Let’s Get Physical

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Having heard me bemoaning the fact that I was having to squeeze into my jeans, following the excesses of the festive period, Nikki, an old school friend suggested I join her on the ‘couch to 5k’ venture upon which she was about to embark. This would involve us meeting at 8am three times a week to jog, and eventually run, ourselves back to fitness. It sounded like a great idea apart from a couple of problems: I hate running and I don’t do mornings! Knowing I would be setting myself up for failure by agreeing to it, I declined. However, I said if she could find a dance class we could go to, I’d happily join her.

Nikki must have known she was onto a winner when she told me about an 80’s dance class she had found, ¬†15 miles from my home and held on Tuesday nights. We went to our first class this week, and I loved every minute of it. From our warm up to Wham!’s ‘Club Tropicana’, through our routines to the likes of ‘Relax’, ‘Come On Eileen’ and ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’, to our cool down to ‘Tainted Love’, I had the biggest grin on my face. As we grapevined our way across the floor of the hall, I had a flashback to our old school dance lessons; Nikki in her shiny green lycra leotard and tights (I had never strayed beyond our regulation grey shorts and white aertex top, embroidered with my initials).

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How I imagine our routines look!

So, we might have gained a few pounds and wrinkles since then, but at least there was no rushing to get changed in time for our maths lesson afterwards. This was fun. In fact, I’m sure the Fitbit said we had exercised enough to have a glass of wine after our workout, if not positively encouraged us to!

Even better was the fact that the next day, I didn’t wake up feeling old and arthritic, as I had half expected to. It looks like this dancing back to fitness idea has everything in its favour. I can’t wait until next week. Now, where did I put my legwarmers?

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Too Good To Be Forgotten 80s

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Some people may not look forward to Sunday evening, knowing that the start to the working week is not far away. For me, 7 o’clock on a Sunday evening is the start of two hours of music from my favourite decade, accompanied by online conversations with some of the loveliest 80s enthusiasts you could ever hope to encounter. I am referring to Matthew Rudd’s “Forgotten 80s” show on Absolute 80s, which is also repeated on Thursdays from 9 to 11pm.

During the show, fellow 80s enthusiasts communicate via Absolute 80s’ Facebook page, and/or on Twitter, under the hashtag #forgotten80s. Despite Mr. Rudd’s observation that some people do use both platforms, I believe the majority of listeners choose one or the other. This was evident a few weeks ago, when he mentioned how welcoming the Facebook listeners were, but neglected to mention us Tweeps in a similar vein. Suddenly, my Twitter feed was full of comments from the Forgotten 80s Twitterati, protesting at Matthew’s lack of acknowledgement for his loyal tweeters. One notable comment likened the Tweeps to Grange Hill pupils, and those using Facebook to Rodney Bennett! Having never used Facebook during the show, I can’t comment on the second half of that statement, but given the range of characters of my fellow Tweeps, I reckon the Grange Hill tag is pretty accurate, and one which we should wear with pride. We have that same sense of camaraderie and banter, there is lots of fun, and everyone has an opinion (and isn’t afraid to share it!).

Of course, you can always listen to the show without any social media interaction, as I did when I first started listening. However, I wouldn’t be without Twitter now, when tuning in. There is nothing quite like sharing memories and trivia with other fans of the decade that subtlety forgot, inspired by a fantastic soundtrack of the era. Even when the music isn’t to my taste (Karel Fialka’s “Hey Matthew” springs to mind), it is still a vibrant blast from the past, which I wholeheartedly embrace. So, come join us and, as Wham! once sang “let me take you to the place where membership’s a smiling face” ūüôā

Last Christmas – Wham!

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Not that I need an excuse to post one of my favourite Christmas videos from the Eighties, but anyone who has read my short story “Ghosts of Christmas”, will know this song has a special place in my heart. If you would like to read the story, and help raise money for the Teenage Cancer Trust and Cystic Fibrosis Trust in the process,¬†Click Here¬†to order your copy of Winter Tales: Stories To Warm Your Heart. As well as my contribution, there are 23 other short stories for you to read in the countdown to Christmas, to give you that festive glow. What better early Christmas present?

Long Hot Summer

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My love for Summer is no big secret. As a rule, if the sun is shining and the temperature’s rising, I am happy. Perhaps that is why my childhood memories of the Summer Holidays are so cheery. In them, the sun was always shining, and I was always smiling (although my parents will beg to differ about the reality of these memories!).

One of my favourite summers was in 1983, during which we took a fortnight’s holiday to Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset. Rather aptly, The Style Council’s “Long Hot Summer” was in the charts. This, along with the likes of KC & The Sunshine Band’s “Give It Up”, Wham!’s “Club Tropicana” and Paul Young’s “Wherever I Lay My Hat”, provided the soundtrack for both my holiday and my summer. I had taped the charts off the radio the previous Sunday, painstakingly¬†attempting to stop recording before Tommy Vance¬†spoke over the end of the songs. During the seemingly never-ending journey from Kent to Somerset, in Dad’s khaki green Hillman Imp (suitcases tied precariously on the roof-rack), that C90 cassette was played continuously. Due to the fact that the car radio was unable to pick up a signal for longer than a few seconds, it also became the background music¬†to our holiday sightseeing. In my mind, Glastonbury Tor, Cheddar Gorge and Wookey Hole all feature alongside tracks such as The Kinks’ “Come Dancing” and Eurythmics’ “Who’s That Girl?”. Little wonder then that any one of these songs can evoke such vivid memories for me.

My favourite track during that holiday,¬†but one not often heard today, was Roman Holliday’s “Don’t Try To Stop It”. Hope you enjoy this video as much as I do, as it causes me to recall family midnight swims in the camp site pool, during the long, hot summer of 1983.