Saturday Night Serenade–A Song and a Movie

To say Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen is a great song is to be simply redundant. Taken as a whole, their body of work is sublime, with stand-out nuggets like Fat-Bottomed Girls, Under Pressure, and cult-classic Bohemian Rhapsody.

But I really like this one. I can’t get it out of my head. It’s currently featured in several television commercials. And with the success and acclaim of the movie Bohemian Rhapsody, all these songs are getting new life. Take that, Millennials, who believe if something didn’t happen in their lifetime, it didn’t happen at all.

As promised, though, this week’s serenade comes with a movie recommendation. While there are countless versions of Don’t Stop Me Now, this is one of my favorites. It comes from a fantastic little horror-comedy from 2004 called Shaun of the Dead. It’s a smart, funny, and yes, okay, gory at times, take on Dawn of the Dead. Just the title cracks me up.

The story follows hapless Shaun and his slacker-pothead wingman Ed (played the the hilarious Simon Pegg and Nick Frost) into what appears to be the beginning of the zombie apocalypse. Only we’re not using the zed-word.

Complicating matters is the fact that Shaun’s girlfriend Liz has just broken up with him, and he’s perpetually at odds with his stepfather (the brilliant, if low-key in this role, Bill Nighy).

Once he realizes that the end of the world is here (and it takes him an hysterical amount of time to figure it out–watch him pop out to the shop for a Diet Coke), Shaun cooks up a scheme to save Liz from the undead, and thus win her back. Of course, nothing is ever that easy.

At one point, Shaun’s intrepid band of survivors finds itself holed up in his favorite pub. The fight scene set to this Queen classic is a marvel of choreography and comedic editing.

I’ve checked–you can stream Shaun of the Dead for about $4 from nearly any streaming service. So what are you doing tonight? Saturday Night Live is in reruns until Fall.

By the way, happy Memorial Day! I hope you enjoy your long weekend. Be sure to hug those you love and tell them that you love them.

If you’re remembering someone who paid the ultimate price in service to their country, please accept my deep respect and gratitude. Freedom isn’t free. It never was.

Happy Saturday night!

Advertisements

Saturday Night Serenade–Dance the Night Away

Have you noticed that they’re playing the best music now all over town? The grocery store, the car dealership… Maybe it’s just that I’m getting old, LOL.

I just remember shopping with my mom when I was a kid and all they played was elevator music. And my mom used to listen to Perry Como and stuff in the morning while we got ready for school.

This week, Mr. R and I were running errands and I heard this song. I can’t remember the last time I heard Van Halen’s Dance the Night Away. What a great song. We even commented on how they were playing awesome music. The young man assisting us just nodded blankly.

That’s okay, Skippy. In the age of Auto-Tune, you just don’t know any better.

Tonight, I hope you’re enjoying the countdown to summer. I, for one, can’t wait. I love summer!

Be sure to hug the ones you love. Happy Saturday night!

P.S. I’m leaving you with my all-time favorite Van Halen tune in tonight’s two-fer. ❤

Saturday Night Serenade–Need a Do-Over?

In golf, it’s called a Mulligan. It’s a do-over, a chance to fix a mistake, an opportunity to do something better.

Thank goodness life often presents the chance to begin again. Where I am right now isn’t where I have to be a year from now. There are so many options.

If you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you know I’m a huge fan of Norah Jones. I’m thrilled that she has a brand new album out. Tonight’s serenade is the title track from Begin Again. There may or may not be a subtle political thought in this jazz-inspired song.

I don’t know in what situation you find yourself, but if you’ve ever wished for a chance to start over, I would just say that as long as you’re on this side of the dirt, it’s not too late. If life is what you make it, why not make it happy. A mistake is not the end of the line, it’s the beginning of you learning what you didn’t know before.

I hope you’re enjoying this weekend. Sunday is Mothers’ Day, so remember to tell your mom how much you love her.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Royalty

Did you catch the 2019 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on HBO last weekend? I look forward to the show every year. The performers always bring their A-game, and this year was no exception.

This year’s inductees included Radiohead, Roxy Music, Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, The Cure, and The Zombies. While Radiohead and Janet Jackson opted not to perform, the others were outstanding.

The show opened with an electrifying four-song set by the incomparable Stevie Nicks, the first woman to be inducted into the Hall of Fame twice–previously for her work with Fleetwood Mac and now for her solo career. She performed Leather and Lace with Don Henley, but I loved Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around with Harry Styles pinch-hitting for the late great Tom Petty.

But I can’t leave you without a song by the evening’s final recipients, because, well, Def Leppard.

I hope you’re having a wonderful almost-summer weekend. Hug those you love and tell them how much they mean to you.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Sometimes Stories DO Write Themselves

Since February when my most recent book was published, I’ve been hard at work on the follow-up, the second book in the Redheads & Ranchers series, a novel called HUNTER’S PRIDE.

This week as I worked on a scene in which the hero of the story walks into a small-town bar, I wanted to set the mood of the place. As I imagined Hunter McFall walking into the North Star, this song, Gimme Three Steps by Lynyrd Skynyrd began playing in my head.

Writing experts will tell you there are two types of fiction writers: planners and pantsers. Planners create a detailed outline of their entire story before they ever write a single word. Pantsers (as in fly by the seat of) jump right into the deep end and begin writing the story.

I think of myself as more of a plantser. I don’t outline anything, but I do know where the story begins, where it ends, and the major events that happen in between. I keep a notebook wherein I scribble basics like main characters, their names, descriptions, and details, other characters in their orbit, various significant plot points, and setting details. Mind you, these items are added in a haphazard, stream-of-consciousness sort of way. I even sketch out important places so I can get the details right. My notebook more resembles a madman’s manifesto than a novel outline.

But the cool thing about doing it that way is that often the story unfolds for me in much the same way as I hope it does for the reader. And I end up with moments like when Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Gimme Three Steps comes forward and says, ‘I belong here.’

I’m a Southern girl. I grew up in Tennessee, and I’ve always loved Southern rock. So it’s not really surprising that some of those songs are the ones that present themselves to me. I suppose it all goes to a writer’s voice.

So for tonight’s serenade, I hope you enjoy this oldie.
Fun Fact: My mom’s name is Linda Lou.
Could this song be about her? Hmmm… 😉

Be sure to hug those you love. Have a happy Saturday night!

By the way, if you’re interested,
JENNY’S VOICE
is Redheads & Ranchers Book 1,
and it’s available now
wherever you buy digital books.
books2read.com/JennysVoice

Saturday Night Serenade–Wistful

Had enough of the whole ‘Us vs. Them’ mentality? I know I have. What’s happened to us? Seriously.

Remember when we could appreciate viewpoints different from our own? When we could discuss divergent opinions respectfully and in the end, agree to disagree?

How have we come to the place where ‘He who disagrees with me is my enemy’? When the hell did that happen?

This weekend, I’m finding myself wistfully nostalgic for the good old days when cooler heads prevailed, when name-calling was reserved for those simple souls who ran short on vocabulary and long on self-importance. For when civil discourse was, in fact, civil.

Maybe I’m kidding myself. Maybe times were never really that simple. Maybe that’s yet to come.

In tonight’s serenade, Garth Brooks dreams of a time when We Shall Be Free. The song, co-written with Stephanie Davis, comes from his 1992 album, The Chase.

It was not without its controversy. Polite company in the early 90s wasn’t prepared for a song that celebrated tolerance of all kinds.

Of the fuss, Brooks said,

We Shall Be Free’ is definitely and easily the most controversial song I have ever done. A song of love, a song of tolerance from someone who claims not to be a prophet but just an ordinary man. I never thought there would be any problems with this song. Sometimes the roads we take do not turn out to be the roads we envisioned them to be. All I can say about ‘We Shall Be Free” is that I will stand by every line of this song as long as I live. I am very proud of it. And I am very proud of Stephanie Davis, the writer. I hope you enjoy it and see it for what it was meant to be.“–Garth Brooks–The Hits CD Booklet

The song won Video of the Year at the 1993 Academy of Country Music Awards. It’s a shame you can’t find the original on YouTube.

But I hope you enjoy the simple wish for everyone to just live their lives and to afford others the same courtesy. Have a wonderful spring weekend. Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Feeling Bluesy

I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling kind of low-key this last weekend of March.  This past couple of weeks have been absolutely gorgeous.  The last half of March is always the most beautiful time of year here in south Florida.   The sky is bright blue, the sun is golden, it’s neither hot nor cold…

It’s not the ideal time to go swimming–between the migrating sharks and the Portuguese man-o-war, the ocean is a little dicey.  But to sit on the sand and watch the turquoise water at Juno Beach or Jupiter Beach?  It’s a little slice of heaven.

As is this bluesy song by Tracy Chapman.  Give Me One Reason is from her 1995  album, New Beginning.  It’s the perfect soundtrack for a low-key evening.  By the way, did you know you can ask Alexa to play this song?  And thousands of others?  You don’t even have to scroll through YouTube or iTunes.  Ain’t technology grand?

I hope you’re enjoying this lovely spring evening.  Be sure to hug those you love.

Happy Saturday night!

Oh, and P.S.–Between you and me, don’t tell anybody about Juno and Jupiter.  Let’em all go to Ft. Lauderdale and Daytona.  😉