Friday 30 June 2017

A little bit of Monica (records I expect to hear at weddings)

When we RSVP'd Jim and Debs' recent wedding there was a lovely little question at the bottom of the ornate invitation card: what two records would we like Dave Double Decks to play at the evening do?
Well, that's easy: Blockbuster and Staying Out For The Summer. Songs that would drag me away from the buffet (maybe even the bar) and get me throwing a few shapes. As it happened I heard one and not the other; then again I was sidetracked for part of the evening. Don't ask.

Dave was on form. All the staples were there - you know the tunes I'm talking about - Whigfield's Saturday Night, Macarena, Come On EileenBlame It On The Boogie, Hi Ho Silver Lining*. Songs with actions, songs where pointing is obligatory.
But they all pale into insignificance compared to this little nugget. Mmm Bop is probably the best three minute pop song you can ever play at a wedding. Or any party. I can't put my finger on why. It's just perfect. And, as you can see from the video below, one of the reasons it works is because it still sounds brilliant with just three voices and one acoustic guitar. A true sign of a great song.

Hanson - Mmm Bop

* I'm guessing he played Hi Ho Silver Lining. I was out of earshot of the dance floor for a while. But he would have been lynched had he not, I'm sure.

Sunday 25 June 2017

Always room for a couple of beers

It's late Sunday afternoon and I'm feeling a little tired and a little reflective. But nothing too heavy - especially after the excesses of last night.
I have James to thank for pointing me in the direction of this; it's cheesy for sure, but as a metaphor for life it probably hits the N on the H. I think if I was starting out all over again I would love someone to sit me down and show me this film.
Remember, no matter how full your life is, there's always room for a couple of beers with friends.

Friday 23 June 2017

White Wedding (Red Tights)

Jim and Debs are tying the knot tomorrow. Great idea to have your wedding in Bristol the same weekend as Glastonbury - we can't wait to hit the M5 tomorrow morning. Cheers Jim Lad.

And I know you said you didn't want presents, you just wanted ca$h. Sorry Jim, no can do. You'll have a toaster and like it - like any other newly weds.

Anyway, I got it in red: it'll match yer tights.

Monday 19 June 2017

She's Having a Baby

It's taken a little over two weeks. OK, nearly three. Whatever; I've written my first song since making the move south earlier this month. And it's upbeat. Really upbeat!
The inspiration? My friend Em: she's having a baby. I've watched her bump grow every day over the last few months. She's gonna make a great mum. We go for a walk every lunchtime; I hold her hand when we cross the road (after looking right and left and right again) - I just want her to be safe.
I'll probably play 'She's Having a Baby' for her next week before I leave to take up my new position. I'm moving on to pastures new, but the next time I see Em the song will be redundant.

Monday 12 June 2017


I was only saying the other day how I'm not the world's most prolific writer; but at least I don't have to write each and every one of my posts in longhand, and on goatskin parchment. I'd be lucky if I turned out two a year, let alone two a week.

However, I'm sure if I did find myself in such a predicament I too would be telling anyone prepared to listen: 'I got us into this mess, and I'll get us out of it.'

It will probably come as no surprise that my knowledge of goatskin is a little vague. I am, however, a little more knowledgeable about Goats Head Soup. Thanks to the Glimmer Twins I have never been able to erase the image of this Jamaican dish (the eyeballs really are a delicacy, apparently) from my memory bank.

And while we're on the subject of disturbing images the Rolling Stones were responsible for subjecting me and other impressionable youths in the early seventies to: one of the black and white photographs on the 'Exile on Main St.' sleeve haunts me to this day:

Charlie Three Balls  - with a trio of pool balls in his mouth (Why? How?) - is another image I've been carrying around in my head for far too long.

Well now it's your turn.

Saturday 10 June 2017


 1. X is for X-Ray

I should've known better. I may have finished with Pickering, but, Pickering, quite clearly, wasn't finished with me; one final twist in its tail. An afternoon and evening of goodbyes in the town and a walk back up the hill for the last time.
Why I never saw the dodgy paving slab is still puzzling me. Yes, drink had been taken. But, in my defence, how was I to know that one step would have such consequences? What appeared at the time to be a very bad sprain was actually a break. This is what the result of my X-Ray showed (taken in Nottingham a week later when I was concerned that the swelling still hadn't subsided):

'There is a displaced transverse fracture of the top of the right distal fibula with associated soft tissue swelling of the lateral malleolus and anterior joint effusion. Fracture clinic referral advised.'

Long story short, my fear of being 'in pot' for weeks on end was, thankfully, unfounded. My consultant at the hospital told me that that wouldn't be necessary. A sturdy Chelsea Boot (my footwear of choice) should do the trick and as long as I don't attempt running a marathon anytime soon, the fracture would, in four to five weeks, mend by itself. I'm being over simplistic, of course, but worries about not being able to drive and hobbling around on crutches were dispelled. So, lots of rest then; easier said than done when you chuck my recent house move into the mix. These 80 boxes won't, apparently, unpack themselves.
But at least I can reduce the amount of walking (and driving) around in the next few days/weeks because...

2. X as in taxi

Living back in a city means that I don't have to rely on the car as a sole means of travel - we have public transport (where I've just moved from there was the daily stagecoach that would come through our town and pick up the local snake oil salesmen who would would then head south to the nearest market).

We now have regular buses (every four minutes). And trams (buses on rails). And trains (that will take you anywhere in the country. Even London). And, obviously, taxis.

When we moved, the first App I downloaded to my phone was a local taxi firm who appear to have nicked Uber's booking and tracking system lock stock and barrel (and none the worse for that). Getting around town has never been so easy. I know when my Hackney carriage is coming (I can see precisely where he/she is at any time), the name of my driver and even the registration of the pick-up vehicle. Many of you reading this will be thinking that I must have landed from some distant planet - well, you're not far wrong - I have come from the past. So I guess that makes me a time traveler. And it feels [expletive] great.

Wednesday 7 June 2017

Do the first verse and track it Phil

'X' does not mark the spot
It won't have escaped your notice that Britain goes to the ballot box tomorrow. For as long as I can remember I have adopted the following election day routine.

* Come home from work
* Walk to Polling Station
* Spoil ballot paper
* Retire to pub for well deserved post-vote pint

When I say spoil, I don't mean that I write an abusive rejoinder to any of the candidates laid out before me. I really #CBA and, anyway, I'm far too polite. No, my message is just a silly way of recording the fact that I have no faith in any of the nitwits on the list (without actually writing 'none of the above'), and it fits nicely at the bottom of the ballot paper: 'Do the first verse and track it Phil.' I told you it was silly.

The BBC think so too; this from their website:

These kind of deliberately spoiled ballots are part of the British political tradition, are termed "rejected votes" and are included in the overall turnout. However, those wishing to vote for one of the candidates should avoid writing comments. It may confuse the counters and lead to your vote being put in the rejected pile. And however wise or witty a comment, it's unlikely to make much impression on staff who will be frantically trying to count ballot papers.

Ah, well. I always walked out of the booth with a smile on my face.

However, this time is different. I had the audacity to move house during the hustings so, instead, applied for a postal vote. My tried and tested routine went out of the window. So how would I vote this time? Writing silly notes in the comfort of my own home and then sticking it in a pre-paid envelope just didn't feel right somehow. And with there being more at stake this time (a whole lot more) and some really serious issues out there, I decided it would be better to act like a proper grown up and man up.

I trusted to luck and put an 'X' in one of the boxes. For once, I'm hoping you all do the same.

Saturday 3 June 2017


The last few days have gone by like something akin to a whirlwind; long story short (regular readers, feel free to stifle a yawn) - we finally vacated God's Waiting Room on Thursday and have reconnected with civilisation. So, for the last few days all* my possessions, barring the clothes I'm standing up in, are now in storage - where they will remain until next Friday, by which time we will have deep cleaned and decorated the new gaff from top to bottom.

The above preamble is by way of explaining why the milk bottles** have been piling up outside this blog and the neighbours have been reporting me as a missing person. Though not a prolific writer by any stretch of the imagination, I do like to check in two or three times a week and record the random thoughts that invariably blindside me at 4:00 pm on an idle Tuesday***.

Now that Amazon have my new address I was pleased to take in my first parcel yesterday morning: a recommendation from one of the bloggers**** you'll see over in the right hand margin, led me to a wonderful book - Spoon's Carpets. Kit Caless was sitting in a Wetherspoon's pub reading The Way Inn by Will Wiles in which the main character travels the country living in a low budget chain of hotels. Every time he gets out of the hotel lift he sees a different painting which he soon works out form part of a giant collage. Kit then had a lightbulb moment and realised that every Spoon's carpet is totally unique. A hit blog was born - which members of the public embraced and became willing participants and photographers; not to mention enthusiastic beer sommeliers. As a guide it's every bit as important as the Good Beer Guide. And much funnier. I'm heading out later today into our new bustling high street and know that when I cross the threshold of the (huge) Spoons (The Samuel Hall) I will be keeping my head down and my chin up.

Finally today, I've always been fascinated by numbers and sequencing of numbers - Fibonacci being one that has always intrigued me: 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89...

But far and away the most personal of sequences (and everyone reading this will have their own unique sequence) now has a new addition: 86, 11, 20, 17, 108, 25, 29, 17, 79, 111, 24, 90. You don't need to be an employee at Bletchley Park to crack this particular code: I was born in No. 86, and 90 now sits on all our new correspondence - nicely rounding off today's offering.

Feel free to share your unique set of (house) numbers.

* The packers even packed my glasses. I'd only put them down for five minutes
** Do milkmen still deliver bottles?
*** With thanks to Baz Luhrmann
**** Pete Brown - the UK's finest beer writer

Girl - My Number