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Saturday, 26 October 2013

The Ballad of Russell and Roberta...

The scene: Day three of Roberta and Russell's Bed-in at the Amsterdam Hilton for a Slightly Less Iniquitous World Order and already the boredom is beginning to set in....)

Rob.: So, run me through this Bed-in for a Slightly Less Iniquitous World Order thing again....

Rus.,: Well, basically babes, we are opposing a tyrannical and illegitimate archetype that guarantees, prima facie as an inevitable function of its paradigm, rampant global inequality and has no moral legimacy whatsoever and by lying here in bed as we are in our cosy Imperial sized bed at the not inconsiderably expensive and luxurious Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam we are striking a *damaging* blow to the empirically unsustainable power elites of global finance and the world moneyed elite. Plus it's nice to be able to catch your breath once in a while in between hosting all those awards ceremonies and just chillax with a likeminded old babe-buddy....

Rob.: Ah, that's sweet! OK then. So, we're in Am-ster-dam! That would explain those breakfasts. What's with the ham and cheese at this time in the morning? And ALL that BREAD? I mean, I like a slice of slimsea every now and then as much as the next woman, but this is beyond a joke. And that heavy brown stuff with the millet on it - that *is* actually edible is it? Only I've been using mine to keep me pumps from sagging. If you find a slice on the shagpile, I'd give it a miss if I were you - it might be one of mine. Sorry, I've digressed. What were we talking about...?

Russ.: ...opposing a tyrannical and illegitimate archetype that guarantees global inequality and has no moral legimacy whatsoever and striking a *damaging* blow to the empirically unsustainable power elites of global finance and the world moneyed elite....*kind* *of* important....

Rob.: Oh yes, that. Right. Well, obviously I'm right behind you - well, right *next* to you, just to make that clear to the watching world media... - on that. Absolutely 'shoulders' Russ. Bloody peeve me off they do, those banking wotsits and the whole global whatjermacallit of inequalitous, hang on, he's that UKIP chappy. But yes, right on, bro/sis, to all of that. I'm just not quite sure what we are going to do about it all just by having a slightly lengthier than usual lie-in in a very plush Amsterdam hotel, is all....

Russ.: Well, it's *media* *exposure* babe, obviously Darling! Just think, there won't be a *single* newsdesk on the planet that won't want to put two gorgeous squire/ettes like us lying provocatively draped together 'neath silken sheets in a *known* global hotspot of depravity and debauchery - sorry, I didn't mean to spit on, use my cravat, that should get the worst of it off. You can use the rest to slick your sideboards back. Just because we're lying in bed for a week doesn't mean that you have to lose *all* semblance of basic human hygiene you know. I mean, how long have you had those socks on - oh no, hang on, it's a bit of Stilton from breakfast that's got stuck in your calliper. I'll ring up for some tweezers from room service in a mo...we're getting low on the Moet front anyway. You've made me lose my thread here. Where was I? Oh yes. The media. See, normally, a stunt like this would just be some boring way of getting publicity for a new movie or gameshow or autobiography or something, but this is *completely* *different*. See, we're making ourselves look *absolutely* *ridiculous* for world peace....or whatever it was I said earlier....see, it's you with yer bloody mindless interjections about breakfast throwing me off my stride. I had it all figured out a minute ago but now all I can think about is avoiding your improvised shoe expanders cobbled together from items of traditional Dutch breakfast comestibles. Honestly, no wonder the poor world's in such a state...

Rob.: I can kind of see the logic of it where you're concerned, but what about me? I mean, I don't have *anything* like your profile. I can't even get Lucy Adams to friend me on Facebook - and she's been in the same room as Chris Effing Patten for crying out loud. You'd think she'd need all the friends she could get. And I went to junior school with her...

Russ.: went to school with Lucy 'Loosey' Adams....?

Rob.: Why certainly. Look here....what does that say on the top left of the middle leather calliper strapping....?

Russ.: [reading slowly, as if trying to make out a well aged motto scratched into worn leather] 'Roberta, you is such a MING. Luv Luce H...'

Rob.: She used to kick away my sticks too...

Russ.: Don't put yourself down babe - you're a vital part of this team. I mean, what would I do without your songs?

Rob: Yes, and before you start on about it, when I said that was the last time I was going to fart 'I'm forever blowing bubbles' into a punchbowl of Drambuie breezers, I meant it...

Russ.: No, I mean *your* songs...

Rob: Oh right, ta. Oh yes, which reminds me, I've had an idea for another one - in fact, a whole ruddy LP we could do to cash in on...I mean, commemorate our glorious struggle against the paradiddles of globular inequusness...

Russ.: Go on...

Rob: Well, it would be called the Wedding Album and all of side one is just one track with us saying each others names in a variety of silly voices for half an know, 'Roberta.....Russell....Roberta....Russell....Roberta!!....Russell!!!!!............Roberta?....................Russell???.....'

Russ.: ...yes, I kind of  get the concept babe...

Rob.: ...and we could have a pretend slice of wedding cake and a facsimile of the certificate, Russell.....stop rubbing up against me like that....'ere.....are those twenty deniers you've got on....Rus-sell!! Ah, Jesus, do we have to go through all this again. I'm still waiting for the stubble rash to subside from the last time. Oh go on then, but don't get snagged on me calliper again...and tell that lot with the cameras to look away....

Monday, 30 September 2013

Paul Davis

I actually went to school with this guy and he's finally made it!

Which is a good job, because he owes me some moolah.

Check him out by clicking on the words that comprise his name.

It's a Coooooool site!

Love on y'all,


Sir Harrison Birtwistle's Indespensable Guide To Contemporary Music...

This week: Drum 'n' bass

How do,

As ye know, I'm a plain speakin', Accrington born laddie me and I doesn't care to mince uz words. Ye'll get none o' the sort o' fancy Dan fripperies ye would from yon poncy Southern Music critics from this un. (Most of 'em are right bloody pooves an' all, like as not). No, I speak as I find me, call a spade a spade and if ye don't like it, happen as like ye'll know where tha's can shove it!

Anyroad, this week I've listened to yon Drum 'n' bass music and quite frankly, if ye want t'truth, I'll give it ee straight: I've never heard such a flamin' racket in all uz born days. It's bloody murder on tha' eardrums - worse than bloody Peter Maxwell Davis (if ye can believe that!) I was fair near tearin' uz ears off after the first couple or three bars, it were such a cacophony. Tuneless bloody racket it is, I'm not kiddin' ye. Happen as like yon young uns'll go doolally o'er it but if y'ask me, it's nowt but a bollockin' pile of old shite.

Let's be havin ye,

This week: Franz Ferdinand

How do,

As thee know, I'm not one t'shy away from plain speakin', me. I'm an Accrington born laddie and proud o't and uz doesn't care t'mince uz words. I like t'shoot from t'hip, does I. Thee'll get none o' yon meally mouthed blatherin' and a-mitherin' from this un. None o't'pompous peregrinations and regurgitated bourgeoise platitudes of yon poncy, la-di-da NME journalists from this un, thee can count on't. No, I speaks as I find me, calls a spade a spade and if tha doesn't like it, tha's can take a flamin' hike and take tha beggarin' wife with 'ee!

Anyroad, this week I've listened to yon Franz Ferdinand and, if thee wants t'truth, I'll give it thee straight, no beatin' round t'bush: thez are a shower o' feckin' shite if ever I did hear't. What a flamin' racket! Never heard such a pathetic heap of codswallop since uz did t'first run through of t'Orestia at t'flamin' Festival Hall with yon twatting one-armed conductor. Cacophony? I'll give thee bloody cacophony. I've heard more sense comin' out me own arse after one of t'wife's stout and mushy pea pies than out of yon singer's bloody gob. Thez make t'bleedin' Gang o' Four sound like t'Nolans and no mistake. By heck, I'm not kiddin' ye - I'd rather eat uz own shite than have t'put up wi' yon caterwaulin' again. And jest t'put t'bloody silk cap on't, yon singer's one o' them fancy Dan bleedin' Southerner Guardian columnists an' all. Bunch of pooves thez are, and no mistake. Tha'll not get this un wi' uz back to 'em for a kick off, I can tell thee.

Happen as like yon young uns'll go doolally o'er it but if tha asks me, Franz Ferdinand? Thez nowt but a bollockin' pile of old shite.

Now, get away with thee before I teks uz bloody belt to thee,


Sunday, 29 September 2013

The boy with the hole in his heart...

The scar was a zipped up fly of blistered skin. It ran for about six inches down the middle of his chest. It was as if someone had taken an iron to some worms and a passion flower and then a translucent skin had been allowed to form over the resulting mess. Most of our scars were visible back then, his was just the most apparent and the most extreme. There was a spina bifida boy with crutches and a calliper in the year below and another sturdy girl with a stiffening fixture on one leg, but their manmade buttressing somehow seemed to make them less, not more fragile. We were all always getting cuts and grazes, but they mostly came from falling over. The knees of Ian Davis and Brian Nederhoff in particular seemed to be perpetually scabbed or bleeding, bleeding or scabbed. Tall and gangly Big Birds, they both seemed especially prone to going down. A strange mustard coloured ointment would be daubed on to the blackcurrant jam of their wounds and somehow, soon, everything would be alright, their tears become smiles once more. But nothing as extreme had befallen us as had the boy with the hole in his heart. You didn't get a scar like that just from falling over.

We didn't call him the boy with the hole in his heart back then, of course, but Pharoah Kid was Pharoah Kid even then, only rarely to his face. It was just the way our minds worked, I suppose. His unruly shanks of growing out ruffian crop hair were abstracted into a crude, linear, side-on Egyptian caricature. In much the same way, the boy with the hole in his heart was The Milky Bar Kid owing to a passing similarity to the kid from the TV advert which, now I think about it, didn't extend too far beyond them wearing similar round framed, high magnification spectacles and both being kids. But it seems right to call him this new name now, to turn that lifelong reminder of a childhood hole in the heart operation into the stuff of metaphor. Because now we too know a little of what he went through. Our hearts have all been yanked out, pummelled, probed and prodded, put back in and the wounds, however poorly, however ineptly they disguise the trauma undergone, have been stitched up. There were no surgical gloves, there was no anaesthetic for us though.

And then there was Harry. That strange meeting at Kefalinnia Airport. The odd rightness of that Greek setting; him returning from the Island of Odysseus which we'd observed for the previous two weeks from our lazy poolside, unaware that he had been secluded there somewhere on one of Ithaca's rugged boobs. Harry, still the quiet centre of it all, his fame and renown even greater than when I could claim to know him. Those Ustinov locks hoary now but deserving of the laurel leaves they always seemed to be requiring then. But so sad now, and lost looking, with Sheila gone. And me, my Mother living on through me, perhaps, inhabiting me, something anyway making me become the compassionate, concerned 'good with people' son - perhaps the man she'd hoped one day I would become. The past healed, then, in a moment, with that firm and more meant than was ever said hand clasp and his straight in the eye, sincere entreaty to 'take care of yourself'.

The past is healed. It can be written now, with love. Because I tried before to write it but there was still anger in my heart. But now there is no room for that. Not with so many gone. First Bill, my Mum, then Dad and now Sheila. Only Harry and Jo-Jo remaining now of all our parents. How can there be room for anger? What is it Larkin says? 'All that survives of us  - remains of us? - is love'. And whichever it is, that's true. 

All that is left is love. Love, love, love.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Delete blog option #1,468...

Controversial self-styled web terrorist and housewife superstar Roberta Swipe has died at the age of 48 in a state-sponsored Bed & Breakfast in Norfolk of an unspecified groin ailment. It's the second time in as many months that the barely known and much-despised contrarian author of 'My Life in the Bush of Tights' and other spectacularly unsuccessful (not to mention unpublished) works has taken her own life in a failed attempt to drum up some semblance of a readership. Swipe, once again, leaves behind a harem of fictitious celebrity wives due to her belated conversion to Islam/a partially successful sex change - the harem is thought to include Bette Stove, Tara Palmer Tompkinson and Lyndsey de Paul to name but eight. However, under stringent new anti-terrorist laws the actual names of the estimated 412 concubines cannot be published, only communicated by semaphor at night within a 12 mile radius of Hartlepool. Swipe's Tabbyssinian cat, Monty, was once again unavailable for comment.

Tributes to the much mourned (not to mention deceased) broadcaster and wit have been pouring in from across the blogosphere. The grief-fuelled outpourings of Titty Abimuss, author of the popular, mildly erotic and highly instructive 'Girl with a One Track Mind' blog were pretty representative. 'Roberta was a much misunderstood artist who even bore a vague resemblance to a normal human being at times', wept the celebrated author who is frequently wheeled out at random by BBC news 24 and so on to pontificate on all matters vaguely related to the internet (or sex - so she'd be a dead cert for sex on the internet stories, actually, now I gthink of it) in a lull between youthful sexual partners. 'She didn't help matters much by writing in Swahili and changing the address of her blog every five minutes, but I for one will very much miss her, if only because she was actually quite a dab hand at spelling words such as chlamydia and such like that I often have a problem with - and before you get all snooty, you try leafing casually through a Chambers concise when you've got half a hundred weight of key grip going hell for leather with a chamois over your private portions in the back of a catering trailer...'

The news of Swipe's repeated demise comes at a time of growing concerns over internet freedom. 'Roberta was many things - and most of those involved wearing badly laddered pantyhose and rather too much foundation - but at least you knew where you stood with her; usually with your back firmly up against the wall!' commented Van Istski, rhythm guitarist and farfisa organist with popular post-punk trio the Labial Tizers. However, in a move designed to placate his angry europhobe backbenchers, Prime Minister David Cameron is said to be considering a public beheading and massed booing of Swipe's corpse as an example to others. A Downing Street insider opined, 'this Swipe bint is a tremendous example of the harm that an unrestrained and feral internet can do. These people can say whatever they please and it's often downright offensive to someone or other, somewhere on the planet which is, if you ask me, unspeakably beastly. And I should know, I frequently fagged for Nicholas Soames so there's little I don't know on the subject of unspeakable beastliness, I can tell you. Skidmarks like tractor tryes is only the half of it, ducky. Now, all we're calling for is sensible regulation and light monitoring so that we know exactly what everyone is writing at any given time and can intervene to have them locked up in order to stop anyone who might otherwise try to blow up our citizens from being offended.'

For reasons of national security, the Roberta Swipe Show blog will be closed down at midnight tonight.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Bobcast #79

Eddie, are you kidding???? Listen, download, ignore here...


Friday, 24 May 2013

Transvestite Pop Star Hacked to death in Second Brutal Hacking to Death Incident...

Robert Swipe, the transvestite Pop Star and self-styled 'First Lady of Web Terrorism' has been found viciously hacked to death by Islamofascist Global Terror Suspects in his West London home. Swipe, who up until his untimely and sensationalist murder was trying to kid the world that he was still only 45, left behind several wives, one viciously carnivorous but ultimately lovable Tabbyssinian cat and two half-eaten Snickers bars which, in typically contrarian style, he insisted upon referring to as 'Marathons' right up to the bitter end. At a hastily arranged press conference/champagne buffet and reception held in the back of the Prime Ministerial limousine, David Cameron made the following statement:

We condemn in the strongest terms this vicious and unprovoked assault upon one of our Nation's most expendable stand up comedienne's/talentless pop wannabees. Robert Swipe may have been typical of his class; a decadant, amoral loafer with all of the ambition of a demotivated sloth suffering a major existential crisis and about as relevant to contemporary British society as a vaguely racist Lance Percival 45 rpm disc, but he was often completely harmless and had, to his credit, as much intention of voting UKIP as my wife and I have - although of late Samantha has, worryingly, begun to make some rather alarming comments about asylum seekers and 'squeezing the cripples' until the pips squeak'. Much as I would like to reassure her that both of these are indeed very high on the list of current Government policy priorities, I have to be very careful of what I say in public in case the Deputy Prime Minister finds out. Robert will be sorely missed - not least at the ballot box in the forthcoming Eurpopean elections where - I won't lie to you - we need every single non-UKIP vote we can get our hands on, no matter how unsavoury and morally dubious some of the lifestyle choices of these grimey little toerags might be.

The circumstances surrounding Swipe's brutal hacking to death with a saracen sword-style machete remain surrounded in the usual bogus fug of obfuscation that surrounds carefully orchestrated symbolic state executions masquerading as random atrocities aimed at spreading fear and terror amongst an otherwise docile and harmoniously co-existant multi-cultural society. However his murderers are believed to have broken into his bijou West London home in a fashionable part of Feltham (nowhere near the terrorist hotbed Young Offenders institute) and savagely hacked him to death in a vicious and brutal manner. The terrified perpetrators then beat a hasty retreat to await arrest in a crowded nearby street, posing for photographs whilst telling the rapidly swelling crowd of onlookers that, rather than voting for UKIP at the forthcoming European Elections, they could send an even more powerful message to the Coalition by agreeing to be swallowed up by a new Caliphate sweeping its way majestically across Europe, from Southern Spain to the Russian steppes, with the Eurozone being effectively replaced by a return to the feudalism of the Middle Ages. 'You'll be begging for the EU to come back by the time we've finished with you', one of the murderers is supposed to have informed Adam Boulting before helping himself to a bourbon biscuit offered to him by the hastily convened Sky outside broadcast catering unit.

Swipe's widows, Sophie Rayworth, Michal Hussein, Wendy Hurrell, Emily Maitliss, Kirsty Wark (Kirtsy Wark???) and Tanya Beckett (Swipe converted to Islam in 2006 precisely in order to take advantage of its more liberal attitudes to polygamy) are convinced that their former husband (and lover) was the victim of a shady collaboration between the CIA, the British Government and the laughably incoherent and ineffectual assortment of so-called terror cells grouped together under the supposedly terrifying umbrella of 'Al-Qua-bloody-eda'. "We want the truth about Bob's viscious hacking to death by Islamofascist Global Terror Suspects in his West London home to come out", said Bob's harem of wives in a carefully worded - not to mention synchronised - statement. "We know the CIA and 'Al-Qua-bloody-aeda' have been in cahoots since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and have now forged a mutually beneficial 'enemies of convenience' arrangement  that allows both parties to benefit from massively inappropriate levels of funding from their government and the Saudis respectively. This may be convenient for the organisations themselves, the military/industrial complex, the global power balance and News International, but we have lost a much-loved husband and a tender and giving lover not remotely fazed by the complexities of pleasuring multiple newsreaders in the 24/7 digital information age. A part of us died with Bob and we now have only our vast collection of sexual aides and Trevor McDonald to comfort us at this most difficult of times."

Bob's cat, Monty, was unavailable for comment...


2012 Games Hit by Savage Coalition Cuts...

The prestigious London Olympics set to be staged in summer 2012 could become the latest high profile casualties of the ongoing cuts sanctioned by the Liberal Democrat and Conservative coalition. Seb Coe, himself a high profile tory supporter, was the first London 2012 official to break ranks and come out in public to condemn the government for extending its austerity programme to what had been hoped would be a joyous sporting occasion.

"I'm fecking livid!" Snapped former middle distance champion Coe, in between taking swipes at a punch bag with a photograph of Steve Ovett sellotaped to the top. "We're hoping to lure the word's finest athletes over here for a wonderful athletics tournament when all the time the rug is being pulled from under our feet by those cowardly politicians. First they let the anti-cuts protestors abscond with several thousand quid's worth of Boris Johnson's hire bikes (sponsored by Barclays) and now they've told us that the games won't be exempt from the cuts either. It's a rotten shame as we were hoping to use the bikes for the Cycling pursiut in our lovely new state of the art Velodrome - or flipping bike shed, as it'll no doubt be by the time Cameron and Clegg have had their way with it."

"And that's just the start of it", continued Lord Coe. "How's Hussein Bolt going to feel when he turns up and finds there's only enough cinder track laid for him to run the 50 metres?

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

We're only making plans for Nigel...

Exciting developments here at Swipe Towers. As many of you will know, I've been a long standing opponent of Britain's membership of the European Community - well, you know me and foreigners! Never have got on with them - especially the French! And don't start me off on the Germans... what was it Tom Lehrer said?:

We taught them a lesson in 1918 ....
...and they've hardly bothered us since then...

Erm, *hello*!?

So you can imagine my unbridled joy when I get a call from UKIP leader Nigel Farage asking if I'd be interested in appearing in or doing the voice-over for their next Party Political Broadcast. 'Just try and stop me, Nige!' I chortle down the line as I rifle though the old wardrobe for a suitably exotic tweed three piece - well, you can never look too stylish for voice-over work, can you? 'Indeed, I can go one further,' I tell him as I run the rule over a rather dapper pair of plus two and three-quarters that haven't seen the light of day since my last tour of the 19th hole with Alice Cooper back in the heyday of his peak time 'A round with Alice' pro-celebrity golf and wine tasting televisual spectaculars. 'If we're really going to build on the solid start you chaps have made in the recent local election and really start powering on to become a major force in British politics, you're going to need to get your social media campaign sorted, and PDQ. Now, don't take this personally Nige, but pleasant old cove as you'd no doubt be to sup a couple of tankards of fiercely independent British ale with in the snug bar of the Dandelion and Artichoke, I'm guessing you don't know one end of a Twitter from a Joined-up FaceTube, am I right?' There's a cascade of pooterish snorting from the other end of the line. 'Right-ho, Nige - leave it to me.'

Well, we've all got to play our part haven't we if we want to drag this sad and begraggled country kicking and screaming from the mire of Federalist craziness, Health and Safety straight jacketing and Political Correctness gone mad and back up to where it really belongs - in the 1950s. I mean, don't get me wrong, I've nothing against your average Nigerian or Somalian. No. Indeed, some of them have been amongst the most reliable domestic servants I've ever had the pleasure of fining a week's wages for dozing off in the larder whilst on kedgiree stirring fatigues. The sun shines on Englishman and wog alike, who could disagree with such a basic, noble sentiment - after all, is not such a progressive notion of brotherhood and commonwealth the very foundation stone of our blessed and eternal Empire? Exactly. I'm no racist - indeed, I'll take my sturdiest 12-bore to the first curmudgeonly rascal who dares suggest I am and have them publicly horse-whipped by the Royal Hussars' finest into the bargain. No, I'll happily break bread with any tint of darky, be it in Nairobi, Lagos or Mogadishu, once the forced repatriations start.

So I'm straight on the old Skype contraption to my new buddy from across the pond, the startlingly witty and (I'm sure she won't mind me saying) rampantly horny, hot piece of ass, Kelly Oxford. Kelly and I first 'bumped into one another' on Twitter. I was immediately drawn to her no-holds barred approach and her mastery of the pithy put down. Indeed, she was able to sum me up in as little as 9 characters. I felt she was perhaps a trifle lazy with the 'camp' bit, but the 'cunt' was certainly spot on... Kelly's in mid-tweet when she comes on the line. 'I'm just Barrcking Obama' she tells me. I didn't realise that legalised that too, not so soon after allowing sodomites and lady poofters the right to the old matrimonials. Strange country. Always has been.

Now, I know what you're thinking - this Kelly Oxford dame might have the anglicised name and look like as English a rose piece of pereipheral eye candy totty from the aristos of reality dramas, Made in Chelsea as you could ever wish for, but isn't she (forgive the non-PC terminology) a septic? Yes, yes, yes, I see the irony and - if they haven't bloody banned that too - if you'll forgive the industrial expression; what the bollocking hell if she is?

Look, it's impossible to disentangle the history of our beloved isle from that of its more illustrious former colonies, would you not agree? Similarly, our destiny has been forged -and for the better I'll have you know - by many a former colonial. Without the likes of, to choose just one example from literally six or seven, Ian Macgregor, who helped poor departed St. Margaret break the yoke of militant trades unionism, we'd still be piling our refuse sacks onto the local village green and have a currency that would look like green shield stamps compared to the Drachma. The day that this country can't open its doors to outsiders in order to rid itself of filthy fifth columnist enemies within is the day this pride nation of ours might as well fall on its ceremonial sword and hand the levers of state to the ruddy Liberal Democrats once and for all.

But I digress. Kelly's pretty soon on board when I let her know that she'll have unlimited scope (well, 140 characters) to be as rude and nasty to foriegners and the mentally retarded as she likes. 'Today Twitter, tomorrow the world!!' she tweets me later on. I smile and go back to Yesterday. They're re-showing 'The Nazis: a warning from history' in its entirety.

Friday, 10 May 2013


One of the most pleasing aspects of putting together the 'Urbane' LP has been the opportunity to work with some of my personal favourites and heroes from the world of pop. Obviously Eno's involved too - incidentally, I swear he eats his own body weight in Jaffa cakes over the course of a session - although his contributions have got so quiet and ethereal of late that I just tend to turn the level of his synthesizer down completely and crank up the mic on his feather boa. Sounds much the same - in fact, a bit grungier if anything...

Lana del Rey was an unexpected but very new addition to my close-knit coterie of collaborators. I'd expected her to be somewhat more of a diva than she turned out to be actually. Her penchant for milk stout was particularly surprising - especially so when taken with a Cinzano top. I'd had an odd inkling about the pickled onions though, as it goes, and so was able to congratulate myself on my excellent foresight whilst watching her guzzle down a couple of jars in between crates of Mackeson. I was flattered but still a little irked to discover later that she'd swanned off with a couple of my favourite blouses after laying down the tambourine part on 'Sparklejumpropequeen' - although, to be fair, she probably pulls off a wire wool and cheeseystrings combo with a little more elan than I ever managed. They probably do need a broader shoulder, with hindsight.

So you can imagine my unbounded joy when one of my favourite ever singers, Scott Walker called to ask if there was anything he could do to help me put the finishing touches to the album. Obviously Scott's about the only person currently operating in the music business who could reasonably be described as being more outre than your humble scribe - obviously as I'm almost comepletely vegan, it rather rules out the possibility of using a dead pig's carcass as a percussion instrument to recreate the viscious slapping meted out to Mussolini and his wife (Clara?) as they hung from lamp-posts. Obviously, I'd have no such qualms about using Nick Clegg, but I've just not had the time to hunt him down yet, but I'll catch Scott up one day in the wierdo stakes, just you wait and see!

Scott arrives looking dapper in a baseball cap and a pair of luminous Mickey Mouse ears. I'd been warned to expect a somewhat erratic presence but even an eccentric old dufferette like me is a bit taken aback when he insists on talking in a high-pitched and squeaky voise and calling me 'Pluto'. Still, he's otherwise no trouble at all and certainly not a biscuit-hoovering gannet along Eno lines. Indeed during the marathon session the poor thing is more than happy to graze on nothing more elaborate than a hardened crust of cheese he'd spied lurking at the back of the fridge. He nibbles on this occasionally throughout the day in between making odd peeping noises and twitching his nose.

Lunch sorted, we head up to the attic and, when I can stop him from nosing around the skirting boards for five minutes, Scott begins to layer some dissonant string parts onto my song 'Gone'. It's a complex and time consuming process which entails him lying spreadeagled over the keyboard playing a series of chords as dictated by the random gyrations of his enviably wiry torso - must look into the nutritional values of hardened cheese rind; it's obviously working for him. Of course, that's the easy bit. The difficult and laborious part is sifting through hundreds of takes to find the one that sounds most out of tune. It's no wonder his LPs take so ruddy long - I'd have cracked by the second week and be phoning up the rest of the Walker Brothers to ask if they wanted to do an album of saccharine Archies covers played by five year olds on the ukulele, but Scott's obviously made of sterner stuff. I keep wanting to tell him he should let me produce him - it only took me six weeks to churn out the tuneless twaddle that was Bedroom Burlesque and I didn't have to lie on top of the keyboard once - but I hate to disturb a proper artist when they're at work.

Finally, after what seems like a month, we manage to comp a section that comprises of absolutely no melody whatsoever and I'm able to usher him out of the studio (carefully avoiding the cat, who has a current body count of 21 mice, 1 rat and a wood pigeon to his name) and wave Scott a cheery farewell. Blimey, that was hard work. I've barely time to wind up another dumb waiter-full of bourbon biscuits to keep Brian going as he starts adding 'Enossifications' to Scotts sting overdub than it's time for Emmerdale. I must be due for retirement soon, surely...?

Saturday, 27 April 2013



42 words about 'Urbane'...

Obviously there comes a stage in one's career where the need to court popularity from one's massed millions of admirers becomes almost a total irrelevance. You've done all the wearing a kimono to get a bit of attention  and pretending to be a Nazi bit and you just want to get on with what you do best: grouting. You've got so much money in the bank you could end Third World debt by giving up six months interest alone, so what else is there for you to do with the last few dull years of your life but have the occasional 3-day Skyping session with Ricky Gervaise and pals and bask in the Caribbean winter? Well sod that! The need to create, create, create is still all consuming.  So, my hordes of brainless lackeys have hit upon a fabulous plan. They told me at our last webinar/virtual catch-up that I had gone way beyond this point of brand recognition several LPs ago and it might now best served my interests to announce a complete conventional media blackout/radio silence/internet account Omerta and leave everything to the bods in the Viral Marketing department who will, I'm reliably informed, get me onto every news bulletin in the civilised world without me needing to do so much as take my eyes off the current ever-so tricky Jenga manouvre. As Ross would no doubt say, "*FINE* *BY* *ME*!!!"

So, I leave you not only with a new LP (out soon from all good retailers. And HMV) but also 42 words that I believe really get to the heart of the Chothic (no, I've no idea what it means either) nature of the current ouevre (ditto). Right, I'm back to me plank insertion before Stephen Merchant eats all the Bourbons. Here are your 42 words humanoids:


Monday, 22 April 2013


Personally, I've never quite forgiven her for that 'Hand of God' incident. Still, at least she never tried to bite anyone's arm - well, apart from Sarah Bernhardt, obviously...


Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Birthday goil...

 Ah well, another candle on the cake tomorrow - it'll need to be a pretty big one to fit them all this year. Not that I'm particularly age conscious - indeed, I'm rarely conscious, period, but that may well be as much down to the Drambuie Breezers as to any incipient senility. I hate using the phrase but 'when you get to my age', you tend to treat each day as a bonus - especially when you've lived life with an acetylene blowtorch trained on the centre of the torch as I have been wont to (Grammar Nazi aside - *why* is Blogger underlining the word 'centre' as if I've spelled it incorrectly? Did we actually win World War II? See, there, it just did it again. Ridiculous.) Anyway, assuming I make it through until tomorrow before the spellchecker gives me a stroke, I trust as many of you as possible will be joining me up in town for the big Official State Birthday Celebration shindig that Dave, Nick and all the lads are putting on for me. I'm sure you'll have seen coverage of the preparations on the news over the last couple of days and are like me scratching your head and wondering why the hearse bearing my coffin will be collecting me from the chapel of rest and not the Coach and Horses as I requested. Probably Dave and Nick's idea of a little joke at my expense. Or is that Michael Gove? Anyway, God only knows what they'll have planned for my 30th next year - probably a lynching if this lot drift any further to the right. Which reminds me, how is Kenny? Anyway, you should come along. After all, you are ruddy well paying for it.

But enough rambling about my birthday celebrations. You'll all be wondering I know how the new album's coming on and I have to say, at the risk of sounding a self-satisfied old toadette, it's progressing rather well. After having held out for as long as possible from joining the digital revolution, I recently invested in some new recording hard- and soft-ware and the results have been quite dazzling if I say so myself. I really wish I'd taken the plunge sooner. The microphone is proving a particularly solid upgrade - especially since the baked bean tin and string arrangement I've been using up until now was beginning to fray. Not to mention dent. Of course, as with all progress, there's a downside. As much as the new sense of clarity is a boon, obviously there's a cost in that you can now hear most of the lyrics. And the singing. But after the initial heebeejeebees have died down, you do get used to it - well, the cat has at any rate. Mind you, he's long been pretty much inured to the idiosyncrasies of my vocal technique as he's probably strangled more water voles than I've had hot dinners. 13 mice, 1 rat and 1 pigeon is the current body count. I'm thinking of shipping him out to North Korea - he'd soon sort 'em out. So, what can the avid listener expect from the new album? Well, it's probably my most accomplished LP to date and that production gloss is compounded by a growing sense of lyrical maturity. The title track being a case in point:

 Oh dear what can the matter be 
I got stuck in the lavatory 
Stayed there from Monday to Saturday - 
Oh what a state of affairs... 

So I hope you'll all brave the elements to join the celebrating throng up in Westminster tomorrow. I'll be handing out a few signed test pressings of the new LP - well, we have to do something to try to keep the numbers down; Health & Safety etc. Why else would Cameron and Clegg be going?