Alison Albion is the well known face of our Arts & Crafts Section providing many fun and inventive ways to learn new skills.

We have asked her to name 5 favourite songs …

To choose five favourite songs is not an easy task. It’s certainly triggered lots of thoughts. How to choose and rank them? I love music – to listen to it, dance to it and even, in the past, play it.

I tune into Elton John, Rod Stewart, James Taylor, Jack Jones, Nora Jones, Nina Simone, any Mowtown and my go-to choice of Michael Bublé on Alexa.  I also love Canadian Matt and Savannah Shaw, a father an daughter duo who have gone online during lockdown. They’re not professionals but I think they could be!

There are too many individual titles and artists that spring to mind, so I’ve gone down the line of prioritising those songs and artists that bring back important memories or are those tunes that make me stop what I’m doing when they’re on the radio.

Taking aside the fact that Gary Barlow is gorgeous, I love this record because the lyrics, especially in these different days, are an anthem to positivity. Thankfully, I’m naturally quite positive and with that comes happiness. I’ve been painting pebbles to leave in the local woods to make others smile and one of my favourite slogans was, ‘ Grateful and thankful people are the happiest people.’  So true. If you’re feeling a little bit low then thinking of one blessing may help but it’s far better to get out a handful of fingers and think of five things which are good in your life. You may need your other hand too – I do. Back to the song…. I love singing it in the car, where no-one else can hear me- especially Lulu’s part.  However, this song also brings back a memory of an injustice against me. I was queuing to get into a Take That concert at a football stadium in Manchester.

“ Any glass bottles? Can I check your hand-bag?” asked security.

“ No” and “Certainly” I replied. I was nearly through when a tall security guard who obviously had no idea of what it is like to be height-restricted told me that I could not take my life-line, my plastic, single step-stool in with me. I explained that I was hardly likely or able to throw it and certainly , even when standing on it, still wouldn’t be able to restrict anyone else’s view as it would just take me up to a normal height. The answer was an un-budgingly definite “no” and so I had to leave it at the door. I believe the concert was very good. I, on the other hand knew every detail of the arm-pits of those standing in front of me.

This is another song which I like to sing along to in the car. To me, it epitomises work over, here come the holidays and precious times with my husband and two sons. It was released in 1986, the year before we got married so it’s been an annual part of family life at Christmas. Everyone in our family knows that I’d listen to it on a loop if they’d let me!

Sadly, my Mum and Dad are no longer alive but happy memories live on. This song, and indeed all the songs from South Pacific remind me of a trip to the theatre in Liverpool with my Dad to see South Pacific. At the theatre, we both sang along. It’ll always remind me of my Dad. He’d been to see it at the cinema with my Mum when it first came out in the 1950s. Also, as he could play the piano very well without being able to read music, he often played the tunes from the film, filling our house with energy. I’ve since tried to learn to play the piano but there is no natural flair there.  At school it was the recorder then violin. Both of which were painful for the listener. At secondary school, I fancied learning the flute. Sadly, only the French Horn was available- a beautiful instrument but quite a size with a case the size of a portable toilet. On the bus home, sometimes I’d forget I had it with me and my poor Dad would have to drive to The Pier Head terminus to pick it up.

Bette Midler sings this song in the film, ‘ Beaches,’ in 1989. It by-passed me then but the lyrics were just right when we needed a song  over a decade later to end our lovely Mum’s funeral. She was an unsung hero – the kindest and most patient, intuitive person I’ve ever known yet also understated with the simple mantra of, ‘It’s nice to be nice.’ This song can till make me cry but I smile and count my blessings. Some things are worth tears.

We found the track on the soundtrack on an album and handed the CD into the crematorium ready to play at the end.   Our Dad had only died two weeks before that so the line of well-wishers took a little longer than planned.  ‘Wind beneath My Wings,’  ended and was promptly followed, in error, by the lively and loud ‘Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.’ Although shocked, we laughed because it was one of Dad’s favourites and he’d been a joker too. We think he’d have been laughing with us.

When I hear this song on the radio, the brilliant beat gets me singing in the shower, jigging in the greenhouse or trotting towards an imaginary dance floor like Peter Kay. This brings back very happy memories of 1978 as a seventeen year old, clubbing in Liverpool at Rotters, Hollywoods, The State, The Grafton and The Coconut Grove with the lit dance floor, plastic palm trees and chicken in a basket! Happy days dancing our legs off and then still finding the energy sometimes, if there weren’t any taxis available, to walk home miles in the snow.

I’m sure I could re-write this list many times differently but for today, these are my favourites.