I’m 65 now. And what I am about to say should be OBVIOUS to anyone of my advanced years – but it may be instructive to a younger person.

When I was in my twenties, my peers were only too happy to tell me what was WRONG with me. My clothes were wrong, my taste in music was wrong, etc. And for a while I worried about these shortcomings.

But then one day, while a “friend” was telling me how my taste in music SUCKED, I stopped him and asked him who HE liked. He proceeded to run off a list of then-current pop bands. At which point, the TRUTH began to dawn on me.

After DEMOLISHING his argument by pointing out that my favourite artists covered at least a DOZEN different genres of music, from Sixties Pop and Soul, through Disco (this was the Seventies) Fifties Rock ‘N’ Roll, Classical, Rockabilly, Electronic, Thirties Art Deco, Opera, Orchestral, Rhythm & Blues to Baroque (Eighties New Romantic, Techno and Trance were still years off) while his were limited to just ONE genre – I began to realize my peers’ other points were also flawed.

Eventually, I began to see life as it is. You have to like yourself for whom you ARE – not try to change yourself into someone ELSE, to suit others.

Take a long, objective look at the person you are and if that person seems basically a good chap or chapess – be happy with THAT.

The thing is, when you meet someone, they will have qualities you like – and some you do not. But instead of trying to CHANGE them, decide whether their good points outweigh their bad. If they do, cultivate that person. If not, dump ’em. After all, the qualities you do not like may just be the ones OTHERS will ADMIRE. Meat – poison.

And when someone meets YOU, they can do the same.

All of which means that if you are okay, you will have friends. In fact even if you are NOT okay, you will still have friends – people who are as utterly screwed up as YOU!

No-one is perfect – but CHANGE yourself? Bollocks. Life is too short.


I ESCAPED cold, wet, miserable, overpriced, over-regulated, rip-off Broken Britain more than fifteen years ago – and settled in The Land Of Smiles (warm, sunny Thailand). I have NEVER regretted my decision.

And this year’s list (they have had one every year since 2006 – composed by the RESIDENTS) of the Top Ten (actually, eleven) Worst Places To Live In England shows why…

(10) DOVER. All in all no-one wants to live here, but it’s the cheapest sh*thole in Kent. It’s unloved and unwanted which is why I believe the German Air Force should have done their jobs properly and levelled the place back in the 1940’s and maybe it wouldn’t look like the scrotum of Quasimodo that it does now.

Let us for a moment imagine that the British Isles are the silhouette of an old man. Scotland is his cap, Cornwall his toes, Anglia his curved spine, making Dover his herpes-infested arsehole.

(J9) BRISTOL. The faces of pensioners with black eyes peering off of the front pages isn’t news – it’s just sad. “Beaten For The Price Of A Bag Of Fish And Chips” was one headline I remember.

Beneath the veneer of textbook overdone hipster pretentiousness is the same Bristol of old, where the West Country chavs spew out their own unique interpretation of the English language and the estates surrounding the city are looking more and more like the bad parts of Mogadishu. The CEX [a big store that sells techy goods] smells like hangover piss mixed with wet dog, and the shops are opening and closing down faster than you can say “Bristol is gross”.

(J9) BLACKBURN. If you live here, I’m sorry for you – and if you haven’t ever been here, then stay away.

The place makes Syria look calm. You can guarantee if you dare to walk down its down-trodden dogsh*t-ridden estates (mind the needles), you will almost certainly spot the inhabitants walking freely in dressing gowns, fluffy slippers, undoubtedly pregnant, with a fag in their gob going to pick up another free prescription from the overly-used clap clinic.

Drug dealers, dole wasters, bums, guttersnipes, fallen women, young slappers and their steroid-pumped teenage boyfriends – it’s a f*cking nightmare! A cross between “Shameless” and the “Star Wars” Cantina at best.

(8) ACCRINGTON. The Chernobyl of the North West. The town isn’t full of bad points. There’s a Poundland, Home Bargains, Iceland, Netto and Aldi. Get my drift? This is as good as it gets…

Do not visit this dump, there’s nothing remotely interesting. Never associate with the general raised trash here and if you are a positive person like me, this place can suck the life out of you, literally! There is a big dirty banner down the middle of Broadway (the main shopping street) which is supposed to be in honour of the Accrington Pals [a military regiment] but it is so dirty and weathered that it now just looks like a grey tarpaulin.

(7) HULL. I was born and bred in Hull. What a f*cking dump this place is.

Just spend ten minutes stood outside the Maternity Unit at Hull Royal Infirmary. Watch in amazement as 15-year-old Courtney shouts at her three kids to “fooking get back ‘ere or I’ll fooking bray yer” – as she chain-smokes her third fag before re-entering the building to spit out another no-dad brat.

(6) CASTLEFORD. Recent highly scientific research (namely walking down the high street) points to one in three inhabitants below the age of thirty fitting neatly into the chav box.

In a town where everybody is a blood-relative of the person next to them, you have to wonder whether the essence of chavdom stems from bad breeding, or in the case of Castleford, possible inbreeding. A trip to Castleford is a real eye opener… and you need to keep your eyes open because if you dare to close them, they’ll have your wallet faster than you can say ‘XR3i.’ Suffice to say, if someone wanted to give Yorkshire an enema, this is where they’d stick the tube.

(5) BLACKPOOL. The best thing about BLACKPOOL is the M55 out.

While in Blackpool all you smell is weed, McDonald’s, KFC and dried up piss. You may think it’s a jolly seaside resort with candy floss and donkeys, but actually it’s a scumbucket for the transients who come here to draw benefits in a holiday resort instead of an inner city.

(4) ROCHDALE. Take in the smells; the strong whiff of tobacco and fatty foods with subtle hints of exhaust fumes, sweat and damp vegetables from the market area – with a subtle undertone of vomit, Karate aftershave and old cheese.

No need to hide the rolls of fat around one’s midriff, no need to bother with personal hygiene or inconveniences such as make-up or combs. You are now standing in the centre of the universe. Breath deep, my friend – soak it up. Then make your choice – leave fast or stay forever. Welcome to the cesspit of the universe, where evolution took a break and spat out this breed of useless slack-jawed yokels with less IQ than a glass of water. If you have a choice; visit Rochdale or have your gonads beaten 800 times with a rusty sledgehammer wielded by a German bodybuilder …take the hammer.

(3) LIVERPOOL. Situated on the border of Northern England and Wales, the city draws together the very worst characteristics of both regions; Welsh pig-headedness and Northern self-righteousness.

The rows of empty red-brick terraces are now almost a part of Liverpool’s heritage. Fancy that; hundreds of empty houses amidst a housing crisis – yet still nobody wants them. Says it all really. And don’t get me started on their self-pitying – just Google the dead baby/chicken foetus story. What a bunch of morons! A word of warning to non-scouse females: fail to go into town with the required levels of fake tan and you will instantly be sniffed out as a fraud. Seriously, the girls here are so unbelievably orange that even the thickest of sunglasses will be rendered useless. It literally peels the retinas from your eyeballs.

(2) ROTHERHAM. I wish I had a great story about twatting a chav for being cheeky or something – but the truth of the matter is, I put as much distance between me and the population as possible after that first visit.

I stopped going into the town centre. There was no point. I like a pint without violence. I like to sometimes buy stuff that costs £1.99 – or more! After a year of reading headlines in the Rotherham Advertiser like “Chip Pan Fire Guts House”, “Body Found Outside Takeaway’”and “ASBO Grandad At It Again” I decided I somehow didn’t fit in and moved away.

(1) HUDDERSFIELD. There’s nothing but pound shops and a few coffee shops. It’s polluted, unclean and full of idiots – a horrible place to live. Huddersfield is a rough, boring, chavvy, crap-hole. For a demo of the chav scooterists trying to impress the scummy lady-chavs, simply go and look in the Morrisons car park from about 7pm onwards. Thousands of the cretins – unfortunately they never seem to fall off. So, in short, if you like your car windows, teeth, kneecaps etc. – then avoid this sh*thole like you would a man with leprosy!

Speaking personally, I’d have fitted South Shields in there somewhere.

You know how when you’re having to wait in your car in a town-centre with nothing to read, so you just begin watching the passers-by, to spot good-looking ones? In two hours, I failed to spot ONE.

I wonder if they’re all in North Shields…

Post-Thatcher, Britain went mad COMMERCIALISING (“privatising”) everything – including stuff that should NEVER have left government hands.

And if they could not sell it, they would get it SPONSORED. The picture above shows how “Johnny English” spoofed this.

A classic REAL example is the Hammy-A (Hammersmith Apollo).

This London entertainment venue has suffered during its eighty-five year lifetime. Originally opened in 1932 as a Gaumont, it converted to an Odeon in 1962. This would have been fine, but around the same time, the elevated section of the M4 motorway was built right slap across the theatre’s frontage. Finally it changed its name once again, to the Apollo.

At which point, the sponsorship began. Various companies tried to get people to call it the Labatt’s… then Carling… then HMV… and currently Eventim… Apollo. It was in vain. EVERYBODY (except a few ignorant or deeply SAD people) continued to call it what they had for decades – the Hammy-O.

However, on the other side of town, the O2 has ALWAYS been called the O2. It is a large arena, which in turn is part of a complex originally known as the Millennium Dome.

Built in London’s Dockland, this controversial construction was built to house an exhibition celebrating the Millennium (no sh*t, Sherlock) but once that receded into the distance, its owners were stuck with a huge, money-haemorrhaging TENT.

They eventually managed to lease it to a Spanish telecommunications giant – who named it after their mobile-phone arm.

But what happens if O2 collapses? It could happen. The venue has no original name to revert to. Maybe it will continue to be called the O2 – THIS time, after the ELEMENT?

Those we lost in 2017…

Harvey Weinstein – producer

Kevin Spacey – actor

Charlie Rose – TV host

Louis CK – comedian

Jeffrey Tambor – actor

John Lasseter – animator

Bill O’Reilly – TV personality

Jeremy Piven – actor

Mario Batali – TV chef

Ben Affleck – actor

Al Franken – former SNL actor/writer

Matt Lauer – TV anchor

Steven Seagal – actor

Brett Ratner – film director

Dustin Hoffman – actor

Roy Moore – arsehole

After WW2, European electronics giant Philips decided to enter the record biz.

By that time, British recording giant EMI had SLIPPED as far as sound quality was concerned – their equipment being from the Thirties – so given Philips’ equipment was brand NEW, the newcomer managed to wrest the European distribution rights to American behemoth Columbia’s catalogue away from them.

This resulted in their enjoying a decade of ready-made, middle-of-the-road hits.

But as the contract’s end approached and Columbia made it known they intended releasing THEMSELVES when it did, Philips got off their arses and began trying to find TALENT.

Their best early signing was a folk trio called the Springfields. This comprised of Tom Springfield (Dion O’Brien) his sister Dusty (Mary) – and some other guy.

They had LOTS of hits around the turn of the Sixties, thus when they announced they were splitting up, a nation mourned.

But actually, it turned out to be a GOOD thing – Tom was a folk nut, while Dusty preferred SOUL.

And thus it was that Tom went off and discovered, then produced and wrote for an Australian folk group called the Seekers – who dominated the Sixties.

While Dusty hooked up with composer/producer/arranger Ivor Raymonde and between them, they gave Philips a series of belting soul hits that, along with numbers by failed US group the Walker Brothers (none of whom, like the Springfields, were actually named Walker) CARRIED Philips through the mid-Sixties.

Of course, all good things come to an end and like EMI, Decca and Pye, Philips lost the plot at the end of the Sixties (embarrassingly, they had to get EMI to press some copies of a one-off novelty smash called “Cinderella Rockefella” in 1968) and fizzled out during the Seventies.

But given the Season, here is a now-forgotten but at the time HUGELY successful Christmas hit from the Springfields. Come with me to 1961…


MELODY DIED, that’s what. All melodies have now been COMPOSED – and thus, played.

The audible permutations of notes are in the gazillions, but melodies which are distinctive and which humans can appreciate and learn quickly use LOGICAL PROGRESSIONS of notes. And those are ALL DONE.

The Death Of Melody started in November 1970 and became complete a decade later.

Its demise began when George Harrison released “My Sweet Lord” and an ailing music publisher who owned the rights to “He’s/She’s So Fine” SUED him for PLAGIARISM.

In fact, George’s composition had been inspired by his friend Edwin Hawkins’ “Oh Happy Day” – which in turn was based on an C18th hymn and was thus public domain (although George still got permission from Ed to use it).

Nevertheless, after five years the case got settled – AGAINST Harrison. The ironically-named “Bright Music” was awarded MASSIVE damages.

The result of this industry-rocking decision was that computer programmes were developed that would identify potential copyright problems BEFORE they arose, thereby saving the publishers time and MONEY.

At which point, composers discovered that with popular songs having been churned out at a dizzying rate since the immediate post-WW1 period, to satisfy the demand from music radio, stage musicals, the cinema, television and dance halls (and the recording industry that fed off them) plus countless hours of themes and incidental music for shows, films and programmes – ALL logical progressions of notes in the standard musical octave had now been USED.

After all, there are only TWELVE NOTES in that octave.

Thus around 1980, new memorable melodies became reduced from a torrent to a dribble.

So while the Eighties experienced a stream (if you will forgive yet another liquid analogy) of popular hits, they were driven, for the first time, not by melodies – but by complex chord-changes and new high-tech equipment which produced synthetic sounds never before heard.

And then came the CD.

Its convenience and durability were undeniable, but the big record companies – who had had a tough time during the Seventies, thanks to the independent record companies who had stepped in when they had lost the plot – used the new medium to wreak HAVOC on popular music.

Keeping prices artificially high, they re-released their back-catalogues on the format, IGNORING new music. Then they squeezed out vinyl (an embarrassment, due to its low price and superior, uncompressed sound) which FINISHED the process.

After which the only innovative music was Vocal Trance. This SHOULD have dominated Nineties Pop, but with vinyl now the domain of the specialist Dance market, it became a NICHE genre (as Rock ‘N’ Roll had been, in the Fifties).

But morally, it WAS the Pop of the Nineties and while its melodies only contained SHORT, repeated phrases – they represent the LAST ever composed.

And following that decade, the last seventeen years have featured material totally DEVOID of melody, with no identifiable style or content, which has resulted in the collapse of the record industry – along with the music radio industry which fed on that. Even TOTP has folded.

So today’s musicians perform LIVE, eschewing record contracts – their music being uploaded to THIS medium, for publicity.

But said music rarely rises above the mediocre, since those DAMNED computer programmes are still waiting for any composer who DARES to attempt writing something MEMORABLE.

Is there a solution? Well, that twelve-note octave is not carved in stone – other frequencies are available (some of which are used in “World Music”). However, they don’t sound too funky to Western ears.

These days, such popular music as exists having no memorable melodies, it is reliant on LYRICS – which during the Pop Era (1920-2000) were mostly relegated to obscurity.

Thus Pop MUSIC is DEAD.

The Bond Songs make a good barometer for this. Since 1963, every Bond film has featured a Song over the titles – inevitably composed by a major composer and sung by a prominent artist. Often, they would be a FRESH talent (meaning if you got THAT gig – you’d ARRIVED). And the New Bond Song was almost as big an EVENT as the film itself.

The list of them is instructive…

1963 : From Russia With Love : Matt Monro
1964 : Goldfinger : Shirley Bassey
1965 : Thunderball : Tom Jones
1967 : You Only Live Twice : Nancy Sinatra
1969 : We Have All The Time In The World (OHMSS) : Louis Armstrong
1971 : Diamonds Are Forever : Shirley Bassey
1973 : Live And Let Die : Paul McCartney & Wings
1974 : The Man With The Golden Gun : Lulu
1977 : Nobody Does It Better (The Spy Who Loved Me) : Carly Simon
1979 : Moonraker : Shirley Bassey
1981 : For Your Eyes Only : Sheena Easton

…and THIS is where it dies. Indeed, the last two of the above were not GREAT.

1983 : All Time High (Octopussy) : Rita Coolidge
1985 : A View To A Kill : Duran Duran
1987 : The Living Daylights : Aha
1989 : Licence To Kill : Gladys Knight
1995 : GoldenEye : Tina Turner
1997 : Tomorrow Never Dies : Sheryl Crow
1999 : The World Is Not Enough : Garbage (appropriately)
2002 : Die Another Day : Madonna (even Madge couldn’t save this)
2006 : You Know My Name (Casino Royale) : Chris Cornell (who?)
2008 : Another Way To Die (Quantum Of Solace) : Jack White/Alicia Keys
2012 : Skyfall : Adele
2015 : Writing’s On The Wall (Spectre) : Sam Smith

…and there they were. Up to ’77, nine CLASSICS. ’79 and ’81, a couple of so-sos. And from ’83 to date, a dozen instantly-forgettable TURKEYS.

I rest my case.

I recall around ten, being hit on by VARIOUS perverts – it lasted about two years.

Then, as I progressed through my teens, I figured I TOO was a perv (but not with KIDS).

However, by the time I reached my early twenties, I came to the gradual realisation that on the Perve Curve – I was at best a three. Many of the friends and associates I had assumed were straight turned out to be WAY more deviant than I had EVER been.

After which I pretty much FORGOT about such things and got on with my life. But now that I am sixty-five, this issue has once AGAIN come into focus. Today, it appears that paedophiles, flashers, fumblers, peeping Toms, heavy-hitters and outright rapists SURROUND us.

It began in Britain, with Gary Glitter. Then it ramped up, with Jimmy Savile. After which, the floodgates opened. DOZENS of politicians and celebs found themselves being outed – many for incidents that had occurred DECADES earlier.

Then, belatedly, America joined the party. Mirroring Britain, first they had Bill Cosby. Then producer Harvey Weinstein. And now, seemingly half the men in SHOWBIZ. Every day, another bloke who has been a fixture of The Business falls from grace. Even POTUS has a slew of accusers.

The fallout from all this would fill several volumes – but I have just ONE question. How WIDESPREAD is this phenomenon? Percentage-wise.

It is a tough question to answer. Kinsey and Masters & Johnson managed to winkle out a lot. But they never asked questions like “How many times have you exposed yourself to a naïve young person to obtain a sexual thrill?” If they had, who would have ANSWERED it?

Thus only the cases that come to light are known about – the ACTUAL number will forever remain a MYSTERY…