Pub Rock Revisited: No Sleep Till 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… Continue reading Pub Rock Revisited: No Sleep Till Kennington Oval

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… Continue reading The Perfect Curry

Mick McManus vs Dr Death

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… Continue reading Mick McManus vs Dr Death

Charles Dickens Characters

Charles Dickens, drawing by JR Brown (1898–90)

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,… Continue reading Charles Dickens Characters

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… Continue reading Totally Useless

Settling The Bill

London cop drama, The Bill, has been on my TV longer than the fruit bowl. First appearing in 1983, in the guise of a one-off drama called Woodentop, it became a weekly series a year later and has passed through various formats up to and including its current one hour slot every Wednesday and Thursday,… Continue reading Settling The Bill

Life As An Out-Of-The Loop Music Promoter (Part 1)

The Slambovian Circus of Dreams on stage, Rhythm Festival 2009

I’ve been a music promoter for most of my working life. It’s basically the same as being a theatrical impresario except, instead of plays, I organise rock ‘n’ roll shows. The wife likes to think of it as being something like a professional gambler, but that’s just her. A music promoter hires a venue, finds… Continue reading Life As An Out-Of-The Loop Music Promoter (Part 1)