Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Cats, Kennedys and Austrian delights


 So, I am home for the French Easter holidays - though it is long after Easter! Spring has sprung in Wigan and everything is lovely.

 I don't think I have mentioned on this blog that our cat, Murphy, died quite suddenly in September.

 For a couple of months before Murphy's death a stray young cat - barely a kitten - had been spending a lot of time in our garden.

 We let him - we were told it was a he - sleep in the little kennel we have in the garden and when firework season started, we let him sleep in the kitchen. Our attempts to see if he had an owner came to nothing so in the end we adopted him.

 We had always called him "the kitten" so he became Kitt. Then the vet announced that he was actually a she! Luckily, Kitt works just as well for a girl.

 Here she is:


 The latest big excitement for me was going to the 21st birthday party of one of my oldest friends. It was a great night and I re-discovered this song: "Style" by Taylor Swift.

 I had heard it on the radio ages before and hadn't really been impressed by it. Hearing it at the party, however, I  knew it was going to become my "song of the moment" - it sounded sompletely different and I loved it.

 I also really love the video and feel it lifts the song from being pop-y like her other hits to being slightly deeper and more poetic. I like how nature is incorporated and how the guy has heterochomia.

 I've always found heterochromia interesting due to my general fascination with genetics and because a cat used to visit out garden when I was little who had one blue and one brown eye.


 There are two major musical excitements coming up in May.

 The first is seeing the wonderful Kennedys, Pete and Maura, again. I'm not yet sure where I'll go to see them; perhaps Southport as the last two times I've seen them there (in October 2013 and June 2014) have been wonderful.

 They are doing a UK tour to promote their three new albums - one each solo and one as The Kennedys.

 I am really looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of West, their album as a duo, as it features the first Kennedys album version of John Stewart's "Queen of Hollywood High," which Maura performed live in 2008 with the John Stewart Band in tribute to the late singer.

 It's just such a joyful performance. I listened to it in France whenever I fancied some familiar music. Five minutes well spent - both creating this glorious thing, and watching and listening to it.

 Maura's new album consists of poems put to music, which naturally fascinates me as a writer. Pete's solo album is a song cycle about New York City. 

 I really can't wait to see them again and to hear all these new songs which cover three quite different genres and come, it seems, from three quite different places both musically and spiritually.


 The other big musical event approaching is, of course, Eurovision.

 The Sixtieth Contest will take place in Vienna and we are busy thinking up Austrian foods to have at our annual family Eurovision party! 

 I've been looking through the early Chalet School books for inspiration. It would be good, however, to represent different parts of the country rather than just the Tyrol. Let me know if you have any ideas!

 I recently watched the "Eurovision's Greatest Hits" on the BBC, presented by Graham Norton and Petra Mede. I loved Petra's hosting of the 2013 Contest in Malmö, so I was really glad to see her return to the Eurovision stage. She and Graham worked off one another well.

 Highlights for me included Herrey's singing "Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley" with real gusto and great charisma. Here is the original winning performance from 1984 as YouTube won't let me embed the Greatest Hits version.

 The Bobbysocks, from Norway, were also full of life and put on a fun, lively performance. Here they are back in 1985.

 I really enjoyed Natasha St-Pier, with "Je n'ai que mon âme" ("All I have is my soul"). Having listened to the studio version, I much prefer it sung live.

 It was also great to see Johnny Logan perform - no Eurovision tribute would really be complete without him.

 Bring on Eurovision 2015! I'm so looking forward to witnessing this historical event.

 Thanks for reading,

 Liz x

Songs: Style - Taylor Swift - 2015
Queen of Hollywood High - Maura Kennedy and the John Stewart Band - 2008
Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley - Herrey's - 1984
La det swinge - Bobbysocks! - 1985
Je n'ai que mon âme - Natasha St-Pier - 2001
Hold Me Now - Johnny Logan - 1987

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