bingo_mcdingo: (Ned Rocks)

I'm stuck with the agony of choice. What should I listen to? What do you really like. Give me tunes for the soundtrack of my afternoon. Spotify links welcome. Save me from going back again and again like a forlorn puppy to Porcupine Tree.

Thank you.
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For those of you who don't want to drag yourself through my musical ramblings (and who can blame you), please feel free to skip to the last video. That's the reason I'm posting really.

I remember very clearly my Mother telling me that The Beatles had recorded 'She Loves You' and 'I Want To Hold Your Hand' in German. I must've been about 8 or 9 at the time, and since that fateful day, I've been ever so slightly obsessed with songs in different languages.

My teenage years were particularly Teutonic. Firstly thanks to Peter Gabriel - aged about 15 I found a copy of 'Shock The Monkey' sung in German (or 'Schock den Affen' to be precise) at the local record fair. It fascinated me, and thanks to knowing the English version inside out, I'm sure this helped with my German 'O' Level. Just so long as the oral exam asked about the consequences of primates with electricity, of course.

It was also as a teenager that I discovered the joys of songs in other languages that didn't have an English counterpart. 'Rock Me Amadeus' was a huge influence - at the time I was spending a lot of time in Germany with my teenage girlfriend (ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, young love etc. etc.). I can still recite most of the German lyrics from the album Falco 3 to this day.

Slightly later I also became a big fan of 'Die Ärzte' who sang exclusively in German. Their lyrics were full of jokes and wordplay which, when learning German really did inspire me to pick up more of the language.

Even though I only understood maybe half of the lyrics, there was still something special about the music. I think now that the joy of listening to songs in languages you don't understand is that you get to hear the music of the language. A great example of this is 'Bonito' by Jarabe de Palo. I was in a French motorway service station when I first heard this. I can honestly say I don't understand a word of it, but the musicality of the lyrics is beautiful. The words (if you can forgive my pretension for a moment) become another instrument. Well, see for yourself...

Oh, I can sing along all right, but the words mean nothing to me. Not a clue. I just love the sound of them.

When the internet started offering up opportunities to listen to music from around the world, I was in heaven. I have reverted pretty much to listening to songs translated into other languages. It all started when I found a cover of Barry Ryan's / The Damned's 'Eloise'. In what was a most cheesy 'Hi-NRG' re-imagining of the gothic classic, Tino Casal brought a flamboyant Iberian mood to the song...

It seems that 'Eloise' is a popular choice for foreign language interpretations. The drama of the song is well served by 'Die Jungen Tenore' (Spotify link), and the open vowels of the Finnish 50s throwback Marko Lämsä are a thing of wonder.

Actually, before Spotify had its recent purge, one of my favourite discoveries there was the Danish Soundtrack of the 60s musical 'Hair'. Or Hår as it seems to be in Denmark. Hair is one of the few musical soundtracks that I love, and to hear it speeded up, funked up, and in Danish was a wonderful experience. I feel quite lost without it, and can only hope that if anyone is going to Denmark they might be able to pick me up a copy. [ profile] lurpak?

Anyway, the whole point of telling you all of this was because there is an unfortunate downside to the splendour of foreign language songs. That is, people from other countries singing songs in English, badly. I'm sure that you've seen the Ken Lee video which goes to prove my point.

This was driven home to me by Spotify again this week when I got curious to see if anyone had done a cover version of Bowie's 'Life On Mars'. Well, they have. And I found, to my horror, that it was my old friend 'Tino Casal' - he of the inappropriate Eloise cover.

Except this time he was singing in English. Well, I say English.... clearly he's not a native speaker, but I don't even think he understands what he's singing - I'm sure this was learnt phonetically, and not very well at that. If you're going to undertake such an iconic song, you think you'd want to make sure you were doing it well.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present you the worst thing you will hear today. I'm afraid the video is quite quiet and out of synch, but you still get the majesty of the delivery. If you still want more, and could do with a good quality version, the spotify link is here.


Who's on sale again?
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Father Christmas, in his infinite wisdom, bought both Tom and Ned a 'craft set'. It had glue and pom-poms and pipe cleaners and all sorts of ace stuff to make things with. These sets have been a massive hit, and both boys are now a bit of a dab hand with the old PVA.

The down side is that there were several tubes of glitter glue in various colours which are not so expertly applied. We now have a very glittery dining table, for example.

A couple of days ago, Tom put on a pair of trousers which, quite noticeably had a huge run of glitter down the left thigh. He thought this wonderful, and immediately designated them his 'Disco Trousers'.

I'm damned sure that I didn't have any Disco Trousers when I was four. Mind you, that may be because when I was four, there were still 3 years to go before Disco was popularised in this country. But still, seems a bit forward for a young chap.

I'm not sure how many Discos he's actually going to attend before he grows out of this particular pair of strides, but I'm not sure I'd be too keen on encouraging him to start accessorizing other trousers to meet his Disco needs.

This morning I found glitter on my loaf of bread. This has all gone too far now.
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Hello people.

I've been meaning to flesh out the final details of [ profile] mockduck's Secret Santa for a while now, but time and poorliness just got in the way. So I'm stealing a few moments away from the housework to fill in the final details.

Here's the video of Ned picking the names. It may only be of interest to me because it's my son, but there's humour to be had in him struggling with my poor handwriting and the pronunciation of lj user names.

He drew names out, and the first person gave to the second, the second to the third, and so on, with the last giving to the first.

I wasn't going to use any editorial powers and just let the randomness stand. But... from Ned's draw I noticed that [ profile] sahara_harp was drawn to send a gift to [ profile] semioticwarrior, and that they both lived in the same city, so I figured there would be a fair chance that they might know each other. So to try and make it a bit more spread out, I chose (at random) to swap [ profile] semioticwarrior and [ profile] kristenlou in their places.

On sending out the e-mails about who was gifting who, I received an almost immediate reply from [ profile] sahara_harp telling me that she and [ profile] kristenlou (who she was now gifting after my changes) had been friends for 20 years. That'll teach me not to meddle!

So, the full (slightly revised) list was:-

[ profile] hartleyhare sent to
[ profile] bingo_mcdingo sent to
[ profile] blue_monday sent to
[ profile] mzdt sent to
[ profile] land_girl sent to
[ profile] lady_mitzi sent to
[ profile] sahara_harp sent to
[ profile] kristenlou sent to
[ profile] gfrancie sent to
[ profile] ratphooey sent to
[ profile] _moggy_ sent to
[ profile] semioticwarrior sent to
[ profile] lurpak sent to
[ profile] mockduck sent to
[ profile] amuchmoreexotic sent to
[ profile] several_bees sent to
[ profile] hartleyhare

I've seen no comment from [ profile] blue_monday who I sent a gift to. Not knowing him, and only having his interests to go by, the gift I sent was going to be an amazing hit or a complete disaster with no possibility for the middle ground. I'd be interested to know which (especially if an apology from me is in order!)

Thank you all for participating, hope you all had fun and nice to meet a lot of you for the first time! Merry Christmas.
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The only very slight downside to organising [ profile] mockduck's Secret Santa was that I was always going to know who sent me my gift.

The upside is, my gifts were FANTASTIC. Thank you so much [ profile] hartleyhare

A vampire penguin wind-up torch (which I haven't been able to get back from the boys yet).

And this...

I'm not taking it off all day.
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Merry Christmas Everyone. Have a great day.
bingo_mcdingo: (Flem)

You'll no doubt recall how I explained that during the course of his Nativity, Tom picked his nose for all to see, and wiped the resultant stickiness on the head of one of the sheep. For all to see.

Well, last Thursday, the entire school held a big Christmas celebration. They did it in the local priory so that hundreds and hundreds of parents could come along. Ned had the 'starring' role of Joseph, a big step up from last year's part.

And what did he do? While comforting Mary who was understandably distraught that there were no rooms to be found, he also indulged in a furious bout of nose-picking which resulted in a nose bleed.

I thought your children were supposed to help foster feelings of pride...
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Tom's school Nativity today.

I cannot express how proud I was, watching him on stage, picking his nose, then wiping his produce on the head of a sheep, played by his friend, Thea.

I have it on video. To treasure forever.
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A few weeks ago, Tom received an invitation to a Birthday Party from a girl in his class, Leah. Now being a normal four-year old boy, parties are the most EXCITING THINGS EVAR!! Which made it a bit confusing when he showed some reluctance to going.

There's not that strong 'girls are smelly' thing going on yet - indeed, one of his best friends is Olivia - though through Ned's influence there's a lot of Barbie-bashing going on at the moment. So I didn't think it could be gender politics this early on.

I also doubted it was the fancy-dress element to the party. After all, Tom is the chameleon of Leominster, covering everything from pirates to knights and back again.

Meaning the only factor that I could think of that could be bothering him was the fact that it was a disco. It seems that I have bred a reserved, middle-class English male (which in itself is hardly surprising), but that seemed to be the key. Tom didn't want to have to do any dancing.

It's difficult to persuade a child to the merits and freedom of dancing when you yourself have all the grace of a foal on ice. For me, dancing without self-consciousness is something I had to work long and hard at to overcome my inbuilt reticence, and trying to explain that to a four-year old is nigh on impossible.

So, the only thing I could do to enthuse him to go was to get him to have complete control over his costume. Let him get excited about what he's going as, and the fact that it's a disco might just fade a bit. Did he want to go as a pirate? No. Knight? No. (See, going for all the familiar (and easy) option first).

Then I don't know what possessed me to suggest Robot. We don't have a robot costume, and I'd end up having to make it. But suddenly I found myself suggesting Robot, and Tom immediately snapped up the offer, and I was duty bound to oblige.

One long day with a Dell computer box, permanent marker, some google image results, a couple of split pins, some elastic, foil wrapping paper, a whole pritt-stick and bout 2 miles of gaffa tape later, these were the results. I'm pretty proud of myself. And Tom loved the party, and apparently did plenty of dancing. Little sod!

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We are suffering in the McDingo household. Well, when I say we, I mean the Very Lovely Mrs. McDingo and I. The kids seem fine and totally unaffected, but we both seem to have something that closely resembles the norovirus which is doing the rounds at the moment. Whatever it may be, we're both feeling decidedly peaky, and therefore getting on each others nerves.

Which was why I was so amazingly grateful to have my grotty week uplifted by a parcel from [ profile] land_girl which arrived yesterday. When feeling so crap, it really cheered me up to receive such a lovely collection of gifts, including the extremely appropriate Brian Appleton badges bearing the legend 'My Turn To Be Poorly'. The timing couldn't have been better!

On a less cheerful note, I received a parcel today - my MP3 Player had been sent back with a fault - it was just still under guarantee. I posted it on 7th November, and have been chasing Creative ever since to find out where my repair / replacement was. They eventually admitted to having lost my player, and sent me a 'new' one.

Except, when I received it today, not only was it a refurb which was cosmetically inferior to the one I had sent for repair, but it also had exactly the same fault as the one I had in the first place.

I won't bore you with my tale of woe in trying to get someone to take responsibility on the phone, and they have agreed to send me a Brand New player. But not until I have sent them this second faulty one back, and sent them some proof of postage. Bastards.
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[ profile] mockduck suggested a Secret Santa for her f-list this year, so this is where you sign up.

The first rule of Secret Santa is you DO NOT tell your recipient that you've sent them the gift. The second rule of... oh, let's not go there. But yes, please don't tell - if you want to have a guess or reveal yourself, please wait until after your lucky recipient has opened and enjoyed their gift.

It should all work like this....

Enter your details in the poll below - don't worry, I'm not the government, and consequently your personal details really are safe with me, and won't be found on a memory stick left on the underground. I promise. Also, if you want to give some clue as to what kind of person you are / what sort of thing might tickle your fancy, please add a few key-words in the poll which will be passed on to your Secret Santa to help provide inspiration. However, if you don't mind what you get, just put 'anything' in the text box.

Because of posting timescales, particularly last post to the USA, we need to have some deadlines in place. Therefore, this is the procedure, and these are the dates to remember:-

Sign-up needs to take place by 12:00 noon UTC on Saturday 6th December - that's only a week from when this first goes up, so spread the word people!

The random assignation of givers and receivers will be undertaken via a complicated procedure involving my children, a hat and several pieces of paper on the Saturday afternoon. You will receive the details (lj name, name & address) by e-mail from me within 24 hours.

Gifts should really be posted as soon as possible. Please be aware that if you get someone who lives in the USA, the last posting date is 10th December, which only gives you a few days to organise, wrap and send your gift.

There is no price limit on gifts - obviously don't spend more than you can afford. Equally, home made / home created gifts are positively encouraged.

It would be appreciated if you could drop me an e-mail once your gift has been posted - that helps me to keep track of what's been sent and when, so that I can chase up any queries, or even (heaven forfend) prod any of you who may have inadvertently not made it to the post office just yet...

Finally, it would be nice if you write an entry about your received gift to send me a link to the entry so that we can have them all indexed in one place early in the new year, and everyone can see what everyone received.

Merry Christmas - any questions, reply below.

[Poll #1306057]
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As much as I love my children, there are times when I need to flee from them, screaming with wild abandon as I indulge myself in some non-childish activity/conversation.

Thanks to the good influence of [ profile] land_girl I shall be going to Worcester this evening to see the very talented John Shuttleworth do his thing.

A drink before the show with an ex-colleague, and 45 minutes each way of complete solitude in the car, I can hardly wait!

However, the consequence of my going tonight, and explaining to the boys about my absence, is that there are now two boys going round Leominster singing 'I Can't Go Back To Savoury Now'. I would worry, but seeing as Tom made his whole nursery sing 'Lollipop' by Mika (I was so embarrassed), explaining this away is a breeze.

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Further to yesterday's post, I just found Tom in exactly the same attire. So, after comments from [ profile] ratphooey and [ profile] ladybirdintheuk, I remembered to take a picture.

Thing is, the room was in total darkness, so the auto-focus didn't even come close to doing its job effectively. I've tidied it up as much as I can.

The offending duck can clearly be seen, upside down on Tom's right hand. The fool.

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Enjoy your free speech? It would seem that some people don't.

One of the best written and enlightening posts I've ever read. Thanks to [ profile] offensive_mango for the nod.
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So far today....

1. My car had the works done to get it through it's M.O.T., and I was told it would be 'comfortably £500'.

2. Ned's been under the weather, so he went up for a nap. I went in to check on him to find that his lamp was on, one of his curtains was on the lamp, and large sections of it were smouldering nicely.

I'm told these things come in threes, so I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop. If you're Jake the Peg that is.

However, it could be the news we had a couple of days ago that the Very Lovely Mrs. McDingo has to reapply and reinterview for her job. Meaning she could be out of work in September. Yes, I am scouring the jobs pages now you come to mention it.


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As I was commanded by [ profile] mockduck to do this, who am I to disagree? Plus, I don't have the energy to write a proper update at the moment, so in lieu, here's a couple of pictures of me and the very lovely Mrs. McDingo on our wedding day...

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No prizes for guessing who went into hospital yesterday.

She's fine. Another chest infection - refused to eat or drink yesterday, but is happy and content today. Hopefully out by the end of the week.

Yeah, thanks Nell...!

OK then...

Apr. 28th, 2008 07:22 am
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Nell's admitted at 11:00 this morning.

See you on the other side, chaps.

Ah, lovely

Apr. 25th, 2008 10:26 pm
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I may be teaching my collective grandmothers to suck eggs here, but I recently came across this little gem - it's the theme from kids TV programme 'Rainbow' done in the style of Nick Drake.

The parody is so clearly affectionate, and the observations both in the music and the animation are spot on. Enjoy.

(for those not familiar with the original, this is it....)