IT WAS A VERY GOOD YEAR – 12 Months When Rock Music Reached Its Peak

Career peaks for Led Zeppelin, Marvin Gaye, The Who, Joni Mitchell and Rod Stewart – in 1971 popular music reached its high water mark.

On a recent flight to Alicante from the UK I read a magazine article making the case for 1966 being the high water mark for popular music. The evidence looked watertight – Revolver, Pet Sounds, Blonde on Blonde, Fifth Dimension, each one a landmark album and released the same year as outstanding offerings from The Kinks, The Who, the Rolling Stones (and that was just in London), with ground-breaking music also being made in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

During the plane journey I began making a mental list of what I consider the greatest albums ever made: What’s Goin’ On, Born To Run, Blue, Plastic Ono Band, Blood On The Tracks, Who’s Next, Rubber Soul, London Calling, Tapestry, and in doing so realised how many were made in 1971. So without further here is the case for that year being the ‘annus mirabilis’ of rock music.

At first glance 1971 is a strange year for rock. The Beatles had split, there was no new material from Bob Dylan and constant personnel changes had blown The Beach Boys and The Byrds off course. But with What’s Goin’ On, Marvin Gaye gave Motown its finest hour. More social comment than sweet soul, the songs focused on inner city deprivation, brotherhood and the mess being made of the environment – marvellous Marvin proving you could have a message and make great dance music at the same time. Tapestry (Carole King) and Blue (Joni Mitchell) are albums of incredible maturity and insight into human emotions, while Every Picture Tells A Story is Rod Stewart at his most charming, funny and poignant. The title track is a wonderful mixture of eloquence and ramshackle rock with the killer second side (Maggie May, Mandolin Wind, (I Know) I’m Losing You and Reason To Believe) a match for any side of an album ever recorded.

1971 also brought Sticky Fingers, an album of such swagger and attitude it could only have been recorded by the Rolling Stones, the best recorded rock band on the planet weighed in with the sonic masterpiece that is Led Zeppelin IV, while on Muswell Hilbillies, King Kink Ray Davies presents sketches of London that 40 years before Graham Greene would have been proud of.

But the final word in this momentous year goes to the Rolling Stone magazine Record Guide which states Who’s Next by The Who ‘may well be the finest rock record ever made.’ If you agree with that statement (as I do) there is little else to add. As Del Trotter once said: ‘I don’t care what they say, you can’t whack The Who.’

By the time we landed in Alicante my mind was made up, 1971 was the golden year. But waiting to show my passport I thought of 1969 – and of Abbey Road, Tommy, Crosby Stills & Nash, Let It Bleed, Bridge Over Troubled Water, The Band, Dusty in Memphis, Led Zeppelin II…

Career highs for Marvin Gaye, Led Zeppelin, The Who, Joni Mitchell, Rod Stewart and Carole King take popular music onto a whole new level – and they all happen in the same year. Renowned rock writer Neil Sambrook takes a new look at an astonishing twelve months for rock – and reaches a startling conclusion.

Tips For Celebrating Your Silver Wedding Anniversary

Getting ready

A silver wedding anniversary occurs on the 25th year of marriage. It is an important milestone and your partner will be expecting you to treat it as such. They key to a memorable celebration is planning. Starting early is advised, advance planning will help add touches that make it personal to your partner. Fortunately after 25 years you should know your partner very well!

There are two parts to this milestone that need attention. The first is the celebration itself and the second is the gift. We look at each in turn.

1) Celebrating a 25th anniversary

Start by planning the main meal. Do you intend to have the focus on lunch or dinner? Will you cook something or will you go out? Perhaps you will be on holiday (see Gift Suggestions below)

If you are not working on the day of the anniversary you could plan a whole day of activities doing as much or as little as you like.

Overall make it a romantic occasion and celebrate your lasting love for eachother. Don’t forget to use lots of silver coloured things, for example: Silver glitter, silver table cloth, silver balloons, disposable silver plates and cutlery. If you don’t own these things and can’t get hold of them you could create your own touches with silver spray paint or silver inked pen.

The usual rules for a romantic occasion still apply! Don’t forget the flowers, chocolates and music!

2) Gift Suggestions

This milestone is traditionally celebrated with gifts containing or related to silver.

When choosing a gift for a special occasion such as this one should bear the following in mind, the gift should be 1) personal 2) meaningful and 3) memorable

A personal touch – Try to make the gift unique or as rare as possible. This adds a special feeling to the gift

Meaningful – The gift should be meaningful t the receiver. Try to make it relate to them as an individual. Think about what they like and their interests

Memorable – The best gifts are those that last forever either physically or in memory

Silver Jewellery

This is probably the most popular gift as it lasts forever and can be both personal and meaningful. For a twist consider using silver jewellery to tie another gift, for example if you want to buy a gift in the form of paper, print it on heavy, good quality (silver) paper and roll it into a scroll. Tie the scroll with a delicate silver necklace and pendant. This way you could have a non physical gift, like a printed voucher, wrapped with a piece of jewellery to remind your partner of this special occasion.

Your Ex Bad Mouths You to Your Children, What Do You Say and Do? Divorce And Co-Parenting Advice

During our online coaching session last night, Kate shared how angry she was at her ex. That morning at the breakfast table. Her daughter blurted out “Dad said you took all his Money and that is why he cannot take us on holiday anymore like he promised”. She wanted to say “Took all is money? We barely got enough to cover our basic needs. If your Dad is concerned about money then why is he spending it on a new car and on that dreadful woman”. Instead she vented about her ex in our private sessions, where we could discuss ways to de-stress and respond. Clearly that would be the wrong response for children, but what is the right response? Read suggestions at the end.

Omar had a similar situation, he found out that his former in- laws, his children’s grandparents, were bad-mouthing him. His son said to him “Grandma and Granddad said you deserted your family values and that you are a bad person”; “Mum and them also said you are killing yourself and others by smoking and smoking is evil.” Omar was more hurt than angry. He tried his best for years to make the marriage work, but it wasn’t meant to be, they just weren’t compatible. They knew he smoked before he got married and whilst he isn’t proud of it, he thought no child should hear about death. This ruined his mood for the week, as he simply couldn’t stop running it through his mind. Talking it out with me gave him the opportunity to get it off his chest and decide on his response to his ex and children. If this is happening to you right now, I encourage you to talk it through with a trusted friend, family member or coach. Below I address the 3 most frequently asked questions that come up in relation to this topic: Do I defend myself? Do I Confront My Ex? And, what do I say to my children? I hope these are helpful to you.

In high-conflict parenting relationships, you may find that you are the butt of jokes, or gossip by your ex, their partner or family. The hardest thing is not to react, when deep down you want to stand your ground, let them know that what they are saying is out of order, and more importantly hurting and confusing for the children. But if you do let it consume you, or spiral out of control into a shouting match, you will get drawn back into that abusive cycle from which you have rightly tried so hard to escape.

So what DO you say?
A good way to answer these hurtful comments is to acknowledge them, then address it without being defensive or attacking. Here are some examples I created with people on my stress-free co-parenting 6 month programs.

General lies or gossip:
“I am so sorry you had to hear that about your mother / father, it’s not true. I imagine that must have been difficult, uncomfortable and sad for you to hear bad things about me. Gossip and bad mouthing people is not a nice thing to do, so in this house we don’t say bad things about other people or talk about them when they are not here. When people at school or at other places talk badly about other people you just have to ignore it. If it is about me, you don’t have to defend me or stand up for me, as I can stand up for myself. So just let it go in one ear and out the other”
Adult Issues (money, affairs etc):

“I wish your dad / mum wouldn’t talk about adult issues with you in such a blaming and confusing way. It’s true that neither of us has as much money as we did before the divorce. For a while we won’t have as many extra treats, like holidays abroad, but we have all the things we need for you, your school and other things”
Habits or differences of opinion (smoking, eating, shopping etc):

“That must’ve been upsetting to hear. I don’t know why they said that. She and I see things differently. But I absolutely love you, and though your Mum / Dad and I are not together anymore – I will always be here for you.” This is what I suggested to Omar to say and he said it worked really well, his son gave him a big hug, then ran off to play in the park.

Do you defend yourself?
Even if you have sole custody of your children, you can’t fully protect them from what they or may not hear from your ex or their family. But should you defend yourself your Children?

It differs depending on the circumstances but generally I would say best not to. Don’t make this about you, your feelings or your ex. Best to end the conversation by acknowledging how children feel and making them have just enough of an answer to satisfy them, so they can go off and play. See examples below. The reason I say best not to, is because by doing so you are drawing in your children deeper. They may feel that they have to report back or defend you and share your comments back with your ex. Children should be playing, having fun or doing their homework instead of getting involved in parent disputes. Ideally as much as possible, children need to be shown their parents are a united front when it comes to parenting after divorce. Agreed parenting plans can be a great way to ensure that.

Do you confront your ex?
Only you can decide this, but I would really assess it on how well you get along with your ex and if they are genuinely unintentionally letting things slip or are maliciously saying things against you. Honestly, I believe in most situations it is best not to rise to the bait or confront them. If they are saying spiteful or derogatory things deliberately about you, the chances are they are trying to provoke a reaction and are clearly still bitter towards you. Perhaps your Ex wants the drama – wants the fight. Therefore showing them that they are getting to you, may be like adding fuel to their fire and it is likely that they will continue. This would be the worst possible scenario for your children, as children need to be protected from hearing bad things about their parents. Children need to know that both parents love them and are there for them.

When my parents divorced I was told that my dad didn’t love me and us children because he didn’t give enough money. I grew up with the belief that if a man spent money on you, it means they love you, and if they don’t then it means they don’t love you. This had a negative impact on my relationships in my early twenties, until a coach showed me that I was carrying this false belief. Once I realized where it came from, I could challenge and change it. This is why I find coaching so useful and still have a coach myself. Having someone that stands for you and is your thought partner throughout challenges you may face is extremely beneficial, so whether it is a coach, friend, partner or family member, do get some support.

The good news is children of divorce only need to have one parent provide a safe and supportive environment for them to flourish. One where they don’t have to get involved in arguments, conflict or take sides – according to US studies. You cannot control your ex or anyone else for that matter. But you providing this environment can make all the difference for your children and is something totally within your power. The best you can do is make your household a safe, fun, nurturing and loving place to grow. Stop the badmouthing before it has the chance to infect your home and your children will love you for it. They will love your home because they are not made to feel awkward or in the middle, instead they live in a positive happy environment.

And finally, if lies are being spread regularly about you, just trust that your children love you and will see the truth. Defending is often not necessary, because as children get older they can see the truth and can see through lies. I have seen this many times, including through my own personal experience.

Sitcom Characters Who Annoy Friends With Their Musical Instruments

Folks have been sharing their memories of a national toy company that is going out of business, so I tried to recollect one of the few times I ever shopped there. Since my kids are both now in college, it has obviously been quite a while that I set foot in a toy store.

One Christmas my daughter topped her list for Santa with a drum set, which she of course received. The worker at the toy store had sworn that the set would be easy to assemble, but he was obviously unaware of my mechanical shortcomings.

Several hours before the kids awoke to check under the tree, I had managed to complete the three pieces of percussion. After all that work, my daughter probably played the drums not more than a dozen times, and boy am I glad of it.

Had she seriously undertaken the task of becoming a female Ringo (Ringa?) Starr, I most likely would have lost a lot of sleep. Nothing can be so annoying as sharing a living space with someone trying to master the drums, or any other instrument for that matter.

That annoying situation has led to some humorous plots on a variety of classic TV shows, and here are ten of them.

Charles Emerson Winchester on MASH.

Hawkeye and BJ both find their fellow surgeon even more annoying than usual, after Charles (played by David Ogden Stiers) starts playing his French Horn.

Bobby Brady on The Brady Bunch

Even though the youngest Brady son gets banished to the garage to practice his drumming, his parents and five siblings still cannot endure his constant racket.

Homer Simpson on The Simpsons

Bass is the instrument through which the patriarch deals with yet another midlife crisis, which soon leads to other dads in Springfield forming a band.

Alice Cooper on Mayberry RFD

Years before that name was immortalized by Vincent Furnier and his fellow rockers, that name belonged to the housekeeper of Mayberry Administrator Sam Jones. In one episode she becomes fascinated with an antique harp, but she lacks the talent to master it.

Joey on Friends

Phoebe tries to teach Joey the guitar in a segment called “The One with All the Resolutions. ”

Larue on Gidget

When her best friend becomes enchanted with the guitar, Gidget (played by Sally Field) finds herself involved with a rock and roll band.

Ross on Friends

As if Joey learning the guitar were not bad enough, his pal decides to take up the bagpipes.

Barney Fife on The Andy Griffith Show

An annoying ensemble already, the Mayberry band got even worse when the deputy purchased a pair of cymbals.

Lucy Ricardo on I Love Lucy

When Ricky’s saxophone player departs, Lucy is determined to replace that horn blower in her husband’s band.

Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory

Neighbors and roommates alike regret when, during a hippie phase, Sheldon begins pounding on bongos in “The Werewolf Transformation.”

Christians: Wondering If You Are In The Right Relationship?

What am I getting myself into?

I received an email from a man who wrote them with a sense of bewilderment. He had been dating a woman for six months and had strong feelings for her. Being that they were both in their late 30′s, they felt they knew what they wanted out of life and didn’t see the point in waiting too long to get married, so he was contemplating popping the question. But, he didn’t want to make a decision based purely on emotion. With the rate of divorce being so high he was questioning his ability to detect whether or not he was making the right decision. His question is one that is on many people’s minds: How do I know I am with the right one?

There are many indicators to help you know if you are with the right person and the way you feel about someone is certainly one of them. Usually, when you are with “the one” you feel a strong, familiar, peaceful connection to him/her in addition to the romance and excitement. But… we all know feelings change and fade. The honeymoon always comes to an end. This is the secret of a strong and lasting marriage… learning to love each other even more when those feelings of romance aren’t present. But, if you can’t rely on feelings as the proper gauge, what is there you can count on?

A New Trend Among Dating Couples

Here’s an interesting trend: more and more couples who are not yet engaged are attending marriage preparation courses and retreats in an effort to boost their discernment process and feel as confident as possible about their chosen partner. I spoke with one such couple, Julie and Brian, about this and the Julie, gave a notable response: “We just want to know what we are getting into so we don’t waste each other’s time.” I had asked Julie specifically why she would attend if she and Brian weren’t engaged, yet. “It’s too important… I don’t want to get a divorce, I’d rather have a long and happy marriage.”

Fair enough. So, if you love the one you’re with, is it enough to be in love and agree on the issues of children, faith, finances, etc.? Some people would say yes, but hearkening back to the gentleman who had emailed me describing his sense of being perplexed, it was clear he still wanted some sign, some indication he couldn’t doubt that his girlfriend was the person God had intended for him.

If you find yourself in these same shoes, I’d like to offer you a simple, yet very effective way to help you discern whether you are with Mr. or Mrs. Right. Just ask yourself these three questions:

1. Will my relationship with this person bring me closer to God?

2. Will my relationship with this person make me a more loving person?

3. Will this relationship allow me to use my gifts and talents?

If our goal in life is to spend eternity with God in heaven then this first question is one we should always ask ourselves. If you answer it honestly and follow through, you take a huge step in knowing if this person is the right one for you. Even if you’ve only been together a short time, you already have some insight into your behaviors as a couple. Are you comfortable discussing your beliefs with this person? Is faith and morality as important to your significant other as it is to you? Do you share any spiritual goals? The answers to these questions all indicate one of three things: either the relationship is moving you toward God, it isn’t, or you need to start talking about these things to find out.

Regarding the second question, it’s important to understand that I’m not talking about romantic love because that should naturally be a yes. This question focuses you on detecting if your relationship with the person you are dating will enable you to grow in love for God and others? Genuine love is self-less. It focuses on others. So in your relationship, are the two of you focused on making the other happy, or are you in the relationship for your own benefit? Another way to tell if your relationship will help you become a more loving person is by defining how open the two of you are to new life. Two people who are committed to each other but not yet married reveal their openness to new life by never using artificial contraception at any stage in their relationship which means you remain celibate until marriage. But in addition to that important point, ask yourself if you, as a couple are comfortable sharing your faith with others?

The third question might sound odd, but it is really an important thing to consider. when you think about living the rest of your life with this person. God endowed you with gifts and talents for a reason… so you can use them for His glory and the good of others. This question will help you determine the level of harmony between the two people in the relationship… Is your significant other supportive of your interests and goals? Does this person encourage you to follow your dreams and stand beside you to cheer you on? I might add here that this is something you should feel comfortable doing in return. Can you get behind this person up on all his/her pursuits?

If you are wondering if you are in a relationship with the right person, I encourage you to take some time and reflect upon these questions. They are tools I use often in other types of decisions I must make as well and are very effective.