Brook/Flanagan Family Album

My name is Mary Jane Flanagan (MJ, nee Brook) I am the youngest child of four children (though no spring chicken any more!) Even though we did not have a lot of money my parents were unbelievably cool and glamorous, their New Year’s Eve parties were legendary in the 60’s and 70’s.  We would often be at the top of the stairs with our parents friends children watching everyone through the bannisters. Did you ever do that?

My elder brothers and sister’s music tastes rubbed off on me along with my dads love of Jazz, Swing and the Great American songbook.

This album represents all our tastes and although sadly mum and dad died many years ago I know they would have met this pandemic with their usual pragmatism, humour and love.

Track 1 for my dad Frank Sinatra – you make me feel so young

We lived in a house with a “posh” front room where on Sunday’s dad would read the papers and listen to his record collection I would often sit on the floor next to him playing. 

This  record is the one he always pulled out first, the master himself, Frank Sinatra singing You Make me feel so young. He and my uncle Clive loved Sinatra we would often visit Clive in his pub in Richmond and I would fall asleep on a bench covered in a coat with the sounds of the rat pack and Streisand sending me off to sleep. Him, my mum and their friends would dance until the early hours and I never woke up once! That’s probably why I love the music as much as they did.

Track 2 for my eldest brother Don SuperTramp – Bloody Well Right

My eldest brother Don lives locally so we see each other often, he has taken over the reigns as head of the family and looks after all of us. 

When I was younger my brothers would sneak in to the posh room and play their albums which would cause my dad’s eyes to roll no doubt like many parents through the ages. I remember my brother Don, 6 years older than me, putting on Supertramp’s Bloody Well right …….dad looked up from his paper and said dryly…… it didn’t take them long to write that song, to which 10 year old me replied “you’re bloody well right dad” and we all collapsed in laughter.

Track 3  for my mum Van Morrison – Have I told you lately that I love you

Mum would cook the Sunday roast whilst this was going on, she was a great cook her apple pies were spectacular. She’d have the radio on in the kitchen and would turn it up loudly whenever her favourite records came on. Every thing from Danny Boy to Rod Steward though I particularly remember her liking Van Morrison’s Have I told you lately that I love you.

Track 4 for my brother Kevin  David Bowie – Ziggy Stardust

My brother Kevin was more of a Bowie fan which you would hear very loudly from their bedroom. Bowie’s music and wonderful lyrics have seeped into my soul making him one of my favourite artists too. My brother was very tall, lanky and had a similar haircut, so looked like him though he never wore the Ziggy Stardust makeup. 

Kevin started working in casinos from age 18 then around the globe from the London to the Bahamas then to Vegas (what a life!) he has now retired and has come back home and is shielding at the moment so I know he’ll love hearing David Bowie singing Ziggy Stardust.

Track 5 for my sister Karen Stevie Wonder – Master Blaster 

We moved to Brighton in 1976, it was glorious I remember going to the beach everyday and swimming every early evening all through the long hot summer. My sister Karen was very pretty and 3 years older than me so I idolised her and as I got older was forever wanting to tag along to parties and discos, like most younger siblings do, she was very good as she would drag me with her even though she’d had moved into her own flat. This record sums up some of those memories especially a disco we would attend on the A23.

Track 6 for my husband Mick Don Henley – Come rain or come shine

Mick and I have been married for 20 years, and it has certainly been a case of sunshine and rain especially given the last events of the last year. He has put up with my mad plans and schemes, brought me down to earth when I needed him to and supports me when I need a boost. A carpenter he has renovated our very old home and made it a stunning place to live. 

Track 7 for me, you and all the listeners George Ezra – Shotgun

Finally me, I own a management consultancy and training company and like many had been hit pretty hard at the beginning of the pandemic with income down 90%, luckily things are slowly recovering and I am hopeful for the future.

Over the years I have made many playlists usually connected to holidays. A road trip through California several years ago had a particularly brilliant soundtrack and I still remember driving down Ventura highway listening to Ventura highway.

Mick and I have a son James in his first year at Nottingham university. For his birthday this year we brought him his first record player and a collection of “classic” albums from Pink Floyd to Oasis and the Police to the Arctic Monkeys and also of course some Bowie. 

There are so many records I could have chosen as the last one however I though I would choose something which I know will fill people with hope and remind them we will travel, eat out, stay in hotels, visit the theatre, hug and have fun again.

Incase you’re wondering what I am doing whilst listening to this I am laughing, crying and dancing around the kitchen, thinking about the sun on my back and all the adventures we are still to have as I make the Sunday Roast whilst my husband reads the paper…. somethings never change. 

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