The Company Shed

On the basis of a glowing review in a Sunday newspaper, I persuaded my wife and mother, who both love seafood (sadly, I don’t)  to visit this celebrated shack. The review alluded to “the best fish and chips you’ll ever eat”, as an alternative to the “seriously good platter”, so I planned to join them. We arrived early and put our name on the waiting list and sat on the outside benches with others holding our bottles and portions of bread. The glistening fish on a table just inside the front door which were Continue reading “The Company Shed”

The Pig Who Sang to the Moon

I read this book with increasing frustration at the author’s fairytale hope of a world where not only are farmyard animals no longer eaten, they coexist happily with humans, while living in conditions indiscernible from those of their forebears. Really? Who would feed them? Why? What would their purpose be? To suggest Continue reading “The Pig Who Sang to the Moon”

Fragments of a Rainy Season

I caught a chance hour and a half of John Cale (and ex wife Rise) on German satellite TV singing all the songs from Fragments of a Rainy Season in what looked like a small, smoky, crowded club. I was so transfixed I didn’t even think of recording it. I’ve been trying to locate a video ever since. This album is an equisite portrait of one of the best artists around singing and playing the pick of his own songs (plus one beauty from Leonard Cohen) from the past twenty years, accompanied by himself on piano or guitar. The original “unplugged”. Delicious.

Johnny English

Okay, the ‘plot’ is banal, but Rowan Atkinson makes this film hugely enjoyable. Me, Myself and Irene was dire but it was redeeemed by one thirty second scene (dry mouth in the police station). Johnny English has several such breath sapping moments; and even without them, it’s still fun. Puerile, in parts; but that’s the human condition, isn’t it? I loved it. The extras are a bit on the limp side, though.

John Cale at Brighton 16 Jan 2004

Having seen John Cale at St Luke’s without the benefit of knowing Hobosapiens back to front, familiarity with the new songs meant I enjoyed Brighton ten times more. The set list was similar, though no Hallelujah, nor Cordoba. In fact, it was almost identical to the others posted recently.

Queuing to get in, I was worried only a smattering of people would turn up. In the end, Continue reading “John Cale at Brighton 16 Jan 2004”

John Cale concert at St Luke’s 26 Nov 2003

I went to this show with my brother and our respective wives. We were both very familiar with all of Cale’s stuff except Hobosapiens which neither of us had heard. The ladies ‘knew’ Hallelujah and that was about it.

The setting was small, intimate, theatre sized, in a converted church. Cale dressed in white the first half, black the second. Continue reading “John Cale concert at St Luke’s 26 Nov 2003”

The Rack

I read this novel nearly thirty years ago sitting up all night by a wood stove in South Wales. I was about twenty five and recently married. I found it heartbreaking. The love affair Paul has with Michele moved me immeasurably, with the final pages finishing me off. Tearful throughout, I broke down, sobbing. Why this book is so often out of print I will never know. Nor can I understand why no film has been made of it. AE Ellis is not the author’s real name, and apparently wrote nothing else. I advise anyone who can get hold of a copy of The Rack to read it and then pass it on to a friend. I did. The friend never returned it; but I recently came across a first edition in a second hand bookstall for 50 pence. I don’t think I’ll ever read it again, though. It would be pointless. This book still affects me more than anything I’ve read since.