In praise of anchovies

My recent blogs have been on weighty historical and politico-economic themes. Imminent blogs will offer more of the same, since the past few weeks have been consumed with reading weighty historical and politico-economic tomes. I will want to share my thoughts on all that before I forget what they are. All the more need, therefore, for a little light relief this week. So I will write in praise of the humble anchovy.   Continue reading

Tom Russell at the 100 Club

There’s a Mexican dead on a power line
He’s deader than yesterday’s communion wine

That’s a good opening for a song by any standards. It’s from Stealing Electricity by Tom Russell. He sang it last week at the 100 Club in Oxford Street, calling his audience ‘bastards’ many times over, as is his wont. Somewhere, I have a weird recital of the lyrics by the beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti. They include one of my favourite couplets from any song:   Continue reading

Plus ça change

Autumn has come early to the Tarn. Normally, the leaves are still green when we leave our house here at the end of October. We watch the gradation of colour as we drive back to England. But this year the colours started changing in late September, and the leaves started falling. The weather has still mostly been warm, but not in the mornings or evenings. The sun has seemed less able to recharge its batteries each day.   [read more]

Doctor’s orders

For most of my life, health warnings, health advice, health anything, have been subjects to ignore. I recoil from faddishness and fussiness, and from people telling me what to eat and what not to eat. This is due not only to contrariness. To follow all the advice would be impossible, especially since much of it is contradictory, and to discriminate between different pieces of advice requires a level of competence that I do not possess.   [read more]

Never mind the Truth, here are the Facts

In the early 1970s I was involved in some pilot shows for a radio programme. In the end, we did so many pilots that they practically amounted to a series. The first prototype was offered to LBC with a view to being broadcast to insomniacs at 3 a.m. The second and third were done for the BBC. The tape of the third show survives and it is pretty bad, not helped by being recorded in front of a live audience of three people and a cat. But the idea: the idea was good, way ahead of its time, and deserving better treatment than it got from us.   [read more]

Teenage idols

Like any teenager, I had heroes. I’m not talking about pin-ups: that was something different. (Marianne Faithfull and Sandie Shaw, since you ask.) I mean proper male heroes: a sporting hero, a musical hero and a celluloid hero. One of the curiosities of my life is that – thanks to a series of staggering coincidences – by the time I was 20, I had met and talked to each of my teenage idols.   [read more]