Monday, 28 October 2013

Pizza delivery chaos in storm lashed Notting Hill. The domino effect.

Photo: Christian Banfield.

The pizza lovers of Notting Hill today awoke to this awful scene and the prospect of cold turkey for lunch. A spokesperson for the pizza outlet in question was still in bed and unavailable to comment on the situation.

Tuppence Hay-Penny, Emeritus Professor of wind studies at Brunel University, on seeing the image, stated: 'The high wind resistance of the boxes combined with the domino effect was the cause'.

I pointed out that they were not Domino pizza bikes.

She replied: 'The domino effect is when a rival pizza delivery company pushes all your bikes over'.

I spotted further evidence of the phenomena later in the day:

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Brian Nevill, Boom Baby, Book and Kitchen, All Saints Road and memory.

Book and Kitchen is a small, idiosyncratic independent shop on All Saints Road: one of the few places in London where you can buy a book over a cup of coffee or lunch in very friendly surroundings. I've been walking past for a while, looking in and wondering.

Brian Nevill launched his book 'BOOM BABY' there tonight. I went!

They say that if you remember the 60's you weren't there. Brian was there and does remember thanks to copious diaries (and drug induced flashbacks?). I for one (was I there? I can't remember) am having problems remembering what Brian looks like... Some pictures should help:

Brian Nevill reading!

I'll be reviewing the book soon - I feel it is best to read it first if I can remember where I put the thing- I'll keep you posted.

Brian had a check jacket on and white shoes which was kind of rock n roll and I met someone I had been looking forward to meeting for a long time.

Brian Nevill signing!

Check out Book and Kitchen. You can find them HERE

And check out McZine Publishing :

Friday, 18 October 2013

Bess Cavendish at the Elgin.

The Elgin on Westbourne Grove is by far the best music pub in the Notting Hill area, its one drawback is that the music room is also a dining area and a room full of nattering diners is sometimes hard to hold for the performers.

Not tonight though!

Before I go any further I should add that although I know Bess and have seen her perform a number of times I am not about to write an hagiographic review for that reason.... If I don't like something I don't review it. It is not my job to schmooze.

I frequently attend pub gigs with the good intention of lasting a couple of numbers before sinking my beer and sneaking out (I'm getting too old for this malarky) but not tonight. I lasted the whole set and could have happily stayed for another one.

Bess is now working with a new band: A great drummer and an accompanist on guitar who to my mind is the reverse image of Brian Jones (female, black bobbed hair.... you know where I am going).
The result is very very good.

High points were a cover of Gimme Shelter which brought me great joy and a song called 'Shoot Shoot' which oozes wit and a Rock Steady beat and should be a massive hit. I would be interested to see the writing credits for that one. Her penultimate number was seriously rocking and good too!

All in all a delightful evening not 5 minutes away from my front door.

And I wore a groove and a smile all the way home.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

The Purdey's saw blade and the muse.

The muse likes this stuff. What she doesn't like is the fact that she has cut her fingers twice in as many days while opening the bottles.

The third and vital finger of the muse ripped by a Purdey's bottle top.

The thumb of the muse after a similar encounter with a Purdey's bottle.

The muse is a musician, as you can imagine cut fingers are not a great asset to a musician.

The very stylish Purdey's bottle is made of glass and has a metal screw top the retaining ring of which, when opened, becomes a mini saw blade with 8 jagged teeth. It is these teeth that do the damage.

I can only assume that the bottle top, along with the stylish bottle have been decreed by some very expensive and stylish marketing people in Hoxton because whichever way you look at it Purdey's is a carbonated soft drink made by (or at least owned by) Britvic and Britvic successfully package many other soft drink products in bottles with hand friendly lids.

Please can someone at Britvic inform me why this soft drink must come with a saw blade as standard?

A reason to live.

It has been said that living to an old age is just dying very slowly and painfully.

Good health is of course in its own way a terminal illness.

A chronic condition is a sure cure for that terminal illness.

Complications can set in of course - Add a new born child late in a mans life to the mix and you suddenly add a will to live (beat the illness and its cure) well beyond life expectancy.

I used to think that when time came to pass I would be content to go having done those things I felt essential. Not any longer though... Witnessing my new daughter achieve adulthood has now become essential which complicates things somewhat.

With chronic lung disease in late middle age my new daughters spring coincides with my autumn and in real terms the looming winter becomes an obstacle course. Colds and flu kill thousands like me each year (my mother died this way earlier this year). I carry a rescue pack of steroids and antibiotics in case I should pick up a cold or flu. The steroids themselves bring a lowered immune system and acute depression. The withdrawal process at the end of the course brings its own special misery.

I am writing this while suffering my second cold in as many weeks - Bunged up with snot, steroids, antibiotics, inhaler to open my pipes, inhaler to get rid of mucus and another inhaler to introduce yet more steroids. My daily cocktail is topped up with regular pain killers.

But by far the most effective relief is provided by a four month old child.

At the moment I hardly have the strength to pick her up yet she weighs no more than a bag of potatoes. My coughing alarms her, not because she knows what it is but because it is loud and raucous.

Sleep is becoming more difficult. I am constantly being visited by images of unbearable sadness and attempt to counteract this by drinking far too much in the hope of facilitating immediate unconsciousness in bed rather than a nightly marathon of horror.

But how do I  explain to the people I love that every time I close my eyes I do not count sheep but count the number of steps to the top of a multi storey car park and then consider whether I would have the strength to climb the parapet.

Waking from my hard earned sleep is somehow worse; a painful regime of inhalers and then waiting for something to kick in. This is accompanied by an extreme, unprovoked, bad temper which I know is both unacceptable and offensive. I am sorry but suspect that sorry ain't going to be good enough in the long run.

I am not proud of any of this.

I am however determined to see my daughter into her adulthood.

A reason to live.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

I killed Jimi Hendrix.

I was fifteen. I don't know how old Jimi was but you can look it up on wikipedia. It'll probably lie.

I'd heard about the festival on the Isle of Wight, packed a spare T shirt and a sleeping bag and headed south. Luckily I was picked up by a bunch of hippies in a camper van heading for the island too. They sort of took me under their collective wing and looked after me in their way.

There was room for me in one of their tents and I earned my keep by rolling joints and road testing the pills they didn't recognise. The Isle of wight for me that year was something of a blur but I came out of the fog of uncontrolled controlled substances to witness what was to be an epiphany.

He looked like god would have looked if there were no heaven. He played his guitar like there was no hell.


At one point he squirted his guitar with lighter fuel then attempted to ignite it with a book of matches... If you see the film of the event now it looks like it was a pretty effortless thing; guitar, fuel, match, boom.

But it wasn't like that. It took him for ever to get that guitar alight and I remember standing there thinking this can't be right as match after match failed to spark or gutted out.

I thought to myself that this god deserved better than that. His guitar should  spontaneously combust or at least be lit by a gold Ronson.

I carried those thoughts all the way back to Banbury and they never really left me.

A year later Chris called from London, he had been invited to a party in Notting Hill that he knew Jimi was going to be going to, could I come down?  I packed a spare T shirt and stole the Gold plated Ronson from the old mans office, I hitch-hiked to london.

Chris met me in Shepherds Bush and we walked to a place called the Tabernacle in Notting Hill; a kind of squatted old church but Jimi had left, he'd gone on to a party on All Saints Road but by the time we got to that party Jimi had left there too, he'd gone home but one of the guys there gave me the address and I decided to go and give him the lighter so he didn't need to go through the earthly embarrassment of wet matches at future gigs.

The house wasn't very far away in a kind of crescent, Jimis flat was in the basement but I was too scared to knock on the door so I sat outside on the steps and decided to wait until he came out again and then give him the lighter and explain that it worked first time every click even in the rain and he never had to bother with soggy matches again.

Jimi never came out and I sat there a long time sitting on the step clicking the lighter then clicking it shut.

At some time a couple of guys came along and stood at the top of the steps down to Jimis flat. They didn't seem to see me or if they did I didn't matter. they were arguing. The big guy was saying to the other guy in the suit that he didn't want to do it, that it was wrong. The guy in the suit said come on if we don't do this we'll be broke watching a madman try to write symphonies for a hundred electric guitars. We got do do this.

He said have a cigarette it'll calm your nerves. You'll see.

He gave the big guy a cigarette then tried to light it with a book of matches that were too wet then saw me sitting on the step clicking that gold plated Ronson on and off and said hey kid give us a light. I stood up and went over and lit the big guys cigarette, he smoked a few drags then said ok and the two guys went down into Jimis flat.

They came out a while later and the small guy in the suit gave me a fiver and said thanks for the light kid, you saved a life tonight.

I sat there for a long time after that until an ambulance turned up and they carried a body out on a stretcher.

I knew it was Jimi.

And I knew I had killed him.

I was the guy who lit the cigarette which calmed the nerves and steeled the resolve of the man who killed Jimi Hendrix.

Excuse me while I kiss the sky.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Venus in furs.

I bought the guitar for Anna.

Why I was in Hamburg I cannot remember now.

Or rather I bought the guitar to make myself more interesting to Anna.


She dyed her hair black when all the other girls were dying their hair blonde.

She hung out with artists.

The guitar was cheap and broken but it was a guitar and I guessed that if I carried a guitar she would assume that I could play it.

I couldn't.

But I could carry it around as if I could.

And I could carry it around as if I could play it better than any-one else could... I was the Hendrix of guitar poseurs.

Anna wore a mink.

Guymond suggested the old man, Guymond could see that my posturing with a broken guitar was getting me no-where, the old man fixed instruments. Violins mostly..

He lived behind the Reeperbahn above a shop. He was a Jew and had lived there through the war but I didn't ask how and he didn't say why.

He just did.

He asked me did I play.

He asked me why then I needed the guitar.

I told him about Anna.

He said: Oh yes Venus in Furs.

He said he'd fix the guitar but that would fix nothing.

The old man was right.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

'GREEK' at the Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House.

Greek was Mark-Anthony Turnage’s explosive first opera. His version of the Oedipus story, based on Steven Berkoff’s verse play, burst onto the stage in 1988. Music Theatre Wales brings Michael McCarthy’s blistering production to Covent Garden audiences. It was a triumphant success when it was first seen in 2011 and won the TMA Theatre Award for Outstanding Achievement in Opera.

I saw this production last year in Huddersfield and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is very very good contemporary (not modern bollocks) Opera based on the Oedipus story. It is on on the 21st - 26th of this Month... Highly recommended.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Penarth pier.

Steve McQueen. Frog at large.

We found this charming fellow earlier in the year. He was hiding in a pile of rotting leaves at the front of the house. The boys decided to keep him as a pet so he was put in a box from which he escaped three times in as many minutes... Steve McQueen seemed the obvious name choice.