Browsed by
Month: July 2009

Back when I were a wage slave in London, the only thing that made the Monday morning commute bearable was listening to a mini disc of the previous night’s Malcolm Laycock show, recorded off BBC Radio 2. Despite being in my mid-20s at the time, I enjoyed both halves of the show equally – the 30 minutes of British dance bands, then the 30 minutes of big bands. Well, I say 30 minutes of each. I remember my dear, much-missed…

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Thanks to the bin lid stapled to the front of schloss Barfe, I’ve been watching the German TV repeats of 1970s editions of Top of the Pops. On the editions they’ve shown, 3 presenters have been in charge: Toe Knee Black Burn, Noel Edmonds and James Savile (then just an OBE – his KCSG had yet to materialise). Of these, I’ve met Blackburn and Edmonds. My encounter with Blackburn was brief (he’d just won Oldie of the Year, and I…

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I’m not sure what’s got into me of late, but my natural tendency towards procrastination has given way to a ‘let’s do the show right here’ attitude. As a result, numerous tasks I’ve been putting off for years (no exaggeration) have been despatched with alarming speed. Best of all, it isn’t displacement activity. I’ve been doing my proper authorial-type work too. Example: In the autumn of 2006, a biblical downpour (on the day of Don Lusher’s memorial service, as it…

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Phew, someone’s posted a slightly-less-than-glowing Amazon review of Where Have All the Good Times Gone? I can’t find fault with anything that the reviewer says. It was my first book and I tended to throw in everything bar the kitchen sink. Five years after it came out, even I find it a bit heavy-going. So yes, lots of trees, not enough wood (Hur hur). That said, the ‘confusing rapidity’ with which business names are introduced and dropped was semi-deliberate, reflecting…

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Sheltering from a thunderstorm in Currys the other day, I found myself laughing heartily at the price of everything (£10 for a ruddy USB cable – if I weren’t already tripping over spare leads that came free with USB devices, I’d be starting, and almost certainly ending, my search in Poundland) and trying to resist interrupting the clueless saleswoman who had just told a middle-aged couple that you had to buy a laptop with Vista Professional to get the software…

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Nice words about the paperback edition of Turned Out Nice Again from Nicholas Bagnall in last week’s Sunday Telegraph and Victoria Segal in today’s Guardian. In the interests of transparency, I should point out that I used to be married to Nicholas Bagnall and that I once offered Victoria Segal a crisp.

As you’ll see if your eyes ever glance over to the right of this page, I have been known to do bits and pieces for Private Eye. Not as much as I used to, admittedly. Sometimes months go by without submitting anything. What did I do? Oh, shedloads of stuff for the Books and Bookmen column from 1999 until I decided that nearly all publishers were bastards and gave up for the sake of my sanity. For my sins, I…

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Am I the only person to greet the news that Coffee Republic has gone into administration with the response that at least some good has come out of the recesssion? I love coffee, but I hate paying through the nose for it. I can’t recall the last time I bought one ‘to go’ from a high street coffee emporium. I think it was when I worked in London and hadn’t yet worked out the art of avoiding needless expenditure. Work…

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Are Michael Jackson fans the most unhinged followers of any pop culture icon? Yes, if some of the comments on YouTube concerning Jacko’s run-in with the mighty Jarvis Cocker are anything to go by. “Jarvis Cocker you are only a? poor idiot.it was better that you died.M.J. THE KING” Ah, but Jarvis Cocker hasn’t died. Thus he wins. “Jarvis Cocker youre a fucking twat. Don´t try to steal the KING Michael´s shine. Don´t need to know who he? is, any…

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