Saturday, 31 March 2007

Cumberland As You Are

Having short-cutted passed the New Cumberland Club on many furtive, fun-seeking trips from west to east Hull; I'm amazed that it was even open, let alone contained a syndicate for the National Lottery. 16 of them, for whom the Old Bull And Bush was too snazzy and the Whalebone too frothy. All with tall tales of smelt and tanning, no doubt. So unknown is this pub that even in a city renowned for its twin loves of beer and dejection, there ain't a single picture of it on Tintaweb. Well, they've won a handy £778,000, this syndicate. That'll buy no end of Nurofen, Ben Shermans and pates, judging by the pictures of them looking all gizzled and giddy in today's Dull Hairy. Well done, tho, about time Wincolmlee saw a bit of money. Pity it'll all be spent down the boozer.

Listening: There Goes My Outfit - The Dears; Imaginary Love - Rufus Wainwright

Making an enemy of: The Louth butcher. My enquiry over vegetarian sausages was met with a get-out-of-my-shop-now thunder. That'll be a no, then. He was a horrible cross of Bill The Butcher era Daniel Day Lewis and Shaznay Lewis.

Thursday, 29 March 2007

Little chef, Labi Siff

For some bizarre reason I have time to kill at Little Chef at Barnetby Top this morning. A strangely comforting retro experience, as these roadside diners haven't had a decor overhaul for decades, still sell travel sweets and attract all sorts of nefarious diners, even at 7 in the morning. Jaded travelling salesmen, lovers bound for Grimbo and Cleethorpes, and me, imagining I'm a cross between the cafe scene from Midnight Cowboy and Tom Waits' Nighthawks At The Diner album. Labi Siffre's Lean On Me is on the radio, the coffee isn't strong enough to defend itself, and despite my insistence on marmite, I am brought marmalade. The cost of my order: Black Coffee and two sides of toast, is, however, not retro. £3.84 is perhaps the reason why the LCs are slowly going the way of the Happy Eater. Not quite clubbing manna, but an idle hour well spent. And they've improved the lollipops.

Reading: The Motorcycle Diaries (esp the sections on Machu Pichu and Cuzco, the navel of the Incan empire)

Listening: Shocking Blue - Hot Sand (off series two of Life On Mars); the Arcade Fire

Useless Lincolnshire Fact: Its known as Poacher county and there's a Zimbabween down the road swears he's Elvis (and that its still called Rhodesia).

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Who I'd Like To Meet

In cap-doffing to M over at Are Word Enough, and cos there's nowt happening, here's a list of the people, dead or alive, what I would want to invite in for a sit down meal, and not be looking at my watch within an hour, wondering about a souffle.

John Kennedy Toole: The literary Nick Drake. Unpublished in his lifetime, then mum pushed for the release of A Confederacy Of Dunces after his death. Its a grotesque fantastique, laced with New Orleans hipster cool. I wonder what else he could have achieved.

Woody Allen/Harrelson/Guthrie: My favourite Woody's, although I might have to hide the guitars, grass and those awful four-for-one dips where at least two of them stay the same.

John Cooper Clarke: Would he fit through the door. He could do with a decent meal, and the company would certainly be acerbic.

Bill Hicks: Is giving the below guest a lift. We miss ya, Bill.

Hunter S Thompson: He'd probably be hard work to be honest, but my god, every meal deserves some out and out lunacy between savoury truffles and the devoiring of the drugs cabinet.

Karen Dalton: My new favourite blues singer who lost her teeth to heroin, died on the streets, was friends with Dylan and had a voice that masked her demons in honey.

Robert Wyatt: Admittedly, I have met him wheeling through Louth, but we're still in the nodding stage. Superb inspiration for regarding his fall from a fifth-floor-window as the start of his life, rather than the end of it.

Judy Garland: Great entertainment in the early hours, I reckon. May have to kick her out round six.

Monday, 26 March 2007


The blog appears to be back, intermittently, although the layout editor does appear to be converting words like Peru, Louth and blacmanche into Hindi (my favourite of the ritualistic religions). Not much to report - me and Dee have raised £6k for the elderly so they can stay at home while we climb Machu Pichu, am still loving, in no particular order, Louth, periodical meetings with socialist popstars, the drive across the Wolds, the lack of all things Mail influenced, the start of Spring and cycling towards Humber sunsets.
Tonight at Picture Us, a group of kids tried to gain access to the BCAE building to nick computers and the like. His street name is .. wait for it, I'm pausing to strike fear, Granddad. The kids could barely whisper his name. He was about 11 years old, and not quite old enough to be a Granddad. What is this new family induced bunch of street toughs, I wonder? Second cousin? Spinster aunt? Uncle-on-me-father's-side-twice-removed? Its hardly Bismark-E now is it?
Loving: Arcade Fire, Vetiver, Four Tet

Wednesday, 14 March 2007


Note to Ben - Singer's Red Veg was the headline in this week's Louth Leader. Wyatt was heard chuckling about it when he came into the newsagents for his ready rolled and a packet of Rizlas. I'm digging this Lincolnshire scene; and the renewed birdsong.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Wyatt Up

Have stepped away from the bloggercoaster for a few days to experiment with real-life hills and sweeping bends in the Lincolnshire Wolds. My first few days at Louth were an emotionally tear-jerking experience; where I almost felt like a battered wife who craves her abusive former partner (the Mail) even tho' she (me) know their new spouse (the Louth Leader) is a safe bet, even tho' it likes knitting, Internet features like The Cat's Whiskers and Spilsby Today. Or summat. But today (Thursday) was the first day where I felt that old Laurie H wide-eyed sense of wonder. For a start, Louth is beautiful. I'll post some photos soon; but it glistens in the spring sun. Then, I see one of my all-time top five heroes Robert Wyatt chatting with a fag and a polystyrene cup outside Woolworths. I didn't have to pick my jaw off the ground either; it was like a comforting prescence across the street. Then I took a call from an old friend who loved Rock Bottom-era Wyatt as well. And then, as dusk descended, I parked my car on the sunny side of the Humber and cycled across, perilously close to the water's edge but feeling more alive than I had in ages ...

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Legend of the postroom, I salute you

Ladies and gents of cyberspace, I give you Tommy Tuttle, left, the legend of the postroom. This man is the glue that holds the Mail together, as he delivers post on his Tuttle-shuttle. A man with an innate knowledge of franking machines, when a packet isn't a packet and how to sneak a postcard into a mailbag undetected, he's worked for the Mail since he appeared as Jimmy in Quadrophenia back in the 70s with that bloke off the Bill. Not liable to be heard singing: "This is the Tuttle, crossing the border, bringing the cheque and the postal order" or "Tommy Tuttle, on his shuttle"

The other chap is Mr Cyrus Ferguson, our securuty guard. He lives a solitary life in the most solitary of places Withernsea (known to the locals as Witherunsea for some strange reason. Quite possibly the most bad tempered man in security, I once asked him what he did on his weekend. "Did nothing on Saturday," came his gruff reply "and spent Sunday recovering." Withernsea were rocking that night.

Caption competition

This is not a shot from my leaving speech - but a picture showing our illustrious editor at a society of editors meeting, or such like. Caption suggestions on a blog post, please ...

Charity fundraising shenanigans

It's been one of those mad, pivotal weeks, this week. Our Help The Aged fundraising night with crisps and vintage rock n' roll and a bunch of bizarre prizes raised a good £700 for Help The Aged, and even the odd curmugeonly journalist was spotted. On behalf of everyone who danced, raised cash and helped out in various ways and salubrious means, I thank thee. Some great potential scenarios as well; the winner of the 4-star hotel break was a rather scary looking Lou Reed in drag female pool player. And the winners of the Champneys spa break are a busty barmaid from Hull Cheese and a gay gentlemen friend. That's gunna be some jacuzzi.
Earlier in the day I appeared on radio for the first time since swearing on Three Counties back in 1998 during the Bedford vs Yeovil FA Vase clash commentary. Great to be in the Beeb, was really struck by how friendly everyone was, in funky contrast to the Hull Daily Monochrome.
Today is my last day at Mail Towers. I expected to be bundled into a boot and executed at Spurn Point by John Meehan, Tommy Tuttle, legend of the postroom, and warlock Cy Ferguson, but instead I'm having a leaving speech with Meeharino. At 1.45, when every journo is at lunch! The tumbleweed is on its way ...