Friday 30th July 2004

My shift patterns have been erratic to say the least this week. Although home time had been set to 4pm, for four days, I only actually left the office at that time on Tuesday afternoon. Tuesday turned out to be, the day I had a brush with Royalty. Although, my lunch slot is midday, it was a bit later when I got a chance to escape my desk. My firm provides a fantastic subsidised restaurant on the first floor, offering an array of culinary delights. It is the summer, and I would rather make more suitable use of my lunch hour. (The hour is an overstatement, on average my lunch break lasts some 26 minutes and rarely over 40.) I would be foolish not to make the most of the opportunity that the man upstairs, has so firmly placed in my hands. I am in one of the greatest cities in the world, and that is no over exaggeration. So I head across to the courtyard, behind St. Paul’s. Aptly named, “KnightRider Court”. Having been the victim of daylight robbery at the local, Pret a Manger, Benjys or on the odd occasion, Simply Food, from Marks and Spencer. Grabbing a sandwich and a drink, I try to observe the many people I see. Between the hordes of Japanese, American and other European tourists (whom, are insignificant, so therefore, their countries will not be listed) there are joggers. Usually in groups of two or three. Sweating their way across the capital, having crossed, the Millennium Bridge. Then of course, there are the suits, which I would have to class myself with. Very much in a similar position, rushing through a light snack, before heading off back to the office. Most of them are with colleagues or friends and tend to be talking about work. Not the most fascinating way to spend your one break away from the mill. Up until now, my lunch time observations have been nothing to write home about. (Or should that be, blog home about?) Apart from taking a digital photograph for a tourist a few weeks ago, nothing exciting, or should that me newsworthy has ever happened. Until now. I looked at my watch, time was clicking away. I had to make my way back to the office, so I hurriedly finished my lunch and place the remains into the bin and headed back. Thinking nothing of it, I headed back, past St. Paul’s. Something was different. Everything had stopped. The pedestrians, and the traffic. I was heading down Ludgate Hill, with the landmark cathedral at my back. A police motorcyclist popped up, and stopped the traffic in both directions. Someone was on their way. Someone important. My first thoughts drifted to Downing Street but do they also say, what they do? Maybe, but that is not a question for us now. I was proved wrong, as the motorcade came into view, turning the corner on Maria Lane, onto Ludgate Hill. Then the state limousine came into view. My second guess had been proved right, but who has time for second chances? The cars fleeted past with several police motorbikes, shielding our Monarch. Although Her Royal Highness, appeared somewhat withdrawn from the whole experience. The notion that ‘her people’ had stopped to catch a fleeting glimpse of their Queen. I noticed the hint of a smile, then His Royal Highness, Prince Philip, raise a hand to acknowledge the crowds. With the busy London streets brought to a standstill, the motorcade, made swift process down Ludgate Hill, heading westward. They were gone. Awakening from my daydream, reality slowly crept on me, as it did the many people whom had stopped along side me. Back to work, I heard a voice in the crowd firmly say. I don’t think he had intended for his comment to have such a large audience. I briskly headed back to the office, trying my best to meander through the tourists, congratulating themselves on finding such a prime spot for some royal photograph. It is times like this, I realise how important it is to carry my digital camera with me as often as possible. A camera phone, just would not have captured the beauty of the moment. Maybe this was a moment, far beyond anything Kodak could capture. As long as I can remember, I have had a fleeting love affair with pop music. Some may say that is it the most bland and insignificant music. It is true to say that the music industry has become very segregated in the past four years or so. Each genre, distinct with it’s style, sound and even fashion accessories. As much I enjoy listening to a range of music, I always come back to pop. But not just any old pop. I like Pure Pop. What exactly is ‘Pure Pop’? It is difficult to describe and explain, but when you hear an example, you just know. Let me try my best to explain, what in my personal and very humble opinion institutes, “pure pop”. The vocal is very important, this must be strong, have a good range and ultimately be able to carry the song alone. Then come lyrics, these have to be powerful, yet still hold some comfort. The aim is to get the balance in favour for performance, rather than impact. Then the musical arrangement. This is the killer ingredient and ultimately makes the difference between a song breaching the pure perfection barrier. A song can have great lyrics, with a great singer, but if the final product is far from polished, the overall standard is greatly reduced. Unfortunately, there have been only a few pioneers of such creative music manufacturer in this country. Although the Americans, do have their fair share of great producers, for them, the artist sells the song, rather than the other way round (which I feel is more so the case, this side of the pond). Stock, Aitken & Waterman have a god-like status within the UK music industry. I disagree, that pure pop is actually, bubblegum pop. Genie In The Bottle, the debut single by Christina Aguilera from 1999 is what I can use as the an example. It has everything that I have mentioned above and much much more. If you are an regular reader of Pop Justice music blog, you will note that they are continually pushing for the return of this type of music to our airwaves and television screens. The latest production from Pete, is the quartet, aptly named, Pop! The name does sound corny, as do some of the lyrics of their songs, but the polished final product is amazing. The songs do stand up very well on themselves, great radio friendly material. So watch out for Glenn, Hannah, Jade and Jamie. Will they finally take Pure Pop to the credible place it belongs? I had so much on mind to blog about, during the course of my train journey home this evening. A rare air conditioned Chiltern Turbo, brought me in from Marylebone to Wycombe. This gave me the ideal chance to put the week into place and begin formulating plans for the weekend. There is so much I want to do, but not sure if I will have the opportunity to get everything completed, by the time Sunday evening comes around. There is also, so much more to blog about. For the time being, I will just have to leave you with the two above after thoughts from my week. A quick question? What gets you in the mood for the weekend? What small event or message or weekly ritual sends you the clear message, “it’s the weekend!”. For me, it is always music. While Javine’s performance on Top Of The Pops was fantastic, choreographed succinctly with the tempo of the music, it did not have the desired affect. Instead it was left to those Irish rockers, Ash to bring down the house, with ‘Burn Baby Burn’.
You’re all I have in this teenage twilight Your golden hair and pale blue eyes But through all the days and the sleepless nights We have never been satisfied Tumbling like the leaves Yeah we are spiraling on the breeze Almost to the point of no return Everything will burn, baby, burn

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