I Can’t Help Myself

I wouldn’t be so bold as to assume that any of you are cricket fans.

At the moment, England are engaged in a three-match Test series with New Zealand.

The other weekend (when The Platty Jubz was going on), I was visiting my folks, and each day I was home, my father and I watched the highlights of the first Test match on the BBC, 7pm.

It was a weird if entertaining affair, scheduled to last for five days, it was over in three, each team’s batters seemingly trying to out-perform the other in the “we’re not very good” stakes.

At One-day Internationals (50 overs), and T20 matches (erm…20 overs each), the crowd is engaged by a rousing tune being played, whenever a boundary is scored, or when a wicket falls.

This is proving harder to explain than I thought.

Test matches are rather more sedate and austere affairs. No exit music is played when a wicket falls.

But the Kiwis had a player whose name was just screaming out for some tuneage when he got out: Will Young.

As we watched him tuck his bat under his arm and head for the pavilion, I turned to father and said: “I bet they wish they could play Leave Right Now right now.”

About 2 seconds later, one of the commentators (Phil Tufnell, I think, which is ironic given that when I lived in Wales at least one person thought that I sounded like him) made the same joke.

Basically: I’m wasted doing this.

Will Young – Leave Right Now

It should not be overlooked that this had a really good, clever video behind it, which had nothing to do with cricket, but did have a lot to do with being at an exclusive (but rubbish) art installation:

More soon.

Leave Right Now!

The chap who sits next to me at work does all of the risk assessments for the local borough council I work for. Every now and then, and with increasing frequeny, he is asked to speak about Brexit, where we are in the process, and what might happen next.

At least twice this week, he’s given me a nudge and asked me to explain – or rather confirm, because he’s been correct – the current state of play. As for predictions, well that remains anyone’s guess.

No, really, I’m trying really hard not to keep posting about Brexit, but it really is the gift that keeps on giving. Every cloud, eh?

Sometimes I genuinely wonder if Theresa May is part of a sleeper cell, activated every couple of weeks to try and cause as much damage to the Conservative Party as possible.

This week, in a last-ditch desperate attempt to get the deal she negotiated with the EU through the House of Commons, she announced that, were sufficient MPs to back her deal, she would stand down as Prime Minister.

Just imagine how desperate you’d have to be to make that offer: “If you support me, I will quit.” And by desperate, I mean desperate to have your legacy be something other than ‘worse than David Cameron’.

And so like cats enticed by catnip, over the paparapets came the likes of Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees Mogg, who immediately pledged their support for a deal which they had both actively slagged off days earlier, and for months before that. “Worse than Remain”, they had said of it. “We’ll be a slave state [to the EU]” they had whined, banging that increasingly hollow-sounding Brexit drum. And now: you know what? Suddenly it’s a really good deal, worth throwing their hefty weight behind. (By hefty, I of course refer to Johnson; there’s no weight at all in a Victorian pencil.)

Do you remember when the Conservatives claimed Labour thought they had a “magic money tree” which they could just shake in the direction of any problem? The gall of these people to then give £1 billion of our fucking money, money raised by way of cuts to integral community services, to the DUP to try and buy secure their support, makes me really quite angry. I know: really quite angry. How terribly British of me.

But on this occasion, here’s some words I thought I’d never say: thank God for the DUP. I do not share their politics at all. Their views on same sex relatonships and abortion are reprehensible at best. But for them to have trousered £1 billion from the Government, supposedly in return for their support for such crucial moments as these, which they now steadfastly refuse to give, shows an almost commendable level of bloody-minded integrity.

Thus Johnson, Rees Mogg et al were exposed for what they are: shameless careerist charlatans, who put their own bank accounts and well-being before the good of the country. But we already knew that, didn’t we? Still nice to have it confirmed. By them.

And they then had to perform the most spectacular and humiliating a climb-down when, after May’s vote got beaten again, it became apparant that she wouldn’t be leaving her job after all. Not yet, anyway.

Priceless. Almost makes the £1 billion for the betrayal worth it. I never used the local (now closed) library anyway.

On top of that, yesterday there was a march in London of pro-Brexiters. I support their right to march in protest about whatever it is they think they should be upset about. But their was an unwitting moment of hilarity when UKIP MEP – and leader of the party – tweeted this on Thursday:

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Well, heaven forbid that I should accuse the leader of the UKIP party of trying to stir up trouble (or of suggesting he should spell-check his own tweets *shakes fist at those aggregated Brexiteers*), because Gerard: your wish came true. It wasn’t true. And how do we know it wasn’t true? I’ll leave it to the Metropolitan Police to explain:

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They used to have a water cannon though. Three of them, in fact. Boris bought them when he was London Mayor. And then found out they couldn’t be used. They were sold off for scrap in 2018 at a net loss of £300,000. We’ll add that to the list of his successes. shall we?

And I’ve not mentioned the bookies favourite to replace May, Michael Gove. On him, all I can say is: never trust a man who claps like this:


In the name of balance, today a song for the Brexiteers, and with apologies to Will Young for making the association:


Will Young – Leave Right Now

More soon.


The A Word

I was genuinely pleased to see the return for a second series this week of BBC drama The A Word.

I really enjoyed the first series which I had watched for one simple reason: Christopher Eccleston. 

Eccleston is an actor I could watch endlessly; I’ve never seen him be in anything bad, and I’ve never seen him be bad in anything.

And before you ask, my admiration for him pre-dates his brief stint as Dr Who. It even pre-dates his appearances in Danny Boyle directed movies like Shallow Grave and 28 Days Later.

Although actually, the source of my admiration for Eccleston comes from the same year as Shallow Grave, 1994, but I didn’t watch that until after I’d seen – and because I had seen – Cracker.

Cracker was a rarity in my book: a compelling, well-acted, well-scripted drama on ITV; I can’t think of a single drama they have shown which comes anywhere close to how good that show was in it’s first and second series. Much of that was down to the writing, by Jimmy McGovern; as with Eccleston, to this day, I try to watch anything which has his name attached to it.

The show also introduced me to a couple of other actors that I still try to catch as often as possible: John Simm, Samantha Morton and Robert Carlyle.

In fact, Carlyle plays a large part in the reason I loved this show.

Spoiler alert.

One of the reasons Cracker left a massive impression on me was the shocking, death of Eccleston’s character, DCI David Bilborough, at the hands of Carlyle’s Albie Kinsella, in the first story of the second series, “To Be a Somebody”.

This was something I had never seen before: a main character brutally, unexpectedly, killed off. Other TV shows have since followed suit (although I’ve never watched it, Spooks springs to mind). And if you think about it, that’s drama reflecting real life; when people die young, or in the line of duty, you generally don’t expect it, so the loss is a bolt from the blue, an absolute shock.

But I digress. When I saw that Eccleston was going to be in the first series of The A Word, I knew I was going to have to watch it.

The A Word is about Joe,  a young boy on the autistic spectrum, and the effect that his condition (and other things) has on his extended family.

Joe finds it difficult to engage with people, but he finds it very easy to engage with music; he has a pair of headphones permanently attached to him, can quote the year each song he listens to was released, who it was by, etc, and often the bulk of his conversation is focused on song titles and lyrics of his favourite songs.

And joy of joys, he has bloody great taste in music. Here’s three songs which featured heavily in the first series:


The Only Ones – Another Girl, Another Planet

And – don’t knock this one, it’s bloody great, if not quite in the same league as the two it’s sandwiched between here:


Will Young – Leave Right Now

And, since I haven’t posted it for a while, and it remains one of the greatest (indie) records ever:


The Wedding Present – Kennedy

The entire first series is available to watch on the BBC iPlayer, should you be so inclined.

Or, some kind soul has compiled a playlist of all the songs which featured in Series 1 over on YouTube, which you can have a look at here.

So, could the second series match the very high standards it had set itself in the first series?

Oh, yes.

Here’s what the music over the first scene was:


Buzzcocks – Everybody’s Happy Nowadays


And then, a little later, gloriously, this:


The Wedding Present – Brassneck

Note: not the album version, but the Steve Albini produced single version. Class.

So anyway, if you enjoy the sort of stuff I post here, give The A Word a look. You might even quite like the drama aspect, but if you don’t, you’ll love the soundtrack.

And if Joe isn’t writing his own music blog by the time Series 3 comes around, I’ll be very disappointed.

Either way, that should have got your weekend off to a decent enough start.

I’m tempted, as the series progresses, to feature all the great songs that feature in the show. We’ll see (if I can be arsed).

In other words: More soon.