Filed: Music

S is for Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein

Sheldon ‘Shel’ Silverstein was multi-talented – a poet, singer-songwriter, cartoonist, screenwriter and children’s author – and yet he is possibly best remembered as the writer of ‘A Boy Named Sue‘.

Born into a Jewish family in Chicago in 1930, Silverstein attended Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and Roosevelt University after being expelled from the University of Illinois and then served in the US Army draft in Japan and Korea as a draftee. 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 ›››

N is for John Newton

John Newton

John Newton led what you might consider an interesting life. He was a sailor, a slaver, a clergyman and author of arguably the most popular hymn of all time.

Born in 1725 in Wapping, London, Newton grew up at a time of religious turmoil. His father was ostensibly a Catholic, but had Protestant sympathies while his mother was a devout independent Anglican. Read more ›››

Not Sensible


Having seemingly given too much attention to the Ding Dong The Witch is Dead issue last week, it is only fair and in the interest of balance that I also mention I’m in Love with Maggie Thatcher by the Notsensibles.

Supporters of the late Baroness calling themselves I’m In Love With Margaret Thatcher for #1 have pushed the 1979 punk track as a rather frantic paean of praise… Read more ›››

C is for William George Crush

In 1896 William George Crush created the second largest ‘city’ in Texas only to deliberately demolish it overnight in a publicity stunt that went catastrophically wrong.

Crush was a passenger agent for the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, known as Katy, and he conceived the idea of demonstrating a train wreck as a public spectacle… Read more ›››

Ikea Therapy

Ikea Logo

Here are a few things you may not know about Ikea.

1) The company is the world’s third largest user of wood and sells two billion meatballs a year;

2) 25 million Bibles were printed in 2011 compared to 208 million Ikea catalogues;

3) One in ten European babies is conceived in an Ikea bed. Read more ›››

T is for Tanita Tikaram

Tanita Tikaram

The letter T gives me an opportunity to write briefly about one of my favourite singers of the 1980s and to feature a rather excellent song and video.

Tanita Tikaram is the daughter of a Malaysian mother, Fatimah Rohani, and an Indo-Fijian father, Pramod Tikaram. She was born in Münster, Germany, in 1969, due to her father’s military career, but moved to Basingstoke in England in her early teens. Read more ›››


Abdul the Bulbul-Ameer

I’m afraid that my temporary obsession with the obscure cartoon, Abdul Abulbul Amir, hasn’t shown any sign of going away, at least until now – I finally tracked down a copy of it on YouTube.

I can’t believe that I didn’t come across it earlier, possibly because it was under the title Abdul the Bulbul-Ameer, but I thought the search engines would have taken care of that anomaly. Read more ›››