Sunday 31 March 2013

If you go down to the woods today

We're staying with family down South. It being Easter Sunday, they've gone toddling off to Church. Leaving me to walk the dog. As someone who has two cats I've never really got dogs. They're dumb creatures, everyone knows that. Cats are intelligent. Everyone knows that too. So it's on with the lead (mutt), on with the wellies (me) and off to the woods we go. The dog, it would appear, has to stop at every tree, every puddle and sniffs at every gate. And this is before we're out of sight of the house. But we soon get into our stride and the dog has adopted the role of pacemaker.

After a run-in with an old boy struggling to keep two hounds in check (I wind in the tape measure style lead) and the dog and I are flying. So much so that I decide to go off piste: 'We're going this way', I tell the dog, with not a clue to where this way leads to. Thirty minutes later and I get the distinct impression we're walking 'round in circles. We reach a clearing and we can go one of two ways. I go with my instinct but know, deep down, we're going the wrong way. An hour later and we're lost; how can that be? We're within earshot of the M25 and under Heathrow's flight path. I knew I should've joined the fair weather flock and gone for a bit of a pray. 'Which way now?' I ask the dog in desperation. And then, picking up on the fact that I'm not familiar with these parts, he takes the reins (literally) and, within minutes, has dragged me clear of the woods and on the return path to his owners' gaff. Dumb animals? Not this one.

Back at base the family return with their souls cleansed. 'Good walk?' they inquire. 'Great' I say, winking at the dog.

Friday 29 March 2013

And so it goes

 Guess where I've been today?

Sorry, it's been a long week.

As in four weddings and a funeral.

Without the four weddings.

Looking forward to spending a few days with family

in The Chilterns

Sunday 24 March 2013

Biblical proportions


Deuteronomy 15:1 - At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release.


And so it came to 'Pass'.

Thursday 21 March 2013

Easy as picking foxes from a tree

Now here's a great single from 1972 that comes with its own built in rock anecdote. It would appear that Marc Bolan saw into the future and predicted the number plate of the purple Mini his girlfriend would plough into a tree on Barnes Common - in five years time.

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Nottingham Ale

When Nottingham brewery Castle Rock unveiled their Screech Owl IPA in 2008 they said it was a strictly one off brew. But in the same way that The Darkness brought you a One Way Ticket To Hell, And Back, so too did Screech Owl return. And now, to complete Castle Rock's U-turn, it's available in bottles. And why wouldn't it be? This fruity, hoppy, bright and clear beer, which at 5.5% ABV is no slouch, surely ranks as one of Castle Rock's finest achievements.

As you can see from the above promo, if it's good enough for Robin Hood and his Merry Men, then in true Dodgy style, it's good enough for me. Robin Hood and his fair maiden, Maid Marian, are coming up this weekend (seriously) - I hope they bring a couple of flagons of this fine frothing ale with them.

Frozen Gin: Nottingham Ale

Saturday 16 March 2013

In My Chair

Nearly thirty years since the last time they all saw each other, four old men meet up in a car park and embrace. They're genuinely pleased to see each other again and seem content in each others company, forgetting, for now at least, all the animosity that caused them to part in the first place. 'Let's go and have a pint', Frank, always the natural leader, says.

Later that day, in a back room somewhere, the guitars come out and they play a few tunes together.

Wednesday 13 March 2013

Cameron's in the chair

 Last chance saloon?

Before he realised how many middle class votes he would hemorrhage as a result, David Cameron was steadfast in his support of minimum alcohol unit pricing. He was all too aware, like many of us, that Hospital A & E Departments are no longer full of little boys with saucepans on their heads but overflowing with drunks (many roaring, many more dangerous to themselves and others) - the inevitable conclusion for those who have been on it all day. When was the last time you were admitted to Accident and Emergency and were seen in less than four hours? A creaking at the seams NHS would not be quite so creaking if the one third of drink related patients weren't clogging up the system. And wanting to punch out the lights of the very people who are there to put them back together.

And maybe then if the proposals were to go ahead our Police force would be able to fight crime and feel a few collars, instead of spending every Friday and Saturday night mopping up our towns and cities of revelers who think a night on the town is not complete without killing or hurting anyone who gets in their way; if they've been caning it on cider that's cheaper than bottled water, what do you expect? And that's before they've even set foot in a pub.

But today the Prime Minister started back-pedalling. Not for the first time his principles go out of the window when his back benchers get uppity: David Davies, on this morning's Today programme, was distancing himself from Cameron by saying how such a pricing policy would hit the poor and 'those in the North'. I'm still reeling from that one. Where exactly is this dystopian North? And who does he think dwells there?

If Cameron misses this opportunity to start addressing our chronic drinking culture we may never get another chance. Think about that the next time you're in A & E dodging the missiles.

Thursday 7 March 2013

Inexplicably, they're all boys

John Peel wasn't known for being a big fan of NWOBHM (to non-Sounds readers that's New Wave of British Heavy Metal) but in November 1979 he played the debut single by Girl. My Number was pressed on 7" clear vinyl, had the same track on both sides and cost 55p. Hearing this metal racket for the first time I was able to park up my punk and new wave credentials (I was secretly getting a little tired of three chord wonders) and actually dig what these (pretty - I would later find) boys were up to. Three months later I'd played the hell out of their first album and had seen them play a couple of their residency gigs at The Marquee. I was hooked.

But I don't think Annie Nightingale was. Snotty cow.

When the band, inevitably, ran out of juice (and drummers) they split up and all went on to be famous rock stars. Guitarist Gerry Laffy would later become a very respectable artist: he even painted a beautiful canvas of my son when he too was a rock star.

Sunday 3 March 2013

Galley slave

I'm sure at one time or another we've all cranked the stereo to 11 and pretended to be Jimmy Page. Or a windmilling Pete Townshend; behind closed doors and with the curtains closed. But quite why anyone would want to impersonate Mel Galley, a second division guitarist with rockers Trapeze and Whitesnake, and tour rock clubs up and down the land signing autographs as Mr. Galley is a story line too silly, you'd have thought, even for Spinal Tap.

However, for years that's precisely what Ken Grimley of Ripley in Derbyshire had been doing. And it was only when Galley, in conjunction with a reporter from the local paper, paid Grimley a visit that the pathetic sham was exposed. However, Galley didn't leave empty handed. As well as a grovelling apology (which it would have been, wouldn't it?) he took away an autograph and one of Grimley's many guitars. An instrument, perversely, Grimley can't play.

Mel Galley sadly died in 2008. Ken Grimley did not.