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.


I’ve just read this.

Ridley’s a talented director, so is it too much to hope that he and other equally talented people in Tinsletown might come up with some ORIGINAL ideas?

If people like the ‘A Team’ so much, then why not just watch the original series?

You can get the whole shebang for a gnat’s pube under £74 from Amazon – all 27 (!) discs of it.

By the time you’ve taken the family to the cinema, bought natchoes and popcorn in buckets the size of wheely bins and great vats of cokes the size of oil drums you’ll probably end up in pocket…plus you won’t have to sit there seething while some knobend behind you talks all the way through the film.

However, the biggest advantage to buying the DVDs will be not sitting through the remake wondering why Hannibal isn’t allowed to have a cigar anymore…

The Daily Mail Ross feeding frenzy continues…

…but this time it’s even more bizarre than usual.

Here’s the Mail’s latest Jonathan Ross story.

On the face of it, Ross and Davies’ behaviour sounds pretty reprehensible.

However, just scratch the surface and it reveals not only further anti-Ross frothing from the rabid Mail, but acts of such crass greed, insensitivity and stupidity that it makes anything Ross and, indeed, Brand has done – either separately or in tandem – seem petty and almost innocent…

I urge you to read the quotes in full because they really do reveal something rather nasty that the Mail has engineered and – in all likelihood – paid for.

The family of an 86-year-old Alzheimer’s sufferer condemned Jonathan Ross yesterday after he cracked a joke about having sex with her.

The disgraced broadcaster marked his return to his BBC Radio 2 show with the crude gag which immediately revived calls for him to be sacked.

Elderly Francisca Guzman’s son expressed deep hurt that his frail mother, who has had dementia for three years, was the butt of Ross’s joke.

Jose Maria Moreno said: ‘It is offensive. My mother’s mental health should not be a subject for comedy and Ross should be sacked.

‘What he said is unforgivable and offensive. I don’t understand how he can continue working for an organisation like the BBC.’

The remarks came only eight minutes and 35 seconds into Saturday’s comeback radio show after Ross’s three-month suspension following the Andrew Sachs scandal.

However – and this really is one of those big, hairy, testosterone-filled FUCK OFF howevers…

Ross, who earns £6million a year, and his producer Andy Davies were discussing how they had spent their time during the suspension.

Mr Davies, 43, said he had done some bricklaying in the garden of his villa in Spain but kept getting grabbed by a frisky 80-year-old woman.

He said: ‘There’s a woman in the village who’s getting on a bit, keeps trying to kiss me. Older woman, very older woman. She keeps grabbing me.

‘Every time I see her now I have to run indoors. She’s apparently got a thing for younger men. She must be about 80, I reckon.’

Ross declared: ‘Eighty, oh God! I think you should, just for charity. Give her one last night, will you? One last night before the grave. Would it kill you?’

Although Mrs Guzman was not named, she is well known in the Andalusian village of Conchar, near Granada, where Mr Davies has his villa.

Her 44-year-old son, who gave up his job to care for his elderly parents, said: ‘My mother has bad circulation so she likes to go out for walks alone.

‘She is very friendly and if she thinks she knows a person she will give them a kiss, which is normal in Spain. But she doesn’t hassle people.

‘I don’t know Mr Davies personally. I have seen him around the village and say hello to him. I don’t understand why he would want to make jokes about my mother. I have never even heard of Jonathan Ross.’

A neighbour said: ‘Everyone here knows Francisca. It’s very sad as she has serious mental health issues so will speak to everyone she comes across in the street. It’s certainly not a laughing matter.’

I wonder how the son found out about the Ross joke and also how the Mail found the son.

The likeliest scenario is that the Mail reporter did a bit of research – amazing in itself – to find the son and then told the son about the remarks on the Ross show. The reporter then offered the son some money to tell his side of the story. Then the son accepted the money and by doing so ensured that his mother’s identity became public – wow, that really was caring of him…

Whatever happened and however it happened, it really treats the 86 year old woman with scant respect –  a quality which was lacking in all parties’ actions but at least Ross and Davies did nothing to destroy her anonymity – and brings into the open something which would very likely have remained a vague reference on a radio show that no-one in that Spanish village would have listened to.

Hot news – Ross doesn’t say ‘fuck’ on TV

Once again the Mail plumbs new depths of inanity and self-righteousness.

Yes, it’s now scourging itself and its barely-literate readership into an orgasmic frenzy over what WASN’T broadcast in Jonathan Ross’ first TV show after his 12 week suspension.

Is it just me, or is this not the stuff of comedy?

Or is it yet more cluster fuck journalism from Dacre and his chums?

Maybe it’s both…

Late addition:

Here’s a comment from one of the Mail’s readers:

I’m proud to say I didn’t switch on! The thought of smug Ross and even smugger Stephen Fry cuddling up was too revolting to contemplate! Lee Evans and Tom Cruise as star guests??? How about people like Orson Wells and Bob Hope, now they were stars. Today we have pygmies!