Monday, April 28, 2008

Goodbye to an friend I’ve never met

I’ve always said that one of the greatest gifts that my mother ever gave to me was the gift of BBC Radio 4. My life at home was punctuated by the authority of the Six o’clock News of an evening , the drama of the Archers omnibus on a Sunday morning and the warm laughter which accompanied The News Quiz, Just a Minute and I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. So while this morning’s obitiaries of Humphrey Littleton focus on his undoubted (but to jazz philistines like me) unknown musical talents (I didn’t know he played on a Radiohead album either), my memories of Humph are for his deadpan delivery in the funniest comedy show on radio.

No-one does filth like an old Etonian talking to a middle class audience. And many of his radio monologues were just that – hilarious and filthy. It’s a sad state of affairs that at thirty-two years of age the very thought of discussing sex with my parents makes me feel nervous and wary, but we have always been free to share a laugh at a particularly dirty double entendre.

When I listen to the shows I bought last year on CD I can give or take many of the middle rounds, and can easily skip by some games of Mornington Crescent played under some of the more obscure rule books, I never skip Humph’s parts. Genius’ are often respected and admired, but this one was loved my many, including me.

Listening to I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue reminds me of happy times and places. Listening to CDs on honeymoon while driving through the Arizona desert, or sitting in the kitchen with my mother listening in to the Sunday repeat. I will miss Humphrey Littleton.

Monday, April 14, 2008

It's the power of the hat

Jason asked 'what's the play count on your most played song in your iTunes library?' Well, given my new laptop and ipod I've only got records going back to December last year, and it wasn't quite what I was expecting. It seems that my visit to Memphis and Nashville at that time was more influential that I thought. My top 5 is: Lovin' Pretty Women by the Steep Canyon Rangers, 24 plays Handle With Care, Jenny Lewis and the Watson Twins, 22 plays Bloody Mary Morning, Willie Nelson, 22 plays Time is Tight, Booker T and the MGs, 17 plays If You've Got the Money, I've Got the Time, Willie Nelson, 16 plays My top play is a song I heard live at the Grand Ol' Opry in Nashville, while I spent a long afternoon in the Stax Museum poring over the genesis of the Memphis sound, backed by Booker T and the MGs. On the back of this trip, I've persuaded Debbie to come with me to see Willie Nelson in Glasgow next month. In the last 4 months, I've listened to 1699 of the 4920 in my library, which is not bad going I think. Thankfully for my musical credibility as an indie-kid at heart Morrissey, Paul Weller and The Beta Band all feature in my top 10.