Day 8: A song that you know all the words to #30dsc

30 day challenge day 8: A song that you know all the words to

Ugly Kid Joe—Cat’s In The Cradle

A song that you know all the words to? Is that really supposed to be a challenge? I amaze myself sometimes by singing the lyrics to songs that I’ve not heard for 10 years. Is that information that stored there in my brain preventing me from remembering other stuff? I hope not.

This is another song from 1992—a good year that for me. Ugly Kid Joe rose to fame and this was one of their most popular songs, a cover of the 1974 Harry Chapin song.

This song came to mind because I was talking about it to a friend just the other day. It’s partly because of this song that I try to spend as much time as I do with Reuben, Joshua and Isaac.

Day 7: A song that reminds you of a certain event #30dsc

30 day challenge day 7: A song that reminds you of a certain event

Queen—The Show Must Go On

On Monday 20 April 1992 I travelled down to London for The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert at (the old) Wembley Stadium.

It was, and still is, the largest concert I’d ever attended. And it was brilliant! That day I watched Metallica, Extreme, Def Leppard, Gob Geldof, Spinal Tap, Guns N’ Roses, and Queen perform on the same stage (although not at the same time!).

It was the first and last time I ever saw Queen perform live, but sadly without the incredible Freddie Mercury.

Towards the end of the concert I began to get anxious that I would miss the last tube from Wembley Park back into the city; I was staying with my mum’s cousin at Streatham Common so needed to get a train from either Victoria station or Clapham Junction.

So I left early, fighting my way through the crowd so that I wouldn’t have to do the same at the underground station. I walked out of the stadium as Queen + Elton John were singing The Show Must Go On, and I heard the final two songs We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions on my walk to the underground station.

I felt sorry to be leaving early, but I wore an enormous grin on my face and kept looking back at Wembley Stadium lighting up the sky. An incredible experience.

Day 6: A song that reminds you of somewhere #30dsc

30 day challenge day 6: A song that reminds you of somewhere

WARNING! This video contains flashing images, swearing and scenes which some people may find disturbing.

Slayer—Raining Blood (live)

One summer (I guess it must have been around 1987; I thought it was 1986 but the album Reign In Blood wasn’t released until October 1986 so I guess it wasn’t) I went on a Scripture Union camp to Whitley Bay, near Newcastle-upon-Tyne. We stayed in some kind of holiday accommodation attached to a church there—it might have been the Baptist Church; someone with a better memory will be able to remind me.

Anyway, out shopping in Whitley Bay one afternoon my school friend David bought the latest Slayer album Reign In Blood on 12″ vinyl. Not the kind of album that you would automatically associate with a Christian youth camp, but there you have it. We had slightly different tastes, I guess.

In the evenings, once the younger campers were safely tucked up in their bunk beds the older campers were allowed to stay up late. So we would creep down to the lounge in the basement and crank out Reign In Blood at loud volume.

What an album! 28 minutes of thrash metal. It’s an album that is still regarded by many as the thrash album and one of the most influential metal albums of all time.

To me though, that album reminds me of sitting around with my school friends Kenny, David and Warren, laughing and having fun in a church hall basement in North Tyneside.

Day 5: A song that reminds you of someone #30dsc

30 day challenge day  5: A song that reminds you of someone

Warrior Soul—The Losers

This song reminds me of not just one person but a whole community of people. It reminds me of when I worked with the Shaftesbury Society amongst young homeless people between 1995-1997; not just the homeless folks themselves but the staff too.

Here are the lyrics up to and including the first chorus:

Have you ever wanted
To be someone you’re not
But you look into the world
And you see what you’ve got

There’s nothin’ there
But brains and guts
Finally open the door
And then it shuts

Look to the centre
And I’ll think you’ll find
The people that are gettin’
They are blind

You changed the channel
And there’s nothin’ there
You weren’t born pretty
And it isn’t fair…

Here’s to the losers
The substance abusers
To the rejects
All the imperfects

‘Cause I think we’re beautiful
‘Cause I think we’re beautiful
‘Cause I think we’re beautiful
No matter what anyone says
I think we’re beautiful
The most beautiful in the world

I worked with and alongside so many beautiful people in London. Some died in the struggle (Rebecca and Jake); some ended up in prison; others have gone on to build a more stable life for themselves; many more I’ve lost touch with or whose names I’ve forgotten, but of whom I think frequently.

The paths of our lives crossed for a very short time, but I know for sure that my life was enriched by knowing them (staff and residents alike). They taught me a lot about what’s important in life, they taught me a lot about myself. I laughed and cried with them, they told me about their lives and shared my story with them.

For a good number of staff members that very intense work broke them (emotionally, physically, mentally)—including myself. I remember a particularly uncomfortable 21 days of violence in the hostel I worked in in Bermondsey. I remember a night shift where we had six police officers responding to three separate incidents, and then a fourth incident kicked off while they were still in the building.

Some of us bounced back after a week off of R’n’R. For others it’s been a longer road back to recovery.

But you know, no matter what anyone says: I think we’re beautiful, the most beautiful in the world. And I think that Jesus would tend to agree.

Day 4: A song that makes you sad #30dsc

30 day song challenge day 4: A song that makes you sad

Peter Gabriel—Father, Son

(I wanted to embed the official video but wasn’t able to; you can watch it on YouTube.)

I love this song but it always brings tears to my eyes when I listen to it.

It was written by Peter Gabriel about his father Ralph while on a weekend-long yoga trip. These are the lyrics:

Father, son
Locked as one
In this empty room
Spine against spine
Yours against mine
Till the warmth comes through

Remember the breakwaters down by the waves
I first found my courage
Knowing daddy could save
I could hold back the tide
With my dad by my side

Dogs, plows and bows
We move through each pose
Struggling in our seperate ways
Mantras and hymns
Unfolding limbs
Looking for release through the pain

And the yogi’s eyes are open
Looking up above
He too is dreaming of his daddy’s love
With his dad by his side
Got his dad by his side

Can you recall
How you took me to school
We couldn’t talk much at all
It’s been so many years
And now these tears
Guess I’m still a child

Out on the moors
We take a pause
See how far we have come
You’re moving quite slow
How far can we go
Father and son

With my dad by my side
With my dad by my side
Got my dad by my side
With me

What makes me sad is when I listen to this song is simply that I couldn’t enjoy a longer relationship with my own dad. He died when he was 52 years old, having had a triple sub-arachnoid brain haemorrhage at the age of 38.

I hope that I can have long and meaningful relationships with my three sons.