BUSHELL ON THE BLOG
Jan 31. My chat with veteran blues singer Dana Gillespie is in today’s Sunday Express. You should see the stuff I had to leave out… I’m also talking TV with Mod legend Steve Ellis of Love Affair.
Jan 30. We should welcome the enterprising, hard-working Hong Kong Chinese with open arms. Give them somewhere like the Isle of Sheppey and watch ’em transform the arse-end of nowhere into Taiwan-on-Thames.
Jan 29. Album of the week: John Mayall – The First Generation, a 35CD beauty of a box set, ideal for anyone who loved the British blues of the Sixties… and has just won the Lottery. See today’s Express and Mirror for my review.
They’ve mucked up their vaccination roll-out, so now we’re seeing the ugly face of the EU. Panicking officials are threatening to block and confiscate Britain’s Pfizer order and harden up the Irish border. One of Merkel’s MEPs said “It’s time we begin to show our weapons”. Hande hoch, Englisher pigs! Doesn’t this display of colonial arrogance show exactly why we were right to leave? The only things the EU can reliably supply are red tape and bluster. Love Europe, hate bureaucracy.
Jan 28. A woman wrote to tabloid agony aunt Dear Deirdre last week saying that, before making love, her husband likes to play the BBC News theme and have her impersonate Fiona Bruce. She then has to read the headlines. It gives new meaning to “This just in.” Does it sound likely though? A man with a Fiona Bruce fetish? It’s crazy. Sophie Raworth I could understand…
If the Scots truly want to leave the UK, we should let them. It’d be a shame, but it would be wrong to deny them their “freedom” no matter how illusory. On the plus side the immediate end of the Barnett Formula would leave the rest of us quids in. And we’d no longer have to suffer wee Sturgeon’s grandstanding and whining. Whether the EU would accept Scotland’s membership application is another matter – can you see Spain saying yes? But that’s none of our business. Good luck to the Sweaties. And if it all goes kilts up, we’d probably have them back. Without the subsidies.
Another Covid question: if the elderly and most at risk will all be vaccinated by the end of March why will we need to keep pubs and restaurants closed? Is there another agenda at work here?
Jan 27. 100,000 people have died from Covid, we’re told. It’s grim statistic and a morbid milestone. But is it accurate? Have these poor souls perished from Covid or with Covid? It’s quite different. Anyone who croaks in a car crash but had recently tested positive for the Coronavirus gets recorded as a Covid death. The sensational spin fits the current mood of hysteria, unhelpfully generated by the BBC. No one seems to ask how many people have had Covid and survived it. Or mention the number of people who die every Winter from normal flu and respiratory illnesses – how many of them were registered as Covid deaths? When will we learn how many have taken their own lives through Lockdown depression, or how many have died, and will continue to die, from cancelled operations and untreated Illnesses? What effect will the premeditated wrecking of jobs and industries have on future health and prosperity? Why are debates about this verboten?
Jan 26. Great news for Ska fans. The Herbert Art Gallery and Museum in Coventry is organising the first ever major UK exhibition devoted to 2 Tone. The show will open on the 14th May as part of Coventry’s City of Culture celebrations. One part will be devoted to fashion and memorabilia adopted by fans including the 2 Tone suit, the Pork Pie hat, the Fred Perry polo shirt and the Harrington Jacket. Mercifully not Buster Bloodvessel’s white overalls – the tales they could tell! I’m told that the exhibition will “look at 2 Tone’s continuing influence on music, fashion, politics and culture.” It’ll include interviews and quotes from original band members and 3rd wave bands from around the world, famous fans and 2 Tone fanatics. It will also bring the story up to date. The show will climax with “an immersive 2 Tone experience” celebrating the energy and legendary sound of the bands' performances.
Jan 25. The Daily Star just asked me to name the greatest British situation comedy. It’s a tough question; it’s tempting to say Porridge but, at the risk of sounding like an old fogey, for me our greatest sitcom was Hancock's Half Hour. The forerunner of Seinfeld, and by implication Curb Your Enthusiasm, it starred Tony Hancock as a grumbling malcontent at war with the world. Like Seinfeld, Hancock played a version of himself. In this case, a poorer, grumpier one who was also a pompous snob with delusions of grandeur. The TV Hancock was forever falling out with others, often jobsworths and people in authority. It was written by Galton & Simpson, who later created that other classic sitcom Steptoe & Son. Both shows were a huge influence on John Sullivan, the creator and writer of Only Fools & Horses which in turn was easiest the greatest Brit-com of the 80s and 90s. Hancock was stuck in East Cheam with his conman pal Sid James. Liz Fraser and John Le Mesurier were semi-regulars. Classic black and white episodes were repeated in the 1980s, including The Blood Donor, The Lift and Twelve Angry Men and to the BBC's surprise they went straight into the Top Ten. At its height 20million people watched it. Stone me, as Hancock frequently said. Good cases could be made for Fawlty Towers and The Office too, and various writers make the case for them, Phoenix Nights end more here.
How exactly will Biden unite the US by embracing every Woke cause going? Isn’t his Guardianista agenda more likely to exacerbate divisions than heal them?
Jan 25. Happy Burns Night! I’m not Scottish but any reason to open the Mortlach, slam on some Skids and torment the kids with Haggis is to be encouraged.
Just when you thought real life couldn’t get any more like 1984, the ‘Conservative’ government led by ‘libertarian’ Boris is pushing a law to allow state agencies to use children to spy on their own parents. Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.
Jan 24. I’m interviewing Tony Parsons in today’s Sunday Express; a great author and a good man who deserves every success. Can’t wait to tell Joe Biden about it when he calls.
Jan 23. XcZcthlyzit… sorry, it’s bloody hard to type in these Bernie Sanders mittens.
Jan 22. When I die, I don’t want to be gasping for breath on a ventilator. No, I want to go like Ian Beale eating poisoned spaghetti off the Queen Vic floor with my fingers.
Odd that a show so devoted to “reality” and “ishoos” has completely swerved Covid. It’s the only pub in London that’s open. Must be in Tier Free.
Jan 21. Heard Gavin Williamson on the radio today. A potted plant would do a better job than this twerp.
Jan 20. The UK media coverage of Joe Biden’s inauguration is more over the top than Donald Trump’s barnet. Let’s check back when Joe Woke starts his first war.
Jan 17. Only in today’s Sunday Express, my thoughts on the legacy of punk… which might ruffle a few feathers… also my interview with sixties pop legends the Hollies, and a chat about telly with Jenny Powell.
Jan 14. RIP Sylvain Mizrahi, aka Sylvain Sylvain, the beating heart of the New York Dolls, who died yesterday after a long battle with cancer. All together: ‘Got a personality crisis, you got it while it was hot…’
Jan 10. A quick update for fans of my pulp fiction character Harry Tyler. This morning I finished the fourth book in the series. It is on schedule to be published in May this year. Book five is now officially a work in progress...