friendships created via social media, through a shared interest. If ever proof was needed, look no further than the regular listeners to Absolute 80s Radio’s Forgotten 80s show on a Sunday evening. Hosted by Matthew Rudd, and broadcast between 7 – 9pm, Forgotten 80s boasts a large following on both Facebook and Twitter, the latter being my choice of communication with fellow fans of 80’s music.

Last October, I had the pleasure of meeting some of the Forgotten 80s Twitterati, thanks to a ‘Tweet Up’ held in Birmingham. The event was organised by long-term fan of the show and prolific tweeter on everything 80s, Cat Dodsworth. As the organiser of the event, Cat was the only person who knew I had invited Musical Youth’s Dennis Seaton to pay the group a surprise visit. In the run up to the gathering, I would receive regular email updates from her, which were always accompanied by excited assurances that she hadn’t told a soul about our secret surprise. By the time the big day arrived, and I met her in person for the first time, she was almost giddy at the prospect of meeting Dennis, and having him sign the Musical Youth page in a 80’s sticker book she had kept for over thirty years. I think her beaming smile in the photo below shows exactly how happy she was when that moment arrived.

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It is a smile that I and many others are currently thinking about with affectionate sadness, as we struggle to come to terms with the almost incomprehensible news that Cat unexpectedly passed away in her sleep earlier this week.

In remembering her, it is Cat’s irrepressible exuberance and vibrancy which are foremost in my thoughts. A rare light, CaCRBmIkGW8AAv75m (2)t was completely without agenda, and touched many lives with her genuine warmth, openness and enthusiasm, even when things didn’t quite go to plan. During our Birmingham tweet up, Cat became separated from the rest of the group, later that evening, when she went to the wrong Reflex bar. A series of hilarious ‘phone calls, worthy of a sitcom, and a taxi journey across the city later, our Stray Cat finally joined us, laughing as she relayed her little adventure, and then insisting we all go and dance on the revolving dance floor. We didn’t need much persuading, and ended up sharing a fantastic evening filled with fun, laughter and dodgy 80’s dance moves – everything I have come to love about our Forgotten 80s family.

After last week’s broadcast, Cat announced that she intended to wear her “glittery frock” this coming Sunday, to celebrate show 150 of Forgotten 80s. With this in mind, Cat’s fellow Twitterati will be donning our sparkliest outfits as we tune in to this week’s show, and tweeting selfies from 7pm,  u940809_10153723699195664_3704850469538810458_nsing the hashtag #Forgotten80s. We would love you to join us as we remember a very special lady, listen to some of the decade’s best music, and raise a glass or two to our dear friend.

Rest well, Cat xx

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Cat had planned to run in the Great Manchester Marathon on 10th April, to raise funds for the charity MIND. Donations can be made via her fundraising page.

 

 

 

Hello To A Mad Affair

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As I popped the CD into the player, I wasn’t sure what to expect. ‘Mad Affair’ is the first solo album by Bob Bradbury, former frontman of Glam Rock band Hello, whose hits “Tell Him” and “New York Groove” graced the UK Top 10 during the mid-Seventies. I hit the Play button on my stereo, and sat down to write. Some chance of writing!

Hello band

L-R: Vic Faulkner, Bob Bradbury, Keith Marshall & Jeff Allen

 

From the very outset, as ‘Coloured Me Censored’ belts you straight between the ears, this album demands your full attention. Mr. Bradbury doesn’t make background music, and despite him being very much a face of the Seventies, his music has a fresh fearlessness that sounds as if it’s straight out of the Eighties. Regular readers to my blog will know that I am a fan of Matthew Rudd’s Forgotten 80s radio show on Absolute 80s. Well, this whole album is like an Eighties’ gem, long forgotten or even undiscovered until now, embodying everything that was good about the music of the Eighties and very late Seventies.

There are touches of Ian Dury, The Members, and even a hint of the B52s (on ‘She Got A’), along with heavier rock tracks like ‘Something Out There’ and ‘Climb On’, all offering a reassuring familiarity that makes you think this really could be a misplaced album from your existing collection. Yet, Bob’s distinctive vocals and track arrangements ensure a very definite originality, perfectly exemplified by the title track.

Opening with a sunshine style reminiscent of The Eagles’ ‘Hotel California’, it’s not long until ‘Mad Affair’ plunders into some power rock, before finishing with an exquisite guitar solo. Then, there is my favourite track, ‘Every Week’. A drum-loaded salute to the transition of Seventies into Eighties, Punk to New Wave, which ends with the spoken lines:

“Oi guv, got any spare change?”

“F**k off – buy your own lottery ticket!”

But there’s no need to take my word for it. The following video offers a few snippets of the album, which can be ordered from Bob Bradbury’s website.

Your Eighties Cover Reveal

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Drum roll, please… Here it is, the cover for my next book

‘Your Eighties’ available now for pre-order in

Paperback

or

Kindle

Published by Fabrian Books 28th November

Review quote:

“Too many people sneer at the Eighties, but to those who grew up in them they are replete with social, cultural and emotional memories that define their lives. Sarah’s thirst and understanding of the decade shines throughout a wonderfully engaging book.”

Matthew Rudd, Absolute 80s.

Huge thanks again to Natalie Owen for her fantastic design.

Forgotten 80s Twitterati On Tour

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There can be few people today who are totally oblivious to social media, but I wonder how many realise how far-reaching it can be. Last Saturday proved the power of the hashtag, when listeners to Absolute 80s’ Sunday night show, Forgotten 80s, descended upon Birmingham for a “Tweet Up”. Hosted by Matthew Rudd, the radio show boasts a generous following on both Facebook and Twitter, who comment on the show throughout its broadcast. As one of the show’s loyal Twitterati, I could not wait to meet some of those I had been tweeting for the past 18 months.

Walking into the venue, where some of my fellow 80’s fanatics were already gathered, was a somewhat surreal experience as I discovered what my cyber pals looked like in real life (a number of them do not use their photo as their profile picture). Whilst trying to get my brain to register the face to the name, I was also trying to stop my mouth from blurting out their Twitter handle – you have no idea how many times I had to stop myself from calling Jamie “Gin Soaked Boy” in the first hour or so! Thanks to Jamie’s “Getting to Know You” icebreaker quiz, it was not long before we began to feel like old friends, as we revealed what we hated (nothing) and loved (almost everything) about the decade, the best party we went to in the Eighties (Pernod and Black seemed to be a recurring theme), and what it means to have a request played on Forgotten 80s. I will mention no names, but a response which was met with much empathy was “It’s my world”. No pressure on Mr. Rudd for our mental welfare and future happiness then.

Proving that we are not totally inept when it comes to using technology, although I have to confess to being the first of many who accidentally pressed a button which made the ‘phone screen go blank, we engaged in a Skype conversation with Claire (@Glavlar) during the quiz. Bryony’s mobile was passed from one to another as we answered various questions, and chatted with Claire, whose accent apparently wasn’t as Welsh as expected. Although that did not stop there being a little “Flirtify” moment, when Graham complimented Claire on her specs: “Hmmm, those are nice glasses.” Smooth!

Half way through the afternoon we were treated to a visit from Brummie singer Dennis Seaton of Musical Youth. Dennis had agreed to pop in to meet us 80’s fans on his way to a gig that evening, but Cat, who had organised the Tweetup, was the only other person who know he was going to drop by.

L-R: Cat (@dunollie_cat), Sang (@mango_24), Stephen (@sjp040565), Dennis Seaton, Alan (@alanread80), Me, Graham (@AlfieBywater), Bryony (@BryonyEvens), Jeff (@Ellibin), Jamie (@GinSoakedBoy), Fran (@Frangipani)

L-R: Cat (@dunollie_cat), Sang (@mango_24), Stephen (@sjp040565), Dennis Seaton, Alan (@alanread80), Me, Graham (@AlfieBywater), Bryony (@BryonyEvens), Jeff (@Ellibin), Jamie (@GinSoakedBoy), Fran (@Frangipani) Also present but not pictured: Stuart (@silver_fox24), Allie (@Allie_lufc) and Sharon (@ShazSim21)

I think it is safe to say that everyone was surprised, if not shocked, by his appearance but soon made him welcome, chatting and having photos taken. Although we had no apple pie to offer him, his arrival was shortly followed a veritable feast of goodies to soak up the gin that seemed to be flowing a bit too freely. At least, I shall use gin as my excuse for my poor performance in Alan’s extremely difficult 80’s quiz. That and the fact I was in the presence of some incredible music brains, such as the winners Jamie and Allie. Usually one of the geekiest people I know, when it comes to 80’s music, I was relatively average in this collective. As Cat later commented, it was “a bit like being the cleverest at your school, then getting to Uni and finding out everyone else is actually cleverer than you.”

I was able to put in a better effort on the next quiz, which involved us splitting into two groups. I had my music twin and fact-meister Alan Read in my team, which could only be a good thing. Prepared by Stephen, this test of musical knowledge involved us listing as many 80’s songs we could think of, which featured girls’ names in the title. Not as easy as it seems, when there were in excess of sixty tracks for us to find. And, I still think we should have been allowed to have “Sussudio”. After all, the lyrics are “there’s a girl that’s been on my mind…Su-su-sudio”! Stephen did not set a time limit for us, which saw us only finishing our lists shortly before the end of our room hire, lest we waste any valuable time, and then rushing quickly through the answers. Competitive? Obsessive? Not the Forgotten 80s Twitterati – never!

At this point in the evening, our group split into two: those who made their way back home having had a lovely time, but knowing when enough is enough, and the rest of us. For those of us unwilling to give in to our sensible, hangover-avoiding side, the next destination was the Reflex Bar on Broad Street. I state its location because, despite being able to organise a group of strangers meeting up from across the country, Cat was unable to organise getting herself to the correct Reflex Bar, instead ending up at one a taxi ride away from where the rest of our group had gone. However, my own journey to the bar was not without its own blips.

Jeff and I had entrusted Graham, a local (I hesitate to use the word “Brummie” for fear of incurring his wrath) to lead us in the right direction. Which he did…eventually. Having taken a trip to the far end of Broad Street before Graham realised either a) The Reflex had disappeared or b) we had walked the wrong way along the road, we established it was the latter after talking to one of the many bouncers standing guard outside another of the neon-adorned establishments. Finally, all the clubbing gang were together and, despite some initial reservations about the venue (could our forty something year old ears cope with the decibel onslaught?), we soon found ourselves on the revolving dancefloor, busting a few moves to the likes of Wham! and Madness.

On the revolving dancefloor at The Reflex club.

On the revolving dancefloor at The Reflex club.

As you might expect from a group of people who were brought together by Twitter, our meeting was well documented via tweets throughout the day and evening. Despite being unable to make the Tweet Up, one of our Twitterati, Terri (@xmorpheus) put together a Forgotten 80s Club Storify, which uses our tweets to detail the events from the day, right through to the end of the evening when only the hardcore three (Jamie, Cat and Graham) were left standing, well stumbling is probably a more accurate description. It is a fantastic account of a truly amazing day, one we plan to repeat at the next Tweet Up, when we hope even more Twitterati will join us.

To anyone who has yet to enjoy Forgotten 80s, tune in to Absolute 80s radio between 7pm and 9pm on Sunday evenings. We’ll be listening too, as well as tweeting on #forgotten80s. We are a friendly, welcoming bunch, and that Matthew Rudd’s not bad either, especially when he makes our day/week/life by playing our requests.

See you on Sunday…

A Good Excuse For A Bit Of Declan MacManus

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This Saturday, I am travelling to Birmingham for a Forgotten 80s “Face Tweet”, a meeting of some of the listeners to Matthew Rudd’s Sunday evening Absolute 80s show, who use Facebook and Twitter to comment throughout the broadcast. I look forward to finally meeting some of the Forgotten 80s Twitterati with whom I share my Sunday evenings, as well as other fans of the show.

The format of the two hour extravaganza of 80’s tunes allows listeners to request Top 40 tracks from the decade, which do not get as much airplay as they should (or shouldn’t, depending on your taste in music). Some of my fellow Twitterati have made excellent choices, and had numerous requests played (yes, Alan Read I mean you!), so I do not tend to make many requests. However, here is one track I suggested which has so far escaped Mr Rudd’s playlist. Enjoy…