Hammer To Fall

On my last free day before the Christmas Nightmare began, I chose a day of pampering for myself. I had a mani pedi. I got an eyebrow & leg wax. I had lunch in a cafe. I went home and got into warmer clothes because airconditioning can be cold, and drove myself to the movie theatre, where I enjoyed Bohemian Rhapsody one more time.

Oddly, the song that got stuck in my head for the next 24 hours was Hammer To Fall. Queen played that at Live Aid. In the last 20 minutes of the movie, they actually recreate the Queen set at the Live Aid concert, and by recreate I mean eerily, spookily. There is a viral video where they show just how closely they recreated it. There is also a longer version on youtube but not sure whether that will stay up long term.

Why is that odd? There are a lot of songs in the movie and some of them are more well known to me. Some of them are less well known but are quite haunting in their own way and since seeing the movie the first time they have been added to my playlist, most notably Who Wants To Live Forever and The Show Must Go On.

I grew up listening to Queen. Music was a big thing in our household. Every Saturday morning we would turn the stereo up loud and do our household chores as a family. Out of all the songs Radio Gaga was probably my favourite back in those days. These days I would have a lot of trouble picking one favourite. I pretty much love them all.

On the same day I went to see the movie for a second time, my parents were at a conference in Melbourne and Mother was considering doing exactly the same thing as I was. She did not go because it was a Gold Class cinema and she thought she would fall asleep in the comfortable chairs, given their lack of rest time recently. But she does want to see it again, and my Aunt is taking her Adelaide people to see it this weekend.

I was not the only person in my session seeing it again. From the conversations around me, several people were watching it for a second time. If you have not seen it yet, you might still have time. Get thee to the cinema!

What Queen song do you enjoy the most?

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Get Moving Mix

Recently The Other Half did some work on a dance/trance playlist for the car and also for his playlist at work. He finds that kind of music keeps him awake while driving – I find it impossible to keep still when this kind of music is playing, and I recently did a day of work with him where we got so much shiznit done thanks to this music it was unbelievable.. Here is one of our favourite tracks at the moment.

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Musical Monday – Hey Boy, Hey Girl

I had not heard this song for ages, but then my apple iPhone lost all my music and I had to borrow The Other Half’s spare iPhone which happened to have some older tracks and playlists. One part of this video clip for this song was pretty memorable – the skeletons on the dance floor, and whenever I hear it I see skeletons jumping in my mind.

This song is by the Chemical Brothers, and I do enjoy some of their other music.

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Musical Monday – Amsterdam

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Somewhere nearby in a parallel universe, there is a version of me sitting in Starclass on a Jetstar flight to Hawaii, listening to “Amsterdam” by Coldplay, over and over again.

As we were taxi-ing out to take off, I was loading up songs onto my playlist. There were several different Coldplay albums on my iPhone and somehow I put Amsterdam on the playlist multiple times. There were a couple of live versions, a couple of album versions, and I think somehow I loaded them on more than once each.

I tried to sleep on that flight. Every time I woke up, Amsterdam was playing. It felt like maybe this night went on forever but time was passing without me knowing it. I was managing naps, but because every time I woke up I heard the same song, I felt like I was getting no sleep at all.

Now, anytime I hear that song, I am immediately back on that plane, flying to Hawaii. But I never, ever actually get there. I just keep flying hearing that same song.

I am secretly a bit of a Coldplay fan. Sometimes one of their songs is exactly what you need to sing along to. And while we are talking about them, I really loved one of their filmclips many years ago – for The Scientist. I loved the concept of it, going backwards instead of forwards.

It is interesting to me that particular song was the one that played over and over. My first ever trip overseas by myself was on KLM which is based in Amsterdam, and I did a quick stop over there on my way back from the Isle of Man.

music, travel

Pandora Radio

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I am officially the last person in my nearby extended family to sign up for Pandora Radio. Surprisingly the first people to sign up were my parents who are both over 65 now. They bought three Sonos wireless speaker systems which all come with a Pandora radio subscription and they can control it with their iPads.

One speaker system lives upstairs, and two downstairs, one in the kitchen and one in the dining room which we now experience at dinner time as a surprise to ourselves. My parents have long been people who love to listen to music and Pandora is fantastic for them because of how it works.

The next person to sign up was The Other Half, who has been deeply enjoying the 80s and 90s alternative stations, plus creating his own stations. I’ve enjoyed the stations from time to time in the car and around the house but it was still not enough to convince me to sign up, because I usually like to be the one in control and play the specific song I want to hear.

But then one day The Other Half played his 80s alternative station and the song “Head Over Heels” by Tears for Fears got stuck in my head for 5 days in a row. I tried to flush it out of there, truly I did, but every morning I would wake up and it would be playing in my head. It reminded me how much I love Tears for Fears and I thought I would create a TFF station for myself.

How Does Pandora Work?

Pandora uses the Music Genome Project to analyse music and group like songs together. You can create a radio station based on a specific song, or based on one artist.

When you create your station, you may find it does not play the song or artist you have chosen right away. It will not always play songs by the artist you picked – it plays similar music. This can be a great way to find new artists with music that is similar to the artist you like. It can also be deeply annoying at times – if you put in Take That, you’ll get a lot of boyband music, some of which you might love, some you might not love.

As you listen to music you can give the track a thumbs up or a thumbs down. Clicking “thumbs-up” tells Pandora “you like this track” and helps to bring in more tracks like it to your station. Clicking “thumbs down” tells Pandora not to play this track on that particular station.

If you thumbs down, it will skip the track and play another track – though you get a limited number of skips each hour. Once you have hit your hourly limit of skips, it apologises for continuing to play the song and lets you know once the song is finished you will never hear it again on that station. But be aware, if you switch stations you might hear that track again.

It Turns Out –

I really LOVE not being the one in control. Sometimes the biggest thing that stops me from playing music is having to choose what to play. I do still have a small element of control with the thumbs down button. I deeply appreciate that this is not a commercial station where some random radio person is choosing what music I will listen to, plus bombarding me with ads as a constant surprise.

The Positives

Finding Music I Love But Forgot About – I loved music when I was a kid. Some of the songs I really loved I’d completely forgotten but Pandora has helped me find and enjoy them again.

Musical Memories – when I was a kid, I had “In A Big Country” as a single record, and I used to play it over and over and over again. One day the Split Enz channel played that song to me, and those memories returned to me..

Thumbs Up History – You can see which songs you have given the thumbs up to – see mine here. You can also see the thumb history, radio stations, and activity of the people you are following.

Thumbs Down History – Giving the thumbs down usually isn’t anything personal against the songs or artists, it might be that you are trying to build a specific kind of station and that specific song does not fit in. You can view the thumbs up and thumbs down history for each station by clicking on options under the station name, then station details..

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Add Variety – Want a station with heavy metal and 80’s pop? Want Sinatra and David Bowie combined together on a station? Want to experiment and create something unique? You have a lot of options with the add variety option.

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The Downsides

Data Hungry – Pandora can really chew up your data allowance. I’d recommend only using it at home on your wifi. On the plus side to this downside, you will find more music you love and can add to your portable or mobile phone playlist.

Out Of Service Area – When you have no wifi or internet connection, the music dies. That is very sad and slightly irritating at times.

Mobile Irritations – If using Pandora on my mobile, I find I am continually having to unlock the phone to give my thumbs up or down.

Live Music & Acoustic Versions – While you might love a song in the original recorded format, you may not love it as a live version. I still have not worked out if clicking thumbs down to a live song removes the not live version from your station.

Terribly Annoying Ads – There was an ad with someone singing off key, I wanted to throw my phone across the room. Luckily the ads do not seem to play very often for me anymore and it isn’t because I upgraded my account, either.

No Family Plan – With most things these days there is a family plan option so you can have more than one person using a service. As yet there is no such family plan on Pandora. While I have read you can use one account on two devices at once, I prefer to have my own account and my own stations.

In Conclusion –

It would seem from reading the above that there are more downsides than upsides, however my experience has been excellent and I *love* Pandora Radio. It is free and quick to sign up, so why not give it a try?

More Reading –

How Pandora Creates Stations And How to Customize Them

Using Pandora – Hidden Secrets of Customizing Your Pandora Stations

Over To You –

Have you used Pandora or a similar service? Would you like to try it out? Are you someone who likes to make their own playlist, or do you prefer someone else to pick the songs?

music, Pandora Radio

A Truly Great Day

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A Sparkly Cow

Last week I had the flu, and I spent a couple of nights staying up so the other half could get an uninterrupted sleep, so my body clock is all out of whack again. Even so, we planned a few things for Saturday. I wanted to go over to Berry to take some photos of the place I’m planning to go to in the event of the Zombie Apocalypse, and I also wanted to drop into haven and space and Candleberries – two great shops you should not miss if you ever go to Berry..

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First we dropped into haven and space where we picked up a replacement coffee mug for one we had broken, and two new designs. These mugs are gorgeous and they last a very long time. Priced at $4.95 per mug, they are also great value. The candles pictured were $4.50 each.

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As it was past two, we decided to get a snack as well. We didn’t want too much as we were going out to dinner at 7. haven and space have opened up a cafe behind their new store called Sakana and I’d eaten there before when family was visiting, so we dropped in for a bowl of chips and a couple of iced coffees.

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The iced coffees arrived in these magnificent tall glasses with my favorite colour blue around the rim. If you are reading this post here on my blog, see how that blue matches my blue background colour? :) ——> over there?

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We dropped into Candleberries and picked up some wax melts and a new candle for The Other Half. Why yes, that melt set is scented salted caramel popcorn, and it does smell exactly like that. There’s also Home Sweet Home which will stay here and Black Cherry which will go off to my aunt in the next package along with the salted caramel popcorn. By the time she receives it, her cancer treatment will be nearly finished.

On the way back to the car we spotted these cows in a window. It is lucky the shop was not open, is all I can say.

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We went out to dinner at our usual Chinese restaurant with my parents, my Uncle and his wife, and two other friends my parents know from work. When we arrived at the bowling club there was quite an impressive band setup including a sound desk and a proper drum kit which said “The Villains” on it.. Little did we know at the time what an amazing performance would come to us as a surprise.

The club was absolutely packed with people – I think it is the last weekend of School Holidays here and it is always packed in school holidays but not usually to this extent. My uncle reported back to us after one of his smoke breaks that he was talking to someone outside and that they had said this particular band had people coming from places somewhat far away – they had groupies following them.

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Who knew Darth Vader was also a musician?

After dinner we could not get a seat out in the club, every seat was taken. We ended up in their function room off to the back, and we could see the band members in costume. They took to the stage a little after 8:30 and we all headed out into the room to see the band kick off with a performance of an Icehouse song called Walls which sounded more like a Pink Floyd song, it was just amazing. The sound setup was brilliant, the music was incredible, and the band was engaging and captivating.

The singer was dressed as The Riddler and he had a microphone stand with a question mark in it. I believe we had The Penguin as the keyboard player, The Joker as the bass player, The Devil as the drummer, and the most notable mention goes to Darth Vader as the lead guitarist. His costume must have been a total sweatbox, but he never removed any part of it, and he played in it for over 2 hours – with a short break in the middle. Plus instead of heading directly outside on his break, he took off into the crowd to let them pose for photos with him – and his lightsaber.

I have for you a short video clip of the Darth Vader guitarist. :) This was taken during Down Under by Men At Work. You will notice he is marching, despite being wrapped in much quilted fabric. This is some serious costume dedication right here.

When they took a break, we talked about leaving because one or two had an early morning the next day, but we all decided this band was too good to leave. And in the latter half of their show, even The Other Half got up and danced which happens so rarely I cannot recall another such incident!

I completely understand why they have groupies following them, and I could see myself doing the same thing. They are due back at our club in August and we will definitely be there. None of the videos on their website do true justice to this band. You have to be there in person.

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When they left the stage we were among the very vocal crowd shouting for an encore, and they came back on with two band members in white coats and performed “She Blinded Me with Science” – a bizarre choice but we all loved it.

The final song they played was Underneath the Radar by Underworld, a song I have always disliked, but they made me love it. And that speaks many volumes. Most of the music was songs from the early 80’s and music I had on records, back in the days of records, music we played on Saturday mornings to clean the house, and music my friends and I used to create dances for.

They played music from bands like Depeche Mode, Madness, Split Enz, the ever wonderful and unforgettable “don’t you forget about me” by Simple Minds made famous by The Breakfast Club movie, and even a song from The Cure! It was one of my favourites too, Inbetween Days. There were a couple of newer songs, most notably Pretty Vegas which I knew from Rockstar: INXS and Mr Brightside by The Killers.

By the time we got home, I was so tired I went to bed at a reasonable hour for the first time this week. And can you believe, entry to the bowling club is free. We pay the tiny amount of $11 each year to be a member, and that allows the member many benefits, such as using the boat ramp, the courtesy bus, and various other awesomes.

General Chit-chat, Happy Snoskred, Home, music, Snoskred hearts

Love Love

Before I even had time to sit down and put my thoughts together about the new cd from Take That they have released an awesome song which is in the new movie X-men First Class..

Like all songs with me, I wasn’t too sure about it the first time I heard it, but it is quite the addictive little tune and before long it was going round and round in my head.

Without further ado, love love. Have a listen and let me know what you think! ;)

music, Take That

Towards Progress

Surprisingly this does not refer to progress on the chicken coop we are building, but to Take That and the re-uniting of Robbie Williams to the band..

I was always a huge fan of Take That from the early days, in fact I had virtually every inch of my bedroom covered in posters, I had every video and cd and even some of the Take That dolls. I never did that when I was younger – I waited until I was almost not a teenager anymore to go through my band fan phase.

In January I was channel surfing when I found “Look back, don’t stare” – a documentary on the making of Progress which was the cd they created together. Somehow I had completely missed this entire process. I knew they were back together but I had no idea they had put the cd out yet. So color me shocked, I spent some time watching their videos on youtube and raced off to the nearest CD store the very next day to grab the cd.

I’ve got a lot to say about it and not a great deal of time right now, so this is why I am saying towards progress and not actually progress, because I will write about the album another day.

In the meantime I will like to leave you with my favourite song from the Take That foursome days. They have always done excellent sing along type songs (and so has Robbie while on his own) and this one is no exception. I firmly believe that Gary Barlow is the Elton John of our generation – an incredible song writer and singer who makes music that is unforgettable. When you team him up with the rest of the band the harmonies are very awesome indeed.

If you don’t know it, click below to see Rule The World. It is an extremely popular song for weddings in the UK for somewhat obvious reasons – however it is not the only popular wedding song belonging to them. :) Enjoy!

Take That – Rule The World

music, Take That

A true classic..

We have literally hundreds of songs on the memory stick in the car. This one *never* fails to get my fingers tapping. It may surprise you that I love the music of this band. :) However those of you who have been readers for a while know my musical tastes range from Roy Orbison to Metallica and pretty much everything in between. ;)

Dire Straits – The Sultans Of Swing.. :)

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Men I Shouldn’t Like To Watch (but I do..)

 JayKay from Jamiroquai

There is something about JayKay. He can really dance. The rumor is he is quite egotistical. And short. And a bit of an idiot. However I don’t know him personally, so I can’t judge based that stuff.  He is short (apparently), and he likes cars, he can sing and he can really dance. I’ve always liked Jamiroquai.

I love watching him dance. The video clips are great.  I also love that he wears some very odd hats.

Men I Love To Watch, music