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

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

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

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

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

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

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

East Europeans Cleaning Up

We have a Polish cleaner. There, I’ve admitted it. For a liberal, woolly-minded Old Labour person like me, that’s a big admission. Or, at least, it used to be. Now it’s perfectly normal to have ‘help around the house’, and to justify my actions I’d just say that if I didn’t employ her, she’d be … Read more

Complaint: From Minor Moans to Principled Protests

Making a complaint

Talking about complaining, can I just say that Profile Books has just published a book called Complaint by Julian Baggini. It is claimed that this 224-page paperback is the first to be devoted to the subject. All I can say is: It’s about bloody time! Call yourself a publishing industry, making us wait 568 years … Read more

Total Cost of the Credit Crunch

cost of the credit crunch

Let’s not worry about the true cost of the credit crunch. I’m sure it’ll all come right in the end. Actually, you’ve got to feel sorry for the banks and credit card companies. They sustained us through the good times, barely taking enough profit to carpet their meagre offices and keep their executives and shareholders … Read more