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Mothering Sunday II

Today is the UK is Mothering Sunday, which always falls on the fourth Sunday in Lent in the UK. From February every year, the shops, TV and radio advertisements are full of reminders about ensuring your mother ‘knows she’s loved’.

For many happy families, this normally means flowers, hugs, dinner; celebrations. There are many who suffer on Mother’s Day, who are forced to put on a smile to hide the pain behind their eyes. It was touching to see the Cambridge children write cards to their ‘Granny Diana’.

Each year I think of those, like myself, William and Harry, who lost their mother at an early age. I suspect they were like me; mostly stoic, particularly publicly, accepting condolences graciously. I doubt those who have not experienced this loss can fathom the pain.

The pain of switching over any TV channel or radio station which giddily talks about the happiness of Mother’s Day, on years when it becomes too much to bear. The pain of visiting a cemetery every year in the presence of silence, instead of conversation.

The pain of losing memories every year until you can no longer remember the sound of your own mother’s voice (even in scolding you); wishing desperately each night when you sleep, that you could spend time in her company, even if you forget it when you wake up.

The pain of every single achievement in your life being marred by the fact that she is no longer here to celebrate it with you, which dulls the euphoria quickly.

The pain of walking down the aisle to be married in the church that hosted her funeral as a way to connect to her on your happiest day, not knowing what she would have thought of it all.

The pain of thinking about what is to come; how your future children will never meet their grandmother; the panic as you don’t even know what you will remember about her to tell them.

The pain of living far away from your family, so that reminiscing about your mother is mainly resigned to once a year meetings and special occasions.

And sometimes, the most painful thing is others realising the difficulties you face; their pity, whether verbal or nonverbal, makes you want to crawl away into a hole until the day is over.

These difficulties are pronounced on Mother’s Day, but they often resurface at Christmas, New Year, Easter, birthdays, and pretty much any large family occasion including weddings, christenings, funerals and confirmations.

There are many others who experience feelings of loss at this time – those estranged from their mothers/children, those who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth and child death; those who have experienced adoption, amongst others; we do not see Mother’s Day as ‘happy’.

Be kind; realise that people may want to talk about it, or completely ignore it. Understand that asking women ‘when are you going to have children’ isn’t appropriate because they may have problems you can never dream of. Comprehend that the pandemic has robbed many of joy today.

Understand that behind a smile can be a world of pain buried deeper than you think; what may be a happy occasion for you and your family.

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Gender pay gap – what’s changed?

“This is a man’s world”

James Brown, 1966
Photo by u041fu0430u0432u0435u043b u0421u043eu0440u043eu043au0438u043d on Pexels.com

The gender pay gap has been a contentious issue for some time, particularly in the field of medicine.

“the difference between average hourly earnings (excluding overtime) of men and women as a proportion of average hourly earnings (excluding overtime) of men’s earnings.”

The Office of National Statistics definition of the gender pay gap

Until relatively recently, medicine has been dominated by a male workforce; many conditions have been defined and treated by a white, male assumption (see the recent work on medical education including people of colour). In the UK, employers are legally required to provide well-maintained personal protective equipment (PPE) – anything from goggles to full body suits – to workers who need it, free of charge. But most PPE is based on the sizes and characteristics of male populations from Europe and the US. 

The Independent Review into Gender Pay Gaps in Medicine in England was commissioned by the Department of Health and Social Care in 2017, with a view to understanding the structural and cultural barriers affecting the female medical workforce. HCSA has contributed to the report as a key stakeholder.

The report disseminated several key findings including:

  • A gender pay gap DOES exist, even when adjusting for age. The gap grows with age. It is narrowing, but slowly, and genders will not be equitable for many years to come, unless changes are made.
  • Female doctors suffer from a “motherhood penalty” which persists for 30-35 years, meaning they only begin to catch up with their male counterparts by the age of 65.
  • Regular rotations and irregular hours during training means females are more likely to move into SAS grades with less chance of progression. Taking into account bonuses and supplements, male doctors earn more than females: the gap is 10% for Specialty Doctors and Staff Grade Doctors, 8% for Consultants and 7% for Associate Specialists.
  • Some specialties such as surgery are segregated by gender: whilst the pay gap is minimal within such specialties, they remain male dominated.
  • LTFT (less-than-full-time) doctors are more likely to be female, and face a lack of defined career options.

Whilst the results are stark, and yet not altogether unsurprising, further action is needed. The report called for actions including:

  • System change to focus on retention and promotion of females. This should include actions such as emphasising LTFT and jobshare options in all job adverts unless “strong, justifiable reasons exist and are documented.” Enhanced pay for shared parental leave to all doctors should be extended.
  • Greater flexible functioning, such as increased use of remote working, along with more NHS nurseries and childcare to support shiftwork.
  • Reassessment of training to measure levels of competence rather than time served, and to reduce the burden of assessment in medical training.
  • Reform of clinical excellence domains to recognise activities such as mentoring versus additional clinical, managerial or research activity.
  • Enforcement of bullying, harassment and whistleblowing policies (with particular attention paid to LTFT workers and those with caring responsibilities) adopting a “zero-tolerance” approach.

One of the key proposals was to create a national centre for NHS pay gap monitoring. Now is the time for the NHS to act; instead of making recommendations which gather dust over time, emphasis should be on working to ensure that those responsible are held to account in ensuring we reach not equality, but equity.

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#COVIDFREEWORLD #PopAnalysis – UK Christmas Number 1s

This post was taken from a thread I created on Twitter, regarding UK Christmas chart toppers. Check out my Twitter feed here: https://twitter.com/rebecaulfield

The UK Christmas Number 1 chart battle has often ranged from the sublime to the suboptimal. It’s the time of year when madness descends on the nation and decides that Mr Blobby is the height of aural pleasure for some inexplicable reason.

So, I have decided to rate all of the UK Christmas Number 1s over the last 30 years from questionable to best, as per @officialcharts. The rules are that there are no rules, this is MY chart, therefore you are wrong in any dissent.

33. Mr Blobby

There are no words for this abomination. Shame on Carol Vorderman and Jeremy Clarkson for actually appearing in the video.

This actually beat @takethat to the festive chart pinnacle. in 1993. Seriously.

32. Don’t Stop Me Eatin’

LadBaby’s 2020 effort stomped to UK Christmas Number 1, raising money for the Trussell Trust – becoming the third artist behind the Beatles and the Spice Girls to hit the top spot 3 years in a row.

31. We Built This City on Sausage Rolls

LadBaby’s 2018 charity effort for the Trussell Trust, and charity is the best thing about this earbleeding session.

30. I Love Sausage Rolls

A slightly more elaborate video for LadBaby’s 2019 effort, also in aid of the Trussell Trust. Better than the previous year, but still quite irritating.

29. Something I Need

This 2014 Christmas Number one was from that year’s X Factor winner. Ben Haenow (remember him?) surprisingly beat Fleur East to the prize, and recorded a cover of this OneRepublic song. It beat Band Aid 30 to the Christmas top spot.

28. When You Believe

2007 X Factor winner Leon Jackson gave us this nice but underwhelming cover of the original diva off between Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston.

27. Skyscraper

Sam Bailey released this Demi Lovato cover after winning the X Factor in 2013. Doesn’t she scrub up well?

26. Wherever You Are

This joint effort from the Military Wives choir and Gareth Malone claimed the Christmas number 1 in 2011 – selling more than 556,000 copies in the week, more than the rest of the Top 12 combined, and beating Little Mix’s ‘Cannonball’ cover. The lyrics are compiled from letters written between the women and their absent partners.

25. That’s My Goal

Shayne was the first X Factor winner to release an original song as his winner’s single in 2005. It became the fastest-selling song of that year, and was number 1 for a month. It remains the fastest-selling X Factor winner’s single of all time, and the third fastest-selling song of all time in the United Kingdom

24. When We Collide

This cover of a Biffy Clyro track by Matt Cardle, the 2010 X Factor winner, became the second biggest-selling single of 2010 with 815,000 copies sold within two weeks.

23. A Bridge Over You

This charity single hit the top spot in 2015. Recorded by Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Choir, it was the closest run-in to the Christmas number one since 2009. Personally not a massive fan of the arrangement, but nice idea.

22. Seasons In The Sun

Westlife’s 1999 double A-side cover saw Kian take a rare lead vocal. Sadly, even the Westlife treatment couldn’t save a track deemed one of the worst of all time.

21. Killing In The Name

This protest song originally released by Rage Against The Machine in 1992. Written about revolution against racism and authority abuse of power, it was released six months after the Los Angeles Riots, triggered by the acquittal of four white police officers who beat black motorist Rodney King. It hit the top spot in 2009 after a campaign to stop the X Factor winner getting Christmas Number 1 for a fifth year.

20. I Have A Dream

Westlife’s cover of an ABBA classic outrageously beat Sir Cliff into second place in 1999. It is the band’s second best selling single of all-time on both paid-for and combined sales categories.

19. Saviour’s Day

This is the lesser known of Cliff’s two Christmas number ones, probably because ‘Mistletoe & Wine’ is a better song. Filmed at Durdle Door on a warm September day, this hit the top spot in 1990.

18. He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother

This single hit the top spot in 2012, raising money for charities associated with the Hillsborough disaster. It knocked that year’s X Factor winner, James Arthur, off his perch in time for Christmas.

17. These Are The Days Of Our Lives

This 1991 Queen track was the last video filmed by Freddie and the gang before his untimely death. Following rumours about his health, the video was made in black and white to hide the full extent of his illness.

16. Too Much

This was the second consecutive UK Christmas Number 1 for the Spice Girls, an impressive feat. The video features the girls in their own individual film fantasies; probs best not to ask.

15. Can We Fix It?

I was overjoyed when Bob The Builder beat Westlife to the top spot in 2000, becoming the best selling single of the year for Neil Morrissey and co.

Does anyone else think Bob resembles Liam Gallagher in his parka?

14. Hallelujah

Although Alexandra herself said “It just didn’t do anything for me”, she sold 576,000 copies in its first week, becoming the fastest-selling single released by a woman in the United Kingdom and the 2008 Christmas number one, while Buckley’s cover charted at number two and Cohen’s original version at number 36. She became the first ever female British artist to have a million-selling single in the UK.

13. Rockabye

Rockabye was the first Christmas topper that was not an X Factor winner’s song, charity single, or stunt song since 2003.

A dream collab between @cleanbandit, @AnneMarie and @duttypaul which is not remotely Christmassy, but it is a banger.

12. Perfect

Ed is the Lewis Hamilton of the charts, and reached the ultimate accolade in 2017 by releasing 3 versions of this song, featuring Beyoncé and Andrea Bocelli. It was recorded with strings orchestration from his brother Matthew; it was the final wish of their grandmother to see the brothers working together before she died.

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11. Bohemian Rhapsody

Arguably the greatest rock song of all time, Queen’s masterpiece hit the top spot for 5 weeks after Freddie’s death, becoming the UK’s 3rd best selling single of all time, and although not in the remotest Christmassy, the only one to be Christmas Number 1 twice by the same artist.

10. I Will Always Love You

An iconic song by a stellar artist; Whitney’s version of this Dolly Parton hit was a sensation in 1992 as the lead from her film debut in The Bodyguard. It was suggested by her costar, Kevin Costner, as an alternative to a cover of ‘What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted’.

9. Earth Song

Michael hit the top spot for 6 weeks in 1995, keeping the Beatles, Oasis and Bjork off in his reign. It might not be Christmassy, but it does have an important message at it’s core.

I did get quite dizzy watching this video back though.

8. Sound Of The Underground

Girls Aloud hit gold with their debut single in 2002, which still sounds good now; the same sadly cannot be said for their counterparts, One True Voice. It was written in the vein of Puretone’s ‘Addicted To Bass’, and at one point was going to be Samantha Mumba’s comeback single.

7. A Moment Like This

Leona’s cover of Kelly Clarkson’s big ballad hit the top spot in 2006. The song has actually aged fairly well, as Leona’s voice is quite simply, timeless.

6. Goodbye

This was the third and final Spice Girls Christmas chart topper, in 1998. The song was actually written before Geri left the group, but the lyrics were altered to reflect the group’s new venture as a foursome. The video features Mel B sporting questionable headgear which makes her resemble the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz.

*YES, WE ARE NOW IN THE TOP FIVE*

5. Do They Know It’s Christmas?

Band Aid 20 came up with this reworking of the original, which was at least better than Band Aid II. Only just noticed Damon Albarn on the rewatch. Bless Daniel Bedingfield really going for it.

4. Mad World

Michael Andrews and Gary Jules upset the odds and took the title in 2003, beating The Darkness. Taken from the soundtrack of ‘Donnie Darko’, this stripped back version of a Tears for Fears song captured the heart of the nation.

3. Somethin’ Stupid

Robbie’s Swing When You’re Winning album was an unmitigated success, and fresh from Moulin Rouge, he plucked Nicole Kidman to duet their way to the top spot in 2001.

It’s certainly less creepy than Frank singing it with his daughter…

2. 2 Become 1

The first of the Spice Girls’ three Christmas number 1s, this hit the top spot in 1996. Impressively written during the band’s first songwriting session, it became their second million selling single. A song about using contraception? Surely an important message at Christmas.

There’s a nice orchestral version which you can listen to here.

*so, what’s number one?*

1. Stay Another Day

East 17 peaked with this haunting tune, which managed to beat Mariah’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ to the peak in 1994.

Written by Tony Mortimer after his brother took his own life, it certainly has one of the oddest music videos on this chart (my favourite bit is the random lady cavorting in a wedding dress).

*Bonus song*

Although I love East 17, no one can deny that the queen of Christmas is Mariah Carey. With estimated sales of over 16 million copies, it is the best-selling Christmas single by a female artist. This is the lesser known alternative version of the original video.

*Extra bonus song*

The Darkness were claimed to be the shoe in for the 2003 race; the song had first-week sales of 222,561 but sold just under five thousand copies less than “Mad World’.

Never mind Justin, you have the best falsetto on this entire countdown.

I’d like to thank #COVID19 for giving me the time to do this. Shout out to the #NHSheroes. Thanks to @officialcharts and @wikipedia for the facts.

Please comment below using Christmas band GIFs only…

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#COVIDFREEWORLD #PopAnalysis – Steps

This post was taken from a thread I created on Twitter, regarding Steps. Check out my Twitter feed here: https://twitter.com/rebecaulfield

Right guys, time to head back to 1997; when Will Smith ruled charts and cinemas, schoolgirls were crying over Leonardo DiCaprio…and the UK got into organised dance routines by a troupe of 5 colourful characters.

So, I have decided to rate all of Steps’ UK singles, from questionable to best, as per @officialcharts. The rules are that there are no rules, this is MY chart, therefore you are wrong in any dissent.

22. Light Up The World

The group’s comeback single sadly failed to light up anything really as it only limped into the UK chart at number 82, breaking their string of top 5 hits that they achieved between 1998 and 2001. Best bit is the Tragedy throwback

21. Words Are Not Enough

This was the band’s last single before their initial split, marketed as a double A side single. The ?CGI animation for the video is remarkable in that none of the characters remotely resemble the band members.

20. I Know Him So Well

A cover of the Paige/Dickson classic from the musical Chess, this version was taken from the Abbamania TV show and compilation album.

19. Here And Now


This was half of a double A side with ‘You’ll Be Sorry’, which hit UK Number 4. It spent 10 weeks in the top 75. Despite its chart success, it ended up as one of Steps’ lowest-selling singles. Filmed like it was aimed at the US market?

18. You’ll Be Sorry


Steps held a competition for fans to appear in the video. The winners were filmed dancing around the centre stage whilst Steps performed. However none of the footage made it to the final cut. Awks. Song fits the G-A-Y club theme well.

17. Summer Of Love

Another double A side (see below), this time with a Spanish flavour (much like most songs of the time), the video pitted ‘good’ and ‘bad’ versions of the band against each other. Poor old Lee had bad hair for both versions of himself.

16. When I Said Goodbye

A beautifully shot black and white video in Rome was the soundtrack for this double A side ballad which was yet another H and Claire partnership.

15. Chain Reaction

This Bee Gees written song was initially a hit for Diana Ross, and was held off the top spot by Kylie’s classic ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ in 2001.

14. Scared Of The Dark

A classic slice of disco pop which harks back to vintage Steps, this is perhaps the track that would’ve brought the UK back their #Eurovision glory? Strong vocal, particularly from Claire, but not keen on the underwhelming choreo.

13. Say You’ll Be Mine

This is the first song to feature all five members on lead vocals. An inspired video featuring skits of many films of the 90s, including ‘Titanic’ this feel good ditty peaked at Number 4 on the chart.

12. Love’s Got A Hold On My Heart

This debut from the band’s second album was kept off the top spot by Ricky Martin’s ‘Livin La Vida Loca’. This is a summery slice of bubblegum pop; the video location looks familiar, as it was filmed in Cannes like Elton John’s ‘I’m Still Standing’.

11. Last Thing On My Mind

This Bananarama cover took Stock (haha) of the group’s similarities to ABBA in the video; both Faye & Lisa sported some knee high boots in the pool scene that the Spice Girls would’ve been proud of.

10. It’s The Way You Make Me Feel

This video was slightly different to the usual primary colour themes of the past, but worked quite nicely (apart from Lisa’s sky blue boots). It featured the band members and supporting actors/dancers reenacting scenes from the movie Dangerous Liaisons.

9. Better The Devil You Know

This cover of the Kylie hit reached UK Number 4 and saw Lisa promoted to lead vocal on verse 2.

Video is the customary tour performance. Big leather coats were definitely a thing of the time (see video for ‘We Will Rock You’ by 5ive).

8. After The Love Has Gone

Listening back to this now, I’m not sure if it’s cultural appreciation or appropriation? However, another strong vocal performance and, in my opinion, chord progression bears a striking resemblance to ‘The Winner Takes It All’ by ABBA. A solid UK Number 5 nonetheless.

7. Heartbeat

This double A side was the band’s unofficial Christmas song. Featuring a video with the campest fighting possibly caught on camera, its a sugary sweet ballad which set the mould for the band.

6. 5, 6, 7, 8

The UK took line dancing into their hearts in 1997, with Steps making their mark as the pop band with some serious choreographed moves. Lee’s only lead get’s him overexcited and he ends up fouling in his game of pool as he can’t seem to hit the white.

*YES, WE ARE NOW IN THE TOP FIVE*

5. Stomp

Disco Steps is their best format, and this song features an orchestral riff from Chic’s ‘Everybody Dance’ which probably helped this one hit the UK top spot in October 2000.

Poor old Lee’s hair had a life of it’s own, didn’t it?

4. Better Best Forgotten

The last single off their debut album, this was kept off the top spot by Boyzone’s ‘When The Going Gets Tough’.

You have to give credit for the girls working with B*Witched to make the skirt-over-trousers concept an actual thing.

3. Tragedy

A feel good uptempo cover of a Bee Gees hit gave Steps one of their biggest selling songs and their most iconic dance moves. This hit the UK top spot as part of a double A side. Video features the girls walked down the church aisles by their own fathers, and an on form Pete Waterman as the DJ.

2. Deeper Shade Of Blue

It is quite frankly criminal that this banger only reached UK Number 4. Originally recorded by Tina Cousins, the major/minor pop artistry and Claire’s outstanding vocals in particular, set this one apart. Also love the band’s alter egos which seem to be inspired by Mystique from X-Men.

*so, what’s number one?*

1. One For Sorrow

An absolute classic, building on their growing reputation as the modern day bubblegum ABBA, with more than (another) reference to ‘The Winner Takes It All’. Claire is one of the UK’s best pop vocalists of the modern era.

Well done @_ClaireRichards @llatchfordevans @Faye_Tozer @Ianhwatkins @LSLofficial you did a great job @OfficialSteps

*Bonus song*

This performance from the 1999 Brit Awards so a pop supergroup composed of Steps, Cleopatra, Tina Cousins, Billie and B*Witched to perform a medley of ABBA hits, reaching UK Number 4 in April 1999.

*Extra bonus song*

We all know H * Claire formed a duo; it wasn’t their debut ‘DJ’, but the follow up ‘Half A Heart’ that was my banger.

I’d like to thank #COVID19 for giving me the time to do this. Shout out to the #NHSheroes. Thanks to @officialcharts for the facts.

Please comment below using @officialsteps GIFs only…

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#COVIDFREEWORLD #PopAnalysis – Boyzone

This post was taken from a thread I created on Twitter, regarding Boyzone. Check out my Twitter feed here: https://twitter.com/rebecaulfield

Right guys, time to head back to 1994; George Foreman was boxing, not grilling, we lost Kurt Cobain… but we gained Lisa & Michael’s shortlived union.

Boyzone released their UK debut and we all went mad for some Osmonds lite pop.

So, I have decided to rate all their UK singles, from questionable to best, as per @officialcharts. The rules are that there are no rules, this is MY chart, therefore you are wrong in any dissent.

23. Shooting Star

A saccharine effort for the Disney film ‘Hercules’, the vocal from Stephen is somewhat soporific until a slam in your face key change. Not their best effort, but still hit UK Number 2 on a double A Side.

22. Te Garder Près De Moi

This collaboration between the boys and French band Alliage couldn’t quite match their success when they released their earlier version of ‘Working My Way Back To You’; the main saving point is Mikey Graham taking a lead vocal.

21. Love Is A Hurricane

Written by New Radicals’ Gregg Alexander, this only hit UK Number 44. The start is melodically a slowed down ‘I’m Still Standing’, but not as engaging.
Video has models ripping off the boys’ clothes… and a nude @shanelynchlife.

20. Love Will Save The Day

Their last charting single in 2013. Ronan takes lead (of course). Mildly uplifting but somewhat generic with a standard behind-the-scenes/on tour video, this reached an uninspiring UK Number 39.

19. Gave It All Away

Written by @mikasounds and released by the boys as a tribute to Stephen after he died. The song, featuring lead from both Ronan & Stephen, was a hit, reaching UK Number 9.

A pleasing ballad, which morphs into ska-pop, similar to Magic’s ‘Rude’

18. Better

This cover was their last single release before Stephen’s untimely death. It was their first not to reach the UK top 5, coming in at 22.

It was momentous for the fact that the video features Stephen with a male love interest, for the first time.

17. Love You Anyway

The Return Of Boyzone! Featuring some man dancing in the video, this hit a respectable UK Number 5.

Probably should’ve relegated the tubular bells to the Christmas album.

16. So Good

This new jack swing vibe hit Number 3 in the UK.

So much kicking in the video choreography, did they have itchy feet?

@SimonCowell would be proud of @ronanofficial’s trouser to waist ratio.

15. Key To My Life

The boys’ first original song, this was another UK Number 3, in the days before the automatic key change. The video features the band going to a school in times of yore.

14. Isn’t It A Wonder

Another UK Number 3, this was beaten to the top by the Spice Girls. Still, the boys had found their rhythm (and their key change).

Video features the boys in the desert with Ronan wearing an ill advised cowboy hat.

13. Coming Home Now

The boys wrote this song themselves and got the song to UK Number 4.

There’s nothing quite as hypnotising as @shanelynchlife describing measurements of time, apparently.

12. All That I Need

Another UK Number 1 for the boys, this was their first not to be cowritten by the band.

The stylist for the video was obviously into red snakeskin. Perhaps a bad move, in retrospect.

Shout out to @officialkeith’s hair.

11. You Needed Me

Another cover which was the band’s sixth and final UK Number 1, outselling @GeriHalliwell by a mere 700 copies.

10. Love Me For A Reason

This cover of the Osmonds’ hit reached UK Number 2 and was certified Gold.

Shocking health and safety at the video shoot – those big collar/cuffs and woolies were a definite fire hazard with all those candles.

9. Every Day I Love You

This gentle ballad with lead vocals shared between Ronan and Stephen (as usual) was the band’s last hit before their initial split, hitting the heady heights of UK Number 3.

8. I Love The Way You Love Me

This cover of a country hit went Gold for the band when it hit UK Number 2.

Seemingly started a trend for boybands using their breath sounds as percussion (I’m looking at you, @westlifemusic).

7. Words

This @BeeGees cover was the band’s first UK Number 1.

Strange video in which the boys look grumpy during a pub sesh. Not sure why the girl with bantu knots is so happy when the roof’s broken and it’s raining inside? THINK OF THE INSURANCE BILL.

6. Baby Can I Hold You

This UK Number 2 was definitely the better song of a double A side. One of their many covers, this Tracy Chapman redo was a perfect fit for the boys.
I’ve never seen so many moody stares in one music video.

*YES, WE ARE NOW IN THE TOP FIVE*

5. Father And Son

The irony of Ronan’s stern face when he sings of being happy in the video. Not sure why the boys are holding stars in their hands either?
UK number 2 for this Cat Stevens cover, which Ronan also covered solo as a duet with Yusuf Islam.

4. A Different Beat

Change of tack for the boys, resulting in their only UK Number 1 to be cowritten by some of the band.

One can only imagine they were inspired the previous year’s hit, ‘Earth Song’ by a certain @michaeljackson.

3. Picture Of You

A feel good uptempo song in the vein of ‘Stop’ by @spicegirls, which was written the summer this was released.

Their best soundtrack song, this featured in Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie, and @MrBean made an appearance in the video.

2. When The Going Gets Tough

This banging Billy Ocean cover was a UK Number 1 in aid of @comicrelief starring many celebrities including a dancing @grahnort and mischievous @ThisisDavina.

*so, what’s number one?*

1. No Matter What

From the 1996 musical ‘Whistle Down The Wind’ and the 1999 film ‘Notting Hill’ this was a UK Number 1 for 3 weeks and also became successful in the USA.

Also, an absolute karaoke end of the night classic.

Take a bow, Stephen Gately, Mikey Graham, @shanelynchlife @officalkeith @ronanofficial you did a great job @theREALboyzone.

*Bonus song*

Mikey Graham went solo in 2000 with ‘You’re My Angel’ – a country/folk song which hit UK Number 13.

*Extra bonus*

Not a track per se, but the sight of Stephen and Ronan dancing so energetically never fails to put a smile on my face.

I’d like to thank #COVID19 for giving me the time to do this. Shout out to the #NHSheroes. Thanks to @officialcharts for the facts.

Please comment below using @theREALboyzone GIFs only…

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#COVIDFREEWORLD #PopAnalysis – Wham!

This post was taken from a thread I created on Twitter, regarding Wham! Check out my Twitter feed here: https://twitter.com/rebecaulfield

Right guys, time to take you back to 1982, the year we were introduced to shopping in @nextofficial, watching @Channel4… and a band called Wham!

Andrew Ridgeley explained that the name originated from a need for “something that captured the essence of what set us apart – our energy and our friendship – and then it came to us: Wham! Wham! was snappy, immediate, fun and boisterous too.”

So, I have decided to rate all of Wham’s UK singles, from not best to best, as per @officialcharts.The rules are that there are no rules, this is MY chart, therefore you are wrong in any dissent.

11. Club Fantastic Megamix

Released 3 months after Wham! began proceedings to leave their label, George and Andrew did not approve. This mix of the tracks “A Ray of Sunshine”, “Love Machine”, and “Come On” still managed to reach Number 15 in the UK.

10. Bad Boys

George quickly denounced “Bad Boys”, a song he wrote aged 19, as a song he hated, stating it was “like an albatross round my neck”.

It’s got a cracking video, and goes well until the annoying female in the bridge kicks in (sorry random lady).

9. Wham Rap! (Enjoy What You Do)

Their politically charged debut hit UK Number 8 upon rerelease in 1983. The boys wrote it after Andrew was inspired dancing to Sugarhill Gang’s ‘Rapper’s Delight’.

Video features some serious synchronized choreography.

8. Everything She Wants

About a man being disillusioned by the demands of his partner, despite the amount of work he does to keep her happy.

This was George’s favourite Wham! song; the double A-side reached Number 2 in 1984 (it was beaten by Band Aid).

8. Young Guns (Go For It!)

Wham’s first hit, helped by appearing on Top of the Pops as a last-minute replacement for another act which had pulled out.

A youthful storytelling of your best mate who ditches his pal for a girl.

6. Freedom

Wham’s 2nd UK Number 1, also successful in America. The video features the band’s visit to China, a major moment in increasing friendly relations between China and the West.

It’s played on an organ at the start of George Michael’s ‘Faith’.

*YES, WE ARE NOW IN THE TOP FIVE*

5. The Edge Of Heaven

Wham’s farewell single which reached UK number 1. Featuring a more mature sound (and @eltonofficial on piano), my personal highlight is the epic bass line.

The video is a black and white performance interspersed with some old shots

4. I’m Your Man

A pop legend released near the tail end of Wham’s career, this black and white live performance video featured some controversial flashing images.

Shane Ritchie was unable to capture George’s magic with a #ChildrenInNeed cover in 2003.

3. Club Tropicana

George wrote this as a satire of the boom for cheap 18-30 package holidays for younger, single people of a hedonistic nature.

Only reaching UK Number 4, the video, filmed in Ibiza, has gone on to reach iconic status.

2. Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go

Another iconic track with a bright, cheerful video to match. The band wore matching oversized @khamnettlondon slogan t-shirts, kicking off an 80s craze which paid testament to their influence.

Their first UK & US Number 1.

*so, what’s number one?*

1. Last Christmas

Biggest-selling single in UK charts not to reach No. 1; ranks 10th of the best selling singles of all time in the UK. George Michael wrote, performed, produced & played every instrument on the track.

Video cameo by @realmartinkemp


Take a bow, @ajridgeley, @GeorgeMOfficial (rest in peace), @Shirliekemp and @PepsiDemacqueC – you did a great job.

*Bonus song*

With “Wham Rap!” and “Club Tropicana”, Careless Whisper was a demo which secured them their deal with Innervision.

George was never fond of the song “it disappoints me that you can write a lyric very flippantly—and it can mean so much to so many people.”

I’d like to thank #COVID19 for giving me the time to do this. Shout out to the #NHSheroes. Thanks to @officialcharts and @Wikipedia for the facts.
Please comment below using Wham! GIFs.

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#COVIDFREEWORLD #PopAnalysis – Simon Webbe

This post was taken from a thread I created on Twitter, regarding Simon Webbe. Check out my Twitter feed here: https://twitter.com/rebecaulfield

Right guys, time to think back to September 2005, a time when @rihanna had just burst onto the pop scene, and Simon Webbe rose like a phoenix from the ashes of Blue, surprising most by becoming the most popular a la Robbie.

So, I have decided to rate all of Simon’s UK singles, from not best to best, as per @officialcharts.The rules are that there are no rules, this is MY chart, therefore you are wrong in any dissent.

7. Ride The Storm


With a falsetto that is perhaps overreaching, this song was the title track for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. It lacked a Hollywood punch, the other half of the A side was much better. Ill advised top hat from the stylist.

6. My Soul Pleads For You

Simon’s lowest charting single at 45, this has a nice soulful feel when the beat kicks in, a guitar riff not dissimilar from ‘Life Got Cold’ by Girls Aloud. Vocal sounds much more comfortable in the chorus. Raunchy B&W vid.

*YES, WE ARE NOW IN THE TOP FIVE*

5. Coming Around Again

A pleasant and catchy gospel lite vibe on this song, which to be fair, follows the recipe of so many of Simon’s successful songs.

4. After All This Time

Wouldn’t have put Simon on utilising a banjo, but there you go, works oddly well.

Video comprises of shots of Simon wearing brown coats around London and moodily making eyes with brunettes.

3. Grace


Continuing the theme of pop lifted by gospel, this gentle song was underrated and certainly better than the other half of the double A-side. Perhaps could’ve done with a rap verse, one for Stormzy perhaps?

2. No Worries

Feel good anthem which peaked at UK Number 4, it features a vocal sample from Yvonne John Lewis and a posh wet t shirt contest in a video I can only assume he created to audition as a model for Calvin Klein.

*so, what’s number one?*

1. Lay Your Hands

How could I not? An easygoing song made for radio and TV adverts with good use of strings, both instrumentally and in the video. Watching that in a pandemic gives me anxiety though.


Take a bow, @simonwebbe1, you did a great job.

*Bonus song*

Here’s a link to Simon singing acapella in Turkish, because why not…

I’d like to thank #COVID19 for giving me the time to do this. Shout out to the #NHSheroes. Thanks to @officialcharts for the facts

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#COVIDFREEWORLD #PopAnalysis – Ace Of Base

This post was taken from a thread I created on Twitter, regarding Ace Of Base. Check out my Twitter feed here: https://twitter.com/rebecaulfield

Right guys, time to think back to 1993, a year when Mr Blobby beat @takethat to the UK Christmas Number 1.

Yes, that really happened.

August saw the arrival of Ace Of Base onto the UK chart, and what a time it was.

So, I have decided to rate all of Ace Of Base’s UK singles, from not best to best, as per @officialcharts.The rules are that there are no rules, this is MY chart, therefore you are wrong in any dissent.

12. Everytime It Rains

A sad ballad tinged by Spanish guitar, which Linn was allegedly forced to record lead vocal by Clive Davis; this was the catalyst for her leaving the music industry.

Includes the lyric “Cos everytime it rains…I get wet”


11. Lucky Love

Another slice of unashamed pop from their album ‘The Bridge’, this video follows two middle aged lovers meeting. Doesn’t come close to it’s predecessor, ‘Beautiful Life’.

10. Living In Danger

Basically sounds like a faster version of ‘Don’t Turn Around’.

Really odd video with a paranoid woman who falls over in an underground station and gets a free cuppa.

9. Wheel Of Fortune

Their debut, when re-release in the UK after ‘All That She Wants’, hit Number 20 ,continuing the pop-reggae theme.

I am still perturbed by the creepy little girl in the video (sorry) (not sorry).

8. Happy Nation

A dark song through its use of minor chords, Ace of Base has described the song as a “anti-fascist song and a hymn to life”.
With lyrics in Latin & a video featuring hieroglyphs, I don’t think the UK was ready for this; it only hit No 40.

7. Cruel Summer

This updated version of the Bananarama classic also hit Number 8 in the UK, and was a big hit worldwide. They also recorded a version partially in French, with a boyband from France called Alliage. Why not.

6. Always Have, Always Will

This Motown inspired piece of bubblegum was a different sound for the group, perfectly encapsulating a happy summer vibe. Boring video made up of old clips.

*YES, WE ARE NOW IN THE TOP FIVE*

5. Life Is A Flower

A pop pastiche with positivity and gospel elements; this was released a few months before @TheRealRoxette started a ’99 renaissance with ‘Wish I Could Fly’. This reached Number 5 on the UK chart.

4. Don’t Turn Around

Another delicious slice of reggae-pop, covering a Tina Turner B-side which had been popularised by Aswad; adding an intriguing rap by Ulf hit next level.

This song and video personifies the saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

3. The Sign

Techno-reggae vibes; the beginning of the video is an homage to Depeche Mode’s Enjoy the Silence. It features the group singing amidst snogging couples; “The Sign” was an ankh and a djed.

Pitch Perfect reminded us why it’s a banger.

2. Beautiful Life

The music video included computer-generated bubbles which whisked the band from place to place.

It’s my interpretation of what I suspect I would feel like if I took LSD and listened to an ABBA remix.

Love the gospel tinge.

*so, what’s number one?*

1. All That She Wants

A glorious 3 and a half minutes of early Nineties reggae-pop about a sexually promiscuous woman, with the word “baby” being synonymous with “boyfriend”.)

A strange sepia video with moody Swedes.

What’s not to love?


Take a bow, Ace Of Base, you did a great job.

*Bonus song*

You can’t tell me that @ladygaga wasn’t inspired by Ace Of Base. What an absolute banger, from The Sign album.

I’d like to thank #COVID19 for giving me the time to do this. Shout out to the #NHSheroes. Thanks to @officialcharts for the facts and to Michael for the suggestion…

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#COVIDFREEWORLD #PopAnalysis – @Busted

This post was taken from a thread I created on Twitter, regarding Busted. Check out my Twitter feed here: https://twitter.com/rebecaulfield

Right guys, time to think back to 2002, a time when Busted made their first appearance on the cover of Smash Hits with the headline: “Meet Busted: They’re Going to Be Bigger Than Rik Waller!”

So, I have decided to rate all of Busted’s UK singles, from not best to best, as per @officialcharts.The rules are that there are no rules, this is MY chart, therefore you are wrong in any dissent.

10. Thunderbirds Are Go


Taken from the film ‘Thunderbirds’, this hit UK Number 1 and even won the 2004 UK Record of the Year award.

Gerry Anderson described the film as “the biggest load of crap I have ever seen in my entire life”.

9. 3AM


Contains some genius lyrics, including

“And now you’re driving in your car
But you won’t get far
‘Cause your car is shit”

Rescued by being a double A side with ‘Thunderbirds’ so it still got to Number 1. Generic live performance compilation video

8. Air Hostess

Someone from the record company decided to go mad with the £ for the filming of the band jumping out of a aeroplane.

The line “I messed my pants when we flew over France” was edited out when the video was shown during the daytime #RISQUE

7. Sleeping With The Light On

Nice chord progression; this song would’ve charted higher if the bridge a bit stronger.

Quite like @CharlieSimpson’s jacket, wonder where that’s from?

6. On What You’re On

Channelling Daft Punk vibes in their comeback, this deserved better than the lowly Number 60 it charted at.

It’s unclear as to whether the girl in the video is on psychedelic substances, or simply having a funk seizure.

*YES, WE ARE NOW IN THE TOP FIVE*

5. Who’s David

Kind of similar but opposite to ‘Sleeping With The Light On’ in terms of stronger bridge and weaker verses.

Quite bitter lyrics when you think about it now. Hope it wasn’t co-writer @TomFletcher who had his heart broken, bless.

4. You Said No

Still don’t understand the joke in the video re: Callum Cowan @JamesBourne; private joke?

Some nice harmonies. Their first UK Number 1, a toe tapper for sure. Charlie shows off his drumming capabilities in the video.

3. What I Go To School For

The first #BustedJump spotted in this video, which was generally a bit cheeky with Charlie in some pretty tightie whities.

Perhaps not wise to anger an army of teenage girls by running off with the teacher? Just sayin.

2. Year 3000

I don’t care what everyone will say, it’s not their best work. I can’t get behind a song that mocks the space-time continuum, I’m sorry.

And I’d constitute living underwater as a big change? DUH.

Also, a video that gives girls 3 boobs? no.

*so, what’s number one?*

1. Crashed The Wedding

A slice of pop perfection which deservedly hit the UK Number 1 in November 2003.

Absolute corker of a video which is still funny now, featuring a youthful @mcflyharry.


Take a bow, @darrenhayes and Daniel Jones, you boys did a great job @SavageGarden

*Bonus song*

‘Nineties’ was another great video take up of pop phenomena such as Blind Date, Gladiators and Top Of The Pops.

Busted are at their best when they have a tongue firmly in cheek.

I’d like to thank #COVID19 for giving me the time to do this. Shout out to the #NHSheroes. Thanks to @officialcharts for the facts.

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Covid-19 means doctors must rethink their attitude to mental health

Here is a blog I wrote for the HCSA. Click to read it on their website:

Hospital doctors are among the worst at caring for their own mental health, but Covid-19 means they cannot afford to take shortcuts on wellbeing, writes Rebecca Caulfield.

As World Mental Health Day approached, I paused in the avalanche of my workload to consider the impact recent events have had on the wellbeing of healthcare professionals. 

As a community paediatrician who mainly works in the outpatient setting, I have witnessed the effects of Covid-19 insidiously seeping through the very fibre of the teams who work so hard; from the medics, surgeons and intensivists striving to provide excellent care with increasingly frequent shifts, to the community therapists, nurses and teachers, who are straining at the seams, attempting to “hold it together”. 

Doctors are renowned for their often unceremonious attitude to “getting the job done”; often in sacrifice of their own wellbeing. I can recall one bank holiday weekend on call when I contracted a urinary tract infection due to poor self care; specifically my perceived inability to take a break and simply hydrate. 

The medical profession has always attracted high achievers; this personality trait is a perfect match for many aspects of our work. Yet when it comes to self-care, many of us are the facilitators of our own undoing through negative thoughts and self-destructive behaviours. 

One of the first times in my career when I experienced this was upon discovering the concept of “imposter syndrome”. I remember the sheer relief that I was not alone in living in fear of someone “finding me out” as a fraud, less capable than my peers, and barely able to hold it together. 

Through conversations with colleagues on social media, phenomena such as imposter syndrome have been particularly devastating throughout the pandemic; the immense effort involved in “keeping up appearances” at work demotes the ability to cope with mundane tasks such as keeping on top of the household budget, weekly shopping, or simply opening the mail. 

In the United Kingdom, the Office for National Statistics survey found that almost one in five adults were experiencing some form of depression in June, almost double the prevalence recorded in the pre-lockdown period. An American paper from June showed an increased risk of suicide among surgeons, physicians and dentists who had issues such as conflicts with superiors (odds ratio 1.79, 95% CI 1.49-2.17, P<0.001), legal problems (OR 1.61, 95% CI 1.15-2.26, P=0.006), or physical health problems (OR 1.40, 95% CI 1.19-1.64, P<0.001).  

Through the pandemic, several services have become more prominent in showing their support. One such group is the Doctors’ Support Network, which provides peer support for doctors and medical students with mental health concerns – see https://www.dsn.org.uk/support-for-doctors for further details. 

Woebot Health https://woebothealth.com/ is a chat-based tool which provides an array of clinically-validated therapy programmes that address many of today’s mental health challenges, from generalized anxiety and depression, to specific conditions like depression (including postnatal) and substance abuse. 

Frontline19 https://www.frontline19.com/ provides free & confidential psychological support for all frontline workers via a matching process with an experienced professional through a virtual medium. 

Headspace www.headspace.com teaches mindfulness skills in just a few minutes a day. If you are an NHS employee with a registered NHS email address you can sign up to access Headspace Plus at no cost until December 31st, 2020. 

As we brace ourselves for a second wave amongst increasing fatigue, I encourage my fellow professionals that this is a marathon, not a sprint; the aftermath will be with us for a long time, and we must look after ourselves before we can truly care for others.  

Dr Rebecca Caulfield is a community paediatrics registrar at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital. She has worked in the NHS for nine years. As a senior registrar with an interest in training, Rebecca is one of the leaders of a mentoring scheme for junior doctors at Alder Hey. Her clinical areas of interest are ADHD, autistic spectrum disorder, and adoption/fostering.​

References 

Ji YD, Robertson FC, Patel NA, Peacock ZS, Resnick CM. Assessment of Risk Factors for Suicide Among US Health Care Professionals. JAMA Surg. 2020;155(8):713–721. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2020.1338 

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Black History Month

So today marks the start of #BlackHistoryMonth.


More than ever, the world needs to her the greatness that people of colour have achieved; we should be celebrating, not dividing!
I’m going to try and do some short segments to raise awareness.


Please see @BhmUK for more info.

Day One – Sarah E. Goode (1855 – April 8, 1905)

One of the first African-American woman to receive a United States patent, in 1885. (note before her, Judy W. Reed on September 23, 1884, but she only signed her patent with her mark (an X) and not her signature).

She invented a folding cabinet bed which helped people who lived in tight housing to utilize their space efficiently. At the time of her invention, housing in NYC was expanding upwards, but became restricted in 1885 when a law was passed restricting buildings to be under 80 feet.

In 2012, the Sarah E. Goode STEM Academy, a science and math-focused high school was opened in her honor on the south side of Chicago.

Day Two – Phillis Wheatley (1753 – December 5th, 1784)

Poet Phillis Wheatley became the first ever African woman to be published in Britain and America in 1773. She was born in West Africa before being sold as a slave to the Wheatleys of Boston.

She was taught to read and write as a child, and quickly displayed an innate literary talent. She penned her first verse at 14, and, after moving to England with her son at the age of 20, her first volume of poetry was published.

Her work was used as evidence that enslaved people were more than capable of intellectual originality.


Yes, really.

She was emancipated by the Wheatleys shortly after being published, but they died, and she was cast into poverty, dying at an untimely 31.

Day Three – Creola Katherine Johnson (August 26, 1918 – February 24, 2020)

An American mathematician whose calculations of orbital mechanics at NASA were critical to the success of the first and subsequent U.S. crewed spaceflights, including Apollo 13.

She finished high school at 14 and graduated from West Virginia State College, a historically black college, by 18, taking every maths course. She joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (precursor to NASA) in 1953, working as a “computer” in a segregated workplace.

Her talent, willingness to speak out, and persistence made her the first woman to be credited on a flight-trajectory report, and the first woman to be allowed into the engineers’ lectures (after pointedly asking her male colleagues, “Is there a law against it?”

In 2015, President Obama awarded her the Presidential Medal of Freedom for a lifetime of achievements.


She was portrayed by Taraji P. Henson in the 2016 film ‘Hidden Figures’, about black female mathematicians who worked at NASA during the Space Race.

Day Four – Alice Augusta Ball (July 24, 1892 – December 31, 1916)

American chemist who developed the “Ball Method”, the most effective treatment for leprosy during the early 20th century. Then, it was a highly stigmatized disease with virtually no recovery.

She was the first woman, and first African American to receive a master’s degree from the @uhmanoa, and was also the university’s first female and African American chemistry professor.

Alongside her pharmacy instructor Williams Dehn, she published “Benzoylations in Ether Solution”, in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, a respected scientific journal; this was an uncommon accomplishment for a woman and especially for a black woman at that time.

Due to her early death at 24, Alice was unable to publish her findings. It was reported that she suffered chlorine poisoning on demonstrating how to use a gas mask, due to World War I. The cause of her death is unknown, as her original death certificate was altered to cite TB.

Arthur L. Dean, a chemist and later president of the University of Hawaii, stole her work, published the findings, and began producing large amounts of injectable chaulmoogra extract. Arthur published the findings without giving Alice credit, and named the technique after himself.

Dr Hollmann published a paper in 1922 giving credit to Ball, calling the injectable form of the oil the “Ball method.”


In the 1970s, professors at the University of Hawaii, searched the archives to find Ball’s research. Decades later they were able to bring her efforts to light.

The University of Hawaii finally honoured Alice in 2000 by dedicating a plaque to her on the school’s only chaulmoogra tree behind Bachman Hall.

On that day, the former Lieutenant Governor of Hawaii, Mazie Hirono, declared February 29 “Alice Ball Day”, celebrated every four years.

Of note, despite being prominent members and advocates of the African American community, both of Alice’s parents are listed as “White” on her birth certificate. This may have been an attempt to reduce the prejudice and racism their daughter would face and help her “pass” in white society

What a sobering thought.


Thanks to @Wikipedia for the facts and @DrEmilybob for the suggestion.

Day Five – Patricia Era Bath (November 4, 1942 – May 30, 2019)


American ophthalmologist, inventor, humanitarian & academic; an early pioneer of laser cataract surgery, and the first African-American woman doctor to receive a patent for a medical purpose.

The assassination of MLK in 1968 caused Patricia to dedicate herself to achieving one of the dreams of King, the empowerment of people through the Poor People’s Campaign. She organized and led @HowardU med students in providing volunteer health care services in Resurrection City.

She was the first African American to serve residency in ophthalmology at @nyuniversity from 1970-1973. Later, she began her career in LA, the first woman ophthalmologist on faculty at Jules Stein Eye Institute, @UCLA. She has lectured internationally and authored over 100 papers.

Patricia found that African American people had eight times higher prevalence of glaucoma as a cause of blindness. Based on her research, she pioneered the worldwide discipline of “community ophthalmology” in 1976.

In 1976, Patricia co-founded The American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness, on the principle that “eyesight was a basic human right.” It provided newborns with free eye drops, vitamins for malnourishment, and vaccinations against diseases causing blindness, like measles.

Patricia claimed her “personal best moment” was while she was in North Africa and using keratoprosthesis, was able to restore the sight of a woman who been blind for over 30 years.

Patricia was also recognized for her philanthropic work in the field of ophthalmology by President Barack Obama. In 2009, she was on stage with President Obama and was put on his commission for digital accessibility to blind children.

She developed the laserphaco probe, which improved on the use of lasers to remove cataracts, and for ablating and removing cataract lenses. It was completed in 1986 and patented in 1988, making her the first African-American woman to receive a patent for a medical purpose.

@Hunter_College placed her in its “hall of fame” in 1988, and Howard University declared her a “Howard University Pioneer in Academic Medicine” in 1993.

Thanks to @Wikipedia for the facts and Elizabeth Emily for the suggestion. Fidan, this one is for you!

Day Six – Mae Carol Jemison (October 17, 1956 – )

American engineer, physician, and former NASA astronaut. She became the first black woman to travel into space when she served as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

This lady has degrees in chemical engineering and African-American studies from @Stanford (starting at 16), as well as a medical degree from @Cornell.


Mae worked as a doctor for the Peace Corps in Liberia & Sierra Leone from 1983 until 1985, and worked as a general practitioner.

But that wasn’t enough for @maejemison; she decided to apply to @NASA to be an astronaut AS WELL.


The television show @StarTrek, and, in particular, Lieutenant Uhura, further stoked her interest in space.


Which just goes to show, young people are inspired by what they see.

Upon the Spacelab Japan module, she tested NASA’s Fluid Therapy System to produce water for injection, developed by Sterimatics Corp. She then used IV bags and a mixing method, developed by Baxter Healthcare, to use water from the previous step to produce saline solution in space.

In 1993, she founded The Jemison Group Inc., a consulting firm which considers the sociocultural impact of technological advancements and design.


Mae continues to advocate strongly in favor of science education and getting minority students interested in science:

“Having been an astronaut gives me a platform…but I’d blow it if I just talked about the Shuttle.” She uses her platform to speak out on the gap in quality of healthcare between the US and the Third World; “Martin Luther King [Jr]…didn’t just have a dream, he got things done”

In 2017, @LEGO_Group released the “Women of NASA” set, with minifigures of Mae, Margaret Hamilton, Sally Ride, and Nancy Grace Roman.


The Google Doodle on March 8 2019 (International Women’s Day) featured her quote: “Never be limited by other people’s limited imaginations”

Thanks to @Wikipedia for the facts and Laura for the suggestion.

Day Seven – Henrietta Lacks (born Loretta Pleasant; August 1, 1920 – October 4, 1951)

African-American woman whose cancer cells are the source of the HeLa cell line, the first immortalized human cell line and one of the most important in medical research.

Henrietta was the unwitting source of the HeLa cells from a tumour biopsied during treatment for cervical cancer at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, in 1951. They were cultured by George Otto Gey who created the cell line known as HeLa, still used for medical research.

Aged 31, she went to Johns Hopkins for a routine treatment & asked to be admitted due to severe pain. She received blood transfusions and remained at the hospital until her death on October 4, 1951. She was buried in an unmarked grave in the family cemetery in Lackstown, Virginia.

Her cells were the first to be observed that could divide multiple times without dying, which is why they became known as “immortal.” After her’ death, Gey had Mary Kubicek, his lab assistant, take further HeLa samples while Henrietta’s body was at Johns Hopkins’ autopsy facility.

The ability to rapidly reproduce HeLa cells in a laboratory setting has led to many important breakthroughs in biomedical research. For example, by 1954, Jonas Salk was using HeLa cells in his research to develop the polio vaccine.

HeLa cells were the first human cells successfully cloned in 1955, and have since been used to test human sensitivity to tape, glue, cosmetics, and many other products. There are almost 11,000 patents involving HeLa cells.As was then the practice, no consent was obtained to culture her cells. Consistent with modern standards, neither she nor her family were compensated for their extraction or use.

In the early 1970s, many other cell cultures became contaminated by HeLa cells. As a result, members of her family received solicitations for blood samples from researchers hoping to learn about the family’s genetics in order to differentiate between HeLa and other cell lines.

The family began questioning why they were receiving so many telephone calls. In 1975, the family also learned through a chance dinner-party conversation that material originating in Henrietta was continuing to be used for medical research.

The family had never discussed Henrietta’s illness and death among themselves. but with the curiosity about their mother and her genetics, they now began to ask questions of the cell line’s genetic provenance; its use raises concerns about privacy and patient rights.

In the 1980s, family medical records were published without consent. A similar issue was in the Supreme Court of California case of Moore v. Regents. The court ruled that a person’s discarded tissue and cells are not their property and can be commercialized.

In 2013, researchers published the DNA sequence of the genome of a strain of HeLa cells. The Lacks family discovered this when the author Rebecca Skloot informed them. There were objections from the Lacks family about the genetic information that was available for public access.

“the biggest concern was privacy – what information was actually going to be out there about our grandmother, and what information they can obtain from her sequencing that will tell them about her children and grandchildren and going down the line.”

Jeri Lacks Whye, a grandchild of Henrietta Lack

In August 2013, the NIH gave the family some control over access to the cells’ DNA sequence found in the two studies along with a promise of acknowledgement in scientific papers. In addition, two family members joined the committee which will regulate access to the sequence data.

In 1996, @MSMEDU held its first annual HeLa Women’s Health Conference. The conference is held to give recognition to Henrietta Lacks, her cell line, and “the valuable contribution made by African Americans to medical research and clinical practice”.

@HBO announced in 2010 that @Oprah and Alan Ball were developing a film project based on Skloot’s book. The film The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was released in 2017, with Renée Elise Goldsberry portraying Lacks.

Thanks to @Wikipedia for the facts and Claire Louise for the suggestion.

Day Eight – Charles Ignatius Sancho (c. 1729? – 14 December 1780)

British writer and composer. He is the first known Briton of African heritage to have voted in an 18th-century general election.

The Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho, an African, edited and published two years after his death, is one of the earliest accounts of African slavery written in English by a former enslaved person.

In 1766, at the height of the debate about slavery, he wrote to Laurence Sterne encouraging him to use his pen to lobby for the abolition of the slave trade.”That subject, handled in your striking manner, would ease the yoke (perhaps) of many – but if only of one – Gracious!”

Ignatius felt he was “only a lodger, and hardly that.” In other writings he describes: “Went by water – had a coach home – were gazed at – followed, etc. etc. – but not much abused.” On another occasion, he writes: “They stopped us in the town and most generously insulted us.”

“In Africa the natives are rendered miserable for the horrid cruelty and treachery of the Kings encouraged by their Christian customers who carry them liquors to enflame their national madness–and powder–and firearms–to furnish them with the hellish means of killing and kidnapping”

Ignatius died on 14 December 1780. There is no memorial at the church, as the gravestones were covered with grass, and no inscription was found when a record was made of the existing epitaphs.

He was the first of African descent known to be given an obituary in the British press.

Thanks to @Wikipedia for the facts.

Day Nine – Sir Trevor McDonald OBE (born George McDonald; 16 August 1939)

Trinidadian-British newsreader and journalist, best known for his career as a news presenter with ITN. Trevor was knighted in 1999 for his services to journalism.

After working as a print & broadcast journalist in Trinidad, in 1969, Trevor produced for BBC Radio, based in London but still broadcasting to the Caribbean. He was promoted in 1992 as the sole presenter of News at Ten and became a well-known face on British television screens.

From 1999 to 2007, Trevor hosted ITV’s flagship current affairs programme Tonight with Trevor McDonald.


Since 2009, he has presented multiple fascinating documentaries for @ITV including The Mafia with Trevor McDonald.

Trevor is the author of biographies of the cricketers Viv Richards and Clive Lloyd.


He has worked as an editor of poetry anthologies, and his autobiography Fortunate Circumstances was published in 1993.

Lenny Henry’s comic character Trevor McDoughnut is a parody of McDonald. McDonald once surprised Henry during a performance of “McDoughnut” on Tiswas by walking into the studio to sit with Lenny!

He was appointed Knight Batchelor in the Queen’s 1999 Birthday Honours for his services to broadcasting and journalism. He was awarded with “Special Recognition” at the National Television Awards in 2003 and with a BAFTA fellowship at the 2011 British Academy Television Awards.


Thanks to @Wikipedia for the facts.

Day Ten – Asquith Camile Xavier (18 July 1920 – 1980)

West Indian-born Briton who ended a colour bar at British Railways in London by fighting to become the first non-white train guard at Euston railway station in 1966.


Trevor Phillips (chairman of the Commission for Racial Equality) said in 2006: “Asquith’s stand against discrimination brought to light the inadequacy of early race discrimination laws and persistent widespread discrimination faced by ethnic minorities.”


Asquith was a member of the Windrush generation of British African-Caribbean people who migrated to the United Kingdom after the Second World War to fill vacancies in service industries.


He joined British Railway in 1966, working as a guard at Marylebone station, central London.


He applied for a promotion and transfer to work at Euston station, but was rejected. A letter from a staff committee at Euston—dominated by members of the National Union of Railwaymen—explained that it was because of his colour.


Unions and management had informally agreed in the 1950s to ban non-white people from jobs at Euston involving contact with the public; they could be cleaners and labourers, but not guards or ticket collectors.


The Race Relations Act of 1965 had made discrimination on “grounds of colour, race, or ethnic or national origins” unlawful in public places in Great Britain (but not Northern Ireland). Asquith could not use this legislation to further his case as it did not cover workplaces.


On 15 July 1966, British Railways announced that colour bars at stations in London had been abandoned. He was offered the job with pay backdated to May, the month he had been originally rejected. . He received hate mail and death threats, and asked for police protection.


A plaque at @NetworkRailEUS was unveiled in 2016 with Asquith’s family and Network Rail staff in attendance to mark the 50th anniversary of Asquith becoming the first black worker to be employed as a train guard.


In 2020 a second plaque was erected on his former home in Chatham.


Thanks to @Wikipedia for the facts.

Day Eleven – Samuel Coleridge-Taylor (15 August 1875 – 1 September 1912)

English composer and conductor known for his three cantatas on the epic poem, Song of Hiawatha by American Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. He premiered the first section aged 22.

He was named after the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. He later used the name “Samuel Coleridge-Taylor”, with a hyphen, said to be following a printer’s typographical error.

His extended family arranged for Samuel to study at the Royal College of Music, beginning at age 15.

In 1899 Samuel married Jessie Walmisley, whom he had met as a fellow student at the Royal College of Music. Her parents objected to the marriage because he was of mixed-race parentage, but relented and attended the wedding.

In 1904, on his first tour to the United States, Samuel was received by President Theodore Roosevelt at the White House, a rare event in those days for a man of African descent.

Samuel was 37 when he died of pneumonia. His death is often attributed to the stress of his financial situation.

King George V granted Jessie Coleridge-Taylor, the young widow, an annual pension of £100, evidence of the high regard in which the composer was held.

The inscription on his headstone includes four bars of his best-known work, Hiawatha


“Too young to die: his great simplicity, his happy courage in an alien world, his gentleness, made all that knew him love him.”

a tribute from his close friend, the poet Alfred Noyes


After his death in 1912, musicians were concerned that he and his family had received no royalties from his Song of Hiawatha, which was one of the most successful and popular works written in the previous 50 years. (He had sold the rights early in order to get income.)

His case contributed to their formation of the Performing Rights Society, an effort to gain revenues for musicians through performance as well as publication and distribution of music.

Thanks to @Wikipedia for the facts.

Day Eleven – Sir Steven Rodney McQueen CBE (9 October 1969 – )

British filmmaker and video artist. He is known for his film ’12 Years a Slave’ (2013), for which he is the first black filmmaker to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

For his artwork, Steve has received the Turner Prize, the highest award given to a British visual artist. For services to the visual arts, he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2011. He was knighted in the 2020 New Year Honours, for services to film.

He was born in London and is of Grenadian and Trinidadian descent. Steve stated that he had a very bad experience in school, where he had been placed into a class for students believed best suited “for manual labour, more plumbers and builders, stuff like that.”

Later, the new head of the school would admit that there had been institutional racism at the time. Steve added that he was dyslexic, and had to wear an eyepatch because of a lazy eye, and reflected this may be why he was “put to one side very quickly”.

He won the Turner Prize in 1999, although much of the publicity went to Tracey Emin, who was also a nominee.

His 2008 feature film Hunger, about the 1981 Irish hunger strike, premiered at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival. He received the Caméra d’Or (first-time director) Award at Cannes, the first British director to win the award.

On the process of making ’12 Years A Slave’, actor and producer Brad Pitt stated:

“Steve was the first to ask the big question, ‘Why has there not been more films on the American history of slavery?’. And it was the big question it took a Brit to ask.”

Brad Pitt

As an @Arsenal fan, I was quite pleased to hear that Steve is a *former* fan of football club @SpursOfficial, quitting after admitting that it affected his day too much.

Thanks to @Wikipedia for the facts.

Day Thirteen – Kingslee James McLean Daley (1 December 1983 – ), also known as @akalamusic

British rapper, journalist, author, activist and poet from Kentish Town, London. In 2006, he was voted the Best Hip Hop Act at the MOBO Awards.

Oh, and he comes from a talented family; Akala’s older sister is rapper Ms. Dynamite!

Aged 6, his state primary school put him in a special needs group for pupils with learning difficulties and English as a second language. He saw a friend attacked by a meat cleaver to the skull when he was 12, and carried a knife himself for a period. He went on to achieve ten GCSEs and took maths a year early. Akala has said he “was in the top 1 per cent of GCSEs in the country, achieving 100 per cent in an English exam.

His mum enrolled him in a pan-African Saturday school, about which he states:

“I benefited massively from a specifically black community-led self-education tradition that we don’t talk about very much because it doesn’t fit with the image [of black families].”

Akala on his Saturday school

When accepting honorary degrees, he has said he:

“would like to thank the entire Caribbean pan-African community that helped me through school and encouraged an intellectual curiosity and self development from a very young age.”

Akala on his childhood

In May 2018, Akala published ‘Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire’; part biography & part polemic on race and class. The overall framework of the book is a pragmatic Pan-Africanism that claims to seek the liberation of all humanity from oppression and exploitation.

At the same time, Daley highlights what he believes are shared problems faced by African communities worldwide in what he describes as a global system of imperialism.

He’s also been involved in campaigns to “decolonise” the curriculum including giving a talk at the University of Leicester.

“My analysis of institutionalised racism is not ‘oh, this is an excuse to fail’. The earlier you’re aware of the hurdles, the easier they are to jump over.”

Akala on racism

Day Fourteen – Ian Edward Wright, MBE (3 November 1963 – )

24/9/1997 FA Premiership. Arsenal v West Ham United. Ian Wright celebrates his goal by listening to the fans. Phoot: Mark Leech / Offside

English former professional footballer and television and radio personality. He is currently a commentator for @BBCSport and @ITVSport.

Ian is the third son of Jamaican immigrants. His father was absent from a young age, and he was brought up by his mother and an abusive stepfather.

He described his teacher Sydney Pigden as “the first positive male figure that I had in my life.”

Despite trials at Southend United and Brighton & Hove Albion during his teens, he was unable to attract sufficient interest to win a professional contract offer. Reverting to amateur and non-league teams, he was left disillusioned about his chances of a career as a pro footballer.

After a spell of poverty, Ian spent two weeks in Chelmsford Prison for failing to pay fines for driving without tax or insurance. He recalls that after being locked in the cell, he burst into tears and vowed to God to do everything in his power to make it as a footballer.

Ian enjoyed success with London clubs @CPFC and @Arsenal as a forward, spending six years with the former and seven years with the latter.

Ian scored 117 goals over six seasons for The Eagles in all competitions, making him the club’s record post-war goalscorer and third on the all-time list. In 2005, he was voted into their Centenary XI and was named as their “Player of The Century”.

In each of the 7 seasons post 1990 World Cup, Ian scored at least 23 goals a season. He was not chosen for Euro 1992, with Clough, Gary Lineker, Alan Shearer & Alan Smith and Paul Merson preferred. This was surprising as he had been the highest goalscorer in England that season.

With Arsenal, he lifted the Premier League title, both major domestic cup competitions, and the European Cup Winners Cup. Known for his speed, he scored 387 goals for 7 clubs in Scotland and England, while also earning 33 caps for England, and scoring 9 international goals.

As of 2016–17, he is Arsenal’s second-highest scorer of all time (beaten only by @ThierryHenry) and Crystal Palace’s third-highest.

Shortly after his retirement from playing in 2000, Ian was awarded an MBE for his services to football.

In 1993, Wrighty wrote and released a single called “Do The Right Thing” which reached No. 43 in the UK Singles Chart.

Thanks to @Wikipedia for the facts.

#BlackHistoryMonth Day Fifteen – Lewis Howard Latimer (September 4, 1848 – December 11, 1928)


American patent draftsman for the patents of the incandescent light bulb, among other inventions.

Both his parents had fled Virginia as runaway slaves 6 years prior to Lewis being born.

He joined the U.S. Navy at 15 and served as a Landsman on the USS Massasoit. After receiving an honorable discharge, Lewis gained employment as an office boy with a patent law firm, Crosby Halstead and Gould, with a $3.00 per week salary.

He learned how to use a set square, ruler, and other drafting tools. Later, after his boss recognized his talent for sketching patent drawings, Lewis was promoted to the position of head draftsman earning $20.00 a week by 1872.

In 1874, Lewis co-patented an improved toilet system for railroad cars called the Water Closet for Railroad Cars.


In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell employed Lewis to draft the necessary drawings required to receive a patent for Alexander’s telephone.

Lewis received a patent on January 17, 1882 for the “Process of Manufacturing Carbons”, an improved method for the production of carbon filaments for lightbulbs.

Lewis also published a book of poetry called ‘Poems of Love and Life’, along with a book called ‘L. H. Latimer, Incandescent Electric Lighting’.

The Latimer family house is on Latimer Place in Flushing, Queens. It was moved from the original location to a nearby small park and turned into the Lewis H. Latimer House Museum in honour of the inventor.

Day Sixteen – Garrett Augustus Morgan, Sr. (March 4, 1877 – July 27, 1963)

African-American inventor, businessman, and community leader. His most notable inventions were a three position traffic signal and a smoke hood (a predecessor to the gas mask).

In 1895, he moved to Cleveland, where he began repairing sewing machines for a clothing manufacturer. This was the impetus for Garrett’s interest in how things worked. His first invention, developed during this period, was a belt fastener for sewing machines.

Garrett invented a safety hood smoke protection device after seeing firefighters struggling from the smoke they encountered in the line of duty. His device used a wet sponge to filter out smoke and cool the air. It also took advantage of the way smoke and fumes tend to rise.

In 1916, Garrett rescued workers trapped in a water intake tunnel 50 ft (15 m) beneath Lake Erie, using a hood fashioned to protect his eyes from smoke and featuring a series of air tubes that hung near the ground to draw clean air beneath the rising smoke.

Attempted rescuers became victims themselves by entering the tunnel and not returning. Garrett was roused in the night after one of the members of the rescue team who had seen a demonstration of his device sent a messenger to convince him to come.

He arrived still wearing pajamas. Most rescuers were skeptical of his device, so he and his brother went into the tunnel along with two other volunteers, and succeeded in pulling out two men. He emerged carrying a victim on his back; his brother followed just behind with another.

Garrett personally made four trips into the tunnel during the rescue, and his health was affected for years afterward from the fumes he encountered there.

Cleveland’s newspapers and city officials initially ignored Morgan’s act of heroism as the first to rush into the tunnel for the rescue and his key role as the provider of the equipment that made the rescue possible, and it took years for the city to recognize his contributions

City officials requested the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission to issue medals to several of the men involved in the rescue, but excluded Morgan from their request. He believed that the omission was racially motivated.

He was able to sell his invention around the country, sometimes using the tactic of having a hired white actor take credit rather than revealing himself as to its inventor.

It was patented and awarded a gold medal two years later by the International Association of Fire Chiefs.

After the rescue, Garrett received order requests all over the country. However, the national news contained photographs of him; officials in a number of southern cities canceled their existing orders when they discovered he was black.

His device was simple and effective, whereas others were difficult to put on, complex, unreliable, or ineffective. Garrett’s safety hood was used to save many lives during the period of its use. By WWI, his design was refined to carry its own air supply, making it a gas mask.

Garrett witnessed a serious accident at an intersection; he filed a patent for a traffic control device having a third “warning” position in 1922. The patent was granted in 1923, though this was not the first system with a warning, a three-light system being invented in 1920.


Later in life he developed glaucoma and by 1943 was functionally blind. He had poor health, but continued to work on his inventions. One of his last was a self-extinguishing cigarette, which used a small plastic pellet filled with water placed just before the filter.

In Cleveland, the Garrett A. Morgan Cleveland School of Science and the Garrett A. Morgan Water Treatment Plant have been named in his honor. An elementary school in Chicago was also named after him. An elementary school bearing his name opened in 2016 in Lexington, Kentucky.

Day Seventeen – Louis Daniel Armstrong (August 4, 1901 – July 6, 1971), aka “Satchmo”, “Satch”, and “Pops”


American trumpeter, composer, vocalist, and actor who was among the most influential figures in jazz. His career spanned five decades.

Satchmo/Satch is short for “Satchelmouth”. The most common tale that biographers tell is the story of young Louis dancing for pennies; he stuck them into his mouth to prevent others stealing them.

Pops came from Louis’ own tendency to forget people’s names and call them “Pops”.

Coming to prominence in the 1920s as an inventive trumpet and cornet player, Louis was a foundational influence in jazz, shifting the focus of the music from collective improvisation to solo performance.

Louis was raised by his grandmother until 5 when he was returned to his mother. He spent his youth in poverty in The Battlefield, a rough neighborhood. At 6 he went to the Fisk School for Boys, a school that accepted black children in the racially segregated system of New Orleans.

In his memoir Louis Armstrong + the Jewish Family in New Orleans, La., the Year of 1907, he described the Karnoffskys, a family of Lithuanian Jews who took him in after doing some odd jobs for them. Knowing he lived without a father, they fed and nurtured him.

“I was only 7 but I could easily see the ungodly treatment that the white folks were handing the poor Jewish family whom I worked for.”

He wore a Star of David pendant for the rest of his life and wrote about what he learned from them: “how to live real life and determination.”

His first musical performance may have been at the side of the Karnoffsky’s junk wagon. To distinguish them from other hawkers, he tried playing a tin horn to attract customers. Morris Karnoffsky gave Louis an advance toward the purchase of a cornet from a pawn shop.

Borrowing his stepfather’s gun without permission, he fired a blank into the air and was arrested on December 31, 1912. He spent the night at New Orleans Juvenile Court, then was sentenced the next day to detention at the Colored Waif’s Home.

Throughout his riverboat experience, Louis’ musicianship began to mature. At twenty, he could read music. He became one of the first jazz musicians to be featured on extended trumpet solos, injecting his own personality and style. He started singing in his performances.

His music was an incredible part of the Harlem Renaissance. Known as “the world’s greatest trumpet player”, he continued his legacy and decided to focus on his own vocal career. The popularity he gained brought together many black and white audiences to watch him perform.

Louis began to scat (improvised vocal using nonsense words) and was among the first to record it, on the Hot Five recording “Heebie Jeebies”. It was so popular that the group became the most famous jazz band in the US, even though they had not performed live to any great extent.

Louis returned to NYC in 1929, where he played in the orchestra for Hot Chocolates, an all-black revue. He also made a cameo appearance as a vocalist, regularly stealing the show with his rendition of “Ain’t Misbehavin'”. His version became his biggest selling record to date.

Louis’ vocals served as a foundation for the art of jazz vocal interpretation. The uniquely gravelly coloration of his voice became a musical archetype that was imitated and endlessly impersonated. His voice exerted a huge influence on younger white singers such as Bing Crosby.

The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz describes Crosby’s debt in precise detail, although it does not acknowledge Armstrong by name:


“Crosby…was important in introducing into the mainstream of popular singing an Afro-American concept of song as a lyrical extension of speech.”

The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz

In 1937, Armstrong substituted for Rudy Vallee on the CBS radio network and became the first African American to host a sponsored, national broadcast.

He was the first jazz musician to appear on the cover of Time magazine, on February 21, 1949

By the 1950s, Armstrong was a widely beloved American icon and cultural ambassador who commanded an international fanbase. However, a growing generation gap became apparent between him and the young jazz musicians who emerged in the postwar era such as Charlie Parker & Miles Davis.

The postwar generation regarded their music as abstract art and considered Armstrong’s vaudevillian style, half-musician and half-stage entertainer, outmoded and Uncle Tomism, “… he seemed a link to minstrelsy that we were ashamed of.”

In the 1960s, his influence had spread to popular music in general. Louis was one of the first popular African-American entertainers to “cross over” to wide popularity with white (and international) audiences.

His most familiar role was as the narrator in the 1956 musical High Society; he sang the title song and duetted with Bing Crosby on “Now You Has Jazz”. He received many accolades including three Grammy Award nominations and a win for his vocal performance of Hello, Dolly! in 1964

In 1964, after over two years without setting foot in a studio, he recorded his biggest-selling record, “Hello, Dolly!”, a song by Jerry Herman, originally sung by Carol Channing. Louis made No. 1 at 62 years, 9 months and 5 days, the oldest person ever to accomplish that feat.

By 1968, he was in poor health. He did not perform publicly in 1969. He embarked on another world tour, but a heart attack forced him to take a break for 2 months. He made his last recorded trumpet performance on his 1968 album Disney Songs the Satchmo Way:

Louis suffered from lip damage over much of his life due to his aggressive style of playing and preference for narrow mouthpieces that would stay in place easier. During his 1930s European tour, he suffered an ulceration so severe that he had to stop playing entirely for a year.

Louis was largely accepted into white society, both on stage and off, a rarity for a black person at the time. Some musicians criticized him for playing in front of segregated audiences, and for not taking a strong enough stand in the American civil rights movement.

He called Eisenhower “two-faced” and “gutless” because of his inaction during the conflict over school desegregation in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1957. As a protest, he cancelled a tour of the Soviet Union. The FBI kept a file on him for his outspokenness about integration.

Louis died of a heart attack in his sleep on July 6 1971, a month before his 70th birthday. He was posthumously awarded the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1972. In the summer of 2001, New Orleans’s main airport was renamed Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

Day Eighteen – Chadwick Aaron Boseman (November 29, 1976 – August 28, 2020)

American actor whose breakthrough came as baseball player Jackie Robinson in the biographical film 42 (2013). He achieved international fame for playing superhero Black Panther.

According to Chadwick, DNA testing from ‘African Ancestry’ indicated that some of his ancestors were Krio people from Sierra Leone, Limba people from Sierra Leone and Yoruba people from Nigeria.

He wrote his first play, Crossroads, and staged it at the school after a classmate was shot and killed. Chadwick attended college at @HowardU, graduating in 2000 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in directing.

One of his teachers was Phylicia Rashad, who helped raise funds, notably from her friend and prominent actor Denzel Washington, so that Chadwick and some classmates could attend the Oxford Mid-Summer Program of the British American Drama Academy in England.

Chadwick portrayed Reggie Montgomery in the daytime soap opera All My Children; he was fired after voicing concerns to producers about racist stereotypes in the script; the role was subsequently re-cast, with his future Black Panther co-star Michael B. Jordan assuming the role.

His breakthrough was in 42, he portrayed baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson. He was considering giving up acting and pursuing directing full-time. 25 other actors had been considered for the role; Jackie’s widow, commented that Boseman’s performance was like seeing Jackie again.

As James Brown in 2014’s Get on Up, Boseman did some singing and all of his own dancing. He watched James’ performances for weeks, and spoke with Mick Jagger before deciding to portray ‘The Hardest Working Man in Show Business’.

In 2016, he starred as Thoth, a deity from Egyptian mythology, in Gods of Egypt. Chadwick was one of the few actors of colour in the film, which drew criticism for depicting a predominantly white cast playing Egyptians; Chadwick said this issue motivated him to accept the role.

Chadwick headlined Black Panther in 2018, which focused on the character and his home country of Wakanda in Africa. It was one of the highest-grossing films of the year in the US, earning him a spot on the 2018 Time 100 as one of the world’s most influential people.

He reprised the role in both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, which were released in 2018 and 2019, respectively. Both films were the highest grossing of the year they were released, with Endgame going on to become the highest-grossing film of all time.

He portrayed Thurgood Marshall in the biographical film Marshall in 2017. Set years before he became the first African American Supreme Court Justice, the movie focuses on one of Marshall’s early cases. It was premiered at Howard University, which they both had attended.

Chadwick was cast in Da 5 Bloods, directed by Spike Lee. Lee, in choosing Boseman for the divine-like character of “Stormin” Norman, said, “This character is heroic; he’s a superhero. Who do we cast? We cast Jackie Robinson, James Brown, Thurgood Marshall, and we cast T’Challa.”

“He was a virtuoso actor who had the rare ability to create a character from the outside in; he knew how to fuse with a role, etching it in 3D. That’s what made him an artist and movie star. Yet in Black Panther, he also became that rare thing, a culture hero.”

Owen Gleiberman, Variety Magazine

Chadwick was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer in 2016. He never spoke publicly about his cancer diagnosis. During treatment, he continued to work and completed production for several films. He died at his home on August 28, 2020, with his wife and family by his side.

The day after Chadwick died, the tweet in which his family announced his death on his Twitter account became the most-liked, with more than 6 million likes in under 24 hours, and accumulating over 7 million by August 31, far displacing the previous record holder.

Several publications noted @chadwickboseman died on the observance of Jackie Robinson Day, seven years after his having portrayed Robinson.

Sienna Miller revealed that Chadwick gave part of his own salary to boost hers when a film studio refused to meet her pay on 21 Bridges.

The 2020 @vmas ceremony was also dedicated to Chadwick. A Change.org petition was started, seeking to replace a Confederate monument in his hometown of Anderson with a statue of him, which collected more than 50,000 signatures within less than a week.

On September 24, 2020, Disney unveiled a mural dedicated to Chadwick by artist Nikkolas Smith at Downtown Disney in Anaheim, California.

“King Chad” on display in the Downtown Disney District. Artist Nikkolas Smith, who is also a former Disney Imagineer, was among the first to see his artwork featured in the District. This art installation will be on display in Downtown Disney until Dec. 31, 2020.


A public memorial service was held where Deanna Brown-Thomas, daughter of James Brown, and his childhood pastor spoke.

Day Nineteen – Charles Richard Drew (June 3, 1904 – April 1, 1950)

American surgeon & researcher who researched blood transfusions, developing improved techniques for blood storage and applied his expert knowledge to developing large-scale blood banks in WWII.

An outstanding athlete at Amherst, Charles also joined Omega Psi Phi fraternity; they did not admit black people at that time. He spent 2 years as a professor of chemistry & biology, the first athletic director, & football coach at the historically black private Morgan College.

He spent time doing research at Columbia’s Presbyterian Hospital and gave a doctoral thesis, “Banked Blood,” based on an exhaustive study of blood preservation techniques. He earned a Doctor of Science in Medicine degree in 1940, becoming the first African American to do so.

Charles was recruited by John Scudder to help set up & administer a prototype program for blood storage & preservation in the UK. He went to NYC as the med director of the States’ Blood for Britain project, to aid British soldiers & civilians by giving US blood to the UK.

He started what would be later known as bloodmobiles, which were trucks containing refrigerators of stored blood; this allowed for greater mobility in terms of transportation as well as prospective donations. Charles created a central location for the blood collection process.

He ensured all blood plasma was tested before it was shipped out; only skilled personnel handled blood plasma to avoid the possibility of contamination. In total, almost 15,000 people donated blood. As a result, the Blood Transfusion Betterment Association applauded Charles.

He was appointed director of the first American Red Cross Blood Bank. He disagreed with exclusion of blood of African-Americans from supply networks and resigned from his posts after the forces ruled that blood of African-Americans would be stored separately from that of white people.

In 1941, Drew’s distinction in his profession was recognized when he became the first African-American surgeon selected to serve as an examiner on the American Board of Surgery.

In 1976, the National Park Service designated the Charles Richard Drew House in Arlington County, Virginia, as a National Historic Landmark in response to a nomination by the Afro-American Bicentennial Corporation.

Day Twenty – Roger L. Gregory (July 17, 1953 -)

Chief United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Roger was adopted by a family and raised in the ’Heights’ section of Petersburg, Virginia. He said ”I think about my parents. They worked in a tobacco factory and had very little formal education. They got up early and worked more time to earn wages so I could learn my letters.”

Roger attended segregated schools until the eleventh grade and became the first person in his family to graduate from high school. He graduated summa cum laude from Virginia State University and earned a law degree from the University of Michigan in 1978.

Roger co-founded the Richmond, Virginia law firm of Wilder & Gregory in 1982 with L. Douglas Wilder (the first African-American to be elected governor in the United States).

On June 30, 2000, President Bill Clinton nominated Roger to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit that had been vacant for close to a decade since it had been created (the Senate had never acted on Clinton’s previous nominee, J. Rich Leonard).

He was the first judge nominated to the Fourth Circuit by Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate and is the first black judge to serve on the Fourth Circuit. Roger’s nomination was effectively blocked by Senator Jesse Helms, who opposed efforts to diversify the courts.

Judge Gregory made history again when he became the only person in United States history to have been appointed to the U.S. Court of Appeals by presidents of two different political parties.

He was the recipient of many awards, including the 2007 Thurgood Marshall Award of Excellence.

Day Twenty One – Walter Lincoln Hawkins (March 21, 1911 – August 20, 1992)

American chemist/engineer; regarded a pioneer of polymer chemistry.
Advocated for minority students, & the first African-American to be elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

Walter was the grandson of a slave and obtained his secondary school education in the segregated Jim Crow Era.

He and a fellow 11 yr old tried to build a perpetual motion machine, not realising it was an impossible task. He built a radio so he could listen to local baseball games

After graduating from high school he went to @rpi in Troy, New York, where he was one of only 2 black students at the school.

Walter became the first African-American to join the technical staff of Bell Laboratories. In 1972, he became the head of his department.

With Vincent Lanza, Walter invented a plastic coating that could withstand fluctuations in temperature, last up to 70 years, and was cheaper than lead. Upon validation, phone lines were placed in rural areas, making affordable phone service to many people and reducing use of lead.

In the 1970s, Walter shifted his research focus towards minimizing plastic waste. The extremely durable nature of plastic becomes a huge problem when it must be discarded. He became an expert, not only in making plastics last longer, but in recycling them.

Over the course of his professional career, Walter contributed to 18 U.S. patents, 55 scientific research articles and 3 books.

He also helped establish the Bell Labs Cooperative Research Fellowship Program; it recruits/supports minorities & engineers interested in earning PhDs.

Whilst working at @BellLabs, he helped establish the Summer Research Program for Minorities and Women in 1974, which benefitted over 1,200 by his death.

He served as chairman of the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council Committee on Minorities in Engineering.

In 1981, he became the first chairman of Project SEED (Support of the Educationally & Economically Disadvantaged), an American Chemical Society program designed to promote careers for minority students.

He was the first Black American to be hired as part of the technical staff of Bell Labs and subsequently the first African-American to be elected to the National Academy of Engineering (1975).

In a 1992 White House ceremony, he received the National Medal of Technology from President George H. W. Bush.


Posthumously, Walter was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2010.

#BlackHistoryMonth Day Twenty Two – @malorieblackman OBE (8 February 1962 – )

British writer who was Children’s Laureate 2013 – 2015. Her critically acclaimed Noughts and Crosses series uses the setting of a fictional dystopia to explore racism.

@malorieblackman has written more than 60 children’s books, including novels and short story collections, and television scripts (including for Baker Grove) as well as a stage play.

She became the first person of colour to work on Doctor Who ever as a writer.

Her award-winning series, exploring love, racism and violence, is set in a fictional dystopia. In a 2007 interview for the BBC’s Blast website, Malorie said that noughts and crosses is “one of those games that nobody ever plays after childhood, because nobody ever wins”.

In @thetimes, she said that pre N&C, her protagonists’ ethnicities had never been central to the plots of her books. “I wanted to show black children just getting on with their lives, having adventures, and solving their dilemmas, like the ones in the books I read as a child.”

She reused some details from her own experience, including an occasion when she needed a plaster, and found they were designed to be inconspicuous only on white people’s skin.

The Times‘ Amanda Craig speculated about the delay for the Noughts & Crosses series to be published in the United States: “though there was considerable interest, 9/11 killed off the possibility of publishing any book describing what might drive someone to become a terrorist”.

N&C was 61 on the Big Read list, a BBC survey to find “The Nation’s Best-Loved Book”, with more votes than A Tale of Two Cities, several Terry Pratchett novels and Lord of the Flies.

In June 2013, Malorie was announced as the new Children’s Laureate, succeeding Julia Donaldson.

Malorie was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2008 Birthday Honours.

You can watch the BBC adaptation here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p082w992

Day Twenty Three – Lilian Bader (18 February 1918 – 13 March 2015)


One of the first black women to join the British Armed Forces.

Lilian was born in the Toxteth Park area of Liverpool to Marcus Bailey, a merchant seaman from Barbados who served in the First World War, and a British-born mother of Irish parentage.

It was difficult to find employment because of her father’s origins:
“My casting out from the convent walls was delayed. I was half West Indian, and nobody, not even the priests, dare risk ridicule by employing me.”

In 1939, at the onset of the Second World War, Lilian enlisted in the Navy, Army and Air Force Institutes (NAAFI) at Catterick Camp, Yorkshire. She was dismissed after seven weeks when it was discovered that her father was not born in the United Kingdom.

In March 1941 she enlisted in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF), after she heard that the RAF were taking citizens of West Indian descent. She trained in instrument repair, a trade newly open to women. She became a Leading Aircraft Woman, eventually promoted to corporal.

After the war, Lilian and her husband moved to Northamptonshire to raise their family. She studied at London University where she received a Bachelor of Arts degree. Following this, she would have a career as a teacher.

Day Twenty Four – Floella Karen Yunies Benjamin (23 September 1949 – )


Trinidadian-British actress, author, TV presenter, singer, businesswoman and politician. She is known as presenter of children’s programmes such as Play School, Play Away and Fast Forward.

of arriving in Britain, she said “When I came here I realised I wasn’t a person anymore. I was a colour..I didn’t admit to anyone how much I enjoyed hurting people because of how much they had hurt me. I felt the force of being pushed to the limit.”

Having left school to work in a bank, she studied for A-levels at night school. After a spell as a stage actress in West End musicals, she began presenting children’s television programmes in 1976, notably Play School for the @BBC.

Her 20th book, Coming to England, about moving from Trinidad, was published in 1997, and is now used to teach modern history. Other books include Floella’s Fun Book, Why the Agouti Has No Tail and Snotty & the Rod of Power. Many of her titles are aimed at children and development.

She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to broadcasting in the 2001 New Year Honours. Then, she was chairperson of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA). She has also won a Special Lifetime Achievement award from @BAFTA.

Floella’s interest in learning led her to the “4Rs Commission” established by the @LibDems to look into UK primary education.

She is vice-president of NCH Action for Children & Barnardo’s, and was in the NSPCC’s Hall of Fame. She was a cultural ambassador for the 2012 @Olympics.

In the 2020 Powerlist, @FloellaBenjamin was listed in the Top 100 of the most influential people in the UK of African/Afro-Caribbean descent in the UK. She was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2020 New Year Honours for services to charity.

Having starred in several musicals, she is currently the singer for a rock and blues band Damn Right I Got The Blues, and says: “When I sing I am in my element.”


Day Twenty Five – Shirley Thompson OBE (January 7, 1958 – )

English composer, conductor, and violinist of Jamaican descent. Also an academic, she is currently Professor of Music at the University of Westminster.

Shirley was born in London to Jamaican parents. Her early musical experience included playing the violin in various youth symphony orchestras in London, and choral singing with local choirs in Newham. She graduated in music from @LivUni and in composition from @GoldsmithsUoL.

She set up the Shirley Thompson Ensemble in 1994 and this became the main vehicle for her instrumental and vocal works that fused contemporary classical orchestrations with popular and world music styles. She directed the film Memories in Mind, with an award from the Arts Council.

Shirley focused on full orchestral composition with New Nation Rising, A 21st Century Symphony, first performed in 2004 to celebrate 1000 years of London’s history. The piece sees the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra play alongside two choirs, solo singers, a rapper and dhol drummers.

In 2007, she composed The British Slave Trade: Abolition, Parliament and People, marking the 250-year anniversary of legislation for abolition of the transatlantic trade. It featured three heroines: Nanny of the Maroons, Dido Elizabeth Belle, and The Woman Who Refused To Dance.

In February 2013, extracts from her work Mandela Tales, inspired by the book Nelson Mandela’s Favourite African Folk Tales, were included in the programme performed by the Chamber Orchestra and Chamber Choir from Gordonstoun School at the amphitheatre at the @Vanda, Cape Town.

To mark the 70th anniversary of the landing of the Empire Windrush, the ship that brought one of the first large groups of postwar West Indian immigrants to the UK, Shirley composed “Psalm to Windrush: for the Brave and Ingenious”, performed at a service held at Westminster Abbey.

Shirley is Professor of Music at the University of Westminster, where she has taught since 2001, having held the position of Reader and Head of Composition and Performance. She has also given lectures at other institutions, including the @V_and_A on BBC Radio 3.

Shirley received the Luminary Award (for those of Caribbean heritage who made significant international contributions, or have brought to prominence issues that affect the Caribbean). She was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to Music.

Day Twenty Six – Dame Jocelyn Anita Barrow DBE (15 April 1929 – 9 April 2020)

British educator, community activist and politician, who was the Director for UK Development at Focus Consultancy Ltd. She was the first black woman to be a governor of the @BBC.

Jocelyn was born in colonial Trinidad (her mother’s native land), where she was active as a member of the People’s National Movement. She undertook teacher training, and in 1959 travelled to Britain for postgraduate studies, attending the University Of London, reading English.

She was a founding member of Campaign Against Racial Discrimination (CARD) — the organisation that lobbied for race relations legislation and was responsible for the Race Relations Act of 1968. She was vice-chair of the International Human Rights Year Committee.

She was also a leading member of the North London West Indian Association (NLWIA), set up in 1965. Amongst other activities, the NWLIA responded to prejudice against black children in the state education system, which was exposed in a leaked report.

Jocelyn pioneered the introduction of multi-cultural education, stressing the needs of the various ethnic groups in the UK. In 1984 she co-founded Arawidi Publications, a children’s publishing house, publishing children’s books in a variety of forms including West Indian dialects.

Between 1981 and 1988, Jocelyn served as a governor of the BBC, the first black woman to have been appointed to the board of the corporation. She was also founder and deputy chair (1989–95)of the Broadcasting Standards Council, forerunner of Ofcom.

She chaired the 2005 Mayor’s Commission on African and Asian Heritage. On Delivering Shared Heritage “Our findings, far from being of interest only to African and Asian communities, set a code of values for delivering inclusive & healthy heritage management practice for everyone.”

She was instrumental in establishing the North Atlantic Slavery Gallery & the Merseyside Maritime Museum in Liverpool. She was a Trustee of the National Museums & Galleries on Merseyside and a Governor of the @BFI , as well as the first patron of the Black Cultural Archives.

Acknowledging the key influence she had in the founding of BCA, their tribute to her stated: “Also known as the African People’s Historical Monument Foundation, Dame Jocelyn recognised the need for a national monument like BCA to educate future generations.”

In 1972 she was awarded OBE for work in the field of education & community relations. In 1992 her broadcasting and contribution to the work of the EU as the UK member of the Economic & Social Committee was recognised as she became the first black woman to be honoured as a “Dame”.

#BlackHistoryMonth Day Twenty Seven – Denise Lewis, OBE (27 August 1972 – )

British sports presenter and former track and field athlete, who specialised in the heptathlon. Born to Jamaican-born parents, she grew up in Wolverhampton.

@RealDeniseLewis won the gold medal in the heptathlon at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, was twice Commonwealth Games champion, was the 1998 European Champion and won World Championships silver medals in 1997 and 1999. She was the first European to win the Olympic heptathlon.

Denise was voted “Sportswoman of the Year” by the Sports Journalists’ Association (SJA) in 1997, 1998 and 2000, a joint-record three times. She won the Sunday Times “Sportswoman of the Year” a record three times, in 1994, 1998 and 2000.

In 2000, Denise was also presented with the Freedom of the City of Wolverhampton.

In 2010, she was inducted into the Wolverhampton Sporting Hall of Fame, while in 2011, she was then inducted into the England Athletics Hall of Fame.

With Dame Kelly Holmes, Christine Ohuruogu and Paula Radcliffe, Lewis enjoys acclamation as one of the “golden girls” of British athletics and, in 1998 and 2000 has been runner up in the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

In 2004, Denise took part in @bbcstrictly. She was partnered with professional dancer Ian Waite and in the first few weeks scored the highest number of points with the judges. She eventually reached the final and was runner-up to actress Jill Halfpenny.

Since 2009, Denise has acted as a pundit for @BBCSport athletics coverage and she has covered major live events including the 2009 World Athletics Championships, 2010 Commonwealth Games, 2012 Summer Olympics, 2014 Commonwealth Games and 2016 Summer Olympics.

At the inaugural British Ethnic Diversity Sports Awards (BEDSA) in 2015, Denise became the first recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

In the 2001 New Year Honours, Denise was promoted to Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), having already been appointed MBE in the 1999 New Year Honours.

Day Twenty Eight: Claire Dove (1952 – )

Working as a secretary in Liverpool in the 1960s proved problematic because of the widespread racism of the time. The rejection she felt inspired her to campaign for an employment agency that would accept black people.

Although she was only 12 when her father Barny died, she pays him particular credit for her remarkable success in life. It is him, she says, who gave her the confidence to fulfil her potential, recalling his wise words, “Never take no for an answer and never accept second best”.

Claire was one of the founders in 1971 of International Personnel, an agency funded by the Martin Luther King and John Moores Foundation which focused solely on an individual’s capability, not the colour of their skin.

Between 1973 and 1981, Claire worked predominantly in the United States, but returned home permanently in the midst of the Toxteth Riots with a fierce determination to improve the lot of the black community in general and women in particular.

In 1983, she established the Women’s Technology Centre on Hardman Street, to provide courses for women in non-traditional areas of work. Beginning with 30 students and 7 staff, word got around and business quickly expanded, requiring a move to Blackburne House in 1994.

Coincidentally, this was exactly 100 years after Liverpool Institute High School for Girls (located at Blackburne House) had become the first girls’ school in the UK.

Claire found the energy to study part-time for a degree in Social Science at @LivUni, graduating with honours.

@BlackburneHouse delivers high quality training, education and consultancy services. It enables women, including many from ethnic minorities, who have not been engaged or had success in traditional education and learning environments to uncover and develop their abilities.

Claire was appointed as @VCSECrownRep in February 2018. As a key player in the social enterprise movement for over 30 years, she brings a wealth of experience to the role.

From December 2007 to January 2017 Claire was Chair of Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) and is now patron.

She is a member of the @AlderHey Hospital Trust and is a former Board Member for the Charity Commission, and chaired the Liverpool Fairness Commission on behalf of @lpoolcouncil.

Claire was awarded an MBE for her work in the mid-nineties, received an OBE in 2013, and was given the Queens Lifetime Achievement Award for Enterprise Promotion.

Day Twenty Nine – Trevor Noah (20 February 1984 – )

Born in Johannesburg, Trevor began his career as a comedian, television host, and actor in South Africa in 2002.

Under apartheid, Trevor’s mother was classified as Black, and his father as White. At his birth, his parents’ relationship was illegal under law. Interracial relations and marriages were not decriminalized until the Immorality Act was amended in 1985.

On 6 January 2012, Trevor became the first South African stand-up comedian to appear on The Tonight Show; and, on 17 May 2013, he became the first to appear on Late Show with David Letterman.

In December 2014, Trevor became a recurring contributor on The Daily Show. On 30 March 2015, Comedy Central announced that he would succeed Jon Stewart as host of The Daily Show; his tenure began on 28 September 2015.

Trevor’s mixed-race ancestry, his experiences growing up in Soweto, and his observations about race and ethnicity are leading themes in his comedy. He is a polyglot, and speaks English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Xhosa, Tswana, Tsonga, and some German.

Trevor’s mum survived a shooting by her ex husband, and he said: “For years my mother reached out to police for help with domestic abuse, and nothing was ever done. This is the norm in South Africa. Dockets went missing and cases never went to court.”

In April 2018, he set up the Trevor Noah Foundation as a Johannesburg-based non-profit organization that equips orphans and vulnerable youth with the education, life skills, and social capital necessary to pursue further opportunities.

Trevor has won awards including Primetime Emmys, NAACPs, GLAAD Media & MTV Movie & TV awards. has described himself as being progressive and having a global perspective. He prefers not to be categorized as being either right or left in the context of US partisanship.

#BlackHistoryMonth Day Thirty – @naomiosaka (October 16, 1997 – )


Professional tennis player who represents Japan. She has been ranked No. 1 by the Women’s Tennis Association (@WTA), and is the first Asian player to hold the top ranking in singles.

She is a three-time Grand Slam singles champion, and is the reigning US Open champion. Naomi won her first 2 Grand Slam singles titles in back-to-back Grand Slams at the 2018 US Open and the 2019 Australian Open, the first to achieve this feat since Jennifer Capriati in 2001.

In 2018, Naomi defeated 23-time Grand Slam singles champion Serena Williams in the final of the US Open to become the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam singles title. From 2018 to 2020, she has won a Grand Slam singles title in three consecutive years.

Naomi was the highest-earning female athlete of all time by annual income in 2020, and ranked 8th among all athletes in endorsement income. She has a serve that can reach 124 mph. She was included on @TIME’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2019/20.

At the US Open 2020, Naomi was seeded fourth due to the withdrawal of a number of top-10 players. To express her support for the #BlackLivesMatter movement, she wore seven black masks during her matches, each with the name of an African American killed by police.

In Japan, she is referred to as a hāfu, meaning she is half-Japanese. Her Japanese grandparents did not initially accept her parents’ relationship. As a result, her mother had no contact with her family for nearly 15 years and Naomi did not return to Japan until she was 11.

She wrote this article for @esquire after the sad murder of #GeorgeFloyd

https://www.esquire.com/sports/a33022329/naomi-osaka-op-ed-george-floyd-protests/

In August 2020, Naomi joined strikes by players from the NBA, WNBA, MLS following the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha.

The Western & Southern Open responded with a significant concession by “pausing tournament play” and rescheduling all of its matches.

“As you know, I pulled out of the tournament yesterday in support of racial injustice and continued police violence. I was (and am) ready and prepared to concede the match to my opponent.

I don’t expect anything drastic to happen with me not playing, but if I can get a conversation started in a majority white sport I consider that a step in the right direction.”

Naomi Osaka’s statement to The Guardian.

#BlackHistoryMonth Day Thirty One – Ivory Bangle Lady


A skeleton found in Sycamore Terrace, York in 1901. She was a high-status adult female, of North African descent, who died in York in the 4th century AD.

A 2010 research paper studied her skeletal remains, which were found within a stone coffin. This research showed that the skeleton was of a young adult female, aged 18-23 years.. Significantly, this research also identified the Ivory Bangle Lady as having North African ancestry.

Isotope analysis of oxygen and strontium isotopes suggest that she spent her childhood in the west of Britain or in coastal areas of Western Europe and the Mediterranean.

The Ivory Bangle Lady was buried wearing ivory and jet bangles, a bracelet of blue glass beads, silver and bronze pendants, two yellow-glass earrings. A small, round glass mirror, a dark blue glass flagon, and an openwork, ivory inscription plaque were also included in the grave.

The plaque reads “Hail sister, may you live in God”, evidence for a Christian population in Roman York. The grave goods and the alignment of the grave in a north-south arrangement strongly suggests that the she was pagan, but had connections with a Christian community.

Immediately after the publication of this research, she became a focal point of debate about immigration in the past, with public discussions focusing on her race. Notably, the comments on the online publication of a Daily Mail article highlighted a backlash from readers.

On 22 October 2020 the Yorkshire Museum posted a blog highlighting her biography for #BHM; this was targeted by alt-right groups who posted racists and negative comments in response. The Yorkshire Museum issued a statement on social media on 23 October condemning the attacks.

Thanks to @Wikipedia and @YorkshireMuseum for the facts.
and that brings #BlackHistoryMonthUK to a close. Thank you to all the contributions, suggestions and support. May I add that EVERY month is Black History Month; we MUST do all we can to promote equity and diversity.

For some extra reading, may I suggest topics including:
– Tulsa race massacre- Bengal famine of 1943- Tuskegee Syphilis Study- Civil Rights Movement- 1981 Toxteth Riots- Windrush scandal- Stephen Lawrence Inquiry

and this article by @guardian
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/oct/11/black-history-month-events-that-should-be-taught-to-every-pupil

Thanks to @Wikipedia for the facts.

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#COVIDFREEWORLD #PopAnalysis – @aquaofficial

This post was taken from a thread I created on Twitter, regarding Aqua. Check out my Twitter feed here: https://twitter.com/rebecaulfield

Right guys, time to think back to May 1998, the time when the Good Friday Agreement was made, and we all celebrated by giving Aqua their 3rd UK number 1 wild times.

So, I have decided to rate all of Aqua’s UK singles, from not best to best, as per @officialcharts.The rules are that there are no rules, this is MY chart, therefore you are wrong in any dissent.

7. Around The World

A slightly boring Europop number which is not rescued by a chord progression shared with ‘The Winner Takes It All’ by @ABBA; catchy, yet forgettable.
The most exciting thing about the video was Lene’s MARVELLOUS hair.

6. Good Morning Sunshine

The first of the slower Aqua songs in our countdown, this only hit 18 on the UK chart. It’s a cracker due to Lene’s Cher inspired vocal here.
I wonder if @dif_rene would have a pop rap-off with @abzlove or J from @Official5ive?

*YES, WE ARE NOW IN THE TOP FIVE*

5. Cartoon Heroes

Apparently this video cost $3.5 million, and yet all I can think about is Lene as Annie from @AnnieMusicalUK and René sounding like @MeCookieMonster.
I haven’t heard this song in almost 2 decades, and yet I still remember the lyrics.

4. Doctor Jones

This UK Number 1 is based on the Indiana Jones character of the famous film series; not sure @HarrisonFordLA is a fan.


The video with depiction of a voodoo practising tribe, hasn’t aged too well in the #blacklivesmatter era…

3. Barbie Girl

The band’s biggest hit made their label subject to a lawsuit by @Mattel; famously, the judge told all parties to “chill”.


Pop pastiche perfection, but too annoying to top the chart…

2. My Oh My

In my opinion, the group’s best bubblegum pop song. Reached Number 6 in the UK chart on rerelease after ‘Barbie Girl’. I love how Aqua went all in to do another fun video under direction from Peder Pedersen.

*so, what’s number one?*

1. Turn Back Time

This UK Number 1, which channelled ‘Heart’ from @petshopboys, was used in the soundtrack to 1998’s ‘Sliding Doors’ and was welcomed by pop critics. @LENE_NYSTROM showcased her vocals well.

Take a bow, @aquaofficial, you did a great job.

*Bonus song*

‘Lollipop (Candyman)’ wasn’t a UK release; the video was another Peder Pedersen creation.


Have you ever seen @pitbull and @dif_rene in the same room? No, thought not.


Shout out to Lene who did bright hair before @NICKIMINAJ and @ladygaga

I’d like to thank #COVID19 for giving me the time to do this. Shout out to the #NHSheroes. Thanks to @officialcharts for the facts. Please comment below using Aqua GIFs only…

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#COVIDFREEWORLD #PopAnalysis – @DanielBedingfld

This post was taken from a thread I created on Twitter, regarding Daniel Bedingfield. Check out my Twitter feed here: https://twitter.com/rebecaulfield

Right guys, time to think back to November 2001, the last month we were able to enjoy @antanddec on our screens in SM:TV and CD:UK. The world has, quite frankly, not been the same since.

So, I have decided to rate all of Daniel Bedingfield’s UK singles, from not best to best, as per @officialcharts.The rules are that there are no rules, this is MY chart, therefore you are wrong in any dissent.

9. Never Gonna Leave Your Side

A video romantically shot in Spain, where Daniel appears to wrestle with an iron fence whilst singing mainly in falsetto. Nobody ever told him that his ‘brooding’ face looked plain angry, did they?

A surprising UK Number 1.

8. Nothing Hurts Like Love

This UK Number 3 was the lead single from his second album, and written by Diane Warren.

The video is a loose interpretation of Ezekiel 37, which was a sneaky way for Daniel to snog a few girls.

7. Friday

The last single to be released from Daniel’s debut album, this hit a lowly Number 28.

The video gave me a headache, and I can only assume it was an unofficial pitch to a Hollywood producer for a modern horror.

6. The Way

This was Daniel’s last UK charting single, undeservedly reaching only Number 41. It’s a pop-rock grower.


Don’t quite understand why the girl was crying in the video. Did she forsee Daniel’s accident and hiatus?

*YES, WE ARE NOW IN THE TOP FIVE*


Daniel Bedingfield - If You're Not The One falling

5. Wrap My Words Around You

The debut single from Second First Impressions was a different sound from Daniel’s original material…probably because it wasn’t made in his bedroom.

Got to Number 12 on the UK chart. Was almost impossible to find the video?

http://www.mtv.nl/muziek/clips/wic4ry/Wrap-My-Words-Around-You

4. James Dean (I Wanna Know)

A song that name checks some popular culture references in a zingy 3 minutes and 30 seconds. Sweaty video, again invisible from mainstream sites? Care to explain @DanielBedingfld ?

http://www.mtv.nl/muziek/clips/wfmkcp/James-Dean-I-Wanna-Know

3. I Can’t Read You

A slightly formulaic video featuring a questionably mysterious female, but a solid pop song nevertheless.

2. If You’re Not The One

Probably Daniel’s best known song which he states was inspired by Westlife, he could probably live off the Smooth FM royalties alone.

@MarkReadMusic from @A1Official produced the UK video; I’ve included the lesser known US promo.

*so, what’s number one?*

Daniel Bedingfield- Gotta Get Thru This (uk version)

1. Gotta Get Thru This

This timeless UK garage vibes classic was a solid Number 1 debut for Daniel, catapulting him into the spotlight across the Atlantic (see the North American music video with a snippet of the acoustic version).

A worthy winner.


Take a bow, @DanielBedingfld, you did a great job

*Bonus song*

@DJSHARAM teamed up with @DanielBedingfld to produce ‘The One’ a cracking dance version with some new vocals.

WARNING – the video is SO 2007

I’d like to thank #COVID19 for giving me the time to do this. Shout out to the #NHSheroes. Thanks to @officialcharts for the facts. Please comment below using Daniel Bedingfield GIFs only…

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#COVIDFREEWORLD #PopAnalysis – @Eurovision

This post was taken from a thread I created on Twitter, regarding The Eurovision Song Contest. Check out my Twitter feed here: https://twitter.com/rebecaulfield

Right guys, little bit different this week. 2020 has been awful; lockdown, doom and gloom – and no Eurovision for the first time in my life. Some might say that’s a good thing, but I feel that Eurovision is a positive event which brings many countries (some not even in Europe, but that’s another story) together in a fun fuelled celebration.

So, I have decided to rate the best POP moments of the last 30 years of Eurovision (yes that’s right, there’s no ABBA on this list SORRY).


The rules are that there are no rules, this is MY chart, therefore you are wrong in any dissent.

10. Düm Tek Tek – Hadise (Turkey, 2009)


Pyrotechnics. Acrobatics. Catchy hook. Bare skin. An outfit clearly inspired by I Dream Of Jeannie. What’s not to love?


I feel her backup singers were shoved in the corner for not being sexy enough.

Finished 4th.

9. You Are The Only One – Sergey Lazarev (Russia, 2016)


A quiff that One Direction would be proud of, and a key change Westlife would kick a stool away for. Staging completely nicked from Måns Zelmerlöw… #IfItAintBrokeDontFixIt. Also finished 4th.

8. Toy – @NettaBarzilai (Israel, 2018)


This must be the only pop song to reference Pikachu. An absolute earworm that surprisingly has Jack White from the White Stripes listed in the songwriter credits due to similarites with ‘Seven Nation Army’.


WINNER

7. Too Late For Love – @JohnLundvik (Sweden, 2019)


This is the definition of anthemic pop at it’s finest. John managed to compete with himself that year as he was also a songwriter on the UK entry; the less said about that, the better.


Came 5th; robbed.

6. Party For Everybody – Buranovskiye Babushki (Russia, 2012)

What’s not to love? My fave is the smallest granny. The looks of bemusement at 1.56 and 2.21 are priceless.


One of the writers was responsible for ‘The Power Of Love’ by Jennifer Rush.


Came 2nd.

*YES, WE ARE NOW IN THE TOP FIVE*

5. Dancing Lasha Tumbai – Verka Serduchka (Ukraine, 2007)

An outfit that surely must have been inspired by The Wizard Of Oz’s Tin Man – on speed.

No idea what the song is about, but good on her for dancing in those heels.

Came 2nd, again robbed.

4. Fairytale – @AlexanderRybak (Norway, 2009)

I mean, this is one of the greats. So catchy. Acrobatic dancers were epic.

Was a bit worried poor Alexander was gonna singe his eyebrows with the pyrotechnics at the end.


A deserved winner.

3. Heroes – @manszelmerlow (Sweden, 2015)

I mean, Mans now lives in the UK after he married Nicole Owens off @Hollyoaks so he’s basically our national treasure now right?


A rightful king of #Eurovision for his continued dedication after winning in 2015.

2. Ooh Aah… Just a Little Bit – @GinaGOfficial


Talk about iconic dresses from the 90s…so @GeriHalliwell your Union Jack dress was something but this sparkly number was NEXT LEVEL, amazing that it was custom made for @cher by @PacoRabanne!


Came 8th.

*so, what’s number one?*

1. Euphoria – @LOREEN_TALHAOUI (Sweden, 2012)

This track was the perfect crossover for #Eurovision into legitimate dance.
The vocals were really complimented by minimal staging…and that interesting @MCHammer dancing.


A worthy winner, in every way


So basically, Scandinavia should basically take a bow because they are the best creators of pop. Which leads me to…

*Bonus song*

Think About Things – @dadimakesmusic (Iceland, 2020)

Oh, what could have been. This was a sure fire catchy winner in the way the Nordic Crew do.

I’d like to thank #COVID19 for giving me the time to do this. Shout out to the #NHSheroes. Please comment below using Eurovision GIFs only…

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#COVIDFREEWORLD #PopAnalysis – @SavageGarden

This post was taken from a thread I created on Twitter, regarding Savage Garden. Check out my Twitter feed here: https://twitter.com/rebecaulfield

Right guys, time to think back to 2001, the year that @OTownOfficial brought us their first album…O-Town; and the year that brought the demise of Savage Garden. Highs and lows, highs and lows.

So, I have decided to rate all the Savage Garden UK singles, from not best to best, as per @officialcharts.
The rules are that there are no rules, this is MY chart, therefore you are wrong in any dissent.

9. THE BEST THING


This was the boys’ final single before the band broke up. They didn’t bother to make a music video, and this track didn’t make it onto their compilation Truly Madly Completely.

I can see why.

8. HOLD ME


The song was written about a marriage breakdown, and filmed on the streets in Borough Market, London. Nice frosted tips in the video, Darren!

Sadly, the song is a forgettable midtempo number of it’s time.

7. I KNEW I LOVED YOU


A heartwrenching, epic ballad with a key change Westlife would be proud of, this song was written out of spite at the record company in 40 minutes after the band were told to replicate Truly Madly Deeply. The subway video features then teen star Kirsten Dunst.

6. CRASH AND BURN

One of Darren’s favourite SG songs, this says it is fine to “crash and burn” to get over heartache and pain.

Terrifying video featuring oddities such as a human spider. Nice to see Darren upcycling his jacket from the TMD video.

*YES, WE ARE NOW IN THE TOP FIVE*

5. AFFIRMATION


A corker with a classic boyband montage video. The boys performed it at the closing ceremony of the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Darren wore a t-shirt bearing the Aboriginal flag. Reached number 8 here, their third most successful song.

4. I WANT YOU


Absolute banger about being in love with male energy, apparently. Criminally underrated. The ’98 version didn’t really add anything. The record label clearly fancied the American market with the quirky international version of the video.

3. TRULY MADLY DEEPLY

This song must earn Darren and Daniel a living solely through @SmoothRadio play alone! Inspired by homesickness and Darren missing his then wife, there are two versions of this song.

The European version has more drums and a sepia video of lovers in Paris. The Australian version seen below, contains moody people in a white room. Nice Spanish guitar, very of the time.

2. THE ANIMAL SONG

Savage Garden were offered to write a song for the film Runaway Bride (Julia Roberts, Richard Gere), but instead chose to write this for The Other Side (Juliette Lewis).

Yes, I had to Google it too.

Never mind because this is a BELTER

*so, what’s number one?*

  1. TO THE MOON AND BACK


The Almighty 7″ remix of this song earned the band a UK top 3, their highest charting song. There’s 3 versions of this video too, the New York 98 version has Sam Smith vibes for Darren’s look. Great vocal and guitar solo, extended version has an orchestral fade out like ‘2 Become 1


Take a bow, @darrenhayes and Daniel Jones, you boys did a great job @SavageGarden

*Bonus song*

I love Pop!ular by Darren Hayes, it’s a satirical look at the pop culture industry and the video is a great send up. Only reached number 12 in the UK chart which is criminal given the dry delivery of the line “I JUST SOLD MY SOUL”. 10/10.

*Extra bonus song*

Darren has an exceptional falsetto, which was a serious rival to @jtimberlake in 2002 (see ‘Insatiable’). I always loved his TOTP performances where he sang *live*. WHAT. The ‘Spin’ album was a corker.

I’d like to thank #COVID19 for giving me the time to do this. Shout out to the #NHSheroes. Thanks to @officialcharts for the facts. Please comment below using Savage Garden GIFs only…

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#TipsforCCT

This blog post compiles the results from a Twitter thread – thanks to all who participated for their insights! See thread here: https://twitter.com/rebecaulfield/status/1280930039241101313?s=20

follow @rebecaulfield for more content…

What do you wish you knew in your last year of training that would’ve helped you transition from trainee to consultant?

Transitioning

Find your local @RCPCHtweets Stepping Up champion. Stepping Up is for people in just your position and those a year or two down the line. You can ask questions together, and start to find some answers to smooth the transition.

Would very much recommend acting up if you can

If you have an idea of where you’d like to be, start asking about opportunities. Remind people that you are nearly finished training.

In your last 9 months, try and get along to regular consultant meetings in your trust…

When it comes to getting a job you hold many more cards than you think. Construct your dream job plan, then ask for it. Obviously you’ve got to be prepared to negotiate, but generally if you don’t ask you won’t get.

Training can make some people feel like they are lucky for the scraps when it comes to jobs, which is rarely the case. Know your own worth and be prepared to defend it – it’s the first action of a consultant!

That the last year of training doesn’t matter, the real learning starts on the job! I have learnt more as a consultant than I ever learnt as a trainee.

Job advert

If you see a job advertised that has really specific needs – it means they have someone specific in mind. If it says “we are expanding our team, please bring your qualities” – you’ve got a fighting chance!

If the job plan says 1 OGD list, 1 neuro clinic, 1 paeds ultrasound list etc. and this matches the current year 5 SpR, it’s likely that’s who they want!!

the only job you have no hope of getting is the one you don’t apply for.

Learn about how to negotiate a job plan. Know what DCC, SPA etc mean. Know how many patients you can see in a 4 hour ward round.

I wish I’d known what a PA was. And how the consultant contract works.

Make sure you understand the vagaries of the Consultant contract understanding DCC and PA’s. The most important thing is make sure you can work with your colleagues. You may be with them for 30 years

Important you know what you want to do and what you can do as most jobs come with something attached that may not be your cup of tea.

Locum vs. fixed post

No rush to get the “dream” consultant post – experience gained in a locum/fixed term “not 100% dream” post will come in handy, & you may find yourself trying something new that you continue…

My experience locally has been that replacement posts have usually been advertised as substantive straight off, but new posts may be locum.

Locum consultant jobs can be good experience but NHS employed better than agency IMO

Management

In the last year , if you’ve signed off all your curricula requirements take the three month acting up, ask to attend directorate meetings to get a feel of what all those managers do, help out with any interviews you can for other posts and enjoy those lasts days of training!

D E L E G A T I O N. No one teaches you this as a trainee. Structure of your directorate. Funding of your specialty. Which meetings are NOT worth attending (keep it a secret)! Weakness and Limitations of a team, a leader and a team leader!

Sit in on some MCN meetings or departmental meetings. Find a friendly consultant who might let you read their business plan for something, or their application for funding for out of area treatment/novel treatment. Do a new consultants course. Do a medical education course.

If you can, arrange to shadow some manager colleagues – ideally at both service manager and senior manager level. Understanding their perspective, the pressures they juggle, and how you’re both doing the best for patients, is really key to being a consultant I think

I went on a mandatory management course in my final year with heavy heart and negative attitude. Still one of the best things I’ve done. You will be transforming services and knowing how to speak to managers and what pressures they face is really, really helpful.

My advice is get to know your management team. We are not all ogres, we can be a massive help and a great ally.

How to negotiate with your new colleagues and managers?

job plans are meant to be reviewed annually. It doesn’t happen everywhere. And at some places it happens at a distance.

The clinical stuff…

You think it’s going to be the clinical stuff that’s hardest. It’s not. That’s what you’re trained in. And consultants discuss cases ALL THE TIME about whether they’ve missed something etc etc.

It is the non clinical part that is hardest. But consultants discuss things between themselves all the time, so please don’t feel you have to do everything by yourself!

From 6 months in, you will doubt yourself more than you did as a final year reg – I think it’s the realisation you are ultimately responsible.

Consultants (a bit like parents when you’re a child) don’t know it all and frequently talk to each other about what to do next.

You need to trust the juniors and leave them alone to do their jobs. Abandon your micromanagey tendencies if you have them!

The nerves/worry about humiliation about saying you don’t know quickly go away as a consultant because it matters far more to you that you get it right. You also realise that the people around you don’t know all that much either and everyone is asking the same questions.

Start learning to be comfortable with the fact you don’t know everything. As you progress, you’ll realise how little you actually know. Being able to recognise this & how to manage this is an important step towards becoming a safe & wise consultant

Work/life balance

Pick a job that fits your lifestyle. Career will follow. This is hard to gauge as you don’t really have much of a life as a trainee. The consultant role will be completely different from what you expected. Focus your first year on building relationships and practising saying no.

A longer time holidaying between finishing HST and starting consultant post – You’re a long time at the destination….

Not to be in a rush. It’s a very long job.

There are lots of ways outside direct patient contact to help shape the system, but only really if you want to. Remember, there is life outside medicine too!

“Looking busy” is not an achievement. Doing projects you actually enjoy is massively important. Find the balance. Also, make loads of friends so you know who to call if you get stuck.

I’m worried I won’t find the ‘perfect’ fit – but I suppose everything is a learning experience?

– Job will evolve overtime and you make it perfect for yourself.

Picking your team

It’s a great job! Choose your team, ask for help, work with managers and nurses. Balance life and work. And always buy the nurses cake!!!

A good secretary= worth their weight in gold

Even when you’re finishing as a registrar, thinking about being a consultant can be intimidating. Consultants have to have all the answers, are always calm, always prepared…

Actually, it’s not true. As a consultant, you are constantly having conversations with colleagues about tricky cases. Always asking for help. Always learning. To become a consultant is not to become an island, it is to truly understand how great teams work.

When you’re applying for jobs, look at the team you’ll be working with. If you can see yourself working with them, laughing with them and (sometimes) crying with them, that’s your team.

totally agree, colleagues are everything- they will help and support you through tough times and be glad with and for you in good. Recruit for values, train for skill.

Take your time. Choose the post and place that is right for you… …the most important factor is working with colleagues who get on well, support one another and lift each other

Organisational skills

Get your emails sorted now. Arrange them into sub-folders, get rid of any you don’t need & get into the habit of reading, dealing with & filing/deleting them very regularly.

Dealing with admin and those random incidental findings. Maximising secretarial support. Having a system for completing WBA in a timely way. Negotiating a reasonable job plan.

Gaining extra experience

How to say “no”

But also when to say “yes”. Sometimes.

(Rather than say no, presumably use the time honoured phrase of every parent “I’ll need to think about it”?)

Remember that ‘no’ is a complete sentence

Don’t rush to accept audit lead, or clinical governance lead. Understand your job plan and get to know the multi-disciplinary team members you are working with each day. See how the service works, and where you think you might add something.

The clinical work is the same, asking for help from colleagues is the same, patients are the same. Admin and job planning are different but that’s just paperwork and you can take your time learning that stuff. Top tip – don’t say yes to everything, you’ll get busy very quickly!

What happens if extra (unwanted) roles are advertised with the job that you really want though?

– that’s the beauty of negotiation. the department knows what they want or need or what they think they need and you have to be clear with yourself what you want – all else is negotiation. you may have something to offer that the department didn’t even realize they need!

Listening to your team

the two brilliant professors of medicine I worked for as a junior doctor both listened to everybody before making their views known. Even junior doctors were heard

Don’t expect to be the finished product; every day is still a learning day and people around you will not judge when you ask for their advice.

Remember that despite having a CCT and being ‘the boss’ it’s still okay to bounce ideas off other folk and ask for help

And that doesn’t stop after a year or two. I’m still doing that 25 years later – probably even more!

just pick up the phone. So much is far easier to deal with if you just call a consultant colleague

and possibly my favourite ‘golden nuggets’

If you’re in a shortage specialty then start your negotiations with ‘a solid gold office’

It’s fine to ask

you don’t need to know anything extra as long as you’ve been paying attention in your training

and props to Mike F:

The single most useful piece of advice I can give you is, under no circumstances, forget to actually CCT, go off to do a post-CCT fellow job, then suddenly remember a year later when applying for consultant jobs that actually, CCTing is quite important for that process…

for extra reading, try https://t.co/6DkTulUWmX?amp=1

And on stepping up as a neonatologist:

Blog-post: Stepping Up Week – St Mike’s Blog https://stmikes.blog/2020/07/08/blog-post-stepping-up-week/

lastly, there are several consultant courses and contract checking services available, so don’t forget to use them!

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Racism – from a white person’s perspective

This blog post was inspired by the words of two friends around a discussion on racism. I found it personally inspirational to reflect on the conversation between a White British person (indicated in black text) and a mixed black with Indian and Caucasian person (indicated in red text), with a few thoughts from myself in blue text. I thank them for their insightful contributions, which I have edited into a conversational blog post.

Is it OK to try to persuade someone you’re not racist?

Is it OK for a white person accused of racism, after introspection and examination of their privilege and actions, and considering themselves not to be racist, and furthermore as someone who is actively trying to fight against racism, to feel it is upsetting to be called racist?

Is it ok to be upset? Yes! It’s a painful accusation to hear, even for those who deliberately attempt racism. Torturous for someone who bears no conscious ill will.

Is it OK to consider it insulting if you feel it is unfounded, and because it is after all an accusation, which in its very nature implies it is referring to a bad attribute; and furthermore, it is an attribute that is morally offensive to you? Or is that not OK because as a white person, I can’t judge what is racist or be offended because I’m not the victim systemically, and I have the privilege?

I would talk with the person about your understanding of what needs to be done to deal with your internal bias, and the value you place on that work with the willingness to learn every day how to be better. We all slip up sometimes. We all see the world in part through the prism presented to us by our society. I read the Root (see below) in part to interrogate my own racism! Racism is not an intentional evil all the time. It’s a state of understanding of your place in the world which you learn from other people, the way babies learn language.

You don’t have to think about unconscious bias that we all have to one degree or another as a source of shame to be denied and covered up. See it with mindfulness and consider how to acknowledge and manage it. Like the desire to have sex with your ex. It’s not desirable but it’s not demonic, it’s a part of the human condition and it’s possible to manage it without indulging it.

In terms of what you do when someone has said something about you you cannot agree with, you can acknowledge that they are having feelings that you did not want to contribute to, if it is a scholarly debate you can make academic points with respect (while always considering if you sound like the people explaining why black people have lower IQ than white people) and acknowledge that there is more to disadvantage and racial stress than statistics, and that sometimes it is the general attitude that has historically underpinned the situation that is the problem.

The unfairness of it can be when you espouse an opinion which lots of POC hold and because some other POC hold a different one, they call you racist for it, and call their people ‘mistaken’. That feels f***ed up.
A meta layer of that is that too often, the white person with that view may be holding it because they are influenced by unrecognized bias. Like having an issue with affirmative action for instance (lots of POC don’t like it either but the white people having a problem are often doing so for racist reasons).

And, how does a white person defend themself against an accusation of racism in a manner that is not increasingly offensive or aggravating to a person of colour?

The urge to defend yourself is normal and inevitable. And it does not mean you don’t care what the person thinks. You may also be correct and we may be wrong.

The key is how this is done.


The principles are this. Many people, especially white ones, think of racism as a discrete condition that afflicts a select number of individuals and can be dealt with by treatment like drug addiction. It’s shameful and people think ‘having it’ means you are a bad person. If you have the right willpower, then you deal with it, and you are cured.

If you know enough about addiction, you know it’s never cured, just controlled – so some people who know more about racism accept the person has to manage their condition for life. But still, it is just those secret few, and likely self inflicted anyway. They don’t actually know any of “those people” and can look away because THEY aren’t drug addicts, or anything close.

As a white person trying to discuss and defend myself from an accusation of racism, I truly feel, after considering all of the above, is unfounded; what can I ACTUALLY say that is helpful both to explain my opinion, and acknowledge that of the person of colour?

“I’m not racist” can be triggering and anyone can say it. “I don’t think I’m racist” can be called ignorance.

“I’m an ally” is presumably another difficult statement, and I don’t know if a white person can even decide if they’re an ally… But I’m pretty sure “my black friend told me I’m an ally” is just as bad, if not worse than “I have a black friend?”.

For what it’s worth – I look for certain qualities in a genuine ally. Not just for what they do, but for the way in which they think. They should reflect, always listen and ask for people to check them whilst being willing and capable of making decisions and exercising judgement. This should speak for itself.

I get that actions speak louder than words, but speaking about my actions like some kind of anti racism CV in that context is going to earn an accusation of virtue signalling. I don’t feel I can comfortably just lie down and say “yeah sure – keep thinking I’m an ignorant racist b***h because I’m white” and anything I say back can be taken as further evidence of my nasty racist ways. How do I approach this confrontation whilst acknowledging the difficulties?

I believe the heart of what this person is saying is that they felt their views are not being listened to. And you should take time to talk about what that means at a personal and societal level for black people in particular, and more widely for people of colour. How easy it is to normalise, excuse or obscure, even unintentionally. Why it is so triggering for us? Perhaps because of how frequently it happens.

Consider white fragility, white saviour complex and microaggressions. Consider the lack of trust we, as people of colour, have learned from the endless betrayal of seemingly committed white allies. Consider how good works do not always bridge that trust gap for everyone immediately… or sometimes ever. Because of course the other side of this is how white people can be better allies, as we need them to make change. And how to keep reflecting on how well that is working and listening us to centre them in the work.

It is this that I think makes the difference.

It has to be about POC and our needs, feelings and experience , not the feelings of the ally as primary. POC are not a monolith. We are as varied as any other group, and will not all have the same view on a topic. Sometimes there are no right or wrong opinions. Just opinions. And in the end a decision about actions must take place.

These conversations are difficult to have without a bedrock of trust because it is human to feel defensive when you don’t agree with what someone is saying. But when you treat each other with respect, it becomes easier to make yourself vulnerable to asking questions and really listening to the answers.

I’m going to direct you to the website https://www.theroot.com/, which is a place for black writers to cover news, culture and issues impacting on black America which has excellent discussions about these questions and explanations for their answers.

The Clapback Mailbag feature in particular collects some of the offensive emails and tweets they receive every single day! and Michael Harriot writes incredible comebacks that amuse, educate and thrill. Also, he explains things – and you must always read the comments as they show other perspectives and additional info.

Having said that, here is one way of considering your questions and I’m not saying it’s the only right way.


Racism is like bad breath.

Everyone has some sometime, and if you don’t do things about it every day then it’s gonna sneak up on you, and you habituate and don’t notice it.

If someone comes up to you and tells you you have bad breath, you don’t really argue with them too much because they must be noticing something. Now, if you have perfect dental hygiene, you can tell them that you’ve taken the steps and it shouldn’t be an issue. But sometimes that isn’t enough, because you were dehydrated that day, or there was garlic in the pasta.

Or maybe they just don’t like how your mouth normally smells and they are being sensitive and a bit sh*t to say anything. Sometimes, I don’t like someone’s personal smell because I associate it with something else, and it’s not because they aren’t clean. It all about preference and perception and experience sometimes.


So part of the problem with thinking about our own racism is that the word is so loaded for the people who most often perpetuate it, as they don’t want to be associated with it, but yet do want to be left free to practice and/or benefit from it. Therefore a number of different behaviours and attitudes and assumptions are brought under an umbrella term, a badge no one wants to wear.

It can be a fine line. There are a lot of well meaning people out there who don’t always remember to centre us people of colour  in their fight, and the ‘white saviour complex’ is a thing. People get angry as they feel their voice is silenced. And this happens repeatedly.

“We are fighting for you but we know how best to do this, so do not interfere and make sure you don’t criticize me because you should praise me for my good works. Where is my badge!”

This attitude is very prevalent among a certain class of social justice warrior. And often that assumption is right. It’s just that sometimes, it isn’t.
But it’s possible to see why victims of discrimination don’t know that. It is also possible to see that people in this situation can bring their own baggage to the party.

For example, there is a debate currently happening on social media about showing the horrendous suffering shown by persons of colour in pictorial or video format. Most recently, George Floyd, an unarmed black man, died at the hands of several police officers in Minneapolis on May 25th during an arrest where his neck was knelt upon for almost 9 minutes. Some people feel the footage should be shown to raise awareness of racist police brutality; others feel that this is triggering and dehumanising.

Regarding the issue of sharing photos/videos of racist police brutality, I agree with the right to an opinion that it should not be shared. I think differently, but I think we can discuss that with a foundation of respect and shared values. I recognise the fear that some white people can instrumentalise and dehumanise our degradation because they do not see us as fully human, all whilst seeking to bring attention to something worth talking about.


It’s worth remembering however that things to do with bigotry, racism and discrimination of any kind will of necessity be complex, like any other social condition, and there are sometimes no right opinions, just opinions. Black people don’t all agree with each other for instance on the use of the word n****r. And Jewish people don’t all agree about Israel.

Sometimes, there are no perfect answers. You just have to dig for what matters in the end – your basic decency and recognition of the humanity of others in a way that they can recognise.

You are human, and because you care, it hurts when you are attacked. And sometimes, the message can be obscured when the interaction becomes personalised.

The key to successfully navigating this thorny problem is communication. Being felt to be heard can sometimes be enough. Because that is what is missing in an unequal power dynamic.

I found it fascinating to focus some thoughts on the experience of racism from a white person’s point of view; this exploration and education is only possible where sufficient trust and kindness exists for each person in turn to speak openly. I hope everyone effected by discrimination is able to have discussions such as the above to further their education.

Extra reading on white fragility concept by Robin DiAngelo here: https://libjournal.uncg.edu/ijcp/article/viewFile/249/116

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why racism isn’t just about the n word

*this post is based on personal opinion, and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of any employers*

This post was inspired by a thought provoking discussion initiated by Zara - see here: https://www.facebook.com/zara.ramsaynortley/posts/10100408765420398

microaggression = brief indignities that convey hostility towards a social group

“but where are you REALLY from?”

“your English is so good!/you speak like a white person!”

“you’re pretty for a black girl/you’ve got good hair for a black girl, are you mixed?”

“why are black girls so angry”

“you look dirty/sooty”

“your skin/hair is the colour of poo”

“you’re not BLACK black though?”

“you have such a great tan in the winter!”

“do you relate to the black side or the white side more?”

“are you sure you didn’t want it?/you were asking for it”

“you’re lucky you have such an English sounding name!”

“black people smell”

“slavery happened, you people need to just get over it/stop using the race card”

“it’s good to see you don’t have a chip on your shoulder”

“are you a prostitute/drug dealer?”

“do you live in the jungle/desert?”

“why do black people think drugs and violence is an acceptable life choice?”

“you can’t play this game, there aren’t any black characters”

“i’d prefer to see a white doctor”

“go back to where you came from”

“we don’t want your kind here/you don’t belong here”

“the immigrants are taking OUR jobs”

“GET BREXIT DONE”

being confused with other persons of colour because “you all look the same”

hair and make up artists that can’t ‘do’ people of colour

exclusion from ‘white’ extracurricular activities/being missed out for awards and promotions

pressure to conform ‘natural hair’ into caucasian approved styles.

being intimidated by english/union jack flags but not quite sure why

mixed race: too ‘black’ to be white; too ‘white’ to be black? (colourism)

being stopped by police for no reason other than you ‘fit the description’, however vague

N word. P word. Monkey noises.

“i can’t breathe”

the above are many lived examples of racism. some of them are microaggressions.

Chester Middlebrook Pierce was an American psychiatrist and athlete who coined the term microaggression, as defined above.

In personal experience, overt racism is startling, but it’s the microaggressions that are far more common, and seem to sting more. Due to their subtlety, observers may interpret the victim’s reaction to the scenario as oversensitivity, as opposed to righteous indignation of undeniable racism.

Note that microaggressions don’t just exist in racial forms, but also in other appearances, such as discrimination against those with disabilities (for example, outrage at someone using a blue badge parking spot when they don’t ‘look’ disabled.

Columbia University psychologist Derald Wing Sue, PhD, says “It’s a monumental task to get white people to realize that they are delivering microaggressions, because it’s scary to them,” he contends. “It assails their self-image of being good, moral, decent human beings to realize that maybe at an unconscious level they have biased thoughts, attitudes and feelings that harm people of color.”

It is startling to look at the language widely used by several world leaders to describe those different to themselves. The current UK prime minister has previously called gay men ‘tank-topped bumboys’, and referred to people of colour as ‘piccaninnies’ with ‘watermelon smiles’. His career has continued to rise as he has claimed such comments were either satirical, or taken out of context. The lack of visible sanctions for these comments has contributed to an openly microaggressive culture on the streets; Home Office statistics show that racially motivated hate crime has increased every year since 2013, doubling to 71,251 incidents in England and Wales in 2018.

The issues with racism, particularly in terms of police brutality, seem to constantly be bubbling under the surface in countries such as America. The recent case of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis on May 25th, 2020, is simply the latest in a neverending number of shocking statistics of unnecessary police force.

George Floyd was pinned facedown on the ground, in handcuffs, by a white police officer who pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes. 3 of those minutes were after the victim became unresponsive. Nearly two minutes before he removed his knee the other officers checked Mr Floyd’s right wrist for a pulse and were unable to find one. He was taken to the Hennepin County Medical Center in an ambulance and pronounced dead around an hour later.

Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was suspected of passing a counterfeit $20 bill.

It took 4 days for Derek Chauvin, who was fired on Tuesday along with the three other officers involved in the arrest of Floyd, to be taken into custody. He faces charges of third-degree murder and manslaughter. This was after black CNN reporter Omar Jiminez and his crew were arrested by police live on air, for no obvious reason.

There has been a typical response from the President of the United States. Firing out a defensive tweet stating “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”, the President echoed a December 1967 quote from Miami Police Chief Walter Headley. Back then, it was used as a threat towards African Americans in Miami and as part of his brutal “get tough policy” where he advocated the use of guns and dogs to stop civil rights protests. The president has since responded to the outcry by saying he was making a statement of fact.

The question still remains: how can racism and violence in our society cease to exist when our leaders cannot stop using microaggressions in their communications to the general public?

Sources:

  1. https://www.apa.org/monitor/2009/02/microaggression
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40037-019-0518-1
  3. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-52854025
  4. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/may/20/racism-on-the-rise-since-brexit-vote-nationwide-study-reveals
  5. https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/cnn-reporter-arrest-live-why-reason-george-floyd-minneapolis-a9539981.html

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#COVIDFREEWORLD #PopAnalysis – @officialblue

This post was taken from a thread I created on Twitter, regarding Blue. Check out my Twitter feed here: https://twitter.com/rodedun

Right guys, time to think back to 2002, the year that Blue were denied the UK Christmas Number One by Girls Aloud with ‘Sound Of The Underground’; a heinous crime.

So, I have decided to rate all the Blue UK singles, from not best to best, as per @officialcharts.
The rules are that there are no rules, this is MY chart, therefore you are wrong in any dissent.

14. HURT LOVERS


This song is a midtempo number that was Blue’s (second) comeback single in 2013. The official theme from the German film Schlussmacher, the video is shot in black and white, and tells of a tragedy in reverse; the song fares no better.

13. CURTAIN FALLS


Blue’s farewell single in 2004 hit the UK top 5. Featuring samples from @Coolio’s ‘Gangsta’s Paradise’, which is basically @StevieWonder’s Pastime Paradise, the video features the boys walking around a deserted London. Almost realistic.

12. I CAN


This song represented the UK in 2011’s @Eurovision, coming 11th, or as I prefer to remember it, 5th without the jury vote.


The video features Blue with some dancers that look like they belong in the West End production of ‘The Lion King’.

11. BUBBLIN’ (ft. L.A.D.É)


The usual suggestive lyrics from the boys complimented with some female rap.

The video shows the boys at a pool party, why is @AntonyCosta wearing a suit? ARE YOU NOT HOT? And why is there a girl dancing in rollerblades?

10. GUILTY


A heartwrenching, epic ballad – no surprise, as it was cowritten by @GaryBarlow.


A video primarily consisting of slo-mo footage, the boys are involved in a battle which ends as people are unexplicably thrown into the air ?helicopter related

9. FLY BY II


The last release from the ‘All Rise’ album, this song was remixed for the single to feature a sample of ‘Hypnotize’ by Notorious B.I.G.


Video has the boys hit the club for a rave. Features a cameo by a youthful looking @MrRickyWhittle.

8. BREATHE EASY


Another rousable ballad with lead from @OfficialLeeRyan. Quite a creepy and dark video with a man appearing to stalk his ex and contemplating suicide from a bridge.


Glad @simonwebbe1 finally took his sunglasses off for his adlib at the end.

7. U MAKE ME WANNA


This video was filmed in Cape Town. Nice jaunt for the boys, glad to see Antony didn’t have to wear a suit on the boat.

6. SIGNED SEALED DELIVERED I’M YOURS (ft. @StevieWonder & @angiestone)


Blue were originally scheduled to work with @JanetJackson on this song, before she had to pull out. A pleasing collaboration which doesn’t get the praise it deserves.

*YES, WE ARE NOW IN THE TOP FIVE*

5. IF YOU COME BACK


The band’s second UK Number 1. I would’ve liked a key change, to be honest.

Why is @MrDuncanJames always the one that drives in the band’s videos???

4. SORRY SEEMS TO BE THE HARDEST WORD (ft. @eltonofficial)


A funky cover which hit the top spot, but was displaced by Girls Aloud.

Lee is brunette. Elton is pensive. Antony is back in a suit.
Not sure the video needed the ‘sexy girls dancing’ vibe.

3. TOO CLOSE


The band’s cover of the Next hit gave them their first UK Number 1. The famously travelled to the USA to film the video, with Lee derailing the future of the band there after his comments around 9/11.

2. ONE LOVE


Perhaps the song most synonymous with the band.

Not sure what the video was all about.

*so, what’s number one?*

1. ALL RISE


Slick production from @stargate on the boys’ UK debut. Still a banger.As the boys finish with:
I

REST

MY

CASE.

Take a bow, @OfficialLeeRyan @MrDuncanJames @simonwebbe1 @AntonyCosta you boys did a great job @officialblue

*Bonus song*

I always loved ‘Best In Me’ from the ‘All Rise album and was gutted when it wasn’t released as a single in the UK. Always said I would have Lee Ryan sing it at my wedding; I think my husband is quite pleased I didn’t.

*Extra bonus song*

Talking of registers, here is @jordanknight singing about sexual antics in ‘Give It To You’ with a music video not so loosely based on the final scenes of the film, Grease. Hit Number 5 on the UK chart in October 1999.

I’d like to thank #COVID19 for giving me the time to do this. Shout out to the #NHSheroes. Thanks to @officialcharts for the facts. Please comment below using Blue GIFs only…

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COVIDFREEWORLD #PopAnalysis – S Club 7

This post was taken from a thread I created on Twitter, regarding S Club 7. Check out my Twitter feed here: https://twitter.com/rodedun

Right guys, time to think back to 1999, when @britneyspears was taking over the UK with ‘…Baby One More Time’.

It was also the year that Cliff Richard was denied the UK Christmas Number One by @westlifemusic, a heinous crime.

So, I have decided to rate all the S Club 7 UK singles, from not best to best, as per @officialcharts.

The rules are that there are no rules, this is MY chart, therefore you are wrong in any dissent.

13. ALIVE


The first single after Paul did a ‘Geri’, and the band were rebranded as ‘S Club’. The video was set in a club; it’s a forgettable midtempo number which was their lowest charting single at Number 5 (which says a lot about their success).

12. LOVE AIN’T GONNA WAIT FOR YOU


Their last single, with a predictable video montage. Released as a double A-Side with the befitting ‘Say Goodbye’, this hit a respectable Number 2 on the UK chart.

11. SAY GOODBYE


A heart wrenching ballad with @realtinab1 and @hannahspearritt sharing vocals on the second verse.


I defy you not to get a bit teary watching the video as they pack up their belongings and watch old clips of themselves.

10. YOU


Probably their best video. A 50s pastiche with Rachel as a domesticated housewife, and @joomeara as the nefarious ‘other woman’.
A grower, but not their best work.

9. HAVE YOU EVER


This song, cowritten by @cathydennis, was the band’s last UK Number 1 and their second @BBCCiN single. The #CiN version has a @GWR for most people singing on a song (gotta love those kids).

8. YOU’RE MY NUMBER ONE


You can’t get more #90s than a FOAM PARTY. Underrated retro bopper, double A-Side with ‘Two In A Million’.

Not sure about @realtinab1’s look – is that a wig??? Soz you hated your outfit @BradleyMcIntosh…

7. NATURAL

The single with @MsRachelStevens on lead vocal. A video filmed in Malibu with shameless shower scenes helping to propel Rachel to title as the nation’s sweetheart, and @FHM’s Sexiest Woman of All Time in 2014.

6. TWO IN A MILLION


Never mind Bradley’s outfit debacle, the stylist forgot to pick up poor old Jo’s top for the rooftop scene. Another underrated ballad with a classy Jo vocal.

*YES, WE ARE NOW IN THE TOP FIVE*

5. NEVER HAD A DREAM COME TRUE


Their first #CiN single for @BBC, this was the ninth best selling UK single in 2000, and was even a success in the USA.


Their best ballad, and an all time pop classic.

4. S CLUB PARTY


A flimsy plotline in a video teaming the S Club against the Rockets does not detract from the magic of this banger.


I still don’t know what “Hoochie mamas, show your nanas” means?

3. BRING IT ALL BACK


Their debut single, which was co-written by the band, slammed to the top of the UK chart in April 1999. Showed the rest of the world how to do a key change.

Great adlibs from @Paulcattermole1 and @BradleyMcIntosh

2. REACH


This song was was the theme for their second TV series, L.A.7. Kept off Number 1 by @officialsonique’s ‘It Feels So Good’.


The band drive a pink bus around a sleepy US town in the extremely camp video, giving residents chewie to pep them up.

*so, what’s number one?*

1. DON’T STOP MOVIN’


A disco banger that was the UK’s 7th best selling single of 2001, receiving a @BRITs for Best British single. Michael Jackson is credited due to the Billie Jean vibes.


Doesn’t excuse @Paulcattermole1’s terrible pink shirt though.

Take a bow, @joomeara @MsRachelStevens @realtinab1 @hannahspearritt @BradleyMcIntosh @Paulcattermole1 and Jon Lee, you did a great job as @SClub7

*Bonus song*

Jewels & Stone remixed ‘Don’t Stop Movin’, which led to this glorious bootleg between Michael Jackson and S Club 7:

I’d like to thank #COVID19 for giving me the need to distract myself from my first acute paediatrics hospital shifts back! Shout out to the #NHSheroes.

Thanks to @officialcharts and @wikipedia for the facts. Please comment below using S Club 7 GIFs only…

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COVIDFREEWORLD #PopAnalysis – @NSYNC

This post was taken from a thread I created on Twitter, regarding N*Sync. Check out my Twitter feed here: https://twitter.com/rodedun

Right guys, time to think back to 1997, when WiFi was introduced to the world. It was also the year when nude pictures of @GwynethPaltrow and Brad Pitt were taken by the paparazzi, a heinous crime.

So, I have decided to rate all the N*SYNC UK singles, from questionable to best, as per @officialcharts. The rules are that there are no rules, this is MY chart, therefore you are wrong in any dissent.

10. MUSIC OF MY HEART (& @GloriaEstefan)

This song featured in the ‘Music of the Heart’ soundtrack, also starring Gloria. The song was actually offered to @backstreetboys first, but they declined. @realjoeyfatone had an accident with the red hair dye

9. I’LL NEVER STOP

This song was released in 2000; comparisons were made with @backstreetboys ‘The One’, due to the similarity in melody, and tour clips video. This one has the addition of tween fans miming along on their hairbrushes. Cute.

8. THIS I PROMISE YOU

Nice song, but I prefer the Spanish version called ‘Yo Te Voy A Amar’. A bizarre video with the boys modelling some cracking turtlenecks; perhaps it was cold in the forest? @jtimberlake‘s hair is quite something to behold.

7. IT’S GONNA BE ME

The song that spawned a thousand memes . A video features the boys as dolls following the success of ‘Bye Bye Bye’; this 3 minute feast showcases an unexcusable tie die trouser/jacket ensemble and Napoleon Dynamite hair from Justin.

6. GONE

This underachieving ditty features a strong vocal by Justin. Creepy video – who paints their girlfriend’s toenails? The plot was completely lost in the ‘silent movie’ clips.

*YES, WE ARE NOW IN THE TOP FIVE*

5. I WANT YOU BACK

Tight tops with big buckle belts, and loose trousers with jack in the box dancing a la 90s @takethat. Acrobatics. @IamCKirkpatrick gets his leg over @LanceBass. Was @louiespence the director for this video???

4. POP

The #NSYNC era which was clearly a transition to Justin’s solo career. One of the greatest dance breaks of the Noughties, but downgraded due to JT’s unbearable beatbox in the terrible shirt at the end of the video.

3. TEARIN’ UP MY HEART

What is it with these boys and dodgy dye jobs? @LanceBass, hang your head in shame. JT, you and your questionable braces stand aside for my man @JCChasez doing the lead vocal.

2. BYE BYE BYE

This song was original recorded by @Official5ive, who turned it down after they wanted more…rap. Influenced by the @destinyschild track ‘Bills, Bills, Bills’, this is pop at it’s best, and a kick in the face to their manager Lou Pearlman.

*so, what’s number one?*

1. GIRLFRIEND (ft. @Nelly_Mo)

The Neptunes remix is

Fire
Fire
Fire
Fire

Their closest effort to the top of the UK chart, but still only managed Number 2 in 2002. Slick harmonies that still belong on the radio. Even if the tug of war in the video is weird.

Take a bow, @jtimberlake @realjoeyfatone @LanceBass @JCChasez @IamCKirkpatrick, you did a great jong @NSYNC

*Bonus song*

Remember the days pre #NippleGate when @jtimberlake and the rest of @NSYNC paid homage to @JanetJackson with this fantastic cover of ‘That’s The Way Love Goes’? Great vocals, of course.

I’d like to thank #COVID19 for giving me the need to distract myself from my second acute paediatrics hospital shift back! Shout out to the #NHSheroes.

Thanks to @officialcharts and @wikipedia for the facts. Please comment below using #NSYNC GIFs only…

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#COVIDFREEWORLD #PopAnalysis – 5ive

This post was taken from a thread I created on Twitter, regarding 5ive. Check out my Twitter feed here: https://twitter.com/rodedun

Right guys, time to think back to 1997, when @rustyrockets attempted to audition for #5ive whilst high, a heinous crime.


IMAGINE WHAT COULD’VE BEEN.

So, I have decided to rate all their UK singles, from questionable to best, as per @officialcharts. The rules are that there are no rules, this is MY chart, therefore you are wrong in any dissent.

11. CLOSER TO ME


The goodbye single from the boys 😦 featuring a classic rap from J. A montage video which pulls on the heartstrings; the song itself fails to capture the same emotion.

10. DON’T WANNA LET YOU GO


A bizarre video where the boys were aiming for the Matrix; seemed more like Ghostbusters in pleather. Catchy chorus.


According to J, he had a severe mental breakdown during the production of the video after frequent insomnia.

9. UNTIL THE TIME IS THROUGH


@abzlove appears to be DJing at a different party to @Scottlarock5, who takes lead vocal.

My fave part of this video is the first 20 seconds, where an unidentified male appears to have a solo funk seizure in the background.

8. GOT THE FEELIN’


A chirpy number which reached Number 3 on the UK chart. Video features Uncle J giving the boys a lift to a house party, where they have been hired to lead a rather energetic Zumba class.

7. SLAM DUNK (DA FUNK)


The boys’ UK debut. An underwhelming 28 Days Later esque video where they decide to play basketball on top of a boxing ring? Plot detail missing – could’ve added in some girls, or an opposition team? Minus two points, boys.

6. WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT


The video version is a less funked up version of the single version. It replaces J’s bridge rap with Abs, therefore has been demoted in the chart.
Abs looks like he has been inspired by @MrPeterAndre with those dungarees…

*YES, WE ARE NOW IN THE TOP FIVE*

5. LET’S DANCE


Probably the best video, the boys send themselves up in Spinal Tap style.
The tragedy is that Ab’s @SachaBaronCohen Borat skit is overshadowed by @SeanConlonMusic’s appearance as a cardboard cutout, given he had already left the band.



4. WE WILL ROCK YOU (+ @QueenWillRock)


Somebody get some Horlicks for @RitchieNeville after that vocal!
With matching leather overcoats that would make any undertaker proud, I enjoyed the video but one question remains:


WHERE DID THOSE PEOPLE RUN TO?

3. EVERYBODY GET UP


A cracker containing excerpts of “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll’ by @joanjett.
The boys create anarchy in the video; safety out of the window as J crowdsurfs! Boys throw paint into people’s faces! (look away, @antanddec). Nice bowler hat, J.

2. KEEP ON MOVIN’


A singalong chorus helped this song to reach Number 1 in the UK, achieving platinum status. Was reworked with excerpts from England’s 5-1 win over Germany and is now a football chant in many stadia.

*so, what’s number one?*

YOU’RE WRONG, @NickLachey

1. IF YA GETTIN’ DOWN


You might say I’m wrong, but frankly this is number one as I do a cracking karaoke version. Best sampling with Indeep’s ‘Last Night a D.J. Saved My Life’


Choreography? Tick

Fire? Tick

Ghostbuster gear and overcoat for Ritchie? Tick

TTake a bow, @abzlove @Scottlarock5 @SeanConlonMusic @RitchieNeville and J, you did a great job as @Official5ive

*Bonus song*

The Inspector Gadget film, which sadly featured Matthew Broderick, was only saved by this snazzy track from the #5ive boys. This video, with some Inspector Gadget clips featuring the main man, along with Penny and Brain, brings back memories

I’d like to thank #COVID19 for giving me the need to distract myself from my first acute paediatrics hospital shift back! Shout out to the #NHSheroes.

Thanks to @officialcharts and @wikipedia for the facts. Please comment below using @official5ive GIFs only…

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#COVIDFREEWORLD #PopAnalysis – B*Witched

This post was taken from a thread I created on Twitter, regarding B*Witched. Check out my Twitter feed here: https://twitter.com/rodedun

Right guys, time to think back to October 2001, when @kylieminogue kept @michaeljackson off the top spot in the UK chart. This was the time that @BWitchedreunion were cruelly dropped by their record label @SonyMusicUK, a heinous crime.

So, I have decided to rate all their UK singles, from questionable to best, as per @officialcharts. The rules are that there are no rules, this is MY chart, therefore you are wrong in any dissent.

7. JUMP DOWN


The girls are fake tanned up in this video, which features them dancing in the inside of what appears to be a cheesegrater, in a style similar to @AtomicKOfficial. The lyrics are seemingly based around the nursery rhyme “Hey Diddle Diddle”.

6. TO YOU I BELONG


A nice ditty, but it is COMPLETELY overshadowed by the use of those miniature finger cymbals. Quite frankly, still disappointed I didn’t get any as my 1998 Christmas cracker gifts.

*YES, WE ARE NOW IN THE TOP FIVE*

5. I SHALL BE THERE (ft. Ladysmith Black Mambazo)


A lovely video featuring some CGI animals but…


NO DENIM.


I feel bereaved.


I like to think of it as a prequel video to ‘Roar’ by @katyperry.
Sadly, the song doesn’t really progress anywhere.

4. JESSE HOLD ON


Although it featured a lively banjo, it was the girls’ first single to miss out on the UK top spot.


The video shows the girls dancing in denim ensembles likely to set off the metal detector in any airport.


Sadly, distinct lack of plot

3. BLAME IT ON THE WEATHERMAN


The girls float around a flooded London, rescuing a puppy whilst wearing leather/denim. Lindsay has a ‘Rose’ moment as she drops a necklace into the Thames, with slightly less dramatic effect than in Titanic. Their last #1.

2. ROLLERCOASTER


The girls went for matching vintage stonewash denim in this video, which mysteriously fails to actually showcase them riding any rollercoasters.


?@edelelynch has a hat which Jay Kay from @jamiroquai would be proud of.

*so, what’s number one?*

1. C’EST LA VIE


“Some people say I look like me dad!”


Indigo denim – my favourite! Be careful to machine wash with similar colours though girls! Great fiddling…
In 2013, the group revealed that the song was really about sex.


I am SHOOK.


NO, REALLY.

Take a bow, @edelelynch @Keavylynch @lindsayarmaou @SineadOCarroll @BWitchedreunion did a great job.

*Bonus song*


Live at the @BRITAwards 1999, the pop supergroup consisting of @TinaCousins, @BWitchedreunion, @OfficialSteps, @billiepiper and @OfficiallyCleo with Cleopatra. The amount of Lurex is SO jazzy.

PS – still have this CD single in my drawer…

I’d like to thank #COVID19 for giving me the need to distract myself from my upcoming hospital shift, even if #paedsrocks! Shout out to the #NHSheroes. Thanks to @officialcharts and @wikipedia for the facts.Please comment below using @BWitchedreunion GIFs only…

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#COVIDFREEWORLD #PopAnalysis – New Kids On The Block

This post was taken from a thread I created on Twitter, regarding New Kids On The Block. Check out my Twitter feed here: https://twitter.com/rodedun

Right guys, time to rewind to Spring 1988, a time when @kylieminogue still had a perm. This was the time that @NKOTB had released their second album, and were about to be dropped by their label. ‘Enter Please Don’t Go Girl’.

But it’s success on a pop radio station saved the band. So, I have decided to rate all their UK singles, from questionable to best, as per @officialcharts. The rules are that there are no rules, this is MY chart, therefore you are wrong in any dissent.

14. GAMES @DonnieWahlberg lent his rapping skills to this number. @Wikipedia states that the song features a chorus section taken from the movie the wizard of Oz, namely the West witch’s soldiers chant: oh ee oh, oh oh. Would love Donnie to clarify?

13. IF YOU GO AWAY

A tasteful black and white shot video, shame about the blurriness? @jordanknight cracks out his timeless falsetto once more. The last UK chart hit (reaching Number 9) before their initial break up.

12. LET’S TRY IT AGAIN

The only single that prominently features @dannywood on lead vocals. There’s no music video for this one, so here is a clip of the boys singing Live in Providence. LOOK AT DANNY GO!

11. THIS ONE’S FOR THE CHILDREN

You know a charity single when it starts with “THIS IS A VERY SERIOUS MESSAGE” and includes a choir with, you guessed, kids. MJ would be proud. A poor man’s ‘Please Don’t Go Girl’. I prefer the B-Side ‘Funky, Funky Xmas’

10. CALL IT WHAT YOU WANT

You know Freedom Williams (C+C Music Factory) means business when he says “Cos I want you and I KNOW that you want me so let’s get BI-ZEE” Jordan appears to be dressing up as a teacher with this funky double breasted blazer.

9. SINGLE

Dropped in 2008, this features a music video with a wastrel who can’t decide between the boys. I probably wouldn’t pick @JonathanRKnight, who stalks her in the toilets, or Danny, who grabs her as she walks by. @NeYoCompound wears bad shoes.

8. DIDN’T I (BLOW YOUR MIND)

This 1990 cover of a Delfonics philly soul classic reached Number 8 on the UK chart as a double A-Side with ‘Let’s Try It Again’. No music video, so here it is live back in the day with another classic Jordan falsetto.

7. I’LL BE LOVING YOU (FOREVER)

What would a New Kids song be without a @jordanknight @BeeGees vocal ? He manages to hit notes only emitted by a cat being trod on accidentally.

6. SUMMERTIME

The Block bounced back with an album called… The Block. The video features the boys dancing at twilight in all white garments. Perhaps a hint of what was to come; a collaboration with the @backstreetboys.

*YES, WE ARE NOW IN THE TOP FIVE*

5. COVER GIRL

This video features the boys performing on stage to an audience of screaming girls. @DonnieWahlberg takes the lead and hits some high notes in this @NewEdition esque tune. Jon wears an orange shirt with white socks/black shoes shocker.

4. TONIGHT

The boys took a UK Number 3 in this song referencing their previous chart hits, via the medium of ska.

I feel sorry for the boys, who clearly had a perm/mullet favouring hair stylist for this video.

3. HANGIN’ TOUGH

This song was was the band’s first UK Number 1 upon it’s rerelease, just over 3 months after the original. Classic use of a referee whistle. The video was apparently filmed at the same time as ‘Cover Girl’, judging from Jon’s shirt.

2. STEP BY STEP

I have attached the official music video with Spanish subtitles so you can learn a new language; paso a paso = step by step. This dance routine probably burns more calories than an hour of spinning.

*so, what’s number one?*

1. YOU GOT IT (THE RIGHT STUFF)

The band’s first UK number 1 from 1989 takes the glory. Still a banger now, the video features some frankly irresponsible driving. Given that @joeymcintyre looks about 12, I’m not sure he should even be behind the wheel.

Take a bow, @jordanknight @JonathanRKnight @dannywood @DonnieWahlberg @joeymcintyre you guys did a great job @NKOTB

*Bonus song*

I can’t believe ‘Please Don’t Go Girl’ was NOT a UK single. But, who am I to deny you @joeymcintyre practically reaching the whistle register? I do find it a bit creepy that at 16, he’s romancing a much older lady with a single daffodil.

*Extra bonus song*

Talking of registers, here is @jordanknight singing about sexual antics in ‘Give It To You’ with a music video not so loosely based on the final scenes of the film, Grease. Hit Number 5 on the UK chart in October 1999.

I’d like to thank #COVID19 for giving me the time to do this, as I have now used up 2 hours trying to keep quiet whilst my husband sleeps post night shift. Shout out to the #NHSheroes. Thanks to @officialcharts for the facts. Please comment below using @NKOTB GIFs only…

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#COVIDFREEWORLD – Spice Girls #PopAnalysis

This post was taken from a thread I created on Twitter, regarding the Spice Girls. Check out my Twitter feed here: https://twitter.com/rodedun

Right guys. It’s time to enter my #covidfreeworld and think back to May 1998, an era where Tamagotchis were the height of electronic sophistication.

This was the time that Ginger Spice left the Spice Girls, a heinous crime. So, I have decided to rate all their UK singles, from questionable to best, as per @officialcharts. The rules are that there are no rules, this is MY chart, therefore you are wrong in any dissent.

It was a toss up between this one and the one below to come last. Both are pretty pants. This one was their ‘comeback’ song, and the only Spice Girls single not to make the UK Top Ten.


See above. A double A-Side (remember them?) that only got to number one because of the other song. Their last release before their initial demise in 2000.


This song was their second consecutive UK Christmas Number 1, an impressive feat. The video features the girls in their own individual film fantasies; probs best not to ask.


*TOP TEN ALERT*

This 1997 UK Comic Relief single was released just in time for Mothering Sunday. I wonder whether they had to direct a heater onto Victoria, as the poor girl had to wear a bikini top AGAIN whilst Geri got to wear a lovely green furry gilet.


The first single released after Geri’s departure, yet still featuring her as the fifth fairy in the video, which was commissioned whilst the girls were touring America a few months before. There is a bizarre version of this song which is a duet with Pavarotti from Pavarotti & Friends.


This reached Number 2 in March 1997 behind “It’s Like That” by Run-D.M.C. vs Jason Nevins, ending their streak of consecutive Number 1 singles on the chart at six, becoming the only single during their original tenure to not reach the top spot.


An infectious hook. A video based on 1982’s Blade Runner. Probably could’ve charted higher were it not for the questionable lyrics.


The song was essentially dedicated to Geri’s departure. The group became the first act to have 3 consecutive UK Christmas Number 1s since The Beatles. The video features Mel B sporting questionable headgear which makes her resemble the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz.


*YES, WE ARE NOW IN THE TOP FIVE*


The Spice Girls found a departure from their usual style, with Posh discovering hair extensions, and Mel C going for the GHD flick. Oh, and they tried their hand at R&B. A slick production from Rodney Jerkins, this song is sadly underestimated.


Yes, I did NOT place this song Number 1…so sue me. I find it quite irritating, and would have probably placed it lower if not for anticipation of a mob coming for me.

 It won an Ivor Novello and Brit Award, and even topped the UK Singles chart for 7 weeks! The video was filmed in one take at the St Pancras Grand Hotel; it was so cold that video was later banned in some parts of Asia because of Mel B’s erect nipples.


We come to the top three, where to be honest, any of the 3 could sit depending on your mood. This video was filmed in the Mojave desert and was partly inspired by the film Pulp Fiction.

I feel a bit sorry for whomever had to clean the no doubt sweaty latex costumes worn by @GeriHalliwell and Vicky A. I reckon @EmmaBunton’s dress was machine washable.


An unashamedly fantastic disco pop triumph with excellent vocals from Sporty, who later said it was her favourite video to shoot. Spawned the ultimate ‘Cool Britannia’ moment at the 1997 Brit Awards with Geri’s Union Jack dress. As the official Comic Relief single for 1997, there is an alternate video with the fantastic Sugar Lumps (Lulu, Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Llewella Gideon and Kathy Burke) which contains a comedy sketch, found on YouTube.


*so, what’s number one?*


1. 2 BECOME 1

The Spice Girls showcased their songwriting skills on this song about safe sex. Despite being released in December 1996, it was the 5th biggest selling single that year. Even Victoria had the good sense to wear a coat in this video.

Take a bow, @OfficialMelB @MelanieCmusic @EmmaBunton @victoriabeckham @GeriHalliwell – you @spicegirls did a great job.

*Bonus song*

In January 1997, the Spice Girls took their world takeover to the next level as they signed a huge deal with Pepsi. Move Over/Generationext was performed on their world tour and quickly became a fan favourite.


I’d like to thank #COVID19 for giving me the time to do this, as I have now used up 2 hours trying to keep quiet whilst my husband sleeps post night shift. Shout out to the #NHSheroes. Thanks to @officialcharts for the facts. Please comment below using @spicegirls GIFs only…

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#COVIDFREEWORLD – BackStreet Boys #PopAnalysis

This post was taken from a thread I created on Twitter, regarding the BackStreet Boys. Check out my Twitter feed here: https://twitter.com/rodedun

Right guys. It’s time to enter my #covidfreeworld and think back to May 1999, a time where people thought the epitome of cool was wearing a skirt over your trousers (looking at you @OfficialSteps and @BWitchedreunion).

This was the time that @backstreetboys scored their only UK number one, a heinous crime. So, I have decided to rate all their UK singles, from least best to best (there is no worst with BSB) as per @officialcharts. The rules are that there are no rules, this is MY chart, therefore you are wrong in any dissent.

  • 20. STRAIGHT THROUGH MY HEART

Released in 2009, this one didn’t break the UK Top 50. The RedOne production bears a similarity to the @NKOTB material of the same time, attempting early @ladygagaesque vibes.


  • 19. GET DOWN (YOU’RE THE ONE FOR ME)

Released in 1996, this music video features the boys dancing on a sliced disco ball.

  • 18. ANYWHERE FOR YOU

Released in 1997, and @aj_mclean is still doing that 90s thing in the video where he peers over his sunglasses mysteriously.

  • 17. I’LL NEVER BREAK YOUR HEART

This song was initially released in 1995, the same year Friends was shown in the UK, which is why this video is known as The One Where They Should’ve Gotten A Decent Hairdresser (not you @brian_littrell, you’re lovely)

  • 16. INCONSOLABLE

This song was released in BSB’s ‘second coming’. It’s a good song, although it seems to borrow heavily from Incomplete, released two years earlier in 2005.

  • 15. DROWNING

The song that broke a million fan’s hearts as the BSB swansong in 2002. Reached Number 4 in the UK. @howied‘s stylist deserves the sack for those ill advised leather trousers in the video.

  • 14. JUST WANT YOU TO KNOW

This song deserves credit alone for the excellent music video which is a send up worthy, quite frankly, of a @ChiliPeppers production.

  • 13. MORE THAN THAT

This song has grown on me over the years. The best parts are the harmonies and Spanish guitar. I heard a rumour that @kevinrichardson wore the cowboy hat featured in the video for a whole week without washing*

*this may not be true

  • 12. THE ONE

Released at the height of @backstreetboys vs. @NSYNC, I think it’s safe to say I’ll Never Stop pales in comparison to this. Shout out to the FANS.

  • 11. WE’VE GOT IT GOIN’ ON

This song was their debut single, and reached Number 3 in the UK on re-release. The music video features new jack swing style dancing, and some scenes where the boys wear matching denim/leather outfits. Cute

*TOP TEN ALERT*

  • 10. SHAPE OF MY HEART

A classic major-minor switch for the bridge, with a key change from D to E major. Very of the time. Shame about the weird blue filter in the video.

  • 9. AS LONG AS YOU LOVE ME

Released in 1997, when the ‘curtains’ hairstyle was the epitome of fashion for any self respecting boyband member – yes you, @nickcarter. Hit a respectable Number 3 on the UK chart.

  • 8. SHOW ME THE MEANING OF BEING LONELY

This 2000 single earned the boys their fourth Grammy nomination. The video tackles some real life issues, such as Brian’s open heart surgery the year before. Great orchestration and harmonies

  • 7. INCOMPLETE

The boys were back after a three year hiatus, hitting Number 8 on the UK chart. It’s a bloody epic song and I won’t hear otherwise.

  • 6. ALL I HAVE TO GIVE

The song where Howie finally gets to sing a verse! Shame the stylist only had enough money to by some fabric offsets from the habadashery to make all the outfits for the music video, but you can’t have it all.

*YES, WE ARE NOW IN THE TOP FIVE*

  • 5. QUIT PLAYING GAMES [WITH MY HEART]

The One Where Nick Was Going Through Puberty (on the initial recording). Initially, MTV was hesitant to air the video due to the boys taking their shirts off in the rain. Apparently they wanted to reshoot it.

  • 4. LARGER THAN LIFE

This video holds a Guinness World Record for the 14th most expensive ever made, costing over $2.1 million. Cowritten by @brian_littrell and still a classic.

  • 3. THE CALL

Also known as The One Where @Howied‘s Fart Turned Into Music. If you don’t believe me, billboard.com/articles/colum

He also discovered @ghds in the video, which was a corker. Love the dramatic orchestration.

  • 2. I WANT IT THAT WAY

The only @backstreetboys song to hit the top spot in the UK, which is quite frankly criminal. Possible the most GIF and memed music video in history, thanks to those all white outfits.

*so, what’s number one?*

1. EVERYBODY (BACKSTREET’S BACK)

Iconic video. Iconic dance routine. Iconic song. There can only be one winner. Perhaps the greatest pop song to never reach Number 1 in the UK. @brian_littrell @howied @aj_mclean @kevinrichardson @nickcarter  take a bow.

*Bonus song*

Not a single, but a reminder of how great @backstreetboys are live. Here they are singing End Of The Road (Boyz II Men cover) acapella.

I’d like to thank #COVID19 for giving me the time to do this, as I have now used up 2 hours trying to keep quiet whilst my husband sleeps post night shift. Shout out to the #NHSheroes. Thanks to @officialcharts for the facts. Please comment below using @backstreetboys GIFs only…