Tag Archives: Princess Diana

Mad Moslem terrorists and a bizarre reaction by the Apple Store in Paris

Last Thursday, the Daily Mirror reported the Charlie Ebdo attack

Last Thursday, the Daily Mirror reported the Charlie Hebdo attack

Last week, as you may have noticed, there were two Islamic fanatic terror attacks in Paris which were triggered by cartoons of the prophet Mohammed in the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Twenty people, including three terrorists, were killed in three days.

The attacks triggered, on Sunday, an alleged 4 million people marching on the streets of France in protest – including 40 world leaders in Paris.

By unhappy coincidence, my friend Lynn had pre-booked a weekend trip to Paris with her husband whom I shall call Peter (not his name).

This morning, she sent me an e-mail:


Last Friday, the London Evening Standard reported the ongoing drama

Last Friday’s London Evening Standard on the ongoing drama

The weather in Paris was chilly so Peter wore a fleece cap and I wore a cashmere beret… But we were told to take them off in the Apple shop!


I asked Lynn: “Did they think your cashmere beret was one step away from a burkha?”

I got this reply:


It was simply a city with lots of people strolling towards the march areas and no traffic apart from police cars, police bikes, taxis and a very few private cars. The parking areas were full with cars with CD diplomatic plates. We did not go on the Metro as we prefer to walk everywhere, but also in case it was overcrowded.

Yesterday The Scotsman reported theParis march

Yesterday, The Scotsman reported the march in Paris on Sunday

It seemed to me a fruitless and expensive exercise. If every member of the Muslim faith in Europe had gone out on the streets to protest about the lunatics taking over their religion (although any religion involves lunacy at worst and extreme suspension of disbelief at best) it would have some purpose. If each nation had expressed its sympathy and explained that, instead of spending enormous amounts on policing such events and sending politicians to France, they were investing extra sums in policing the fanatics, that would have some purpose. This was just a similar reaction to the sick and maudlin overkill whenever anyone famous-for-a-day dies (Diana Windsor being the most extreme example); it achieves nothing.

I described our headgear in the Apple Store in detail to show that our faces were in no way obscured from security cameras – we were not wearing hoodies. If we had been Orthodox Jews, would Peter have been asked to remove his kippah/skullcap or, if Sikh, his turban?


I asked my eternally-un-named friend what her view of the whole caboodle is. She told me:


The Sunday Telegraph reports

Sunday Telegraph reports story

A lot of people are talking about leaving France out of fear and a lot of people are living in terror because the PC media keeps portraying the perpetrators as disconnected or some such. In fact, most people feel disconnected, but they don’t go around killing people – and certainly not because of a feeling it is not only their right but their duty. 

The media, including the BBC is responsible for bad, biased reporting on Israel and Palestine. Our way of life has been eroded. Muslims should review their religion in the light of common sense.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, I remember the thing people feared was young people being brainwashed by the Moonies – How to rescue them from the brainwashing which had the person really believing in the cult. It’s ironic that the moon features in both – in this case, the crescent moon.

1 Comment

Filed under Terrorism

Being world class performers won’t sell albums if you’re not available on iTunes

Bobby Valentino and Paul Astles in London last night

In December 2010 I blogged about the wonderful Paul Astles and Bobby Valentino, both world-class performers. They should be living in mansions in Surrey in unhappy marriages and down to their last million like other rockers of a certain age.

Bobby has performed and recorded with Bob Dylan, Tom Petty, Mark Knopfler, et al and wrote/played the “annoying violin hook line” on The Bluebells’ classic hit Young at Heart.

I went and saw Paul and Bobby perform again last night, at their monthly Brockley gig in South East London.

“Friendly Street” – not available for download nor in shops

They’re still brilliant. As is their new-ish album Friendly Street.

“When did you record it?” I asked Paul after the show last night, while Bobby was getting me a copy from the boot of his car.

“We did it in the summer of last year,” said Paul. “I can’t remember when.”

“Where?”

Charlie Hart’s. He used to play with Ronnie Lane and Ian Dury. He’s Bobby’s next-door neighbour and our old friend and he’s got a studio. He’s playing around London with Slim Chance now.”

At the moment in London, you can stumble on the most unlikely, highly-talented musicians playing in the most unlikely of venues.

“Why’s your album not on iTunes?” I asked Paul.

“Just because I’m not together enough to do all the PayPal and bank accounting and all that kind of stuff you have to do.”

“How can people buy it, then?” I asked.

“Only if they see us. It’s a rare and precious thing.”

“You could be selling around the world on iTunes,” I said. “Not just in the UK.”

“Well,” replied Paul. “A man contacted me on my Facebook account from New York and asked me if I would send a copy of Friendly Street to him, so I did and he sent me a cheque for whatever £10-and-postage is in dollars. He was a very nice man.”

“You should put the album – and the individual tracks – on iTunes,” I told Paul. “You might find you have fans in Texas or you might become a big hit in the Ukraine. As far as I know, Right Said Fred are still mega-stars in Germany – they were a couple of years ago – and they make a very good living. Here in true UK, Right Said Fred are yesterday’s one-hit wonders; in Germany, as I understand it, they’re still selling shedloads.”

“Weren’t they Princess Diana’s favourite band?” Paul asked.

“Well, there you are,” I replied. “You can overcome any set-back. You have to be on iTunes. If you put your album on iTunes, the two of you might become a hit around the world.”

Even if they only became a cult hit in China or India, they could be living in mansions in Surrey in unhappy marriages and down to their last million.

Everyone should have aspirations.

And there’s still time. It just needs luck and distribution.

Leave a comment

Filed under Celebrity, Music

Comedian Malcolm Hardee’s affair with Moors Murderer Myra Hindley

Yesterday afternoon, I had tea in Soho with comedy scriptwriter and former stand-up Mark Kelly, who recently seems to have published a tsunami of his books via lulu.com

So far, these include Pleased as Punch, Put Your Foot on the Housing Ladder and Enter the World of WorkMurdoch Murder Merchandise and This Is Why We Are Going To Die.

“I misunderstood the rules for the Book of the Month Club,” he told me. “I thought you had to publish a book every month.”

I said I was considering re-publishing Malcolm Hardee’s autobiography I Stole Freddie Mercury’s Birthday Cake via lulu.com, but had not pulled my finger out because I was thinking of partly reverting the text to an earlier, more interesting draft version which was not saved electronically, only as a paper print-out. So it was an extra hassle.

“I’m just being bloody lazy,” I explained. “I’d have to go through it making finicky changes.”

Mark has always had anarchic leanings – he once advertised a play of his called Cancelled at Essex University and the performance did not exist when people arrived to see it.

“You could,” he suggested, “just make things up. You can’t say Malcolm had an affair with Princess Diana, because that would be too unbelievable. But having an affair with Malcolm McLaren might be believable. That way, at the point of sexual climax, you could say they each shouted out their own name – Malcolm…”

“I would prefer making up a story that Malcolm had a long-term affair with Bernard Manning,” I said. “Whenever I mention Bernard Manning in a blog, it really gets up people’s noses, so it would get noticed more. But I don’t think any gay affair involving Malcolm would be believable. And any heterosexual affair… Well, however bizarre it seems, it might actually have happened. He might actually have had sex with any woman, however unlikely. He had it off with the most unlikely women.”

“Provided they are dead, you can say anything,” Mark said.

“There’s always Myra Hindley, I suppose,” I mused.

“Mmmmm….” said Mark

2 Comments

Filed under Comedy, Crime, PR, Sex

The downside of being a dead celebrity: Liz Taylor, Charlie Drake, Rod Hull, Bob Hope & the Queen Mum

The Queen Mother was 101 years old when she died and she had cost the BBC a fortune by not dying earlier. Her death – codenamed ‘Blackbird’ at ITV where the Transmission Controllers had envelopes containing details of what to do when she did eventually die – was clearly going to be a big news story and her funeral a complicatedly large state event so, to my knowledge, the BBC ran a full rehearsal of her death and coverage of her funeral three times. It cost a fortune.

She must have been well-pissed off when Princess Diana died because everyone was unprepared. There were certainly no plans for Diana to have a big funeral because, at that point, she was not a member of the Royal Family and had no constitutional position. So, when the Royal Family were, in effect, forced by the press and – to my mind – surreal public opinion to give Diana a big fuck-me funeral, they used the plans for the Queen Mother’s funeral.

As a result, the Queen Mother’s funeral itself was a less big-scale anti-climax.

Dying can be difficult at the best of times, but pity the poor celebrity.

Elizabeth Taylor sadly mis-timed her death on Wednesday. On a normal slow news days, she could have expected to be the lead item on TV News bulletins. But it was Budget Day in the UK – economic pundits and bullshitting politicians stretched as far as the eye could see and there were expensive Outside Broadcast and studio links nationwide – plus there was lots of news coming in from Libya and still news report aftershocks from the earthquake-tsunami-nuclear story in Japan, where TV companies had, by now, flown expensive reporters into place and were paying for on-the-spot film crews.

So poor Elizabeth Taylor’s death did not quite get the level of coverage she could have otherwise expected.

This morning, TV scriptwriter Nigel Crowle pointed out to me two slightly bizarre angles to her death.

One was that one of her rivals for the key role in 1944 movie National Velvet – which made her a star – was future Baroness Shirley Williams.

Shirley was pipped at the post by Elizabeth and went on to found the Social Democrat Party while Liz went on to marry Richard Burton twice.

It’s unlikely that, if Shirley had got the role, she would have gone on to marry Richard Burton and Elizabeth would have founded the SDP, but stranger things have happened.

The other odd fact Nigel mentioned is that Elizabeth Taylor’s obituary in the New York Times was written by Mel Gussow who died six years ago.

This is no great surprise – Associated Press wrote the template for Britney Spears’ obituary in 2008.

What does surprise me is that British newspapers seem to have discovered a tone of reverence for Elizabeth Taylor which they never quite gave her in life. Something of a reverse on the situation for dead UK comedian Charlie Drake, who was much cherished during his life.

After his death, veteran TV producer Michael Hurll let rip about Charlie in an interview on the Chortle comedy industry website

Hurll worked with Charlie when he was a holiday camp redcoat: “He was a nasty man then,” Hurll said, “and he stayed a nasty man – a horrible, horrible man”.

Hurll, old enough not to care, went on to call Jerry Lewis (still alive) “a nasty piece of work” and Bob Hope (dead) “the nastiest man I’ve ever worked with”. As for Rod Hull: “He was the most miserable, nastiest man you ever met… Just a horrible, horrible man.”

Dying can be difficult at the best of times, but pity the poor celebrity facing the uncertainties of posthumous reviews.

I still retain memories of reading an Andy Warhol obituary (I can’t remember where) which ended with the climactic words: “He was a short man who wore a wig”.

Ex-gangster ’Mad’ Frank Fraser – not a man to meddle with in life – once told me over a cup of tea that he wasn’t “really frightened of anything but I’m a bit worried what they’ll say about me after I die.”

He seems a very nice chap. He offered me free dental work.

Just don’t ask me about Cilla Black…

5 Comments

Filed under Comedy, History, Movies, Newspapers, Politics, PR, Television