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Author Archives: Paul

How to feel really old.

Bring to mind your earliest memory of Top of the Pops: The Beatles doing Get Back on the roof of the Apple Building in Savile Row. Be reminded all week that this impromptu gig took place exactly fifty years ago. Think about Paul McCartney having been one of the most famous people in the world […]

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Springsteen on Broadway.

I love Bruce Springsteen. But paradoxically, I’ve never liked his music. I know that sounds odd but I bet I’m not alone. He is, without question, a genuine rock icon and a phenomenal live performer. However, I was always put off going to see him by his cult-like fans, treating every gig like a quasi-religious […]

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Uncle Jim.

At school, I often told more gullible classmates that James Burke was my uncle. A household name in the 1970s, he presented Tomorrow’s World and The Burke Special, and was a leading authority on all things scientific or technological. Given the enormous gulf between my intellect and his, the only people who ever believed me […]

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It Ain’t Half “Inappropriate”, Mum.

Windsor Davies died yesterday, aged 88. Hugely famous back in the 70s for his starring role in It Ain’t Half Hot Mum. A sitcom so popular that it spawned this No.1 hit, though it has since fallen out of favour. This is because Windsor Davies’s co-star Michael Bates “browned up” to play an Indian character. […]

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Brian and Brian.

As my friend Brian Jones pointed out, this record was released 40 years ago yesterday. There were two 7″ special editions: one on white vinyl (Milk) and another on brown vinyl (Alcohol). I had another mate called Brian Rowan who worked in a record shop in Wembley. He always kept any special editions – coloured […]

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Ten years on and we’re still mourning.

Don’t worry, I’m not talking about a loved one. Though in a sense I am. Woolworth’s was a much-loved feature of the UK high street, and it’s ten years since the final stores closed. We all have great memories of our local store, so I’m wondering if anyone else did this: Remove school blazer and […]

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New Year’s Resolution 1989…

…..was to learn to play a musical instrument. And since the harmonica is supposedly the easiest, I walked down to Blank’s Music Shop on Kilburn High Road and bought one. This tune was my inspiration – that’s Elton John on piano, by the way – and I resolved to be able to play it within […]

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Famous. Though not in the way they intended.

I urge you to watch “Bros: After the Screaming Stops” on iPlayer. As my friend Andy Mac urged me. Words cannot express how ignorant, pretentious and ludicrously self-important the Goss brothers are. Andy compared it to The Office and Spinal Tap but, whereas they were spoofs, this is for real. It’s simultaneously hilarious and tragic […]

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The ever decreasing list.

The lovely June Whitfield died a few days ago, aged 93. She was one of a shrinking number of UK celebrities who have been continuously famous since the 1960s. They’ve never retired and are still very much in the public eye. They are as follows: The Rolling Stones, Michael Caine, Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey, Alan […]

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The Argos Catalogue

I’ve always been a big fan of Alan Carr and I loved his choice of book on Desert Island Discs yesterday. Alongside the Bible and the complete works of Shakespeare, he chose the Argos catalogue. Before the internet, all children – and I suspect, adults – would pore over it just before Christmas and put […]

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