Wednesday 30 November 2016

Mrs. Simpson

Wallis Simpson, American socialite and one time wife of Prince Edward - formerly King Edward VIII - was famous (sort of) for her:

a. Chinese Burns?

b. Shanghai Squeeze?

c. Peking Duck?

Answers on a postcard

Sunday 27 November 2016

This Charming Penguin

You'll know by now that I love podcasts: discovering new ones is a joy, especially when they're as good as the Penguin Podcast.
I've just listened to my first one - a charming conversation between David Baddeil and Johnny Marr. Marr's autobiography, Set the Boy Free, was published by Penguin a couple of weeks ago and he was bringing Baddeil up to speed about it.
Although I was never a big fan of the Smiths, I've always had a soft spot for Johnny's guitar sound. Here he is explaining how he wrote the riff for their first single. When he was nineteen. Nineteen!

Tuesday 22 November 2016

God's waiting room

Losing our first buyer was unfortunate. But, yesterday, losing our second, far from being careless is just bloody soul destroying. But, hey, we're still kicking a ball.
I'm sure when we do finally cut the cord we'll look back and laugh about it all. Even the time-wasters and tyre kickers. And don't get me started on the fuckwits and bumpkins. So, maybe not all then.

Sunday 20 November 2016

See Emily's play

A day spent up town yesterday. Top ranking indeed: an hour atop the sky deck of the Shard where visibility - at 1,000+ ft. - couldn't possibly have been any better, followed by lunch in the Nell Gwynne in the heart of Theatreland. If we hadn't had tickets for the matinee performance of Dead Funny I think I could, quite easily, have taken up residence in the little hideaway pub just off the Strand and stayed in there all afternoon. I do have form.

But, with five minutes to go before curtain up, we strolled the twenty or so yards to the Vaudeville next door and took our seats for the revival of Terry Johnson's wonderful play, which first opened at the Hampstead Theatre in 1992. I won't spoil the story for anyone who hasn't seen it yet, suffice it to say that it's essentially a black comedy using, as it does, the deaths of Benny Hill and Frankie Howerd as a springboard for the slightly dark farce that follows. I absolutely adored it. And as much as I loved the stellar performances of Steve Pemberton, Ralf Little, Katherine Parkinson and Rufus Jones, it was the beautiful Emily Berrngton that, for me, stole the show. It's running till next February. Try and get along if you can.

Emily Berrington liked your Tweet
I've never laughed as much as I did at Sat. matinee. Great play, great perf. And as for your Benny Hill tribute costume...

Wednesday 16 November 2016

Then and Now

If yesterday's selection was a (strong, I think) contender to kick-off a soul infused, late night, bluesy, jazzy mixtape, then today's choice would, almost certainly, bookend it.

Grover Washington is a big noise in this house; although anything from 1980's Winelight, surely the benchmark for all smooth jazz, would have been the bookies favourite, Stolen Moments, from his 1988 Then and Now album, shows Grover really was a contender. And this stylish Oliver Nelson cover is a perfect way to end proceedings.

So there you go - the lazy arse way to putting together a compilation album - the beginning and the end. What happens in between would only get messy. A bit like life, really.

Stolen Moments

Tuesday 15 November 2016

Strong Persuader

Robert Cray: Strong Persuader - released, unbelievably, thirty years ago this week.  

It's Because Of Me 

Friday 11 November 2016

Here Comes the Sun

Harrison: leading from the back
Despite the fact that his ashes have been floating down the Ganges for the last fifteen years, everyone's favourite Beatle, George Harrison, was on to Trump.

Trump's use of Here Comes the Sun for his political rallies was considered 'grossly offensive' by Harrison's estate, and a cease and desist order was slapped on him faster than you could say Ravi Shankar.

If only the living could stand up to him in the same way.

Tuesday 8 November 2016


Relations between Ireland and the Netherlands are set to reach an all time high as news of an impending bilateral treaty between the two countries was leaked earlier this week. Both parties are said to be delighted and are currently 'holding talks' behind closed doors.

I'm led to believe an official statement will follow shortly.

Sunday 6 November 2016

Two for joy

I namecheck Jenny Hanley in my latest song. She just popped into my head one day. At a time when the female of the species started to loom large in my life, I knew that despite her noble efforts to try and look like the girl next door, she had a past: Hanley had been both a Bond girl and played comely wenches in Hammer Horrors. All a far cry from her cuddly teatime telly image on Magpie.

Saturday 5 November 2016


West Ham Utd are, it would appear, in a spot of bother: problems on the field, and just as many off. There is something perversely just that the east London club's owners have, in their money grubbing haste to flee their spiritual home at Upton Park, brought The Hammers into the 21st. century and, yet, at the same time, dragged them back to the dark days of street fighting hooliganism made (in)famous in the 1970s.

When will those in charge of this now morally bankrupt game get it into their thick skulls that fans don't want to watch their team play in some soulless athletic stadium with a running track around the pitch? Gone is the very notion of touch line seating, and giving the opposition's left half the benefit of your opinion as he's about to take a corner kick. And something tells me that getting a cup of Bovril at halftime time is probably not an option

No wonder then that disgruntled supporters would rather rip up their (not so cheap) seats and knock seven bells out of the visitors than watch the game through a pair of binoculars.What would Bobby Moore think? Or Clyde Best? And where's Alf bleedin' Garnett when you need him?

Wednesday 2 November 2016

Dum spiro, spero

Take it slowly
And hold fast
Just remember
Hope dies last