One of my photos

In praise of Tim Burgess

June 26th, 2020 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Music

When I listed the various people, mostly entertainers, who helped make the lockdown pass a bit more easily I missed a few people out. For example I forgot the always brilliant Jonathan Pie and his lockdown video diary. I also forgot Darren Maclaine and his little impressions of famous singers doing the thems to TV shows. It started with Elton John doing the theme to Only Fools and Horses and just carried on from there.

The biggest omission was Tim Burgess, but there is a good reason for that. [Read more →]

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On the road again

June 26th, 2020 · Posted by Skuds in Life

Yes, its the long-overdue reprise of using song titles as blogpost titles!

I was reading an article in The Times today. I shan’t link to it because it is behind the paywall and it is not so much the article itself as the comments that I was interested in. I really should stop reading comments on newspaper articles, along with comments on YouTube videoa or Tweets. They never display humanity at its best, but you know how it is. You read a certain type of article, and when you reach the end you see that it already has 130 comments and make a little bet with yourself that you can guess the gist of them. [Read more →]

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Today’s bright idea #11 – laptop screens

June 24th, 2020 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Technology

It has been a little while since I blurted out one of my bright ideas, about six years actually. In that time I have still had ideas of course; some of them impractical, some of them impossible and the rest just stupid – in other words, the same as usual. I just couldn’t be arsed to share them, what with me not being anywhere near as active a blogger as I was.

To add to my list of dodgy inventions, today I thought of a good one – laptop screens. [Read more →]

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Not siblings!

June 20th, 2020 · Posted by Skuds in Life

I have been watching a DVD box set of the 80s TV show Shelley. I found myself wondering what Josephine Tewson, the actress who played the landlady, Mrs. Hawkins, went on to do, so I looked her up. It turns out she did quite a lot that I had not seen and also was in Keeping Up Appearances where she was Hyacinth Bucket’s neighbour, but I had not recognised her.

Anyway, there is one strange thing about her. It says on her Wikipedia page that she had been rumoured to be John Inman’s cousin, but denied that. Inman’s Wikipedia page says the same thing. But if you Google either of them it gets weird. Google Josephine Tewson and the info box lists things like spouse, films, birthplace, etc. but also says “Sibling: John Inman”

If you Google John Inman, his info box lists Josephine Tewson as a sibling.

At least Google is being consistent, even if it is wrong. Not sure how a (denied) rumour about them being cousins turns into a categorical statement of them being siblings, especially when the other biographical details show them being born in very different places, to very different parents in very different circumstances. They did play the parts of half-brother and sister in a TV show but surely even Google knows the difference between fiction and reality!

I know Wikipedia has its detractors, but at least when it states facts it includes references you can look up, even if we hardly ever do.

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Lockdown survival aids

June 20th, 2020 · Posted by Skuds in Life, Music

Let’s be honest here, the lockdown has really ended now hasn’t it? OK, there are no pubs, cafes, theatres, music and sports venues, but otherwise I think a lot of people are now treating it as all over except where it suits them to pretend it is all still going on – I am thinking of parents who won’t let their children go back to school because it isn’t safe but will drag them round the shops. Over the last couple of weeks the roads have been getting noticeably busier day by day, and altough everything is quieter than normal it feels like normal in many ways just because it was so dead for a couple of months.

With shops open, huge crowds gathering for VE day street parties, protests and counbter-protests it is really easy to forget just how eerily quiet it was for a couple of months and how scary it all was at first. It seems like years ago but was only a few months back when there were queues round the block to get into a supermarket that had hundreds of metres of completely empty shelves. After years of being able to get whatever we wanted, whenever we wanted, it was pretty anxiety-inducing to go to the shop for food and getting things that you would never normally eat because it was the only thing left.

Throughout it all, there were lots of people doing good work in trying to make it all a bit easier to remain sane during a very strange and uncertain time. Here are the things that made it all better for me personally. [Read more →]

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Is this where prog rock actually started?

June 16th, 2020 · Posted by Skuds in Music

The other night I was watching a re-run of an old Sky Arts show from 2016 – Trailblazers. This one was all about prog rock. I have watched a few of these. They are entertaining enough, with lots of nostalgia-inducing clips and Noddy Holder’s distinctive voiceover, but ultimately they tend to promise more than they deliver. [Read more →]

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Roll Credits

June 5th, 2020 · Posted by Skuds in Life

Another thing that struck me while working my way through the box set of the Goodies was the sparsity of the credits.

We are so used to movies where it takes 15 minutes to scroll through all the many credits, though most of us give up before they start listing the PA to the stunt double of the person who makes the tea for the accountant of the caterers, and television shows where the credits are unfeasibly large, that we forget it was not always like that.

Reach the end of an episode of the Goodies and there is a good chance that even actors with speaking parts who appear in it are not always credited.

While it is true that most credits are too long these days, you can go too far the other way. At the end of a show you might well be interested to know who played the person behind the counter in a shop scene, especially in an old show where you are convinced it was an early bit part by somebody who went on to bigger things.

I have just started watching the DVD box set of Shelley which started at about the time the Goodies was coming to an end. Maybe it is just that ITV did things differently, but the credits did include wardrobe, lighting designer, and a few other people. Most importantly, it confirmed that the bearded person with a small part as one of Shelley’s friends was indeed the late, great Alan Rickman in one of his earlier roles.

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We Do Anything, Anytime

May 31st, 2020 · Posted by Skuds in Life

Some time between Christmas and the start of the lockdown I treated myself to the box set of the complete BBC episodes of the Goodies. I expected I would binge-watch it all in no time at all, but actually only finished last week. Partly this was down to me just not watching much TV this year, but partly down to not enjoying it quite as much as I expected to. [Read more →]

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All Killer – Mlah (1988)

May 25th, 2020 · Posted by Skuds in Music

I think I have mentioned that, in the list of albums I would consider to be all-killer-no-filler, debut albums are disproportionately represented, and this is another example. It is a very personal choice and probably not a favourite of many people, at least not many British people. At the time it came out, there was quite a buzz about Les Négresses Vertes in certain circles. They were cropping up quite a lot as guests on TV shows that I watched – late night stuff without a large audience like the James Whale show or Rapido. [Read more →]

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Becoming annoying

May 14th, 2020 · Posted by Skuds in Life

One by one, I am gradually becoming all the things that I used to find annoying, or saying things that used to annoy me when other people said them. It was bad enough when I started catching myself saying things to the kids that my parents used to say to me, but everyone with children or step-children has that experience (it must be a tradition or an old charter or something, as Robert Rankin would say). It is in other, more general, ways that I am gradually becoming somebody my 20-year-old or even 10-year-old self would dislike. [Read more →]

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