Friday, July 29, 2016


OK.  After my recent rants, time to get back to some music and I feel in need of something that brings a sense of much needed peace and quiet.  Now, one of the more intriguing of English composers is Peter Warlock, which wasn`t his real name.  He was born Philip Heseltine in the Savoy Hotel, London, in October 1894 and his education (Stone House, Broadstairs - Eton - Christ Church, Oxford - University College, London) - all reflected his family`s wealth and status.

In many ways his rather short life was tempestuous and controversial - he changed his name to Warlock to reflect his interest in occult practices - and he had spells in Wales, Cornwall (where he was befriended of DH Lawrence,) London, Dublin (to escape the possibility of his exemption from military service in the First World War being `reviewed`) and Eynsford here in Kent where he headed a rather bohemian household.   He died  in December 1930 in Chelsea quite probably the result of suicide and in the last year or so it has been revealed that he was the father of the recently departed art critic, Brian Sewell. During his time at Eynsford, he wrote his own, rather potentous epitaph:-

"Here lies Warlock the composer
Who lived next door to Munn the grocer
He died of drink and copulation
A sad discredit to the nation."

But he did leave us with a body of musical work, the most well known probably being the Capriol Suite.   And it`s the Pavane from that piece that provides at least two minutes  of peace and quiet in an increasingly noisy world.   Here it is.......

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Tuesday, July 26, 2016


What a lovely picture of a happy family.  Just look at the happiness on the faces of those two little cherubs and the look of pride for their parents.   It really is heartwarming stuff, especially as they face the world and all that life throws at them knowing that they will be forever cocooned in a big bubble of privilege with nothing to worry or care about, thanks to the blind generosity of the Great British taxpayers.

Nothing personal, but I just wish for two things.  First, that we hear less and less about the goings on in their parallel universe and, second, that Theresa May should legislate to stop newspapers condemning us to special supplements of photos of these dear little poppets and the rest of their adoring family.  Maybe then the rest of us can be left in peace to get on with our own lives rather than being subjected to the meaningless antics of the privileged few.  End of rant of the day.

Sunday, July 24, 2016


I really thought that 4.2 million years of human existence had reached its nadir last week with large sections of the population roaming around searching for virtual icons on their mobile phones under the delusion that these things might actually exist in their areas of search.

And then my wife, a devotee of `Casualty,` discovers that last night`s episode of this gripping medical drama had been replaced by a `special edition` of Mrs. Brown`s Boys - a coarse, puerile, intelligence-insulting `entertainment` masquerading as comedy.  It`s both deeply unfunny and deeply troubling.

But then I reflect on the appointment of `Big` Sam Allardyce as the England football team manager and it`s clear that there is still a long way to go before the murky depths of human achievement are reached.  For years now any enthusiasm I had for the England football team has been gradually diminished not only by abject performances like the recent debacle in the European Championships but also by the antics of the overpaid poseurs representing the country on the world stage - the likes of Ashley Cole, John Terry, Wayne Rooney, etc. to mention just a few.   

But now they have a rival for my disquiet in the form of the aforementioned `Big` Sam. Now I know it`s an old fashioned notion - almost on a par with the Football Association`s determination to have an English manager - but I really would like our national team manager to represent the country in the eyes of the world with just a touch of dignity, modesty and restraint.  I know such virtues are in short supply with the majority of the players but now we have a manager for whom such qualities are conspicuous by their complete absence.

And so any enthusiasm or optimism I might have been nurturing over the new manager`s appointment have been cruelly dashed by the arrival of the charmless Sam whose claim to fame seems to consist of an ability to save teams from relegation rather than ever winning anything.   Still, he now has the support of his newly appointed assistant manager - none other than the unfathomable Sammy Lee.

So we have `Big` Sam and `Little` Sam in charge of our national destiny and I wonder why I am instantly reminded of the Chuckle Brothers.  Happy days.......

Saturday, July 23, 2016


There was a report yesterday on the local TV news concerning a robbery in the sleepy Kent Town of Hythe.  The report showed CCTV images of a 74 year old man smashing the window of a jeweller`s shop with a hammer, grabbing valuables to the tune of £14,000 and running off down the street.

The shop owner dashed out of his shop, chased the man down the street and felled him with a rugby tackle that would have made James Haskell proud.  Another shop owner, who had witnessed the smash and grab, joined in and held the `alleged` offender down whilst the police were called to the scene.

It was then reported that the 74 year old man had been apprehended on suspicion of theft and promptly released on police bail pending further enquiries.   What puzzles me is how on earth can there be any `suspicion` when the whole incident was captured on at least two high definition CCTV cameras.  What more evidence could there possibly be?  So why is this `alleged offender` being allowed out on bail rather than spending his time in the local Hythe nick?   You can move along now....nothing to see here...

Friday, July 22, 2016


For as long as I can remember I  have been fascinated by Somerset County Cricket Club.  I guess some of that fascination has been born out of a West Country background (born in the neighbouring county of Dorset) but a large part of it has been due to the history of the club.   It has had more downs than ups but in more recent times it has established itself in the first division of the County Championship.

Just before and after WW2, the star of the side was Harold Gimblett.  He had been rejected by the County after a fortnight`s trial but in May of that year he was asked to make up the numbers at a county match at Frome the next day.   Travelling from Bicknoller in West Somerset he missed the early morning bus but hitch hiked to Frome in a lorry.  Then he proceeded to score the fastest century in England that summer (123 in 65 minutes) and his place in the county side was secured.

Gimblett went on to become Somerset`s leading run scorer - over 23,000 at 36, including 235 sixes which, for an opening batsman was extraordinary.  He scored the last of his 50 centuries (167 not out) in 1953 against Northants and then walked away from the game until the vagaries of depression led to his suicide in 1978.

Now earlier this week, at Trent Bridge, Marcus Trescothick the Somerset captain and current record run scorer, reached his 49th century for the county and went on to reach a double hundred.  As with most things Somerset, references are confusing because Trescothick`s century was reported as equalling the tally of Gimblett all those years ago.   

Be that as it may, it has been a long wait for any Somerset player to come close to the record set by Harold Gimblett and when it is finally broken by Marcus Trescothick, as it surely will be, then it could not go to a more admirable cricketer, one who has also had his problems with depression but who has come through to enjoy his place in the history of that endlessly charming West Country club.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016


I hope you might forgive a little self indulgence today but it is my birthday......and thank you to all those who have been kind enough to send felicitations.   Now I`ve noticed that as the years go by birthdays become more worrisome;  when you`re young, it`s all about you and presents and treats and stuff like that.  But as the years clock up each birthday becomes a little more significant than the one just gone.

Last year, when I reached 76, I immediately associated it with 76 trombones - The Music Man, that stirring 1957 musical starring Robert Preston and Shirley Jones.  Well, as a bit of a film buff, I would wouldn`t I?

But this year`s more sobering.  Just looking at the number 77 reminds me of crutches, hence the worrisome aspect of reaching this milestone.   But, hey, it`s just another number.  Right?