Tag Archives: Spice Girls

Ask Simon Anything – Part II

Now I knew, and secretly hoped, that if I asked you guys to ask me anything that not only would you come up with some lovely bookish questions, you would hopefully come up with some bonkers ones too. After the bookfest of questions that Magdalena asked it was my friend and cohost Thomas who came up with some of the more, erm, unusual ones and like Magdalena he had quite a lot of them so I thought I would go through those today. Interestingly he didn’t ask me any quite so bonkers questions when I went to stay with him a few weeks ago in Washington DC, more on which soon. So here we go…

Which country do you most want to visit?

I have a real desire to go to India or China. Two completely different countries but two which are jointly top of my list. I think both would be fascinating, provide a culture shock and change me in some way. I have no plans, or indeed budget, to go at present though so instead I will have to read more fiction set in them, as that is the cheapest way to experience the world – through a book, sorry I couldn’t help it.

Where have you travelled that you liked the least?

What an odd question, I would have thought you would have said the most. Negative Nelly. If it was most I would say Tel Aviv or Kenya. See I can’t choose one thing ever. Where have I liked least…I had a pretty shit holiday on the Isle of Wight? The best thing about it was the rock factory. Note it was a school trip and back in about 1994. I haven’t been back though.

How many countries have you been to?

18. It took me a while to count. 20 if you separate Scotland and Wales. Topical!

Would you prefer an evening at the opera or an evening at the ballet?

Ooh, depends on what you are seeing. I would like to see more opera as I have only been two or three times. However if it was anything by Matthew Bourne then that would beat opera hands down, I think that man is a genius.

What would be your request for your last meal?

Prawn cocktail to start, no thought needed there; it is my favourite even if so passé. Then a huge selection of my favourite dim sum and sushi, followed by The Beard’s (well he is a trained chef) amazing Lemon Meringue Cheesecake which he made as it combines cheesecake, meringue and lemon curd which are three of my favourite things. All washed down with a Snowy’s Snowball which is a pineapple, lemonade and grenadine alcohol free cocktail that I always used to get when on holidays staying in Trust House Forte hotels with Gran and Bong as a kid. Do I get a cheeseboard and coffee after?

If you could (had to) have dinner with one Spice Girl, who would you choose?

I am quite upset that I can only choose one because I was the biggest Spice Girl fan. I am a big fan of pop music anyway, as it just makes you happy all over, yet I was doing my GCSE’s when Wannabe came out and everyone loved them. I had pencil cases, the crisp packets and in fact still have the Chupa Chup tin with them all on which The Beard once dared to put in the recycling bin. It was nearly all over when that happened. But only one… I would have to say Victoria Beckham. Partly because I think we have a very similar dry sense of humour and also because she is the one Spice Girl I didn’t get to interview when I was a showbiz reporter, I have interviewed Melanie C two or three times, she is lovely. Please see below, I am feeling very smug at the time.


Do you prefer chocolate- or fruit-based desserts?

If we are talking cakes and pastries fruit easily. No one believes me but I actually HATE chocolate cake, ugh! Otherwise its chocolate goodness all the way, just don’t bake it. I have recently discovered Chocolate and Peanut Butter gelato which is the best thing ever.

Which (dead) figure from history would you most like to meet?

You all think I am going to say Daphne Du Maurier don’t you, but no! It would be Bess of Hardwick a woman who fascinates me.

If you had to choose, with which member of the Royal family would you want to chat?

Do I have to choose one at all? Can I choose a corgi? If pushed, because while I don’t mind the monarchy and all they do tourism wise for our country I am not a huge fan, then I would say good old Camilla. She’s been on The Archers so we could talk about that and I hear she loves a good book.

What is one thing you are embarrassed to admit you like?

I don’t think there is anything I am embarrassed to admit I like. The Beard would say I should be embarrassed to admit I like sweets, clothes and music for nine year olds but I just think that makes me fun.

Where do you want to live when you retire?

Now I have thought about this quite a lot. I would really, really like to retire to some of the quieter parts of the Peak District on a farm. Not a working one, though I would have pet sheep and cows and pigs – no horses. I would just like a nice view over the valleys where I can sit and read the days away. I only have me in mind as The Beard is certain I will outlive him by a few decades, I am not sure if this is wishful thinking on his part. Basically I want what Gran had but with more animals and further away from other humans.

Provided you had a job, flat, significant other willing to move, etc., would you want to live in London?

Been there done that. No. I love going back to London now, I didn’t for a while, and am indeed off their tomorrow but have no desire at all to live there again. I was there twelve years and I think that was enough. Now somewhere like New York… I might reconsider.


So there we have my penultimate answers. Hope you enjoyed them? I am sorry I didn’t have more embarrassing things to add, I think Thomas was hoping to catch me out. If you have any questions you would like to ask now is your last chance, you have until midnight as I am off away tomorrow so scheduling posts but can sneak a few more in!

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Filed under Random Savidgeness

Autobiographies & Memoirs…

Earlier today I was on the hunt for some black jeans at my local very large supermarket, that will remain unnamed. I have mentioned before that I often find supermarket shopping quite stressful and so I headed off to the book section which always calms me, though it makes my wallet tremble in slight fear. As usual the temptation was too great and I ended up leaving the aisle with none other than Hillary Rodham Clinton’s new memoir Hard Choices. I used the very flimsy excuses of ‘ooh I am going to Washington in a few weeks, it is like research’ and ‘she was brilliant on Woman’s Hour’. I know, I know I am weak – for having to buy a book not for listening to Woman’s Hour it is wonderful listening.

Hilary Clinton

Anyway, I digress. After I had bought it I was explaining to The Beard that I had bought it because it would give me a really unusual, yet direct, insight into the state of the world at the moment and its conflicts, plus American politics and give me some insight into someone who will, hopefully, become the next President of America. He responded with ‘you don’t need to justify buying a famous person’s memoir to me…’

And I think in some way he was right, I was really over justifying it because reading autobiographies and memoirs is one of those things that gets judged really harshly. If I am being 100% honest sometimes with certain autobiographies I have read them and yet not blogged about them or even popped them on my GoodReads book lists for fear of the judgement. I am not talking Jennifer Saunders or Dawn French, I think I have featured both of those. I am talking more along the lines of Stephanie Beacham or Kathleen Turner. No, even I wouldn’t read one of Cheryl Cole (or whatever she is calling herself now) or Jordan’s autobiographies. Ooh, see I did it myself then judging those autobiographies.

Yet some memoirs, like Barack Obama who has sold millions of copies of his, can be really insightful into the world. Then again I read Rupert Everett’s for all the gossip, the second one is written brilliantly though. Oh and I have read all the Spice Girls ones so far, I am still waiting for two of them and because of being part of the Spice generation I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from getting them for the nostalgia and the truth behind fall outs and all the rest of it. I am getting thrills at the thought. I also have Anjelica Huston’s first memoir ready and waiting on the TBR shelves and will now read it and write about it unashamedly, I love Jelly HuHu so.

So why do we judge autobiographies and memoirs so much, especially as we all love authors memoirs don’t we? (Come on we all do, I bet you have looked in horror as someone is reading some memoir supposedly written by the latest favourite pop star, reality TV star, DJ or comedian haven’t you?) Which ones have you read, be it secretly or not? Who do you wish would do a tell all memoir? Name an author and a celebrity or two I dare you!


Filed under Book Thoughts, Random Savidgeness

My Desert Island Discs

I have decided to do something a bit different and do something completely un-bookish on Savidge Reads today despite tagging it with a Simon’s Bookish Bits label. As I mentioned earlier in the week books have been slightly on the back burner here at Savidge HQ and I have been turning to some utter trash TV, fabulous films, Pride and Prejudice (the good version), and music. Music is possibly my all time second love behind books and so I thought I would do a post on it. Seeing ‘Heartburn’ on the telly the other day one of my all time favourite songs came on the soundtrack. This set me off thinking… what are my all time songs?

When I think of favourite songs and the stories behind them I cant help but think of a superb radio show we have in the UK called ‘Desert Island Discs’. This radio show, which has been running since 1942, sees well known people of all varieties imagining they are stranded on a desert island with only eight songs and a luxury item, etc. They also have a look back over their lives so I thought I would have a whim of grandeur and imagine what I would choose right now should the BBC ask *hint*. Without further ado here they are…

Smooth Operator – Sade
This has to be the first song on the list because it’s the first song that I can actually remember (though the first music I ever remember is The Archers theme oddly enough) from my childhood. It reminds me specifically of dancing around my Mum’s bedroom in Matlock Bath when I was little. (Another song I remember vividly form that time is Wham’s ‘Bad Boys’ which my aunties played constantly – they were about 14 and 16.) According to Wikipedia I would have been about 2 years old when this arrives. Apparently I used to sing ‘Move Over Red Eye’ instead of smooth operator.

Love Game – Lady Gaga
I could have chosen a couple of songs by the Gaga because she is the writer of modern anthems frankly. I chose ‘Love Game’ because in part it is my favourite song of album one and also back in late 2007 I interviewed her – and was only the second UK journalist to do so. It was a surreal moment as she was wearing huge sunglasses and had dancers sat on each side of her trained to stare at you. Anyway I got the lyrics to this song (we had the advance album) mixed up and promptly kept saying something that wasn’t ‘disco stick’ so when it’s on it makes me smile.

Viva Forever – Spice Girls
I never claimed to be cool before you all start taking the mickey out of me for this one. The Spice Girls were the biggest band ever during my school years. I remember everyone in my year being completely obsessed, the pencil cases, the Walkers crisp packets, lollipops – I could go on. This one of all their singles was special to me in part because it came out after Geri left, I can’t lie I was rather upset. More importantly it is because it reminds me of my little sister being a very, very little baby. I used to get to look after her a lot and when she would cry at 16 years old I would pop this on and sing to her and sure enough off she would go to sleep.

Yellow – Coldplay
Now I know they aren’t exactly indie but I do like some indie music (I went to Knebworth to see Oasis – yeah was proper into all that indie Britpop) and some proper bands. I liked Coldplay from the off as the second time I left home I ended up living in Kent and had my first joyous times in a house share. This reminds me of that time, and a new level of independence, because I dated someone for a while who sang it to me in the bath and it evokes a lot with me.

Into The Groove – Madonna
With a legend like Madonna it is really, really hard too choose one specific song but in the end I had to choose ‘Into The Groove’ because I really remember this as a youth in and also very much in my late teens, early twenties and even now. It reminds me of places I lived as a kid, my first big nights out clubbing and some of my friend’s recent weddings. In a weird way for me it’s a really timeless song that completely reminds me of good times.

Super Massive Black Hole – Muse 
Now you might be surprised to see Muse in my list of songs but I love Muse, I have all their albums. Out of all their songs I think ‘Super Massive Black Hole’ is incredible. I don’t know if anyone else has a theme tune that you can simply pop on and it gives you some weird kind of confidence? It was also a song that became a bit of an anthem when I came out of a long relationship and you know how you need a good anthem in times like that. It stills cheers me up now if I pop it on.

Coming Around Again – Carly Simon
I heard this song recently when I watched ‘Heartburn’ and it started me off with the whole idea of this post. This song reminds me of my Mum and my Gran, as they both love her. It also really reminds me of Newcastle where I went with my mother when she went to University, it’s also where I met Polly of Novel Insights all those years ago. I can really remember the flat we lived in, not quite halls but not far off, and how we would both sit and listen to the album of the same name for hours when we were eating dinner, or just pottering around – we didn’t have a telly that I can remember. A very nostalgic favourite.

Confide in Me – Kylie Minogue
Could quite possibly the song that I would choose above all the others if I only had one to take on a desert island! It’s quite a haunting song, and very unlike a lot of her other work. I was a Kylie and Jason child and I really remember she had disappeared for a few years and came back with this and I couldn’t wait to get my mitts on it. I remember saving my pocket money to buy this single on tape and getting it in Bath of all places. I then made Granny Savidge and Bongy (my granddad) play it about ten times – and it’s a good 5 minutes long – on their car stereo when all they probably wanted to listen to was Classic FM. It’s a song that having turned to it so often I associate with all times in my life. I can turn to it be I happy, sad or in between it always does just the trick. That probably sounds odd doesn’t it?

So that’s my 8 songs that I would take on a desert island, did it help you get to know me a little bit better? Would you have guessed any of these songs might feature? I wondered if some of you would take up the challenge of choosing their 8 desert island discs so we can get to know you all a little better, what do you think? Let me know if you do, and let me know what you thought of my selection!?!


Filed under Simon's Bookish Bits