Smorgasbord Music Column – 1992 – London Docklands, Roy Orbison – Request from Jane Risdon – Gloria Estefan


Welcome to 1992 and we have just celebrated our fifth Christmas in our house in South Woodford. I was working job hunting and at the same time helping a couple of friends with their respective business start-ups. David was now Engineering Director of the cable and telecommunications company in the Docklands and although he was working long hours we did have a great time popping into the cinema in the centre of London most weekends.

We also would have gatherings to our house from time to time as we still missed the progressive parties that enjoyed during our time in Houston. The house would be packed out with friends and David’s colleagues and buckets of frozen margaritas were prepared and waiting to be consumed. Ice cold Corona beers sweated in iced baby baths and plates of food were placed around the kitchen, dining room and lounge for people to help themselves whenever.

It was all very informal with dancing in the big old Victorian kitchen with its creaky wooden floors. Not that anyone noticed by the time the dancing started. We also had some Karoke tapes that were well used and it was not unknown for me to grab the mike and belt out Heartbreaker or Crazy.

But by the Easter I was well and truly into job hunting and a chance conversation the CEO of David’s company who we had known for several years led to a three month contract to develop the current customer service team of ten into twenty to handle the growth of the telephony services now being offered.

That three month contract would turn into over four years with various changes of location and roles in the rapidly expanding company.

It was now not only UK owned as two new partners would join in the next year. A major cable television company from Colorado and Telephony company from Canada. It was to be an interesting time but the immediate job for me was to move from a paper based billing system and to grow the team.

We were in the heart of the Docklands and our customers were in the partly gentrified East End of London. Some wonderful people and some who frankly could be pretty scary. Customers for the cable television were given a couple of weeks grace period when the bill was not paid and then disconnected. There would be a queue around the block next morning and on occasion I arrived in my office to find that there had been visitors in the night.

My window was broken a couple of times and because my door to the rest of customer services was securely locked, they would content themselves with wreaking havoc in that small space. I would also receive the occasional death threat when a disconnect took place during a particularly riveting event such as a Las Vegas Heavy Weight title fight!

Things rarely became physical, although verbal fisticuffs at the front desk sometimes needed the intervention of a rather large and miffed manager who sometimes had to suspend the more conventional rules of customer service. Once however, I had to bang on the counter rather loudly to get a 7 foot gentleman to remove his hands from around our receptionist’s neck and offer to take it outside with him. This I did to the entertainment of the queue waiting to pay their suspended accounts. We were nose to nose for about five minutes before he apologised to me and then to the receptionist who was unharmed and gracious enough to accept his assurances that he would never be in arrears again.

Apparently my Anglo-Saxon terminology did the trick, not just with the gentleman concerned, but with many of those who were disconnected regularly, and the next month we had remarkably few to pull the switch on. I had reason to be grateful for my time as the landlady of the pub on the Isle of Wight where I had to deal with skinheads every weekend!

That aside, I loved my job and when later in the year the position was made permanent I was delighted.

Despite both of us working long hours we were in the same building and sometimes we would leave the cars at home and travel by train and light railway. That way in the evenings we could go to dinner in the centre of London and get the last tube home.

The music that we played at the parties were a mixture of good old 70s, 80s and 90s hits that I have showcased in previous weeks. But there were some new albums and singles in the collection from 1992, including these classics.

Shakespear’s Sister Stay, Whitney Houston I Will Always Love You, Wet Wet WetGoodnight Girl, QueenBohemian Rhapsody/These Are The Days of Our Lives, UndercoverBaker Street, The TemptationsMy Girl, Billy Ray CyrusAchy Breaky Heart, Michael JacksonHeal The World, Mariah Carey I’ll Be There, Guns ‘N RosesKnockin’ On Heaven’s Door, Take ThatA Million Love Songs and the wonderful Roy Orbison – I Drove All Night.

Buy Roy Orbison Music: http://www.amazon.com/Roy-Orbison/e/B000APV9FU

If you have a favourite track that you would like to share.. please put the title and artist in the comments section. Thanks Sally.

This week’s request is from author Jane Risdon who has had a long career in the music industry and has actually met Gloria Estefan.. and has asked for this hit from this amazing artist’s long career

My thanks to Jane for suggesting this track.

Jane Risdon, Buy: https://www.amazon.com/Only-One-Woman-Christina-Jones-ebook/dp/B075D88JBP
Blog:https://janerisdon.wordpress.com/

One of the recent reviews for Only One Woman –

An interesting read I wasn’t sure how it would work with two authors, but it is cleverly written like a diary of the two girls Renza and Stella who become involved with Scott the sexy guy from the band. Set in the late sixties there are lots of references to music and magazines and general things of these times. Renza can’t believe her luck when the band move in next door to her. Her life isn’t that exciting and she has to help her Mum a lot with the rest of her large family when all of a sudden she’s popular with the girls at school who want to hang out in her garden to see the boys. After falling for Scott Renza unfortunately has to move to Germany with her Dad as he is in the army. Stella comes into Scott’s life slightly older then Renza who will Scott choose. It was good reading the story through the eyes of both girls in their diary. I won’t give any spoilers to say who Scott ends up with. I wonder if there will be a second book following on so we can see if he made the right decision.

Don’t forget to leave your request in the comments… thanks Sally

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Sally’s Drive Time Playlist #Music to get your weekend started – Shania Twain and Roy Orbison


In the past I have been known to get up and either join the band or pick a few songs from the karaoke playlist. There have been some memorable karaoke sessions in various places around the world as back in the 80s and 90s there was a machine in nearly every pub or bar.

We were on our way to the big island of Hawaii and had stopped off on Oahu for the night. The hotel where we were staying on the Friday night had a karaoke competition in progress with the last of the heats being hotly contested that night. After a couple of Molokai Mules  cocktails… basically two types of rum, brandy and a splash of lime and orange juice, David persuaded me to get up and belt out a couple of songs. I was going through my country phase at the time and so selected Crazy (Patsy Cline) and Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue (Crystal Gayle)

There was muted applause from the audience and I assumed that my performance was lacking and as I prepared to leave the stage I saw the judges conferring. The manager of the hotel approached me and asked if I would be there for the semi-finals the following week and of course I informed him I would be long gone. He crossed over to the judges and they spoke to a member of the audience who passed the message on to the rest of the crowd.  They all nodded to themselves and then turned to our table and applauded very loudly.  I took it as a compliment that they were grateful I was not competing. I wonder if it is too late to do X-Factor!!!!!!

I am not the only family member who loves to chime in when the music gets started.. Sam adored Shania Twain and would vocalise, not always harmonise…..

In his honour, my first choice is by Shania Twain. If I put her music on loudly in my office, he would race down from wherever he was napping and assume the twirling position on the rug. He would then gyrate up and down to the music, barking along. One song was about all I could take, but to see such joy was a wonder to behold.  One of his favourites: Man! I Feel Like A Woman – courtesy of Shania Twain’s official Youtube ShaniaTwainVEVO

You can buy Shania Twain’s music: https://www.amazon.com/Shania-Twain/e/B000APZ0BE

Sam, could be persuaded to take to the dance floor when anything with a good beat was played. This included one of the iconic songs of 1964 by Roy Orbison..Oh Pretty Woman. Still as fantastic today.

One of Roy Orbison’s best album to find all his hits is here: https://www.amazon.com/Essential-Roy-Orbison/dp/B000EHQ88C

I hope you have enjoyed the selection today and please leave your favourite tracks in the comments and all the better if you can find the YouTube link so that others can head over to listen too. Thanks Sally