Picture Post

I’m feeling lazy, time to get out the cardboard guitar.

We used to call blokes like this a Grebo which is mangled slang for a greasy biker type (though its meaning seems to have expanded since I were a lad). I don’t know if there was a slang term for a female Grebo though, a Grebette maybe?

Download: The Rocker – Thin Lizzy (mp3)


…and finally, Esther

I’m a college-educated, adult professional who has read novels by Joyce, Dostoyevsky and Kafka and many other great works of Western literature, I visit art galleries on a regular basis and enjoy films with subtitles — but half the time I have the sense of humour of a retarded little boy. I snigger at the mere mention of words like “pork” “horn” and “wood” and I can find a saucy double entendre in the most innocent comment. As my wife will tell you, I can’t make it through the fruit and veg section of the supermarket without making suggestive comments about melons, plums and cucumbers and chuckling over rudely-shaped vegetables. And few things have made me laugh more than seeing this on the shelf.

I know we Brits give the impression that we’re all dreadfully sophisticated people who love witty repartee and the intellectual Oxbridge japery of Monty Python but the truth is we love nothing more than Carry On movies and Mrs. Slocombe’s pussy.

Speaking of saucy double entendres, when this record came out in 1972 I thought the title was hysterical, sadly over 35 years later it still makes me giggle.

Download: Little Willy – Sweet (mp3)

(This might help explain the title of this post to those who have no clue what it’s in reference to.)

My Mother’s Records?

I put a question mark in the title above because I’m not sure which of my parents this record belonged to. Even though it always sat in the sideboard with the rest of my mother’s albums I’ve a feeling it actually belonged to my Dad and he left it behind when he buggered off. My old man was a big fan of elegant Jazz pianists like George Shearing, Oscar Peterson and Dave Brubeck so in my mind I always thought of it as one of his records, but I could be wrong. I supposed I could clear that up by asking my mum but she’d probably think it was a bit peculiar me asking her who bought some record over 40 years ago. Besides, I don’t want to ruin my cozy nostalgic impressions with inconvenient things like facts.

I used to think this was a 1950s album but it actually came out in December 1961 exactly one year after my parents got married so maybe the old man bought it as an anniversary present. It’s romantic mood makes it perfect for lovey-dovey young newlyweds though my parent’s marriage didn’t exactly get off to an ideal start because, to tell a family secret, my mother was pregnant with my sister when they got married — something we didn’t figure out until she turned 16 and the penny dropped that her birthday was only 6 months after their wedding anniversary. That was a bit of a shock I can tell you. Though I’m certain that wasn’t the only reason they got married it does all sound a bit like “A Kind of Loving” with my dad in the Alan Bates role, in those days any bloke who got a girl in the family way bought himself an express ticket to the altar. There was another alternative of course, mum told us some in the family hinted she could try the “drink a bottle of gin and sit in a hot bath” way out of the situation which sounds like the shabby subplot of another ‘kitchen sink’ movie.

Still, this would have been just the right thing to put on the record player after the baby had gone to sleep for the night and my parents wanted to relax in their little council flat. Cole had a warm, milk chocolatey voice that could charm any woman out of her girdle and with Shearing’s elegant piano and the silky strings it would make all your cares float away. I thought for a minute that I might have been conceived to this record but then I realized I was born only 8 months after it came out. That’s another question I won’t be asking my mother either.

Download: Let There Be Love – Nat King Cole with The George Shearing Quintet (mp3)
Download: Azure-Té – Nat King Cole with The George Shearing Quintet (mp3)
Buy: Nat King Cole Sings, George Shearing Plays (album)

PS: I wasn’t the only one whose parents had a copy of this album.

A good cuppa

I’m currently reading “Nobody’s Perfect”, a collection of reviews by The New Yorker film critic (and Englishman) Anthony Lane and I came across this great bit about Hugh Grant being interviewed on the Larry King show during that hooker scandal he was involved in a while ago:

Prodded by King toward self-examination, he scorned the need for psychotherapy—a source of vast bemusement to his host, who failed to realize that Englishmen have devised a cheap alternative to shrinks. The technical term for this is “a cup of tea.”

I told you so, didn’t I?

Download: Afternoon Tea – The Kinks (mp3)