Sing my sister sing…

March 14, 2008

Good to see Annie Lennox and her Sing campaign gaining momentum. She has been working very hard to get this campaign going, and as she has said in her own words, “this is just the start.” Her single has been released on CD this week, and on sale in the countries chain of Bodyshop. It is a great anthemic song, sung in collaboration with 23 of the world’s top female vocalists, including Madonna, Pink, K D Lang, Sugababes.. to name a few. Well done Annie!! Keep up the good work. 

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My Uncle Frankie

March 1, 2008

I woke up this morning, thinking about Frankie, my uncle. He was my mum’s little brother, and like a big brother to me when I was growing up. I was remembering a lot about him, especially the times when be baby-sat me and my brother when mum and dad went out for the evening. He did this on a regular basis, as my mum and dad liked to go out regularly. I think they paid him quite well, as it subsidized his YTS wage of about £28 a week. He was a trainee painter and decorator.

My brother and I loved it when he was looking after us, as always meant we were going to have a good laugh, and loads of sweets, crisps and ginger. We would also rent a video to watch. VHS players were very hi-tech them days. I was laughing about the time Frankie decided to hand-wash his trousers as he was going out on a date the following evening. After he finished washing them, he asked me to hold them near the fire to get them to dry quicker. To my complete astonishment, I held them too close and the heat from the fire made his trousers deteriorate and the heat burned away most of the fabric, but with no flames, just lots of steam and smoke! I was in big trouble, as they were the his good trousers. I didn’t know what to do or say, so I left them on the floor for him to find them himself. I ran upstairs and waited in my bedroom.. and wondered how he was going to take the incident. It wasn’t pleasant. I was called lots of names, and they were being shouted very loudly, in a language that can’t be written here. I was shitting myself. Once we all calmed down, the laughter came, with Frankie sitting in his underpants, wondering what he was going to wear to get home and on his date. My mum came to the rescue with some jogging pants to get home in, that didn’t look too good with his smart shoes.

I also remember the time he and his mate, Aki, took my brother, Brian, and myself swimming. Brian nor I could swim, so they were going to teach us. We never did get to the teaching bit, as Frankie and Aki wanted to race, with Me on Frankie’s back and Brian on Aki. Frankie had a disadvantage as I was the chubby one, and Brian is light and skinny. Aki won. They then told us to use them like a surfboard. So I stood up on Frankie’s back as he swam, which was great fun, until we got thrown out by the lifeguards for being a danger to others. Spoilsports!

He used to embarrass me in front of my mum, aunts and my granny. Frankie had three big sisters. He was their baby brother. He would ask me out the blue, in front of the whole family, if I was still winching Debbie MacGregor from up the road. My face would go bright red, and tell him to shut up. He would make the situation worse be repeating it and making fun, with everyone else laughing at my face and reaction. Debbie was my childhood girlfriend, on and off, over the years. We were the good looking, chubby couple.

Frankie would let me use his pride and joy. His Amstrad music tower system. He saved for weeks on his low wage, and bought it for himself. I think is was £199, which was a lot of money then. He would let me tape the charts on a sunday, that i used for my personal stereo when doing my paper round. We still have the tower system, in my old bedroom at mum and dad’s. Frankie introduced me to U2. We would listen to the album over and over.

I remember helping him decorate his bedroom. Is was very trendy at that time to use artex on the walls, experimenting with different designs. I thought it looked great. He used yellow paint to colour the details, which was swirls and thick lines running from the ceiling to the floor. Great days, with loud music playing, usually one of my chart tapes from the previous week. And with lots of Barr’s irn-bru and limeade from a glass bottle, and sometimes with added ice-cream to make an ice-drink. This room eventually became my room as I got older, with most of my studying being done there for my university exams. The walls were still the same as when he decorated it with his experimental artex.

Very happy memories. He was much loved by everyone in the family, and has been sadly missed. In a sometimes cruel world, he was tragically taken away from us when he was only 18 years old. Rest in peace Uncle Frankie. Mr. Francis Campbell, born 4 June 1966, died 4 March 1985.