#CrazyStupidPlaylist: The Corrs

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Perhaps one of the more welcome news of a pop comeback for me in recent times is for that of Dundalk family band The Corrs. If, like me, at the end of the late 90s and early 00s, you were growing up in a part Celtic family there’s a chance your household owned a copy, as my parents did, of their multi million selling albums ‘Talk On Corners’, ‘Forgiven Not Forgotten’ or ‘In Blue’, and that you remember their many hits including ‘So Young’, ‘Breathless’ and ‘Runaway’ to name but several.

Now, following a successful comeback performance for Radio 2’s Live in Hyde Park event a few weeks ago, Andrea, Jim, Sharon and Caroline are back next month with a brand new album, ‘White Light’, and a brilliant new single ‘Bring on the Night’, and will tour for the first time in 10 years in January, playing a wealth of arena dates. With this in mind, I sat down recently to compile my very own Spotify playlist for you of what I think are their most (said in SMTV sketch voice) beeauutiful moments as a band…

1. DREAMS (TEE’S RADIO MIX)

From the album ‘Talk on Corners (Special Edition)’

Aka the single that gave them their big break. Although they’d released one studio album to immediate success in Australia, New Zealand (and of course, their native Ireland) in 1995, the UK remained stubbornly immune to the charms of The Corrs. That is, until March 1998, when, combined with a terrestrial airing of their St Patrick’s Day concert at the Royal Albert Hall on the BBC and an appearance on a Fleetwood Mac tribute album with this cover of their classic hit, they roared into the top 10 and thus saw sales of their newly reissued ‘Talk on Corners’ album soar through the roof.

2. ANGEL

From the album ‘Borrowed Heaven’

One of the band’s later hits towards the end of their first run of success, this single was a deeply personal tribute,to their late mother Jean, who had passed away at the height of their success in 1999. But it’s a rousing and spirited number, particularly on the chorus lines: ‘Angel, I hope they love you like we do, forever / Angel, I’ll be proud to be like you’. The band have often said this is one of their favourites to perform live and it’s not hard to see why.

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3. ONLY WHEN I SLEEP

From the album ‘Talk On Corners’

The introductory single from their breakthrough album, ‘Only When I Sleep’ is a stirring, sensual power ballad with flawless production from Glen Ballard, the man who was of course behind one of the 90’s other big selling albums, Alanis Morissette’s ‘Jagged Little Pill’. It combines the radio friendly sensibilities of their music with an ever present nod to their Irish roots, whilst doing it in a classy, understated manner.

4. NO FRONTIERS

From the album ‘The Corrs Unplugged’

A bit of a personal favourite for me this one. Recorded exclusively for their MTV Unplugged show in 1999, Caroline and Sharon duet on this cover of the firstly Jimmy McCarthy, then more famously Mary Black number. Simply orchestrated with just a piano, and a spell binding vocal turn from both the girls. My mum was a big Mary Black fan (and still is) and so I remember her version well, but this is an equal pegging with it for delivery alone.

5. LOUGH ERIN SHORE

From the album ‘Forgiven Not Forgotten’

Perhaps explored in a bit more depth on their last studio album, 2005’s ‘Home’, one charming aspect of The Corrs’ studio albums was their own unique takes on traditional Irish instrumental pieces. Among them, were ‘Toss the Feathers’, ‘Haste to the Wedding’, and this one from their very first album in 1995. Stirring and beautifully arranged, ‘Lough Erin Shore’ is one of the best numbers you can hear them do live – hence why I’ve included the version from MTV Unplugged on my playlist for you.

 

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Dear Cat & Fi: The One in Two Parts (Part 2)

Previously on ‘Dear Cat & Fi’…

MILTON KEYNES!

COLOURING SCENES!!

AND….squid in a clog?!

And now, to your esteemed host…

Dear Cat & Fi,

Goood afternooon! It’s Sunday, and I’m back in my usual place when I come to write to you both – on my bed, with my laptop on my fold up desk, a coffee in hand and Enya playing in the background as I look out on a dark autumn afternoon…anyway. Poetic moment over, let’s now wrap up part 2 of the two parter blog to you both…

When I left things off last Friday, I’d decided to toddle off for a nap after 5 hours of travelling that morning…so let’s get up to speed. After a shower I ordered in pizza and watched Graham Norton as planned. Nigella Lawson was, of course, an absolute hoot but didn’t get near enough talk time. Unlike, say, Nicole Kidman, who did (on the show along with Meryl Streep and some other actress, the name of whom escapes us) and was mind-numbingly dull to listen to rabbit on and on. It wasn’t a memorable episode because of it, put it that way.

Grubs up ๐Ÿ˜‹ ๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ• Thanks @pizzahutuk!

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So anyway, I got a reasonably good night’s sleep, and was up at 6am the following morning for the first round of Olly Murs’ new book related antics, deciding I’d go downstairs to the hotel bar area and order breakfast. A bad move on two counts: firstly, the breakfast wasn’t much to write home about as they were out of sausages and fried eggs. And also because I was rather crippled with nerves, and thus felt a tiny bit sick after. Which sounds silly when I’ve now been fortunate enough to meet Olly as much as I have (7 times, soon to be 8 – more on which in a bit), but there’s always a part of us that is nervous. The hotel did however make up for a below average brekkie by having a lift that was manned by a former CBBC puppet:

Poor Otis the Aardvark from CBBC. He's now been made into a lift ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ‘

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The actual signing for the book was at the WHSmith in Milton Keynes’ MK Centre – officially one of the most difficult places to traverse on Earth. And I should know, I’ve been on toll roads in France. Google Maps have a lot to answer for. Anyway, the signing got going at 10am – and given there was 300 of us there (including some of my Twitter #MursArmy buds like Vany, who used to do the video capping for my fansite’s YouTube channel and is thus awesome) and that he had another similar event up in Birmingham that afternoon, we were all seen by about midday. It was my turn about halfway through the process, and this is what happened…

ME: Olly! OLLY: Alex, morning! How are you, fella? ME: Good! OLLY: *catches sight of a parcel in my hand wrapped in Marvel Comics Superheroes paper* Is that for me? What is it? ME: Oh, it's a travel journal, I thought you could have it as something for your next tour. OLLY: Oh mate, that's so thoughtful of you, thanks! Hey, I'll write the next book with it! So you liking 'Kiss Me'? ME: I love it, one of your best! OLLY: Sweet. Thanks for coming down mate, I really appreciate it and thank you for the journal! Take care! ME: Thanks Olly! I'll see you at the IndigO2 tomorrow! OLLY: Wicked are you coming? See you then! Bye mate! #myidol #thebest #whatageez ๐Ÿ˜„ ๐Ÿ˜„ ๐Ÿ˜„ ๐Ÿ˜„ ๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ‘ ๐ŸŽ‰ ๐ŸŽ‰ ๐ŸŽ‰ ๐ŸŽ‰ @ollymurs

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I know I’ve mentioned this countless times on other blogs, and I know my giant fanboy rambling probably sounds exactly like that to others but oh…whoever said don’t meet your idols is a big fat liar. Last weekend was my 7th time meeting Olly – and it’s certainly not the last as he has another event in Chelmsford a week this Wednesday which I’m attending – and he has not changed one bit from the first time I met him five years ago (I found the pictures from that first signing the other day. I look horrific, even by 2010 standards). He is still the same down to earth, funny, caring and general good egg that he was back then even with all his success and that’s so refreshing and unique to find in someone, let alone someone who’s successful in the public eye. The fact he still remembers us even after all this time is testament to that.

Of course, it’s been well documented in his new book ‘On the Road’ (which is brilliant by the way) and in the press this week that ahead of this tour he did this year, he had put himself on a boot camp style fitness regime with his trainer Rob Solly and ended up shedding an impressive two stone. As I’ve been on a health kick myself lately, it’s inspired me no end and I’ve now joined up to a gym down the road from my work in order to get as buff as the Murs which I start next weekend with a personal trainer – more on which in the next blog, naturally. So there, another example of how he’s been a positive influence on me and my life!

Last Sunday then, I came to see you Cat, and Trent and gorgeous baby Indi, and it was lovely too to see Mohit and Pooja who I’d not seen since your wedding. It was a short but sweet visit, and I’ve got some time off end of November so I intend to come up for a longer visit! We went for a lovely walk round the green and down by the river in Richmond (which is so pretty in the autumn, I loved it) and had lunch out at Whole Foods which I rather enjoyed. Then it was back on a train across town to The O2, for the second Olly related jaunt of the weekend, this time an ‘In Conversation’ event with Olly inside the smaller, ‘IndigO2’ venue about the book, hosted by his good pal and Radio 1 DJ Scott Mills.

@ollymurs @realscottmills #TeamScolly #OllyontheRoad

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I’ve never been to this kind of event before – OK, tell a lie, I sort of have. It was a few years ago with an author, the name of whom escapes us now, who’d come to an event at the Essex Book Festival at our local library to talk about his new book. But not with Olly, and it was so nice to just hear him talk about the book (man, he can talk for England) but also get his take on his crazy life that he has completely unadulterated and as he sees it. He answered questions from the audience – I didn’t get to ask mine because there was quite a lot of people who wanted to ask questions but it was still a great afternoon anyway. His story about when he met Michael Bublรฉ in his year on X Factor was particularly amusing!

So that was my weekend really, and it was brilliant – a lot of travelling, but good to blow off some steam and more importantly have fun doing what makes us happy and see the people I love. I’m gonna leave it there for now. I think I should do more of these two parter blogs in future, I love a good cliffhanger!

Cat – thanks for such an awesome time last weekend and I promise I will come up for a longer visit soon. Fi – nice talking to you this morning and indeed a few days ago. FYI – you should get the navy parka that you asked me to show Mum. It’s a nice colour.

In the words of Zebedee from The Magic Roundabout, it’s time for bed…BOIIING!!!

Luv-oo, Alex

x x

Dear Cat & Fi: The One in Two Parts (Part 1)

Dear Cat & Fi,

Helllooo! Hope you are both well. I am absolutely buzzing because this week’s blog to you both is special for many different reasons. Firstly, because well. My blogs to you are usually written from the comfort of my bedroom, with my laptop perched on my fold up desk. And this is usually my view whilst writing…

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Today though, I am writing this blog with THIS as my view…

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Yes, I am in glorious (or at least, what I’ve seen of it so far) Milton Keynes for tonight and tomorrow – the first time I’ve ever been here and the first time I’ve ever written a blog on location which is sweet as a touch! I’ll explain why I’m here in a bit…

First though, this last week. And what a week it’s been. Last weekend was a lot of fun in particular because we got to see you, Cat, and Trent and baby Indi for a meal out last Saturday. It was a lot of fun catching up and having most of the Mac clan in the same room again – always rowdy and fun but wouldn’t have it any other way!

I do of course, Cat, get to see you again for a bit on Sunday so I’m looking forward to that muchly. So what else have I been up to? Well, I talked about this in another blog before, but colouring in has become my new (if slightly hipsterish) past time and favourite way to unwind of an evening.

With my birthday money recently, I purchased one of the best grown up colouring books there is out at the moment – ‘Retro Designs’, which is all floral and fusion-y design patterns not unlike that of 60s or 70s wallpaper. And for someone who was never that good at art at school (I’m sure you’ll all remember it was Mairi who did the majority of my homework for us), I really enjoy it.

These are just a few of my recent completions (I think the first one is my favourite)…

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Also this week, I perennially seem to get a new favourite Twitter account every week, and this one is without doubt absolute GOLD. Actually our meal out last week got me thinking. When I eat out, I like good, honest food, simply presented and delicious. I don’t want, for instance, my chips stacked like a Jenga game next to my burger. I equally don’t like the weird red crap they put around cheesecakes and the like (which I’m reliably informed is coulis or jus. No no, it’s just red crap).

Fortunately, I am not the only one who feels that way, hence why my new favourite Twitter account is ‘We Want Plates’, an account whose Tweets have gone viral in the last week and a bit for naming and shaming the habitual food serving rule breakers of the hospitality world. These are just some of my favourite cases in point…

And, quite possibly my favourite, just for pure insanity:

And I shall never look at calamari in the same way again…

Anyway. So to today and my being in Milton Keynes. This is because tomorrow, I am once again meeting follower of this blog (he’s read it anyway, so I’m told) and my overall idol/inspiration Mr Olly Murs, who is signing his new book of his recent tour ‘On The Road’ (below) at the MK Centre up the road from the hotel I’m staying in right now.

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It’s not the only Olly related jaunt in my diary this weekend though – and, naturally, more of that in the next blog – but as you might imagine I’m fairly giddy and excitable at meeting him again tomorrow. Also because today he has released his awesome, funk-tastic new single ‘Kiss Me‘, which is currently storming up iTunes, Spotify and the like with ease, and which I have had on loop since it was released last night.

Tonight, several of my #MursArmy buddies – including my former OM Daily colleague Vany – are up here for the signing too and we intend to meet up for a meal so I’m gonna go get ready for that now. Maybe have a nap first because I’m a bit tired but that is the general plan – and Nigella Lawson is on Graham Norton tonight so I’m gonna watch that when I get back to my room.

Trina – I shall see you Sunday sis. Fi – I will give you a ring in a second hun, but I couldn’t finish this blog without taking a picture of THIS for you:

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AN ACTUAL LITTLE KETTLE. WITH FREE TEA AND COFFEE SACHETS!!! IN MY HOTEL ROOM!!! Oh, Miranda would be proud of me. And for the record, I DID sashay up to the sachets.

Anyway, until a few days’ time from now, in the words of Outkast, ain’t nobody dope as me, I’m just so fresh and clean ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Luv-oo, Alex

x x

TO BE CONTINUED…