Thursday 1 October 2009


Been a fairly quiet few days, rife with speculation as to what is happening in the New Year on Radio 2. What impact if any it will have on the "Best Time of the Day Show" etc. If you know anything please let us know.

Fevered message board speculation and conspiracy theories as ever by people who need to get out more.

As far as I can ascertain from a quick trawl: Chris Evans did not land on the moon after all with his Dixieland jazz band, although he may have been responsible for 9/11 by not playing enough Ella Fitzgerald. However in compensation she’s been offered Drivetime despite being dead. Although he must definitely take the blame for the recession. Oh and did you know "Dog" is "God" backwards?

Suddenly realised that I was getting live music withdrawal symptoms not having been to see anyone for seemingly ages. So it was with relief that I linked up with my friend Susan "the finance" (remember- don't hate her, she is not a banker).

Susan likes food so we always go and have something to eat beforehand. This time she met me at the tube station with that slightly haunted look women have waiting on their own hoping they are not going to be chatted up by some drunken bloke who fancies his chances. These lairy blokes are known as the "2 pint Clooney".

She had done her research and we ended up in a Lebanese place. Luckily they did things other than lamb. I am not a fan. Not because of the woolly gambolling but the taste. A whiff of mint sauce and I can start dry heaving. Still, poor old Paul Gambaccini suffers from a cheese allergy so there is something to catch us all out. In my Mum's case it was crab.

So I (stand by for restaurant review phrase:) "plumped for the chicken".

There was several tons of it and an accompanying salad that seemed to be the contents of a fruit and veg stall.

As I ate I thought of the BBC news blooper from many a long year ago: "Lesbian forces invade Israel....ahem.. I'm sorry that should be Lebanese".

After the meal we grabbed an armful of the Hammersmith and City line and headed for Shepherds Bush. Not sure if it is the status of the artists that I enjoy or just coincidence but many of the gigs I go to are at either the Empire or the Bush Hall.

Last time I was at the Bush Hall it was with the fiery Scot to see Booker T where we nearly melted in the heat.

This time it was still sweltering but bearable.

This was a low key one-off with Chris Rea. This was ideal for me as a midweek gig. No support act. He hit the stage at 8pm sharp was totally magnificent with a selection of blues, worksongs and his hits. Played for 90 minutes and was gone.

You can usually tell what you are going to get with Chris as his guitar work and his voice are so recognisable. I had never seen him before and it was an ear opener as he slightly altered some songs, extended them or changed the tempo, without spoiling the familiarity.

For the first time despite playing him a gazillion times on the radio over the years I was able to concentrate on the lyrics as well. He didn't say much but the music said it all as he swapped guitars with abandon and the sweat dripped off the end of his nose. Not just us who were hot.

Susan the finance had seen him at the Royal Albert Hall and pronounced this performance to be far superior, even adding: "If he wasn't ugly he would be the perfect man!". Err praise indeed?!

Time for a quick drink before we went our separate ways. We found a pub that I had been too before but had been refurbished since my last visit. Needed to use the facilities and hurried to the Gents. They had been refurbished too. Nice mirror and basin although something didn't seem quite right. When I exited a red faced howling finance person just pointed at the sign on the door unable to speak.

Why had they swapped the Ladies and the Gents? Just as well she guarded the door. Due to my "certainty", I would doubtless have been in harrumphing pomposity overdrive pointing the error of their ways to any woman who entered as I was in mid ablute.

If you have been listening to the "shoe" as it is now called over the last few days you will have heard the problem I encountered recently with my "yaffles" or "readers". Originally I had two pairs of prescription glasses. However as I have had the same strength for 5 years I have not needed to upgrade. Trouble is, the two pairs have gone.

The first I left in a bar in Yuma on American Adventure 2 last year. The second I left on the train having suddenly woken at my stop and hurried off leaving not only the glasses but a book of my scribblings to boot.

Rather than fork out for more when I may need new ones next time I have my eyes tested, I bought cheap ones off the peg in the chemists, then went off to see some friends in the Midlands the other weekend and left the replacements in the studio.

When I realised my error I was on the train and it was too late to go back. So hitting the local supermarket I scored a £3 pair and I was good to go - until I left them at a mate’s house on the Friday night. Back to the supermarket and another £3 was forked out.

They are now all safely gathered in. This means I am once again able to read the small print on the back of CD covers as part of "Lesters Library".

You have been advising me what to do at my next big social event. In a couple of weekends’ time I am off to the North East to the wedding of two friends of mine. Where will I be seated, I wonder:

"Bride or groom?" "BOTH!" However as I now seem unable to tell the difference between ladies and gents I could be sitting anywhere.

The big question is what to get them for a gift? I am all toastered and fondue set-ted out after years of other peoples weddings. A myriad of suggestions from you - often brutally but amusingly cynical.

However the suggestion I liked the most was one that was not only romantic but practical: A wheelbarrow!

This may be just the thing although it won't fit in my car. You even suggested that I had it delivered to the church so that the groom would at the critical point be asked "Who wants this wheelbarrow?" to which he can reply "I Do".

I will report on that after the event.

Off to see one of my all time favourite artists Eleanor McEvoy tonight with Libido Boy who is also a huge fan. Poor woman, everytime she sees us she must think "here come those star struck eejits who go all giggly and unnecessary when I say hello."

Don't forget our weekly Oddcast and the new Cartoon that is now on the website courtesy of the excellent Clive Goddard.

Thank you for your continued support. Daftness will warm us this winter.

Have a good week.


moggy said...

wey hey ! poor alex all them glasses he forgets ,i think you need a BAG to put all your kit in cd,s glasses,lunch,etc or a box on a string like war time gas mask box .re next year on radio the line up over night mmmmmmmmmmm see what i can find out i see this blogs got no food in it so i have put some here PIE AND CHIPS
love the shoe x

GATTIE said...

Love the shoe. I too was at the concert great to go to these small places more atmosphere than the big arenas. Reminds me of going to the marquee all those years ago.Any chance of family wedding snap with wheelbarrow at the front in your next blog

Twilight said...

You are spectacularly challenged then, alex - all those spectacles lost, probably mouldering away in thrift stores now. I recommend one of those neck cords/chains to hold your speccies safely - a bit frumpish, but you could liven things up by pinning on a witty (?) badge bearing something along the lines of "My other pair is a......"

Anonymous said...

Hello Dark Lord,

It's great to read your blog. I was a regular listener to your show back in the days where I was coming home from 'studying' in various establishments that provided 2 for 1 cocktails for 'refreshment'/panicing over 500 words that I had to write about dead medieval people before midday while I was at University up t'North. After a year back at home, my parents internet speed means I can how listen to your show on iplayer (as I am not often awake for the live broadcast) without it taking bizarre, five minute long pauses.

So, great 'trog' and I love the shoe!

I'm jealous about the Chris Rea concert, and would also like to suggest more wedding presents you could give. I recommend an alamanc/encyclopedia (to solve those arguements about telelvision shows or whatever that married couples seem to have), or one of those wind up torches (as you always need a torch, and when you do eventually retrieve one the batteries are always dead). However, that might actually be helpful...

Also, I can empathise with you losing your glasses. I know the feeling well (I have an amazing ability to leave books I was reading on trains). However, to beat you losing numerous pairs of glasses, I recently lost my mobile phone in a ballpool. Unfortunately, it had been on vibrate, in my pocket. The only way I could track it down (and eventually find it) was to climb into the ballpool, ring my phone, wait for the (very quiet) ringtone and then throw myself in head first. I learnt a very important lesson that day.

Anyhow, keep up the good work. II blog about being a graduate and finding a job, because someone has to!

From Graduate Robs

moggy said...

wheelbarrow is a thing we need to talk about more ! cos this is rock n roll of new gifts i think i will get the wife one for christmas are they on QVC yet ?

Micky B said...

Hello. I've recently moved homes and have managed to 'lose' my new pair of reading glasses and my new pair of sun glasses. One question stands out apart from the 'which box are they in?', is 'WHY did I pack them in a box in the first place ?

Decaff Dora said...

Sorry Alex, I felt moved to poetic composition. A terrible affliction. To the tune - predictably - of 'I left my heart in San Francisco,' all together now...

He’s left his specs in far flung Yuma,
in studios and on the train;
you’ll find him squinting at the lines -
of newsprint in The Times,
and blindly stumbling to
the ladies’ loo.
He’s left his specs in myriad places,
And those who find them smile with glee;
‘No bills for us from High Street opticians,
At LesterSpecs, they come for free!’

Love the blug

Annie said...

I like your take on the messageboards! Though as you know there have also been some very complimentary comments about you. My favourite being ..."the hidden gem that is Alex Lester" ahhhhh...


Dave Nightingale said...

Hello Alex...hope you are well!

Re the wedding prezzy - did the wheelbarrow meet John and Anna's marital needs?

Mind you,with your history with young Mr Foster,I would have thought that vouchers for Binns of Middlesborough would have gone down a treat!!

Hope to see you around with the young whippersnapper Hirst soon!!