Monthly Archives: January 2014

For those who love Spitfires – the ecstasy of high flight – soaring words

Are you one of those people who grew up loving Spitfires?

Spitfire roundel

I was one of those kids who grew up in Australia being fascinated by the WWII plane – even in the 70s when jets had replaced the prop planes.

I was one of those kids who loved the Spitfire model plane kits.

Even now as a dad, one of the Christmas presents I got most excited about – was a Spitfire kit. I’ll make it with my son and introduce him to the Spitfire too.

Model Ps MP

These days I’m a word nerd who trains people to help  improve their speeches and writing.

word nerd CU

This week my love of speeches intersected with my love of Spitfires.

This week was the 28th anniversary of the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster and I was reminded of Ronald Reagan’s assuring address to the nation.

His speech borrowed from the famous words of “The Spitfire Poet” – John Gillespie Magee Jr.

Reagan borrowed…”slipped the surly bonds of Earth” to “touch the face of God.”

Magee was an interesting combination – of poet and pilot.

He had an American father and a British mother. When WWII broke out he joined the Royal Canadian Airforce (before the US entered the war)

He flew Spits and captured the ecstasy of flying a Spit in his famous poem High Flight.

He died at 19 in a Spitfire accident – a mid-air collision – yet his words live on.

In the link at the end of this post you read more about the Spitfire Poet and read the poem in full and how it continues to be an inspiration to pilots and even astronauts.

It’s interesting – the words “touched the face of God” were inspired by another poem.

I love the lines:

Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
 I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
 

and

I’ve trod
 The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
 – Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

I encourage you to read more about Magee and Spitfires and the ecstasy of High Flight.

Wikipedia link about The Spitfire Pilot and High Flight

And here are links to other posts inspired by Spitfires and Roundels:

1.Spitfires, Roundels, and Mods

2.Kids and Spitfires and model planes

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These days, lots of people and organisations need help with how to COPE with too much work, too much information, too many meetings, delivering difficult news etc.   I like to help people COPE.

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Memories of Captain and Tennille – the story behind that Captain hat and name!

What image do you think of when you think of  the duo Captain & Tennille?

Captain & T photos

For me – it is that “Captain’s hat”.

I hadn’t thought about the duo since the 1970s until  recent news of the duo divorcing.

(O.K. – There was one, brief time when I thought of Captain & Tennille – when I  had to explain to my son a Captain & Tennille reference in Modern Family where Phil Dunphy refers to his fists as Captain & Tennille.)

Anyway, I started thinking about how clever their “branding” was – and I wanted to know the story behind that name and captain’s hat!

Why the name “Captain”?

The Captain’s real name is Daryl Dragon.

Apparently, when he played as keyboardist with The Beach Boys, Mike Love gave him the nickname Captain.

Daryl then started wearing the Captain hat to go with the nickname.

In my opinion very,very clever.

Names are so common place in entertainment. Coming up with a memorable name is so important.

“Captain” stands out.

The name plus that hat – REALLY stands out!

I love how Captain would wear that hat – even with a tuxedo! This was his “trademark look”.

Captain - hat and tux

I remember being a kid dancing to my mum’s record of Captain & Tennille – Love Will Keep Us Together.

To  kid at the time – this was a cool, rockin’ track.

Tennille’s 70s haircut reminded me of Purdy’s haircut in The New Avengers. Don’t get me started about Purdy!!!

O.K. back to the Captain!

I loved the groovy keyboard solo in Love Will Keep Us Together!

I didn’t enjoy Muskrat Love that much – not compared to Love Will Keep Us Together!

What are your memories of Captain & Tennille?? Your favourite tracks?

I never knew Captain’s  real name. I didn’t care. I just remembered that hat!

As a kid, I always thought Tennille was the first name of the woman. Of course it was her last name.

Her full name is Cathryn Antoinette (“Toni”) Tennille

Why Tennille?

TBMMCW.001

These days as a writing coach and trainer – I teach about the power of the sound of words and in advertising and speeches how to make messages stand out and be memorable.

In my opinion.

the T in Tennille – goes well with the T in CapTain.

Of course Toni has a T too – but I reckon Tennille is a rarer name and stands out more.

Plus Captain &  Toni would sound like Jimmy Buffett’s Captain Tony.

Also, maybe it was just  sign of those male-dominated times – but “leading” with the Captain works well.

To me this was the most “distinctive” part.

What about you?

Maybe you can think of other artists who don’t go by their real names – but have a more memorable name.

Some even have trademark hats/ headgear!

Please add in the comments section below – any artist/band names that really stand out for you – and why the name/image hooked your attention.

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Did your parents have any albums that were so “groovy” you just had to add the albums to your collection?

It was like striking oil – finding this album in a box of old vinyl records I’d left at my folk’s place when I moved to another city.

Lots of great memories came gushing out!!! Black vinyl gold – Texas Tea!

S & G

I remember this album so well. It was my mum’s album and I remember being “blown away” by the groovy art work.

Even just looking at the cover now – gets me  “feeling groovy”.

Later, when I’d buy my own albums I was more into Joy Division and The Dead Kennedys – but when I left home I wanted to take this Simon & Garfunkel album with me. (The album went back to my folks with boxes of some other stuff – when I later moved to another  city!)

Joy D

Dead Kennedys

I remember the lyrics to “I am a Rock” got me interested in writing and “poetic devices” and song lyrics – and probably helped turn me into a word nerd!

S&G1

word nerd CU

What about you?

Did your parents have any albums that had a big effect on your life? CDs or vinyl!

Please share your comments below.

The great thing about vinyl was the big art work – not the same looking at a smaller CD cover!

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Scrub Me Do – working through every Beatles album in order – the early years

early albums

What memories do you get when you hear songs from the early Beatles albums?

For me it’s dancing as kids around our old radiogram – often jumping so hard, the needle jumped and skipped.

radiogram

I lived in Australia. Back in the 60s we still had a big British influence – Standing for the Queen (on film) at the movies. Our maps at school had the Commonwealth in pink in parts all over the world.

I’d go to dress-ups like this:

Whitfield

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Quick explanation of Scrub Me Do.

Today, I took advantage of a rare opportunity – to attempt to listen to every Beatles album in order – a house to myself, lots of cleaning to do, a good sound system and every Beatles album at my disposal. Bliss.

Beatles collection

In one session I worked my way from Please Please Me to The White Album. I’ll finish the rest in another session.

I was cleaning a house and doing chores – so I called the project Scrub Me Do. 

scrub me do

Witty friends suggested other puns – I’m Only Sweeping and Yellow Washing Machine.

broom

Other friends shared how they’d also listened to every album in order – though over several days.

I’m sharing the experience and the memories Scrub Me Do brought back.

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As a kid, we never owned these early albums.

Sure, my groovy mum seemed to have several singles – but not the albums. Many of these early songs I’d never heard until today.

mum TV

Hearing the songs I DID know  brought back a flood of warm memories like twisting around the radiogram.

And the cool toy Beatles guitar my parents got me!

beatles toy guitar

Back then, Australia seemed to lag  behind the UK and the US.

The state I lived in (Queensland) lagged behind the rest of Australia and the city I lived in (Cairns in Far North Queensland ) lagged behind the rest of Queensland.

Still, listening to The Beatles seemed so  exciting – the music sounded so energetic and (to me) wild with the screaming and primitive-sounding vocals – Twist and Shout.

When I started learning guitar – like thousands of kids around the world – I listened again and again to my mum’s  45s trying to learn how to play George’s licks and lead solos.

Probably the same way George had listened to learn his Chuck Berry licks .

I can still play the lead solo from Roll Over Beethoven – note for note.

Trouble is – that’s the only solo I can do and I would play if for most songs – even when I later played in bands at uni in the 80s!

Happy Men gig

Funny how attitudes change!

I remember as a young boy – not liking Paul’s “softer” and sweeter songs he sang like the cover  Till There Was You. (from With The Beatles)

PPM C

B PPM

Today I truly appreciated how sweetly he could sing. So beautiful!

Paul could also “rough it up” in songs like  Twist and Shout – but as a boy I was most impressed by  Lennon’s raw vocals in that song. (From Please Please Me)

B WTB1

Then of course, there was the magic of  “that chord” – you know the chord and the song I am talking about!

B HDN1

Listening to these early albums in my project Scrub Me Do – made me feel like a kid again!

Not a cool teenager – but an over enthusiastic 8 or 9 year old.

Today I was jumping up and down and screaming along and  even playing “broom guitar” over George’s solos.

broom guitar

Lucky I had the place to myself!

What are the stand out songs for you on these early albums?

What memories do they bring back for you?

Please share in the comments section below.

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I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious  business communication tips and writing. Lots of writing posts!

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Scrub Me Do – working through every Beatles album in order! Lots of great memories.

Do you every have one of those rare moments where you get a chance to do something you wanted to do for a long time?

early albums

A musical mate of mine and I spoke about working through every Beatles album – in order!

Happy Men gig

Today, I have a house to myself and a friend’s collection of every Beatles album.

Today’s THE DAY!

Beatles collection

Beatles For Sale is playing in the background right now.

I’m cleaning a friend’s place we have been house-sitting in.

scrub me do

She’s coming back tonight/this evening  – so I’m on a mission to achieve this long-held goal.

A young drummer I used to play with was soooo good at Ringo-style drumming.  He said his dad would put on Beatles albums when the family had a cleaning session.

So, that’s  also what helped inspired today’s mission – Cleaning with the Beatles – or as I call it Scrub Me Do. 

B WTB1

So many memories flooding back – with these songs – many I haven’t heard since I was a kid.

Have you had similar meaningful moments – certain music-listening goals? Please share in the comments section below. Doesn’t have to do with the Beatles.

This listening to music  may be something for people who grew up in the” listen to a whole album” era and for “crazies” like me who want to experience every album – in order!

ANYWAY – better get back to All My Scrubbing.

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What are your memories of The Jam and Paul Weller?

What memories come back to you when you hear the music of The Jam?

the-jam-down-in-the-tube-station-at-midnight-polydor

For me, the music brigs back memories that are a powerful mixture of admiration and angst  – fascination and frustration!

I was blown away by the power and energy of their music and Paul Weller’s songwriting and especially his lyrics.

I was also frustrated that I could never be as cool as Paul – his clothes, his haircut, and his general image.

I played in uni bands trying to get UK indie look.

Egg 2

But I was too ethnic-looking – I looked more like De Niro in his Rupert Pupkin era.

TB egg polo neck

Our band was in Australia – but there were lots of impressionable Jam fans here too.

There was even a bit of a Mod  revival scene – with “Mods” trying to look cool but sweating so much in their Parkas in hot Australia.

You could only wear your parkas comfortably in “winter” – which in Queensland lasted about a week 🙂

I wasn’t cool enough to be a Neo-Mod – but I’ve always liked the Mod music and design – and I still do.

TB cafe parka

I still love wearing my Parka! and my Jam shirt – even in my “responsible dad” years.

The Jam T shirt

What about you? Are you still proud to be a Jam fan?

When I listen to the Jam, it brings back memories of my mates spray-painting the The Jam all around the place.

logo_jam

I was happy for but envious of a mate who got a beautiful shiny Rickenbaker  – that looked just like the type Weller played.

Oh, how I wanted a guitar like that!

Can you relate?

Jam ricks

Actually, both Paul Weller and  bass player Bruce Foxton had  “matching” Ricks! They looked so cool!

I also remember my mate searching through so many Op shops looking for Jam-like  striped jackets.

You can be a bit obsessive when you’re young!

The Jam fashion

This week I’ve been reading and enjoying the book The Modfather – My Life with Paul Weller about a young UK fan’s obsession with The Jam and Paul Weller.

If you’re a Jam and Paul Weller fan –  you’ll dig it –  it’s a fun read.

Modfather

I’ve been listening to lots of Jam music too – and appreciating just how good Weller’s lyrics were. I appreciatehis brilliance now being older.

I now work as a writing coach and trainer.

word nerd CU

If you’re interested in Weller’s lyrics – his songs inspired these posts.

1.How Paul Weller’s lyrics can help you improve your writing – That’s Entertainment

2.Slashed-seat affairs – How Paul Weller uses “anti-adjectives”

3.Down in the tube station at midnight – write like a movies camera from different angles

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everest

I blog about fun pop culture stuff as well as more serious  business communication tips and writing. Lots of writing posts!

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