Archives » Events dear boy. Events

Brian Aldiss

Earlier today I read the news that Brian Aldiss has died.

At times during my youth he was about the sole standard bearer for British SF (for which actually read English SF as Science Fiction from other parts of these islands was more or less invisible till years later.) Only John Wyndham and J G Ballard had anything like as high a profile and they were very different writers.

(Edited to add: I don’t know why it was that Arthur C Clarke slipped my mind when I originally wrote this. Maybe because his output was hard SF as compared to the others.)

As a result of Aldiss’s prominence I have a large number of his books. I think The Interpreter was the first SF book I bought as opposed to borrowing them from the local library.

The latest such purchase was bought for me for Christmas by the good lady because she liked the cover so much – and she read it before me!

I suppose there won’t be any more now.

I did meet him once; briefly, at one of the Liverpool Eastercons.

One of the greats. Arguably the last of the SF pioneers.

Brian Wilson Aldiss: 18/8/1925 – 19/8/2017. So it goes.

Bruce Forsyth

So farewell, then, Brucie.

You had a long run.

Bruce Joseph Forsyth-Johnson: 22/2/1928 – 18/8/2017. So it goes.

Friday on my Mind 156: Wichita Lineman – RIP Glen Campbell

Sad to hear the news earlier this week of the death of Glen Campbell.

He had one of the clearest voices in popular music. Though he had among other things previously been a touring member of The Beach Boys and I must have heard his version of By the Time I Get to Phoenix he first really came to my attention with Wichita Lineman written by Jimmy Webb which it seems Campbell recorded even though apparently Webb hadn’t finished the song.

This apparently live performance doesn’t have the “Morse Code” strings which come in at the end of the refrain.

Glen Campbell: Wichita Lineman

The video below – featuring clips from throughout Campbell’s career – does though, as the recorded version provides the backing.

Glen Campbell: Wichita Lineman

Glen Travis Campbell: 22/4/1936-8/8/2017. So it goes.

Hywel Bennett

Another passing milestone.

Actor Hywel Bennett has died.

He was great in Shelley and made a wonderfully louche Rikki Tarr in the TV adaptation of John le Carré‘s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

Hywel Thomas Bennett: 8/4/1944 – 25/7/2017. So it goes

Blogging Hiatus

For various reasons I haven’t been able to organise blog posts recently. I’ve also missed the second round of Confederations Cup matches.

Normal service will be resumed as soon as I can get round to it.

I note Sons’ fixture list for next season is due out tomorrow. I might be able to comment on that by Saturday.

Reelin’ In the Years 136: Jessica. RIP Gregg Allman

This is perhaps the most abiding legacy of the Allman Brothers band, whose member, Gregg, died earlier this week.

I might have included it in this series before if it had not had the (mis)fortune to have become the theme tune to Top Gear. Still that’s not the Allmans’ fault and it was chosen long before the programme was hi-jacked by the play-to-the-lowest-common-denominator tendency.

The Allman Brothers Band: Jessica

Gregory LeNoir “Gregg” Allman: 8/12/1947- 27/5/2017. So it goes.

God’s Work?

Words almost fail me.

After all, what can you say about an atrocity like this?

The triggering of the bomb took place after the concert had finished. The bomber must have known his targets included children. What on Earth can persuade anyone that the deliberate killing of children is justifiable? What sort of person can even contemplate that?

If it was the act of someone seeking a short cut to heaven what makes them think that a God worth following could ever condone such an act?

Not, anyway, a compasionate, merciful God, upon whom peace should be.

And if they think they are carrying out God’s will why in any case would a God need anybody’s help to work His purposes out? God is by definition omnipotent. Surely taking onto yourself the status of His helper/agent is blasphemy?

The response of the people of Manchester has been magnificent. Humanity trumping barbarism.

This post is for the dead, the injured, their families and all those with any connection to the aftermath of an act which was beyond despicable.

Friday on my Mind 149: Foot Tapper. RIP Brian Matthew

It was with great sadness I heard on Sunday of the death of Brian Matthew, one of the voices of my youth and, through the BBC Radio 2 programme Sounds of the Sixties, also of my recent adulthood.

This came only a few days after the BBC had mistakenly reported his death.

Despite his apparent dismay at a crass decision by the powers that be to replace him, and his stated intention to make further programmes for Radio 2, Mathew was obviously not as hale and hearty as he once was (none of us are.) There had been another lengthy absence from the programme a couple of years ago so the final news was merely a confirmation of what I had feared.

Whatever, Sounds of the Sixties is not – and never can be – the same without him. The new incumbent, Tony Blackburn, is far too chatty (what is all that stuff with Dermot O’Leary, who follows him on air? Just play the music and give us the information about the acts) and always sounds fundamentally unserious about the show’s contents. It’s Blackburn’s style and has always been his style but it grates somehow.

So. Here is the tune that will forever now be associated with Matthew – the one with which Sounds of the Sixties played (and plays) out every episode and which I will never in future be able to hear without a further tinge of sadness.

The Shadows: Foot Tapper

Brian Matthew: 17/9/1928 – 8/4/2017. So it goes.

May Day

So. This is May’s day.

… — … … — … … — …
Dot, dot, dot; dash, dash, dash; dot, dot, dot. Dot, dot, dot; dash, dash, dash; dot, dot, dot. Dot, dot, dot; dash, dash, dash; dot, dot, dot.
Mayday! Mayday!

We in the UK have recently been sailing troubled waters but now we are coming out of a lea shore and are about to enter the full blast of the storm. Who knows what the political landscape of these islands will look like in three years’ time? A second Scottish Independence referendum has been made ever more probable by the UK goverment’s stance on a so-called hard Brexit and deaf ear to other voices.

Scottish independence might have been achieved on a relatively friendly basis in 2014 but I doubt that’s at all likely now.

The febrile English nationalists (for that is what they are) who have driven this headlong rush over a cliff have no thought of (or care for) Scotland – and still less for Northern Ireland for which this represents a double crisis, the “cash for ash” scandal having led to a breakdown of the power sharing arrangements. They will exact a heavy price for what they will no doubt see as a betrayal of “England, their England”.

I believe Theresa May is trying to look stern when she lectures all and sundry in the House of Commons and on television but to me she looks threatening – as in, don’t dare cross me, my revenge will be sweet – despite there being no substance behind her bluster. Scotland can look for no favours from her.

I never thought that another politician could achieve a position lower in my esteem than Margaret Thatcher did but Theresa May has managed it. (David Cameron, aka Mr Irresponsible, though he is entirely responsible for the mess the UK now finds itself in and amply demonstrated his irresponsibility by doing so and more so by running away from the consequences, is merely a buffoon by comparison.) May is potentially dangerous. Not so much in herself as in what may come after her.

Chuck Berry

Reading his obituary and a piece in the Guardian’s G2 brought home to me how important Chuck Berry was to the development of rock and roll and the music that followed it.

His heyday was in the 50s so I had kind of missed all that by being too young. I must have been aware of him somewhere in the background via the paltry amount of rock music on the radio in those times but I didn’t really come into contact with his music till the mid to late 60s when some of his singles were in the pile beside the record player at a youth club I went to. It’s therefore No Particular Place to Go and Memphis Tenessee I remember most particularly. It wasn’t actually till years later that I discovered No Particular Place to Go was a reworking of a 1957 song, School Day (Ring! Ring! Goes the Bell).

Not the least of his accomplishments was to irritate Mary Whitehouse with his ding-a-ling. (Well, it seems it was Dave Bartholomew’s ding-a-ling, but it was Chuck who annoyed Whitehouse.)

His personal life may not have been unblemished but he certainly has an impressive musical back catalogue, and that’s only the singles.

So here are those two Berry singles the second in a later live version.

Chuck Berry: No Particular Place to Go

Chuck Berry: Memphis Tenessee

Go Johnny go! Tell Tchaikovsky the news.

Charles Edward Anderson “Chuck” Berry: 18/10/1926 – 18/3/2017. So it goes.

free hit counter script