Late Night Stargazing

Continuing a watery theme from yesterday morning….

After the football on Friday night – i.e. just when I needed it – BBC4 aired an hour of R.E.M. live at the BBC.

If you can ignore the fact that it jumped from second album Reckoning‘s Pretty Persuasion to sixth album Green‘s Pop Song ’89 it was a reasonably career- encompassing show.

The highlight for me was a performance of Nightswimming, lifted from an edition of Later…with Jools Holland; to the best of my knowledge this has never seen a commercial release (and I’m sure The Robster will correct me if I’m wrong). It certainly doesn’t appear on the R.E.M. – Live at the BBC album which came out a couple of years ago..

And so here it is, just Stipe’s unmistakable vocal, Mike Mills on piano, and I think something that’s supposed to sound like a cor anglais parping along beautifully. Thankfully Jools doesn’t rock up with his trademark boogie-woogie piano:

R.E.M. – Nightswimming (Later… with Jools Holland 14 October 2003)

More soon.

Carry on Camping

Had all things gone to plan, then my London friends and I would have been spending this weekend meeting up for the first time since the Covid crisis first started, and going on a camping weekend in Kent.

However, I pulled out like a good catholic boy a couple of weeks ago, for reasons that I’ll go into some other time. My buddies were due to travel down yesterday, but on Thursday the WhatsApp chat group we’re all in became preoccupied with that most British of concerns – the weather – and in particular, given the forecast for Friday was thunder, lightning (the way you love me is frightening) whether they too should sack the weekend off, chance it and go anyway, or postpone travel until Saturday when the weather was predicted to be better, if only marginally so.

I watched their discussions from the wings, managing to supress those smug feelings I usually get when I don’t have a ticket for Glastonbury and the forecast is tumultuous. These are my friends, I reminded myself, and I wish them no ill, and specifically I don’t want any of them to be struck by lightning as they grapple with a guy-rope.

And then someone referred to pitching their tent as ‘getting their erection sorted’ and my cover was blown, to a predictable chorus of groans.

As it happens, I was glad that I had ducked out of the whole weekend, since I had not realised it clashed with the England v Scotland game in the confusingly named Euros 2020, postponed from last year because of the whole Covid malarkey. Imagine what a bad mood I’d have been in having rocked up in the driving rain, pitched my tent and then found out I couldn’t watch the match.

Of course, by the time the final whistle went, I was longing to be anywhere other than in front of my TV, even if it was in a rain-swept field in Kent, so desperately poor had England been, and how annoyingly good Scotland had been. Sure, it had ended goal-less, but England were lucky to escape with a point and Scotland unlucky to escape with the same.

Still, England should go through, and I genuinely hope Scotland do too – before the tournament kicked off I predicted to work colleagues that I thought they might progress out of the group stage at a major competition for the first time ever – and of course, Wales are still there so I can always fall back on my “honorary Welshman” status (as long as I don’t attempt the accent) when England inevitably crash and burn.

After the match last night, there was much discussion about quite what went wrong for England: were they fazed by the circumstance, the importance and history of the occasion? Did Scotland simply outplay them? Were Scotland more a team who gelled, whilst England were a team of individuals who did not? Yes, yes, yes and yes.

There was, of course, one other explanation which didn’t get much traction on the TV last night: the game was aired on ITV.

Coming into the tournament, England has lost nine matches on ITV and drawn 11. In comparison to the BBC, England’s record reads as Won: 14, Drawn: 3, Lost: 3. This gives England an impressive 70 per cent win rate on BBC, whereas on ITV it is a paltry 16.67 per cent.

England’s final group game, against the Czech Republic, is on ITV. Brace yourselves.

If that’s not a good enough argument to leave the BBC alone, I don’t know what is.

But anyway, I digress. My buddies are heading down to Kent this morning, intent on making the most of the situation, and I hope they have a really great time (impossible as that might seem without me there) and so this is for them:

Badly Drawn Boy – Camping Next To Water

Fingers crossed it will be next to, rather than under…

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

I’ve written before on these pages about my admiration of the TV series Fargo, and I’ve spent the evenings of the last week binge-watching the fourth series (airing on Channel 4 and streaming on All4 in the UK).

Here’s what wiki has to say about the idea behind the show generally:

Fargo is an American black comedy/crime drama television series created and primarily written by Noah Hawley. The show is inspired by the 1996 film of the same name, which was written and directed by the Coen brothers, and takes place within the same universe. The Coens were impressed by Hawley’s script and agreed to be named as executive producers. The series premiered on April 15, 2014, on FX, and follows an anthology format, with each season set in a different era and location, with a different story and mostly new characters and cast, although there is minor overlap. Each season is heavily influenced by various Coen brothers films, with each containing numerous references to them.

Basically, if you like the Coen brothers’ movies, then chances are you’ll like this too. But, since the body count piles up in all four series, then perhaps avoid it if you’re even slightly squeamish.

Which would be your loss, for each series features fine interweaving multi-strand storylines, where you’re not always immediately sure how they are linked (plot-wise, they’re not afraid to throw not exactly a twist (although there are plenty of them) but a total curveball in from time to time too), and has been exquisitely filmed, often with gorgeous overhead tracking shots. You can tell not just by the cast of each series (Series 1: Martin Freeman, Billy Bob Thornton, Colin Hanks; Series 2: Kirsten Dunst, Patrick Wilson, Ted Danson, Jesse Plemons (if you don’t recognise the name, I dare say you’ll recognise him when you see him); Series 3: Ewan McGregor, David Thewlis, Carrie Coon, Mary Elizabeth Winstead; Series 3: Chris Rock, Jason Schwartzman, Jessie Buckley, Ben Whishaw) but by the look of the show that a lot of money has been thrown at the production of each series.

Here’s the spoiler-free plot for the current series (again from wiki):

In 1950, the Cannon Limited, led by Loy Cannon (Chris Rock), threaten to usurp the Fadda Family, led by Josto Fadda (Jason Schwartzman), as the ruling crime organization in Kansas City, Missouri. In an effort to maintain peace, the groups agree to honor a tradition of trading the youngest sons between the two households. However, the alliance is jeopardized by the arrival of Josto’s brash brother Gaetano (Salvatore Esposito), as well as the unorthodox actions taken by a nurse named Oraetta Mayflower (Jessie Buckley). Meanwhile, Oraetta’s teenaged neighbour Ethelrida Pearl Smutny (E’myri Crutchfield) discovers her parents are in debt to the Cannon Limited, which gets her entangled in the criminal activities of Kansas City.

I have to say Rock – who I’ve only ever really encountered via his legendary stand-up routines – is an absolute revelation in his role, which is not to detract from any of the others; there’s not one duff performance on show here.

And, as when I last mentioned the show, there’s the soundtrack, a mix of blues, gospel, country and bluegrass guaranteed to pique the interest of anyone who regularly reads this series here.

As an example, this features in the current series, and it’s an absolute beauty:

Ola Belle Reed – High On A Mountain

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

1986, and Norwegian pop dreamboats a-ha released a remixed version of the title track and fourth (or fifth if you count Take On Me twice, since it flopped on its first release) and final single from their debut album, Hunting High and Low.

I had bought the re-released Take on Me on 7″ single (partly, admittedly, swept up by the magnificence of the ground-breaking video), didn’t buy but loved their only UK #1, The Sun Always Shines on TV, wasn’t particularly fussed about Train of Thought, but on hearing Hunting High… I was inspired to go and buy the album.

It’s a song which is all too often over-looked in favour of Take on Me (because of that video) and The Sun Always Shines… (because it was #1), which is a shame, I think, because, as I will say at least another two times before the end of this post, it’s just lovely.

Locked away in a part of my brain I have yet to recall the security code for, there is a memory of me – briefly – wearing, or at the very least considering wearing, leather laces as bangles, in the somewhat desperate hope it might make me look a bit like lead singer, Morten Harket, and therefore irresistible to members of the opposite sex. I don’t think I actually went through with it, but there’s enough doubt in my mind, and enough recognition of the daft lengths I would go to (try to) achieve the same goal when I was a teenager, to make me think I may well have done.

A case in point: at around the same time as a-ha were becoming famous, I went on a camping and canoeing trip to Norway, organised by my school. (To be clear, we did not canoe to Norway.) I knew very little about Norway, except I’d heard it was largely inhabited by blonde, blue-eyed beauties. And so I decided that what I needed to do was dye my hair blond, because that was clearly what Norwegian girls wanted from their overseas visitors: more of the same.

A friend and I duly purchased a bottle of Sun-In hair dye; we read the instructions, applied the lotion, rinsed and then…decided it hadn’t worked and did it again. And again. And then once more for good measure. So that by the time we boarded the ferry taking us to Norway, I was not the mousy brown-haired teenager I normally was, but neither was I the blonde sex god I had hoped for. No, my hair was a kind of muddy orangey red, and I looked as gorgeous as that sounds.

The female half of Norway was not in the slightest bit interested, needles to say.

Anyway, despite this traumatic memory, whenever I hear this song, it still makes me go “Ahhhh….” in the same way as it did when I first heard it, because it’s just lovely:

a-ha – Hunting High And Low (7′ Remix)

See? Just lovely.

More soon.

Dilemma

The other week, professional snake-in-the-grass Dominic Cummings gave his “explosive” evidence about the Government’s handling of the Covid pandemic to a Select committee.

It went something like this: “Contrary to popular opinion, all the time I was working for the Government, I was constantly advising them to do the complete opposite of what they did. Everything would have been fine if they’d listened to me. That time I drove my wife and child to stay at an illegally built house and then to Barnard Castle? No, I shouldn’t have done that, but a death threat had been made against us. No, I didn’t mention it at the time because I hadn’t made it up then – oops, I mean, because I was advised not to. Yes, I was the Chief Advisor, what’s your point? I realise now that I should have been more honest, and that’s why you should believe me now, because I’m telling the truth now, just like I said I was last time. Oh, and Matt Hancock is useless and should have been fired somewhere between fifteen and twenty times.”

For a seven hour session, there was remarkably little meat on the bones. There was nothing here that we didn’t already know, and those bits we didn’t know we didn’t believe anyway. Cummings promised to produce hard evidence, but to date this seems to nothing more than a ruse to stay centre of attention, and a pathetic attempt to get more people to read his blog. I mean, who reads blogs these days, let alone writes them? What a loser.

This week, Health Secretary Matt Hancock had his right to reply in front of the same enquiry. It went something like this: “Of course I shouldn’t have been sacked. I’ve never lied to the PM, the general public or the House. No, not even when I said that people in care homes would be ring-fenced, when they weren’t. Or that time I said there was no shortage of PPE, when there was. I have acted to the best of my ability throughout. It’s Mr Cummings who is a liar. And his pants are on fire. And his nose has grown.”

But this Clash of the Trite Ones presents us with quite the dilemma: who, if anyone, should we believe? Under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t believe a single thing which came from between eithers’ fetid fillings. Cummings has a history of bending the truth to suit his own agenda, whilst Hancock has floundered like, well, a flounder throughout the pandemic. It’s been perfectly clear that he’s been out of his depth pretty much since day 1, and it seems to escape him that if any of us, who do not have something as important as the health and safety of a nation resting in our hands, had admitted that they had acted to the best of our ability – and had fallen so glaringly obviously short – then we’d have been picking up our P45s pronto.

I was reminded of a similar dilemma back before the Brexit vote, where we had to pick a side, but whichever way you looked were people you you wouldn’t trust with looking after your house plants while you go on holiday, let alone your whole future. On one side shifty ne’er-do-wells like Farage, Johnson and Gove; on the other shiny faced toffos like Cameron and Osborne.

And I was reminded of this song (and this is not a recommendation of said song, which is one of those godawful coffee-table jazz-pop records which were briefly popular in the mid-80s):

Matt Bianco – Whose Side Are You On?

And then it occurred to me.

What was missing from this whole debacle was some input from the hard-working Bloody Great British public. Sure, everyone who wanted to have a say was doing so on social media, but were they being given access to the interviewees themselves? No they were not.

What we need here, I thought, is one of those phone-ins they used to do on Saturday morning kids television in the late 70s/early 80s, where you could phone the TV studio and, if you were lucky – and, it seems with the barest minimum of scrutiny – you could get through to ask Boy George where he bought his make-up from, or Adam Ant what his favourite colour is, or maybe even the aforementioned Matt Bianco….:

Of course, you can’t post that without also posting this one:

Not that it would solve anything, no progress would be made with political arguments, no scores settled, but wouldn’t it be great if you could just phone up an MP, call them a twat and have it broadcast on national TV?

Just think how much people’s stress levels would come down with that release! And think how much money it could generate from premium rate chat lines which could be spent on trivial things like the NHS, or solving the homeless problem.

Plus, if you introduced a rule that the same swear could not be used more than once, sooner or later callers would have to come up with new, ever-more florid profanities, to such an extent that we wouldn’t have to worry about school kids having to make up the months of English lessons they’ve missed out on during the pandemic.

And, if you ask me, I’d much rather our Government were kept perpetually on screen, answering the telephones and receiving abuse the likes of which haven’t been heard since I used to work as a cold-calling telesales operative, where I was told to fuck off with metronomic regularity. Because then, we’d all know exactly where they were and what they were doing.

“Has anyone seen Jeremy Hunt recently?”

“Yes, he’s on the phone-in section of Homes Under The Hammer, where somebody has finally got round to calling him by his rhyming slang name.”

I smell a BAFTA coming my way.

More soon.

Speech!

Having confessed my love for Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell album on these pages recently, I may as well complete the set and admit to loving the other album from the 70s which hogged a spot in the charts for yonks.

I’m not a fan of Pink Floyd generally, but I love The Dark Side of the Moon album like no other. As a teenager, it was the first record that I properly listened to via headphones, and truly came to appreciate the work that had gone into it: the sound of the helicopter blades moving from one ear to the other on On The Run, the chiming of the clocks at the start of Time, the ringing of the cash registers as percussion on Money, and most crucially for this post, the words spoken by the doorman of Abbey Road Studios, Gerry O’Driscoll, at the end of the closing song, Eclipse, which almost puncture the pomposity of what has gone before it.

Pink Floyd – Eclipse

If you’ve never listened to this masterpiece, and were, say, laying in a hospital bed with nothing but an iPad and a pair of headphones to keep you occupied, I’d recommend finding this album on your music streaming service of choice and giving it a go. I think you’ll love it and wonder why it’s not been in your life all this time.

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

Last time I posted something from this album, it got quite a good reaction, so I figured it was about time to give another track an airing.

Michelle Shocked – Secret to a Long Life

The secret to a long life is…well, I won’t spoil it for you, but I think I’m in agreement. Wise words, mate! This is another little cracker from Shocked’s back catalogue which, if you’ve never investigated, I can heartily recommend.

More soon.

Late Night Stargazing

Back when I was a kid, attending the school disco was a big event, although it would always, inevitably, end in disappointment.

For after several hours of bopping around to the latest pop sensations, suddenly things became very serious when things got slowed down for the last couple of records. For this was the moment where you were supposed to ask a girl to dance, but I never did.

No, I was one of those wallflowers, pressed terrified against the wall, unable to pluck up the courage to go and ask someone to dance for fear of rejection; forced to stand and watch as all of my mates grabbed a girl, led them onto the dancefloor and spent the next three and a half minutes trying to thrust their tongue down their throats whilst grinding their groin in a misplaced display of attraction.

At the time, this – purely because of its tempo, I think – was an often played song which graced what we called dismissively/jealously referred to as “The Erection Section”, although listening to it now the lyrics don’t seem to be on an entirely appropriate topic.

But Elkie’s voice…although she doesn’t properly let her vocal chords rip here (check out some of the records she made with Robert Palmer of all people under the moniker Vinegar Joe; she was the UK’s Janice Joplin, except she missed out the bit where she accidentally took too much heroin and was elevated to superstar status), anyone who can make we voluntarily listen to a Chris Rea composition (which this is) more than once must have something about them, which Elkie surely did:

Elkie Brooks – Fool If You Think It’s Over

More soon.

Rant

I’ve not done one of these for a few weeks for two reasons (well, three if you count “can’t be bothered”).

Firstly, I strongly suspected that the next round of Covid-restrictions being lifted on June 21st probably wasn’t going to happen, and I didn’t want to be the miserable, gloomy sod explaining I thought it to be the case, like one of those beard and sandals nutters you see in disaster movies, wearing a sandwich-board with “The End is Nigh!” written on it, laughed at by the main character just moments before a meteor crashes into The White House.

And secondly, probably – no, definitely (note the spelling) – because I would have to write the following words: I agree with something the Conservative Government have done.

I know, right? Who do I think I am, Sir Kier Starmer?

A few months ago, the Government set out their plan, their roadmap if you must, to coming out of lockdown, where a number of dates were signposted as being significant, when certain restrictions would be lifted. And this plan came with a caveat, which many people chose to ignore: that plans were subject to change if the data indicated it might be sensible to delay matters.

Which, with that mid-June date getting ever nearer, so the rumbling reminders have emanated from Downing Street, when they’re not having weddings or using £50.00 notes to wallpaper the guest room, that is.

I’m writing this on Friday night and whilst a continuation of current restrictions has not yet been announced, I think it’s in offing, what with our new enemy the Delta variant coughing it’s way across the country. Daily cases are up 2,056 on last week, whilst daily deaths are at 11. Nowhere near where the figures have been, thankfully, but still on the increase. So, I think it’s sensible that we approach June 21st with caution and understanding that perhaps the time is not yet right for us to get back to normal (or, that hated phrase, “the new normal”).

See, what we don’t want a repeat of is what happened at Christmas. You remember what happened then, right? When the Government promised us it would be fine for us all to go home and spend Christmas with our families, before having to announce that what they actually meant was that you could pop home for a day, not stay overnight (so no getting drunk, which is the only purpose of Christmas in my book) and on the proviso that you ensured any older, more vulnerable members of your family spent the entire time sitting next to an open window.

Were the restrictions to remain, then the usual bunch of anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers, and anti-common-sensers will doubtless be up in arms. Some people still don’t seem to have got the fact that a return to normal is not going to be an overnight operation, it has to be a gradual, step-by-step process. And those people will wail about restrictions being an infringement of their civil liberties (yes, they are – that’s the fucking point of them) and how they want everything back to how it was before Covid, but for it to have happened, like, yesterday.

Queen – I Want It All

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t want the restrictions to be kept in place, but faced with the choice of that or another six months under tighter lockdown restrictions – like we had to previously when we tried to come out of lockdown too quickly – then I’m afraid I go with erring on the side of caution every time.

Of course, an extension or tightening of restrictions became more likely when the Government reacted with all the speed of a cargo ship trying to turn in the Suez Canal when the news of the new variant arriving here began to become a concern. For just as the with the last times this happened, there was indecision, prevarication and a reluctance to shut down travel between the source of the new variant, and us.

If you’ve always thought that PM Johnson’s style of leadership was based on ex-President Trump, then I’ve got news for you. It’s not that bad. He clearly takes a leaf out of this numb-nut’s book:

I mean, this shouldn’t be difficult, should it? I mean – and I hate to sound like a broken record – but wasn’t control of our borders one of the main things that Brexit was about? So what exactly is the issue with shutting down travel from locations where the virus is more prevalent than it is here?

What we have got, of course, is the Government’s excellent and not at all open to mis-interpretation traffic light scheme, telling us which countries we can and cannot travel to. That seems quite a binary set of options we have there, right? And it would be, were it not for a third, sort of in between, neither one nor the other, option.

So to clarify matters, here’s what Michael Green Grant Shapps MP said in a written statement to Parliament, the full details of which you can read here: “As the virus is still spreading in many parts of the world, people should not be travelling to amber or red countries…Countries on the green list pose the lowest risk, therefore passengers who have only visited or transited through a green list country will not be required to quarantine on arrival in England.”

Which doesn’t exactly make it terribly clear what the difference between the red and amber lists are, does it?

We all understand what the traffic lights mean in their natural habitat, in the context of when we’re driving: red = stop, green = go, amber = (broadly) the lights are changing from one to the other so don’t do anything stupid. Unless you live in London, of course, where all three mean go, just at varying speeds (Green = at the speed you were already travelling at, amber = a bit faster, red = pedal to the metal).

But in this context of international travel, this seems to imply there is no difference between red and amber in which case….what’s the point of the amber list?

Add to this the fact that our lists do not take into consideration what restrictions other countries were placing on us. So, when international travel resumed on May 17th, we were given the following giddy list of places we could travel to:

  • Portugal (including the Azores and Madeira)
  • Israel and Jerusalem (oh, yeh, that seems a dream holiday destination right now…)
  • Gibraltar
  • Iceland (not the scummy shop)
  • Singapore
  • Australia
  • Brunei Darussalam
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • New Zealand
  • Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha (wasn’t he one of Prince Archie’s godparents….?)
  • South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands

I can’t confess to have looked into all of these, but New Zealand’s borders remain closed to almost all travellers, while only Australian citizens and returning permanent residents and their immediate family members are permitted to enter Australia without an exemption until further notice. I mean, under normal circumstances these guys won’t let you in if you have dirt on your shoes, so this is hardly unexpected. So, we can fly there, get refused admission, and come home again. What a holiday!

Our traffic light list is, obviously, subject to change, and so it was that yesterday it was announced that Portugal was moving from green to amber list. Cue those that had booked two weeks on the Algarve throwing their arms up in the air and their toys out of the pram. Whilst I get they are disappointed, surely they knew this was a possibility?

It did, of course, lead to perhaps the most distressing headline of the week. Brace yourself:

Our thoughts and prayers are with their families at this difficult time.

Three things:

1 – if you can’t go on holiday to your choice of destination, that is not a disaster.

2 – After her appearance delivering the UK Judging panel’s scores on Eurovision the other week – saying hello in English and then in “forren”, before going on to claim she didn’t understand or even know which language she had just spoken – then frankly Holden gets everything she deserves. Sure, by that time of the night every other nation had already decided they weren’t going to give us any points, but c’mon….they hate us enough already, without some talentless airhead giggling vaguely xenophobic tropes at them to reinforce their opinion.

3 – Um, who exactly is Jacqueline Jossa?

The Boo Radleys – Stuck on Amber

Meanwhile Liz Truss is busy doing what she does best, striking up new trade deals to replace all of those that we lost when we left the EU:

And this week, the wonderful news that deals had been struck with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein, which included – for the first time – the introduction of caps on the charges mobile operators are allowed to charge each other (and, ultimately, pass on to us, the consumer) for international roaming, keeping costs low for holiday makers and business travellers. (When I say “for the first time”, I mean as part of a trade deal, and when I say “introduction” I actually mean “re-introduction”, because we already enjoyed these benefits when we were part of the EU).

But I don’t wish to seem ungrateful. Thanks Liz! At least this time you don’t appear to have killed off the UK’s lamb farming industry like you did with the deal you recently struck with Australia and New Zealand.

And now, we can all wait with baited breath for that day when we can all once again travel to that internationally renowned holiday destination for your average Brit in search of sun, sea and sangria: Liechtenstein.

Since I’ve mentioned Brexit, a story in five parts, starring the Worzel Gummidge of Brexiteers, Wetherspoons‘ boss Tim Martin:

The penny’s surely going to drop at some point, isn’t readers?

“Psst! Tim! Tim! We already had the power to control our borders when we were in the EU, we just couldn’t be bothered to finance or implement it properly.”

You asked for this, so suck it up.

And your pubs are shit.

The Rolling Stones – You Can’t Always Get What You Want

******

And finally, one of these rants wouldn’t be complete without the mention of everyone’s least favourite smirking bully, Priti Patel.

On Thursday, she tweeted this:

There are three things to note about this tweet:

1 – a tweet can have a maximum of 280 characters, so the omission of the word “I’m” from the start of the tweet rather implies that Ms Patel is not really that pleased, she’s practically disowning it from the very start;

2 – “published” is not the same as “co-authored”

3 – this just happened to coincide with some more revelations about cronyism and corruption within the Conservative Party.

The release of the Electoral Commissions report on donations showed that in the quarter since October 2020 more than £600,000 has been donated to the Conservative Party by firms and individuals who have been awarded around £400 million in public contracts since the pandemic started.

First up, Oluwole Kolade, who has donated £884,342 to the Tories since 2011, £10,000 of which was to Secretary for Health Matt Hancock; Kolade is the managing partner of Livingbridge, a private equity firm which held a controlling stake in Efficio (which sounds like a team name on the Italian version of The Apprentice), and which has received £11 million from the Government since the Coronavirus kicked in. Kolade is a colleague of ‘Test and Trace’ boss Baroness Dido Harding. Just a coincidence, of course.

Then there’s Baron John Nash, who recently donated £90,000, and who is linked to IT Consultancy Softcat PLC, who, again coincidentally I’m sure, have been awarded contracts worth £16.2 million since February 2020.

Not forgetting Lord James Wharton, the sole director of GBMW Ltd, a consultancy firm he established after losing his seat of Stockton South in the 2017 General Election. Wharton/GBMW claimed up to £10,000 a month under the furlough scheme between from December 2020 to March 2021. But bless him, he donated £8000.00 of that back to the Conservative Party. Nothing to see here, of course.

And finally, thankfully, one which doesn’t relate to the award of Covid-related contracts: Peter Cruddas resigned as Conservative Party co-treasurer in 2012 after offering undercover reporters access to then Prime Minister David Cameron in exchange for £250,000 in donations. He was subsequently nominated for a peerage by Boris Johnson despite the advice of the House of Lords Appointments Commission. He is now Lord Peter Cruddas and he has donated more than £500,000 to the Tory party since he was elevated to his lofty position. Has this guy never heard of moonpig.com?

Seriously, if this doesn’t make you angry, then frankly you’re part of the problem.

Ol’ Dirty Bastard ft. Kelis – Got Your Money

More soon.

Sunday Morning Coming Down

It’s not the first, it won’t be the last, but an album that has just come out which features people covering Kris Kristofferson songs.

It’s a rather fine piece of work, demonstrating the universality of Kristofferson’s compositions, featuring as it does covers ranging from Dean Martin (Just the Other Side of Nowhere) to Isaac Hayes (the titular For the Good Times).

What makes For The Good Times – The Songs of Kris Kristofferson different is that amongst all the cover versions, there stands KK, performing The Taker; presumably it’s the compiler’s favourite and nobody had covered it.

King of all included, in my opinion, is this rather fine bluegrass version of the song from which the title of this series is pinched:

Bobby Osborne & the Rocky Top X-Press – Sunday Morning Coming Down

I suspect we’ll be returning to this album at some point.

More soon.