Music Monday: Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke

Continuing the ‘guilty pleasures’ theme…

There was a big uproar when this song came out because it was ‘demeaning to women’.

I know you want it
But you’re a good girl
The way you grab me
Must wanna get nasty
Go ahead, get at me

Apparently Pharrell Williams, who wrote it, said it was meant to empower women, but I can’t see how that was possible. I mean, really?

When you got them jeans on
What do we need steam for
You the hottest bitch in this place

I kind of looked at all the controversy and said “Whatever”. That song is freaking catchy. It just makes you wanna tap your fingers and toes… Doesn’t it? Aw come on, doesn’t it?

But just for balance, I’m going to share this parody made by a bunch of Auckland law students. *Smirk*

Music Monday: Shake It Off by Taylor Swift

The Soundtrackers activity over at Writing.com is on to ‘guilty pleasures’ now.  Although I’m not really inclined to be ashamed of any of the music I listen to, I know there are some songs that fall outside of what people expect me to listen to, or what people my age typically listen to, or simply songs that are considered a bit ‘trashy’. There are some artists I won’t listen to on principle – Justin Bieber, One Direction and Hansen come to mind. And hopefully if I can avoid listening to their songs, I won’t end up accidentally liking one. *Laugh* I actually do like that Despacito song, but not Bieber’s version of it. It reminds me of the classic Macarena and others that are similar. Super catchy.

But I have a daughter, and that means that I’m introduced to songs that silly young pre-teen or teen girls like, and so it’s inevitable that some of those songs will make their way onto my playlist. I’ve got a great one saved up for the end of the ‘guilty pleasures’, but I’m going with a classic Taytay today.

Firstly, I think it’s impossible not to like Shake It Off after you’ve seen Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson lipsync to it. That was some funny shit. I think he genuinely likes her too, because he’s mentioned her in a couple of his movies.

t’s fun, it’s catchy and it has a great message – don’t let the haters get to you. Just shake off the negative vibes and do you, regardless of whatever other people think. I think the music video is great too, with her poking fun at herself. You’ve got this artist who is constantly being judged by the media, and she takes what they’ve said and turns it into a hit. Like, it’s a total ‘fuck you’ at the media.

I stay out too late, got nothin’ in my brain
That’s what people say,
I go on too many dates, but I can’t make ’em stay
At least that’s what people say.

When we listen to Shake It Off in the car, we turn it up loud and everyone sings along. Even Jayden sings along ‘unironically’, as he puts it. *Smirk* It’s such a fun song. And yeah, I’m not ashamed to admit we do the ‘brush the shoulders’ actions. *Laugh*

‘Cause the players gonna play, play, play, play, play
And the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate
Baby, I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake
I shake it off, I shake it off

Music Monday: The Boys Light Up by Australian Crawl

It’s Music Monday again, and I want to share a song that I really love listening to, and can listen to over and over.

It’s by an Australian band, but we won’t hold that against them. *Wink*

They were actually here in January, but I wasn’t able to go. My in-laws did, and I was so jealous. Seeing Australian Crawl live is on my bucket list. So is seeing Dave Gilmour, but that’s not relevant to this entry. *Laugh*

This song has no particular emotional attachment, I just love it. It was so funny one day, I was listening to it with my mum and she commented that she liked it too, and I pointed out how dirty it really was. She hates when I do that. *Laugh* Ruins the song for her until she forgets what I’ve told her.

The Boys Light Up was released in 1980, the year that I was born. When asked what the song was about, the writer and lead singer James Reyne said “Well, really? It’s about fellatio.” *Rolling* “It was also about the sort of burgeoning, you know, kind of… new middle class, the new money and the new money aspirational… uh… class.”
But damn it’s a good song.


Let me tell you about my mountain home
Where all the ladies’ names are Joan
Where husband works back late at night
Hopes are up for trousers down
With hostess on a business flight
Taxi in a Mercedes drive
I hope that driver’s coming out alive
The garden it is dorsetted
That lady she’s so corseted
She’s got 15 ways to lead that boy astray
He thinks he’s one and only
But that lovely she’s so lonely
She pumps him full of breakfast and she sends him on his way
What a sing song dance
What a performance
What a cheap tent show
Oh no no no no no
Then the boys light up

Silently she opens the drawer
Mother’s little helper is coming out for more
Strategically positioned before the midday show
Her back is arched, those lips are parched
Repeated blow by blow
Later at the party all the MP’s rave
About the hummers she’s been giving
And the money that they save
To her it is skin lotion
For him promotion to
That flat in Surfers Paradise with the ocean view
What a sing song dance
What a performance
What a cheap ten show
Oh no no no no no
Then the boys light up

Music Monday: Burning Rain by Midge Marsden

It’s Music Monday again!

In February my husband and I went to a free concert at Blockhouse Bay beach. It was Midge Marsden, and this year he was supported on lead guitar by a family friend of ours, Chet O’Connell. We’d been to the same concert last year, and my husband had really enjoyed the bluesy style of music, so we went again.

No kids. Our daughter was at a friend’s house, and our son stayed home by himself. It was just me and hubby. A date night! *Bigsmile*

We sat on the beach and ate some weirdly gourmet burgers that we bought from a little food truck. They were quite mediocre for being so fancy.

The view to our right was just gorgeous. We watched the sea as it turned from a sunny afternoon to a balmy evening, with the sky slowly darkening to a deep blue and a really lovely tangerine-orange sunset. And all the while, we had fantastic live music playing in the background.

We had an ice cream, because we were on the beach and it seemed the thing to do. *Laugh* I wanted to get a photo for all my Northern Hemisphere friends who were suffering through winter, but hubby wasn’t inclined to get up until he had to. Then, of course, he decided he’d been sitting down too long and got up, when it was dark and there was no more view to be had. *Rolleyes* Typical.

We spent the last half of the concert dancing in front of the stage. By dancing, I mean we were tapping our toes and wiggling our asses, but we weren’t moving from one spot. There were too many people for proper dancing, but we don’t really do proper dancing anyway. A shuffle in place is good enough. At one point, while Midge was crooning some slow song, I was swaying with my hubby against my back, his hands around my waist, looking up at the stars, and I thought ‘This is a perfect moment.’ It was, just me and hubby, enjoying a really lovely moment, under the stars, listening to some fantastic music.

Of course, a lot of the music was fast paced, and man did Midge wail on that harmonica. Wow. Pretty incredible.

Of course, my favourite was Burning Rain. It’s a song I have in my playlist, but it’s way more powerful and rocky when he does it live. I’ve heard him play it twice, this year and last year, and both times it was awesome. I always liked the song, but it’s a whole other song when he does it live. Just amazing.

I hope this video works okay. I wasn’t able to watch it before sharing it. But the lead guitarist in this video is the same family friend, Chet O’Connell, who played with him on Friday night.

Apparently Midge is retiring, so this was the last time he’d do this particular concert, and I was Googling him earlier and found out that he’s stopping performing altogether. I feel extra lucky to have seen him twice. Such a good night. Because it was his last one, he did a whole bunch of extra songs, going way over time. It was awesome. He was singing because he wanted to sing, you know, but also as a thank you to all the people who came to see him play. And he did the most epic harmonica solo ever. I’m not a huge fan of the harmonica, but this was pretty awesome.

They did a bunch of songs that I recognised but hubby didn’t, which surprised me even though it shouldn’t have. My parents had different tastes in music to his parents, as mine were teenagers in the 60s and his were teenagers in the 70s. They finished off with The Rolling Stone’s The Last Time, since it was his last time playing this gig. It was epic, with everyone singing along, including the two of us.  Such a good night.

Music Monday: Gin Wigmore

It’s Music Monday again, and I wanted to share a post I wrote for Writing.com’s Soundtrackers activity in early February.

As I write this, I’m sitting on a blanket on a grassy hill north west of Auckland listening to Tami Neilson. I hadn’t heard her music before today, and I’m really enjoying it. Quite catchy and with good rhythm. Makes you want to wiggle your ass.

I’m glad the music is good, because I haven’t been impressed with the wine and food here at the North West Wine and Food Festival. We’re at the Hunting Lodge, where Steve took me for our wedding anniversary last month. We had a beautiful Hunting Lodge pinot noir and I’d looked forward to having it again. But although there are four or five wineries represented today, each only has two wines available, and both the Hunting Lodge ones are white. There’s no one to talk to about the wines, the only way to try one is to buy a glass at $10. And the food isn’t anything to write home about. Somehow the Hunting Lodge, who charge $38 a main, are selling fries, hot dogs and pizza. What the actual fuck?

But in less than an hour, Gin Wigmore is taking the stage. I’ve been wanting to see her live for ages, but last time she did a tour, I couldn’t afford tickets.

I have three Gin Wigmore songs on my playlist, and I’m hoping I’ll have more after tonight. I’m definitely going to be adding some Tami Neilson!

So here’s some kiwi music for you. I know she’s been living in the US for a while, but she’s a Kiwi.

Music Monday: Run to the Hills by Iron Maiden

As I mentioned in my last Music Monday post (this is where I was going with that one, but I got distracted talking about music apps), I have several playlists.

Christmas music – this is because I have music I like to listen to at Christmas, but I don’t want to be hearing it all year!

Classical music – This is what I listen to if I’m tired or need to zone out, or maybe I just wanna concentrate on my book. It’s also what I listen to when I write fiction. It’s mostly heavier classical music – Tchaikovsky’s 1812, Edgar’s Pomp & Circumstance, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, etc. Robust classical music, not quiet elevator music. There are some film scores in there too – Pirates of the Caribbean, Star Wars, Die Hard… And a few choral pieces I like, mostly by Pavarotti.

Housework – This is upbeat music designed to impart energy. *Laugh* When it comes to housework, I need all the help I can get! We play this one loud.

Party music – This is a playlist designed to be played loud when we’re drinking, preferably with guests over. It devolves into Steve’s old clubbing music at the end, for some reason. *Rolleyes*

Soundtrack of my life – Yeah, this is a playlist I put together after the first time I did Writing.com’s Soundtrackers activity. It’s super weird to listen to, because it goes from the songs I remember from my childhood (mostly older music that my parents listened to), then music from the 90s when I was a teenager and some Christian stuff, then songs influenced by my husband which are much heavier and cruder than anything I listened to, then random songs my kids liked when they were little, including such things as Thomas the Tank Engine which I used to play for them in the car, and then finally, more recent stuff. It makes for an interesting playlist. *Crazy*

I made a general playlist which is imaginatively titled Elle’s playlist but YouTube also automatically puts all my ‘liked’ music into a playlist, so there’s a lot of double-up there. When I was listening to YouTube Music, I just used to like the new songs I liked, rather than adding them to a playlist, mostly because I was often driving, so the automatically generated ‘liked’ playlist is more comprehensive than Elle’s playlist.

I was going somewhere with this ramble.  *Facepalm*

Okay, no, I was definitely going somewhere with this. So, I recently got a hankering just to listen to some good old classic rock without listening to all the other ones. So I made a Classic rock playlist. It was inspired by mine and Steve’s recent wedding anniversary. Here’s what happened.

So, it was our wedding anniversary on 18 January. 16 years. Which means that this month we’ve been together 19 years. And I was 19 when we started dating. So we’ve literally been together half my life. *Crazy* Woah.

Steve sent me a gorgeous bouquet of roses to the office. The roses were all in different colours, including some gorgeous pink and yellow variegated ones. I gave his dad one of them to see if he could propagate it for me. So pretty.

Then he picked me up from work at 5pm and said he was taking me out to dinner. We went home and called an Uber so that we could both drink. Steve wouldn’t tell me where we going and that it was a surprise, but the moment we got in the Uber, the GPS said ‘Directions to the Hunting Lodge’. *Laugh* Fail.

I hadn’t been to the Hunting Lodge before, but I’d heard a lot about it. Steve’s dad used to be the head chef there in the ‘80s. It had been known as a very expensive, exclusive restaurant. It’s way out in the middle of nowhere (although as Auckland continues sprawling, it doesn’t seem so way out anymore) and people would helicopter from Auckland to the Hunting Lodge for dinner. When Steve’s parents got married, they were able to use the Hunting Lodge grounds for free, which was a massive coup at the time. A decade or so later, long after Steve’s dad had moved on to other jobs, the Hunting Lodge closed. It remained closed for about 15 years, during which time I heard about it over and over again from Steve’s family. It re-opened in 2016 and Steve’s parents went there for their wedding anniversary. And now we were going there.

I don’t know why, but somehow I expected a restaurant called ‘The Hunting Lodge’ to be…well, a lodge. A longish building. And maybe to have dark wood panelling and some semblance of a rustic theme. Steve told me that when he was a kid, it had animal heads on the walls. I’m okay without the animal heads, especially while I’m eating, but it had nothing of the hunting OR the lodge about it. It was instead a small house (that’s the impression I got from the rooms I went in), that made me think the word ‘homestead’ rather than ‘lodge’. The interior walls were painted in pastel shades that made me think ‘cottage’. It was quite open, as if they’d knocked down some walls to turn three small rooms into one large dining area with three sort of areas within it. For a fine dining restaurant, I felt that the whole set up was very ordinary. The tables and chairs, the place settings, all very ordinary. The glasses were all engraved with the Hunting Lodge name and symbol.

I started with the heirloom tomato salad ($16). It was delicious. Beautifully seasoned with herbs and what I assume was balsamic vinegar. Very nice. Steve had the buttermilk fried chicken ($20), which he said was delicious.

I tried the rosé, but it wasn’t for me. I am starting to wonder if that one rosé I liked was just a fluke, or maybe I was extra thirsty and it was a hot day or something. Anyway, we went for the Hunting Lodge pinot noir 2017 from Central Otago. It was superb. Absolutely delicious. We want to buy a couple of bottles for home, but of course it was too late for their cellar door purchases that evening. We’d come back. It’d be worth it! It’s only $39 a bottle in the shop whereas it’s $85 in the restaurant. Which is ludicrous actually, because the shop is literally next door to the restaurant, you could walk between them in about 30 seconds. *Rolleyes*

As we were sitting there, in this supposedly fancy restaurant, eating delicious food and drinking fabulous wine, Steve said “Oh my god. They’re playing Iron Maiden.”

Firstly, it’s astonishing that Steve could even hear what music was playing. He has noise-induced hearing loss, and struggles to isolate sounds in a noisy environment. It makes it incredibly difficult for him to follow conversations in noisy restaurants or pubs. And this music was playing so quietly in the background that few people would even be aware of it.

But sure enough, as we concentrated, we heard Iron Maiden’s Run To The Hills playing. *Rolling* So funny. We joked that you’d only get that in a fine dining restaurant in West Auckland (West Auckland being known as the place where people wear black jeans and Metallica t shirts and drive Holden station wagons listening to Deep Purple). Technically we were in Waimauku, which is north west of Auckland, but clearly still Westie enough to play Iron Maiden in a fine dining restaurant. So funny.

After that, we also heard Guns N Roses, AC/DC, Aerosmith and others. There was a guy at the table next to us who was humming along too. And then there were some nattily dressed older people who didn’t even seem to notice that they were being serenaded with classic rock. *Laugh*

For mains, I had the beef sirloin with pinot noir butter, shoestring fries, shallots and parsley salad ($36). It was okay, but I’ve definitely had better. Hell, I’ve cooked better. It desperately needed seasoning, even if it was just with some cracked pepper. The fries were delicious though. Steve had caramelised duck breast with boudin noir, beetroot, anise and cherries ($38). It was beautifully presented, and he quite enjoyed it, especially the beetroot.

For dessert we shared the stracciatella and chocolate ice cream bar ($17) which was nice, but not really $17 nice, if you know what I mean. It was a bit like an ice cream bar you might buy at the dairy or supermarket. And also the vanilla creme brulee which came with strawberry sorbet and freeze dried strawberries ($16). Steve thought the creme brulee was amazing, and kept raving about the texture of it. I particularly enjoyed the sorbet.

I had a wee port to finish, only it came in a dessert wine glass and so ended up being a massive port. *Laugh* It was nice, but I couldn’t finish it after having had wine as well.

Overall, the food was good albeit a bit hi and miss. The wine was excellent. Service was good, decor was disappointing and the music was hilarious. I leave you with Iron Maiden’s Run To The Hills which has since made it on to my playlist. *Pthb*

Music Monday: Miranda Lambert

It’s Music Monday, and this week’s theme at Writing.com’s Soundtrackers activity is ‘current playlist’. I have several playlists. I don’t have Spotify, and my Apple Music subscription has lapsed, so I’m only using Youtube at the moment. Which sucks actually, because you can’t have music playing in the background while you’re reading a book or whatever. Eventually, when I’ve sorted out our finances again (must get on to that) I’ll get a subscription to one of them again. People rave about Spotify, and that’s what Steve uses, but so far I’ve found the best to be Youtube Music. I like it because I can put all my favourites into one big ‘liked music’ list and then it not only plays songs I like, it also offers me new songs to listen to, based on those I like already. I’ve found a bunch of new songs that way. So that’s probably what I’ll go back to.

Before YouTube Music, I’d never heard of Miranda Lambert. I quite like her stuff. Although I’m terrible at putting music into categories (and forget sub-categories like ‘alternative rock’ or whatever), for me I feel like she’s a bit country, but not so country that it’s cringe-worthy. Anyway, YouTube Music introduced me to some of her songs. I’m not sure what in my playlist made it think I’d like her. I didn’t have a lot of country in there. The Eagles, who straddle that line between country and classic rock… Mumford and Sons are probably country in some sense. Hmm, Wikipedia says they’re ‘folk rock’ and ‘alternative rock’. Apparently the Eagles are ‘folk rock’ too as well as ‘country rock’, ‘soft rock’ and just plain ‘rock’. *Rolleyes*

Anyway, I like Miranda Lambert, even if Wikipedia says she’s just pure country. I’ve always liked country, because when I was a kid my dad used to belong to the local country music club, and my sisters and I used to sing out of his country music songbook and sometimes we were allowed to go along to the club nights. Years later I found out that Dad didn’t actually like country music, it was just one of the few places he could play music with other musicians. *Laugh* Anyway, it reminds me of my childhood on the farm. But I don’t listen to it as a matter of course. If I hear it, I’ll be humming away and tapping my feet, but it’s not something I listen to in the car or at home. Does that make sense? It’s nice to hear every now and then, not all the time.

So these are my favourite two Miranda Lambert songs. I like the music, the beat and the music video of the first one, and the lyrics of the second one.