The British Tag

I have recently been searching the Internet for some post ideas-because doing the 365 day challenge can limit your creativity at times. I came across The British Tag over at this blog, and felt that I wanted to have a go. So, here’s today’s post! (Please be aware that I have adapted this post slightly…)

The rules:

  • Thank the Blogger who tagged you on social media and with a back link.
  • Answer the following questions!
  • Tag as many bloggers as you wish.


1. How many cups of tea do you have a day and with how many sugars?

I actually don’t drink tea-or coffee-for that matter, so I can’t really say, to be honest. I just really dislike the flavours of both, therefore I don’t really drink it.

2. What is your  favourite part of a roast dinner?
The potatoes. So good!

3. What a your favourite dunking biscuit?

Probably either a Hobnob, or a Chocolate digestive. These are so good!

4. And what about your favourite quintessentially British hobby? 

In my spare time-although I’ve devoted more of it to blogging recently-I really do like to crochet, because I can manipulate the wool enough to create something tangible. To be able to create a bag out of six balls of wool is no easy feat, either.

5.And your favourite word?
Blogger, because of course!

6. What is your favourite Cockney rhyming slang?

It would probably have to be “apples and pears”-and that was because I saw it on Doctor Who as a child! (Rose gets taken over by Cassandra in the episode of New Earth…)

7. Additionally, what is your favourite sweet?

At times I have a very strong sweet tooth-and I am trying to cut back on my consumption of sugar, because it can get out of hand. However, I do like lemon sherbats, strawberry Bon bons, and flying saucers.

8. In an ideal world, what would your pub be called?

“The writers den”-a small establishment, tucked away in Brighton’s lanes, stylised as a fancy pub and library in one.

9. And who is your favourite British person?

Tom Hiddleston is English, isn’t he?
10. When shopping, what is your favourite shop? 

It depends on what I’m looking for, and what sort of mood I’m in. I dislike shopping for clothes-I’m not your stereotypical female-but as do quite like Paperchase, and I was sad to see HMV shit down in Brighton recently.

11.Bristish pop song that always seems to be stuck in your head?

I go for rock; you’re my best friend by Queen.

12.Thoughts about Marmite?

Would not touch it with a pole.

13.What are your favourite British things?

The beaches, rock, the insistence that we make tea correctly, pubs, our political system, the Queen, and wool.

I tag Kimberly Jessica, Country Katie UK, and This Stuff Is Golden.

Lydia

XO

 

***

I am pleased to announce that I am working with Basic Beauty Tools. If you go to their website via this link , and order the Spongedry, you can get a free foundation blender by adding under ‘Note To Seller’ your colour code: LYDIAPINK for pink, LYDIAPURPLE for purple, and LYDIABLACK for black.

My love of vinyl…because I love music,okay?


(In the photo, left to right: True Blue (Madonna), Jazz (Queen), No Secrets (Carly Simon), Rain Dancing (Alison Moyet), and A Kind Of Magic (also Queen). 

It’s only recently that I’ve come to enjoy Vinyl-the sound of the record playing, scrapping against the needle, or even just the collecting, and taking hours, browsing over the albums you wish to acquire. Bit odd for a teenager, right? But I love Vinyl-and I have something of a fascination with it.

Vinyl to me sounds, at times, better than a CD-in that it’s closer to the original sound, and that of the era. What I collect is almost always eighties rock-or early noughties pop. Madonna still sounds like the youthful women she was at the time of True Blue; Carly Simon still sounds like the girlish woman of the You’re So Vain era; and Freddie Mercury is still rocking away on record. Ah, if only I had been around in those years!!

It also sounds far warmer-in terms of harmonising. The other night, listening to Embrace Me You Child-a song on No Secrets-it sounded a bit like a gospel choir. Such a beauty! 

So there you have it, as to why I like Vinyl-although I’m sure more passionate devotees could offer up a more ardent defence! If you like vinyl, or prefer a CD, let me know as to why in the comments-

Lydia

XO

Mercury rising; Queen Extravaganza Are Back!

Hammersmith Apollo, 20/11/2016.

 

*Disclaimer: I attended this gig, having requested Press tickets, to give it an honest review. What follows is my genuine opinion.*


If you’ve been reading this blog for a while-surely a year counts as this?-you’ll know that I like Queen. And their official tribute band: Queen Extravaganza. They play A Night At The Opera (circa 1975) through, because the idea was to celebrate this great Rock And Roll album. The brainchild of Queen drummer Roger Taylor, it’s brilliant.

Let’s start from the beginning….
It was relatively early on arrival; we’re met with the news that there’s going to be a live recording, available on CD. And it’s the Hammersmith Odeon! The iconic venue-where Queen themselves played, and even Bruce Springsteen… Needless to say, I’m excited.

The support act, Electric Pyramid, bring a rock flavour to the general buzzing hubbub of the auidence. People are pouring in, although finding seats seemed to have been a little bit difficult. There’s long hair flying about stage, guitar riffs, and the occasional clap. It’s good old fashioned rock.

But there’s a man on stage. Seemingly small from the back of the room, he seemingly has a twinkle in his eye, a smile that’s grin-wide. Spike Edney. SPIKE EDNEY! The music producer for Queen on The Works, and who played with them at Wembley. And a huge figure in the music industry. He chats briefly about the recreation of A Night At The Opera-including going to studios, listening, dissecting the tracks. Then ROGER TAYLOR walks out on stage. The soft-spoken Queen drummer takes the microphone, to introduce his brainchild. There’s clearly a tone of envy in the voices of the two men-Edney even fondly dubs the band “bastards” for being young, the age Queen almost would have been in their prime, as a collective.

Meeting the band last year…

 

Remember the release Queen Live At The Odeon? It’s the same voiceover, from the same concert, who introduces them I think.

There’s a sudden change in the atmosphere; seemingly mysterious, we proceeded into Death On Two Legs..the run through of A Night At The Opera. It was notable for being sung vengefully-and, following this, throughout the concert I just had this feeling of “Mercury is here…”

Best of all, I loved the greatest hits selection-I never thought that I would hear Marc Martel sing Tie Your Mother Down, for one. There was also Seven Seas Of Rhye (an oldie but a goodie). And Stone Cold Crazy , as well as Save Me were also performed.

What really seemed to do well with the auidence was I Was Born To Love You (a Mercury solo song, possibly), as well as The Show Must Go On. They were definite highlights, largely because of the amount of skill, talent, and sheer balls to carry it off. The venue was built in such a way that sound was seemingly been thrown right to the back of the room. And any Queen song, album, or just music in general should be performed that way.

Needless to say, by the time Radio GaGa came round, my hands and voice were sore. They still are as I write this.

Also, just as a side note: hats off to Tyler Warren! The drummer of the band also sings-with a very high falsetto. He also covers ‘I’m In Love With My Car’, and harmonised on virtually all the other songs. That’s some feat-to drum along additionally whilst taking lead vocals.

Overall, my favourite part was the band introduction sequence during Somebody To Love; each was introduced by Marc Martel, stating their name, where from, etc. There was just a little bit of Let Me Entertain You played-as one of ,all time favourite Queen songs, I would love to see this played live. And covered well of course. It has to have grit, as well as keeping the substance of original lyrics. This band have the ambition and potential to do so.

From the meet and greet last year..

I also loved the fact that Martel asked if any auidence “hipsters” have A Night At The Opera on vinyl. We were also greeted as “good people of London”. So regal!

My only criticism is two things: there was a huge emphasis on lighting, to the point almost of being painful. During a quick break in songs, with the band off stage, and the lights up, spots were polluting my vision. It also partially contributed to a headache later on. Martel also forgot and messed up quite a few of the lyrics-there needs to be more of a fluency.

Please, please, pretty please, next year can we have News Of The World?

If you’ve enjoyed this post, you may enjoy the following:

And…..

Click here to buy the new double album.

Interview: Tyler Warren on Music, QUEX, and Drumming!

So….Queen Extravaganza this year are touring, with Greatest Hits, and a full run-through of A Night At The Opera. They are the official Queen tribute band. Last year, I interviewed lead singer, Marc Martel, (click here to view), saw one of their shows, (click here to view), and met the band (click here to view.) But-because the new tour launches today-I’ve interviewed Tyler Warren, Drummer.Expect Queen puns, serious drumming advice, and more..

(Disclaimer: Some questions are highlighted in blue, being a ‘Twitter project’; thank you to contributors James Rundle and Jordy Van De Bunt: )

Hello Tyler, thank you for agreeing to this interview.

No problem Lydia!

Growing up, did you want to a musician?

Always. Both my parents are musicians, and music was always around me since I was born. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do, and I’m so grateful that I’m able to do just that right now, thanks in no small part to Roger, Spike, and Brian.

“You put a different kind of energy and emotion into your own art, as opposed to someone else’s, and even though the return isn’t on the same scale as QE, it’s still just as, if not more, gratifying.”

-Tyler Warren, Mademoiselle Interview.

What was the first record you bought?

The first album I ever got from my parents was Dr. Feelgood by Motley Crue on cassette when it came out (1989). I was 3 years old. The first I ever bought with my own money was probably either a new copy of that, or a KISS album, still cassettes 🙂 My mom and dad had all the Queen albums already, so I didn’t start getting those on my own (on CD) until later.

How did you come to be a part of Queen Extravaganza?

I, alongside Marc and Francois, am one of the originals from the internet competition Roger and Spike held back in the summer/fall of 2011. We all submitted videos that were judged by them, alongside internet votes from the general public. We made it to the third and final round of live auditions at Studio 606, the Foo Fighters studio, in California. It was such a trip, and something I’ll never forget: auditioning in one of my favorite band’s studios, where some killer music has been recorded (In Your Honor, Echoes Silence Patience & Grace, etc.)

“Let us. Enter. Tain you ;-)”

-Tyler Warren, Mademoiselle Interview.

*Can you remember what you were thinking at your audition?

Honestly, I was more in awe of where I was, and looking at all the Foo Fighters/Nirvana/Queens of the Stone Age memorabilia than anything haha! I wasn’t too worried about the actual audition itself, because a) I grew up with the Queen catalogue, and b) I grew up doing music competitions, and eventually, you learn that whatever happens happens, and you can’t change that, so you might as well not sweat it and have a good time while you’re doing it.

“The first album I ever got from my parents was Dr. Feelgood by Motley Crue on cassette when it came out (1989). I was 3 years old. The first I ever bought with my own money was probably either a new copy of that, or a KISS album, still cassettes :-)”

-Tyler Warren, Mademoiselle Interview.

*What do you do, music-wise, as a solo artist?

I write and record my own music. I’ve released 5 albums and 1 EP as a solo artist, and I’m very proud of everything I’ve done. In the studio, I play a lot of the instruments, and live I sing and play guitar. I’m approaching 10 years as a solo artist, and I’m hoping to have a retrospective of those years ready in time for next Queen Extravaganza tour in the UK this fall 🙂 After that, it may be time for new music with a new band… 🙂 When I’m not doing either of those, I also play lead guitar in Marc’s solo band as well.

I love performing for other people, but I’m at my absolute happiest, from a musician standpoint and, most importantly, a creative standpoint,  when I’m recording and performing my own music. You put a different kind of energy and emotion into your own art, as opposed to someone else’s, and even though the return isn’t on the same scale as QE, it’s still just as, if not more, gratifying. Making just one person feel something with your own words or music, is a feeling that’s unparalleled.

During a tour, how do you prepare for your performance?

I do vocal warm ups before each show, and stretches with my arms and legs for drums, and if I’m feeling really tight, I’ll warm up on a practice pad. Sometimes we’re rushed, and I don’t get to loosen my body up as much as I should, but I always try to be mindful, and loosen up throughout the show. I don’t think about the music too much, because I want to get out there and have fun most of all.

“It was such a trip, and something I’ll never forget: auditioning in one of my favorite band’s studios, where some killer music has been recorded (In Your Honor, Echoes Silence Patience & Grace, etc.)”

-Tyler Warren, Mademoiselle Interview.

“In the studio, I play a lot of the instruments, and live I sing and play guitar. I’m approaching 10 years as a solo artist, and I’m hoping to have a retrospective of those years ready in time for next Queen Extravaganza tour in the UK this fall :-)”

-Tyler Warren, Mademoiselle Interview.

*What are the more challenging songs to play live?

My absolute favorite stuff to play live is deep cuts. When we did the first “ANATO” tour, the whole first set was pre-ANATO music, so I was absolutely in heaven with that set! In a live setting, it’s so much more challenging from a vocal and instrumental standpoint than the later stuff, especially the 80’s stuff. It was much more artsy, and we as band pride ourselves in reproducing as much of those original studio recordings as we possibly can. I, for certain, pride myself and the band in doing that, because I know we can, and I know we’ll blow people away when we do that.

Do you ever get nervous?

Not really. I’ve been playing and performing for so long, that it’s just a part of me. I’d even say that I’m at my most comfortable on stage, doing what I do best. I get more excited than anything, being able to make all these people who come to see our shows happy to hear all their favorite music. Every time the curtain falls, I think of every concert I’ve seen as a kid, and what it meant to me then, and what it could mean to someone watching me now, and it’s just full-circle awesomeness that I wouldn’t trade for anything haha! 🙂

Where has been your favourite place to perform?

I gotta say, we haven’t performed there yet, but our next tour ends at the Hammersmith Apollo, and I’m BEYOND ecstatic for that! So many classic concerts have been recorded there, from the classic Queen shows from ’75 and ’79, the Bruce Springsteen Born to Run video from ’75, and Rush’s A Farewell to Kings live CD from ’77 (bonus disc from Different Stages)… It’s just endless. I CANNOT wait for that 🙂

*Does your drum kit resemble Roger Taylors?

It’s very similar. I set up my drums pretty high like he does, especially cymbals. My kit is kind of a combination of Neil Peart and Roger. Because I like setting up high, I love Neil’s modern-day tom setup, with it’s circular motion. Roger and I both favor pretty large cymbals as well. And you gotta have the roto toms if you’re playing Queen music, am I right?? 🙂 They’re also black sparkle DWs just like his, except mine don’t have gold plated hardware. Maybe someday 😉

Can we expect an extravaganza of a performance?

Of course! 🙂 Marc will dazzle you with his voice and prowess, Nick will amaze with his effortless guitar-ness, Darren will kill with the keyboard-y goodness, Francois will thump the bass with his Zoolander-esque style, and I’ll just try not to make a fool of myself. Let us. Enter. Tain you 😉

What are you looking most forward to in this year’s tour?

Mostly seeing everyone again. It’s been nearly a year since our last tour, which is way too long!! We all get along so well, and play so well together, and we’re all friends and love each other, so that’s it for me. And of course playing some of my favorite music live for so many people 🙂

“They’re also black sparkle DWs just like his, except mine don’t have gold plated hardware. Maybe someday ;-)”

-Tyler Warren, Mademoiselle Interview.

What are your tips for aspiring drummers?

ALWAYS keep practicing. If you’re serious about drumming, always try to have good technique. And open your mind to new things. When I was growing up, I was really stubborn with what I liked and didn’t like. It wasn’t until college that I opened up to different things like jazz and funk, and believe me, it’ll only make you a better musician if you broaden your horizons. You don’t have to listen to bro-country though hahaha 😉 Jazz especially will free up your limbs. But, if you wanna rock like me (haha!), you always have to practice, because like anything,  rock drumming is like a sport, and when you don’t use those muscles, it takes that much longer to build them back up.

Always listen to everyone around you, and learn every aspect of the song, not just drums. Drummers do more than just keep a beat. They are a piece of the larger puzzle that makes a band or a song. You can’t be in your own little world. You have to be aware of what all the other players are doing, because everyone plays off of each other. I tend to familiarize myself with every aspect of the music, because it makes it that much easier to become a unit, as opposed to just a bunch of guys playing their own thing, and hoping it comes together.

Also, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS protect your ears. Drumming is a dangerously loud environment for your ears, so if you want to be able to enjoy drumming, and the music you make and love, you have to protect your ears.

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Thank you to Tyler Warren for answering my questions; Jordy and James for their contributions; and promoter Nathan Stone for all his help!

Review: Freddie Mercury By Lesley-Ann Jones.

(Thanks Zaria for sending me this!)

I like Freddie Mercury; really, I do. (If you don’t believe me, you can read my biographical post here.) He and Queen are among  some of my most favorite musicians-among others such as Genesis, Lissie, Kathryn Williams, Anastacia..(I could go on!) Therefore, it was an absolute pleasure to be reviewing this book.

Continue reading

Meeting Queen Extravaganza

A little while ago, I posted an interview with Marc Martel (Click here to read if you didn’t see it.) He’s the lead singer of Queen Extravaganza, the official Queen tribute band, who I got to see perform on Monday night.

They all put on a very good show-including, during the second half, an entire run-through of A Night At The Opera. I liked how they sang songs from the first three albums-such as March Of The Black Queen, Liar, Tenement Funster, Lilly of The Valley, Flick Of The Wrist..And A Night At The Opera in full! (The album-not the song..)  I think I liked Sweet Lady best-but also The Prophets Song..

First record I ever bought with my own money was Milli Vanilli “Girl You Know It’s True” in 1989, on cassette, when I was 12. The irony is not lost on me.

DSC00804

My VIP pass.

Prior to the show, I collected the pass. After, along with about ten other people, I was ushered to an area nearby the Merch counter and Bar. Just about ten , fifteen minutes to wait..

And they just trooped in..

We were allowed to ask questions, Q&A style. (I still  had ringing in my ears-and had to repeat my question of ‘Has this at all been intimidating?’, because I was speaking too quietly..Tyler Warren answered-but I can’t quite recall the answer, being so late and not hearing.)

My ticket..

My ticket..

But I got my ticket and Queen book (By Mark Blake-click here for his interview) signed. I even chatted to Marc Martel briefly-just to say thank you for giving his interview..We also chatted about his first record, and why he found it ironic, having bought it..Yes, I’m very small-so he did have to bend his knees to talk to me..

Come to a show, and come say hi afterwards and let me know if it was a big enough extravaganza for you!

If you get a chance to see Queen Extravaganza, do go and see them. Roger Taylor put them together very well..

Ask and answered-James Rundle, of Queen Guitar lessons.

It has only been a little while since I interviewed Marc Martel, of Queen Extravaganza. (Click here to view if you didn’t see.) The response shocked me in a way, because it showed how Queen are still a popular band. But how, and why? To explore this further, I interviewed James Rundle, of Queen Guitar lessons:

Hello James, thank you for agreeing to this interview.

Thanks for asking me. I’m honoured especially after your interviews with Marc Martel (click here to view.) and Jordy van de Bunt of Queen facts. (Click here to view.)

Seriously though, I was brought up on The Beatles ,Pink Floyd ,Creedence ,Clearwater ,Revival The Rolling Stones, and The Eagles. Mostly guitar driven stuff.

What inspired you to create a Queen guitar tutorial channel?

My YouTube channel started out really just to promote my guitar tuition business. To be honest I never expected to get that much attention. After my wife bought me a Brian May Red Special replica guitar, I set myself the task of doing lessons for every single Queen song. My intention was to have my own online video notebook for my own reference,  in learning Queen songs.After covering some of the more rare Queen tracks people started requesting more lessons. There were letters through the post from subscribers to the channel and even phone calls.Emails have come from all over the world ,as far afield as Siberia. There’s a lot of people out there that love tracks like Misfire, Who Needs You, Liar as well as all the solo projects the different band members worked on.With the lack of Queen songbooks and guitar books on the market many people have struggled to learn how to play Queen tracks especially the rarer numbers. So there’s been a need for people like myself to do Queen tutorials. Queen fans know every single note of every song perfectly. So I’ve had to be give a lot more attention to detail than I would normally. It’s hopefully made me a better guitarist. It’s a great pleasure doing it.

When were you first introduced to Queen?

1986 Magic Tour {was} a few month{s} {away} from my 14th birthday. Queen were at Wembley and it was live on TV and the radio at the same time. This was before surround sound TVs so you could watch it on TV and listen to it in stereo on the radio.I just fell in love with the whole thing from beginning to end. Went straight out and bought Queen Greatest Hits. Then in a few weeks I had every album.Each album seemed like a treasure trove of magical songs. You never quite knew what you were going to get.

Queen are something of a timeless band, who often adopt to changing media. What do you think about this?

The first thing that struck me {was} when I first listened to Queen Greatest Hits album was it starts with Bohemian Rhapsody then Another One Bites The Dust. Both songs are from totally different genres yet seem to fit together perfectly. No other band has ever really been able to do that so well. Queen came in for criticism in the 80s for changing their style. Pop music had changed so much in the 80s from what it had been in the 70s. So to survive I guess they had to change their sound. I love the albums from the 70s and the whole look of the band. But I guess Freddie with a leotard and black fingernails in 1986 would have looked a bit strange. But it worked in the early 70s.

What are your thoughts about the QUEEN app?

Love it although I get upset if I don’t get all the questions right. I didn’t realise how much of a Queen nerd I was knowing so much obscure information.

Asides from Queen, are there any other bands you like?

Yes, Freddie Mercury ,Brian May and Roger Taylor solo stuff ,as well as The Cross ha ha.Seriously though, I was brought up on The Beatles ,Pink Floyd ,Creedence ,Clearwater ,Revival The Rolling Stones, and The Eagles. Mostly guitar driven stuff. My mother played piano so I heard a lot of Beethoven Motzart and Bach. My father had a big record collection and he used to play a lot of folk music as well as delta blues. Mississippi John Hurt was one of my all time favourites. In my teens I was into Metallica Guns n Roses Poison Motley Crue Joe Satriani and Steve Vai as well as most classic rock bands like Aerosmith AC/DC Deep Purple Rainbow and ZZ Top.

 There’s been a need for people like myself to do Queen tutorials. Queen fans know every single note of every song perfectly. So I’ve had to be give a lot more attention to detail than I would normally. 

Do you have any advice for people who wish to follow in your footsteps?

The best advice is do what you love. Not what you think will be popular. If you love what you do it will come across in your work and people respond to that. Trying to second guess what is popular will lead you to having a YouTube channel that doesn’t seem to have any direction. Don’t expect overnight success. It takes time to build up a channel. Post your videos on social network sites. Don’t be shy to put yourself out there. If you recieve negative comments or ‘hate’ just let it motivate you to be better.  Everyone has their own unique take on things. Even if you aren’t the greatest guitarist in the world it doesn’t matter.Some people feel more comfortable learning guitar from a moderately skilled guitarist opposed to a ‘guitar god’.Being able to play a guitar piece brilliantly doesn’t necessarily mean you know how to teach it to someone.A guitar tutorial video should enable the learner to play the piece not be a showcase for you to show off.Do what you love is the best advice

Thank you very much, James, for letting us interview you. Don’t forget to subscribe to his Youtube channel (click here.)  Also: Readers-what do you think? Let me know in the comments!