Friday 20 July 2012


Veteran freeform jazzer Lol Coxhill sadly died this week. Outside of the jazz world he collaborated with many, many musicians including Kevin Ayres, Mike Oldfield and, even, The Damned; back in '77, with the notable exception of X-Ray Spex, the punks didn't know what to make of sax players - but on Music For Pleasure (their difficult second album) we found Coxhill and Captain Sensible getting along just fine, thank you very much. And of course, in this part of the world, everyone knows Lol from his appearances at The Shed, sometimes in a skip.

Sunday 15 July 2012


Driving back yesterday from a baking hot very damp Devon (one afternoon on the beach - wearing a waterproof - does not a holiday maketh), we were in need of a fillip. And Radio 4's Hobson-Jobson: A Glossary of Colloquial Anglo-Indian Words and Phrases, and of Kindred Terms, Etymological, Historical, Geographical and Discursive did the job; a thoroughly riveting thirty minutes charting the story of the Colonial-Indian dictionary; how it was conceived, written, published and in the 21st century, despite the fact that the days of Raj and Empire are long gone, the lexicon lives on.
Hurdy-gurdy, hugger-mugger, higgledy-piggledy, hocus-pocus, tit-for-tat, topsy-turvy, harum-scarum, roly-poly, nirvana, pyjamas, bungalow and juggernaut are proof indeed (no need to watch Goodness Gracious Me re-runs) that if these words didn't exist we'd have to invent them. It's still up on the iplayer if you missed it.

Sunday 1 July 2012

Premature Octogenerian

After a family feud, not of my own making I must add, we've recently reestablished contact with my father's lovely younger sister, Margaret, and her husband; Brian has a significant birthday coming up, so we took over a card & and present and had a pub lunch with them both. Reaching eighty is no mean achievement and I told him as much. 'I guess it is' he said, 'I'll tell you next year if and when I get there. I'll only be seventy nine.' D'oh!

Many years ago, Brian was in The Parachute Regiment. If you look hard enough you'll see him (and loads more Paras) in 1953's Red Beret starring Alan Ladd. One of the many stories Brian tells is of his first package holiday to Spain in the early 70s - when the trolley dolly was serving him a beer he told her: 'This is the first plane I've ever been on that I've not had to jump out of.'

Happy Birthday Uncle Brian. And, anyway, every birthday is significant.