PopMaster and Paul Young

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One of the simple pleasures in my life is listening to Popmaster on Ken Bruce’s Radio 2 show. Having listened to the quiz for a few¬†years, I woke up one Thursday morning last year and thought I would give it a go. I have heard stories of listeners trying for years to get on the show, so you can imagine my surprise when my call was answered first time. Even more amazing was answering the qualifying questions correctly, then receiving a call shortly afterwards, to say that I would be contestant number two!

I was fortunate that the questions fell right for me and, with 27 points, I beat my opponent. Next, I had to face the dreaded “3 in 10”. As anyone who has ever listened to Popmaster knows, naming three hit singles, by a particular artist, in ten seconds is no mean feat. Often, the first two roll off the tongue, but the elusive thir60430_10200443890851413_1250397547_nd title remains unspoken. Luckily, I had to name three hit singles by Paul Young. A fan of his since “Wherever I Lay My Hat” charted in 1983, I named that track, “Love Of The Common People” and my favourite song of his, “I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down”. The digital radio was mine!

This post gives me the opportunity to share the montage of photos I took a when Paul Young played at an Eighties’ weekend in 2010, set to my favourite (and winning!) track:

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Revision of Eurovision

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Listening to Ken Bruce’s Radio 2 show this morning being broadcast from Copenhagen, in preparation for tomorrow’s Eurovision Song Contest, I was reminded of past entries, about which I thought I had completely forgotten. One of my favourite UK entries was in 1982, when Bardo sang “One Step Further”. They were beaten to the prime position by Germany’s Nicole, singing “A Little Peace”, another song that was etched in my memory. However, it wasn’t until this morning that I was reminded of Sweden’s 1984 entry, The Herreys singing “Diggiloo Diggiley” and Norway’s Bobby Socks singing “Let It Swing” in 1985. Catchy, cheesey pop at its very best!

Even those songs I knew I had stashed in my memory held a little surprise for me. No one was more shocked than I, when I sang along word-for-word to Johnny Logan’s 1980 winning entry, “What’s Another Year?” The more I listened to Ken’s show this morning, the more I realised how much I had absorbed from the Eurovision of my youth. Most of it is Eighties-based, although I can’t write about my Eurovision favourites without mentioning Brotherhood of Man. I may have only been 5, when they won the contest with “Save All Your Kisses For Me” in 1976, but I remember learning and practising the dance routine to the song, with my Auntie Sharon (who will probably disown me now!).

Another Eurovision dance routine I used to know off by heart was the routine to “Making Your Mind Up” by Bucks Fizz, the UK’s 1981 winning entry. This one was ‘performed’ with friends rather than family members though. I’m sure we weren’t the only kids singing and dancing, pretending to be Cheryl, Mike, Bobby and Jay, or maybe living in a remote, rural community meant that we were more likely to make our own entertainment. Whatever the reason, it was a time when Eurovision was still fun, and we still stood a chance of winning. Yes, the Scandanavian countries would vote for each other; yes, we could always rely on Malta for douze points, but a good performance and a good song would still find its way to the top of the scoreboard. Now that the competition is heavily dominated by an Eastern European mutual appreciation society, a return to that scenario is unlikely.

Despite our chances of winning being as likely as Russia giving Ukraine top marks (no reflection of the quality of Molly’s rendition of “Children of The Universe”), I will make a long-overdue return to watching Eurovision tomorrow evening. My enthusiasm for the contest has been re-ignited by this morning’s blast from the past, and with promises of a bearded lady and a Greek rap entry, what’s not to like???