Rock ‘n’ Rain


Late Saturday morning saw me doing my best Girl Guide impression as, fully prepared for what the elements might throw at us, I trekked across fields, laden with everything I might need for the day. Okay, so the fields were Sandwell Country Park in West Bromwich, and my ‘load’ was a festival chair, umbrella, waterproof jacket and several layers of clothing, but as a fairweather festival-goer, and with rain forecast  throughout the day, this was me out of my comfort zone.

I was undeterred by the prospect of a downpour, as the main reason I had chosen Let’s Rock Birmingham as my first festival of the year, was the opportunity to see Tiffany live, and she didn’t disappoint. Hearing her sing live was worth getting a soaking. Besides which, the sporadic showers meant my normally straightened hair reverted to its natural curly/frizzy state. I achieved an authentic Eighties look without even trying!

From the moment Tiffany came on stage, singing the chart-topping “I Think We’re Alone Now”, she gave a first class performance. Including “Right Here” from her new album “A Million Miles”, and a superb rendition of “Sweet Child of Mine” in her set, my personal favourite was “Could’ve Been”, a beautiful track I’ve loved since its release in ’88. Standing a few feet away from the singer, as Ms Darwish delivered the song note perfect, was one of the day’s highlights for me.

I say one because, with so many fantastic acts performing, it was an impossible task to choose an outright favourite. Jimmy Somerville was outstanding; Five Star gave a flawless, polished song and dance set. Go West’s Peter Cox was gorgeous and gravelly-voiced, as always; Martin Fry stylish and classy, treating us to ABC’s 80’s hits, as well as “Viva Love” from the “Lexicon of Love II” album. Dr & The Medics kicked the day off to a great start, and had the crowd singing along and dancing within seconds of playing; Holly Johnson provided a fabulous finale, performing Frankie Goes To Hollywood classics and solo tracks, including this year’s earlier release “Ascension”. As I said, impossible to choose.

If you were there, let me know what you thought about the day’s performances. Likewise to those of you attending any of this summer’s forthcoming retro festivals. Looking forward to hearing from you…


Song Sung Wrong!


It all began with a harmless question a few weeks ago. “I’ve found a pub that does karaoke,” said my friend. “Do you fancy giving it a try?” Little did I realise what I was letting myself (and the good people of Whitstable) in for, when I agreed to go. What started off as a laugh has now become a bit of an obsession, in which I seem to be attempting to ‘perform’ every 80’s track in the landlord’s book of karaoke tracks!

My first choice, a duet of Don’t You Want Me, was quite credible. Imitating Susan Sulley and Joanne Catherall’s bored, flat vocals came fairly naturally – like rediscovering the rebellious, disinterested teenager in me. Armed with my newly discovered singing talent, my next choice, made in a fit of overconfidence, was perhaps a bit too ambitious. Another duet (I hadn’t yet worked up the courage to fly solo!), I chose Islands In The Stream by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton. Unfortunately, the poor guy I’d roped in to sing with me (whom I’d met some ten minutes previously) didn’t appear to have ever heard the song before. Add to that the fact that, although I’ve heard the song hundreds of time before, I hadn’t realised just how high Ms Parton’s part goes. At one point, I was almost on my knees, trying to draw breath from reserves that I didn’t have! Needless to say, our performance was memorable, but for all the wrong reasons.

So, have I learnt my lesson? Have I, heck! I have since decimated the likes of Whitesnake’s Here I Go Again, Wham!’s I’m Your Man and a couple of 70’s rock classics, Bohemian Rhapsody and Bat Out of Hell. I can’t bring myself to write about what happened when I tried to bring myself a bit more up to date. All I will say is The Real Slim Shady is harder to perform than you would think! Best to stick to the Eighties, I think. I noticed Tiffany’s I Think We’re Alone Now in the book last week. Maybe I can sing that this weekend? I could even have moves to match the lyrics: “running just as fast as we can…”.