Browsed by
Month: June 2009

Watching Blur closing the Glastonbury Festival on BBC2. Two things are obvious: 1) They’ve upped the tempo of each number, presumably to cram in as much as possible and 2) Alex James doesn’t get anywhere near enough recognition as a bass player. Now excuse me while I kid myself that I’m a 20 year-old borderline alcoholic with quite a lot of hair again.

One of my worst fears is the loss of unique, irreplaceable material through technical failure. Seven years ago, I found with horror that an interview recording on minidisc had screwed up. Fortunately, the interviewee was someone I knew well enough to ask if we could start again. When a similar situation occurred yesterday, as part of the research for my forthcoming Les Dawson book, I had no such luxury. The interviewees had given me 40 minutes of their soundcheck time…

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The coverage of the news that BBC Worldwide is to release the recovered soundtracks of several previously-missing editions of the Hancock’s Half Hour TV series has been, at best, misleading. At worst, it’s been utter bollocks. Take this line from The Times: “They are thought to be the earliest examples of a DIY audio recording made directly from a television broadcast”. ‘They are thought…’ is a handy formulation. It enables a journalist to sound authoritative to the casual reader while…

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As I get older, I find myself less interested in my birthday. The last one I celebrated properly was my 30th, with a party in the back garden. For 32, I contented myself with shouting “Noooooooooooooooooooooo!” at the television as I watched Michael Jackson evade conviction on even the minor charges of giving alcohol to a minor, something he’d admitted to doing. Yesterday, when I turned 36, I ticked the no publicity box and celebrated with a swim in the…

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While it’s nice to get away, especially if very dear friends are at the other end of the journey, I’m starting to find travel knackering to the point of incapacity. Via family in Surrey and Bristol, I popped over to the West Midlands last week to meet up with a pair of old friends, the recording engineer/archivist Martin Fenton (aka Posie Flump) and the composer/arranger/conductor Gavin ‘Vaginal Thunders’ Sutherland (no blog – too busy), and to attend, with them, the…

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Until the European election success of Nick Griffin and Andrew Brons, I hadn’t heard the slogan “No platform for Nazis” for a good few years. The last time was at a meeting of the National Union of Journalists’ London Magazine branch back in the early part of this decade when I was vice-chair(man). I’m not sure of the branch’s political make-up now, but back then it was Socialist Worker-dominated. Nice people, but a bit obsessed. ‘No platform’ was, and I…

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So farewell then, Daniel Patrick Carroll, known professionally as Danny La Rue (French for ‘the main drag’, in the words of Ray Martine) . Apart from his own dazzling career, La Rue was responsible for helping to launch Barbara Windsor, Barry Cryer and Ronnie Corbett professionally when they worked at his West End cabaret club. Not a bad epitaph, but if you want more, have this false modesty-free self-assessment from his autobiography, From Drags to Riches: “There will never be…

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