Footballer’s Wives

Tina Moore, wife of the great Bobby, seen here making Victoria Beckham look a bit Third Division.

Do you think she wore that England shirt when they…you know..?

Download: The English Dream – Generation X (mp3)


Junior Choice

My daughter loves rockets and spaceships and when she saw the sleeve of ELO’s “Out of The Blue” album she went “oooooooooooh!” like a 12-year-old boy who had just seen the mothership in Close Encounters for the first time. Now she refers to it as “the rocket record” which, as a huge ELO fan back in the olden days, makes me very happy indeed.

“The Whale” probably isn’t her cup of apple juice as it’s a very trippy instrumental and she prefers to bop around to the uptempo numbers, but I thought I’d play it anyway as it’s quite an unusual track for ELO. These days they’d call this Chill Out music but back in 1977 I just thought it was a bit odd. Sure is pretty though, I wonder if The Orb ever heard this.

Download: The Whale – Electric Light Orchestra (mp3)

My Mother’s Records

I’ve written a lot here about my mother’s record collection and had been working on one about Cat Stevens’ 1971 album “Teaser and The Firecat” before I left for London to see her. It was one of those albums you’d always find sitting next to “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “Tapestry” in the homes of over-30s like my mother, offering a little taste of folky counter-culture bohemia in a nice, gentle package for those who were too old for Woodstock but too young for Val Doonican and James Last.

The album contained Stevens’ beautiful version of the old English hymn “Morning Has Broken” which, coincidentally, was played by the church organist at the end of my mother’s funeral ceremony. Well, not all that coincidentally really, my sister asked them to play it because it’s a lovely tune and was on one of my mother’s favourite albums.

Download: Morning Has Broken – Cat Stevens (mp3)

PS: I’d like to thank everyone for their kind thoughts and best wishes, it’s much appreciated.

My Mum

I wish there was an easier or less painfully abrupt way of beginning this post but for the life of me I don’t know what it is.

My mother died last week.

She’d been suffering from cancer for the past three years, it was detected early and for a while it looked as if the chemotherapy had “cured” it, but as is often the case it came back and eventually got to the point where there was nothing the doctors could do but make her comfortable.

I was in London the week before to see her because my sister told me she might not have long left, but while I was there it seemed her condition had stabilized and though she was obviously still very ill I half-hoped she would be around for a little while longer. She always seemed such a strong, healthy woman I found it hard to come to terms with the idea that she wouldn’t live forever, or at least longer than me. Even so, when I reluctantly left her to catch my flight back to America I had the awful, pit-of-the-stomach feeling it might be the last time I ever saw her which, sadly, it turned out to be. I just didn’t think it would be quite so soon.

The woman I left in that nursing home room was old and frail but that’s not how I want to remember her. In my mind my mother was, and always will be, the woman in the photo above: youthful, smart, funny, and vivacious. She was also a woman who raised two kids on her own without much money and the older I’ve gotten the more I’ve appreciated everything she did for me and admired her strength. Though she used to joke that I was “just like your bloody father” whenever I did or said something she didn’t like, I think everything I am today is because of her. I owe her so much.

This hasn’t really sunk in yet, the other day it hit me that I was never going to speak to her again (well, duh) which just left me feeling incredibly empty and wanting desperately to, at the very least, kiss her and tell her I love her just one more time.

It seems stupidly irrelevant to be including a song with this post, but music is often the nicest way to remember people and I can’t think about my mother for any length of time without the name Frank Sinatra coming up. This was her favourite record of his, and I’ve always thought of it as “her” song, so whenever I hear this I think of her in happier times.

Download: Witchcraft – Frank Sinatra (mp3)

I’m going to London again in a couple of days for her funeral but I will be back here at some point and try to pick up the pieces.