You’ve got a friend…unappreciated classic

When I look back, it seems like a hundred years ago that Sonia & Big Fun got together to record a single for the UK’s Childline charity.

Yoda tells me that it was supposed to be a recording of “You’ve Got a Friend”, the ancient Carole King classic. They even recorded it. But whatever happened, there was a change of mind at Stock/Aitken/Waterman headquarters and an original song was penned for release. Not that most people would really recognise it as an SAW composition – it’s a lovely ballad with a gorgeous saxaphone featured, played by Gary Barnacle.

I remember paying a shitload for the 12″ import of this single…as was usual for a lot of my SAW collection. Still, the covers were beautiful from the UK – top quality cardboard and printing. It was worth it. Not like the shitty Australian releases. Anyway, that’s an altogether different subject. “A horse of an entirely different feather,” as Dorrie Evans used to say.

The studio part of this film clip is classic SAW – a total budget of about 50 pence (including VAT)! But you know what, it actually works for this song. Just having the Big Fun boys and Sonia sitting in a circle singing the song suits it. The real story of course is the black & white footage of the kid leaving home and wandering the streets until he decides to ring “Childline” for help.

All in all, it’s a really lovely song with a nice video.

Happily, Big Fun’s original SAW album “Pocketful of Miracles” album has been remastered featuring bonus tracks and 12″ versions (…and, funnily enough, it’s my next mail order purchase!

I’ve gone completely Boy Krazy!

Although some may say it all started when I was four…but that’s another issue completely!

Recently, the postman delivered a nice little parcel to my PO Box…the all re-done, re-vamped, bonus-tracked re-release of Boy Krazy’s Stock/Aitken/Waterman album from 1993.

There are some amazing SAW albums being re-released with B-Sides, 12″ versions, unreleased tracks and more. I want just about all of them but finances dictate that I have to be selective at the moment. Yoda already has the Jason Donovan albums while Sonia’s will be next for me. But up first it was Boy Krazy for me.

 

Boy Krazy

 

Ironically, I already have this album on CD. I bought the orginal version during a trip to Brisbane some 17 years ago. I already had the single for “That’s What Love Can Do” but nothing else. There was no internet back then – I couldn’t find anything much about them except the song had the classic SAW sound.

At Central Station Records in Brisbane, I came across the CD and had a “What the Fuck!” moment. I immediately stumped up the $30 or $35 or whatever it was. It was the dying days of SAW, in fact it was just SW at that point…and I was desperate for anything they put out.

But there was no chance of me being able to track down 12″ singles or any further releases from Boy Krazy back then. I was in little old Australia and their stuff was coming out around the other side of the world.

I fell in love with three of the tracks very quickly, “That”s What Love Can Do”…

On A Wing and A Prayer…

And finally….how could I NOT fall in love with a title like this…Good Times With Bad Boys!

I loaded up the new CD the other day and, again quite unexpectedly, the album has taken over my brain completely!

There’s a couple of tracks I’d never heard of before and some 12″ mixes that I also did not know existed.  Plus a gorgeous colour booklet is included. It’s like hog heaven for me!

I wondered why I was so completely taken over by this album in the last few days…and it isn’t just about the music. It’s the past darlings…my past… I can’t listen to these songs as just “music” to enjoy. From the first spin on my computer this week, my head was awash with images of 1993. What I was doing in 1993, who I was in 1993 and the whole decline of the SAW empire around that time.

Stock Aitken Waterman had been such a huge influence on me during the late 80s/early 90s it was quite overwhelming. I bought as much of the material they produced as I possibly could (as someone living on the other side of the world in a time when there was no internet and no Amazon.co.uk) So much of their work was not released in Australia, it was very frustrating at the time.

It was also frustrating being on the other side of the world and watching the whole SAW thing fall apart. The fights, Mike Stock leaving, then Matt Aitken…the fact that they were being derided and written-off completely by the music press and the industry generally. I took it all personally (as is my way) and it really was sad for me.

So my Boy Krazy Special Edition CD has linked me emotionally right back to 1993, to the time I bought it. 1993 was also the year I did my first overseas trip. I visited London for the first time and fell in love with the city. Yoda and I spent hours walking along Cheapside into the city stopping at every 2nd hand record shop along the way. I bought so much SAW stuff during the two weeks I was in the UK. Much of it from 2nd hand shops and markets. Trying to catch up on the CD singles and videos I never had the chance to buy in Australia. I came back weighed down with this stuff.

A year later, when I visited the UK again, it was all gone. Cheapside had been demolished and none of the shops had any SAW stuff at all. It was as if that whole era in British pop had never existed. So had I not gone in 1993…well, I’m just glad I did.

1993 was the year that Yoda and I, on Day 1 of our overseas trip, walked around the corner from where we were staying and saw PWL Studios. There was a man standing outside – an engineer called Dean – he invited us in and took us for a tour of the studio. He let me touch the Calrec Soundfield microphone (you’d have to be a tragic SAW fan to understand this) and I just about jumped out of my skin. Dean also took us to a basement vault room where the master tapes for every SAW record ever produced were stored. I just about passed out. Had I died right then, it would have been okay.

1993 was also the year we stopped doing ABBA nights at the Flinders Hotel after 6 years. And that turned out to be a very good thing. 1993 was also a time when an ex-boyfriend came over to borrow money and I said no. I didn’t, in fact, have it at that exact point (it was $1,500). But that was a good thing too – the wash up from that incident really clarified to me what a destructive and disastrous relationship I’d had with this person and what a user he was. We’d broken up years earlier but I still felt as if he had a hold on me and I’d never really been able to move on. The result of that visit gave me a bit of closure in a way.

1993 was also the year I won my first manager’s job – for a computer system helpdesk at the organisation I was working for. It involved travelling around Australia for meetings every couple of months. And it was the year I joined the Ansett Golden Wing Club (anyone remember that?) and the Qantas Club (I dumped that membership years ago – it became a waste of money.)

The end of 1993 was when I was diagonised with having sarcoidosis, a bizarre lung disease that can kill. I was put on massive doses of steroids and my weight blew up enormously, it changed my whole body shape and it has never really recovered. Sarcoidosis hasn’t killed me yet but I haven’t had it checked out in years and years…very slack!

And yes, 1993 was the year I came across the Boy Krazy album in an import record shop in Brisbane, Queensland.

So it is pretty clear why listening to the Special Edition re-release of the CD has blown me away this week: 1993 was a pretty monumental year for me and Boy Krazy is bringing it all back.

In the words of Boy Krazy themselves…”Who could ask for anything more?

JudgeG’s message to the world….

Be Young, Be Foolish…but be happy!!!

A big shout out to Andy, the birthday boy!

The braces are gone!

The braces are well and truly gone. And he’s not a sweet teen anymore. But he is having a birthday.

A wonderful friend, Andy Andrews, is celebrating his birthday today (that’s Saturday in European time). I first knew Andy when he was just 16. In fact, I met his whole family in Nashville, Tennessee way back in 1998. Andy and I drove to Dollywood – a crazy road trip where we got lost on the way – but ended up having a blast. It really is a treasured memory.

Andy is a total class act as a person. I’m very proud to know him. So happy birthday kiddo. (even though you’re not such a kiddo anymore!)

Andy & JudgeG did Dollywood in the 90s!

Moving Hell…Day #2

James hits tilt...too much stuff!

The packing up and moving saga entered its second major day today. While I’ve been getting rid of stuff and making preparations for the last couple of weeks, the serious hard core work has started this weekend.

My fabulous friend James O’Brien (now aka “the big butch Aussie bloke”) came back again and helped out. Grant and I had made a list of “stuff to do” so everyone could just get stuck into it this morning.

“Ever seen this much stuff in one place?,” I asked James this afternoon. “Well, there was a story about someone on A Current Affair….,” he replied. Half joking, half serious.

Right now, I do feel like the crazy cat lady you see on those current affair TV shows. We’ve made so much progress but there is still so much to do. I’ll need to take a couple of days off this week to continue going through stuff in order to be able to do “the big move” by next weekend.

Some progress made: boxes packed & sealed

We’ve packed and sealed about 30 moving boxes at this point plus have packed a number of plastic storage crates. But there is still much more stuff to go through.

Today was actually quite productive – it is just the sheer scale of the job that makes it impossible to do in a couple of days even with three people working on it.

I was happy to note that Grant turned up my missing passport today. As well as a few other things I’d been scratching my head trying to find recently.

And speaking of finding things, one of James’ jobs today was to go through all my old audio cassettes and pack them neatly into storage crates. He was amazed to find a cassette he’d sent me in 1992. He was a radio announcer in the Riverina area in South-western New South Wales back then. He rang to interview me because a certain pop group (let’s call them the A***-hole group) had just had a number one album. I can vividly remember doing the interview by phone even though it was 18 years ago.

Tonight James put the interview into Mp3 format and emailed it to me. I haven’t listened to it yet but James told me edited highlights over the phone. James was totally knocked out to find this cassette and I am gobsmacked that I can still remember doing the interview – even where I was sitting in Grant’s flat when I did it!

Interview cassette from 1992

The cover of the cassette is typed because they didn’t have computers at James’ station back then. So he had to roll it into a work typewriter and do it the old way! He also had to wrap it and post it to me the old way as well. None of this digital format, internet, email scenario that exists today!

James left us about 5pm today and Grant and I kept on working for another hour before we gave up. It has been a bloody hard couple of days – all of us have aches and pains in places we wouldn’t have even thought about 10 years ago!

And all those stairs! Up and down, up and down. Arghhh! James fared the best – he’s good at heavy lifting and doing blokey things. His aches were less intense (must be his relative age!). And who knew he could pack boxes so efficiently. We think he missed his calling in life. Last night he even reversed the ute out of Grant’s car park and drove it back in. We were very impressed!

Grant and I went to the local RSL club tonight for the second night in a row. We haven’t been there for about a year but then twice in the one weekend! It was nice to have a few beers, something to eat and to review the progress made. Also to have a chat about strategy for the rest of the week. There’s a long way to go.

James is coming back to help next weekend (thank god!) and we really need to have everything moved out by the end of the weekend. Then it will be a full day’s cleaning no doubt.

Research has shown that moving house is one of the most stressful life events, right up at the top with divorce and bereavement.

I totally agree with this assessment from a website I saw tonight.

Just can’t wait til all of this is just a bad memory and life goes back to what passes for semi-normal in my world!

You are so Yeah Yeah, Wow Wow!

Ten years ago I was having what I called my “Martin Moment.” A huge crush on a gorgeous blonde Swede called Martin Svensson who released an absolutely perfect pop-tastic single, “(Du är så) Yeah Yeah Wow Wow”- English:  (You Are So) Yeah Yeah Wow Wow.

The lyrics are all about taking the piss out of vacuous, plastic ‘MTV-type’ female reporters. One in particular actually. A young female called JonnaBergh who was in her mid 20’s and had her own columnin Expressen (major Swedish newspaper) and was also an “entertainment reporter.” Her career also included appearing as a TV-presenter on Z-TV, one of the (then) young and ‘cool’ commercial TV-stations in Sweden.

Tonight Yoda sent me a link for the official video for “(Du är så) Yeah Yeah Wow Wow” and it brought all this flooding back. I even found a translation of the lyrics in an old email from a decade ago!

You are here, I am frozen
You are one of many thousands
In a plastic box for us youngsters
You are there with mouth and tongue

You’re the girl from the commercials
Who has taken a charm-exam
TV-Shop is so for real!
What you say is so important

For you are so Yeah Yeah Wow Wow…

Heart beats heavy, totally exhausted
I want to hear the breaths
Four dBs and I can hear
When you then start to seduce
A few words on big issues
“Here’s something for every taste”
In a 24 inches plastic box
And then I start to rave

Because you are so Yeah Yeah Wow Wow…

You are here, I am frozen
You are one of many thousands
I want to come
Can you swear
That we’ll always be close
I just want to explode
A little bit further and a little bit more
Like a gap in my senses
Feelings I’ve kept locked inside

And you are so Yeah Yeah Wow Wow…

Martin's album at the time. I bought it of course!

Going through searches and links tonight I also found Martin performing the song live in Melodifestivalen in 1999. He came second overall – Charlotte Perelli won that year and went on to win Eurovision itself. But I much preferred “(Du är så) Yeah Yeah Wow Wow”.

Plus, the fact that he was a hot blonde Swede was a bonus too 😉