Africa, America, Countries, Europe, Music

Rainy Days and Songdays my Oscars favourite songs

In no particular order, and for the day that’s in it, it’s Rainy Days and Songdays – my Oscars favourite songs.

It was something daring, I guess, to award a Best Original Song at the Academy Awards in 1934.

But it was probably a dancing shoe-in for Hollywood superstars Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers’ The Continental.

Dance away

If Fred and Ginger were around today then they’d glide easily down the fabled stairs of the Dolby Theater.

But they are there out front in the Walk of Fame.

All of which we can channel, and which every waiter dreams of aspiring too, in Los Angeles and his environs.

The Continental is one of my Oscar favourite songs and set the standard for every Best Original Song to come.

And in truth for every Over the Rainbow and White Christmas there is a Chim-Chim-Cheree and an I Just Called To Say I Love You too.

Gong with a song

The standard is off the chart which is why the usual Fab Five becomes a Top Ten this week for My Oscars favourites.

10 When You Wish Upon A Star, Pinnochio (1940): 

Pure Disney, and what’s wrong with that.

But this is the craftmanship of Florentine Carlo Collodi so let’s give the Tuscans a shout-out as ‘anything your heart desires will come to you.’

Take it away Cliff Richards as Jimmy Cricket.

9 Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah, Song of the South (1947): 

One of Disney’s more forgettable films and ‘containing outdated language’ though I just dwell on the Deep South music.

James Baskett’s deep anthem is about as happy a song as you’ll ever hear.

And in a cutesie overload Mr Bluebird’s on James’s shoulder too. Everything truly is satisfactual!

8 Three Coins In The Fountain (1954): 

No me neither, nor the singers Clifton Webb, Dorothy McGuire and Jean Peters who each sang the titular song.

But anyone who has ever been to the Trevi Fountain in Rome will either hear someone singing it there while throwning coins over their head into the water.

Or they will be encouraged to do so.

Singing Cowboys

7 Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969):

And if you love the Wild West  then you’ll love the scene where Paul Newman (Butch) and Katharine Ross (Etta) mess about on the bicycle in Utah.

And Burt Bacharach’s velvety lyrics and BJ Thomas’s smooth delivery set it all off.

6 The Time Of My Life, Dirty Dancing (1987): 

The beauty of a good song is trying to recreate it in your bedroom which is what hairbrushes were made for, although Patrick Swayze’s quiff just came naturally.

But if you truly want to channel your inner Johnny and Baby then you’ll want to get out to Lake Lure Inn & Spa in North Carolina.

And have Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes on the boom box.

5 The Streets of Philadelphia (1993): 

You’re probably exhausted after that (I know I am) so let’s slow it down with the Boss’s evocative and powerful Streets of Phladelphia.

Of course, the actual streets of Philadelphia aren’t as gut-wrenchingly emotional as this song and are actually fun-packed as this vid shows.

Better still if you go to Philly the City of Brotherly Love, and find out for yourself.

Drum roll please

4 Born Free (1966): 

And another to pull on your heartstring with the story of Joy and George Adamson, played by real-life couple Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers.

They released Elsa the Lioness into adulthood and released her into the wilds of Kenya.

All of which brings back warm memories of meeting our lioness out in the Eastern Cape in South Africa.

And yes, I sang Matt Monro’s classic in my head then… I didn’t want to stir my lioness.

3 White Christmas, Holiday Inn (1942):

Many of us are probably unaware of Irving Berlin’s inspiration for the best-selling song of all time (I was).

Berlin, a Jew, who didn’t celebrate Christmas had all the more reason to get maudlin on December 25.

His three-week-old son died on that day in 1928. Bing Crosby gives it a timeless uplifting feel.

2 Over The Rainbow, The Wizard of Oz (1939):

And the ultimate in what Daddy’s Little Girl so beautifully puts it, a Happy Sad Song.

And layering on the sentamentality it was the first movie my Dear Old Mum saw in her nearest big city, Derry.

She recalls the switch from black and white to colour seemed like magic to an 11-year-old country girl.

A country girl like Kansas lass Dorothy.

And the winner is…

1 Moon River, Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961): 

Tiffany’s in New York is no more magical than any other jewellery store methinks.

But perhaps that’s because I’m an alpha male bloke, while Breakfast to me is a bagel.

Put them together though and Breakfast At Tiffany’s carries you off to a wonderful escapist world.

It’s the adventurer in me andyou had me Audrey Hepburn at ‘there’s such a lot of world to see.’

So these are my Oscar favourite songs. Now what about you? 

 

 

Africa, America, Countries

World Ppppenguin Day

They take their work seriously in Orlando, so much so they take their penguins home with them. So I expect their handler will be holding a house pppparty today for World Ppppenguin Day.

African penguins in the Eastern Cape

The penguins’ handler at SeaWorld Orlando showed his love for his ppppals when he showed us around their ppppen on my first visit to SeaWorld.

The lonely penguin: In the Eastern Cape, South Africa

I shared the story with the newbies on my second trip out there about how the gas station attendant was taken aback when he saw the penguins in the front seat of the handler’s car.

But he confirmed it when we visited the enclosure.

I smell ppppoo

Now we all think we know penguins and we will certainly have fond memories of feeding them at the zoo.

But it is only when you are up close and personal with them that they reveal their true selves.

On your shoe with a white gooey mess… yes, their droppings are white.

C’mhere you

And that will mean that they won’t be able to spot their ppppals’ ppppoo on the ice.

Visitors to the enclosure keep a safe distance, of course, which is just as well.

Because it’s blinking cold and also rather smelly.

Ppppersonal hygiene pppplease

But what they lack in ppppersonal hygiene (and after stomping around the park in the searing heat I’m one to talk), they make up for in cuteness.

And if you just take a deep breath it’s well worth it to get that money shot snuggling up to Pingu.

The other thing about penguins which is worth mentioning in the times in which we are living is that you could never get them to social distance.

Maybe it’s the cold which makes them cosy up to each other.

Pppport Elizabeth

They do in their thousands too on St Croix in Port Elizabeth where I had the privilege of seeing them in their natural environment.

It is there in South Africa’s Eastern Cape that you’ll find the largest African penguin colony in the world.

And again you want to be careful what you eat before you get on your boat because the waters around the island can be choppy.

Raggy Charters will do their best to chart a calm course but that’s just nature for you.

And perhaps bobbing along and watching the dolphins rise and fall around you through the spray just adds to the motion on the ocean sickness.

But then they do say ‘no pain, no gain’ and it is certainly a boat journey and an experience you’ll never forget.

So pppparty on for World Ppppenguin Day.

 

Africa, America, Asia, Caribbean, Countries

Where social distancing does not apply

They are the birds, bees and animals for whom social distancing does not apply.

The pppppppenguins I met in Sea World in Busch Gardens https://seaworld.com/orlando/ huddled together.

For warmth obviously.

And none of their handlers will need P—–PE.

So the tables have turned and now the animals run free and we’re cooped up.

So randomly here’s a celebration of all’s God’s creatures who have a place in my choir around the world.

Pppp-priceless

Hello pppp-al

Penguins in Orlando: And a tale of the handler who takes his penguin home with him.

And shared the story with us of the double take from the gas attendant when he saw the penguin in the passenger sear.

Pussycat, pussycat

Tiger queen: As every second person watches Tiger King a peak into these big cats in their natural environment.

In the Eastern Cape of South Africa… https://www.visiteasterncape.co.za.

Where Iain and his rangers at Camdeboo National Park https://www.sanparks.org/parks/camdeboo/ led us on a game drive.

And we got to see new mum Thandie with her cubs nestling under a tree… from a safe distance.

To thrill a mockingbird

Mockingbirds in Tobago: It’s feeding time at Ean Mackay’s bird sanctuary in Tobago in the Caribbean https://adventure-ecovillas.com/inthepress.htm.

While these chirpy fellas are also the perfect breakfast guests. See https://www.visittobago.gov.tt and Ready, steady GOAT… racing in Tobago.

Cheeky monkeys

What must they think of us?

Bajan green monkeys: Another breakfast guest, and these guys will climb from tree to tree around your Club Barbados billet https://www.theclubbarbados.com.

Steer away, of course, from the unscrupulous hucksters who try to push you into getting a photo with one… they mistreat them.

Stick with the Barbados Tourism Board who will keep you right with ethical itineraries https://www.visitbarbados.org. And also visit https://www.sandals.co.uk/sandals-barbados/ and https://www.eleganthotels.com/turtle-beach.

And Mother Turtle

Smile, you’re on camera

When you’ve got the expanse of the seas you’d imagine you have little problem getting social distancing.

Alas, the turtles’ greatest enemy is not each other.

But humans and the waste, the plastic we dispose of which fills up their living space.

Thankfully, we have Mother Turtle, Vanessa, a German inlander and her poster turtle Selma to showcase her beloved Kuramathi.

Vanessa and Bandanaman

In the Maldives where Island Marketing and Turkish Airlines will give you a holiday.

Which combines pleasure and respect for the natural world.

See https://island-marketing.business.site, www.turkishairlines.com and https://www.kuramathi.com.

And a word from a doctor

Now before we all locked down the film Dolittle, starring Robert Downey Jnr, reprises the story of how a doctor talked to the animals.

If only the animals could tell him how to lick this virus and how us humans could live more safely and with them.

Adventure, Africa, America, Countries, Europe

My Sporting Weekend – Records

Talk Sport Radio has been a Godsend these past few months.

And my ears pricked up that little bit more with the latest cricket Test match.

Between England and South Africa coming from my old stomping ground of Port Elizabeth.

And they love their rugby in SA too

Now I’m not putting myself on the same level as Shoaib Akhtar or Brett Lee.

The pace aces bowled over 100mph there in the World Cup.

It’s just that the less-vaunted PE in South Africa is a city I fell in love with last year… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/homemyoffice/whats-new-pussycat/.

It got me thinking too about other destinations that have become tied in with world records.

You want a 401… call on Murty

Brian Lara, 400 not out, St John’s, Caribbean, 2004:

Any excuse to showcase the Caribbean I hear you say but there is a tale here about Lara and me.

My old university pal Jevan had taken me to Foreday Morning on my first visit to Barbados.

And introduced me to his old Trinidadian pal Brian.

I’m a Bajan: I don’t give a damn

He told me he was over for the cricket and I naively asked if he played.

I didn’t expect the greatest modern-day batsman would ever wear anything other than cricket whites or one-day burgundy!

Olympic champions

Stefan Kraft, Vikerssundbakken, Norway:

Now there are some sports we all do and those that are just death wishes.

Where’s the peloton?

Me, the Tour de France, 2019: Yes, here I am atop the 6,939ft Col du Tourmalet, the Tour de France’s most used climb.

And I’m not even out of breath. No wonder I needed some magic muscle-soothing water.

Climbing mountains is in the genes for Scots… I give you King of the Mountains Robert Millar.

Where’s the next record?

Me, white water rafting, Colorado:

The record for staying in the water tub long enough on the Poudre River… https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=1Q7Z0dkvzUc&feature=youtu.be.

Of course British Columbian Hazel Amos puts me to shame as the oldest rafter in the world at 96.

And yes, it’s another from the Wild West, but hey, I was born to be a cowboy.

Waltzing to the next title

Samuel Groth, world’s fastest serve, Busan Open, 163.7mph:

No, nor me, but this is it… https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=uKeL-W7xft0.

Of course my on serve after being coached by Judy Murray at The Campus, Quinto da Lago wasn’t chronicled.

That’ll be then.

Michael Austin, world’s longest drive: At 515 yards that’s some power.

Mike gripped it and ripped it at the Winterwood Golf Course in Las Vegas in 1974.

Blasting it 65 yards past the flag on the par-four 5th hole.

Vegas, baby: And Murty hits it into the next state

Me, I drunk it and sunk it… that’s my pitcher of beer at Topgolf in Las Vegas https://topgolf.com/us/las-vegas/.

On my Vegas trip a couple of years ago… Strip… the light fantastic.

While I also showed them how to do it in Quinto…

And hopefully I’ll be back to break my own record at the American Travel Fair www.ipw.com.

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