Thursday, April 30, 2009


At the beginning of this month I went to pick up my repeat prescription at the chemist's. They'd neglected to order one of my items. I had enough of these pills to keep me going for a couple of weeks so I came back in the middle of the month to get them.

Yesterday I went to pick up a new supply of everything. The chemist said I was too early, I'd have to wait 'til the 15th or I could put my repeat prescription in jeopardy. I told her I was running out of one part of my prescription and the 15th would be too late. It was their fault I didn't get my full prescription at the beginning of the month. She relented but warned me of the possible consequences if I ordered too early in future.

So for next month I said I would like all the items on my prescription. She said I could have them all except for the hayfever nasal spray. Because it had been over six months since I'd ordered this item I would have to see my doctor to get it back on the repeat prescription.

I said the drug is for hayfever! For most of the year I don't get hayfever! Why should I order this drug in the middle of winter? I don't get hayfever in winter! What a stupid rule! Etc, etc.

But rules are rules and I'll have to waste my doctor's time in the next few months. Not just yet, you see, as I have a nice big stock of last year's over-ordered hayfever drugs at home. I hoard them like a squirrel hoards its nuts, bury them underneath more drugs, filling up the cupboard like a junkie.

I love that spray. I can't get enough.

Monday, April 27, 2009

What A Waste

I wonder if there's a Brazilian one-man air conditioning repair company called Jesus Of Cool?

Anyway, my mum phoned me up on Saturday to tell me she'd heard The Blockheads on Jonathan Ross's radio show. The new singer sounds just like Ian Dury, she said.

My mum still has me down as a massive Ian Dury & The Blockheads fan. Oh, and that "gravely voiced" Tom Waits.

It's been a long time since I listened to either. What I was listening to in the early 80s was limited to the records and cassettes I had. I couldn't afford a large, eclectic music collection. Even so, my mum's memory is selective. I had a reasonable number of albums for someone with little disposable income.

Reasonably well off young people these days have it all. A whole swathe of popular music available for free on the internet. Back then I took what I could from what was currently being pushed in the NME. The 50s, 60s and 70s were confined to history. Just imagine if NME readers nowadays stuck to the current indie music, ignoring pop's great history. What a boring generation they'd be!

Friday, April 24, 2009

A Shyness That Is Criminally Vulgar

Last night I was thinking, as you do, about the autographs I have owned. I've seen plenty of celebrities but never asked for an autograph for myself. I was always too shy and my mum and dad asked for me. In fact I didn't want them to but they felt they had to. Part of being a parent is embarrassing your children in front of all and sundry.

When I was five we were at a local fete and Eric Sykes was there. He was there in some official capacity so I presume his services were paid for. My mum dragged me up to Eric. I didn't know much about him but he signed his autograph for me. "To Geoffrey, best wishes, Eric Sykes".

Then when I was about seven a Tesco supermarket was opening in Crayford. My mum thought it would be a good idea to go along to the opening. Two Millwall footballers, Dereck Possee and Eamon Dunphy were there in an official capacity so they must have been paid for their services. My mum dragged me up to the two men and they signed their autographs. "Derek Possee" and "Eamon Dunphy". This was in the days before I wouldn't piss on a Millwall player if he were on fire.

Then when I was about ten my dad took me to Loftus Road to see Q.P.R. v West Ham and sitting behind us was the great Frank Lampard. (His son, the current scumbag Chelsea player will always be "Junior" to me). My dad turned to Frank and said "Frank, can we have your autograph, please?" Frank obliged and wrote "Frank Lampard".

In each of these cases I was egged on by my parents to ask the other adults for their autographs. In each case I was terrified I might have to, almost to the point of tears and my parents asked the men themselves. But each time they convinced themselves they were doing it for me, the boy who was too shy and needed to come out of his shell.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Britain's Got Shite

Britain's Got Talent makes stars of ordinary people.

A person who is talented at something possesses an unusual innate ability in their field.

Enrico Caruso was a talented opera singer. Paul Potts isn't.

Gene Kelly was a talented dancer. George Sampson isn't.

Judy Garland was a talented singer of songs from musicals. Susan Boyle isn't.

John Coltrane was a talented saxophonist. Julian Smith isn't.

Both George Best and Vinny Jones could play football. George was talented. Vinny wasn't.

Britain's got a load of Vinny Joneses all being told they're George Best. And the British public are happier watching Vinny Jones than George Best!

That's just not right.

Friday, April 17, 2009

All Our Yesterdays

When I was at school it was all the fashion to paint our haversacks with pictures of our favourite pop star, album cover, etc.

A small gang of us were big Tomorrow's World fans. And we were in love with the gorgeous Judith Hann. My friend Stuart was a talented artist and he painted beautiful portraits of Judith on all our bags. How proud we were to display our sexy bags to the other boys, dull in comparison with their botched Yes logos and rudimentary Ozzy Osbournes.

After a year, however, the paintings began to fade, through wear and tear. Stuart volunteered one weekend to repaint our bags with our favourite Tomorrow's World presenter.

He turned up at school on the Monday with a batch of the most beautiful Judiths we had ever seen. Mine even looked like she was winking at me and Graham's was most lascivious!

But when Stuart tentatively revealed to us the picture on his own bag, we had the biggest surprise of our young lives. Because this was the day our friend Stuart came out to the whole school. His favourite Tomorrow's World presenter was not Judith Hann. Oh, no.

That was the day our friend made a Rodd for his own back!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

It Wasn't Just The Police

The Hillsborough Disaster was not an accident, but it was waiting to happen.

You read about fans of other clubs than Liverpool being involved in crushes in the Leppings Lane end in previous Cup semi-finals. Fans were segregated and herded into areas they maybe didn't have tickets for. They were herded in like cattle with no escape route as Sheffield Wednesday's board, like many others, had decided to erect wire pens to keep the fans from invading the pitch. Did they forsee the possibility of fans invading the pitch to save their own lives? If they didn't they must have been pretty fucking thick.

It would be impossible to have complete justice for the tragedy. Unless you could imprison a Thatcherite mindset.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Alex, Vic and George

So I finished the Alex James book. I didn't throw it out the window when Keith Allen made his unwelcome appearance and I trawled my way through Alex's flying lessons, his falling in love with the lovely lady he made his wife, his buying his very big house in the country and his soppiness at the birth of his beautiful children. Where was the cheese, Alex? I expected cheese.

And in just over a day (extremely unusual for me) I have read Vic Reeves' Me:Moir, the story of the first twenty years of his life. I liked Vic before and I like him even more now, though I am jealous, once again, of reading about somebody who grew up with friends who wanted to form a band.

Finally in my trilogy of three autobiographies, it's George Melly's, as recommended by Arabella. Yes, I'm keeping the least flamboyant, most conventional character 'til last. Come on, George. Don't let me down.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

This Is The Sound Of My Soul

Terry Hall's appearance on Later With Jools was heartwarming for us old miseries. I know he never smiles whilst performing but he looked so pissed off throughout the whole show he negated any enjoyment anybody might have gained from any of the music on offer.

Why The Specials are back together playing live, God only knows. Jerry Dammers sensibly doesn't want anything to do with it. High octane ska is best performed by young energetic musicians to an audience of skinny rude boys, not by a band in their fifties egging on middle aged fat fucks like Phill Jupitus and his ilk, all struggling to breathe as they pound the floor with the full force of their furred arteried bodies.

Turning back the years is the last thing Terry wants to do. Why can't we let him sit at home with his feet up like the rest of us middle aged curmudgeons?

One of the free papers gave ABC five stars for their live performance this week. And Martin wore his lurex suit! This is the sad chicken-in-a-basket circuit that The Specials are now joining.

And of course there's Spandau fucking Ballet. Tony Hadley, fresh from appearing at last year's Gala at the Tory Party Conference, will sing hits such as True and Gold in front of audience after audience of cloth-eared morons all over the country, reminiscing about the absolute low point in pop music history as if it were somehow a good time to be alive!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Ice Cold With Alex

More words of wisdom from our learned friend and Blur bass player, Alex James.

"I was a hedonist. I wanted to get drunk and be irresponsible."


"I saw life merely as an opportunity to have as much fun as possible. All young people do, I think."

Wrong. We weren't all fun-loving, Alex. Many of us were depressed, you know.

And on why festivals became the place to be seen for hordes of middle class students in the 90s:-

"I think it was because the best music attracts the prettiest girls and when the pretty girls come, everyone else soon follows."

I think you'll find, Alex, that the best music in the 90s was in the clubs. And I'm at a loss to understand why being a pretty girl means you've got good taste in music. And does everyone follow pretty girls? I thought only creepy men followed pretty girls?

To be continued.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Sky News Live Today

Bad spelling is a must for the common man or woman's funeral. And Jade Goody's was no different. From the "Gran Daughter" flowers to the "Your Special" written on a girl's balloon, this was a funeral for the uneducated. Which makes it all the more special that so much of Jade's money is going towards private education for her sons.

Then there was the "Marmite" flower arrangement. People either love or hate Marmite, say the adverts. People either love or hate me, like they love or hate Marmite, said Jade.

Yes, Jade was like Marmite. You either loved or hated her like you loved or hated Marmite. Or maybe, like me, you are totally indifferent to Marmite and were totally indifferent about Jade.

Am I allowed to take this position? Is it allowed to not really be bothered about Marmite or Jade Goody? Do I have to feel strongly one way or the other? Marmite's a very ordinary foodstuff. Jade was a very ordinary young woman. Ordinary doesn't really move me.

Friday, April 03, 2009

This Is A Low

The two loves of Alex James' life are Graham Coxon and cheese. He's ended up with just one of those but anybody in their right mind would choose something tasty over a myopic ex-drunk.

I'm reading Alex's autobiography and not liking him one little bit. He talks about the students at Goldsmiths College while he was there as cultural revolutionaries who bestrode "the ultimate decade of the last millenium" like colossuses. I presume by "ultimate" he means the last. Because Britpop and Britart was mostly a load of old cack, wasn't it?

He talks about Charles Saatchi being extremely "clever" because he saw the potential in Damien Hirst's art.

"No one's right all the time, but some people have a knack for picking winners, and they become winners themselves."

What bollocks! As if Saatchi wasn't already one of life's privileged winners and able to influence by his wealth alone!

More on Alex in future weeks.