Be Llŷrious

This is the series where I remember my recently passed friend Llŷr by posting a song which reminds me of him.

Amongst many other things, there were two interests which Llŷr and I shared: winding people up and showing off what we knew about pop music.

Sometimes, the two met in a perfect storm. Sometimes, people didn’t know if we were having them on about something, in a “boy who cried wolf” type scenario. Often, instead of finding that rather frustrating, we would feel vindicated and just laugh it up.

And, without a word being spoken, we both knew when there was a wind-up in play. And we both knew that having each others’ back would make the deception even funnier than we already thought it was.

Some examples: shortly after Hel (Llŷr’s older sister) and I met for the first time, she took me to one side and asked me this:

“Is it true what Llŷr has told me about Brian May’s guitar?”

It turns out that, amongst the many wind-ups Llŷr had foisted upon both his sisters, there lay this little nugget: that Brian May of that there Queen fame, had built himself the guitar which you so often see him play on footage of their performances.

“Oh, yeh,” I replied. “That’s true.”

Hel looked at me suspiciously, eyes narrowed.


This was before everyone had Google on their phones and could simply check the veracity of any such claim.

“Really,” I assured her.

At the reception (note: not a wake) after his funeral, some fifteen years later, Hel sidled up to me.

“You can tell me now,” she said. “You were both winding me up about the Brian May’s guitar thing, right?”

Example 2: one evening, when we still shared a flat, I got a call from Llŷr, who was out drinking with some work buddies.

“Dude, I’m going to pass you over to Jamie, he has a question for you.”

Cue the sound of a phone being passed between two drunken buddies.

“Yo, Jez! What’s Turning Japanese about?”

“It’s about wanking, Jamie. Surprised you need to ask.”


The Vapors – Turning Japanese

Footnote: at least one of these answers has subsequently been debunked. I’ll leave you to guess which.

More soon.


Llŷr’s younger sister Sian is running the London Marathon this year, raising money for the Brain Tumour Charity. Sian won’t mind me saying that she is not normally the running type anymore than I am – she’s usually far too busy getting shot in the opening episode of series 5 of the fecking brilliant Line of Duty – so if you feel so inclined it’d be lovely if you could spare a few quid to support her. Thanks once again to all of you who have been generous enough to sponsor her so far – I know who (most of you) are and it is massively appreciated. If anyone else reading this would like to help, you can do so here:

Thank you.

When The Scales Fell From My Eyes

In case you haven’t seen it, here’s a clip of the opening moments of an interview which has been doing the rounds on social media this week, featuring The Cure’s Robert Smith, as the band were about to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame:

I was reminded of a conversation I had with my friends Gary and Meg when I stayed over at theirs the other weekend.

We were talking about encounters with famous people; I was saying that I generally wouldn’t approach them, as I figure they must get hassled by people enough without me adding to it. I prefer to catch their eye and give them an appreciative nod, maybe tweet them later so they understood I had been respecting their right to public privacy.

Gary’s view was that on such occasions it was perfectly okay to speak to them as you would probably never have the chance again – provided you were going to say something nice rather than confrontational.

Meg’s position was that in her line of work, she had encountered many celebrities and coming over all fangirl was definitely frowned upon.

We all had various examples of our actions to support our position; me: Al Murray (who clocked me as I waited for Gary and Meg outside a Teenage Fanclub gig, and who gave me a “Don’t you fucking dare” glare – not that I was going to – I tweeted him about it later and he was perfectly lovely), future Dr Whos Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi (independently of each other, and both just before they were announced as the next Dr Who, to the point where I wondered if any actor I encountered would be unveiled as the next TARDIS incumbant shortly afterwards): Smith caught my nod and gave me an appreciative smile in return, Capaldi sat opposite me on the tube, steadfastly refusing to make eye-contact with anyone, like most people do on public transport); Gary: George Martin, who he accosted in a theatre (at a Rolf Harris gig, of all places….this was some years ago, I should add) and got his autograph for his troubles; Meg: Jonathan Ross, Caitlin Moran, one of The Magic Numbers (I forget which one), and Robert Smith, amongst others.

And it was as she related her tale of not bothering Smith that she came out with a phrase which I thought was so brilliant, I asked her to repeat, and then clarify:

Meg: I passed Robert Smith in a corridor at the BBC once, and he was dressed as Robert Smith….

Me: Sorry, what?

Meg: I passed Robert Smith in a corridor at the BBC once, and he was dressed as Robert Smith…

Me: Sorry, what do you mean, ‘dressed as Robert Smith’?

Meg: You know, his hair was all over the place, loads of mascara, slightly wonky lipstick…

Me: But you’re describing Robert Smith to me. Are you saying he doesn’t always look like that?

Meg: Well, yes. He can’t look like that all the time, or he’d always be getting stopped. He must dress like Robert Smith out of The Cure only when he’s being Robert Smith out of The Cure, surely?

It was something which had never occured to me before, but the more I think about it, the more I think Meg’s probably right. Much as I’d like to imagine Robert Smith popping to the shops to buy some toilet roll dressed as Robert Smith out of The Cure, he probably doesn’t. He probably just wears the eyeliner and passes on the lipstick.

Me: That’s brilliant. You know I’m going to use that on my blog, right? Credit will be given, of course.

Meg: (utterly nonchalant about the epiphany I’d just had) Course you can.

I’m a man of my word.

Here’s a bloody great song by The Cure, featuring Robert Smith dressed as Robert Smith out of The Cure, one which I bought on 7″ back in 1987, and which still gets a spin every now and then:


The Cure – Why Can’t I Be You?

More soon.

S.S.O.S. (Stop Spoiling Our Songs)

If you’re lucky, this won’t have crossed your radar yet.

At Hel and Neil’s wedding last year, as the night drew to a close, I was chatting to a friend who asked me: “What do you think will be the last record of the night?”

“Well,” came my considered response, “if the DJ has any sense, it’ll be….” today’s record.

And that was indeed the last record of the night. Oh yes. Still got it.

On Thursday night, I stumbled across the same song, being used in an advert for a certain brand of cider.

I like cider. It’s my preferred pint of choice. But, without wanting to sound all snobby, real-ale-esque about things, I wouldn’t touch this brand with the proverbial barge-pole.

As is the norm in ad-land, it wasn’t the original version being used. But instead of some dull but winsome lovely, cooing along to a chilled piano melody, this time they’ve gone for a folky version.

Which, if heard out of the context of an advert for what is generally regarded as fuel for wife-beaters, I maybe wouldn’t object to. But it wasn’t, so I do.

It took a few moments for me to realise what I was hearing.

“I know those lyrics,” said my brain.

“Yes, you do,” replied my brain, “but where from?”

The realisation dawned on me.

Dear Strongbow

We do not need you to Mumford-&-Sons up a genuine 80s classic in an effort to try and get us to sup your horrible booze. Frankly, we’d rather hear that bloke massacring Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time to try and sell us broadband than have you commit this assault on our ears. We see you. We choose to drink something nicer.

Love, Jez.


Philip Oakey & Giorgio Moroder – Together In Electric Dreams

More soon.