Tag Archives: Mango Groove

I Feel Like Dancing

18 Oct

The first rule of self-promotion is to keep your audience in the loop, so here’s me being loopy:

The first edit of Apartheid’s All Right If You’re White is finished!

You know, my book of poetry memoir about my time in South Africa during and after Apartheid.  Pay attention, people.  How can I self-promote if you’re not listening?

I say ‘first edit’ but it has been edited to the nth degree.  The first poem was probably written about 1992.  My skills have improved a little since then and the poem is probably quite different to how it started life.  Poems are never finished; they are simply polished to the level of my ability.

The poems first appeared in public on a short-lived blog dedicated to them.  I added the memoir for context.  That would have been that but Viv nagged me to gather and edit them for publication.  Her reward is to critique the finished product.  Pseu is also being punished.  Thank you, ladies.

I feel like dancing because it has taken about six months (and twenty years) to get this far.  Summer interrupted; visitors interrupted; new sheds interrupted; illness interrupted…i.e. I did anything but work on it.  

I write, therefore I procrastinate.

My intention was to self-publish, as you know, but Viv insists that I first try submitting the collection to unwary publishers.  Look out for a slew of despairing posts on yet another rejection.  

I write, therefore editors assassinate.

Once Viv and Pseu have done their evil but essential work, I will re-edit and begin submitting.  Look out for my next post on the subject in 2014.


I might as well get all the poetry stuff out of the way in one post:

You may remember in the summer I had three poems displayed on the Bolton Arts Trail.  All of the poems on the trail have been gathered together into one anthology.  Look:

I was excited to find one of my poems was first in the anthology – that’s never happened before.  It was dumb luck, of course: the poems are arranged alphabetically, according to the name of the shop in which they were displayed.  

I’m a writer; I need dumb luck.  And a little dancing.

In fact, that’s what I did when my edit was done: I put on some Mango Groove and gave it some wellly around the living room.  And I’m going to do that every time I complete a book stage.

‘You Look So Daft’

7 Jul

Thus spake my beloved husband yesterday,

when I completed my latest challenge.

Writing yesterday’s 101/1001 post coincided with a month’s worth of rain coming down in 24 hours (sadly, no hyperbole there).  It seemed like the perfect opportunity to complete Challenge No. 20: Dance in the rain.

I put on Mango Groove’s Hometalk the best dance track, ever; I’m having it at my funeral – ordered the Hub to pick up his camera, and stepped out into our sodden garden.

Here is the result (excuse the blurry pics – I was moving and it was raining):

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you hit the arrow quickly, you can see me dance.

I danced barefoot in the rain for 4.14 minutes.  It was liberating to do something and not give a damn about what anyone else thought of me.  Some of the neighbours must have noticed, given our low fences and shared walls.  I don’t care.  I had a blast.

There was just one problem: it was Peter Kay’s fine rain, and I wasn’t drenched.

Next time I dance in the rain, there had better be a hurricane or the Hub’s going to cop it.



No Contest

20 Feb

When you’re feeling down, what music cheers you up?

I Could Be Happy

8 Oct

I was stuck for something to write about today, until I took a look at this week’s Plinky Prompts email and it suggested I list ten things that make me happy.  I thought it would be easy, but it’s not.  Let’s take a minute to think about it.  My immediate reaction was ‘Maltesers’ and ‘Watching The West Wing‘ (the Hub & kids came waaaay down the list because they are too much like hard work) and all of those things that give us momentary pleasure.  But that’s not the same thing at all.  I found a great video on You Tube by  Videojug called How to be happy, which gives us seven simple steps to happiness.   However, I wonder just how happy Videojug is because he won’t share, so you’ll have to visit it yourself.

The best advice he gives is to ‘turn off that Morrissey record’.  He’s absolutely right: stop listening to misery and you’re halfway there already.  My Mum requested Whitney Houston’s version of I Will Always Love You to be played at her funeral, and I sobbed for the whole four minutes (give me a break; my mother had just died), so I want something cheerful at my funeral that will get everyone dancing (apart from the Hub, who will need no help, having been doing a jig to MLK’s Free at last! speech from the moment I take my last drool).  Maybe something by Mango Groove:

I think New Orleanians have it right, with their musical parades:

That’s what I call a funeral.

Not sure how I went from happiness to funerals; back to the subject at hand: I had to really think about what makes me happy because it comes from within and in my case will be hidden by chocolate; but I reckon for me, happiness comes from being true to myself.  I love my family; I love God; I love to write; I love to make people laugh; I love to laugh myself; I love to laugh at myself.  That’s enough for me. 

What makes you happy?


The prompt for Big Tent this week was to borrow a line from someone else’s poem and use it as a springboard.  This is something I often do when I’m stuck for something to write; but it didn’t work for me this week (which I’m not happy about), so here’s more from the archives, inspired more by style than substance.  You can check out Roger McGough at  http://www.rogermcgough.org.uk/

My Favourite Poet

I’ve been reading Roger McGough.
I hope he makes a lot of dough.
If I ever meet him, I’ll bow down low;
Or perhaps I’ll bough down lough.


How To Annoy A Poet

Roger McGough
would be hacked off
if he could only see
the liberties I’ve taken
with his excellent poetry. 

Alas, I’m a poet with no audience.
At least they can’t be boredience.


Let’s Dance

21 Apr

I think we’ll have some Mango Groove because we haven’t had any for a while. I love this track because when you hear it you just have to dance.

I am feeling optimistic today. Yesterday’s getting lazy housewives into gainful employment session was much better. I think perhaps Our Leader was gauging character the first time, seeing who needs reining in and who needs dragging out by the neck. When the loudest of us decided to call a smoke break the OL was quick to stop her, and she immediately backed down and sat down. Like children, we just need clear guidance and to know our boundaries.

We are given half an hour for lunch and it was interesting to see who brought their own and who could afford McDonalds, a packet of crisps, a chocolate and a cool drink. Those who profess to be poorest bought take out; the rest of us brought packed lunches, including one who dipped her cold Coronation Chicken sandwich in her tomato cupasoup – bleuggh! The girl who can’t fill her cupboard brought nothing at all and wouldn’t accept anything except a spare cupasoup; I suppose she couldn’t face the sandwich.



The prompt is ‘heroes’. I wrote the first one in response; the second has nothing to do with the theme but I am sharing it because it prompted the third, which I wrote after hearing a story told to me by a fellow poet; and it contains useful information for goldfish owners. Apologies if you’ve seen the last two before.


Still Waiting


My hero will be the one

unafraid to stand against

the bullies and the bombs.

Who will act on principle,

not polls; who will lead

where the brave will

follow, and

free us from terror.



An Interesting Fact About Goldfish


He is green around the gills;

He is floating on his side.

You can see that he is ill;

You assume that he has died.

An ordinary mistake

Goldfish owners often make.

He can be resuscitated:

He is merely constipated.


A garden pea, minus shell

Rescues him from goldfish hell.

Soon, he’s swimming round the bowl,

Can’t recall his bunged-up hole.

Little fishy’s full of beans.

Moral: always eat your greens.



My Hero

For Jock, who saved a life


Viv’s Other Half kissed a fish

Whose life was null and void.

He who once had breathed his last

Cried out, ‘Hey, Jock! Not so fast!

I know I’m quite a dish

But I never go for boys.’


Big Day

2 Apr

Big.  That’s the theme for National Blog Posting Month.  In April, like NaPoWriMo, and to which I have also signed up.  Problem is, I have no big announcements and all I can think of is Tom Hanks in the movie Big.  And that’s all I have to say about that.  I thought I would for once avoid the obvious self-deprecating fat jokes so I Googled ‘Big’ to see what came up.

I should have realised that there would be more than one movie with the word ‘big’ in the title: The Big Lebowski and The Big Chill, for starters: the former is famous for having a dude Jeff Bridges and the latter for having a dead Kevin Costner, preternaturally foreshadowing his career after Waterworld (which I rather liked, incidentally).  He played the corpse in TBC and his scenes ended up on the cutting floor. 

Google also reminded me that there is Big Ben (a time machine), Big Brother (a time waster) and The Big Issue (time to do your bit for homeless people).   Did you know that Big Ben is actually the name of the bell and not the tower?  According to Wikipedia, ‘Big Ben is the largest four-faced chiming clock and the third-tallest free-standing clock tower in the world.’  Hmm.  This post is so dull it’s practically a horology story.

But I was surprised by the number of companies using the initials B.I.G.  – two.  I thought there’d be loads more.  I did like the home page of the Bjarke Ingels Group.  Check it out for yourself and try not to snigger if you’re English and reading this: http://www.big.dk/

I also liked the name of a little tourist attraction in Devon: http://www.thebigsheep.co.uk/  The blurb invites us to ‘Take yourself on a tour of our website and you will find out how our unique North Devon attraction is devoted to sheep.’  You’ve got to love a place devoted to sweaters and Sunday dinner and offering ‘9 live sheepy shows every day.’

Going off topic now, it is time for Day 2 of NaPoWriMo, but before that, I have hidden the word ‘BIG’ twice in the above paragraphs; see if you can find them.  What else do you have to do?  All of the shops are shut and there’s nothing on the telly. 

I’m afraid I’m going to be a day behind as far as the writing prompts are concerned; I hope you don’t mind.  Yesterday’s prompt was to take five song titles and work them into a poem.  I will give you the titles after the poem; see if you can spot them.


Frances Farmer Wanted A Life


Picture this:

her mama tried. 

Her mama tried;

her mama tried. 

Her mama failed. 


She was

just another nervous

wreck on a bleak life ride,

always moments away

from crazy jail.

Poor Frances. 

They called it ‘madness’ –

those who, safe in their

sanity, electrocuted her

soul; they called her mad.



The songs are:

Picture This – Blondie (or Wet Wet Wet)

Mama Tried – Merle Haggard (my Dad was a massive country & western fan)

Just Another Nervous Wreck – Supertramp

Moments Away – Mango Groove

Madness  –  Madness


I’m Alive, And I Have The Painkillers To Prove It

2 Feb

Yesterday began like every big event in my life begins – childbirth, exams, shopping – with a shower.   No shaving, however: I am a married woman, after all, and I don’t want to give anyone the wrong idea. There’ll be time enough to shave for my future standby dentist husband when the Hub is castaway.  Don’t worry: the Hub knows all about it and is hoping I’m castaway first so that he can get Ashton to dump Demi and move on with his life.  I’m babbling now; slap me, someone, but form an orderly queue.  Blame the tablets.

I’m not sure that Mr Lee –  my future standby dentist husband and on-off chief teeth caregiver for ten years  – recognised me until he shoved his head in my mouth and saw my manky left molar, but I’ll let that pass.  By the time he was standing behind and over me, applying a corkscrew to my wisdom tooth and punching and twisting it so hard that the woman in the surgery underneath who had only come in for a steam clean went home with an extraction as well, I was past caring.  It was not a simple procedure, he informed me; though not as difficult as he had expected.  ‘Well thashallwight then,’ I wepwied, and twied to phone the Hub to cowect me.  Unfortunately, he thought my first three calls were from a child who had discovered the joys of phoning and it was only on the fourth call when I started crying and the blubbering sounded like the end of every argument we’ve ever had, that he realised it was me.

The procedure was horrible, but not as horrible as I had expected.  The worst part was getting anaesthetic: five injections, though I only felt three and a half, but one of those was near a nerve and felt like an electric shock.  That might explain why I spent the whole hour rigid on the couch like an inmate in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest.  The painkillers are for my neck as much as my mouth.  What helped keep me strapped to the chair was my brilliant husband’s idea: my MP3 player.  I’ve only used it twice since Christmas – mostly because I can’t work it properly yet – but I took it along and listened to the brilliant Mango Groove while the blood was sucked from my gums and Mr Sadist Lee – who I don’t think I am going to marry, after all; I’ll settle for an optician instead – hacked away at my ivories.  It was like the soundtrack was made for the occasion: it started with Hellfire when I was having my injections, as in, ‘your [anaesthetic] burns me like a hellfire.’.  Next came Too Many Tears, accompanying my blubbing when it hurt; and as he finished up it was Hometalk

And finally, I was a Special Star because I had endured it all so stoically. 

Aside: check out Mango Groove online; they are the best South African pop group ever.  It was almost worth living through apartheid and the violence that followed just to discover them. 

The Hub brought me home, ignoring the wet hand stains on my pants from my encounter with the surgery toilets, tucked me up in bed and fed me soup and painkillers.  I slept and read and slept and watched The Untouchables  for the zillionth time – there’s nothing like watching Bob de Niro beat a man’s brains out with a baseball bat to make me feel better – and slept.  My biggest problem was drinking (stop it!): I could only use the left side of my mouth but I couldn’t open it enough to use a glass.  the Hub gave me an old plastic cup he found in the back of the cupboard; the type with an inbuilt curly straw, but that didn’t stop me from spilling water all over my pyjamas.  I must have had a bit of a temperature because it dried quite quickly (I felt too poorly to get out of bed and change).  I thought at first that I wasn’t feeling too bad, just before I borrowed a baby and named it after my dog and the Hub bought a gross of pretty dark blue kettles with flowers on them for 6pence each, buy two get one free, at Home Bargains.  When I woke up, the anaesthetic had worn off and I knew it, in the way that you do after going eight rounds with a wrestling dentist.

A good night’s sleep last night didn’t help much, and I woke this morning to intense pain, numbness in the tongue and a hugely swollen face.  However, the self-pity is wearing off now so the pain is merely uncomfortable, the numbness reduced to a slight tingle and the swelling is barely noticeable.  Salt rinses, antibiotics and co-codamol are doing their job, and I feel well enough now to lie on the couch all day and watch telly.  Once my stitches have dissolved in a couple of days I will feel ready to tackle housework again, but I don’t want to push it, do I? 

Don’t you think it’s bizarre how losing a wisdom tooth has made me so cunning?

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