Saturday, 8 October 2022

Memory Vault

Welcome to a sunny South Manchester. 

Today is a special day that I have tried to brush under the carpet but failed. Yes – it is my birthday and, worse, it is a significant one. 

I have just entered my seventh decade. I am 60 years old today.

I don’t look my age and I certainly don’t feel it. My ageing body has slowed down over the years but I still feel quite spritely for my age and I am fairly active. 

I share my birthday with Bruno Mars, Chevy Chase, Jesse Jackson, Matt Damon, Sigourney Weaver, Paul Hogan, Sadiq Kahn (current mayor of London) and Ursula von der Leyen (current president of the EU) amongst others. 

Somebody at work told me that yesterday was the birthday of the nutter in Russia, Vladimir Putin – thank goodness I don’t share a birthday with him – too close for comfort though. 

Later today I am going to a beer festival with friends in Sale (which is about five miles from where I live) and then we are going to an Italian restaurant. Should be good. 

Anyway, let’s answer some daft questions from Sunday Stealing.

1. What period of history is your favourite to read about?

I’m not really a history buff but I am fascinated with a couple of eras in history. 

The first is the Roman Empire. At school I learned Latin – which at the time I thought was totally pointless – and as part of that we delved into Roman history. I found it fascinating and I still do. Latin actually helped me a lot because many words in English are derived from Latin and also, it uses noun forms that are similar to German and it helped me get to grips with German grammar. Also some Latin phrases are still in use today and as a child I used to attend Catholic masses which for the first few years of my life were in Latin. Hard to believe these days but it is true.

I am also fascinated by Vikings having watched the brilliant series of the same name. 

Finally, I love the time of Henry VIII, arguably our maddest king. 

2. What is your favourite genre of fiction?

It used to be horror but these days it is science fiction. Most of the novels I read these days are space operas or books involving elaborate and complex science fiction concepts, such as time travel, parallel universes – and of course your typical alien invasion novel (for example The War of the Worlds). 

That said, I like a good thriller or espionage book, like those written by the creator of Jason Bourne, Robert Ludlum. 

And I still read the occasional horror book (Stephen King for example). 

3. Do you choose a book by its cover?

No. I choose a book based on the synopsis on the back of the book. 

4. Where do you do most of your reading?

I don’t read much during the daytime unless I am bored. Most of my reading occurs in bed or if I am travelling. On a recent trip to Greece I ploughed through a massive space opera whilst sitting by the pool. On Thursday we are going to Copenhagen and I will read while flying and in the airport and, of course, when we return to the hotel after a busy day exploring the city. I am really looking forward to it because it is a new country. 

5. Without looking, guess how many books are in your TBR pile. Now, look. Were you right?

There are three books on my Kindle right now that I am waiting to read. I don’t need to look. 

6. How many movies are on your TBW list?

Probably about twenty. There are some classic movies that I want to watch that I have never got around to (like Schindler’s List).  

7. What's your favourite genre of movie?

As with books, I love science fiction movies and also those involving super heroes. Yes, I am still a child at heart when it comes to movies. I also like comedy films and thrillers.

8. Do you still go to see movies in the theatre?

Yes, although we haven’t been for a few months. I think the last one I went to see was Spiderman: No Way Home which was brilliant.

9. You have $10,000 and no strings or obligations for one full day. Where do you go and what do you do?

I would first go the bank in order to change it into pound sterling, hoping that Liz Truss’s attempts to destroy our economy haven’t caused our currency to crash through the floor. The exchange rate today is $1.11 to the pound, which is not very good at all. That would give me £9009. 

Since it’s my birthday, I would spend it on things just for me – electronic gadgets mainly and then I would take what is left and go out for a lovely meal with some close friends.

10. How many songs are on your favourite playlist?

Since I have recently embraced Spotify, I have just been going through my CD collection recently in order to create a playlist of “liked” songs in order to reproduce the list of songs I have iTunes in Spotify. I have a lot of music and it is taking time but as I plough through the thousands of songs I have on CD I am also researching new stuff that is related. I am about 70% through my collection and the size of the playlist is 7000 songs give or take a few hundred. I imagine it will exceed 10,000 at the end. 

And then I will start creating other playlists for specific use and also exploring new music thus making my list of "liked" songs absolutely huge. 

For example I will create a walking playlist containing upbeat pop and rock songs, a progressive rock playlist for long drawn out self-indulgent prog masterpieces, a mellow chill out playlist for listening to while I am working, a heavy metal playlist for when I want to clear the cobwebs from my head and many others too (70’s pop, 80’s pop etc.).

I’m going to have a lot of fun.

11. What method do you use to listen to music (Spotify, iTunes, Pandora...)?

As I said above, I have just migrated to Spotify but I also plan to buy an mp3 player to accommodate my CD collection. I plan to use Spotify mostly but to also use my mp3 player when on an aircraft or travelling when I can’t get a signal. I know that I can download songs with Spotify but I would rather use that storage on my phone and tablet for more important things. 

12. And Finally ...

I’ll leave you with three songs that topped the charts on my birthday. 

First – this was number one in the UK:

This was number one in the US:

And finally this was number one Down Under:

When I listen to all of them (and I recognise all of them) I feel quite old.


Elephant's Child said...

Happy Birthday. I hope you enjoy your day and your year much, much more than Putin does his.

Lisa said...

happy birthday to you!! 60 is a big one :-) I'm 64 so I know of what I speak!

River said...

#5: five "real" books and far too many on the kindle.

Roger Owen Green said...

Happy birthday! I'm going to be 70 next year, youngun...

CountryDew said...

Happy birthday! I hope you have a wonderful time with your friends. I am a few months behind you - 60 isn't old!

Kwizgiver said...

Happy birthday! I hope you had a great celebratory meal with your friends.

I need to copy you with Spotify playlists of my CD compilations. I was quite a fan of the mixed tape and moved on to the mixed CD and now it's time to create playlists of those mixes.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Thanks EC,

I had a great day and I definitely had too much beer, cake and chocolate.

You're not 60 every day though are you?




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Lisa and thanks.

I don't feel any different and I doubt I will when I am 64 (at least I hope not).




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

I rarely read "real" books now. It's a shame really - it was a wrench to get a Kindle but it has made my life so much easier.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Roger and thanks.

Nowt wrong with being 70.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi CD and thanks.

60 is not old at all. Still it's nice to have ten years until the next big one.




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Kwizgiver and thanks.

I'm still compiling playlists - it's actually great fun - but time consuming.