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Month: August 2014

Peter Prichard

Peter Prichard

I’ve just heard the sad news that Peter Prichard, agent and manager to the likes of Bob Monkhouse, Jimmy Tarbuck and Ray Alan, has died. He was very helpful to me when I was writing Turned Out Nice Again, and when I interviewed him in his office, I asked him about a story I’d been told by Jack Parnell. Peter confirmed that it was exactly as Jack had told it. Here’s how it appeared in the book. “The international guest…

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Fun dog day afternoon

Fun dog day afternoon

I am bursting with pride. My darling girl, Lyttelton, scooped Best Veteran at Teckels’ Fun Dog Show in Frampton-on-Severn today. Teckels’ is a fine organisation, combining rehoming with kennel and cattery services for those going on holiday. If you’re in the west country, I can’t recommend them enough, having entrusted my wayward pup Jessamy Beagle to them for a week last October. If they can put up with her, they must be good.

Gladwell all over

Gladwell all over

I caught a little of this Malcolm Gladwell chap on Desert Island Discs this morning. I’d heard the name before, but nothing of his work. The first impression I reached was that he was an appalling pseud. And the second impression. And the third. And so on. Almost the first thing he said was that it is far easier to make someone laugh than to make them cry. This was said with a smug flourish, as though it was proven…

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Radio review: Right up your alley (The Lady, 11 July 2014)

Radio review: Right up your alley (The Lady, 11 July 2014)

The trouble with a lot of BBC Radio 2 documentaries is that they are often presented by random celebrities who seem to know little and care less about the subject. That could never be said of Danny Baker, a broadcaster of experience, a man of great knowledge and, above all, an enthusiast. So, his tour of Denmark Street, aka London’s Tin Pan Alley, was a welcome addition to the schedules. So much of British musical history has connections with this…

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Radio review: Idle away an hour (The Lady, 4 July 2014)

Radio review: Idle away an hour (The Lady, 4 July 2014)

As much of a Monty Python fan as I am (and I’m quite a big fan), I won’t be attending any of the reunion shows at the O2. I just wasn’t struck by the idea of spending north of £100 to stand at one end of a glorified velodrome, watching a distant ant who might or might not be Michael Palin. What clinched it was the racing certainty that I would be crammed in between the sort of fans who…

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Radio review: Hilarious humdrum (The Lady, 1 August 2014)

Radio review: Hilarious humdrum (The Lady, 1 August 2014)

Radio is a wonderful and efficient method of disseminating information to thousands, even millions of people. It can convey high concepts in art, news of brutal conflicts, or just advice on what not to put in the dishwasher. BBC WM’s afternoon presenter Caroline Martin explained last week that she found out about the latter the hard way. Conducting a humdrum phone-in about things going missing in the post, she talked to a listener who’d ordered mugs for all of her…

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Radio review: Alf goes AWOL (The Lady, 18 July 2014)

Radio review: Alf goes AWOL (The Lady, 18 July 2014)

Now in his seventh series as Radio 4’s tongue-in-cheek private investigator, Steve Punt turned his attention last week to the 1928 disappearance of Belgian tycoon Alfred Loewenstein. During a flight on his private Fokker VII , Loewenstein nipped to the loo and never returned. His companions found the lavatory vacant and the plane door flapping open. Did he jump or was he pushed? Punt surveyed all the theories floated over the years, and noted that if his favoured explanation sounded…

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Radio review: Roll Out the Barrel (The Lady, 8 August 2014)

Radio review: Roll Out the Barrel (The Lady, 8 August 2014)

Listening to Robert Elms’s afternoon show on BBC London invariably leaves me better informed, even on subjects where I like to think I have a bit of knowledge. For example, until Elms’s recent conversation with beer expert Jane Peyton, I didn’t know that Britain’s first lager plant, the Austro-Bavarian Lager Beer Brewery, was established in Tottenham in the late 19th-century. At that time, London was, in Peyton’s words ‘the beer city of the world’, and folk of all ages drank…

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Pussy riot

Pussy riot

The other day, I found a peevish little note on my doormat, headed ‘Cat Menace‘. It was from a chap who lives around the corner, bemoaning local cats shitting in his garden and killing birds. It is an issue with which I would have had some sympathy if not for the tone of the man’s missive, particularly the last line. “If we continue to be plagued by cats, drastic action will be taken”, he declared. With the story of the…

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