Friday, February 25, 2011

Sandie Shaw

I read a post on Pop Molecule which made me dig out a bit of Sandie Shaw.

Back in 1984 (as the fashion proclaims) Sandie Shaw release 'Hand in Glove', a track originally written and recorded by The Smiths.

Morrissey and Marr were huge Sandie fans - even using her track 'Heaven Knows I'm Missing Him Now' as the title inspiration for one of their biggest hits:

Of course, everyone knows Sandie reached her fame by helping the UK win the Eurovision Song Contest for the first time with 'Puppet on a String'. But, like Sandie, I'm not a big fan of that song. Here is the far superior 'Long Live Love':

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hometown memories: Castleton, Rochdale.

I mostly grew up in Castleton, Rochdale.


(c) Gene Hunt

I lived at the top end of that picture until I was about 9, then moved to the bottom end of the picture until I was around 17. My mum and dad moved there because the town was 'up-and-coming'; full of friends, a vibrant social life and the central point for visiting extended families. But the town didn't come up, it went down. Most pubs are closed now, there's more bookies - you know the drill. This is where the Woolworths head office was based until the company dissolved in 2008. My mum suddenly lost her job of 30 years.

I drove through again at Christmas and was thrilled to see the local independent bakers (Smiths) is still there. My mum would give us a pound a day in the school holidays to buy a cheese'n'onion pie and an apple slice.

Just behind the right row of shops is the Rochdale canal and several disused mills. The canal regeneration sadly seemed to skip Castleton, however this is where my rose-tinted childhood memories come from. Summers exploring canal paths and finding winding lanes... you'd enter the lane with trepidation - never knowing where you'd come out (although all lanes seemed to lead to Springfield Park). Walking home from school in the summer, instead of catching the bus. Tying our white shirts to the midrif with a knot and picking flowers. Yet the place looks so desolate when I return now.

We moved up in the world when I was 17 and moved to my mum's hometown, Littleborough, on the Pennine/ Yorkshire border. Again, it was all canals but this time there were sandstone terraces instead of redbrick. We even had a huge lake round the corner. I took this picture of Hollingworth Lake when I went back at Christmas:


At 18 I left for uni and I'm now approaching the point where half of my life has been spent away from Lancashire. Yet my family still ask me when I'm moving home. I do sometimes feel homesick pangs when I see a canal or a row of sandstone terraces on a hillside, but I feel like I 'belong' to SE London a lot more.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Read and Shout: a save Lambeth libraries event

***UPDATE: The event sold out in 40 SECONDS!

Read and Shout, March 19th, West Norwood Library.

Read and Shout is a special event, a live music event, a mini-festival, an evening of sublime indiepop held in the lovely Nettlefold Hall above West Norwood Library. But most of all Read and Shout is a protest against the widespread closure of libraries, here in London, and across the Nation. Local Authorties accross the country are making plans to close hundreds of libraries.

We can’t sit back and let this happen. Libraries are one of the most valuable assets of a community. I teach in a school where families can barely afford to buy their own books; how are we expected to improve literacy rates without the support of free, local reading facilities? What’s more, people love their libraries, and this has been highlighted by protests against closures up and down the country.

We are holding this event to help raise awareness of the cuts facing libraries. Not only will there be live music, but also speeches and campaigning…making a noise, rather than a ssshhh…letting those responsible know that people still care about their libraries, more than ever.



Monday, January 31, 2011

Christmas in Littleborough, 2010

I usually find Christmas quite stressful - who to spend it with, Rochdale or Windsor, Thom or family... This year we spent it with my mum and it was a breeze - why can't every Christmas be like this?!

A highlight was a Christmas Eve walk with my mum, sister and brother-in-law. You might remember the crazy snow. It was so bloody brassic up north that even the waterways were frozen over.

Poor little duckies and geese.

We started by the canal in Littleborough and followed the Ealees brook route up to Hollingworth Lake. The sparkle of the snow was dying for some hipstamatic action, playing with reflected light...

I couldn't believe it when we reached the lake - completely frozen! I saw some rather precarious footprints walking out away from the shore... I'm not sure I would've quite risked it.

What a wonderful walk, not to mention a welcome break from the soap-and-brew-a-thon that usually constitutes a bank holiday!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Horrible Histories

Well done to Horrible Histories; the first ever children's programme to win a British Comedy Award. Best Sketch Show - and not surprising! The kids in my class love the programme. One kid even gave me a DVD so I could play it during golden time. But not only is it funny - it's educational. I love this clip which, as a teacher, I think promotes historical enquiry skills. ;)