How I Very Nearly Became Sir Bruce Forsyth CBE (Deceased)

Sir Bruce Forsyth

Much-loved British entertainer Sir Bruce Forsyth died in August 2017. He passed away a few months after he’d undergone key-hole surgery to repair a couple of aneurysms. In case you’re hazy on aneurysms, they are bulges in an artery that could burst and kill you. I know because I had one that almost killed me. Sir Bruce … Read more

Pub Rock Revisited: No Sleep Till Kennington Oval

The Cricketers, Kennington Oval

I’ve recently spent time writing sleeve-notes for a Balham Alligators box set. That’s exactly the kind of thing washed-up old hacks like me have to do when they reach a certain age. I was researching “pub rock” when I stumbled on something surprising. It’s seemingly now accepted that the Pub Rock scene collapsed following the Punk Explosion of 1976-77. Legend has it … Read more

Losing Weight Wasn’t As Tough As I Thought

How losing weight could be a struggle

I’ve always been overweight. The “body mass index” seems fraudulent to me because it takes no account of the shape or build of a person’s body. But despite the prevarication, I’ve known for some time I need to drop a few pounds. Losing weight would make me more healthy, I know that. But knowing isn’t … Read more

William Hartnell: Doctor Who Actor

William Hartnell

One of the most surprising aspects of the Doctor Who début of William Hartnell in 1963 was that he was only 55 years old. With his flowing white hair and frail appearance, I always assumed he must have been well into his 60s. The fact that he played grandfather to Susan Foreman, the first “Companion” reinforced this … Read more

The Perfect Curry

The Perfect Curry

Anyone seeking out the “authentic curry experience” is on a fool’s errand. Leaving definition aside, everybody’s got a different idea of what makes for a Perfect Curry. There are so many variations it’s easy to boggle the mind as well as the palate. Even narrowing it down to just dishes from the Indian Sub-Continent, there are almost as … Read more

Russell Brand, Revolution, and Promoting The Messiah Complex Tour

Russell Brand in New Statesman

Russell Brand has recently been splattered all over the media. He’s advocating radical ideas by the bucket-load. Asked by “a beautiful woman” to guest-edit the left-leaning New Statesman magazine, he gave them the subject of Revolution. He waded in with a 4,500-word article of his own. And a pile of quirky contributions were elicited from … Read more

Join the Beer Club for Real Ale (and Cheese)

Real ale and cheese

Britain’s position in northern Europe makes it natural beer, real ale and cider country. It’s all to do with the weather. Southern English vineyards like Nyetimber, Ridgeview, and Rathfinney have recently achieved spectacular success. But our climate is better suited to growing barley and hops. That’s why the UK, Belgium, Holland, Germany, and Poland brew the world’s … Read more

Stewart Lee on “Not Writing”

Stewart Lee wearing spectacles

Comedy is subjective. So is writing. I’ve just come across a 45-minute video I felt I had to share. It skirts around both subjects and comes up with some savoury little insights. The video will not please everybody. The comments below it are a testament to that. But anyone who shares my vague interest in … Read more

Separated at birth?

Separated at birth?

Separated at birth? You tell me… So, what do HM the Queen and Rolling Stone guitarist Keith Richards have in common? The obvious answer is money. They are both stinking rich, though one more than the other. I’ll let you work out which is which. As you’ll have gleaned from reading my About Me page, … Read more

Glastonbury on the BBC

Glastonbury Festival

It’s hard not to find mentions of Glastonbury on the BBC. Most mornings I rise to the Today programme on BBC Radio 4. This morning, sixty-nine-year-old rightwing journalist John Humphrys was at Glastonbury. But why should I be surprised? Every year the BBC turns itself into a massive PR machine for this commercial enterprise. At … Read more

Bilderberg, Blair and the New World Order?

Dollar bill sign of new world order

Here’s a conspiracy theory for all you New World Order conspiracy nuts. Type the word “Bilderberg” into Google search and see what you get. Although the Bilderberg Group is one of the world’s most reviled organisations, when I did the search, all the results on page one were supportive, informative. Or, at the most, mildly … Read more

Mick McManus vs Dr Death

Mick McManus New Cross

If you heard a barely discernible phut at around 1 am on Wednesday 22nd May 2013, it was very possibly the sound of an era ending. The death of Mick McManus, baddest bad man of British wrestling, closed a chapter in British history that encompassed Morecambe and Wise, frozen orange juice, and the Boston crab. Mick … Read more

Obama, Guantanamo, Torture

Guantanamo torture

Obama, Guantanamo, torture. Three words guaranteed to start an argument when used individually. Together, they’re like a 50-megaton nuclear warhead. On January 22, 2009 President Obama vowed to close Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp “within the year”. As of May 2013, “Gitmo” is still operational. 166 men still detained without charge or trial. Most of them have … Read more

What Does UKIP Stand For?

What does UKIP stand for?

UKIP, or the United Kingdom Independence Party as they’re known to their friends and carers, has become the hottest political topic in the United Kingdom. Well, probably just in England, but let’s not split hairs. But what does UKIP stand for? Nigel Farage is UKIP’s leader, a likeable, middle-aged, middle-class gent. Often pictured with a … Read more

Who Needs A Human Rights Act, Anyway?

Chris Grayling, Injustice Minister

Today (March 3rd, 2013), the Sunday Telegraph newspaper quotes Conservative Justice Minister, Chris Grayling as saying that a future Conservative government will scrap the Human Rights Act. Is this intended to cheer up the Tory right after a series of recent “set-backs”? Nigel Farage’s rightwing, anti-EU UKIP pushed them into third place in a recent by-election. … Read more

Stop Racism With A Brain Pill

Stop Racism

With the European Football championships diverting attention from racism at home to racism in eastern Europe, it’s time to look again at racism. It might not be as easy to stop racism as we thought. In January 2012, a little-reported but important Scientific study found distinct links between low intelligence and racial prejudice. The research … Read more

Charles Dickens Characters

Charles Dickens characters and author

Charles Dickens‘ characters fall into two main categories: the memorable and the totally unforgettable. I can think of no other author who has created such vivid fictional characters. In no particular order: The Artful Dodger, Smike, Joe Gargery, Fagin, Scrooge. Wilkins Micawber, Sam Weller, Daniel Quilp, Mr Dick, Bill Sykes. Magwitch, Frederick Dorrit, Mr Merdle, … Read more

Top Conspiracy Theories

Twin Towers

Top conspiracy theories? How a run-of-the-mill conspiracy theory gets the “top” tag is interesting enough in itself. But what makes one conspiracy theory better than all rest? Can it be because it is true? Surely some of them must be, just according to the law of averages? Or maybe because it is totally outrageous. Along … Read more

Picasso’s Light Drawings

Picasso Light drawings

Never has an artist been so loved and so loathed. Picasso has been described as the Marmite of the art world. Picasso’s Light Drawings are perfect examples of what I mean. Translation for readers living outside the United Kingdom: it means you either love him or you hate him. This comes from the leading brand … Read more

Charlie Sheen’s Roast (or What’s Going on in New York? Part 87)

Stand by for the hard facts about Charlie Sheen’s Roast: Everybody in the USA seems to be obsessing over Charlie Sheen’s Roast – or, to give it its real title, “The Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen”. It’s been the biggest search on Google in the USA since early September. But what on earth is … Read more

Motivational Quotes and Positive Thinking Quotes

Have you ever searched the web for motivational quotes or positive thinking quotes? If so, you are not alone. Tens of thousands of us do it every day. It’s grown into something of an online business, as people around the world look for a single phrase or saying that will kick-start their lives. It seems … Read more

Royal Wedding Invite List: Prince William and Kate’s Glaring Omissions

William & Kate Royal Wedding

So, Prince William and Catherine (Kate) Middleton got hitched at Westminster Abbey. Their Royal Wedding Invite List is now a historic document, though not quite up there with Magna Carta or the Abdication Speech. The names excluded from it reveals more than who made it to the “Wedding of the Decade”. First of all, the … Read more

BBC = Brainwashing British Citizens

I would stress that I do not share the sentiments of the headline. It comes from an online forum dedicated to exposing the BBC’s “left-wing bias”. Because of my own left-wing bias, I won’t be naming it or providing a link. Their other suggestions for what BBC stands for include “Big Brother Coverage” and “Blatantly … Read more

Rhythm Festival: “the inside story”

The Blockheads on stage at Rhythm Festival 2011

Mention “Rhythm Festival” within my earshot and I guarantee you I will cringe. Maybe even start to sob. But why did I do it? I constantly ask myself. Why? Oh why? Oh why? Starting a music festival from scratch was definitely one of my wilder projects. It’s up there with starting The Do-Not Press, even … Read more

Seasick Steve and Key Lime Pie

I’ve just been watching Seasick Steve on a Sunday morning cookery programme on BBC Two television called Something For The Weekend. In it he sang a song, drank a cocktail and grated cheese into a bowl in order to make it look like he was making a key lime pie. The presenters oo-ed and aw-ed … Read more

Censorship: The Compelling Case

I hate censors. Especially the self-appointed rag-bag of philistine dim-wits who constantly picket the broadcasting authorities, complaining about stuff they’d be better off not watching. My message to them is “Switch off!” In a civilised society that would be the end of it, but these people are working on an agenda and they are backed … Read more

Totally Useless

Is it me, or has there been a sudden outbreak of incompetence in the world? An epidemic of uselessness, a plague of purposelessness. Has the world ceased to function correctly? Everywhere I look, people seem incapable of, or unwilling to do their jobs. From the tele-clerk who won’t believe you are who you say you … Read more