Filed: MP3

Achtung, achtung

It’s a face that only a mother could love, or if like me you’re a Man United fan who saw him play, or better still an England fan on that Saturday of 31st July 1966 when he became immortal.

For the uninitiated, I should explain that the toothless wonder on the left is Nobby Stiles who these days they’d call a ‘holding midfielder’, loosely translated a player who kicks other players and keeps the passes simple. Read more ›››

N is for John Norton-Griffiths

John Norton-Griffiths

I couldn’t let the centenary of the start of World War One go by without devoting an ABC post or two to some of those who took part, starting with John Norton-Griffiths.

We all know about the horrors of the stalemate that stretched for 400 miles from the French coast to the Swiss border, but less well-known is the war that took place below the trenches… Read more ›››

She’s Leaving Home

It has been a sad glad day for me today as we waved our daughter off at Manchester Airport for her year long teaching position in Thailand.

I was glad because this is what she has been working towards for the last two years having taken her masters in Teaching English as a Foreign Language at Manchester uni, but sad because we won’t see her for so long… Read more ›››

What the Papers Say


I have a fairly jaundiced view of the media that stems from my working life when I had to have day to day contact with journalists. And as we know, familiarity can breed contempt.

Not that I would tar all journos with the same brush. Many I knew were very good at their job and often did a public service, but all had their moments when neutrality and accuracy went out of the window. Read more ›››

The Uxbridge English Dictionary

Although I love the language, I try not to get too hung up on usage or abusage because that way madness lies, but there are certain phrases that grate on my sensibilities for no adequate reason.

One of them is the way people say they will ‘meet with’ someone else. To my mind, you might ‘meet with’ an accident or misfortune, but if all you’re doing is getting together for a coffee, you simply ‘meet’ them. Read more ›››

And Now an SOS Message

John Reith in 1922

The BBC has invited people to make suggestions for messages to be sent to the future.

My own is directed at the Queen in 2022 as she prepares to celebrate her platinum jubilee on the throne:

‘For goodness sake, don’t let Paul McCartney sing at the celebration concert.’ Read more ›››

The Return of Abulbul Amir

Abdul the Bulbul-Ameer

After looking again at my post about Percy French yesterday, I realised that the video from Bulgaria was forever buffering which is pretty annoying, so I removed it, leaving just the link, and replaced it with a recording of the song by Frank Crumit.

I must confess that there was a supplementary reason which was to try out the free Soundcloud online service which is quite nifty. Read more ›››

F is for Percy French

My ABC Wednesday for the letter F is even more self-indulgent than usual, concerning as it does the Irish songwriter, Percy French and his most famous creation that I recall from my childhood.

But first some background, French was born in 1854, the son of a protestant landlord in Roscommon and educated Foyle’s College, Derry… Read more ›››