Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Flamingo Girl

On mothers day we went to visit my mother but she didn't answer the door, which sounds bad, but I should clarify that she didn't answer the door as they don't have a doorbell and they were in the garden. But, rather than try the door and let ourselves in, we hopped back in the car and set off on a drive to find somewhere nice to enjoy the picnic we'd packed.

This was our picnic view. Pretty isn't it. I love the south of England.

It was somewhat windy and I got rather windswept.
A note about curly hair. I love my curls with a passion but have to admit that when curly hair doesn't want to play ball, it will go all out to fight you. Myself and my curls - constant battle of wills!

I decided to combine as many flamingos as I could manage into one outfit on this day, because I thought it was way overdue. I wore my charity shopped orange and pink chiffon scarf in my hair, flamingo stud earrings and my me made jacket with the flamingo brooch my sister got me for my birthday. I might have named it Ralph.

Add to that my flamingo cardigan and flamingo skirt with a Hell Bunny belt, eBay petticoat and my patent heels. My flamingo handbag was also with me but that was in the car.
And yes, I was sinking into the grass! Practical shoes for grassy countryside? Nooo, not when you have patent shoes to wear.

I think I need more flamingos in this outfit though, I'm thinking it isn't quite enough.
I think flamingo shoes would finish this look off nicely. And maybe a necklace. And a charm for my bracelet.

We passed this verge of beautiful flowers on the way home.

* * *

In other news, we're starting to get information through regarding this years London to Brighton Classic Car Run! I mentioned to Andy that it would be fun just after last years event was over, so we signed up for email alerts for when this years signing up started.

We entered Meirionwen in January, on the day sign ups started and are now getting emails and letters through, as the event is in June, so that's exciting ... and daunting, as I am Navigator Extraordinaire! They are the words of the organiser, not me. Andy contacted them about me getting a namecheck somewhere in proceedings, as currently it's just driver and car who get name checked, never mind she who has to get those two there. Mind you, with my sense of direction, we may end up somewhere completely different! Anyway, the organiser got back to us and said I shall be listed as Navigator Extraordinaire in the guide book ...

There's also a best period dressed competition, but after the Tilford saga, when there were very few people dressed up and we lost to a couple in uniforms, I am not hopeful. I believe I shall be wearing the same thing as I did then though, as I have a fascinator style hat for that outfit and otherwise would have to make one as I really, really want to wear a hat.

Unless that is, I can make my vintage Harrods pillbox hat work with my green dress that I wore on Drive It Day. I just had a play and not only is the hat in question moulting but it's also at odds with my today, very wild hair, so again, I am not hopeful! Better the hat you know, than the hat you haven't worn since you had longer hair and have no idea how to wear it with shorter hair.
I'm now wondering if I have any green ribbon so I can make a matching hat for the green dress ...

Interestingly, the two dresses are the same style, but for some reason, the green one looks more voluminous in the skirt area and therefore more fifties, while the leopard seems to fit more for early sixties, before the decade became the sixties and Meirionwen is from 1963, so Andy thinks I should tone the skirtage down a tad.

Phooey, now I don't know what to wear. I was all set for leopard but now have a green dress hankering.

Also, I shall be wearing different shoes as I still haven't had my kitten heels re-heeled. When was that Tilford event that I lost the tappity part of my heel? September and still I haven't taken them to the cobblers.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Death Discs: Leader of the Pack

Lyric Lowdown
The song is about a girl named Betty, who is asked by friends to confirm that she is dating Jimmy, the leader of a motorcycle gang, whose ring they see on Betty's finger. After singing of love at first sight ("(By the way, where'd you meet him?) I met him at the candy store/He turned around and smiled at me/You get the picture?/(Yes, we see) That's when I fell for the Leader of the Pack"), Betty's heart turns to despair as she bemoans her parents' disapproval. The parents claim Jimmy hails from "the wrong side of town" and ask Betty to tell Jimmy goodbye and find someone new. Betty reluctantly does as she is asked, and a crushed and tearful Jimmy speeds off on his motorcycle. Moments later, Jimmy crashes on a rain-slicked surface and dies; Betty's pleas for Jimmy to slow down are in vain.

The Birth of a Classic
The tune of "Leader of the Pack" has been credited to impresario George "Shadow" Morton together with Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich. Morton has said that he wrote the song for the Goodies (also known as the Bunnies), but instead it was needed as a follow-up to the Shangri-Las hit "Remember (Walking in the Sand)".

Morton claims he didn't know  he was expected to have a second idea ready to follow up "Remember (Walking in the Sand)" until Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller asked him, "Hey, what do you want to do for the second record?"

Morton said he "got a bottle of champagne, two cigars" and "went into the shower, sat down, drank the champagne, smoked the cigars, and wrote the song on a shirt cardboard with my kids crayons."

Legend Says
To add the authentic sound of a motorcycle engine, one was actually driven through the lobby of the hotel and up to the floor of the recording studio. Although no one was arrested, it didn't stop a ticket being issued.

Four decades later, however, Shangri-Las lead singer Mary Weiss claimed the motorcycle sound was taken from an effects record. Hugh Grundy, drummer for The Zombies, recalls revving up a motorcycle backstage when the Shangri-Las performed on a U.S. tour.

The record was released as a single by Red Bird Records, which was a Leiber and Stoller label, and hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 on November 28, 1964.

In the United Kingdom, the single was refused airplay by the BBC, probably due to its death theme, although some have speculated that it was considered likely to encourage violence between mods and rockers.

Interestingly, even though the song had been banned by Auntie Beeb, that didn't stop it intruding on a Sunday morning service broadcast by the BBC from the chapel choir at Keele University. The choir had been singing Christ is Our Cornerstone as part of a commemorative service to mark the passing of Winston Churchill, when suddenly Leader of the Pack came blaring into proceedings, played it is said, by a free spirited drama student over the halls PA system in protest to the song being banned. The choir, in an attempt to drown it out, sang louder but it made no difference and the BBC simply faded the choir out and the recording was never repeated or ever completed.

Regardless, it charted three times on the UK Singles Chart: number 11 in 1965; number 3 in 1972 (by which time the BBC ban had been lifted); and once again at number 7 in 1976, when its sales figures as a reissue on two different labels (Charly and Contempo) were combined to arrive at its chart position.


Mm--"Is she really going out with him?
"Well, there she is, Let's ask her"
"Betty, is that Jimmy's ring you're wearing?"
"Gee, it must be great riding with him"
"Is he picking you up after school today?"
"By the way, where did you meet him?"

"I met him at the candy store
He turned around and smiled at me
You get the picture
"Yes, we see"
That's when I fell for the leader of the pack

My folks were always putting him down
They said he came from the wrong side of town
They told me he was bad but I knew he was sad
That's why I fell for the leader of the pack

One day my dad said find someone new
I had to tell my Jimmy we're through
He stood there and asked me why, but all I could do was cry
I'm sorry I hurt you, the leader of the pack

He sort of smiled and kissed me good bye
The tears were beginning to show
As he drove away on that rainy night,
I begged him to go slow, whether he heard,
I'll never know Look out! Look out! Look out!

I felt so helpless, what could I do
Remembering all the things we'd been through?
In school they all stop and stare
I can't hide the tears, but I don't care
I'll never forget him, the leader of the pack

Ooh, the leader of the pack now he's gone
the leader of the pack now he's gone
the leader of the pack now he's gone


Previous Songs In This Series:

Johnny Remember Me - John Leyton
Endless Sleep - Jody Reynolds

Saturday, 13 May 2017


It's bluebell time!

I just love bluebells, but they're so hard to photograph successfully. What looks gloriously vibrant with the eye is all too often lost through a camera, which is endlessly frustrating.

There is a bluebell wood near to us, so we headed off for a look on Easter Monday. I wasn't in the best of mind sets as I'd just had my accident and then found I had a black eye as well as a bump on the head. I also had to wear my flat shoes which aesthetically I hate. They were the only ballet flats which were made of synthetic material that didn't have studs or some other nonsense on them, so when it came time for new shoes, they were my only option. I am now back in the ones I got the new ones to replace, even if they do have a hole in the sole. No, no idea why I didn't throw the holey ones away, maybe because they are absurdly comfy.

Anyway, I was tired and just getting over being ill too. Shortly into the walk, a collie named Pickwick completely freaked out because of my jacket and started barking madly at me. Really he did. The owner told me it was my jacket! But after realising I wasn't scary, he came for strokes, so all was well. Until ...

My poor feet hurt like the devil (stupid shoes).
It was uphill initially, as Andy took us the wrong way and if you believe nothing else about a Melanie, then believe this: they do not like uphill.
I had sticks and leaves in my shoes.
I lost a shoe.
I got a hole in my stocking.
I walked into the branch of a holly tree and hit my head (the neighbours who looked after me after my accident, and Andy were joking that when left alone I should be wrapped up in bubble wrap ... I am beginning to suspect they might be right).
I got a bruise and scrapes on my thigh when trying to clamber over a fallen tree.
Then to top it all off, we took a wrong turn and had to walk down a dual carriageway back to the car.

But, onto the loveliness.

The South Downs.

Butser Hill

The bluebells were magnificent! They also smelt divine.

Friday, 12 May 2017

B-Movie Madness: It Came From Outer Space 1953

"Then at a deadly pace
It came from outer space ..."

A spaceship from another world crashes in the Arizona desert, and only an amateur stargazer and a schoolteacher suspect alien influence when the local townsfolk begin to act strangely.
Originally shown in 3D.

Author and amateur astronomer John Putnam (Richard Carlson) and schoolteacher Ellen Fields (Barbara Rush) watch a large meteorite crash near the small town of Sand Rock, Arizona. They awaken a neighbor, who has a helicopter, and all three fly to the crash site.

Putnam climbs down into the crater and notices a partially buried round object in the crater's pit. He comes to the realization, after he sees a six-sided hatchway close, that this isn't a meteorite but a large alien spaceship. The hatchway's noise starts a landslide that completely buries the craft. Putnam's story is later scoffed at by Sand Rock's sheriff (Charles Drake) and the local news media.

Even Ellen Fields is unsure about what to believe but still agrees to assist Putnam in his investigation. Over the next several days, local people disappear; a few return, but they act distant or appear somewhat dazed.

Convinced by these and other odd events, Sheriff Warren comes to believe Putnam's story that the meteorite is actually a crashed spaceship with alien inhabitants; he then organizes a posse to hunt down the invaders at their crash site. Putnam, however, hopes to reach a peaceful solution to the looming crisis.

Alone, he enters a nearby abandoned mine, which he hopes will eventually connect to the now buried spaceship and its alien occupants.

Putnam finally discovers the spaceship and learns from its crew that they crashed on Earth by accident; the aliens appear benign and only plan to stay on Earth just long enough to repair their damaged craft and then continue on their voyage.

The aliens' real appearance, when finally revealed to Putnam, is entirely non-human: they are large, single-eyed, jelly fish-like beings that seem to glide across the ground, leaving a glistening trail that soon vanishes. They are also able to shape shift into human form using a telepathy screen in order to appear human and move around, unobserved, in order to collect their much needed repair materials.

To do this, they copy the human forms of the local townspeople they've secretly kidnapped to help them repair their crippled spacecraft. In doing so, however, they fail to reproduce the townspeople's exact personalities, leading to suspicion and eventually to the deaths of two of the aliens ...

Did you know ... This was one of the few American films from the 1950s to place its credits at the end rather than at the beginning.


This has been my favourite by far to date (that didn't feature Grant Williams *cough*).
I really enjoyed this one, so if you see it on, give it a go!

Thursday, 11 May 2017

New In Folly Bird's Nest

There have been a small handful of newcomers to the nest of late, so I thought I would round it all up in one post.

Scarf from Mim!
I have worn this pretty much every time I have been out and worn my heavier winter jacket.
I have some weird affliction with my neck and shoulder, and have done for years. Every single thing that touches my skin there hurts, not irritates, hurts, and this scarf shields my delicate skin wonderfully.
Thank you again Mim!

And yes, the duvet cover does have bunnies on it!

Peignoir from Vix at Kinky Melon.
Oops, creasy-a-go-go!
I love vintage nightwear and have yet to be caught off guard and had to answer the door in some flammable little number. I can just imagine Andy's workmates reaction (he's a postie if you didn't know) if I did answer the door in a nylon ensemble with my diamante trimmed mules to take in a parcel!
Anyway, as this is just the peignoir and not a matching set, I want to make a black chiffon baby doll nightie to wear underneath as the red will be just too difficult to match!

Carniival glass cups.
I have two of these ornate beauties, given to me by my friend Rachel. Aren't they incredible!
I'm wondering if they were punch cups.
I have now run out of room in my glass cabinet, which really gives me the excuse to have a second, surely.

Dorian 💖
I have another copy of The Picture of Dorian Gray!
I saw a company were pulping classic book covers and once I saw this, I knew I had to have it!
Isn't the cover fun! I also love the blue edging to the pages.
I waited a ridiculous time for this to arrive, as it sat in order placed mode for five days, then was dispatched just short of the Easter weekend and when it did turn up I was concussed and not in the frame of mind to read.

My new to me shoes which are ridiculously comfortable. I can walk to town in them easily. Take a turn around the supermarket, though tile floors are a little hairy, as I don't have much grip! I even walked up the long gravel drive to Uppark in them and around the house too.

I go and see Meirionwen in them also. See.
See that I also look like I am fifty feet tall.

Attack of the Fifty Foot Folly Bird!
The only thing that can stop her is a flopsy eared bunny rabbit!

Belle. The floppity eared bunny who caused my concussion.

But I am not, very good at running in them. I discovered this when opening a barn door and the wind caught it like a sail and pushed me along, fast. I had to jump over a lump of concrete with a humungous door pushing me faster than was comfortable. I almost got squished against a brick wall like a character from an ACME cartoon.

They cost me the grand sum of £7.55. Very random price, but I wasn't complaining.

They were unmarked on the sole but looked a little worse for wear on the actual patent parts, but I know patent marks easily and think they were purchased, found uncomfortable by the previous owner and then thrown in with other things or something, as they have indentation marks here and there, but their loss in my gain as they are, as I said, so comfortable!

Except for the day I wore them after I had been taken for a walk to a local bluebell wood (post coming soon!) and was forced into my ballet flats ... I was also a wee bit concussed, so it was a safer bet that I wore flat shoes.

Those pesky flat shoes all but crippled me! I have very narrow feet and they were always threatening to fall off, were rubbing up and down and when I tried to return to my heels, the damage had been done and I was unable to actually walk properly and was housebound without shoes for the rest of the week as I had blisters on the balls of my feet

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Architecture Tart Tuesday: Portsmouth Brutalism

When I was going through my photo files, I saw this and instantly knew someone who follows my blog would love it. I then found it was featured on the brutalism website and absolutely knew my hunch was correct.

This is the Norrish Central Library, built in 1976 and designed by Ken Norrish. I found this on line - "In 1996, the Victoria Park conservation area established in 1973 was extended to cover the entire Guildhall Square including the Norrish Central library, so unlike the tragic Tricorn Centre this brutalist masterpiece will not come under threat of demolition any time soon."

It is a building I have always known, coming from Portsmouth as I do. It was always around and I had many a trip there as a child as it wasn't my local library, but one my mother would take my sister to.

I shall definitely go back and do a proper photo shoot of the place.
Andy's due a haircut so I can go then.

The steep stairs which lead up to the library.
(there are shallower ones right next door, which is odd)

These lie at the foot of the stairs and remind me very well of the play equipment behind the 1960's town house I grew up in and the playground equipment in my first school. No soft bark ground there, it was concrete floor and concrete play equipment and like it! Concrete Henge if you like.

Speaking of the Tricorn Centre (RIP dear building) ...

The times I crossed this very road, at this very point ...

I got off a bus here as a child and promptly fell over a bollard!
Funny what you remember!

And see the sign? "Tricorn down! Portsmouth up!"
What's there now you may ask? A carpark.
Portsmouth also knocked down a beautiful old cinema in the nineties and there is nothing there to this day but rubble hiding behind fences.

This, this is all that's left.

A neighbouring building and I'm struggling to recall if the Tricorn reached this.

I have some Tricorn pictures from way back when myself and my friend of the time would spend ridiculous amounts of time exploring the then disused building. We were frequently shooed away by security. They were all taken with a cheap snapshot film camera, I'll see if I can find them ...

... found some! Unfortunately, I never had the foresight to get a picture of the entire structure, but it was difficult considering how big it was and how surrounded it was. I also never thought they would demolish it. I purposely avoided the area when I knew the demolition was taking place, made easier since I had moved away, but it still saddens me.

Aww look at baby Melanie!
I'm wearing a vintage jacket by the way.

Again, wearing the vintage jacket and a vintage mini dress which barely covers my bum!

My partner in crime.

Vintage hot pants and vintage fake fur. I also know I was wearing a vintage diamante necklace!
This is the result of watching Pulp, Suede and Manic Street Preachers videos!

The only vintage I'm wearing here is the white men's shirt I was wearing.

Other shots, more messing around in The Tricorn.

Vintage jacket.
60ft Dolls t-shirt.
Vintage velvet flares and £1.99 plimsolls!

I'm struggling to recall if that building in the background was part of The Tricorn in any way.

I have oodles and oodles of other photos, we were there all the time. Every Tuesday my friend would collect me, we would head into town, using the aforementioned crossing above, then we'd go to HMV and look at the new singles, go on to Woolworths where we would get a pot of tea for two, then we'd head to the Tricorn and take endless photos! I find it so sad that the Tricorn is gone, HMV has gone and Woolworths too. Consequently, I don't like to go to this part of Portsmouth anymore.