Cleo Laine – Jazz Singer

Cleo Laine, brilliant documentary I strongly recommend you to see the Cleo Laine documentary on BBC iPlayer. I bought the All About Me Cleo Laine LP well over 50 years ago, and I once saw her with the Johnny Dankworth band in Worthing. So I knew she was a wonderful singer with a great voice […]

Hans Zimmer – Film Music Genius

Fascinating documentary about a musical genius Hans Zimmer is the most successful composer of film scores this century. His story was told in a recent BBC2 documentary which can now be seen on BBC iplayer or downloaded from the internet at It tells how he was expelled from eight schools in Germany before his […]

Jazz 2022 in Brighton Fringe

Imogen Ryall

Jazz 2022 in Brighton Fringe This May and June sees the largest arts festival in England in action in Brighton. Here are some terrific jazz events:   More info at Chris Coull and gig information

Brilliant South Coast Jazz at Shoreham Just West of Brighton

Just experienced another brilliant jazz morning at the Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham. Sunday 5th December 2021. Mike Hatchard’s “Jazz Breakfast”. Top musicians on brilliant form. Duncan Lamont saxophone and flute, Nils Solberg guitar, Paul Morgan double bass, Mike Hatchard, Keyboard. A scintillating morning. Mike runs these events every month on the first Sunday of the […]

Willie McBride – a popular folk song relating to the First World War

I don’t know how widely known it is that some very popular and excellent folk songs were written about The First World War long after the event – poetry often overlooked.One of the most popular is the lament for the death of Willie McBride, but its meaning is wider that just that. I have heard […]

Climate change? – Poem – What little I know

Climate change is not new Ever since there have been climates on earth there has been climate change. Today we know that large areas of the earth are threatened by rising sea levels and other areas are threatened by droughts. Such problems have been common throughout human history. Mankind has always been at the mercy […]

A modern poem for Remembrance Day

One of nearly 400 memorials at The National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire A Hymn for Remembrance Sunday May be used as a prayer or sung to the music, Finlandia, by Jean Sibelius Grant peace, O Lord, across our strife-torn world,Where war divides and greed and dogma drive.Help us to learn the lessons from the past,That all […]

Remembrance Day – Sources of Remembrance Poems and Readings

The sculpture by Ian Rank-Broadley is perhaps the best known memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas in Staffordshire. It was inspired by the Ancient Greek tradition of carrying dead heroes from the field of battle on a shield. Here the shield has been replaced by a stretcher and a grieving family has been […]


Welcome return of that positive, inspiring and cheerful programme about a couple raising 1000 sheep and nine children – OUR YORKSHIRE FARM. New series. 9pm Tuesday 5 October 2021, Channel 5. We are gradually catching up on all the previous programmes using the watch-again facility, “My5” via my phone and Chromecast. Brilliant people, brilliant family. […]

Hurst Festival 2021 is in full swing

DON’T MISS OUT. The Hurst Festival is in full swing in the village of Hurstpierpoint, a few miles north of Brighton. Joe Stilgoe We are going to see Joe Stilgoe on Thursday 23rd September. Dazzling pianist and great entertainer. Also Other events. Variety There’s amazing variety. A top Queen tribute band in the church on Saturday 18th. Drama […]

Great TV – Our Yorkshire Farm on My5 Watch Again

Great TV – Our Yorkshire Farm on My5 Watch Again Our Yorkshire Farm A TV programme that is truly positive and life-enhancing. You may not be interested in sheep farming as a topic but it is hard not to find the events on this particular farm really interesting – especially if you have ever tried […]

Philharmonia – psychological thriller on All4, on demand

Philharmonia – psychological thriller on All4, on demand Philharmonia is a French six-part psychological drama. We are watching it on All4 via our phone and chromecast but there are other ways to access All4 free on demand series.The story is set in Paris, mainly in the concert hall of a top French orchestra. The cast […]

Montalbano – the last ever book and film

Montalbano – last ever book and film Have we seen the last of Montalbano? One episode has not been shown on British television. This episode is called Beloved Salvo, My Livia. It was shown on Italian television on 8th of March last year, 2020, and viewed by 9 million Italians. It has still to be […]

All About Montalbano – the international TV and literary hit

All About Montalbano – the international TV and literary hit Montalbano and The Young Montalbano Montalbano and The Young Montalbano are two crime series set in Sicily.They have enjoyed huge worldwide success. And in Italy, when the series were running on tv, 45% of the Italian population viewed the dramas. The title roles are played […]

Ernest Hemingway – Fascinating BBC Documentary on i-player

Ernest Hemingway – 1899–1961 – Fascinating Documentary on BBC i-player We have just started watching a fascinating BBC iPlayer documentary about the life of Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway was one of America’s most celebrated novelists and short story writers who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1954. He was a war reporter and himself a […]

Buddy Rich – Nutville – Driving Jazz Performance

For many years I have heard talk of Buddy Rich as “the greatest drummer in the world”. Recently, through the gift of YouTube, I’ve been able to see and hear him at work. I don’t agree with “best in the world” titles but Buddy Rich is certainly a great drummer and what’s more he’s a […]

Outstanding Sculpture by Brighton Artist, Alison McGechie

Last Saturday (5 June 2021) I went to an exhibition of sculpture in stone, ceramics, wood, and metal by my friend, Brighton artist, Alison McGechie. The exhibition was at the Coachwerks workshop and gallery. Her work is outstanding as you can see by the photographs on this page and more on Alison’s website. Link at […]

Errol Garner – Concert by the sea

Concert by the Sea – the famous Erroll Garner Concert Concert By The Sea was one of the first LPs I ever bought. I was 18 at the time and very impressed by the energy and style of this great pianist, Erroll Garner. This was 1960. The recording had been made in 1955. Live performance […]

Important and fascinating book about Iraq

Iraq, its breakup and exploitation by Western powers, is described in this important and fascinating book by Riad El Taher, O Daughter of Babylon. Riad El-Taher, born in Iraq tells the story of his remarkable life: how he came to Britain as a teenager and trained as an engineer and worked for a number of […]

A United Kingdom – true, political, social, romantic drama

A United Kingdom – a moving and important film Romance / drama, 2016, 1-hour 51 minutes Directed by Amma Asante Seretse Khama – David Oyelowo Ruth Williams – Rosamund Pike Currently (April 2021) available on BBC iPlayer, Amazon, etc This powerful, and impressive love story concerns Seretse Khama, a black, Oxford educated law student in […]

Brilliant French psychological tv drama on All4 – in French

Bruno Debrandt and Julie Gayet as Florent and Victoire in French drama, “Torn” This 6-part French tv drama has recently arrived on the All4 free streaming service. In French with English subtitles it is called Torn in English. Its French title is  Soupçons, (Suspicions) which I think is more fitting. Also, there was a mini-series […]

The Bridge, Saga Noren and the pornography of violence

The Bridge, Saga Noren, and the pornography of violence The Bridge, Swedish/Danish crime series, is addictive (We’ve watched 29 episodes, almost at the end of series 3.) but isn’t there really too much of the pornography of violence? Our addiction We started watching The Bridge near the beginning of lockdown in March 2020 and after […]

Support British Musicians and the British Music Industry

Support British Musicians and the British Music Industry Brexit in practice shows that negotiated arrangements are, in some cases, very unsatisfactory. Something needs to be done to correct problems that should never have arisen. Power is with The European Commission The difficulty now is that the real power to make changes lies with the unelected […]

Anticipating 2021

Anticipating 2021 My first thought about the coming year is a feeling of great gratitude to the people who have developed vaccines against covid-19. My second thought is a similar feeling of gratitude to all the people who are under exceptional pressure and workloads and work so hard in the NHS to look after the […]

Barnard Castle Eye Test IPA

Brewed to commemorate Dominic Cummings’ historic visit to Barnard Castle – Barnard Castle Eye Test IPA, 6% proof. If you tried it you may have needed more than an eye test to continue driving. I missed out but apparently you can buy empty cans as collectors items on eBay.

Poem – What do I know?

Poem – What do I know? What does anyone know? What do I know? The origin of the universe its scale its destiny are beyond my understanding. This earth so rich so poor so vulnerable so uncontrollable is all we have. I accept that I am less than a speck in the sandstorm of stars. […]

The Announcer – great little drama on All4 – in French

The Announcer  –  great little drama on All4 We really enjoyed and would strongly recommend this powerful story. Described as a period drama The Announcer is set in 1962 in de Gaulle’s France and the time of the Algerian fight for independence from France’s colonial rule. French youths are dying in a fight they cannot […]

Spotify needs a new formula for sharing revenue with musicians

Spotify dominates the music industry of the world with its music streaming service. In December 2020 it is a company valued at 60 billion dollars. Currently 90% of Spotify’s huge revenue goes to just 1% of the musicians on its books. 99% of musicians share the remaining 10 percent of revenue. This cannot be right. […]

Shoplifters  – A film I highly recommend

Written and directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda (2018) Winner at Cannes of the Palme d’Or. This is a deep, fascinating, absorbing film that you may find yourself thinking about long after it is finished. Father and son shoplifters returning home on a cold winter night in Tokyo  come across a small girl shivering outside her house […]

3 Ten-line poems – Heatwave, First day at uni, A heart in winter

I write the occasional poem. Here are three of them. Writing a poem in ten lines is a useful discipline. It concentrates the mind.  I think poems should pack as much meaning as they can in the fewest possible words. I am not a fan of gushing words, clever but meaning little. Heatwave The hottest […]

The ten-line poetry competition – My covid poem

For ten years the small town and port of Shoreham-by-Sea, on the south coast of England, just along the coast from Brighton, has had a thriving, popular literary festival. This year (2020) being the tenth anniversary of the festival the organisers decided to run another poetry competition. The requirement this year was for a ten […]

Our garden – dry and sad – mid August 2020

Hardly a day’s rain for months and our garden was really suffering. We had done regular watering. We collect water in two large butts but by mid August these had long run dry. We used the hose but felt we had to be sparing with our watering because the local reservoir had come close to […]

Remembering Vicky Darling

On Saturday (October 3rd) Julie and I attended the memorial meeting for our friend, Vicky Darling. It would have been her 90th birthday.  With her daughter, Josie, she had planned a big meeting to celebrate her life, with lots of food and socialising afterwards, but she died on the 4th of April and made plans […]

Juliette Greco, Iconic French Singer and Actress Dies

Juliette Greco, French singer and actress died on the 23rd of September 2020 at the age of 93. She was known for her stunning good looks, her sultry voice and her colourful life. Captivated so many After the Second World War she was the darling of the philosophers, poets and musicians of existentialist Paris. She […]

Conductor, Bernard Haitink. Interesting programme on BBC i-player

Bernard Haitink, now 91, (October 2020) is the revered Dutch conductor who has worked for many decades in the UK, as well as conducting orchestras around Europe and in America. In the UK he has conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Glyndebourne Opera  and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden. He has made a huge number […]

Vera Lynn, outstanding British singer, dies June 2020

Vera Lynn was a British national institution whose name was known by every member of the older generation and a great many much younger people. She died on the 18th of June 2020 in the village of Ditchling where she had lived for over 50 years and which is just a few miles from where […]