Category Archives: Short Thoughts

Thatcher Tributes 8 April 2013

I came into the kitchen for an early lunch just as the news of Margaret Thatcher’s death was announced on Radio 4, breaking into the final minute of  ‘You and Yours’. The continuity announcer was, unfortunately, Neil Nunes, who caught the spirit of the occasion with a cheery ‘OK – that’s an extended News at […]

Two Richards RIP

The deaths of Richard Briers and Richard Griffiths have robbed us, far too early, of two of our finest actors. How different they were, the one all nervous energy and crisp delivery, the other avuncular and lugibrious – though such short-hand descriptions hardly do justice to either of them. I would have loved to have worked […]

The Pope and the Ageing Process

You knew when you were getting older when policemen were the same age as you. The next stage was when people in shops stopped addressing you as ‘mate’ and started calling you ‘sir’. The step after that was when young ladies stood up to offer you their seat in a crowded train. Today you know […]

New Publications

vICTORIAN CURIOSITIES was a book I adapted in 1995 from Everybody’s Scrapbook of Curious Facts – A Book for Odd Moments, compiled by Don Lemon in 1890. It’s a sort of Not Many People Know That from a century earlier. My original Little, Brown edition has been out of print for some years, but now a […]

A parp on the trumpet

A short fanfare and a modest pat on the back is called for – for me! Strange how things happen in groups. This week I have confirmation that my Godowsky biography, Godowsky – The Pianists’ Pianist –  is to be republished (Travis & Emery are putting it out sometime in January – the German translation appeared, […]

Sacked by Auntie

Danny Baker’s wonderful, heartfelt, on-air rant at being sacked from his Radio London show made great listening and rang a few personal bells. Baker is a superb broadcaster, a one-off, quick on his feet and deservedly applauded within the industry. He had a far higher profile than I ever had in the days when I […]

A Curmudgeon Repents…sort of

The media has been full these last few days of pre-Olympic curmudgeons like myself holding up their hands and saying ‘Got it wrong. The Games were a fantastic success. Every day something happened that made me proud to be British. Didn’t think it would all work out like this. Got to take my hat off to […]

Kingdom of Cock-ups

I swore I wouldn’t write a blog about the Olympics but, sorry, I’ve got to get it all off my chest. Before a starting pistol has been fired or drug test shown positive, the whole things has already left a very nasty taste. As far as the actual sporting competition is concerned, I’m sure I’ll […]

A Richly-Deserved Honour

Whatever you think of the New Year and Queen’s Birthday honours – anachronistic, an agreeable way of rewarding endeavour, a baffling lottery, public recognition for public service – there is something intrinsically pleasing when a name leaps out from the long list of those honoured and you say ‘Hurrah!’ At least that was my reaction when […]

England Expectorates

I don’t normally watch football matches. Being a devotee of the oval ball, the earnest pontifications of soccer pundits with their verbal clichés, and the overpaid, tattooed brats who play the game pass me by. To say nothing of the foul people who trot along to matches for the pleasure of yelling abuse without getting arrested […]