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Starlight Promotions – 4 – My Memoirs – sounds get more selective.


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So it’s the mid 90’s; Starlight Promotions is up and running and I’m getting busier and busier. The website is getting a lot of hits and I’m learning about sound recordings. I figured out how to put the sounds on the website and I asked the bands to give me one song that I could use so that the customers could listen. I used the Windows sound recorder to pick a part of the song which best reflected the sound of the band or artist. So most of the clips were 60 seconds long. The trick was choosing which 60 secs to record. Sometimes it was the intro. which was the most interesting and at other times it was the guitar riff in the middle or the fantastic drum solo at the end. Choices, choices!

For the party bands, I had the demos. but it was costly to post them out all the time and sometimes I didn’t get them back so the sound clips became more and more important. The sounds of the party bands needed to show their singing and playing abilities whereas the unique,new,Indie bands needed to show off their particular strengths.

So Starlight was evolving. There were the bread and butter songs and then there were the new bands, looking to be famous. I wanted to promote them more even than I wanted to provide music for weddings and parties. At this point I will say that there wasn’t much money in it! It was more of a hobby and a very interesting one at that.

Together with a friend from one of the bands, who I shall call A, we decided to break off the individual band part and set up a record label with our own name. We thought up a name to suit us both. We called it Mangoneworld. I found out how to get a bar-code for the CD. That also proved to be very interesting. Once we had the name, the business and the bar-code, we made a record and assigned it to our own label.

This is it:

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The band is Grief Society and the song below is called ‘Pin Cushion’. You can buy it or the CD on Itunes.com.

 

Can you let me know please, if the sound thingy works? Thank you.

Oma

 

 

 

Sand


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Our lives are short and full of sand

which shifts and trickles through our hands.

No longer can I take for granted

That tomorrow we shall not be parted!

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We fill our buckets on the beach

with dreams and hopes we try to reach

But sorrow knocks on every door

The shifting sands are here once more.

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These grains of sand like hairs are numbered

but bronzed and lazy we do but slumber.

Unaware that days like these

Will disappear upon the breeze.

 

S. Jones

Starlight Promotions


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When my three boys were growing up and getting interested in music, it was really popular to want an electric guitar, learn to play it and then join a band.  When you think about it, that’s an awful lot to do, isn’t it.  It can take a year or more to become proficient on the guitar.  Then you have to find like minded people who want to join a band with you and then there are the practises!

My eldest son wanted a guitar.  We bought him one for Christmas, thinking that it might be a five minute wonder.  We were wrong.  He soon became addicted, sitting up in his bedroom night after night, sometimes all night, teaching himself the chords and listening to the sort of music he liked, mostly classic rock or heavy metal.

My then husband J had always played guitar, folk mostly on an acoustic and the boys grew up with music always in the house.  They told me later that they thought every house was full of music and guitars and were surprised to find that other people’s houses were different.

After about a year, my son could play.  He then started sending off for complicated guitar riffs (the solo bits in the middle of a piece) and studied those with a compulsion.  He didn’t neglect his school work, luckily.

I’ll skip a bit here, which I may come back to later, but what followed next concerned me and my life.

Once in a band, my son (R) needed somewhere to play.  Local pubs and clubs would let the bands play but they preferred a band to be experienced and play songs which other people could recognise.  By now the band was writing its own stuff and wanted to show it off.  In order to play in a pub, the band had to get some fans to come along and support them.  This, of course, ensured that the pub landlord got bums on seats and received money for beer at the same time.  The band would be paid a remuneration at the end of the night.  This is where I come in.  The boys in the band may have looked fierce, but they were still young and were shy to go up and ask for the money.  My husband and I went to support the band and I offered to get the money for them at the end of the evening. This worked well all round.  While the band were putting their instruments away, I would get the money and then give it to them when it was safe to do so.

The pub landlords got to know me and it wasn’t long before they were ringing me up and asking if I could get them a band to play on the next Saturday night.  Perhaps they’d been let down or just hadn’t managed to get a band.  I knew quite a few bands by then, friends of my sons and friends of their friends and they would also ask me if I could get them a gig somewhere or other.  It was fun!

Then one day someone asked me if I could get them a band for a wedding party.  The bands I was working with were not exactly suitable for weddings so I decided to advertise.  That is how Starlight Promotions came into being.

I am talking about the time circa 1992 and it was before many people were on the Internet so they were limited as to how they could find information.  These days people would just go on to Google or one of the other search engines and type in ‘wedding bands’ or ‘entertainment agencies’ but at the time I’m talking about, it was mostly word of mouth.

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to be continued …

Dylan at the seaside.


Dylan in Norfolk - May 2014

This is my little grandson, Dylan, having a great time at the seaside this weekend past.  He is still enjoying Spiderman and wears anything spiderman related that he can find. Looks cute, doesn’t he.

We haven’t seen very much of Dylan lately and I do miss him, but we were finding that having him all day was too much, especially as he kept asking ‘when is daddy coming to collect me?’ Clearly we ancients are not his idea of fun even though we tried very hard to amuse him all the time he was with us.

It is hard for working parents, I know. But it is also hard for grandparents who lack the energy of a three year old.

We were discussing the situation with one of my other sons the other day and he explained that these days, the 30 somethings were an ‘entitled generation’. They have been brought up to expect things done for them. This has quite a big impact of all our lives. If you are of that generation, reading this, I don’t want to sound harsh. I can only tell it how it is to us.

We have given free child-care for 3 1/2 years, but it’s never enough or so it seems. I would love to be 30 something myself but I never will be again, sadly. I do not have the will or the energy. When Dylan came along, I thought it would be like taking care of one of my own little boys, but I quickly discovered that things, which I took for granted in the 70’s, I can no longer do. For example, I could only lift the baby for a little while and when I leaned forward to put him in the cot, my back hurt unbearably. I needed help and got it from J, but he also got tired very quickly. Even with three of us here, it is difficult to be ‘on’ all the while throughout the day.

So things have changed here. We only see Dylan when his daddy brings him round, but at least we see him sometimes. It is not enough for us to have him for just a couple of hours. He needs care all the day so it is very much an all or nothing situation. I know there are lots of grandparents who don’t see their grandchildren at all for one reason or another and there are many who don’t have any grandchildren and never will have and I feel for them.

Life is so different to when I was young. I was so happy to be at home with my little ones and enjoyed every minute. I didn’t get bored or ‘brain-dead’ being with children. Life is very much what you make of it, isn’t it.

So I’m getting used to the new situation, slowly.

Oma

My memoirs – J and I, our first home.


Jim and Stella first home1

I’ve been ill with the flu all week – horrid. It was a week when I discovered Larry didn’t know how to peel potatoes and Jim didn’t know how to load the washing machine! Oh well, perhaps I’ll feel better next week.

While I was lying in bed feeling awful, I got to thinking about my next post on here. What should I write about? It seemed some time since I wrote a post for my memoirs, mainly because I’ve been caught up in Larry’s posts about his finding on life over here in the U.K. I

I am writing these memoirs for my boys. Perhaps they will like reading them one day. This one is particularly significant and I hardly known where to start. It is about young love and discovery. It also touches on ‘becoming invisible as we get older’ because I am 62 year’s old now; but I wasn’t always old. I wasn’t always an Oma. I was a young lady – that’s me in the picture with my first husband J. We weren’t married yet. When you look at this picture, see me as the young lady I was, not the old lady I’ve become. I’m still here. I just look different and I think differently about life, based on my experiences. I digress…

It is May 1970. I am 18 years old and J is 21. We  are preparing for our wedding in August. We have know each other for four years already and we are planning to get married to the day that we met, i.e. August 15th. For me it is a happy day, a very special day. J and I met on August 15th, 1966 and we married four years later. The marriage was to last for 36 years and we are still great friends to this day.

We saved to get a deposit for the flat (apartment) you see in the picture. It cost apx  £3,200 and our deposit was £1,000. Neither of us earned very much money because we were so young and J was still studying for his degree as a research chemist. He wouldn’t complete the course until three years later, although he already had an H.N.C (Higher National Certificate) in Chemistry. So in those early days I was earning more than he was,just!, as a Sales Administrator at Electrolux. In those days it was only the husband’s salary which counted for the mortgage and then only 2 1/2 times, nothing like it is nowadays. We were lucky to get a mortgage at all. Despite saving diligently in the Halifax Building Society for 3 years, we were still turned down. They said they didn’t lend money on flats and we couldn’t afford a house. Then J’s father took matters into his own hands. He went down to the Building Society and ‘threatened’ to take his own savings out and put them somewhere else if they didn’t give his son a mortgage! Nowadays that probably wouldn’t cut any ice, but then it did. He had significant savings and they listened. Our mortgage was granted (thanks dad) and we got on the first rung of the ladder.

The flat was new, brand new and I can’t tell you how excited I was to get it. My mum promised to buy us some curtains so that they were all the same. They were bright orange and one of the walls was purple. All very 70’s and high fashion at the time. Later on one of my hamsters would chew a big hole in one of those expensive curtains, but I’ll keep that story for another time.

Our flat was on the ground floor, at the front of the building. There was a bus-stop right outside, which was very convenient. I could walk to work and J could get the bus. Bit by bit we bought carpet and furniture and made a cosy home.

In the picture I am wearing a mini-skirt dress. It was made of crimplene, a very fashionable material at the time. I think it was a pale green colour.

Here are some interesting facts about May 1970 in the U.K.

So, we had chosen our home, booked the church for our wedding and the venue for the wedding reception. My dress was chosen as were the dresses for the two bridesmaids. We were almost there…

What were you doing in May 1970?

Life in the U.K. – Larry’s update at four months.


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Here is his take on the first 3-4 months.

Larry’s chair in Knoxville is empty these days because, as you know, he is now over here.

‘Three Months in England – or is it Four?

I must admit I have lost count. Time flies when you’re having fun!

Accomplishments this month include
• mastering the UK currency (which involves twice as many coins as in America),
• committing the local neighborhood to memory (it’s less than a 10 minute walk to the supermarket, dry cleaners, doctor, dentist, several restaurants, Bramingham Wood, and much more),
• rediscovering the problems caused by the U.S. Postal Service refusing to forward mail beyond U.S. borders (European countries have been doing this for decades),
• finally finding an “eagle” at Bank of America who understands how to make repetitive wire transfers to a UK Bank (although even she was unable to correct the mailing address on my Bank of America checking account),
• having minor surgery to remove a basil cell carcinoma (my 8th in the past 30 years) from the back of my neck, at no cost!

Americans have to contend with pennies (1 cent), nickels (5 cents), dimes (10 cents) and quarters (25 cents). Actually pennies are just used to fill glass jars. Hardly anyone pays with pennies anymore. In the UK there are coins for 1 pence, 2 pence, 5 pence, 10 pence, 20 pence, 50 pence, 1 pound, and 2 pounds. To help out a bit, the 20 pence and 50 pence coins aren’t round – they have seven sides. Why seven and not six sides or eight sides, you ask? No one seems to know. At least in the UK the 10 pence coin is larger than the 5 pence coin. I never did understand why dimes are smaller than nickels.

Suburban neighborhoods in the UK are designed for walking. There are paved walkways that go between houses, providing shortcuts that avoid having to walk along busy roadways with almost constant vehicular traffic (you can still choose the paths beside these roadways if you wish, but it certainly isn’t as pleasant). However, sidewalks are called “pavements” in the UK, whereas the pavement in America is the roadway itself. Obviously it’s important here to know what you are talking about.

This past month I ran across an interesting postal problem. The U.S. Postal Service will not forward mail to other countries. And Bank of America will not allow its client’s to have a mailing address outside the USA. That means that a form mailed to me from Bank of America never reached me here at my UK address. Since I didn’t receive the form (I was never told it existed) I didn’t return it. Because I didn’t return the form Bank of America deleted the information allowing me to wire transfer funds to my UK bank. Imagine my surprise when I called Bank of America and was told this little story. Fortunately, after also being told nothing could be done to fix this problem, I found an “eagle” in the Bank of America Wire Transfer Services Department who happily fixed it for me. Thank heavens for those few “eagles (I can do that for you)” in a world full of “ducks (sorry, there’s no way to do that – have a nice day!)”.

For those who believe universally available healthcare can never work, I suggest you investigate the UK National Health Service (NHS). I have seen the doctor here on several occasions, been diagnosed with skin cancer (again), had the lesion surgically removed from the back of my neck by a Russian dermatologist (she did a beautiful job of it), and I have yet to pay a single farthing! I have not had to wait for treatment nor been inconvenienced in any way. Everyone I have seen has been very professional, competent, courteous and genuinely concerned with my wellbeing. No forms to fill out and patient information is shared between doctors, hospitals, laboratories, etc. for maximum efficiency. I would highly recommend it. For those over 60 who aren’t looking forward to the healthcare issues associated with growing older, the benefits of the NHS are obvious.

One of the more obvious benefits of living in the UK involves the way the daily news is delivered, whether by radio, TV, Internet, or printed media. I find the greater focus here on the world’s news events refreshing and enlightening, although sometimes depressing. There’s a lot going on in the world that Americans don’t see. National events here receive appropriate attention to be sure, but reporting of UK events and politics is more reserved, and more time is spent on global events. Perhaps that is due more to geography than anything else, but the contrast with news reporting in the U.S. is dramatic. In the past few years I have grown particularly fatigued with the constant barrage of divisive political reporting in America, usually with obvious bias and unapologetic pandering to a select audience. Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow, where are you…..?

I remember a time when elected politicians claimed (believably) to be representing the views of the people who elected them. American political parties now claim that when they lose an election it’s because they “failed to get their message out”. Maybe it’s the people who aren’t getting their message in! Ten’s of millions of dollars are spent by political parties in America to “win people over to their point of view”. Perhaps politicians should spend that money attempting to understand the point of view of ALL the people who elected them, rather than incessantly “selling” the extreme ideology of an over zealous minority through a news media eager to grab the attention of an increasing polarized American public.

It does appear that American politicians these days are solely interested in their own survival and total destruction of the opposition. The desperation evidenced by factions within a political party willing to furlough thousands of federal employees and default on the full faith and credit of the United States of America, just to destroy a government program they don’t agree with, is something I never imagined I would live to see! It appears now that any means to political victory is justified. Will active sabotage of government programs be the next weapon of political warfare? Those who claim their actions are “saving the nation” seem to be willing to destroy the democracy it is built upon in the process. And the American news media is offering the spotlight and center stage to help them succeed.’

Interesting, isn’t it?

 

Oma

Packing Crates galore!


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This was the scene a couple of weeks ago when the lorry arrived with all our stuff from America on it! There were two crates; you can see the first one opened and the second one is to its left. Larry is going to supervise the operation.

There were various items of furniture plus about fifty boxes of varying sizes to unpack. I have been very busy going through it all and am now down to two boxes, which I hope to tackle tomorrow. When it all first arrived we had a hard time finding room for the boxes. They were everywhere.  Larry had done a great job of packing everything and nothing has broken. One or two knocks on the furniture told the story it its travels across 4,500 mile of land and ocean. Not one glass or piece of china was broken. Remarkable really.

All the boxes were numbered and packed with labels, e.g. U.K or North Carolina because a lot of our stuff went straight to L’s kids. They have gotten their inheritance early!

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