Lena Minder – Stay Around

I’m not sure why but the often-cited ‘fact’ about Paul and Linda McCartney used to bring me out in a rash; Paul would say that, since meeting Linda, they had never spent a night apart. I’d wonder about the impossibility of this; Surely Paul’s work must have got in the way of such doting practice? Or, at the very least, surely there were times when one or the other fancied a night out with their own crowd? I’d try to validate my own objections (not that it’s any of my business) by mumbling something about ‘absence making the heart grow fonder’ and suggesting that it’s just not healthy to live in your partner’s pockets. By then, I think some of my friends had just written me off as cold and callous.

It’s true that I have friends now who are such a compatible match that they’re barely apart. It’s lovely and it makes me sick. In their togetherness, they’re able to find such happiness that they need no external distraction. They’ve sailed through lockdown and the challenges of Covid-19 largely because their lives have barely changed. I suppose, at the heart of my feeling, there’s an envy that such stability can be found within such limited horizons. Of course, the properly advanced state of thinking here would be ‘each to their own’. There are many ways to swing a cat and one man’s liquor is another man’s poison. 

Today’s Sonic Breakfast track, ‘Stay Around’ by Lena Minder, is a song all about togetherness and the enduring nature of some relationships. Conversely, it could also be about never quite being able to deal with the memories of a break-up. I guess the simple lyrics are left inconclusive to enable the listener to layer their own interpretation over. At its core though, Stay Around is, without doubt, a tender love song.

Beautiful and lush, Lena treats her listeners to enticing harmonies and vocal effects. Over a finger-picked guitar line, the song gently meanders with occasional piano chord to a sweet conclusion. Originally from Zurich and now living in Berlin, Lena recorded this out of ‘The Famous Goldwatch’ studios. 

I ask Thomas from the studio how things are going right now. “For now Lena plans to release a few singles which I’m sure she’ll eventually compile as an EP or even album.“, he tells me. “Lockdown is still hard for the musicians of course, but at least the weather now allows for busking and we try to keep our studio running as much as the restrictions allow us to.

Have a lovely Saturday full of happy coupling moments if you can. 


Eurovision – Part one

I love the Eurovision Song Contest. I realise that such amour sets me apart from a bulk of my friends. But I can’t help myself. Bucks Fizz made my mind up on this and then Bardo pushed me one step further into what has been a lifelong appreciation of the quirks, the drama, the politics and the utter spectacle.

In recent years, I have hosted Eurovision food parties (complete with bags of Maltesers for the entry from Malta). I have insisted that birthday parties and camping trips have had a healthy gap in their schedules so that I can enjoy the contest. If this is hopeless and sad then I am guilty as charged. Diggi Loo Diggi Ley. 

Imagine my delighted squeal, when this week i was sent an advance copy of this year’s Eurovision double CD. This years contest is coming from Copenhagen. Across two semi finals and a final in May, 37 countries are taking part in the extravaganza. And over the next four days of this Easter break, I’m going to give you my views on their entries. Clearly, a considerable part of the Eurovision charm derives from the stage performances and I won’t be seeing this but each day I’ll post videos to two of the more extreme visions of Euro unity – just to whet appetites for next month. 

So, without further ado, “let’s get this show on the road… ”


1. Albania – Hersi – One Night’s Anger

A pleasant enough start to proceedings here. A folky start with a sweet female vocal from Hersi gives way to a faux rock climax. I can almost forgive the naff guitar solo plonked in the middle. ‘Keep calm and think twice‘, sings Hersi and I wonder if I might actually be a bit mad. 


2. Armenia – Aram – Not Alone

An excrutiatingly dull piano led ballad from the Armenians in which a little bird is encouraged not to cry. It almost goes into a dubstep rock thing towards the end. This isn’t a winner in my book – which probably means it stands a great chance.


3. Austria – Conchita Wurst – Rise Like A Phoenix

This is epic, but that doesn’t mean it’s any good. It’s straight out of a Sean Connery era James Bond soundtrack. I’m not sure if Conchita is male or female based upon this vocal performance. Shirley Bassey will no doubt be envious she wasn’t born in Vienna.


4. Azerbaijan – Dilara Kazimova – Start A Fire

Four tunes in and already I’m losing the will to live. What is it with all of these piano led ballads? Where’s the quirkiness and the bizarre? This tune would struggle to even make an album of Coldplay B sides. Again, this probably gives it a chance of winning.


5. Belgium – Axel Hirsoux – Mother

More piano. Axel’s ‘coming home‘ because he’s ‘broken hearted’ and now he’s singing a frankly eerie love song to his Mum. Think Norman Bates humming a tune from The Phantom Of The Opera in a shower and you probably get the picture. Hilariously creepy.


6. Belarus – Teo – Cheesecake

Here we go. This is more like it. From an initial ‘Yeah Baby‘ through to mention of Patrick Swayze, this grooves along to a chorus that states, ‘I’m trying to be your sweet cheesecake‘. Pure nonsense. It also has an annoying duck like Kazoo sound. Fun but appalling.


7. Switzerland – Sebalter – Hunter Of Stars

Whistling over the top of banjo’s. Upbeat fiddles and handclaps. What we have here is a sub-standard Mumford & Sons – and I think Mumford & Sons are shit. ‘I am the hunter, you are the prey. Tonight I’m going to eat you up‘, sings Sebalter and I’m almost won over by the songs cannibalistic urges.


8. Germany – Elaiza – Is It Right? 

A poppy oompah tune. It is very much not right. But, it’s a completely inoffensive three minutes and thus will probably do quite well. Enough said. 


9. Denmark – Basim – Cliche Love Song

Clearly, Denmark aren’t keen to host the Eurovision again next year. Basim proceeds to spew cliches in an upbeat pop number that references ‘Katy Perry‘ and ‘putting your hands up‘. They’ll be dancing in the aisles of the sanitorium to this one.


 And already, we’re a quarter of the way there. Tomorrow, I’ll give my comments on Ruth Lorenzo’s Spanish entry and tell all about my brief meeting with her in a Leicester car park. And I’ll also be looking at the UK entry from Leicestershire based, Molly. People from Leicestershire always do well in Eurovision (just ask old Engelbert) so I’m expecting great things. 

The two videos for today very much pick themselves. Be astounded by the sinister entry from Belgium and giggle at Belarus’ cheesy cake.