Songs to make you smile

Isn’t January rubbish? Dark, wet and cold. Bah! I’m also horrifyingly skint as a result of Christmas splurging – something I have no regrets about, but realise I need to plan better for this Christmas. Last year Mr Robot and I had our India trip to look forward to, but this year we don’t even have that. 

At work I find music really helps my mood. And when it’s dark, wet and cold what’s called for is something bright and sparkly, with plenty of warming pace. Two types have really fitted the bill over the first week or so of January: 1920s popular tunes, and 1970s disco. It’s probably a good job I have headphones as I can’t see my workmates enjoying either, but I’m not making any apologies. If Ray Miller’s Orchestra performing ‘Red Hot Mama’ or Boney M giving ‘Ra Ra Rasputin’ their all can’t make you smile, nothing ever will.

Is it a co-incidence both summon up images of sparkly outfits and serious dance skills? I think not.

I keep forgetting to take my iPod into the office – I really ought to charge it before my next trip to the gym – so have been making do with YouTube, and there’s a surprising amount of 1920s and 1930s music on there, as lovers of vintage music have been keen to share their collections. Often they’re backed with art and photos from the era, which livens things up even more. A bespangled flapper with a bottle of champagne is a gladsome sight! This is one of my favourite channels.

Record label (is that still a term?) Past Perfect have also put full playlists from some of their CDs on YouTube, which I’m a little surprised at them doing, but perhaps they find it encourages people to buy the CDs. I have a number myself.

At home I’ve been listening to vintage radio dramas again – everything from early 80s police show Detective (my Tivo box records it automatically) to Jeeves and Wooster and Peter Wimsey mysteries. Filling my ears with vintage is clearly a good thing!

So, what tunes are brightening up the January gloom for you?


  1. I hate January too. The post-holiday let down, the bleak gray days- In the US I'd start preparing to file state and federal in April- DISMAL!
    I've decided to stick with the subdued mood by listening to contralto ladies like Diana Krall (the "Turn Up the Quiet" album) & Ravi Shankar's daughter Norah Jones (Come Away With Me, Don't Know Why). Adele is making the list and a little melancholic Chet Baker too.

    1. Ah, our taxes have to be done by the end of January, just to make the month even more fun. (I'd done mine a couple of months ago as I'm a luddite and still file mine on paper.)

  2. We've been playing Big Band and Swing on repeat here at Dove Cottage. But ever since we brought by Dad's portable retro style radio home, we have been listening to a local Antwerp radio station a lot, which is playing a lot of oldies, including 1970s pop tunes, including disco. I've been singing along to songs I hadn't heard since the actual 1970s, when I was a spotty teenager listening to the charts ;-) Quite surprising how much of the lyrics I still remembered. And I could now actually understand what they were singing to! Oh, and thanks for the earworm: I've got Ra-Ra-Rasputin playing in my head now! xxx

    1. No-one escapes the mighty Boney M!

      I didn't like chart music when I was younger, but I guess time and familiarity make things seem more acceptable. Pete often has an 80s radio station on, and it's not too bad.

  3. Yup, Rasputin is in my head too now...

    I have definitely been reaching for upbeat music since Christmas. The mellow stuff just makes me feel gloomy. In the supermarket the other day, Raiohead came on, what were they thinking?! X

    1. One of the hookiest songs known to man.

      Radiohead in January? Oh dear no.


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