A Tribute to Roxette

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1989 was the era of change in many aspects. With the Fall of the Wall, it ushered in a transition from what we knew in the past and what we should know about for the future. It was a bridge connecting the usual environment to the new usual. It was an era of change, where the greats from the 70s and 80s were replaced with those who would eventually lead us into the new millennium and beyond.

One of the changes that was taking shape was the style of music. During the 1980s, we were greeted with a combination of rock, techno, pop and disco music, while some of the greats from that era, influenced us through their lyrics that combined events with the past with lessons for the present. Much of that had to do with the Cold War, which was winding down, thanks to Michail Gorbachev’s policies of openness. The 1990s, however, brought a wider, more modern selection of pop and rock music, but also dance music and rap, and it would carry us through, while focusing on the good, the bad and the interesting sides of society.

Yet the 1990s would not have been possible had it not been for some musicians that were up and coming in the late 1980s- before the Revolution of 1989- the ones that would make the 1990s the unforgettable decade that would set the precedent for the future. One of the musicians that led the procession was the music duo Roxette.

Consisting of Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle, the Swedish pop group was formed in 1986 and its style of music consisted of pop and dance, with some contemporary hits to add to their storied list of songs produced. Yet their breakthrough came in 1988 with the release of the album “Look Sharp!”. With this album, five singles were released, all of which made it to the top 10 in one way or another through 1989 and into 1990. The album was an immediate commercial success in Sweden, selling over 140,000 copies within ten days of release. In the US, the album was certified platinum on 20 January 1990 by the RIAA for shipments in excess of one million units. It peaked at number four in the UK, where it spent over a year on the charts. It was certified platinum by the BPI in December 1990 for sales in excess of 300,000. The album set the foundation for multiple successes for the group over the course of the next two decades, as eight more albums were released, each one with at least three singles, some of them have garnered additional awards.

If there were three songs that defined 1989 and helped usher in the 1990s and a new era of change, they would be (in no certain order):

Dangerous

The Look

 

Dressed for Success

These three songs looked at society and its strive for success both for individuals as well as a whole. It defined the changes that were going to happen and changes which people can simply embrace and take advantage of. Yet during the first half of the 1990s, a lot of Roxette’s songs dealt with love and heartbreak, including:

Listen to Your Heart

Sleeping in My Car

How do You Do?

Spending my Time.

These songs were solely performed by Marie, whose soprano voice was moving to many, as if an angel was talking to the listener and showing him/her where to go. Marie’s career went back to the 1970s, but she’s best remembered for her time with Roxette, where for 30 years until her retirement in 2016, she and Per had a wonderful joyride, impressing her fans and winning the hearts of millions more. Roxette was one of the top 10 music groups of the 1990s and 2000s and there was no household in America or Europe that did not have an album from Roxette.

Sadly, after 17 years of battle, Marie Fredriksson died of cancer on 9 December, 2019. She was only 61. She had undergone years of treatment and operations until it was time to hang it up for her career and enjoy the last moments of her life. As I was compiling a tribute for Roxette, I ran across Marie’s farewell speech when the group was forced to cancel the last leg of a concert in 2016: “Sadly, now my touring days are over and I want to take this opportunity to thank our wonderful fans that (have) followed us on our long and winding journey.” Her partner’s response was a classic: “The joyride on the road is over now – but we sure had fun, didn’t we?”

My response: We did have one heckuva joyride- one that will last forever in our memories. You will be missed for helping usher in an era of opportunity and success, after years of division. Many thanks for that wonderful journey, Marie and God Bless. ❤

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Christmas Pyramid: Fun Facts and Activities

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One of the main features of Christmas in Germany are the Pyramids. Christmas pyramids have existed for centuries but can be found at every Christmas market big and small. Even some markets in other countries have adopted the pyramid as one of the key attractions for tourists to see, especially as the blades are turning, powered by candles.

But what are they, really?

To answer that, I’ve compiled a pair of activities for you to try out. They include a Guessing Quiz and a wordfind with some words describing figures that you will most likely see in a pyramid. An answer sheet is enclosed so that you can display the colorful murals on the white board while answering the questions on a sheet of paper.

The answers will come at Christmas. Without further ado, have fun with the activities that you are about to do. 🙂

Christmas Pyramid Fun Facts Part 3

BONUS QUESTION:  Which motif is most likely found on every Christmas pyramid?

a. Nativity set with the Birth of Jesus

b. Winter landscape

c. Miners and angels

d. The Church of our Lady (Frauenkirche) in Dresden?

Christmas Pyramid Fun Facts Part 2

The printable worksheets you can download here:

Christmas Pyramid Fun Facts Part 3a

Christmas Pyramid Fun Facts Part 3b

Please keep in mind that although the words in the Wordfind and the diagram can be used only once, there is one word in the worksheet in the Pyramid diagram that can be used twice. Can you find that word? thinking-face_1f914

Seasons eatings

Happy Birthday Manchester Christmas Markets: 20 Years Old!

Happy Birthday Manchester Christmas Markets: 20 Years Old!

It’s that time of year again, where Manchester is taken over by the Christmas Markets, spreading that ‘warm and fuzzy’ feeling across the city.

Every year it’s the same; I don’t mind admitting that a little wave of excitement flows over me when I know it’s time the Manchester Christmas Markets! Warming mulled wine, delicious hot food and traditional wooden huts selling all sorts of everything, from deli produce and didgeridoos (yes, really) to Swiss chocolate and Santa hats.

There really isn’t a better way to welcome in the holiday season!

If you come to Manchester to enjoy the markets, you will be treated to hundreds of stalls all across the city, from those crammed into its traditional home in Albert Square, to the more spacious huts out in Cathedral Gardens by Victoria Station. It’s a good job there are so many and so spread out because as…

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2019 Bridgehunter Awards Voting Ballot Part 1

There are many of Germany’s bridges in the ballot for this year’s Bridgehunter Awards by sister column BHC. Between now and January 10th, you can vote on your favorite candidates in nine categories. The winners will be announced January 12th. Happy voting! 🙂

The Bridgehunter's Chronicles

The QEII Bridge at Dartford, east of London. It has extremely long approach ramps to get the roadway high enough to cross the River Thames while still leaving sufficient clearance for ships to pass underneath. This is the problem that a transporter bridge aims to solve. Photo by Nico Hogg [CC BY 2.0] via this flickr pageBHC FORUM

After processing the candidates and adding some information to some of them, the time has come to vote for our favorite candidates in nine categories for the 2019 Bridgehunter Awards, powered by the Bridgehunter’s Chronicles. As mentioned earlier in the year, the Ammann Awards were changed to this name to honor some of the pontists, whose category and prizes have been named in their honor. Nevertheless though, the format is the same as in the previous awards. There are two voting ballots- one here and one on the next page (which you can click here). With the exception of the category Best Photo, each candidate has a link which you can access so that you can look at them more closely in terms of photos and information.

For Best Photo, I’ve decided to do it differently. One simply looks at the photos and votes. The names of the top…

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