This week I have been listening to the wonderful Trojan box set, Reggae Sisters, a compilation of 60s and 70s songs sung by women. There's something about women's voices and reggae that is irresistible. Take Lily Allen for example. No, please, take her.
The collection includes this song by my favourite 6ft, bald, one eyed female singer of all time.
Of course there's not a great song in the history of the world that hasn't been improved by a wacky English DJ talking shite over its beginning and end, and this video proves that.
My ideal job would be going through the TOTP archive with Betty, choosing performances, mimed or not, to put on a series of compilation DVDs. There'd be a little introduction to each song before it starts, no talking over and no words in the middle of the screen to ruin the video. Until then, we'll have to make do with hilarious Steve Wright and the Beeb's eclectic selection box of classics and mediocrity.
The radio is locked on Heart. They are playing Is This Love? by Bob Marley.
GEOFF: The thing is with Heart, they don't play any reggae artists except for Bob Marley. Oh, and bloody UB40 of course.
WORK COLLEAGUE NO. 1: Is there anybody other than Bob Marley and UB40?
The Metro newpaper is open at a page which contains an interview with this bloke. He is pictured in close up. The headline says he had a famous dad.
WORK COLLEAGUE NO. 2: Oh, I thought that looked like him. That's Kenny Everett's son!
N.B. When we used to live in the flat, at around the time Novocaine For The Soul was out, Betty constructed a paper E with a moving mouth. We used to sing the song and move the mouth at the same time. E got left behind when we moved. We only moved two doors down and when we see the woman who now lives in our old flat we wonder whether she found E. And if she did, what she really thinks of us.
I'm enjoying this series but the "Genius" of photography?
This week Denis Lawson read the following about the great photographers...
"What they have in common is a watchful attentiveness to the world and its ways. They see things we miss or don't think about and then report back so that we have a chance to think again."
I agree with the first part of that. But as to photographers seeing things we miss or don't think about? Most of us don't walk around with a camera glued to our eye. But how many times have we thought, "I wish I had a camera on me"? What strange things do we see out of the corner of our eye? What blurry images do we see when we're not quite awake or not concentrating? But we haven't got a camera on us because we're not obsessed with photographing things. The obsessives take what any of us can see and turn it into art. If that's genius, there are an awful lot of potential geniuses, too.
Kenny Everett: Licence To Laugh
More genius on Sunday evening as Kenny Everett was described as a comedy genius on ITV's portrait of the "comedian".
I've never found wacky disc jockey Kenny the least bit funny, but I was hoping to be converted by this programme. The old clips of Sid Snot, Cupid Stunt and Marcel Wave brought back waves of 70s nausea and made me feel nostalgic for those comfortable family humourists from the days before Kenny's "anarchic" brand of comedy, with its chumminess with the production staff forerunning wankers like Chris Tarrant and Chris Moyles (both paying tribute to Kenny in this show).
Watching Kenny was like gatecrashing a private party full of people in on a joke I didn't get. A very lonely experience.
Kenny's "anarchy" took him all the way to a Young Conservatives rally. The voiceover on the programme said...
"Nothing, it seemed, could undermine his position as loveable, cuddly Ken. Until an ill-judged moment of madness at a Young Conservatives rally in 1983."
KENNY: "Let's bomb Russia!"
"Kenny had overstepped the mark."
So let's get this right. Kenny had overstepped the mark by using irony, not by appearing at a Young Conservatives rally at the height of Thatcher's power.
Barry Cryer explained Ken's indiscretion. Kenny was an "apolitical animal". He was "pretty anti-Thatcher".
Ken the iconoclastic genius, taking the piss out of the Young Tories?
Nah, not interested. Not my scene. But we caught the end of Friday night's highlights programme and this geezer was getting down and dirty to some mean Appalachian Mountain Balls To The Wall Bluegrass.
I mean, there's catholic taste and there's, well, what on earth would you call this?
I've got three days holiday left which I'm taking this week. This morning we went to the hospital and were in and out of the fracture clinic in a couple of hours. Pretty good going, I thought. Betty's looking good in her new cast, choosing traditional white rather than a garish coloured one. She looks so at home in white, it makes me want to renew my marriage vows.
Back home, we went out to the shops where I bought a new teapot, a strainer to go with it, and some loose leaf tea. I've just had my first cup and I've fallen in love with tea all over again. The loose leaf stuff is so much more tasty and refreshing than those shitty weak bags. Last week I bought some ASDA Extra Special loose leaf tea bags which cost £2 for 25! And they were crap! They're supposed to be revolutionary with their nylon bags, but nobody in their right mind is going to buy them twice. Buy the real thing! Drink your tea! Get Gypsy Rosy Lee to read your grouts!
The taste takes me back to the old days when bags weren't available, when my nuclear family was all together. I've just borrowed some old pictures from my mum which take me back, too. There are some snaps of my parents in their bathing costumes on beaches when my dad thought he was Tony Curtis. Well, he was more Tony Curtis than Ian Curtis, anyway. Chubbier than Ian.
There are my parents' wedding photos, including both sets of grandparents. Didn't grandparents look old back then? And miserable.
There are some photos of my cousin Michael's wedding to Linda. They made a good-looking couple. He had something of the George Best about him. All the young women at the wedding wore short dresses and were smiling. The old women wore hats and looked miserable.
Michael never drank tea. Or coffee. He was strictly squash.
Watching the moving documentary on George Melly's last days last night, I discovered that he'd had an affair with Molly Parkin. Molly was previously (George's wife) Diana's best friend.
George, it seems, was happier with his open marriage than Diana was. It gave him free reign to shag anybody he wanted.
George and Molly are two of the few famous people I have encountered in my life. I met Molly on a playwriting course in London. George I bumped into as I alighted a train at Diss station on my way to a scriptwriting course. The courses, of course, came to nothing. But the memories of seeing these flamboyant characters close up will stick in my mind for longer than that of my brilliant writing career.
Beverly You work on the perfume counter at a department store. Your marriage is a mess. You are a very sensual woman. You need sex. Your husband doesn't give you what you need. He is a little jumped up creep who is more interested in his pathetic job than in you. You've invited the couple from over the road to this party. You fancy the husband like mad. He's a bit rough and ready, just your type. His wife's as naive as they come. You'll be able to flirt with him to your heart's content. Sod your pathetic excuse of a husband. You're going to have some fun.
Laurence You're a workaholic estate agent. You think you're cultured but you're not really. You're also a racist. According to you, the area is becoming too "cosmopolitan". You despise your wife who is sex-mad and has no interest in the finer things of life. She is a philistine and a slapper. She disgusts you. You will die in this play of a heart attack brought on by your wife, not by your job which you love.
Angela You are a naive, stupid nurse who is bullied by her husband. You are so stupid a lot of his vicious comments to you go straight over your head. You are a good woman, a public servant but you're as thick as pig shit. You can't even recognise the sexual electricity between your husband and your neighbour. You think everything in the garden will come up rosy. Stupid.
Tony Life has been one long disappointment to you. You weren't good enough to make it in professional football. You're working as a computer operator, for Christ's sake. Your wife is a mousy, stupid little sexless thing who wouldn't say boo to a goose. You're a passionate man who likes a bit of rough sex. The only way you get rough in your marriage is by dominating the little mouse. Your neighbour fancies you something rotten. She's up for it and you're not going to argue if it's there on a plate for you.
Susan You are the audience on stage. You're a nice "old middle class" woman (a divorcee whose ex-husband is an architect) trapped in an atmosphere of vulgarity and violent frustration. You're only here because you have nowhere else to go as your teenage punk daughter is holding a party at your house ("Abigail's Party"). You know about the arts. You are not racist. You don't think the neighbourhood has gone downhill. You are accepting of everybody, even at this party. But this atmosphere, and especially that horrid woman Beverly will test your patience to its limit. You are a genuinely nice person, Susan. Just like the audience. You are one of us.
My sister went to church yesterday. They tasted the body and the blood of Christ. I am on the phone to my mother.
She went with a friend from work. She goes every Sunday. Her husband never goes. Your sister will probably go again. Though not every week. It was a very emotional service. I suppose it helps people. Usually when they're getting old. You're not an atheist, are you?
You know I am.
Like your dad. Though he wasn't always one. When we were first married he used to pray every night before he went to bed.
I've always been an atheist. I could never take any of it seriously. We even used to take the mickey out of the vicar at Primary School.
Is Betty an atheist?
Yes. I couldn't live with anybody who wasn't.
You lived with us.
I mean through choice. I couldn't live with a partner who believed in that stuff.
LATER IN THE CONVERSATION...
The trouble with Sundays...there's never anything on the telly when I get up. It's either football or cartoons on all the channels. Nothing for the likes of us.
More and more bloggers are commenting on Betty's site, referring to her husband, "Geoff", as if I were an 'er indoors type of character and not an internationally renowned blogger in my own right.
That's alright, I can take it. We've both got the majority of our audiences in common and those of Betty's readers who can't see the worth in me...well, we know what they're missing, don't we?
Come on, humour me!
I've got a more needy ego than Betty, though. And my ego tells me to do more, maybe a podcast of my poems. Yes, what a prick!
Then I hear Roger McGough and his smug delivery and wonder whether I would sound even more smug, or even worse, sound like Mark Miwurdz. Penny for the guy, anyone?
So another blog it is, a poetry blog no less. I know it's not going to be popular but you'll be very welcome if you pop in from time to time. I'll attempt to post a poem a week and keep my poetry to that blog and my prose to this one.
Of course those of you who hate my poems will be relieved there'll be no more of them on here. Just pure and simple straightforward social commentary for serious minds.