My Own Merry Month of May Movies

My Fair Lady programme

The programme cover for My Fair Lady, the film.

Turns out this was a trickier meme than I thought when I amended my own Music Meme. Of course I can never just keep it short and snappy, but here’s my own response.

  1. What’s the earliest movie you can remember: Fantasia – I went to see this with my mum and my great-aunt Emily in the city…those creepy brooms freaked me out! I was about five I think.
  2. Where did you go to the movies (place or type of venue): Mostly in the city but occasionally at the local picture theatre though I have no clear memories of this.
  3. Did you buy movie programs: Most of the block-buster films of the day had programs and I used to have quite a few. I’ve kept some of them but only the covers of others.
  4. Did you take in food and drink (and what did you like): Back in the day it was Fantales, Maltesers or Jaffas. Now it’s coffee <smile>. We only get popcorn with the grandkids.
  5. Movies of your teenage years: Gidget, some Elvis Presley (but which?), original James Bonds, Hawaii, My Fair Lady, Sound of Music
  6. Mischief you got up to in the movies: I was a goody two shoes like Robbie, but when we went as a group in my late teens, the blokes would often roll Jaffas down the floors (something of an Aussie tradition)Movies 1
  7. Did you watch movies at home: We didn’t get TV until late, but the first movie I remember was Three Coins in a Fountain (part of my travel addiction). Our own family often borrowed videos or later DVDs.
  8. What was your favourite movie to watch at home: With our own family: When Harry Met Sally, The Princess Bride, Top Gun.
  9. Do you prefer to watch movies at home or at the cinema: Some movies are best suited to the big screen which I prefer (for example Sherpa, or Eye in the Sky, which we’ve just seen, or The Water Diviner) but others I don’t mind either way.
  10. Does your family have a special movie memory: Taking the kids to see a Disney movie in the city and having to get tissues half way through because of the tears (we may be the only family that banned Disney); seeing a movie about a cat, Thomasina, days after we had to put our old girl down. One of my daughters letting out a loud sigh/sound during the Top Gun volleyball match – sounded like she was ecstatic rather than repulsed – turned a few heads <wink, wink>. Or seeing Hawaii with an early boyfriend – the birth scene was pretty dramatic from the front rows.movies 2
  11. Movies you fell in love to/with: I loved Out of Africa to the max right from the beginning. I remember I was in the ladies’ room afterwards and everyone was crying about Robert Redford dying and I was crying about her leaving the servant and telling him she’d send for him (haven’t quite forgiven her for that). We fell in love to Elvira Madigan and Dr Zhivago. On my first ever trip to Sydney, on my own, I cried and cried over Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.
  12. Favourite romantic movie theme music: I’d have to say Mozart’s 21st, from Elvira Madigan, since we used it for our wedding march and made my mum-in-law cry.
  13. Favourite musical movie: My Fair Lady.
  14. Which movies made you want to dance/sing: Sound of Music, Mamma Mia (pathetic movie mostly), Mad Hot Ballroom.
  15. Do you watch re-runs or DVDs of old movies: We have a stash (thanks Bali for our wide selection!) that we watch regularly. I’m not such a big fan of vintage movies though.movies 3
  16.  Do your children/family enjoy the same movies: Some of them: Summer Holiday (strangely), When Harry Met Sally, Princess Bride. It’s something of a family tradition as adults for us all to go to the movies on Boxing Day.
  17. What’s your favourite movie genre now: A tough one, mostly I go to the movies for escapism so I’m a sucker for a feel-good movie but I also like dramas. (My TV watching is nearly all crime…or house shows or WDYTYA)
  18. Did you read the book before or after the movie: After, definitely. There have been some where the movie captures the book perfectly: The Joy Luck Club; 84 Charing Cross Road.
  19. Which did you enjoy more, the book or the movie: The book mostly, but see above.
  20. What’s the silliest movie you’ve seen: Basically we don’t go to see silly movies so nothing leaps to mind…or perhaps I’ve sublimated them. Then again, one man’s film-596519_1280 moviesgreat movie is another’s person’s silly movie.
  21. Pet hate in movies: A sound track that goes from super-loud to super-quiet; “jumpy” or too “artistic” camera work. In my rebellious teen years it was having to stand for God Save the Queen….so we didn’t. Judy Garland movies. I remember we left the movie Papillon part-way through because it was too freaky for an anniversary outing.
  22. A movie that captures family history for you: Do you know, I can’t think of one – look forward to others’ suggestions. Maybe The Water Diviner since it covers the power of family relationships and the horrors and impact of war.
  23. If you could only play 5 movies for the rest of your life, what would they be: Out of Africa, Hopscotch, 84 Charing Cross Road, Mad Hot Ballroom, The Water Diviner.
  24.  Favourite movie stars (go ahead and list as many as you like): Glenda Jackson, Audrey Hepburn, Katherine Hepburn, Meryl Streep (mostly), Hugh Jackman, Sean Connery, Harrison Ford, Kenneth Brannagh, Morgan Freeman, Geoffrey Rush, Colin Firth, Spencer Tracy.

And a late addition:

  1. Other movies that caught my imagination: Reds, Dances with Wolves, Passage to India, Samson and Delilah, Romeo & Juliet (di Caprio and Danes).

And here’s where I wrote about movies in the 52 Weeks of Personal History and Genealogy series a few years back – I wonder how consistent I’ve been?


Mr Cassmob’s Music Meme Response

Mr Cassmob couldn’t resist the challenge of taking part in this meme, so being blog-less (but definitely not clue-less), here is his guest-post response.

1. Song(s)/Music from your childhood: Classical – Beethoven symphonies, Handel’s Water Music, Bach concertos; Reader’s Digest collections (12 thick LP records – pre-vinyl, I think) of popular music: movie themes such as The Third Man, How High the Moon, the High and the Mighty; La Vie en Rose, Granada; The Third Man; Alley Cat (my mother loved the prrrrooowww in this)

2. Song(s)/ Musos from your teenage years:  Beatles, Beach Boys, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, the Stones, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel (mondogreened to Garth’s uncle) – that great open-throated shout on Bridge Over Troubled Water, Acker Bilk – Stranger on the Shore, Cat Stevens.

I remember on Sohano (Bougainville) and Samarai (Milne Bay), Dad, my sister and I listening to The Saturday Night Show on 9PA Port Moresby via shortwave. The theme music was Enrico Morricone’s The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Mum did not join us.

Oddly for a confirmed classical lover. Mum really liked Tom Jones’s Green Green Grass of Home LP. She said she could detect the Scottish and Irish origins in the rhythms.

When were on Sohano in 1960, the two Patrol Officers in the house next door had one record and two 7” 45rpm records – Mexico and Wheels – one each – between them. They played their records on alternate nights.

3. First live concert you attended: Good question. Very late in life – The Seekers at Festival Hall in Brisbane, I think, with my sister’s friend; for some reason my sister could not go. I saw Nana Mouskouri, also at Festival Hall, in 1976(?) – I was on an official work trip from the Administrative College in Port Moresby to the University of Queensland.

I had seen a number of stage musicals – My Fair Lady, Half a Sixpence, Sound of Music, the film version of Oklahoma. I can modestly claim that I was personally responsible for the students at my boarding school, Nudgee College, being allowed to go to the theatre. I’d seen MFL in Melbourne one term holiday in Junior (Year 10) and the Principal, Br Hodda, asked me if I thought this was suitable entertainment and not improper for the boys to see. Why ask me or take my advice I don’t know, but he did.

4. Songs your parents sang along to: I remember my mother, all 5 ft 2 & a quarter of her, dancing the cancan at a New Year’s eve party in Popondetta in 1954 or 1955. She couldn’t quite complete a sideways handstand so her partner, a 6-foot plus kiap who later became Police Commissioner for Papua New Guinea, seized her by her tiny waist and twirled.

I remember a party on Samarai – teachers only? – at which Mum seemed to know the words to all the songs on the “Bawdy Barrack Room Ballads” record. “Roll me over, in the clover…”

5. Song(s)/Music your grandparents sang/played: I don’t recall – I actually saw very little of them, especially my mother’s parents, after I was old enough to remember. I vaguely remember my mother’s mother listening to Blue Hills, as did a large part of the population. I can still hear the theme music.

6. Did your family have sing-a-longs at home or a neighbours: No – Mum was quite a good pianist, but the rest of us couldn’t hold a note in a Buka basket.

7. Did you have a musical instrument at home: No – see above. Not quite true. In about 1976 Pauleen gave me a Yamaha acoustic guitar. This lived in cupboards until in 2011 when I gave it to our son-in-law, who does have some talent, to keep for our grandsons.

8. What instruments do you play (if any):  None. I was made for the comment that a bassoon is an ill wind that nobody blows good. I tried out for the band in School Army Cadets, but couldn’t raise any noise at all.

9. What instruments do you wish you could play: Guitar

10. Do you/did you play in a band or orchestra: No.

11. Do you/did you sing in a choir: No. In Year 7 at Nudgee Junior the choirmaster listened for about 3 seconds and sent me back to the classroom (with 2 others, I should point out). Once when they were short of numbers I was directed to stand in the back row and mime.

At Nudgee Senior the Year 11 and 12 classes sang suitable songs at the prize-giving night, usually held in the Brisbane City Hall Auditorium. A friend and I wrote subversive alternative versions – just different enough so that Brother was not quite sure what he’d heard. Nothing rude, just different.

12. Music you fell in love to/with or were married to: Pauleen and I were married to the theme from Elvira Madigan aka Mozart’s 21st Piano Concerto. My mother cried. (I cried when it played at her funeral 36 years later).

13. Romantic music memories: Elvira Madigan; hearing A Woman’s Heart for the first time in Lord William’s pub in Dingle, with the rain and wind outside, a fire in the grate, and us stretched out on the benches in the high-backed booth. My cousin Greg did not ruin it by calling Sharon Shannon “that blasted woman with the squeeze box”.

Our daughters put together a lovely compilation for our 40th.

 I would love to have a saxophonist play just for us on a midnight bridge in Rome or Paris, but sadly that only seems to happen in Woody Allen movies.

14. Favourite music genre(s):  Classical, light opera, Scottish and Irish, 1960s pop

15. Favourite classical music: Mozart’s 21st, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Handel’s Water Music and Fireworks Music, baroque (Wynton Marsalis plays a great trumpet).

16. Favourite opera/light opera: Carmen; The Barber of Seville; Gilbert & Sullivan; arias from a number of operas; Carreras, Pavarotti, Boccelli . Enjoyed the Australian Opera’s Madame Butterfly in Darwin a couple of years ago.

Quote from Ogden Nash: Puccini is Latin and Wagner Teutonic; and birds are incurably philharmonic.

17. Favourite musical:  Summer Holiday (those who do, such as me and our daughters, do; those who don’t, shake their heads); Abba the Movie; Help! The Commitments, especially that great driving Mustang Sally at the end when it was all too late.

18. Favourite pop: Hot August Night (tree people!); Creedence Clearwater Revival, especially the live album; The Band – The Last Waltz; Dusty Springfield  

19. Favourite world/ethnic: Scottish  – Capercaillie; Irish – Mary Black, Altan, Four Men and a Dog, the Fureys. From a long time ago and thanks for keeping the music alive – the Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem; Davey Furey reduced me to tears with his telling of the last time Liam Clancy sang The Wild Mountain Thyme; the Canadian Rankin Family.

20. Favourite jazz: Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Pepe Jamarillo, Judith Durham’s incredible trad/gospel singing.

21. Favourite country or folk: Sara Storer, Graeme Connors’ North, especially A Little Further North Each Year and Let the Canefields Burn – the latter because as we flew home from Brisbane to Port Moresby at night in a DC6, it seemed that the entire Queensland coast was ablaze.

22. Favourite movie/show musical:  My Fair Lady (especially as seen in Singapore in 1964 with Malay and Chinese subtitles, with added English subtitles for the lyrics which didn’t really translate). Which reminds me of seeing Jesus Christ Superstar in Lucerne in 1974, with German (and French?) subtitles; West Side Story – I saw the film first and was surprised when I saw the stage show to realise how much it had been shifted around (the original made more sense); Singing in the Rain; Abba the Musical for the bounce. Mad Hot Ballroom.

23. Favourite sounds tracks: Top Gun; themes from The High and the Mighty, Romeo and Juliet, Breakfast at Tiffany’s; Mad Hot Ballroom

24. What music do you like to dance to: Two left feet, moi. I can (just) cope with bush dancing and for one brief period I almost got the hang of Scottish country dancing. I loved the swirl of Shifting Bobbins. It has, sadly, meant Pauleen has for most of her life missed out on one of her great pleasures.

25. What dances did you do as a teenager: Twist, stomp (The Stones’ Get Off of My Cloud was excellent for this – enough people in time could get the whole floor in the high-set house bouncing) , madison, hitchhiker and what Billy Crystal in “When Harry Met Sally” described as “the white man’s over-bite”. I was not one of those who confused myself with John Travolta.

26. Do you use music for caller ID on your mobile: No

27. What songs do you use for caller ID: See 26.

28. What songs do your children like or listen to:  Pop, country, “Summer Holiday” – see, some shake their heads…

29. Favourite live music concerts as an adult: Paul Simon’s Graceland concert – loved Ladysmith Black Mambazo; the Guinness Irish music concerts; Neil Diamond. We turned up for the Bob Dylan concert in Darwin, but left early – don’t like Patti Smith and the heavy pall of ganja smoke induced a severe headache, so we decided not to wait for His Bobness.  

30. Silly music memories from your family: Driving back from Greve to Siena under a full moon with daughter and her friend recalling all the mondagreens we could think of (such as eldest daughter’s “Guilty as a gherkin bean…’)

31. Silliest song you can think of: A toss up. The New Vaudeville Band’s Loving You: oh, your red scarf matches your eyes; you close your cover before striking; your father had the shipfitter blues; loving you has made me bananas; or You canna push yer granny off the bus (google this one – there’s a grand version with both verses by a Scottish granny and grand-daughter); or Purple People Eater.

32. Pet hate in music/singing: Nelson Eddy and Jeanette McDonald in Rose Marie – which reminds me of another very silly song – Monty Python’s Lumberjack Song! I’m a lumberjack and I’m OK…; people singing in accents which are not theirs

33. A song that captures family history for you: Mary Black: “Walk with me, talk with me, tell me your story…” – is that Flesh and Blood?

34. If you could only play 5 albums (assume no iPods or mp3) for the rest of your life, what would they be: Hot August Night; 2-CD Best of Simon and Garfunkel; Vivaldi’s Four Seasons; probably Swoon III; maybe A Woman’s Heart; maybe The Pastoral Symphony. Toughest question on the list!

35. Favourite artists (go ahead and list as many as you like): Capercaillie; the Rankin Family; Four Men and a Dog; Creedence; Neil Diamond, Simon & Garfunkel; Vivaldi; Puccini; Mozart; Jose Carreras; Ladysmith Black Mambazo; Beatles;

Artists once loved, judging by the number of records we owned: Nana Mouskouri, George Baker, Sandpipers (although I still love Guantanamera), Dylan, Joan Baez, Herb Alpert (loved the trumpet on The Lonely Bull).

Merry Month of May Music Meme: The Summary of Melodies and Memories

Last week I proposed a bit of fun and frivolity for May, after the serious posts of April. My proposal was that anyone was welcome to join in the Merry Month of May Music Meme. Here are the responses to date. There were lots of fun memories in people’s responses and lots of “blast from the past” moments. Check them out…they’re fun. Thanks everyone for joining in! I certainly had a ton of fun.

If I’ve missed anyone somehow please leave a comment and I’ll remedy my mistake.

If you’d like to join in with your own memories, please do so, I’ll post periodic updates to the list: the more the merrier.


Australian Genealogy Journeys



Kylie’s Genes

Leafing through Linda’s Tree

Mr Cassmob’s Music Meme response

Seeking Susan ~ Meeting Marie ~ Finding Family took the opportunity to write on the themes, a fun one here and an evocative one here as well as her summary.

That Moment in Time

Twigs of Yore

Wishful Linking Family History Blog

Do check out Amayezing’s response in the comments on this post: an interesting perspective from growing up in the bush.

And in case you missed it, my own response is here.

Cassmob’s Merry Month of May Music Meme response

The Merry Month of May Music Meme: a meme for your amusement.

Since the whole point of this is to have fun, retrieve memories and generally chill out (very 60s!), feel free to amend/add/subtract. I’m not even going to ask you the usual checklist of have done, want to do, don’t want to do. If you feel the urge, go ahead, you know how it works. And, geneabloggers, yes there is still family history value in this: give your descendants a laugh, let them get to know you with your hair down.

  1. Song(s)/Music from your childhood: Mum singing Turaluralura, that’s an Irish lullaby; Mum singing around the house, Dad signing in B flat but trying bush ballads; my grandmother playing Scottish music on the gramophone.
  2. Song(s)/Musos from your teenage years: The Beatles, Elvis, Rolling Stones, Monkees, Bob Dylan, Herman’s Hermits, Acker Bilk, Dean Martin, Cat Stevens, Beach Boys, Mamas & Papas.
  3. First live concert you attended: The Beatles in Brisbane (what an adventure!)
  4. Songs your parents sang along to: I’ll take you home again Kathleen; Old Man River, Danny Boy, Aussie bush ballads…..
  5. Song(s)/Music your grandparents sang/played: Scottish music (one side of the family); Catholic hymns or Irish songs (the other side of the family)
  6. Did your family have sing-a-longs at home or a neighbours: A family in the neighbourhood used to have a pianola and hosted occasional sing-a-longs
  7. Did you have a musical instrument at home: No, I learnt the piano briefly and played at the neighbours: we used to have chopsticks-playing speed competitions.
  8. What instruments do you play (if any): None, sadly for me, happily for my listeners.
  9. What instruments do you wish you could play: Bagpipes, fiddle, guitar (in that order).
  10. Do you/did you play in a band or orchestra: See #8
  11. Do you/did you sing in a choir: Even worse than #8
  12. Music you fell in love to/with or were married to: Dean Martin, Acker Bilk, Mozart’s 21st: the theme to Elvira Madigan, a star-crossed-lovers kind of movie (why we chose this I have no idea)
  13. Romantic music memories: Making my mother-in-law cry with Mozart’s 21st as I walked down the aisle at our wedding; listening to A Woman’s Heart for the first time in Dingle; our daughters’ music compilation for our 40th anniversary.
  14. Favourite music genre(s): Classical, light opera, world, with a dash of 60s pop.
  15. Favourite classical music song(s)/album: The Swoon Collection III, Vivaldi’s Four Seasons.
  16. Favourite opera/light opera song(s)/album: Cieli di Toscana and any other Andrea Boccelli; Puccini Romance
  17. Favourite musical song(s)/album: Abba the Movie (for the sheer fun of it)
  18. Favourite pop song(s)/album: The Essential Roy Orbison, Hot August Night,
  19. Favourite world/ethnic song(s)/album: A Woman’s Heart (love the Caledonia track), any/all of Mary Black’s albums; any/all of Capercaillie’s albums; Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunipingu’s Gurrumul, especially the tracks in language.
  20. Favourite jazz song(s)/album: not really into jazz but willing to be converted.
  21. Favourite country or folk song(s)/album: Sara Storer (especially Billabong, Tell These Hands, Raining on the Plains, Boss Drover’s Pride, Katherine); The Rankins Endless Seasons; Former NT Administrator Ted Egan’s songs on Australian and Territory history; Graeme Connor’s North album for its North Queensland influences.
  22. Favourite show/movie musical: My Fair Lady, Abba the Movie
  23. Favourite sounds tracks: Mad Hot Ballroom (an inspirational doco on New York school kids in a dance competition); No Reservations; Top Gun (oh, yeah, love those songs).
  24. What music do you like to dance to: Hmm, I married a non-dancer, but folk music or 60s. I did the twist at my daughter’s wedding with my girlfriends and man, did my legs pay for it the next day! Oh yes, and I forgot the Hucklebuck. At uni, I used to do ballroom dancing two or three nights a week.
  25. What dances did you do as a teenager: jive, twist, rumba, cha-cha etc etc.
  26. Do you use music for caller ID on your mobile: for my nearest and dearest (very handy) and on the house phone, for friends except for those pesky private numbers.
  27. What songs do you use for caller ID: Dancing Queen, Pretty Woman, Mama Mia (reflecting people’s enthusiasms)
  28. What songs do your children like or listen to: Popular, Country, an obsession with our old “Summer Holiday” LP, anything and everything.
  29. Favourite live music concerts as an adult: Paul Simon’s Graceland concert, Guinness Irish concerts, Neil Diamond.
  30. Silly music memories from your family: “take me home west virginger (Virginia)” (she was only 4); the look on the same daughter’s face when the rest of us came back from a Territory holiday singing country; belting out “riding right on into Queensland” (Ted Egan) at the end of a very very long drive.
  31. Silliest song you can think of: this one came to me this morning (late addition) Ta-ra-ra-boom-de-ay and pinching from Catherine on this one: Purple People Eater
  32. Pet hate in music/singing: Australian country singers using American accents; Nelson Eddy and Janette McDonald warbling; those incredibly sexist 60s songs that now put my teeth on edge.
  33. A song that captures family history for you: Flesh and Blood composed by Aussie Shane Howard and sung by Irish singer, Mary Black has been a favourite since I first heard it on the bus to Canberra in 1994. The lyrics are so apt for family history[i]. It’s on The Holy Ground CD. Another might be Graeme Connor’s Let the canefields burn for the changes in family circumstances or Sicilian Born for the impact of migration.
  34. If you could only play 5 albums (assume no iPods or mp3) for the rest of your life, what would they be: The Swoon Collection III; Deep Peace; Gurrumul; A Woman’s Heart; Graceland.
  35. Favourite musicians: go ahead and list as many as you like: Neil Diamond, Andrea Boccelli, Capercaillie, Mary Black, Altan, Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunipingu, Handel, Vivaldi, Puccini……

I had fun, and I hope you do too when you do the meme. Mr Cassmob reckons that if you can remember the 60s you weren’t there. Hah, I was such a sweet young thing in those days!

[i] I was however puzzled by an Irish woman singing “if we leave here today we could be a thousand miles away”. It made much more sense when I found the lyrics were written by an Australian.