I’m dead chuffed…

…with this.


Yes, this blog is at #34 in the WordPress Top 100 Growing Blogs.

Many, many thanks to all who’ve read and commented here.


You know, maybe it isn’t ‘Born With a Smile on my Face’ that’s been playing on my mental jukebox on heavy rotation, but something else…

Here’s a YouTube video using the Sykes song as background music:

Now, after you’ve listened to the first verse, listen to this:

So…maybe it’s the Turtles I heard and not Ms de Sykes.

Suddenly I feel a little better about the whole thing.

By the way, who is this guy Clay Aiken in the first video?

He looks a bit like a cross between Thom Yorke and a famous lesbian whose name escapes me.

Extraordinary how potent cheap music is*

I suppose I must have heard it on the radio recently, or something like that, but I just can’t get rid of this song playing in my head.

It’s called ‘Born With a Smile on my Face’  by Stephanie de Sykes.

I don’t have a copy of it, I have never had a copy of it, I never liked it at the time of its success (1974) and I don’t like it now.

Frankly it sucks.

I was born with a smile on my face
the whole of my life’s been a pantomime
born with the need to embrace
the life of a clown telling rhymes

La la la la la la la
la la la la la la la
la la la la

I’m here to help you leisure
give you pleasure
practise to please you
try to tease you
make you feel fine
inject some sunshine
make you feel good
I knew it would

forget the politicians
nuclear visions
the gloomy headlines
official deadlines
let it all go now
let me show how
it’s oh so easy to stay with me

Until I googled the lyrics, I hadn’t realised what a festering pile of prurient ordure they were, either.

‘I’m here to help you leisure’?


And there’s far too many ‘La’s’ for my comfort as they’re not relieved by ‘Oooh’s’ or even a ‘Sha’ or two.

So, why is it sticking in my head so stubbornly?

*Noel Coward

Mister Panties rides again!

I haven’t mentioned what I do for a living here very much – if at all.

I’m primarily a guitar teacher, but I do get some of my income from playing. I’m with two bands – an electric quartet called the Cock & Bull Band and an acoustic trio with two of the guys from C&B called Monsieur Pantin. What we play could well be described as mostly self-penned roots music and we play folk festivals, concerts and ceilidhs.

Monsieur Pantin – CD available here – had a rare local gig last night at the Navigation pub in Cosgrove. Nice place – chav-free, no TV, no juke box, friendly clientele, welcoming landlord and good beer.

What a pub should be in fact.

We had a great time – lots of enthusiastic listeners, 4 new tunes unveiled, very energetic playing, lots of successful team improv and a booking enquiry.

My mate Chris Allin kindly provided the PA and also an ‘extra’ in the form of a John Martyn song – ‘May You Never’ – by way of a tribute.

Here’s Chris performing it:


All in all a very enjoyable evening that’s left me feeling very ‘up’. The trio definitely has something about it – a drive and a cohesion that makes the whole sound very much greater than the sum of its parts. We’re thinking about making a second CD, so watch this space, as they say…

Twittering on about Twitter

Despite it being another one of those internet crazes that are sweeping the world, I like Twitter.

It’s easy to grasp, not as wordy as blogging and the fact that you only have a limited allowance of characters you can use in each ‘tweet’ – 140 to be precise – makes you think succinctly…or not…

I’m there as SteveShark – hope to see you soon!

Fancy a laugh?

It’s been hard finding something that makes me laugh as much as the series of Ricky Gervais podcasts that swept the nation, but the Cobra Pubcast with Dom Joly and Danny Wallace comes closer than most efforts.

Joly, in particular, is very funny.

The main problem with the episodes is that they’re too short, clocking in at roughly 15 minutes each, but it’s quality stuff with one particularly great piece about when Iain Lee got an egg thrown at his back when he was on the job.

It’s also very amusing listening to Joly’s enthusiasm for his ‘new’ gameshow ‘Cunt or Not Cunt’ and Wallace’s refusal to say anything nasty about anyone no matter how hard Joly pushes him.

Great guests too – Iain Lee, Mackenzie Crook and others.

All 10 episodes available free from iTunes.

RIP John Martyn

Sad news indeed.

Rather than say it all over again I’ll just cut and paste what I wrote on a newsgroup:

>So far ahead of it’s time it’s ridiculous, and downright beautiful too.

Yeah, this is my favourite JM period – the mid and late 70s.

I went and saw him a few times and it has to be said he was a tad
patchy even then.

He was obviously well into his long relationship with drugs and booze
by then and that’s what ultimately did for him – both in terms of his
health and his artistic output.

Apart from the obvious regrets at the passing of such a genius
guitarist, writer and performer, my chief one is that he died much too
young and yet so long after his prime, which makes it extra sad.