Tag Archives: Queen

Thank God It’s Christmas! (Well, nearly…) #Queen

It’s Music Monday!

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Hope you’re all in the mood for Christmas by now. Yesterday was the third Sunday of Advent, and true to tradition, we lit that third candle:

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We also went to see the stage play of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe at the weekend. It was a magical production, and the kids were absolutely enchanted. So with that, there’s only one song that comes to mind today. If you love The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, you’ll know why.

Have a great week! Only nine sleeps ’til Christmas ‘proper’… (Eight, if you’re German. Woohooo!)

A ghostly playlist, and other songs: The soundtrack to Spirits of Christmas

It’s a festive Music Monday Special!

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Hello, you! The Advent season is finally upon us, the St Nicholas Promo Sale for Spirits of Christmas is under way, and I’m allowed to post Christmas tunes on my blog. With that, sit back and grab a cuppa (or a glass of mulled wine) and let yourself be carried away by the playlist behind Spirits of Christmas. I’d love to hear your guesses on how these songs match the storyline! (Warning ~ a few songs are red herrings… songs that inspired me, but that have no direct relevance to the novella!). Have fun!

Spirits of Christmas: The Playlist

Did I have fun writing this novella,
or what?
What do YOU think ~
any favourites  here?

StNicholasPromo (2)

Write what you know, right? Well, I recorded a single once!

It’s no secret I love my rock music. But did you know I had a go at making a record…well, recording a single, once?

Following in Queen’s Footsteps

In May 2010, a fabulous group of choir friends decided to make a very unique wedding gift for one of our tenors. A suitable rock song sprang to my mind, and I adapted the lyrics to suit the happy couple. Someone located the backing track for the song, and we were all systems go. Before anyone could chicken out, I booked us into The London Recording Studios (aka Brick Lane Studios ~ the very place were Queen recorded Bohemian Rhapsody!) for an entire Sunday, and off we went recording, kids, husband and all in my case.

We arrived at 10 a.m. to meet with the sound engineer and concoct an action plan. Owing to a rather wide geographic dispersion, we hadn’t had time to come together for an advance practice. We were simply going to take our respective lines and… wing it.

A Steep Learning Curve…

The first attempt wasn’t great. We gathered round and had a go at belting the song out. The sound man looked somewhat dismayed but put on a brave face. Undaunted, we took a half hour to regroup and practice. Our second attempt was more promising, and the sound man came into his own. He suggested an iterative approach to laying down the track and became our quasi-director/producer.

First of all, we recorded the chorus together, several times. Then we recorded the chorus again, adding a little spontaneous harmony here or there.

“You’re On. On Your Own.”

The next step was individual recording of individual lines. Uh-huh, you read that right. The studio emptied as everyone quickly filed out, leaving me holding the music and evidently having the first go. Well, the whole thing was my idea…Gulp.

What, really? You're all leaving me here to go first?

What, really? You’re all leaving me here to go first?

Recording individual lines was a weird and wonderful experience. The sound man played me the song ‘so far’ through the head phones, and I had to erupt into song at the right moments. As I was first, there were a lot of instrumentals and no vocals other than the chorus. I had three or four goes at my lines (thoroughly enjoying myself!), and then we swapped to the next person.

*sings* ...got his tickets now he's on his way-ay...

*sings* …got his tickets now he’s on his way-ay…

Mixing It Up Before Mixing It Down!

Back in the mixing room, the sound man had the studio sound on speakers, so as the next person recorded her lines, I could hear her, and my lines, and the chorus. And so it went on, bit by bit.

Slides and faders, buttons and dials... and the all-important computer. He seemed to be doing a million things at once ~ it was truly fascinating.

Slides and faders, buttons and dials… and the all-important computer. He seemed to be doing a million things at once ~ it was truly fascinating.

When we were done individually, we trooped in together for more backing tracks and tweaks. At this point, my then five-year-old decided he’d quite like a go, so we let him! He had his own little starring moment in the last chorus.

Oh yeah, he's having a go-ooooo!

Oh yeah, he’s having a go! (See that Paddington bear clutched under his arm? That’s for courage!)

He got the thumbs up from the sound man... which has me insanely proud. LOL!

He got the thumbs-up from the sound man… which made me insanely proud. LOL!

After six hours of recording, including an impromptu lunch from the local pizza delivery place (boy, did we feel like the real deal, hanging in the studio with pizza and drinks!), the sound man dismissed us for a couple of hours while he got on with mixing, mastering, and mix-down. When we returned to the studio, the song was as finished as it was going to get after one day’s work with no previous practice. We were mighty pleased!

So… I Wrote What I Knew

The whole experience was exhilarating, exciting and totally mind-blowing. I’d love to play you the result but owing to licensing restrictions on the backing track, I can’t. Maybe one day, I’ll get to make a real single and then you’ll hear all about it, I promise.

So when Sophie suddenly gets to be in the studio with Dan… when she records, and starts mixing… well, let’s just, I’d had a tiny little taste of the action myself, and it inspired me no end. Write what you know, they say…

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All photos courtesy of Amanda McIlroy, with thanks. Photo copyright c/o Amanda McIlroy 2010.

Dan’s Secret Playlist for Sophie

It’s Music Monday!

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And it’s not any old Music Monday. It’s the first Music Monday after the holidays, so I’m once again your chief DJ.

And it’s a launch week Music Monday. Yes! I’m using this post to kick off the festivities. Only three days to go until Sophie’s Encore, and naturally, I am way overexcited. Many of you have been following Sophie and Dan’s romance over the past year. You know how, in the first act, Sophie’s Turn, the two look destined for one another until Sophie takes a surprising turn in the road. You know how, in the second act, Sophie’s Run, Dan has to watch while Sophie is in pursuit of her thunderbolt-and-lightning man. You know that Dan finds this really quite difficult, even though he never once lets on to Sophie how he really feels.

So at the beginning of the third and final act, Sophie’s Encore, let me share with you a list of songs that are on Dan’s playlist as he is poised for the grand finale…#

Dan’s ‘official’ stance towards Sophie


 

Dan’s fierce conviction (which he keeps top secret, of course)


 

Dan’s deepest worry that keeps him awake at night


 

Dan’s biggest wish


 

Dan’s secret commitment to Sophie


 

So. Are You Ready for the biggest ride of all?

5 September

#SophiesEncore

Friends will be friends…

Sentimental alert here on Music Monday!

Yes, Music Monday is back (you’re welcome to cheer… ah yes, I heard that, thank you!)!  And once again it is tinged by my reflections on life and my recent experiences. The Wells family has spent its first non-unpacking weekend in the new family home in Lincolnshire, and we’ve had our first visitors from Bristol, some of our closest family friends. It was hard to say who was most excited, the parents or the children!  Needless to say, there were tears and a sense of renewed bereft-ness when the visitors had to leave.  And as I was explaining to the boys that the visit was a wonderful occasion, a confirmation that we would always be friends with the many folks we’ve left behind, the inspiration for this Music Monday came to me.

Moreover, as I’m reading through recent comments on my blog, I’m also realising how many wonderful friends I have acquired in the blogosphere, and this is post is to say “thank you” and “I really appreciate your support.”

Being already overcome all sentimental, I also am reminded that I am lucky enough to have a few friends scattered all over the world, back in Germany and even in the States, who remain friends even though we rarely ever see each other.  Yet when we do, we pick up right where we left. These friendships are truly the fabric of my life, my safety net, my cocoon.

So without further sentimental ramblings or additional ado, I give you an ode to everlasting friendship…

Friends Will Be Friends by Queen!

Another red letter day / So the pound has dropped and the children are creating / The other half ran away / Taking all the cash and leaving you with the lumber / Got a pain in the chest / Doctors on strike what you need is a rest.

It’s not easy love, but you’ve got friends you can trust / Friends will be friends / When you’re in need of love they give you care and attention / Friends will be friends / When you’re through with life and all hope is lost / Hold out your hand cos friends will be friends right till the end.

Now it’s a beautiful day / The postman delivered a letter from your lover / Only a phone call away / You tried to track him down but somebody stole his number / As a matter of fact / You’re getting used to life without him in your way.

It’s so easy now, cos you got friends you can trust / Friends will be friends / When you’re in need of love they give you care and attention / Friends will be friends / When you’re through with life and all hope is lost / Hold out your hand cos friends will be friends right till the end.

It’s so easy now, cos you got friends you can trust….


When do you count most on your friends?  Have you got cross-country or even cross-continent friendships that simply last a lifetime?  I’d love to hear about it if you don’t mind sharing! :-) x

 

Queen says, Don’t Stop Me Now!

It’s the Jubilee weekend.  So what could be more fitting to post on Music Monday than this classic? And what song could be more appropriate?

No further comment or lyrics needed, methinks.  Have a great Jubilee Bank Holiday, one and all.  Oh, and don’t forget to tell me what you’re up to by way of party…..

Queen:  Don’t Stop Me Now!