Friday, April 12, 2024

FRIDAY MUSIC: The Beatles, orchestral versions, by JD

There have been lots and lots of cover versions of Beatles records, some good, some not so good. As far as I know there have been close to 2000 covers of Yesterday (according to Wiki) so the total number of covers of the Fab Four's back catalogue is anyone's guess. They were extremely popular in case you had forgotten and their music music has been adapted for orchestras around the world, inspired by The Beatles themselves who often used an orchestral backing to their songs. So here are just a few of those orchestral cover versions.

[LIVE] Beatles - YESTERDAYCello + Orchestra Version

Here, There And Everywhere - Orquestra Ouro Preto

Beatles - Eleanor Rigby e Strawberry fields forever

Here Comes the Sun - The Beatles | Joshua Bell and From the Top

The Beatles - Now And Then | Epic Orchestra

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Disneyland's Magic Stingdom


A friend recently returned from a family trip to Disneyland in Florida was enthusing to me about the rides and shows.

One thing he noticed was that the little boats taking them from A to B were in unusually swift-flowing water. It turned out to be an anti-mosquito provision, preventing them laying eggs as they do in pools and sluggish streams. So despite the tropical climate and nearby swampland there is little chance of visitors being plagued by insects.

The architecture is also designed to stop puddles forming (Reader’s Digest says more here.) Disney plans systematically and meticulously.

Could we put them in charge of our railways and the NHS?

Tuesday, April 09, 2024

Fake freedom: gambling

At the newsagent’s an elderly gentleman was checking his wins on a handful of Lottery tickets. I congratulated him but he replied that over the years he had lost a total of £30,000.

He could afford it at his steady rate but there are others much less fortunate. My in-laws recently used a plumber who had retrained to escape from working in a bookmaker’s because he couldn’t stand seeing men come in crying for their wages back, and hearing of customers’ suicides.

The gaming industry excuses itself by pretending that the gambler is exercising his free will and it wouldn’t dream of interfering with his liberty. Instead it offers friendly reminders (‘when the fun stops, stop’) and a helpline (GambleAware, founded 2002), so that absolves the organisers of any responsibility, doesn’t it? But in fact if we were completely rational and self-controlled there would be no need for such advice nor any restrictions on the gaming industry’s activities.

Instead the former chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on betting and gaming has recently resigned his seat over an undercover journalistic sting by The Times in which he offered to take money for privately influencing Parliamentary colleagues and asking questions in the House.

A lot of temptation is down to availability. Betting shops became legal in 1961 and at one point there were 15,000 of them. The National Lottery started in 1994 and now there are some 30,350 terminals selling draw tickets; and in 2014-2020 their sales of instant-result scratchcards averaged over one billion items, annually. Online gaming - accessible not just via computers but on the smartphones that virtually everyone carries around - now accounts for nearly 30% of all non-Lottery income. Overall, the industry’s revenues exceed £15 billion p.a.

If this country truly valued your freedom it would not be policing your speech, to the extent that since 1 April in Scotland saying the wrong thing even in the confines of your home could potentially get you up to seven years in jail.

The only freedoms you may have are those that make money for powerful interests.

Saturday, April 06, 2024

WEEKENDER: From The Bottom Up, by Wiggia

The local press gives a fair indication as to what the movers and shakers are doing or not in your own area.

As an example of what we can do without there are three articles in the Eastern Daily Press that are classics in that what is portrayed is several groups of ersatz political wannabees that have not a clue about what they are doing or are supposed to be doing.

I have moved more times than I care to mention in the region, starting in Essex and ending now in Norfolk and in all these areas and sub divisions have seen the local councils, town and upwards in action or as in most cases inaction. In most cases the ill-informed, the naive, the pompous, the ladder climbers and the corrupt form a toxic mix of inactivity that can only be replicated in the House of Commons where it is the same but magnified. Never has there been so many layers of wasters, and I do mean wasters, who have a say in our everyday lives or wish to impose their often ridiculous rulings on the general population.

I have mentioned before the saga of the link road for the so called northern relief road round the top of Norwich, an area bereft of decent road communications. This project would if planned properly have brought relief to not only motorists but to the edge villages that suffer as rat runs.

Just a brief re run: firstly, the road should never have been built without the final connection to the A47 in the west. Secondly by not completing the road then the costs for the three mile link have soared beyond belief, and thirdly the Norfolk Council questionnaire asking for opinions on three route proposals ignored the result! And chose a further out link that will inevitably be ignored by many and the rat runs will remain.

Because of the delay all and sundry who have no interest in the road other than stopping the link-up on eco grounds have found a colony of bats that they hope will stop any further progress, and now Natural England, a government sponsored quango has put its oar in on the subject: an unelected official has used the bat card as an attempt to stop the road being built; bats before people, tee shirts available here!

All of the region’s Conservative MPs have backed the road link and named an official who is unelected for the problem, as the majority of the MPs are standing down, including ‘seven jobs’ Brandon Lewis

Typical of the type of person in the political classes, he was joined in the announcement on the road link by Richard Bacon also standing down as my MP after being totally invisible for what seems like years.

Meanwhile in Wymondham the town council have had a mental health moment after one councillor had a turn after another made a 45 second resignation speech - yes really, suggestions for this man? And the useless councillors as described by the resignation speech on a postcard please.

And at Breckland Council the troughing continues………

Magically this council has funds to pay nonentities double that others do; still, the rise in council tax will solve any monetary problems for them.

Today I saw an election card come through the door for the post of Crime Commissioner. I have no clue (nor does anyone else) who is standing for the lucrative post; probably another double-barrell-named individual as were the last two who made a bigger dent in local finances than any equivalent dent in crime figures or management of them.

The general election will of course be different. The two uniparties are busy slagging each other off while telling the electorate that voting for Reform or anyone else is detrimental to the country. If it wasn’t so serious I would laugh.

Friday, April 05, 2024

FRIDAY MUSIC: Elle and the Pocket Belles, by JD

Described by Glastonbury Festival programmer Chris Tofu as "The most saleable Electro Swing act I've ever seen", the group are reminiscent of a cross between classic 60s soul and 50s girl groups given a joyful and wry modern twist. As such they fit perfectly alongside other artists on the Freshly Squeezed record label.


Elle, Michaela, Chloé, Cat and Joanna

Elle & The Pocket Belles - See You Later (Official MV)

Old Fashioned // Lyric Video // Elle & The Pocket Belles

Elle & The Pocket Belles - Never Wanna Say Goodbye (Official MV)

Swingin' Together // Elle & The Pocket Belles

Get Down Tonight // Elle & The Pocket Belles


“Freshly Squeezed is a Brighton-based Independent Record Label of quality and innovation behind sounds like the electro swing phenomena. Roster of quirky, idiosyncratic music that you'd be unlikely to hear anywhere else. We believe it is our uncompromising quest for only the very best music that has enabled us to evolve from a small DIY label making videos on a shoestring (sometimes less) to becoming, since 2005, one of the survivors in our industry. On this channel you will see videos that we spent a little more time and money on. You will also see videos we made when we simply didn't have any budget at all. We hope you'll enjoy them all and that ultimately the quality of the music is what comes through.”

Thursday, April 04, 2024

Trashing the system

‘Big crash coming’ says Jimmy Dore, introducing his guest Paul Stone. They agree that the economy is being mismanaged, because interest rates are too high and the debt is ballooning.

The problem is that everything depends on facts and interpretation, and about the only fact that is unchallengeable is that the public debt is soaring. Stone tells Dore that it is accelerating and he expects it to increase by a trillion dollars every fifty days by the end of this year. Who is going to buy it, and how will the government be able to continue servicing the interest?

The Federal Reserve’s interest rate is at a 23-year high. There is no immediate prospect of easement: one of the Fed’s governors, Christopher Waller cites wage inflation especially in the service sector as the justification. This may be putting the cart before the horse: workers in the service sector tend to earn less than those in manufacturing industry or the FIRE economy so they will have suffered disproportionately from the high recent inflation and will seek more money to make ends meet.

Nor, arguably, is employment generally so low as to require this tightening of credit to dampen inflation. Officially it is running at 3.9% (Feb 2024) as against the long term average of 5.7%; but Stone says that if measured in the old way the rate would be 25% - as it was during the Depression era, observes Dore. Stone’s claim is echoed (‘24.9%’) by the Ludwig Institute, whose ‘True Rate of Unemployment’ tracks ‘the percentage of the U.S. labor force that does not have a full-time job (35+ hours a week) but wants one, has no job, or does not earn a living wage, conservatively pegged at $25,000 annually before taxes.’

If that higher unemployment figure is a fairer picture then it is another reason to question the government’s decision to permit a vast influx of ‘undocumented’ migrants into the US. These are not needed to open up new Western territories and in general may not be qualified to remedy shortfalls in high-skill sectors. Instead they are likely to compete for jobs that pay relatively little; this will put a brake on wage increases in those sectors and tend to cement the poorer sort into un- and under-employment. Further, the trend towards automation (robotised supermarket checkouts etc) will reduce even such opportunities and help to swell a class at least partly dependent on State benefits; and, perhaps, garner more support for a political party that presents itself as the friend of the poor.

Little wonder that the government is papering over the cracks with truckloads of freshly printed money; but unless the intention is to replicate the German hyperinflationary spiral of 1923 there will have to be a major revision of monetary and fiscal policy. In the interim there are those who will try to square the circle by hitting welfare (my brother tells me that some are saying the poor ‘don’t deserve pensions’, or have irresponsibly failed to put aside funds for their old age - out of what spare income, exactly?)

From one point of view investment is the problem. In a thriving economy ordinary people are paid well enough to buy each other’s goods and services, turning over the money again and again. Instead, the velocity of money has crashed to about one-seventh of its febrile peak in 2008 and is less than half of what it was in 1960.

At the same time the Gini measure of economic inequality in the US has soared to record levels and the excess cash of the upper echelons tends to be invested rather than spent. For decades, corporations and wealthy individuals have absorbed most of the increase in the country’s real wealth and their surplus ‘walketh about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour’: hedge funds are buying up medical practices, care homes, veterinary outfits… and residential property.

Increasingly, ordinary people will be earning a pittance (if they have work at all) and be soaked for the dubious services of medicine and college education and the rent of the ground under their feet. The great American empire is turning Ottoman, a land of pashas and peasants, something Elia Kazan’s uncle fought to escape (watch ‘America, America’ if you can.) Why else would the people consider a maverick like Trump?

Ah, the 1960s! To most of us Brits the cartoon caveman Fred Flintstone was an aspirational fantasy - imagine, a detached home in the suburbs and a private car! - but for millions of Americans it was an amusing take on their reality. Now we are in the world of ‘Nomadland’, people caravanning about for sessional work until their health gives out.

In the video at top Jimmy Dore advocates gold and silver as hedges against the predicted crash of the system (Paul Stone is the CEO of Colonial Metals Group.) This is okay for a moderate level of disaster, though if the paper dollar evaporates gold on its own does not operate efficiently as a monetary basis - it is too valuable (an old rule of thumb is that ‘an ounce of gold buys you a handmade suit.’) Hence the retired business magnate Hugo Salinas Price has long argued for coinage based on silver (by weight rather than nominal value) as well as gold - effectively the bimetallic system required under Article 1, Section 10 of the US Constitution.

In the worst case, even gold doesn’t protect you. In Britain from time to time we unearth hoards of gold artefacts and coins apparently abandoned by surviving Anglo-Saxon nobility fleeing the Norman Conquest of 1066. Some of the fugitives sailed to Constantinople, fought for the Byzantine Emperor and were granted lands in Crimea (aka ‘New England’)… but they never came back for their gold.

The true wealth of a country, apart from its natural resources, is its people. In old age Thomas Jefferson suggested that every time half the population had passed away there should be a revision of the Constitution, the living citizenry being the sole source of power and authority. They would then agree on the new form of the institutions by which they would govern themselves. So much for ‘originalism’!

What I perceive as an outsider - but I have a dog in the fight, as the next two generations of my family are US citizens - is the progressive trashing not just of the US economy but of its institutions also. Whatever the outcome of the multiple trials and official investigations concerning the egregious Mr Trump, it looks to many as though the courts and agencies of America have been politicised and weaponised to prevent his standing again for the Presidency and to preserve some kind of ‘business as usual’ for the ‘uniparty’ establishment. The result is a dangerous diminution of the public trust in institutional impartiality and justice that holds a vast and disparate nation together - ‘Out of many, one,’ a motto that needs urgent attention.

Friday, March 29, 2024

Good Friday procession and music, by JD

 San Juaninos 2018. Viernes Santo Avilés 2018

Holy Week processions have been documented in the town of Avilés since the 17th century, although it acquired its current form throughout the 20th century in squares, churches, palaces, with the Town Hall Square as its epicenter.

The city has nine brotherhoods, the oldest being that of San Juan Evangelista. Some of the brotherhoods go out in procession simultaneously, holding meetings. The most popular is the Santo Entierro, where the brothers, all under 33 years old and known as San Juaninos, carry the Christ performing a dance with canes.

Holy Week concludes with a secular celebration, the Fiesta del Bollu on Easter Monday with a great feast in the streets, which has been declared a Fiesta of Tourist Interest.


Stabat Mater - Quando corpus morietur-Amen - G. B. Pergolesi

Sunday, March 24, 2024

WEEKENDER: Word Salad, by Wiggia


One of the more noticeable and annoying traits of modern life is the mangling of words to suit the current theme/trend.

This started some time ago but has accelerated over the last couple of years. The most obvious in the last year has been the use of ‘optics’ rather than 'seen', it is almost as though 'seen' is old hat and no longer describes what is portrayed before one. It is used by all who wish to to appear relevant (?) in the woke world we live in; in fact optics is word from the scientific world meaning the study of light in various forms and has nothing to do with how badly Boris Johnson dresses!

The acceleration of verbiage has largely come about through the use of modern communications. A whole new language has developed as the use of abbreviations has usurped correct language, u instead of you as an example. It is a lazy short cut but is used by virtually all younger users of mobile phones, the hows and whys though obvious has a purpose, but that is not what I am illustrating here.

Two areas are the prime examples. One is thrown into relief by the madness to accommodate the trans lobby and advocates: an endless stream of meaningless phrases and invented words are bandied about as if anyone cares, pronouns are a prefix to be used when addressing people who are not sure who or what they are. Why this should be a concern for everyone else is a mystery but on and on they hammer away with their faux offence and slight expressions and replies when not addressed with the 'correct' prefix.

How many of the general public know what all these tags mean or are moved enough to actually use them, or care? I certainly don’t. Those who are showing signs of offence, though there is doubt as to how genuine it all is, inhabit the strange world of Tik Tok. All have virtually identical mannerisms, the same robotic voices and appearances that suggest they should get out more though I doubt few would ever appear in areas outside their own small world dressed and adorned as they are.

In many ways I doubt if their appearance and use of language has anything much to do with their actual perceived state, it is just another manifestation of the ‘look at me’ society that grows by the day.

The other group is the commentators, the interviewers and the interviewees. Here using a word such as 'optics' is not optional but a necessity to remain on cue. Luckily it is last year's word and dying a death, but other examples are the use of age definition phrases starting with Boomers, Generation X, Millenials, Generation Z, and Gen Alpha to come; not only do I never use the phrases but I have never heard in private conversation anyone using them either. It could of course be an age thing but more likely who can be bothered to remember different terms for words or phrases that are easy to define and still in use as well as being self explanatory.

An example of an older version of this word salad is cockney rhyming slang, if you believe the middle educated! Classes who seem to revert to forms of this slang every few years to show how conversant with the peasants they are but nothing could be further from the truth.

I was raised and lived in the east end of London until I married and moved away. Whilst not exactly within the sound of Bow Bells I did spend a lot of time in my ill begotten youth in the area. During all those years I only met two people who would occasionally resort to using the rhyming slang, despite those who believe that all cockneys went round saying ‘where’s the struggle and strife’ (though I do admit to using the phrase ‘I am going for a tonsorial’ on occasions) but much that is written today is just made up slang to give the impression it is still in use; it isn’t, and like so much of today's word salad it will be confined to that historic lexicon in the sky.

It would be disingenuous of me to suggest all new words should be confined to the dustbin of history, some will survive and will be added to the English language as they always have been; but how many in reality other than these few will still be in use in future times. Others stem from abbreviations; one in particular is used almost exclusively in a sporting context: 'GOAT' (greatest of all time.) I believe it first came to prominence when used to describe Valentino Rossi the nine times world champion grand prix motorcyclist; I could be wrong but it has since been overused as all these phrases are.

Anyway must go my neighbour has just come round with his ‘dustbin lids’.


Saturday, March 23, 2024


 10 March: Wiggia writes excellent piece about the current UK political situation. 86 views.

Since then, 17 March music piece: 7 views. 21 March: piece on Scotland's evil new bill on 'hate speech': 2 views.

I strongly suspect the interference - not formally notified to me - of a half-educated right-on ninny on Google's workforce.

How much longer can we continue to use Google/Alphabet Inc's weevil-infested products?

'Don't Do Weevil!'

Friday, March 22, 2024

FRIDAY NIGHT MUSIC: Potato Head Jazz Band, by JD

POTATO HEAD JAZZ BAND es una banda de Granada - España dedicada, con pasión y ritmo, a tocar Jazz Tradicional. La banda ofrece diversión, espectáculo y calidad músical. Jazz para todos.
POTATO HEAD JAZZ BAND, located in Granada - Spain, plays traditional jazz with passion and swing. The band offers a joyful show played by qualified musicians. Jazz rhythms for all tastes...

The band has been together since 2003, when a group of young musicians formed a band in Granada to play the music of New Orleans – not a regular occurrence in Spain at that time. By 2009 the band, attracting audiences throughout Andalusia, was based around a nucleus of three musicians: trumpet man Alberto Martin, Martin Torres, a clarinet player who had been playing in Dixieland bands in his native Argentina before moving to Spain and guitarist/banjoist Antonio Fernandez. The three of them decided to dedicate their professional career in music to re-create the authentic music of New Orleans and to set up the first band in Spain to specialise in that style.

Although over the following years they became the benchmark band in that style and regulars on national Spanish television and festivals throughout Spain, they still didn’t feel that they had the right combination of musicians and set about finding the very best musicians to improve and make a more authentic Potato Head Jazz Band. Soon, joining Alberto, Martin and Antonio were three more musicians who matched their level of achievement.

The Italian trombonist, Giorgio Gallina, already known throughout Europe, relocated to Granada, virtuoso bassist Alejandro Tamayo, with a background in orchestras and jazz combos came on board and the new line-up was completed by the in-demand drummer Zeke Olmo.

With the refreshed line-up – four Spanish, an Argentinian and an Italian – the band really started going places, featuring at festivals in Germany, Switzerland, France and Denmark, as well as becoming a household name in Spain. Their performance on French television, with Potato Head integrated with New Orleans band, Tuba Skinny, was seen on television throughout Europe and has since clocked up a million views on YouTube.

Potato Head Jazz Band, una boda diferente:



Tuba Skinny & Potato Head Jazz Band - At the jazzband ball

Royal Garden Blues by Potato Head Jazz Band

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Scotland goes electro-fascist... radge, doo-lally

Scotland's new (starts April 1st) hate law:

100 years ago...

Bretschneider lapsed into silence and looked disappointedly round the empty pub.

‘Hallo, there used to be a picture of His Imperial Majesty hanging here once,’ he started up again after a while. ‘Just where the mirror hangs now.’

‘Yes, you’re right,’ Palivec replied. ‘It did hang there, but the flies used to shit on it, so I put it away in the attic. You know, somebody might be so free as to pass a remark about it and then there could be unpleasantness. I don’t want that, do I?’


Bretschneider showed Palivec his eaglet, stared at him for a moment and then asked:

‘Are you married?’

‘I am.’

‘And can Madam carry on the business for you during your absence?’

‘She can.’

‘Then it’s all right, Mr Palivec,’ said Bretschneider gaily. ‘Call your wife here, give the business over to her, and in the evening we’ll come for you.’

‘Take it easy,’ Švejk consoled him. ‘I’m only going there for high treason.’

‘But what am I going for?’ moaned Palivec. ‘After all, I’ve been so careful.’

Bretschneider smiled and said triumphantly:

‘Because you said the flies shitted on His Imperial Majesty. They’ll certainly knock His Imperial Majesty out of your head there.’

Jaroslav Hašek: The Good Soldier Švejk (1921)

Sunday, March 17, 2024

Music for St Patrick's Day, by JD

Galway Girl - Mundy with Sharon Shannon (H.Q.)

Finbar Furey - I'll Take A Glass (Official Video)

Bláth na hÓige with Síle Denvir and Colm Mac Con Iomaire | The Tommy Tiernan Show | RTÉ

Not A Theme Night - Glór Shligigh (Niamh Crowley)

The Fields Of Athenry - World's Biggest Street Performance by Athenry Town & KamilFilms 2019

Sunday, March 10, 2024

WEEKENDER: A Statutory Obligation, by Wiggia

Words in a government document sent to the people of Millom in Cumbria after they decided not go ahead with the dumping of illegal migrants there:

'The Home Office has a statutory obligation to house people seeking asylum, as well as having a commitment to ensuring people are housed across the entire UK, in line with our Full Dispersal plans and we are still keen that Cumberland meets its regional allocation.'

In the real world one would assume that there is a statutory obligation to house the indigenous first, but as recent events have shown obviously not.

The sheer amount of money going into accommodating the asylum seekers or economic migrants and then providing them with all their needs far outstrips any benefit they bring to the nation now or in the future, despite agencies saying the opposite; the Dutch report on the same problem showed the true extent of that lie.

This is an update to the original paper published in 2021 and quashed by the authorities at the time. I have used this before simply because no other outlet in this country is prepared to tell the truth on the matter.

The home office revealed that by 2026 we will be paying £11 billion a year to accommodate illegal migrants at the current rate. That is not only unsustainable but a slap in the face for the general public who pay for it all . It is no more than confirmation as to what most people with an interest in such matters knew beforehand. No longer do governments talk of spending millions badly, it is now billions - the Covid fiasco trained us all to think in billions and now that is what we get or not as the case may be.

It used to be a statutory obligation to reveal plans that affect the whole population to the public through Parliament. As I said a couple of weeks ago the petition to renounce the signing of the WHO treaty came up with a government message saying our sovereignty would not be overridden; this shows just how much notice we should take of government assurances. 

And the presence of Bill Gates quite openly being involved in decisions that affect European and the UK is an affront to democracy, the same democracy that our PM spoke about outside Number Ten the other night; and they wonder why the public have deserted their belief in the democratic system.

Meanwhile the WEF continues down its path to restrict all planet dwellers to a form of penury siding with the eco zealots in banning meat and now even growing your food.

If you read the whole paper it is your gardens they will be coming for next. The madness continues and still they flock to Davos to pay homage to this lunatic:

Remember this: Charles didn’t take long to rebuff convention to stay out of politics did he? What a wonderful example he is to all of us, pottering about in his methane powered Aston Martin fuel gathered from his own farms and then using a personal helicopter for all other trips; Clown World.

So statuary obligations are like London buses, none at all or ten arriving together half empty.

Very little of this gets into the MSM so few are even aware of what the WEF is or the influence it has. Governments should have a statutory obligation to ignore these organisations as they are unelected and have no mandate from anyone. I doubt that the manifestos printed for the upcoming GE will have any mention of them - why not?

Everyone with a brain knows the country is skint, not that that fact stops those in power from squandering billions on failed projects such as HS2 and the £5.5 billion on the Ajax armoured vehicle that is still flawed despite claims to the contrary (and oh, it is eight years late, probably out of date by now anyway.) How about another IT project? - they always end up so well; or a couple of extra aircraft carriers that have difficulty finding any planes to use them or actually leave port.

Perhaps we should have another inquiry into these failures so the legal profession can take even more money from the taxpayer and then claim ‘that lessons have been learned’ passim.

The future is here…

We are also obliged to fund endless foreign countries, in fact most of the world it appears. This (below) is the aid given since 2011; despite occasional necessity can anyone really say what we have gained from this largesse, yet our betters (?) claim it is an obligation. Most when studying the facts below would doubt it and almost certainly suggest better use of those funds on UK projects - it is not as if we don’t need them.

It is a statutory obligation to put into practice the will of the people following a referendum, not that the HoC tried very hard as 80% ‘knew better’ and we now have Theresa May standing down from politics - she of course in another life would have been spending time in the Tower. Theresa May 's response to the democratic will of the people was to try and sign a deal that would have left the UK trapped in the EU forever. People have been hanged for far lesser acts of treason, and within living memory; but today it is all eulogies to a person that along with so many others should never have had the keys to Number Ten.

‘We have not been well served’ is a phrase that is now too often appropriate such is the current malaise of the ruling classes.

Saturday, March 09, 2024


Scene: Richard Burton (né Jenkins) has brought his extended family to London and put them up at the Dorchester Hotel for the Royal Command Performance of 'The Taming Of The Shrew', 1967...

'Hey, Jenk,' said a Welshman to Burton, overcome by the marble grandeur of the lavatories, 'Doesn't it make your cock look shabby in here?'

In Roger Lewis' 'Erotic Vagrancy', p.464

God bless the Welsh!

Friday, March 08, 2024

FRIDAY MUSIC: Veronica Swift, by JD

Not all Swifts can sing but this one certainly can. At age 23, Veronica Swift is now being recognized as one of the top young jazz singers on the scene. Not only is she a fine singer she is reviving the 'lost art' of scat singing (originating in vocal jazz, scat singing or scatting is vocal improvisation with wordless vocables, nonsense syllables or without words at all. In scat singing, the singer improvises melodies and rhythms using the voice solely as an instrument.)

Her parents are renowned jazz pianist Hod O’Brien and celebrated jazz singer and educator/author Stephanie Nakasian. She has appeared on stage with Jon Hendricks, Annie Ross, Esperanza Spalding, Joe Lovano, Bob Dorough, Kim Nazarian, Danilo Perez, and others. With her family she has appeared at The Great Waters Music Festival in NH, Blues Alley Jazz Club in DC, the Jazz Standard in NYC, the Jazz Cruise, and for the New Jersey and Hilton Head Jazz Societies.

(There are not many good quality videos so this is but a small selection and as Wiggia has already noted she needs to find better backing musicians although in the last video below she shares the stage with Wynton Marsalis and he looks suitably impressed by her performance.)

At Last - Live at the Strathmore (A Glenn Miller Swing Celebration) Ft. Veronica Swift

Veronica Swift - Moanin'

Veronica Swift sings "This Bitter Earth" at the 2023 SFJAZZ Gala

Veronica Swift 'Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me' Blue Note NYC [Night 3]

"I Just Found Out About Love" Veronica Swift and the SC Jazz Masterworks Ensemble

Véronica Swift & Wynton Marsalis "Cherokee" @Jazz_in_Marciac 2019

Friday, March 01, 2024

FRIDAY MUSIC: Music of the Spheeris, by JD

Chris Spheeris is a Greek-American composer of instrumental music. He is a producer, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist.

Chris Spheeris has created some of the most enchanting instrumental music of this era. It has earned him platinum, gold, and Emmy awards. His music has been heard in Olympic skating championships, Miss Universe pageants, documentary films, daytime television dramas, and countless commercials.


Cariño - Chris Spheeris


Chris Spheeris - Magaya (Live)

Chris Spheeris - Dia del Sol (Live)

CHRIS SPHEERIS - Narabi - Album Maya

Monday, February 26, 2024

So you dream of a passionate relationship?

Elizabeth Taylor on her marriage with Mike Todd:

'Out of my perversity I'd try to drive Mike mad. I'd be late, I'd love it when he would lose his temper and dominate me. I'd start to purr because he'd won.'

In Roger Lewis' biography 'Erotic Vagrancy.'

Lewis comments 'Yet didn't it mean she'd won?'

Saturday, February 24, 2024

WEEKENDER: Parliament, a Suitable Case for Treatment, by Wiggia

Lindsay Hoyle has with his change of rules stepped over the line, yet this is not the most pressing part of the shambles in parliament; “the worst scenes I have seen in parliament in the last fifty years” said one journalist.

Like most things exaggeration comes easily to British journalists, this was hardly a kin to the all out fighting seen in some countries when things go wrong:

Cries of ‘order order’ would have proved less than useless in those situations. The speaker was heckled, rightly, and a few people walked out in an orderly fashion, it was all very British.

What was wrong was the proposed debate in the first place, the assumption that if our MPs got together and said 'stop that Israel' would take any notice of a washed-up world power is laughable. I have even heard the word ‘insist’ used in the same context!


Israel's Knesset votes against recognition of Palestinian state


One has to ask why is this fervour directed at Israel and Gaza when thousands are dying in Ukraine and after two years of fighting and billions shovelled Zelensky’s way, demands for a ceasefire are not forthcoming in that region?

I would suggest it is partly because this is election year and the muslim vote, ever more important in certain areas, is uppermost in many MPs' minds. Long-term this is a lost cause as the demographics will determine that Islam-based parties will emerge; they already have with Aspire in Tower Hamlets showing the way.

The electoral commission has not allowed the first of the Islam-based parties to be established……

New ‘Party of Islam’ rejected by Electoral Commission over compliance with election law

The Express first reported on the party's attempted registration this weekend.

By CHRISTIAN CALGIE, Senior Political Correspondent

Anyone believing that is the end of it is living in a bubble. There will be a more normal approach that disguises the belief system that underpins these type of parties and once they have momentum the Islam factor will emerge.

So what did the shenanigans in Parliament achieve, apart from the remote chance the Speaker will join Bercow in hall of shame? Nothing at all: it will fill headlines for a couple of days, Cameron will resume his world tour and make more unaccountable statements to an empty room and all will carry on the same.

Still it’s good to know the new intake of MPs has such a caring and thoughtful and intelligent addition to its ranks…..

Bandwagon beckons….

Just one thing to add, there was no vote, good start though.

Friday, February 23, 2024

FRIDAY MUSIC: Aegean Jazz: Dig the Thessness! by JD

The Speakeasies' Swing Band! are a seven piece Swing/Jazz band based in Thessaloniki, Greece. The line up features Caterina Sisinni (vocals), Panos Karnoutsos (Electric Guitar), Manolis Stamatiadis (Piano), Panos Voularakis (Upright Bass), Giannis Ntalianis (Acoustic Guitar), Christos El. Papadopoulos (Clarinet) and Grigoris Oikonomou (drums). The Speakeasies' Swing Band! formed in 2010. The band's preview Extended play, Bathtub Gun, was released in 2012 and their debut album Land Of Plenty in 2015

the Speakeasies' Swing Band! - St. James infirmary

O Pasatempos - the Speakeasies' Swing Band! (Official Video)

Walkin' Away Blues - the Speakeasies' Swing Band! (Official Video)

Bright Lights Late Nights

Exile Train (Traino Exorias) - The Speakeasies' Swing Band!

the Speakeasies' Swing Band! - Why don't You do Right?