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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Great Song. But What The Hell Does It Mean???

Okay, I love obscurity as much as the next person, but hidden meanings in songs have never been my forte.  There are so many great songs from the 80s that it would seem it would be difficult to choose which are my favorites.  Well I honestly can tell you that some of them that are my favorites are purely accidental. Mainly because I don't get them.  Yes that's right, those wonderful songs that you hear that leave you thinking>>um..what?

Now I know we can't ALL be like Morrissey, putting our normal everyday lives to music.  It's truthfully not as easy as it looks.   In contrast, songwriters feel like they need to take us waaaaaaayyyyy down deep in the cockles of their psyche to figure out what the blazes they are talking about.  I don't know about you, but I'm not going there.

Walk Like An Egyptian by The Bangles- Huh?  What the hell does dropping drinks and cops eating doughnuts have to do with Egypt?  Is it a metaphor?  Sorry you lost me.  Still its a great song because it's fun and easy to dance to.  Oh and there's a crap load of celebs and regular people in it too..nice touch girls.

I Just Died In Your Arms-Cutting Crew- Okay, this doesn't sound romantic at all, it's quite disturbing actually. "must have been something you said" What? Die Bastard?! Was that it?  It's quite a haunting and dramatic song which musically has its synth pop merits.  Will definitely keep it in the iTunes queue.

Any Song by Duran Duran!-Go ahead and pick one, (I dare you)  and I will admit to not getting it. My husband, Lord bless him tells me that they are all about sex.  I would like to believe that so that my brain doesn't hurt after listening to Hungry Like the Wolf or even better The Reflex.  Ordinary World could possibly be added to that list if I wanted to push the issue. Truthfully Ordinary World makes far more sense just as long as you don't watch the video.  (I plan on re-making it BTW, just on that principle alone)

I Ran by A Flock of Seagulls-Hey I get it..she has auburn hair and tawny eyes, that imagery is enough to scare the hell out of anyone, so yeah Run Dude! I think that they missed the mark on that one and should have recorded it in the the 60's and made it a psychedelic tune that you can trip to acid with.  Unless people were still dropping acid in the 80s and it worked just as well..??? (Shoot me a DM if you know the answer to that one ;))

Well there you have it, that's it for now.   Let me know if you think of anymore.  I would love to go on a personal journey with you to the unknown.  Not for very long mind you, I've only got so many brain cells left.

Now that I am at the end of my rant, I will leave you with some videos of just a few more of the most confusing songs that I have probably ever heard from the 80s.  Ta!

Man In Motion-John Parr
Sledgehammer-Peter Gabriel
Dance Hall Days by Wang Chung

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

20 Questions with 80sMusicGirl-Amanda Egan

Hello Everyone and welcome again to another thrill ride of an adventure with my newest blog endeavor 20 Questions with 80sMusicGirl.  Ever fancy your self being an author? Well here is a wonderful woman who did just that and has been successful ever since, so without further ado, here she is the lovely Amanda Egan!


First of all thank you again Amanda for allowing me this opportunity to interview you for my blog! I'm looking forward to a great interview so with that, let's begin!

Thank you for having me - always happy to chat to an 80's music lover!

1.  Where are you from originally Amanda?

I'm a born and bred London girl. I've mostly lived my life in Putney (South West London) but I lived in Hollywood for six months - back in the day when I was still trying to make a go of it as an actress.  

2.  Do you have any brothers or sisters?

I have two sisters - 10 and 12 years older than me.  I was a 'mistake' - my mum now tells me a very happy one! 

3.   What kind of student were you in school?

I was the model student!  I had my work in on time - but my mathematics was always wrong!  I don't do numbers AT ALL - never have and I never will - although I do have a weird talent for being able to double any triple-digit number you can throw at me.  I do words - you know where you are with words.

4.  What were some of your hobbies?

I love to entertain.  Dinner parties, themed nights, quiz nights - you name it.  I throw myself into the planning and preparation with lists upon lists to make sure I get my night just right.  I also enjoy any kind of crafts - from card making to knitting.  I listen to all types of music from heavy metal (thanks to the teen) to opera - and I LOVE musicals and old TV sitcoms.
And I read ... a lot

5.  What is your first memory of what you wanted to be when you grew up?

I started writing from the minute I could put a sentence together and wrote the first four chapters of a novel when I was ten.  (I found it in the drawer a while back and it delivered a good few giggles).  However, when I was about eleven I decided that the stage was calling, either as an actress or dancer.  The writing won!

6.   Wow London! That is amazing! If I were to come and visit, where is the first place you would take me?

I live very close to Richmond Park so I would take you for a drive through to see the deer - I never tire of looking at them - and we would then have a cream tea at Pembroke Lodge at the Surrey end of the park where you get the best views. Then we'd head off to see Wimbledon tennis courts - just 5 minutes away.  From there we'd go to the Buddhapadipa Temple, also in Wimbledon and the first Thai Buddhist temple to be built in the UK.  It's stunning!  Set in 4 acres of prime residential land and I always feel calmer after a wander around the grounds.  Of course we'd have to go shopping too - take in a West End show and have drinks at The Ritz!

7.  You've written a lot of books.  Do you base the characters on your life and experiences?

My 'Mummy Misfit' books were based loosely on my experiences at the school gates when my son was at a private prep school.  No one is TOTALLY real - more an amalgam of characters.  Take me to court and I'll stick to that!  My romcoms are based on bits of people I know or see on TV - writing is a weird cocktail of real life and anything else that finds itself in the mix before the fizz is added.

8.  Do you know of anyone else in your family that writes as a hobby or professionally?

As far as I'm aware, no one else writes.  Although, who knows?  They could have highly successful careers as writers of erotica and they're keeping it quiet!

9.   How do you plan your writing day?

I kick the teen out of the door on his way to work at 8.30 am and then the plan (!) is to write until 4.30 when I go to visit my mum.  Twitter, Facebook, blogs, email can eat into my time but, on a good day, I write 3,000 words.  A bad day? ... 3!  I DO set myself deadlines though because, as an Indie who needs to pay the mortgage and the bills, I feel I have to.  And I get very cross with myself if I don't meet those deadlines.  I'm a hard task-master.

10.  Who was your favorite author growing up?

I loved, loved, loved Enid Blyton and Noel Streatfeild and totally devoured their books.  Chicklit for young girls, at its finest - friendship, humour, love, loss and cracking plots.

11.  So I'm reading Cinderella' Buttons and I'm at Ramsey's chapter.  Was this one of those character moments that you borrowed from TV?Emoji

I guess our TV's are filled with colourful gay men but my inspiration comes from the fab guys I went to drama school with.  When I hit 18 and started my theatre training, a whole new world opened up to me and I found that friendships with men who had absolutely no interest in me sexually were just the best - generally speaking they say it as it is, have the best sense of humour and give wonderful hugs.  Thus, the fag-hag was born!  

12.  You say you have blogs plural, what are they about and where can we read them?

I have one blog but it covers a variety of topics, not just about my experience as an Indie.  In the past I've covered school phobia, breast feeding, eggs (!), periods, getting old - the list is endless.  Sometimes I've been known to have a rant about something that's annoyed me but I mainly try to keep it upbeat and cheery.  You can find my blog here.

13.  Are there any more novels in the works at the moment?

I've just completed the first draft of my June release novel and when I finish my holiday at the end of this week, I'll start on re-writes and edits.  I'm very excited about it - it's always such a relief when you type 'THE END' but that's when the really hard work starts.

14.  How does your family feel about you being a writer?

I think they're very proud of me and possibly a little surprised.  I've managed to turn a dream into a job which pays the bills and keeps the roof over our heads.

15.  Tell me more about your yearning to be an actress?

I started off wanting to be a ballet dancer but I grew too tall - and to be perfectly honest I probably wasn't terribly good!  My mum and dad started sending me to dance and drama classes to help boost my confidence as I was quite a shy child.  Suddenly, being on stage seemed like the best thing in the world and I knew that it was what I wanted to do with my life.  Sadly, the reality is it's a hard world to break in to and the necessity to earn living expenses forced me into part-time jobs and then full-time. Although I did have a two year stint in the kids' TV series 'Grange Hill' and I was also offered a lead role in a play on the South Bank but the theatre closed down due to government cuts.  My acting days are behind me now but I feel that writing brings out my creative side and I view the characters who live in my head as actors on a stage who I move around and feed lines - although they often tell ME what they want to do!

16.  Do you think as a woman, you have an advantage or a disadvantage as a writer?

I think that it's an advantage when writing chick-lit because obviously I'm privy to the workings of the female brain and all its quirks.  

17.  Do you desire to branch off into other genres of books, say children's books or a cookbook perhaps?

I've never considered writing a children's book but if that perfect idea popped into my head, who knows?  Once my current work-in-progress is with my proof-readers, I plan to continue with my party planning/recipe book, 'Mummy Misfit Entertains'.  This book will show how you can throw stylish events for very little money if you're prepared to use your imagination and put in some hard graft.

18.  Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

I hope that I'm still writing and earning a living through doing what I love.  Some holidays would be nice too but as long as I still have a roof over my head, I'll be happy.  Who knows, I might even be a Granny Misfit by then!

19. How do  you feel social media has helped and or hindered you as a writer?

Social media has been a Godsend.  In the past writing could be a lonely business but now, within one click, we can find ourselves chatting to a friend (old or new) about anything and everything.  I've built relationships with writers and we support one another through the good times and the bad - sometimes all you need is someone who understands what you're going through to listen or to deliver a swift kick up the bottom.  The other plus is it sells books - and I don't mean by constantly plugging your work until people are bored.

 A comment on Twitter about a lost dog or Barry Manilow (!) has made me friends (who I've gone on to meet in real life) and gained me loyal readers.  The downside is, when you're working, you have to have the willpower to avoid constant chatting!  It's quite easy to lose a morning.

20.  If your son came up to you tomorrow and said. "Mum, I want to be a writer" what advice would you give him?

I'd say 'Go for it' but be prepared for a long hard slog.  The first part comes with writing 'Chapter One' and then it's bum on seat until you get to 'The End'.  It takes planning and determination and there will be days when you feel like giving in but, if you set yourself a deadline and stick to it, you'll get there.

Then the really hard work starts - rewrites and edits.  Good luck with that - it will drive you nuts but you will come out the other end.  Then we move onto the mammoth task of getting your work out there and your name heard.  As an Indie, that's a slow process but, once again, patience and commitment will get you there.  It's not a job for the lazy or half-hearted but it is rewarding.

(Thank you again Amanda for this amazing and insightful interview, if you all would like to read any of Ms Egan's books here are just a few places you can find them...)

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Twitter - @mummy_misfit
Lulu - paperbacks

Sunday, February 8, 2015

20 Questions with 80sMusicGirl-Jamie "Tucker" Dougan

Well Hello All! I am back again with another great interview. This time we have a gentleman who decided he was going to become a writer and you will be surprised where he got his inspiration for his books! But there is always more than meets the eye as you shall soon find out.

So without further ado....:)

First of all thank you again Jamie Dougan for allowing me this opportunity to interview you for my blog! I'm looking forward to a great interview so with that, let's begin!

Thanks for having me Rosemarie, and please call me Tucker.

1.  Where are you from originally Tucker?

I've lived all my life in south-west Scotland, East Ayrshire to be more precise. I was born, like most babies at the time, in Irvine where the maternity hospital was. I spent my early years in a small village called Muirkirk before moving to nearby Cumnock. I lived there until my early teens before the family moved to New Cumnock, five miles down the road. I've been back living in Cumnock for almost the last 20 years now, having moved back here when me and my soon-to-be wife at the time bought our home here.

2.  Do you have any brothers or sisters?

I have a younger brother and sister here in Scotland and two step-sisters in Canada.

3.   What kind of student were you in school?

I guess I was a bit of a geek. Star Wars was all the rage during my primary school years and I was, and still am, a big Star Wars nut. At secondary school, I was just the quiet wee guy who got on with my work. I had a mischievous side though and was always up for a practical joke or two. 

It was at secondary school where one of my hobbies came to light. It was quickly established that I was good at cross-country running and went on to represent my school at regional and national level. That sporting ability became a hobby after leaving school when I took up running 10k and half-marathon road races.

4.  What were some of your other hobbies?

Football was my main hobby, watching and playing. I also liked running, as mentioned in the last question. And  something else I was quite good at in my school days became a hobby in later life, story writing. 

The last few years, that hobby led me to writing and publishing three short stories and two novels.

5.  What is your first memory of what you wanted to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a fire fighter when I was young, because my uncle was one. Then I wanted to be a footballer, like most boys. But I guess it was inevitable that I'd have a career in the motor trade because I loved cars. My toy cars went everywhere with me, even to bed. One early memory is having my most favourite toys cars under my pillow each night when I went to bed. 

6.   Scotland is an awesome back drop for many a great story, where else have you traveled in Scotland?

The great thing about living in Scotland and it not being a very big country is that we are never too far away from great beaches, countryside, architecture, history.  I've traveled as far north as Aberdeen. Spent many weekends in Fife as a youngster when I had family living there. Glasgow is only a 45 minute drive away, so I'm there often. I've spent many summers on the Solway coast since my mid-teens, beautiful part of the world. And here in Ayrshire, we have contrasting scenery from the beaches to the hills further inland. I love living here.

7.  How did you know you had an aptitude for writing?

I guess it was at school and getting good marks for essay and short story writing. One short story I'd written in 3rd year at secondary school was chosen to be displayed at a local art gallery as part of a writing competition. Having a vivid imagination and a need to escape reality led me to writing some short stories after leaving school. Nothing ever came of them though, real life and having a job took over. I didn't totally give up writing though because a few years ago, I was inspired and encouraged by an old friend to pick up the pen... well, keyboard, again.

8.  Do you know of anyone else in your family that writes as a hobby or professionally?

Not that I know of or that any of them has said.

9.   What types of stories do you write?

I write mainly adult romance, or soccer romance as i like to call it. The first story I published was the tale of a young footballer falling in love with a French girl while he was loaned out to a French football team. That kinda set the theme for the two novels I wrote. I'm an old romantic at heart and I love football. Seemed sense to somehow combine the two.

10.  Who was your favorite author growing up?

Well the thing is, I wasn't really a reader of books when growing up. I didn't really start reading books until my early 20's. My favourite author now is Tom Clancy. Quite a difference in what I like to read to what I like to write.

11.  I understand you are a blogger, can you tell us more about that?

I first started blogging on MySpace (remember that lol?) after reading and being inspired by someone I befriended on there. I didn't have a theme to my blog back then but did have a regular feature called "Top Gear Tucker" where I gave my opinion on whatever company car I had the pleasure or displeasure of driving at the time. 

I then moved from MySpace to Blogger and began blogging random stuff but it soon became that the theme of my blog was about becoming a dad for the second time and life with a new addition to our family. The last 18-24 months, the blog has mainly been plugging the two novels in my Shane Henderson Diary Series.

12.  Where can we read your blogs?

My blog now resides on it own domain at

13.  Are there any more novels in the works at the moment?

I'm actually sort of retired from story writing now. Being a dad, husband and having a full time job meant that most of my writing was done late at night. That took its toll. I also became very disillusioned of the whole process and quite frustrated at the amount of time spent trying to promote my writing and getting very little return on that and seeing other do less and get more. I guess you've either got it or you don't. It may sound like sour grapes from me but far from it. I'm applaud every single independent author out there and I'm very chuffed for those who've done or are doing well from it.

14.  How did your family feel about you being a writer?

My wife has been a big support. My mum was quite surprised. But being quite shy and quiet about it all, I didn't tell anyone beyond those closest to me that I'd published anything at all, not until my third short story was available. 

15.  Tell me what it takes to be a Master Lego Builder :)?

Ha ha, you read my Twitter bio... It takes having two young boys who love Lego as much as their dad does. 

16.  You spoke about your blog "Top Gear Tucker" I've watched the show Top Gear on BBC America with Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May with my husband.  Were you shooting for the same effect when you wrote your blog?

I honestly don't know what effect I was trying to achieve at the time other than being a ordinary guy fortunate to have access to different cars through my job. I just thought it'd be good for an ordinary driver's opinion of the different cars I drove. 

17.  Having made such an investment with writing and publishing your own novels would you do it again?

At the moment I haven't the slightest inclination to even write a blog. I'm drained of inspiration and have have no desire to write even the shortest of stories. But, never say never. Keep watching...

18.  Would you encourage your children to become writers?

My oldest son has a good imagination and expresses it through drawing. But having seen his essays at school, he has imagination in writing too. So yes, I'd encourage him in writing, drawing or indeed anything he wants to do.

19.  You mentioned that you felt that the effort and rewards with writing and promoting your own work felt unbalanced, do you think social media is a cure or the disease in that aspect?

A bit of both. If you connect with the right people on social media then it can work great for you and whatever you want to promote. But you can also be seen as just a spammer trying to sell something all the time. It's hard to get the balance right. Some indie-authors I know have found the balance. They can talk about their everyday life and promote what they want to sell quite normally. Whereas I couldn't get the right balance because I don't put my everyday life online anymore. personal stuff stays personal unless I think it's worth sharing or there is a topic I feel I need to express my opinion on. 

20.  And finally, just because I can ask, what is your favorite 80s song :)

How can I pick a favourite 80's song from a decade of so many great songs and albums from so many great artists?

Picking my favourite album from that era is easy - Sea Of Love by The Adventures. I guess if I did have a favourite song, it would be my personal theme which is Talk Talk's It's My Life.

Thank you very much Tucker for a view into your fascinating world of cars, novels, family and Lego's!  I wish you all the best in your future endeavors.  

Thanks for having me Rosemarie. It's been a pleasure.

Monday, January 26, 2015

20 Questions with 80sMusicGirl-Robbie Grey of Modern English

Hello all and welcome to another edition of 20 Questions with 80sMusicGirl.  It is my honor and pleasure to bring an exclusive interview with none other than the man himself Robbie Grey, front man for that amazing band Modern English.

Let's begin shall we?

1.  Where are you from originally Robbie?

I am originally from Colchester in the county of Essex in England.  I lived in London for 30 years. Now I am living in Suffolk at the beach in a town called Aldeburgh.

2.  Do you have any brothers or sisters?

No.  I don't have any brothers and sisters.

3.   Have you always wanted to be a musician?

No.  I wanted to be a footballer, soccer to you Americans.  It was only when Bowie and Roxy Music came on the scene that I got interested in music.  Then when punk rock came along and the Sex Pistols,  I decided that music had all the things I was looking for.   The creative process and lyric writing is fantastic .

4.  Did your parents have a musical background?

Yes.  My great aunt studied at the Royal College of Music in London.  My father liked jazz music, but nobody actually played an instrument...... I used to sing in the mirror with a toothbrush if that counts.

5. How did you get your start in show business?

Punk rock came along and woke me and my friends up completely. From that moment on we formed a band and later on recorded a demo tape which got us our first record deal.   It was the start of a great adventure.

6. What did your parents think when you wanted to be a musician?

They thought I was crazy.  That I would never have a career in music and that I should get a real job.  When tickets to fly to New York  came to the house they couldn't believe it.  Funny looking back at it now!!!!!

7.  What was the name of the first band you recorded with?

The first band was The Lepers a punk band with some of the original members of Modern English.  We had some classic songs with titles like Coming for You and Typical English Worker.

8.  How did you become involved with Modern English?

Modern English just grew out of The Lepers really.   Steve Walker added the keyboards to Gary McDowell's guitar, Mick Conroy's bass and my vocals.   We had learnt to play a lot more and were experimenting with sound so we changed the name to Modern English

9.  Have you recorded any solo albums?

No i haven't.  I have written for other people and produced other artists.  I hope to do some of my own recording in the next 2 years.

10.  Do you find it difficult to adjust to the touring lifestyle?

Touring,  now  that we are a bit older, is more difficult.  When we were younger, we were drunk or stoned most of the time on long tours.  Now its shorter touring and less concerts, so it helps  I travel a lot anyway so its not unusual to be away from home.

11.  You talked about being stoned or drunk while touring. Was it just something that everyone did or was it a coping mechanism to deal with the pressures of being rock stars? 

It was something we all did.  We were working class men used to drinking and the rest.  It also helped us cope with long tours and the fantasy world we were in.  One tour of the states was 80 concerts in 100 days.  They worked us like dogs.

12.  Tell me about the band's first album. 

The first album Mesh and Lace is my personal favourite.  We were learning our instruments and using a lot of sounds rather than chords on the guitars and keyboards.  We pretty much did it ourselves with the help of a producer and the record company boss who was our friend.  His name is Ivo Watts-Russell. It's quite a dark sounding album and the lyrics are pretty intense. Great album.

13.  Have you ever participated in any of the 80s Festivals that are popular in Europe now?

No we haven't.  But we will be doing an 80s cruise  February 2016 which will go from Florida to the Bahamas etc,  Should be fun.  We are on board for 10 days and only do 2 concerts.  That's what i call a schedule.

14.  Just because I can ask, what is your favorite 80s tune ;)

There's a few, but Atmosphere by Joy Division is up there.

15.  Who were your musical influences growing up?

David Bowie and Roxy Music.

16.  Is it my imagination or is the band working on a new album?

No you are correct, we are working on a new album. The producer and long time friend is Martin Young from Colourbox/MARRS (who did Pump up the Volume). We have been working on it all last summer.  It's sounding good.  Some quite edgy stuff and also a couple of classic Modern English dreamy pop songs.

17.  Spandau Ballet once said their biggest rivals in music in the 80s was Duran Duran, who do you think were rivals of Modern English?

We were never thinking about that stuff.  But in the early 80s U2 and us were neck and neck for a while.

18.  Do you think you would have the same success now in the music industry if you were just starting out?

No.  Back in the day you could walk into a record company with a demo and chat about a 5 year plan.  Now it is instant success and image controlled.  We wouldn't even get a look in. I think X-factor and blah blah idol are the death of real music.

19.  Do you think its harder to get British bands airplay on American radio stations?

No, I don't .  America has always looked to the UK for its music.  The Beatles and The Stones. The 80s, (too many to mention) and then there's Coldplay, Radiohead, and on and on.

20. What is your advice for young musicians that are just starting out?

Be Yourself.

My thanks to Robbie Grey for this fantastic interview.  Learning more about 80s Music and its awesome history is truly what it's all about.  All my best to you Robbie and the guys with the success of your upcoming album and your cruise in February of next year.