Diary flashback: This week last year


This post was meant to be a straightforward look back at this week in November last year, a retrospective to the weirdness of now.

And a chance encounter with Becky Hill on the radio made the shift in time an easy one. Becky, a one-time contestant on TV’s The Voice was singing her cover version of the 1984 Alphaville hit Forever Young. The song is currently being used in a sentimental TV advert for McDonald’s.

It is a gentle rendition, in which a weepy voice and piano transplant the rolling synthesisers and suffocating echo of the original.

Hearing a song transformed in such a simple way recalled the appearance at the Barbican in London 12 months ago of Karine Polwart to promote her Scottish Songbook album. This was a celebration of Polwart’s favourite Scottish musicians, plus one or two who maybe only set foot in the country once or twice but still left with a touch of the tartan in their hearts.

My diary entry for the occasion reads: “Lots of epic 80s songs covered here, opening with Waterboys’ ‘Whole of the Moon’, and a big studio feel to the production. Six band members, all multi-instrumentalists. When they did ‘I Could Be Happy’, by Altered Images, I half expected Clare Grogan to pop onstage, as my wife had seen her recently in a local shop. The standout songs for me were Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrop’, Talking Heads’ ‘Road to Nowhere’ and, best of all, Big Country’s ‘Chance’.  Some very touching moments, especially her recollections about home and school. Downside was that the audience was horribly old, white and middle-class. This quality of performance deserves a more diverse crowd.”

Karine Polwart

My Diary for this week last year also records that we saw Andrew Scott in a gender-role mash-up of Noël Coward’s Present Laughter, an interpretation of the play we both found “quite forced and very shouty”.

Present Laughter

Other happenings from this week last year include a scribble portrait I did while watching Strictly Come Dancing (during which a friend said she had the same dress as Shirley, and that it was from Zara).

Scribble portrait

And the contribution I added to the #katyasshoes tag I started on Instagram, featuring the vast collection of footwear Headway coordinator Kat has managed to build.

Kat’s fine footwear

See all of my Diaries.

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