Archive | Biography & Obituary

RSS feed for this section

past and present

André Rieu

Possibly the comparison would horrify him but André Rieu seems to me to be the Farage of the classical music world. Skilled in his own right, he brings the populist pieces to the people and indulges in much showmanship.

Supporters would call it refreshing, making classical music live for people again, sweeping away the crustiness. Detractors – and there’ll be those reading this now and clicking out – consider him not serious, not pure, not playing the more difficult works but sticking to the classic repertoire.…

Mother [2]

Interesting how we differ from our parents in youth, even strike out in a different direction but around about this stage of life, tend to come back to ‘family habits’ of yore.

We were never a really musical family, as work was the first priority.  There were countless chores needed doing and sometime in the evening, if they were all done, a bit of music was heard.  Or else on morning radio whilst having breakfast.

This song was played a lot on radio.  Cherie and I have covered this place quite a few times recently but let’s play the song again:

Mother [1]

Enough has been written at this blog about my mother over the years, so this year I thought I’d just play some of her music. Trouble is, it’s so disparate, from so many different styles.

Then it struck me – make different posts over the next 24 hours.  For example, the Water Music can be late tomorrow morning .

So, it needs an evening type piece or two to open proceedings now, from her collection.  First, the slightly too slow Bohm:

It might not go with Mozart but this is one of my mother’s favourites.  Thought Valentina Lisitsa’s rendition was pleasant:


It’s occasionally interesting to trace one’s first steps in online activity and this blog has done that before. This time, I wanted to establish a few things for myself:

1. Who is still visiting and commenting from the early days;
2. When did the blog really start to take-off into decent figures;
3. When did Cherie and Sackerson start their blogfriendships with me;
4. What was the nature of the contact in the early days.

I went back to the original blog last evening and started looking at comments in the first few weeks, shocked at how few there actually were. Yet I know in those weeks, from Sitemeter, that the blog was becoming established. I’d been commenting on major blogs since about 2004, from Russia and I suppose a certain amount of that carried over when I started my own.

In the rare comments from the first months to November 2006, I notice a couple of regulars who are now not about anywhere in the sphere, a few one offs and only one commenting pretty regularly – Welshcakes.…

Merrilee Rush – blemished angel


You have to admire people who can express in paint or music, in sculpture or poetry, when poor sods like me only have prose – the printed word – in which to convey something.

Merrilee Rush [born 1944 in North Seattle] could do it in 3 minutes and 25 seconds of song. It will take a whole post, including pictures, for me to try to get across some of the sensuality.…


What’s of deep interest to us as writers is not necessarily what the reader wants to be reading.  Such is the case of the strange story of Dorothy Kilgallen.

Who, you might ask?

The interest in her story hovers around the anomalies, the different accounts of the same incidents, the strange failings and weird arrangements made by the authorities.

On the surface, she was just another panel show member, respected for her ability to ferret, cajole, find out and what she wrote was usually accepted as fact, but she wasn’t a person one warmed to, though some pretended to.

In this clip – she’s the one on the left – watch the panel moderator near the end when she protests:

A film out of the past

Annex - Greer, Jane (Out of the Past)_02

Don’t know which was better- the film or Roger Ebert at his best.

A review needs have generous dollops of plot but also needs to touch on all the nuances and how well they work but with a deft touch.  The reviewer’s own quirk – noticing all the smoking and speaking with Mitchum about it – those things lift the review as well.

How the two males viewed it as one theme but the woman would see it differently.…

Molly Meldrum and others

The Prince of Wales has seen fit to rocket Molly Meldrum to world attention with a re-run of a Molly interview.

Meldrum was active during the times I was in Australia and frankly, he was a trainwreck. The interview with the Prince was fairly typical for Ian Meldrum though – in fact, much of what he did went pear-shaped.

In Australia, that was endearing but to an international audience, a bit excruciating.…

Vale Len Terry


Len Terry who has died is one of the last of those designers who it could be said laid the foundations for Britain’s continued success in world motor racing, it was in the fifties and sixties the British equivalent of “the great leap forward” as lightweight aerodynamic designs took over from static front engined designs of the major factories.…

The objectification of Her Royal Hotness

There was just the slightest of references at the Wail and that’s enough pretext for this blog:




pippa middletond



Yes, agreed. I for one refuse to objectify her. Let’s look at her book instead, coming up to Hallowe’en: ‘We feasted on creepy edible morsels, Hallowe’en-themed chocolates and spookily named concoctions, which often looked better than they tasted.’

pippa's book

Pippa, Pippa, light of my life, fire of my loins ……

The adventures of Edward Gough Whitlam

There’s a line in this song which sums up Australians: ‘From the land that thinks the whole world’s out to get them.’ LOL.

He died today, the briefly seen colossus who bestrode Australia – beauty, bonza cobber – and those were the days I was down there, in the middle of it. Politically exciting if you were a young chap with a Labour inclination, which I was at the time.

If you want the actual bio, The Age will do for starters. The lengthier version, for students of political history and the history of nations, is in the five vids below – worth a look. I’ll summarize below that:

These were heady times – we went to all the demonstrations in Melbourne, including the restaurant Kerr attended by the Yarra River. The whole nation was up in arms and the mood was ugly. I think the reason I was pushed towards Labour was having had socialist teachers – how on earth do those people get their sincecures?…

Christopher Wren

Still on the sailing theme:

rnc greenwich


which translates from Latin as:[12]

Here in its foundations lies the architect of this church and city, Christopher Wren, who lived beyond ninety years, not for his own profit but for the public good. Reader, if you seek his monument – look around you. Died 25 Feb. 1723, age 91.

His obituary was published in the Post Boy No. 5244 London 2 March 1723:[13]

Sir Christopher Wren who died on Monday last in the 91st year of his age, was the only son of
Dr. Chr. Wren, Dean of Windsor & Wolverhampton, Registar of the Garter, younger brother of Dr. Mathew(sic)
Wren Ld Bp of Ely, a branch of the ancient family of Wrens of Binchester in the Bishoprick [sic] of Durham

Legitimate businessmen, part four


Mummy, Daddy, what does money laundering mean?

Well darling, it can mean many things but the idea is to make money without anyone knowing you have.

But that could mean anything.

Yes darling, the most elaborates schemes have been devised.  Trouble is, what smells of laundering might not actually be laundering, if the government of the land says it’s not.

Oh like those American banks which were bankrupt but the regulator said they weren’t and billions of people’s money was given to them as a present?

Not unlike that. Solvent is a word which means whatever those in charge want it to mean. Like insider trading, market manipulation and market rigging.

Well, can you give an example?

Hmmm.  Well, there is a very nice man called Jesse and he runs a financial website and this is what he recently wrote:

Despite sincere efforts by some, the regulators have managed their public awareness responsibilities somewhat awkwardly to say the least.