ROCKTOBER-Paranoid

Say what you want about Ozzy Osbourne, but he did perform and sing some truly classic Rock songs.

He was still a teenager when he joined Black Sabbath and was only 22 when they recorded ‘Paranoid’.

As the title suggests, this song is about a man who is paranoid. The driving guitar and bass create a nervous energy to go along with Ozzy Osbourne’s desperate vocal. Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler, who wrote the lyric, explained the song’s meaning to Mojo magazine June 2013: “Basically, it’s just about depression, because I didn’t really know the difference between depression and paranoia. It’s a drug thing; when you’re smoking a joint you get totally paranoid about people, you can’t relate to people. There’s that crossover between the paranoia you get when you’re smoking dope and the depression afterwards.”

Although this was the first Black Sabbath-penned single, the band’s debut single was actually a cover of Crow’s “Evil Woman Don’t Play Your Games With Me” a few months before the “Paranoid” release. “Paranoid” was much more successful. It was released six months after their self-titled first album and had a huge impact in their native UK, going to #4 and becoming one of their signature songs.

It is the first single from their second album with the same title, while the B-side is the song “The Wizard”. It reached number 4 on the UK Singles Chart and number 61 on the Billboard Hot 100.

The group never charted again in the UK Top 10, but that wasn’t a problem since album and ticket sales more than made up for it. Many UK rock bands, including Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd, put little emphasis on singles.

sources

https://www.songfacts.com/facts/black-sabbath/paranoid

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paranoid_(Black_Sabbath_song)

ROCKTOBER-November Rain

I know I am a bit early, it is only early October so why talk about November Rain. I am of course talking about the epic song by Guns N Roses with the title “November Rain”

Slash states in his autobiography that an 18-minute version of “November Rain” was recorded at a session with guitarist Manny Charlton (of rock band Nazareth) in 1986, before the recording sessions for Appetite for Destruction began. There were actually a few demo versions of the song. A 10 minutes Piano version.

It was also tried out as a far shorter acoustic guitar demo, lasting just over five minutes.

Neither version made the cut to get on to “Appetite for Destruction”. It would take another 5 years before the song would be released. It was released as a single in 1992 from their third studio album, Use Your Illusion I (1991).

At 8:57 minutes long, it is the second-longest song on the album, the longest being the 10:14 “Coma”. It is the third-longest song by Guns N’ Roses, behind the 9:24 “Estranged” from Use your illusion 2

It is the longest song ever to reach the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100. The song’s composition was influenced by Elton John’s 1973 opus “Funeral for a Friend/Love Lies Bleeding”

The music video, directed by Andy Morahan,[17] portrays Rose marrying his then-girlfriend Stephanie Seymour and later grieving at her funeral, intercut with a live performance in Los Angeles’ Orpheum Theater.[18] It is one of the most expensive music videos ever.

With a budget totaling around $1 million, the “November Rain” video ranks among the most expensive music promos ever made. While it might not have had the same career-boosting impact of the “Welcome To The Jungle” video, at the time of its release, “November Rain” quickly became MTV’s most-requested video of all time.

source

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ROCKTOBER-Love is all

When you hear “Love is all” you are probably more reminded of something the Beatles may have done rather then a bunch of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal artists. Yet that is exactly who were involved in the creation of this beautiful, colourful even fairytale like tale and melody.

The song was released in 1974 and was written and composed by Jon Lord of Deep Purple and Eddie Hardin of the Spencer Davis group. The song was taken from the concept album “The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast” which featured artists like David Coverdale(Whitesnake) Glenn Hughes(Deep Purple & Black Sabbath) Les Binks(Judas Priest) Jon Lord(Deep Purple) and many more.

In 1973 Roger Glover left Deep Purple because of work pressure and tensions between him and Ritchie Blackmore. Together with Jon Lord he worked on a solo project. Their plan was to make a rock opera based on William Plomer and Alan Aldridge’s book The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast , in itself based on the eponymous poem by British historian William Roscoe.

Eddie Hardin wrote the song Love Is All based on a song featured in The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast named Love’s all you need, which was inspired by The Beatles’ song All You Need Is Love (1967). The song was sung by Ronnie James Dio, although the single was credited to Glover. The B-side was Old Blind Mole/Magician Moth.

I always presumed that the song had been a global hit, but it only reached the no 1 position in the Dutch and Belgian charts.

The song came with an animated music video featuring a guitar playing frog gathering animals in the forest for the upcoming ball. The animation was created by the Halas and Batchelor studio and one of the animators was Harold Whitaker. The video received a lot of airplay over the decades, particularly as a fill-in during technical difficulties, such as on the French TV channel Antenne 2, and in the United States in children’s TV programs such as The Great Space Coaster and Nickelodeon morning shows. Those random airings, together with the psychedelic tone of the clip and the lack of subtitles, made it very popular amongst young viewers.

In 1980, the video was featured on the Australian music show Countdown, and the song entered the Australian Top 10.The video was also used regularly as an interstitial program on Australia’s ABC TV.

The song was covered by Sacha Distel in 1976. In 2002, Flemish singer Dana Winner released a cover version. Other artists who covered the song have been Gonzales (2008), Keedz (2010) and Playing for Change (2013).

But the original is still the best.

ROCKTOBER-One

In today’s edition of ROCKTOBER you get two for the price of ‘One'(see what I did there?) Starting of with Metallica’s epic song “One”

Metallica thrashed into the MTV mainstream with this nightmarish tale of a World War I soldier who steps on a landmine and wakes up to find he’s lost his arms, legs, sight, hearing and speech—left only with the torture of being trapped in his own mind.

The lyrics are largely inspired on Dalton Trumbo’s 1939 anti-war novel “Johnny Got His Gun,” and subsequent 1971 movie of the same name.

“One” was written in November 1987 by Metallica’s principal composers James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich. The song was released in 1989 as the third and final single of the album “And justice for all….” For the first 20 seconds of the song there are a series of sound effects with a battle theme, an artillery barrage and helicopter are heard and continues slightly over a clean tone guitar intro by Hetfield before Kirk Hammett comes in over the top with a clean-toned solo.

“One” was the first Metallica song for which a music video was created. The music video, directed by Bill Pope and Michael Salomon, debuted on MTV on January 20, 1989. The video, shot in Long Beach, California, is almost entirely in black and white, and features the band performing the song in a warehouse. It features dialogue and several scenes from the 1971 film adaptation of Johnny Got His Gun. Timothy Bottoms can be seen starring as Joe Bonham.

The second ‘One’ is U2’s classic hit from the album “Achtung Baby” in my opinion the last good album that U2 produced. Ironically it is the album that stopped them from breaking up.

During a Dublin show on December 31, 1989, Bono took a minute to air his band’s dirty laundry. U2 had entered the final stretch of the Lovetown Tour, launched earlier that year to help promote Rattle And Hum, and the guys were beyond exhausted. There were family issues to deal with; Bono’s wife had given birth to the couple’s first child earlier that year, and the Edge’s marriage to his high school sweetheart had started to crumble. There were creative problems, too, which had manifested themselves on Rattle And Hum and spilled over into the current tour.

“This is just the end of something for U2, and that’s why we’re playing these concerts,” Bono told the crowd during an encore performance of “Love Rescue Me.” “It’s no big deal. It’s just … we just have to go away and dream it all up again.”

Looking for some new inspiration, the guys wrapped up their tour, spent several months at home and headed to Berlin in October 1990, flying into town the day Germany officially reunited. The sessions were fraught with conflict, as the band argued over their musical direction and the quality of their material. After tension and slow progress nearly prompted the group to disband, they made a breakthrough with the improvised writing of the song “One”.

“At the instant we were recording it, I got a very strong sense of its power. We were all playing together in the big recording room, a huge, eerie ballroom full of ghosts of the war, and everything fell into place. It was a reassuring moment, when everyone finally went, ‘oh great, this album has started.’ It’s the reason you’re in a band – when the spirit descends upon you and you create something truly affecting. ‘One’ is an incredibly moving piece. It hits straight into the heart.”

—The Edge, on the recording of “One”

Bono recalls that “the melody, the structure, the whole thing was done in 15 minutes”. He also stated that the lyrics “just fell out of the sky, a gift”; the concept was inspired by the band members’ fracturing relationships, the German reunification, and Bono’s scepticism of the hippie idea of “oneness”. Bono later sent a note to the Dalai Lama declining an invitation to a festival called Oneness, incorporating a line from the song: “One—but not the same”. The song’s writing inspired the band and changed their outlook on the recording sessions. Mullen said the song reaffirmed the band’s “blank page approach” to recording and reassured the band that all was not lost.

“Is it getting better
Or do you feel the same?
Will it make it easier on you now?
You got someone to blameYou say one love, one life (One life)
It’s one need in the night
One love (one love), get to share it
Leaves you darling, if you don’t care for it”

“One” was released as a benefit single, with proceeds going towards AIDS research. The song topped the Irish Singles Charts, the Canadian RPM Top Singles chart and the US Billboard Album Rock Tracks and Modern Rock Tracks charts. It also peaked at number three in New Zealand, number four in Australia, number seven on the UK Singles Chart and number ten on the Billboard Hot 100. In promotion of the song, the band filmed several music videos, although they were not pleased until a third was created.

sources

https://www.bigedition.com/s/meanings-stories-pop-songs-lyrics-a727257e0a5a43c2

https://www.loudersound.com/features/the-real-story-behind-one-by-metallica

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_(Metallica_song)

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ROCKTOBER- Child in Time

As you can see I renamed October to ROCKTOBER- Throughout the month I shall be posting classic Rock songs and the stories behind them. Starting with Deep Purple’s “Child in Time”

It is the 3rd track on the a side of Deep Purple’s classic 1970 album “Deep Purple in Rock”

Deep Purple’s Ian Gillan has said that “Child in Time” is based on It’s a Beautiful Day’s psychedelic song “Bombay Calling”.

It’s a Beautiful Day in return borrowed Purple’s “Wring That Neck” and turned it into “Don and Dewey” on their second album Marrying Maiden (1970). The song started with organist Jon Lord playing “Bombay Calling”, which the band then re-arranged and changed the structure. Gillan had never heard the original song, and created lyrics about the Cold War to fit the music, later saying it “reflected the mood of the moment”. The band then worked out instrumental lines to accompany this.

With themes of war and inhumanity, the song is regarded as a heavy metal anthem and an example of art rock.

A staple of the Deep Purple live concerts in 1970–73 and later after their initial reunion tours of 1985 and 1987–88, the song was not featured regularly at concerts after 1995. It was re-added to the setlist for the band’s 2002 European tour, with its final appearance in Deep Purple’s live set was at Kharkiv’s Opera Theatre’s scene in March of that year.

A live version later appeared on the 1972 live album Made in Japan.

Ian Gillan said in an interview in 2002: “There are two sides to that song – the musical side and the lyrical side. On the musical side, there used to be this song ‘Bombay Calling’ by a band called It’s A Beautiful Day. It was fresh and original, when Jon was one day playing it on his keyboard. It sounded good, and we thought we’d play around with it, change it a bit and do something new keeping that as a base. But then, I had never heard the original ‘Bombay Calling.’ So we created this song using the Cold War as the theme, and wrote the lines ‘Sweet child in time, you’ll see the line.’ That’s how the lyrical side came in. Then, Jon had the keyboard parts ready and Ritchie had the guitar parts ready. The song basically reflected the mood of the moment, and that’s why it became so popular.”

Lars Ulrich of Metallica cites this as one of his favorite songs of all time. He says that when he was 9 years old, his father took him to a Deep Purple show, and it changed his life. “This is their most iconic moment,” he told Rolling Stone regarding the song. “I’ve heard it 92,000 times, and it never sounds anything less than great.”

I have to agree with Lars on this one.

sources

https://www.songfacts.com/facts/deep-purple/child-in-time

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Happy Birthday Ronnie James Dio

If Elvis is the King of Rock and Roll, and if Michael Jackson is the King of Pop, then surely Ronnie James Dio must be the King of Heavy Metal. Not only was he the front man in bands like Rainbow, Black Sabbath,Dio and Heaven & Hell, he is also the one who popularized the sign of the horns in heavy metal.

He claimed his Italian grandmother used it to ward off the evil eye (which is known in Italy as malocchio). Dio began using the sign soon after joining the metal band Black Sabbath in 1979. The previous singer in the band, Ozzy Osbourne, was rather well known for using the “peace” sign at concerts, in an attempt to connect with the fans, Ronnie James Dio wanted to similarly use a hand gesture. However, not wanting to copy Osbourne, he chose to use the sign his grandmother always made. The horns became famous in metal concerts very soon after Black Sabbath’s first tour with Dio. The sign would later be appropriated by heavy metal fans.

Ronald James “Dio” Padavona was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to Italian-American parents from Cortland, New York. His family moved to Portsmouth from Cortland as part of his father’s service in the U.S. Army during World War II, and they resided there for only a short time before returning to Cortland. Ronnie James listened to a great deal of opera while growing up, and was influenced vocally by American tenor Mario Lanza. His first formal musical training began at age 5, learning to play the trumpet. He participated in his high school’s band program.

It was also during high school that he formed his first rock-n-roll band, The Vegas Kings, which would later be named Ronnie and the Rumblers and then Ronnie and the Red Caps.

Dio’s musical career began in 1957, when several Cortland, New York musicians formed the band, The Vegas Kings. The group’s lineup consisted of Dio on bass guitar, Billy DeWolfe on lead vocals, Nick Pantas on guitar, Tom Rogers on drums, and Jack Musci on saxophone. The band changed its name to Ronnie and the Rumblers. In 1958, the band again changed their name to Ronnie and the Redcaps. Musci left the band in 1960, and a new guitarist, Dick Botoff, joined the lineup. The Redcaps released two singles: The first single was “Conquest”/”Lover” with the A-side being an instrumental reminiscent of The Ventures and the B-side featuring DeWolfe on lead vocals. The second single was “An Angel Is Missing”/”What’d I Say” featuring Dio on lead vocals for both tracks.

Explanations vary for how Padavona adopted the stage name “Dio”. One story is that Dio was a reference to mafia member Johnny Dio.

Another has it that Padavona’s grandmother said he had a gift from God and should be called “Dio” (“God” in Italian), although this was debunked by Padavona’s widow, Wendy, in a February 2017 interview. Padavona first used the name on a recording in 1960, when he added it to the band’s second release on Seneca. Soon after that the band modified their name to “Ronnie Dio and the Prophets”. The Prophets lineup lasted for several years, touring throughout the New York region and playing college fraternity parties.

In the history of metal, there are good singers and then there are legends – vocalists who are identifiable with the first note of song. Dio’s operatic vibrato was unmistakable and extremely versatile. His was a voice that could sooth like a soul crooner one minute and roar like vengeful tyrant the next. Even when he was embellishing tunes with melodic interjections like ‘alright,’ ‘yeah’ or ‘ooooohh-oooohhhh,’ he loomed high above most vocalists of his era – even though he stood at just about five-feet-four-inches tall.

In 1974, Dio sang on the Roger Glover conducted and produced concept album The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper’s Feast. Along with other guest-singers, the album featured Deep Purple alumni Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale. Dio provided vocals for the songs “Homeward”, “Sitting in a Dream”, and the single Love Is All

But of course we all will remember him for his Heavy Metal work and especially that from the band named after him’Dio’. I think it is safe to say that there is no such thing as a bad Dio song.

Unfortunately he died on May 16,2010 from stomach cancer.

Why I hate Metallica’s “One”

Growing up in the Netherlands there was a tradition on Good Friday. Every year on Good Friday the Dutch radio would play the ‘Top 100 of all time’, basically the greatest songs ever recorded. The majority would be rock songs.

The top 4 would always be ‘Child in Time’ by Deep Purple; ‘Stairway to Heaven’ by Led Zeppelin; ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen, and ‘Hotel California’ by The Eagles.

I would be totally happy with these 4 songs in the top spots, sometimes the sequence of the position would change but I didn’t care about that, because they also happened to be my favourite songs of all time. I would find it difficult enough to place them in a sequence of 1 to 4.

Then Metallica decided to release the album “… And justice for all” on the album was a track called ‘One’ of 7.27 minutes long. How dared they messing up my 4 favourite songs. Immediately after I heard the song for the 1st time, all the others were put in a shadows. Decades of finding the 4 perfect songs for me, destroyed.

Recently I went for a walk, as I would do for every walk I plug in my earplugs into the phone, select the music player, and listen to the music whilst on the walk. This time however, I was nearly home when ‘One’ came up on the player. it forced me to extend my walk by 7+ minutes. 7 minutes of missing out on a lovely cup of coffee.

That, ladies and gentleman. is why I hate ‘One’ by Metallica so much. Because the song is addictive and it is impossible not to love.

Even the video is so compelling to watch. It is intercut with scenes taken from the 1971 anti-war film ‘Johnny Got His Gun’.

In this tragic, dark, anti-war movie , a patriotic young American in WW1 is rendered blind, deaf, limbless, and mute by a horrific artillery shell attack, played by Timothy Bottoms. Trapped in what’s left of his body, he desperately looks for a way to end his life.

Metallica could have taken scenes from any other war movie but no they had to choose ‘Johnny Got His Gun’ ,written and directed by Dalton Trumbo.

Dalton Trumbo, the Oscar-winning screenwriter, arguably the most talented, most famous of the blacklisted film professionals known to history as the Hollywood 10. How did Metallica know that aside from music my other passion is History? How did they know I would be compelled to research that video? In a pre internet and Google era, that was not an easy task.

I am sorry to do this to all of you but I have no choice but to end this piece with that notorious piece pf music I hate so much, and yet I love it more then any other piece of music.

Christopher Lee-Heavy Metal star

We all know Christopher Lee as Count Dracula, or as the Sith lord Count Dooku. Some of you may even know him as the evil wizard Saruman from the Lord of the Rings. Others may know him as the dentist father of Willie Wonka.

Few will know of his real life heroic exploits during World War 2 ,where he was attached to the No. 260 Squadron RAF as an intelligence officer where he was a liaison officer for the Special Operations Executive.

Even fewer will know him as a Rock star, Heavy Metal star even, yet he was.

Lee became a fan of metal in the early Seventies when he first heard Black Sabbath, whose guitarist Tony Iommi reciprocated the respect the actor had for his band and the genre it spawned. In a 2013 promotional video for one of Lee’s own albums, he told Iommi, “You are the father of metal,” to which the guitarist replied, “But you’re the one that started it, really, because we used to go watch Dracula and the horror films you did and that’s what influenced us.”

He worked together with Heavy Metal acts like Rhapsody of Fire and Manowar.

In late 2010 it was announced that Manowar were to rerecord Battle Hymns for a November 26 release. The album, Battle Hymns MMXI, was drummer Donnie Hamzik’s first studio recording with Manowar since the original 1982 Battle Hymns release. Orson Welles having died 25 years before, the narration during “Dark Avenger” was recorded by Sir Christopher Lee.

But prior to the Manowar’s re-release of “Battle Hymns” Christopher Lee had already released his first album.

“Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross” is a symphonic metal concept album . It was released on 15 March 2010. This was Lee’s first full-length album. It tells the story of Charlemagne, the First Holy Roman Emperor. The album’s promotional MySpace page garnered over 20 million hits globally The album features 2 metal bands, and a number of guest vocalists playing the different roles in the story. Music was composed by Marco Sabiu. A music video for “The Bloody Verdict of Verden” was released in June 2012.

Christopher Lee was 90(yes that’s right 90) when the single was released. That must surely make him the oldest Rocker ever.

He had released two albums previously. His first one “Christopher Lee Sings Devils, Rogues & Other Villains” released in 1998 was not Heavy Metal albums.

His second album “Revelation” from 2006 was a cover album and did include some heavy metal tracks. like “The Toreador March”.

In 2012 and 2013 he released two Christmas albums .titled “A Heavy Metal Christmas” (2012), and “A Heavy Metal Christmas Too” (2013).

2013 must have been a busy musical year for Sir Christopher lee, because he also released the follow up to “Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross” that year, titled “Charlemagne: The Omens of Death”

It was his fourth and final album and was released on 27 May 2013,his 91st birthday It is a sequel to his album Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross (2010). The music was arranged by Judas Priest’s Richie Faulkner, and features prominent Guatemalan guitar virtuoso and World Guitar Idol Champion Hedras Ramos on guitar, as well as his father, Hedras Ramos Sr, on bass.

This must make Sir Christopher Lee the coolest man on earth. He would have been 99 today. Alas he died on June 7, 2015, aged 93. But the man live a truly full life.

Sir Christopher Lee, Happy Birthday. I salute you.

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Vortex-Open the Gate- Probably the worst Rock song ever, yet I still love it.

It is 1986 you get ready for your weekly dose of Heavy Metal on Sky’s Monsters of Rock. presented by Mick Wall.

You hear the opening theme ” Ice 9″ by Joe Satriani from his Epic album “Surfing with the Alien”

You sit back relax and get ready for an onslaught of Rock and Metal. Mick juts finished playing “Gonna get close to you” Queensryche’s cover version of a Dalbello song, one of those rare occasions where the cover is better then the original.

Then Mick announces a band from the Netherlands, called Vortex, the Dutch are not known for the abundance of Rock bands, So I have high hopes. ‘Vortex, who are they?’ I never heard of them, but they are on Monsters of Rock an international Rock show. They must be good.

Mick tell me the track is called “Open the gate” it is a bit of a cliché title, but hey I am willing to give it the benefit of doubt.

Four minutes of pure brutality follows, a brutal assault on my delicate ears. Would there perhaps by naked women in the clip, to soften the blow? No, just a few men and some dude singing into a bone, a character mash up between Mad Max and the Last of the Mohicans.

No redeeming features whatsoever.

Fast forward to 2021. I listen to the song again. It is just bad, in fact it is so bad it is good, I love it despite the lack of quality it did bring me back to that Sunday night in 1986.


Bon Scott-Let there be Rock

bon scott

In the beginning Back in nineteen fifty-five Man didn’t know about a rock ‘n’ roll show
And all that jive.

The above line is the start of the AC/DC classic let there be Rock. The whole song is basically a history lesson in Rock N Roll, brought to us by the one and only Bon Scott.

It is not often I dedicate a blog to a musician but since it is coming up to the 41st anniversary of Bon Scott’s death I thought it only to be fitting since he was the lead singer of one off my all time favourite bands AC/DC

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On a side note. something not many people know is that the founders of AC/DC ,Angus and Malcolm Young, had an older brother called George Young who had a massive hit with the Easybeats called “Friday on my mind” He also co wrote “Love is in the Air” and “Standing in the Rain” recorded by “John Paul Young a fellow Scots-Australian but no family.

Like the Young brothers Bon Scott was also Scottish Australian.Scott, he emigrated to Australia aged six,  he joined  fellow Scotsmen brothers Angus and Malcolm Young in AC/DC in 1974.

His distinctive voice was so recognizable, the second he would start to sing you’d know “That’s AC/DC with Bon Scott”. Not was he only a singer he was also an accomplished drummer. There was always this twinkle in his eyes as if he was up to no good.

In  July 2004 the magazinn Classic Rock, rated  Scott as number one in a list of the “100 Greatest Frontmen Of All Time” ahead of Robert Plant and Freddie Mercury.

In 1980 he had started working with the rest of the band on the album “Back in Black” but unfortunately he never got to finish it.He had only input  on drums on 2 songs of the album.

Back in Black

On Feb. 19, 1980, he was found dead. He had been out drinking with friends, in a London nightclub  — but the casual evening took a terrible turn as Scott passed out in his car, and ultimately choked to death on his own vomit. He was only 33 years old.

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The album was finished 5 months later with AC/DC’s new front man Brian Johnson.

To end this tribute to Bon Scott I will use the words sang by the other AC/DC singer, Brian Johnson. “For those about to Rock we salute you”.

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I am passionate about my site and I know you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks To donate click on the credit/debit card icon of the card you will use. If you want to donate more then $2 just add a higher number in the box left from the paypal link. Many thanks

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Picture Sources

TeamRock

Erenow

The Irish Times

YouTube