Five Things: Wednesday 16th October

Snapshot: My parents, who knew how to party by Janet Johnston, from The Family Section, The Guardian

It’s Christmas, probably 1957. This photo was taken in the front room of my childhood home in Birmingham, and there’s a party going on. I know nothing about this. My sisters and I have been tucked up in bed long before the guests arrive. At the front are my parents – Don, in the armchair with his guitar, and Audrey, just behind him. The other partygoers are my beloved “aunties” and “uncles”, my parents’ friends. This includes the likes of Uncle Bunny, Auntie Jean, Uncle Reg, Auntie Margaret, Uncle Fred and Auntie Val, Uncle Stan – names you don’t hear so much today.
Uncle John must have taken the picture, as he’s not in it. He’s captured the mood perfectly; you could almost be there, laughing along with everyone. There’s no trace of 1950s greyness and austerity (except perhaps the twisted crepe paper decorations in the alcove). My parents knew how to party and had a knack of making everyone around them happy. Auntie Val, who sent me this photograph recently, said: “We used to have such fun.” Quite possibly my mother has just told one of her very naughty jokes for which she was famous, or maybe they had just finished singing a silly song, accompanied by my father on the guitar.

Heads Up: Depressing re-emergence of Barre-Chord Rock
The return of Kings Of Leon seems to have presaged this dire turn of events. Now Jake Bugg is on Later is doing Church Hall Rock (or Church Crypt Rock, or Scout Hut Rock, even) – that style of music beloved of those who picked up a guitar in the Seventies and thrashed away in the nearest rehearsal space they could find, moving their hands up and down the neck, fingers locked into that one bloody shape. These people are too young for that. Surely we’ve come too far for this, lads?

Piers Morgan: my fight with the US pro-gun lobby
“A petition has been launched on the official White House website to have me thrown out of America. It’s been posted by an organisation called InfoWars, led by an extreme rightwing radio host called Alex Jones. Entitled “Deport British Citizen Piers Morgan for Attacking Second Amendment”, it states: “British Citizen and CNN television host Piers Morgan is engaged in a hostile attack against the US Constitution by targeting the Second Amendment. We demand that Mr Morgan be deported immediately for his effort to undermine the Bill of Rights and for exploiting his position as a national network television host to stage attacks against the rights of American citizens”. I asked my manager if this could actually be successful. Well, they tried to deport John Lennon, but failed, he said, encouragingly. Mind you, he did write “Imagine”.”

From The Big Box of Nonsense, Coningsby Gallery W1
Lovely work by Andrew Baker, a series of giclée prints next to woodcuts printed from the same digital files, of nonsense poems by John Lennon, Ivor Cutler and Spike Milligan, among others.


Peter Serafinowicz Sings The First Page of the Morrissey Book
Just great. I’m with Richard Williams on this: “Morrissey’s autobiography is to be published as a Penguin Classic: an effortless insult to every author in the series and every reader, too”.


  1. Richard Williams say “Morrissey’s autobiography is to be published as a Penguin Classic: an effortless insult to every author in the series and every reader, too” Has he actually read it? Being hard to please is the easiest of all positions to take.

    • I can’t speak for Richard, but wouldn’t you agree that it’s a weirdly arrogant thing to ask Penguin to do, and a bizarre thing for them to agree to? The very notion of Penguin Classics (even if it is something of a marketing device) is that those titles have been around the block and proved their longevity? According to the reviews this morning, a lot of Autobiography is taken up with whinging about his management, record company and bandmates. Hardly the stuff of a literary classic…

      • It’s arrogant but that’s Morrissey for you. I don’t think it insults anyone really I will be buying because I rather like his whinging. I take it M is not your cup of tea (darjeeling with a slice of Lemon)

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