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Author Archives: Paul

Pointless.

That’s QPR after the first three games of the season. Three defeats, no points, bottom of the table after yesterday’s 7-1 thrashing by West Bromwich Albion. No team should ever concede seven goals to another side from the same division – it’s inexcusable – and the buck must stop with new manager Steve McClaren. This […]

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Bindon.

I’ve just finished Ma’am Darling, Craig Brown’s brilliant biography of Princess Margaret and it alluded to a story I heard (almost) first-hand. Back in the 70s, Margaret became friendly with a gangster turned actor called John Bindon. Known as the hardest man in London, Bindon’s macho charisma intrigued the princess and there were strong rumours […]

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The Queen of Soul.

RIP Aretha Franklin who died yesterday. Rare among cliches but Queen of Soul is no exaggeration. There was nobody occupying that throne before she came along and nobody’s supplanted her since. The BBC and the broadsheets are filled with fulsome tributes which is very nice. But these very organisations had little interest in Aretha in […]

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First and foremost, she was a dancer.

Happy Birthday to Madonna – sixty today. She’s the richest and most successful female singer the world has ever known but she started out as a dancer and it was this spectacularly choreographed talent was what always set her apart. She was knocking 50 when she made this and still a phenomenal hoofer. Phenomenally shrewd […]

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That’s what John said.

John King was in my class at school and when he left, his first job was stacking shelves in Sainsbury’s. But once he got on to their management trainee scheme, he began a hugely successful career in retail, ending up as CEO of House of Fraser. He turned their fortunes around, giving the stores a […]

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Completely out of my depth.

In my final year at school, the one subject at which I really excelled was truancy. One Friday afternoon, three of us bunked off to Crackers Nightclub in Soho to check out their legendary Friday lunchtime soul session. What were we thinking of? This underground den was a gritty, urban showcase for the best dancers […]

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Ever wondered why Frankie Ableson became Frankie Vaughan?

Probably not but anyway – Frankie’s grandmother was Russian Jewish and since he was her first grandchild, she always called him “My Number One”. In her Russian accent, however, it came out as “Number Vorn”. So when Frankie decided to adopt a stage name, Vaughan was the obvious choice. Here’s one of his biggest hits. […]

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Edinburgh.

Flying visit to the Edinburgh festival yesterday. My daughter and some of her friends had taken a little show up there and that was all the excuse I needed. The festival is a wonderful thing because it’s impossible to be bored. There’s so much to see and I managed to pack in five shows before […]

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To me, to you….

Saddened to hear yesterday about of the death of Barry Elliott, better known as Barry Chuckle – one half of the Chuckle Brothers. As a child, my son was a big fan and, since I knew their agent, he got me two tickets to see them at the Beck Theatre in Hayes. My son was […]

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The Poet.

I’m not talking about the classic Bobby Womack album from which this was the standout track, I’m talking about Pam Ayres, this morning’s castaway on Desert Island Discs. I met her once at a recording studio and she was exactly as you’d want her to be. Warm, kind, clever and funny. The only surprise is […]

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