All The Cats Join In

June 18, 2014 at 10:36 am (film, jazz, Jim D, Sheer joy, trivia)

Over at Facebook, my friend Stroppy Bird keeps asking me (for reasons I have yet to fathom) whether I have any pictures of cats.

Well, I can do better than that. Here’s a short film:

Not just ‘cats’, but the Benny Goodman Orchestra and lindy-hopping as well!
The recording date was June 12, 1944. The trumpet section consisted of Billy Butterfield, Mickey McMickle and Charlie Shavers, with Cozy Cole on drums.

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Posh (pseudo) – trotties of the SWP

February 8, 2014 at 7:22 pm (comedy, ex-SWP, gloating, Jim D, Orwell, satire, sectarianism, SWP, trivia) ()

In an interesting review of Orwell’s public school memoir Such, Such Were the Joys, in today’s Graun, Francis Wheen is quoted on the subject of the disintegration of  the Socialist Workers Party:

“[T]he party’s leader Alex Callinicos, grandson of the 2nd Lord Acton, was educated at a top private school and another senior leader, Charlie Kimber, is the Old Etonian son of a baronet. Also prominent in the brouhaha has been Dave Renton, an Old Etonian barrister related to a former Tory chief whip: ‘It sometimes reads like a conversation between Old Rugbeians and Old Etonians about the main British Trotskyist Party. It’s quite bizarre’.”

This reminded me of the latest cartoon strip from the pen that brought us the fabulous Billy Delta of Red Friars. This follow-up is not, perhaps, quite as hilarious (in part because the main characters are less well-known, and the plot-line more convoluted), but it’s still a good sectarian chuckle…

Above: Class Monitor Tim is showing the new boy Cuthbert Cringe-Renton around the school.

And on a (very) loosely related theme, for anyone with a lot of spare time there are tons of bulletins from the last four conferences of the American ISO (former comrades of the SWP),  on this site:

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Horace Silver lives!

December 21, 2013 at 3:43 pm (gigs, jazz, Jim D, music, strange situations, trivia)

About a week ago, at a gig, someone told me Horace Silver had just died. I must admit that my immediate reaction was surprise: I’d assumed he’d died years ago. It turns out we were both wrong: Horace lives.

For some reason that has yet to be explained, a number of jazz sites and discussion boards last week carried the exaggerated news of the pianist’s death, and many have since published grovelling apologies. So Mr Silver, the founding-father of hard-bop and jazz-funk, joins the surprisingly long list (headed, of course by Mark Twain) of people who lived to read their own obituaries.

Strangely, that list includes another jazz pianist, Michael ‘Dodo’ Marmarosa (who’d worked with many of the great swing bands before joining Charlie Parker): his obituary appeared in a number of newspapers in 1992, ten years before his actual death. The explanation was that a persistent fan of his records – a Briton who lived in the Pittsburgh area where Dodo was leading a reclusive life – kept telephoning him to ask about the details of old recordings and demanding an interview. In order to put an end to this intrusion, Marmarosa answered the telephone with an assumed voice and announced that “Mr Marmarosa passed away yesterday”.

Anyway, back to Horace: here’s his big hit from 1964/5, Song For My Father, and if it sounds vaguely familiar to non-fans of jazz, that may be because the opening bass piano notes were borrowed by Steely Dan for their song Rikki Don’t Lose That Number, while the opening horn riff was borrowed by Stevie Wonder for his song Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing:

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Housemartin shits on Cameron

November 21, 2013 at 7:11 pm (Champagne Charlie, comedy, culture, David Cameron, populism, song, Tory scum, trivia)

Politicians trying to sound like hep cats are always amusing. And as Anthony Blair Esq eventually found out, they usually end up looking like pillocks.

This is from today’s Times report on Hull winning City of Culture status for 2017:

“Yesterday’s announcement drew attention to the city’s long list of high achievers, although one of them reacted badly when named by David Cameron during Prime Minister’s Questions. Mr Cameron cited Hull’s ‘fantastic record’ in popular music. ‘I remember some years ago that great Hull Housemartins album London 0, Hull 4,’ he said.

“Paul Heaton, lead singer of the band, responded on Twitter: ‘When I took over my pub in Salford, the first people I banned were Cameron and Osborne. That ban still stands.’ He said that the Prime Minister ‘ruined my day’ and rebutted criticism that he had passed judgement without meeting Mr Cameron or the Chancellor. ‘You don’t need to smell s*** to know it stinks,’ he wrote

“Lord Prescott, the former Deputy Prime Minister who served as MP for Hull East for 30 years, responded jubilantly by referring to one of Mr Heaton’s songs. ‘It’s happy hour again!’ he said.”

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It’s official! We’re the 28th worst political blog!

September 18, 2013 at 8:20 am (bloggocks, blogosphere, posted by JD, reblogged, trivia)

Reblogged from A Very Public Sociologist:

First embarrassment.

It’s the list no one has been waiting for. And, sadly, it’s proven to be something of a damp squib. Cast your mind back to last month when this blog excitedly solicited votes for the 2013 poll of the UK’s worst political blogs. Unfortunately, the votes didn’t pile in and the mini-viral from last time I tried this didn’t take off. I have some super serious theories why, but that can wait for a proper blog about blogging.

And so, of necessity, this is the top 50 (plus one) worst blogs in reverse order as voted by the internets. Feel free to compare them with 2010’s results.
51. Blue Blairite
50. Histomat
49. Rusty’s Skewed News
48. Caron’s Musings
47. Liberal Conspiracy
46. The Staggers
45. Jonathan Freedland
44. Nannying Tyrants
43. Obo the Clown
42. Political Scrapbook
41. Eoin Clarke
40. John’s Labour Blog
39. LibDem Voice
38. Nick Cohen
37. Samizdata
36. SCOT goes POP!
35. Simon Clark
34. The Jewish Chronicle Online
33. Tony Greenstein
32. CyberBoris
31. Labour Uncut
30. Capitalist@Work
29. The Centre Left
28. Shiraz Socialist
27. Tim Worstall
26. A Very Public Sociologist
25. Juan Cole
24. Lenin’s Tomb
23. James Delingpole
22. Left Futures
21. Hopi Sen
20. The Libertarian Alliance
19. Millennium Dome, Elephant
17. Old Holborn
16. Wings Over Scotland
15. Glen Greenwald
14. Conservative Home
13. David Lindsay
12. Islamophobia Watch
11. Douglas Murray
10. Spiked
9. Underdogs Bite Upwards
8. The Commentator
7. Frank Davis
6. Velvet Glove, Iron Fist
5. Comment is Free
4. Dick Puddlecote
3. Harry’s Place
2. Guido

And the political blog voted the UK’s worst for 2013?

Second embarrassment. It’s this:

That’s right, a blog I’m a regular contributor at has toppled Guido and assumed the cacky crown itself.

Interestingly those voting for Socialist Unity overwhelmingly hailed from the left. Fratricide does it again!


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Topless royals

September 22, 2012 at 8:53 am (France, Jim D, Monarchy, trivia)

Shocking new picture:

H/t: Madame La Stroppybird

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Norm’s Hitchcock poll: the result!

July 18, 2012 at 12:03 am (blogging, blogosphere, Champagne Charlie, cinema, trivia)

As we publicised Prof Norm‘s poll on the greatest Hitchcock films, I thought you might like to know the results. The Prof reports:

It seems that the normblog poll has some life in it yet. There has been a more than respectable entry this time, for my poll to discover which of Alfred Hitchcock’s films are most favoured by his fans. There were 93 entries in all, and the votes were distributed across 31 of Hitch’s movies. Where people ranked their choices, I assigned 5 points for a first-place vote, 4 for a second-place vote, and so on down to 1. Unranked choices earned the same total of 15 points, but shared evenly 3 points per film. A clear top 12 emerges as follows (the number in brackets indicating points gained).

1: (244)North By Northwest;  2: (230)Vertigo3: (168)Rear Window;  4: (120)Psycho;  5: (79)The Birds;  6: (70)Strangers on a Train;   7: (65)The 39 Steps;  8: (64)Shadow of a Doubt;  9: (57)Notorious ;  10: (53)The Lady Vanishes11: (36)Rebecca;  12: (31)Dial M for Murder

No other Hitchcock film scored 20 points or more. Here are the others that won some support: To Catch A Thief (18), Frenzy (17), Rope (17), Suspicion (16), Marnie (13), Lifeboat (12), The Trouble with Harry (12), Spellbound (9), Foreign Correspondent (8), The Lodger (7), The Wrong Man (6), The Man Who Knew Too Much [1956] (5), I Confess (2), Jamaica Inn (2), The Man Who Knew Too Much [1934] (2), Torn Curtain (2), Family Plot (1), Sabotage (1), Saboteur (1).

What would Hitchcock have made of these results?


Thanks again to everyone who sent in an entry –  Norm

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Your Desert Island Discs

June 12, 2011 at 12:21 am (BBC, black culture, jazz, Jim D, music, The blues, trivia, wireless)

Martin, like me, was thoroughly pissed off by the the Desert Island Discs gesture to democracy; he writes

Personally if I ever had to hear Lark Ascending or Ode to Joy ever again it would be too soon…As an alternative, here’s my own equally predictable list which contains no Elgar, Vaughan Williams or Queen

Guns Of Navarone – The Skatalites
Common People -Pulp
Sheharazade – Rimsky Korsakov
Heaven -Klezmatics
Nothing Can Stop Us- St Ettiene
World Turned Upside Down- Billy Bragg
How Soon is Now -The Smiths
Dance a Cachuca- Gilbert and Sullivan

Send us your eight choices…and/or book and luxury item.

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Quiz time! Steve Bell and Clive James

May 17, 2011 at 12:12 pm (David Cameron, Guardian, Jim D, Lib Dems, trivia)

Steve Bell's If ... 16/05/11

© Steve Bell

Another prize-less competition: what does Steve Bell, in the “If” episode above,  owe to Clive James?

Clue: the answer’s in C. Hitchens’s Hitch 22. You may NOT use Google…


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Bon voyage, Dave…

April 22, 2011 at 8:04 am (blogging, jazz, Jim D, New Orleans, trivia, United States)

…and Strops.

Enjoy yourselves Way Down Yonder!

Dave’s latest column is here.

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