Monday 5 September 2011


Not seen any live music for a week or two so was getting twitchy until my mate, Al Booth (who produces, among other things, The Bob Harris Country Show) said she had a couple of tickets for Brad Paisley at the O2 in London.

I had seen him before in a far small venue in London and he was amazing. Terrific guitar slinger and a demon songwriter, as well as making the most exquisite videos. If you have never seen the Vid for "Online" check it out on YouTube; it’s a peach! The only thing that marred his performance was his adoption of a faux "Briddish" accent from time to time. You don't need to do this Brad; we love you for who you are.

After the previous gig the record company or promoter sent me a questionnaire asking me what I thought. This was obviously in preparation for his major assault on Europe. I replied that he was a terrific performer but for the fake accent as it made me feel uncomfortable and him sound a bit of an idiot to these sensitive Old World ears.

Had he read the constructive criticism? No he hadn't. In fact, this time he was even worse! He - like many from across the pond - claimed British ancestry via his wife. Aaaauuugggggghhh!!!!!

I love America and its music but there is something about this thing they do that really grates. There is scarcely a U.S politician or celeb who doesn't somehow find out they are part-Irish or their great, great, great uncle came from "MANchesturrr".

I thought we had begun to move past that in an increasingly PC world.

How do US entertainers get on in other parts of the world?

"Hello be sure at all at all at all at all. Didn't I just see a leprechaun as I was drinking a pint of 'Gine-ness'?"

"Herro Tokyo rubbery to be here"!

"Bonjour Paris, j'aime les frogs legs et le surrendering"

"Achtung Berlin....invaded anywhere lately?"

"G'day Sydney, hands up who's a convict?!"

Wonder how we Brits would get on in the Mid-West?

"Howdy, Lexington married your 13 year old cousin yet? ptui ......tang!"

Try that and you would be full of bullet holes before you could say "right to bear arms"!

I suspect it is just me, but I though I detected Al shifting uncomfortably in her seat.

It also proves that as a producer for Bob she is an expert and I am merely an enthusiast.

Support act - Darius Rucker of Hootie and the Blowfish fame - was on fine form as well. When he launched into "It Won't Be Like This For Long", I muttered, "this is a cover, isn't it?"

"No. Track from his first album."

Ah. I heard it dozens of times on US radio and as most of the tiny stations in the Mid-West tend not to have DJ's outside of prime time (Eeeek!) no-one has any idea what is being played. So I had never put the two together artist and song.

With our new exciting Facebook feature I made a few short "films" of the gig and have posted them on there for you to have a look at, as well as other exciting and self-revelatory bits of video. Thrill to me in the pub eating pork scratching. Wow to me walking along Hastings Seafront. Be baffled by my early morning "Brown Mile" and get all unnecessary to my Fokker!

I can feel that there is a little of Stan Boardman in everyone.

"The Geermans bombed our chippie" (Repeat ad nauseam until the 70's draw to a close.)

Took Friday 26th August off, so the Dark Lady and I headed to France as we were running a little low on "Apericubes" (a tasty Gallic cheese snack) as well as wanting to catch up with some friends of ours who live in the middle of nowhere with little other than moles for company and a fine selection of food and wine.

As usual it rained but that didn't stop us having a fine old time and we were able to show them our tiny collection of several hundred pics from our US trip last June. It was gone midnight by the time we went to bed.

The following day we did a bit of sightseeing and found ourselves in a pretty little spa town Bagnoles de L'Orne which boasted a terrific chocolate shop. DL being an "L" is very keen on chocolate. Me being a "B" (fill in whatever that stands for in your eyes) is happy to come along for the ride.

It is amazing what they can make out of chocolate these days. Everything from eggs to shoes and - at this shop – great, erm, "art". For some reason a bright spark had decided that it would be fun to make scenes from the Kama Sutra out of chocolate.

So there in the window was a selection of tableaux that would make a Premiership Footballer in a post-match hotel bedroom celebration with several blonde strangers blush.

Frankly, not sure if this stuff was to be collected or eaten! Not really the sort of thing you would pass round at Christmas during the Queens Speech:-

"Choccie, Aunt Agatha?"

"Hmmm, lets see. Think I'll have the Tigress. I find the Congress of the Crow leaves a nasty taste in my mouth." N.B This is, erm, factually accurate.

Summer time and there are a number of Fetes/Fayres and other celebrations. So it was off to Bexhill the other weekend to visit Peterhouse, a retirement home for people from the advertising industry. It was fabulous and everyone made me terribly welcome. As a sucker for nostalgia there were loads of posters on the walls of the corridors of old and half-forgotten as well as completely forgotten advertising campaigns from years ago.

As this was the first time I had visited I was able to make "Short-But-Cheerful Speech 12A". If I get invited to places more than a couple of times I have to think of something else to say in my opening remarks before I declare the festivities open.

Note to anyone in the same position: they have come for the bargains and the food and drink. Get on and off as quickly as possible, they are not interested in what you have to say. If you time it right you will escape the wrath of the mob.

Then I got tucking in to the food and drink that was on offer.

Beautiful sunny day and I enjoyed myself immensely.

Last Weekend it was the Summer Fair at St Michaels Hospice in St Leonards-on-Sea. I have been involved with this charity for a long time now and I have always marvelled at the hard work and dedication of the staff and volunteers.

When it comes to events like this, the Dragon's Den mob could learn a thing or two as could the world’s best entrepreneurs. The volunteers can pounce within a nanosecond and before you can say "Good morning" your wallet is empty and you are tottering home laden with cakes, books, CD's and all sorts of other stuff. One stall I looked at was selling nick-knacks. This included something small and wooden with three knobbly rollers on it.

"What’s this?” I asked

"No idea," came the honest answer. It was either something to do with pastry or a massage device. One thing is sure though: that item is now at someone’s house being regarded with puzzlement by the purchaser.

“How did that get here?”

What don't you need on a nice hot day in late summer?

A heavy duty woolly hat, that's what.

I had barely walked through the door before I was the proud owner of said article and only managed to avoid a lengthy mohair scarf by running.

So if they would like to link up with the French Chocolatiers, I am sure they would have no difficulty selling any amount of confectionery Karma Sutra to Convents up and down the country!


Don't forget I am now on Facebook, you can find me here. I am also on Twitter (ooh, get me!) you can add me @alexthedarklord or visit here .

And if you want to hear a record on the shoe - maybe one you haven't heard in years, one that means something to you or just a darned good record you think would sound great, then I would love to hear from you. Submit your suggestions here.

And - last thing - make sure you download this week's Oddcast; the funniest bits from the week all mixed together in one bite-seized chunk. Click here.


Anonymous said...

Hello Alex,

Gosh you lead a jolly-busy life. Love the hat- you know I like hats. The wooden thing is a rolling-pin, the rubber discs on each end are to ensure an even thickness of pastry or pasta. There are two sizes of disc held on by a screw cap on each end- one for fat-pastry and one for thin-pastry. If you want really thin uneven pastry the take all the dics off.

Loving the videos on FB. Brown mile- love it.


Rachel x

Sooz1812 said...

So loved the concert - up there with the very best I have seen!
Hey - the accent thing is nothing to bother a Scot who gets asked every time she is in the States 'Do you know my family? They are from Scotland - name of McLeod?' Yup - course I do, there is only one family of that name in Scotland!!
Big thanks, too, to Daroius for a really great war-up act, too - so often all you get is a token coupld of track from some wannabees - not him - awesome!

Unknown said...

Kindly let me know where to purchase the paper shredder machine as your picture? i would like to purchase but don't know the contact. Hope you you can let me the company, tel, or website.
Here is my contact mail:

Thank you very much.

Best regards,