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  • Writer's pictureMaximilian Sam

Soundtrack Of My Life - Sue Bavey

Our latest guest is Sue Bavey. We met when I read her book about her grandfather, Lucky Jack. There was something at the back of my mind ringing a bell of recognition. It turned out I'd remember him appearing regularly in the local newspaper in Lincolnshire. We now both live thousands of miles from the UK. It really is a small world at times.

Sue is also offering a special treat. From 7th - 14th June, the digital version of Kookaburras, Cuppas, & Kangaroos is being discounted to just $0.99. A perfect excuse to grab a copy.

Sue has gone on to publish poetry from her father and a memoir about her mother being a £10 Pom and moving to Australia. The family history is exceptional and well worth reading. I'll let Sue describe the books in more detail.

Lucky Jack, Daydreams and Narcoleptic Nightmares, A Yorkshire Lass: The Early years, and Kookaburras, Cuppas, & Kangaroos are wonderful reads. You certainly come from an interesting family. Why did you finally get round to putting the books together?

Thank you, I’m glad you found their stories interesting and entertaining. I had been aware for many years that my Mum had cut out my Grandad’s weekly newspaper columns from the Lincolnshire Echo during his time as the Oldest Columnist in the World and that she had them in scrapbooks. I also knew he had been interviewed by the BBC for a TV series about veterans of WW1 and I wanted a way to get all of this content in one place digitally so that my kids could read it. I thought a blog might be the way to go, but when I started looking at all of the content, a book seemed more appropriate and the idea for Lucky Jack (1894-2000) was born. COVID came along and I found I had more time on my hands so I decided to tackle the project and see what happened! I never expected to win the Readers Favorite gold medal for Biography last year. That was definitely a highlight!

Kookaburras, Cuppas & Kangaroos came together after my mother passed away two years ago. She often spoke of her time in Australia in the 1960s but I hadn’t realized she had kept all of her correspondence with her parents and it proved to be a treasure trove of information about life in Australia and New Zealand at that time. I really enjoyed getting to know a younger version of my mother who I think I would have got on really well with as a friend! A Yorkshire Lass: The Early Years is the prequel to Kookaburras and was told to me by my Mum. It’s free to download on my website:

Daydreams & Narcoleptic Nightmares is my Dad’s ‘writings’: poetry, fiction and memoir which I wanted to collect together in one place, again mostly so my kids could read it. Writing was an escape for my dad and he handwrote everything in hard to read cursive script on scraps of paper, so transcribing it all was quite a challenge, but I’m glad I was able to do it.

We’ve been part of your project “Not Marriage Material”. Can you tell us how it came about, what it involves, and how people can submit their own entries?

I had been part of a few anthologies over the last few years (mostly Robert Fear’s memoir collections, but also Alyson Sheldrake’s Travel Stories collection) and thought it would be nice to curate something similar myself. I had a couple of relationship stories I wanted to tell and so Not Marriage Material was born. It’s been a lot of fun collecting together everyone’s stories of the one that got away or the one you couldn’t wait to get away from! Information about submitting to the anthology can be found on my website.

You’ve lived around the world, the same as us, what’s the best advice you can give anyone thinking of moving to a new country?

Be flexible. Be prepared to do all kinds of different activities to get to know people and make friends. Keep an open mind and if you are an introvert try and challenge yourself socially. Having a support network of friends is imperative when you are far away from family. Also, never be afraid to ask for help.

What’s your next project?

I started writing a middle grade fantasy fiction novel a couple of years ago inspired by some structures I found on a beach in Cape Cod. I am hoping that inspiration will strike me again and I can work on that this summer when the school year ends (my day job is a High School office admin assistant and I am kept very busy, especially at this time of year).

I am a judge in this year’s Indie Ink awards and also the SFINCS novella competition, where I co-managed a team of judges last year and hope to do the same this year. It’s a great way to discover new books by relatively unknown authors and I have found some real favourites over the years!

I also proofread and copy edit for Vine Leaves Press and for self-published authors as a side job which keeps me busy too!

Don't forget you can also find Sue's playlist on Spotify by clicking the link below.

Eagle by Abba

As a child I was an ABBA superfan. I joined the fan club and subscribed to the monthly ABBA magazine. I looked forward to walking with my Mum to the local newsagent’s to pick up the magazine each month. I learnt how to say Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year in Swedish from the ABBA magazine - which I can remember to this day! I also went to see the ABBA movie multiple times so I have to pick one of their songs. I’ll go with a lesser known song: “Eagle”. I loved the way it conveyed the feeling of a bird soaring on the air currents and the lyrics suggested that the singers could talk to eagles and understand them which I found fascinating at a young age!! The video definitely feels dated now though.

Save A Prayer by Duran Duran

My first live concert was Duran Duran at Aston Villa football stadium in Birmingham. I was deeply in love with John Taylor the bassist at the age of 14 - we went on a coach trip from school with a couple of parents as chaperones. I bought a program and a T-shirt and thought I was super cool!

Duran Duran: Save a Prayer - I loved the opening instrumental part and the exotic video made me want to travel to an island paradise! 

She Sells Sanctuary by The Cult

When I turned 18 I started going dancing at a local club with a group of friends and my favourite song was She Sells Sanctuary by The Cult. It was our song and wherever we were whether it was the middle of a pub, a shop aisle or anywhere else, my friend and I would dance when that song came on. I still rock out to it in my kitchen while I’m emptying the dishwasher occasionally.

Pictures Of You by The Cure

I went to university in Manchester and became a big fan of alternative music, especially The Cure. I still love The Cure and especially Pictures Of You. Robert Smith lets loose with his angsty voice in the perfect accompaniment of wallowing in a heartbreak. The band took on a special significance in the last few years when a friend, who was also a big fan of The Cure, passed away from cancer. My friends and I now think of her whenever we hear them play.

This Is The Day by The The

My third year at university I  spent in Germany in a tiny bedsit with peculiar neighbours (a story for another time). It was my first experience of living abroad and I missed my friends and family enormously. When I was feeling lonely I would play The The’s  This is the Day loudly. The The are touring North America this year and my friend and I just bought tickets to see them in October.

Something Changed by Pulp

When I started dating my husband, Rob, we went to a lot of concerts and we both loved Pulp. We particularly liked the song ‘Something Changed’. I love the lyrics of many of Pulp’s songs. Jarvis Cocker is a great ‘people’s poet’. I love the fact that in this song he emphasizes how a small decision such as going to a particular place on a certain day can throw you into the path of someone who can change your life. If we hadn’t started working for the publishing company Dorling Kindersley in Covent Garden on the same day as each other, my husband and I would never have met.

“Oh, I could have stayed at home and gone to bed

I could have gone to see a film instead

You might have changed your mind and seen your friends

Life could have been very different but then

Something changed”

Thank You by Dido

At our wedding our first dance was Thank You by Dido. This song was sampled by Eminem in one of his rap songs and that version became more well known. While we were dancing a couple of guests came up to us incredulously saying Eminem? You’re dancing to a rap song? But we were not! 

The Song To The Siren by This Mortal Coil

I absolutely love love love Liz Fraser’s voice and this song showcases it really well. This is probably my all time favourite song. I also really like the idea of sirens luring lovestruck sailors into the ocean through their songs. 

Alligator by Of Monsters And Men

I love Icelandic band Of Monsters and Men. It’s difficult for me to pick just one of their songs but I’m going to choose Alligator. The chorus is made to be played loud and sung at the top of your lungs. 

Free by Florence And The Machine

I just love the video for this song in which Bill Nighy portrays the singer’s anxiety and it’s a very danceable song. Florence’s outfits are always completely amazing too and of course the dedication to Ukraine at the end is very poignant.

We hope you've enjoyed the latest playlist and a huge thanks to Sue for taking part.

Don't forget to have a browse around the website.

Until next time.


MaxS and The Stray Army

1 Comment

Jun 03

A fabulous playlist - some of my own faves in there too. I love the Cure, who heralded a new freedom in my life at the end of my first marriage, Abba was the soundtrack of my youth, and Save A Prayer takes me right back to heady Uni days.

What an amazing coincidence that you (Max) remember Lucky Jack's columns. I loved Lucky Jack and am looking forward to reading more of Sue's books.

Another great read and great listen - thanks for sharing :-)

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