31 May 2013


Gonna do some riding on that midnight train ...

I so loved that line I wrote a whole song around it:

"Gonna catch that late-night Bakerloo Line
You're too much woman, too much Strine,
I thought we'd make it - roundabouts and swings,
But I'm too Eton and youre too Alice Springs"

I'd met her at one of those wild Earls Court parties and I'd strummed good and we'd ended up with her bucking me around her camp bed.

But it didnt work out and she didnt let go once she'd seen my Finchley Road apartment.

I was going into town to buy a heavily reduced Yamaha at Vrionis but at the last minute gave the Echo a last chance and it played like a jewel. 

30 May 2013


 Bana, ex of the Navigators, has opened her own kafeneion somewhere down from Jimmie's Garage, will have to add precise address anon.

Wonderfully peaceful friendly place.

No intention of telling you lot where it is: only Greek spoken, whitey totally ignored except for the attentive service.

Right: all i wanted to snap was the menu board but I accidentally included the stunning assistante to make it a corker of a prize-winning foto. 

Look at those porcelain features.

With each drink come the most wonderful μεζές. 

So wonderful I had another beer and La πορσελάνη brought me an even more generous snack.

Caroline has done the sign and I caught her working on it. 


An hypnotic little divertissement.

28 May 2013


'Net gnashing the lingo. I agree and lament. I just feel sorry for those who didnt have my education and can't enjoy bending the language while at the same time knowing that they're actually bending.

I worry for my girls, of course, who are growing up being fed the rubbish - hence my writing/emailing them in my purest correctest dinosaur mode.

But each generation laments the debasement. It's a thrillingly adaptable gift, is language, and there'll always be some word wizard backlashing.

27 May 2013


Thanks to hawk-eyed jim potts spotting and sending this hubris blog on one of my mother's favourite cookery books.

scribbled something off at the time.

 Villain de Kay ~ glad to see that blackguard deKay is named and shamed for his inexplicable unprofessional behaviour.

None of us could understand what on earth had come over him, altho' i heard on the sly that a sour-graped pal had intended to bring out a rival book but, seeing how good Cell was, decided not to go ahead but all the same poison deKay into a little schadenfreude.

 "The name deKay was a harbinger of broken promises. We could not order our books, even with a good friend at the helm of Athens’ biggest distribution agency. Faxes, emails, and phone calls went unanswered. Finally, a cold letter arrived from deKay, reporting that he had trashed the books, dumping them in the remainders market. He could give no reason and, when I sent a New York friend to investigate, he could only tell her, incredibly, that he “had taken against the book.” (!)"

Funnily enough, the Greek publisher who told me this said breezily "The same was done to your mother in case she published a book on gardening that was better than as good friend of the president." I didnt believe it but my mother hinted at that and I heard it from others, but no solid proof. 

Available from good ol' Amazon.

26 May 2013


 You know how people photo themselves lolling on a beach with the wine dark stretching before them, send them to envious pals?

This my bliss, from a deckchair darkening

  • Not a mower or scythe in sight
  • Not a soft tread followed by a murmured  obscenity straight from the 'Under-gardener's Handbook' of treadmill slavery.
  • A favourite phrase was, "When you've next got your big clippers handy ..."
How i loved to lash back, "They're not my clippers and when have you known me ever to have them 'handy'. Any time I see a gardenry tool, I take it down pronto to the apothiki, out of sight, lest the damn'd thing serve as a reminder!"

Oh boy, oh boy - what a piece of work.

But take a look at me now - free (sing it, Phil), the grindstone blunt and bush'd, blue skies above, ankle-chains off, the mental weals healing.

These are the photos I should send and show to the Simper-Fi mob when they joke in their appalling taste, "And how does the garden grow?" Titter giggle smirk.

Fertilise this!



Trouble with having taken out a sub for lanky Jim Potts' must-read Corfu Blues - the Beano of bloggeria - is that he mentions all the goodies and I'm sent 'rushing' to remember my faves.

Here's that other Jimmy, cruising for a bruising, after a little girl.

Speaking of little girls, or at least 'little' in age, boy have I had some groin searching, what with the recent outing of those poor bastards from the 60s/70s who rode the turntable of relentless onslaught by the groupie teeny-bonkers who all knew the back way in to BH.

I didnt get any, but as teaboy/messenger minion for a publishing house, I'd deliver review copies and if they were anything to do with music, I'd get to meet the music maestros who spun the tables and often wanted another six copies for their mates, hence their being nice to me.

It was Liberty Lay and none more carnivorous than the jailbait.

And now out of the woodwork are coming these drab drabs, suddenly 'remembering' they'd been fingered over by some randy 20-something DJ.

I don't know ... Savile's legacy ... the Filth are now scrambling to make up for all the years they turned a blind eye. Overkill.

I played my daughters Only Sixteen and they were shocked - shocked - not at Craig's hots for the chick but for singing en publique about it.

"Do the little things", indeed.  

25 May 2013


Sinbad once posted 'english country garden', presumably to wind me up.

Jury's still out on that boy.

Pottering around San Luca today, Sam at my heels, the stinging slave memories rearing up from every bush and branch, I found myself humming the evocative Rafferty song.

Keeping the flame alive is the best revenge.

I haven't even met the blackguards who'll first partner my babies into matrimony, and explode
"Say whut! Yer old man was such a frogging wimp he couldn't even keep safe his most precious possessions six feet from his own bedside, under his own roof?"      


I seem to be taking the first tentative steps back to the printed page.
The last book i took on was a Salley Vickers back in April 2007 but my mother espied it and did her usual thing of whisking it away to her room to read itself - a trick to which I was yet to get used and assumed i had misplaced it - until she suddenly mentioned this marvelous book she was reading and proceeded to discuss ad murderous nauseam. 

Everything disappeared that way, including magazines and newspapers, all to be droned on about, read aloud from and generally ruined for me.

It was the month of the theft of my jewels so the folio filching joined the general theme of thievery that ran thru and defined my time under the yoke.

Theft of possesions, of time, of self-esteem and confidence.

Theft of basic courtesy and consideration.

I like to get stuck into a book and lose myself, not possible with a book when my most practical role was reduced to sitting around waiting to be summoned to chauffeur or slave au jardin or type some letter or article.

Also, with my disintegration, I found myself less and less able to concentrate for long - but, as i say, the greatest discouragement was having some riveting read disappear and then have it chewed over in a dilettante vocabulary to which i could not relate in any way.

I once espied a Leigh Fermor in the book case and could not understand the warm feeling that came over me - then i remembered that Anna had read it after me and we had had the most wonderful discussion in a drive down to Boukari.

It's a slow recovery and i give myself full permission to stop even in the first paragraph and return it to the shelf.

The usual infuriation was to 'lose' a latest read and then over dinner be told that maman had just discovered a most marvelous read (that i really must dip into) and then hear precious passages mangled in the repeat or miscomprehension. 

It was better not to take it on in the first place, be interrupted, and lose heart and interest.

Gardenry books were the worst: "You dont even have to be interested in gardening to enjoy the style."

I would grizzle that if the subject matter was of no interest, they were just words on the page and any 'style' was impossible to spot: spelling and grammar, perhaps, but past that, just ashes in the mouth.

Smallest world - another vital aspect of losing interest in reading was that my mind and appetite for intellectual exercise had to shrink to fit the world I now lived in. I remember the first year being agony, like a healthy eater suddenly starved, or at least a sensible eater reduced to the worst meagre diet.

Gary Gutting describes an attitude and freedom that I no longer had and the sooner I pared down my thinking and brainpower not to even think of those delights, the easier it would be for more.

I had no conversation anyway, so it was silly to think of adding to my intellect.
A vile and lonely time.  



I really mean 'watch the fingers'.

Watch Skip James make it look easy.

Now watch John Renbourn really make it look easy.

I liked this so much I bought the music and i tried and i tried to play it. 

i could not imagine the tangle of fingers JR must have got into playing this. 

then youtube came along and i pounced on the chance to watch le maitre in action.

the bugger, the absolute bounder.

i knew what it took to reach those chords and notes, the stretches and agile right-hand fingering.

he just seems to be brushing the strings.

OK, while we're talking technique, how about this very cheeky handling of Sultans of Swing.

Long time since i'd stopped to admire and gnash enviously - and this came out of the blue at me. Just when you think you've heard it, that's when you hear it. 

24 May 2013


Right from the first hearing, I loved the opening bass chorus 'bo bo bo bo' ~ plus I could play the tune on my uke.

When Jimmie Burton came in with his tight middle eight solo, i knew I was home.

Check out this charmingly self-conscious clip of Burton and Nelson on Trambone.

I didn't learn that one until Duane Eddy recorded it on his 'Twang's the Thang' album ... poh poh poh, all that hammered bass and echo'd Bigsby work ... So fake, but we fell for all that stuff back then, didn't we?

I tell you what we didnt have to fall for - the funky groove of the Rebel Rousers when Duane hit the beat.

When people shriek choque horror about gayness and the effect on les jeunes, I think back to my innocent prep' school youth when we hadnt the faintest about it, even under our noses.

We had a master, Timothy Ozanne, who'd always supervise after-games showers and lost no opportunity to brush the pretty boys' shoulders  or towel down those hard-2-reach back bits - he'd come into Eagle House common room and fondle the Rick Nelson LP covers with a murmured 'charming, quite charming'. We just thought he was soft and rather spaz.

Funnily enough, he ended up running away with Guy Bagnall's dad who was a brutal figure of a man, broken nose from university rugby, drove a Humber. Rather sexy mum, as I recall, except she wore too much powder and never quite stood up straight.

I'd left before the bolt with Bagnall père otherwise I would have ragged Guy rotten. Gay Bagnall and all that, know what I mean?

A few years later, at public school, a hot hot tease of a maid from the village suggested we meet in her dad's greenhouse after chapel and why didnt I bring Duane's The Lonely One to play 'because it has that great guitar sound.'

I have friends who swear they were so stoned when it first came out, they never properly heard Pink's 'Dark Side' until years later. I never heard a clear version of The Lonely One until some years after school, thanks to Sylvia clamping her legs round my ears and not letting go until it was all over. I mean the tune as well as all the rumpy-pumpy. 

Lord have merceh! Now I'm on an Eddy roll. An Eddy eddy, forsooth.

Oh man! Just looking at those album covers, they were my youth - staring out at a rainy Sussex landscape, only pasty-faced Cliff and horn-rimmed Hank to choose from ... but whoa!

Duane Eddy

Even the fronking name was cool and exotic and he looked tough and 'American' and he had this once-piece hairstyle to die for that the English can't get and Mr Alban wouldn't let us have - OK, Barry Greensted had it but he didn't play geetar ... altho' if I looked like him I'd borrow one and stand outside the Common Room with a 1,000-yard stare, twiddling 'n' a twirling that axe and pretending not to notice the pretty sisters as they pretended not to notice me as they giggling passed by.

Lawdy lawdy lawdy - these strums down Memory Lane are bad for my Pacemaker. I'm surprised I didn't ending up calling my gals Gretschene and Guilda. Fine names for a brace of fillies. Git me a manly son - Bigsby, yo'

Yeh right, thanks Dad.

Good times. I'll dance to that. [Oh baby, that dampered down bass ... gets my low-down butter runnin' ever' time.]

Because they're Jung ~ I strain for wordplay, the excruciatinger the better.

Ever since I heard there was a distinguished analyst geezer working his charms on the island, I've been trying to match plectrum to pun.

Thanks to a Commentaire Irregulière, now I can ~ but I'm only playing this track because DE actually mentions Johnny Walker. I hate these oldie clips where everyone loves them just because they're ancient and they flub the tune and the sound's wrong and you can see the other musicians bending and swaying obeisance because someone has told them "He's really famous, like he's a legend in his own legato" and the sessions guys are going like "OK, big deal, on with the respectful legend smile ... but why the fuchsia doesnt the old goat play like a legend?"

The Twerp and the Twang - final note, then this correspondence closed. So many comments and ideas coming in, I thought I'd
run a sublime-2-ridicule clip showing the magnificent Gretsch in the hands of a right wally.

Won't even wear my class ring - I still say that the Best of this Blog is the commentaria. I'm just a vehicle.

I sent this to my Spitfire for her aghast approval: "Dad! That is like soo gay!" Out of the mouths of.

Anna's at Evergreen, Washington state, nailing the good grades and still refusing to date.

I was chauffering her pals around and, from the back seat:

"Omigod, you were like so cool. Like he turned up on his bike and was like getting it go all vroom 'n' stuff and trying to be cool and you didn't even look round!"

23 May 2013


In three hours I collect a 'Fender' for €150.

The seller didnt specify so i am praying it is a 'steal' of a Telecaster.

Candles are lit, St Spiridion has been groveled to.

Commentaria ~ kindly Anon asks if the 'caster was all i'd hoped for.

It was not. Money back, so ive got €150 with which to woo Denise over dinner at Xaris'.


Took comfort in my comfort tune.

You guys wont get this arrangement of the Petty classic, but it's a joy to play on a decent fretboard.

TOUCHÊ - I'm so touched by Anon's fret-savvy timely concern, let me add a tune close to my heart.

When Larry Carlton's 'On Solid Ground' came out, I was captivated. The production values alone were stunning.

I'd hang out at Kontinental Studios and use Barry Chiu's range of top guitars to play along.

Alors, suddenly it was announced that Larry was stopping off in Hong Kong en route back from a Japan tour.

The radio ads started appearing -

"His parents called him 'Larry'. Larry Carlton."

 I phoned my editor ~ "FFS! Have you heard the ignorant ads for this major major guitarist?"

'Never heard of him, Chris. Want to do an interview? I've got nothing for that week."

You bet I wanted. I'd moved on to trying to ape his style on his acoustic work.

Loipon, the day came and so did Typhoon Maureen (they named them by wimmin, a bit sexist) and Nippon-Honkers flights were said to be off.
  • LC and the boys caught the last flight out, to arrive to already feeble sales.
  • I felt terrible for him and phoned the Mandarin, no answer. Phoned City Hall in case and was told yes, he's setting up his gear. Talk about a conscientious pro. 
I zipped down there and sure 'nuff he n the band were there.

  • Introduced myself and apologised for the weather and he was so friendly and relaxed. 
  • Part way thru the interview he said 'Hey, Chris, you've really done your homework, sounds like you're a fellow musician. Want to play something? All the gear's here'
  • I only knew my own songs but I knew Larry's album off pat. I said, "Well, I'd love to try Solid Ground
"You got it!"
  • With that, he took out his Valley Arts guitar, handed it to me and went over to check the amp. "Reckon youre good to go, buddy. Guys?"
  • Listen really really closely, because I still tear up at the memory: he fronking handed me his guitar, didnt ask if I knew which way was north on a fretboard, just sat back and said 'Man! This is soo nice to be played for.'
  • I knew it backwards but listen to the tune, to the backing Roland, the bass, the steady beat. Larry went over to the amp and fiddled the effects as I picked along. Yo! It's one thing to be fingering the notes; quite another to have all the pedal work coming out the other end. The sax player loved being interrupted after so few bars and gave a faux shrug of resignation. Listen to the hammer/claw re-entry (2.18 mark). 
  • Oh for goodness sake, just Listen. Gorgeous melody. I didn't get it all right, but it felt so.
Finalement - and I know you can't handle the truth, but you're going to get a taste - Emotions Wound Us So.

Fronking 'live' ffs. Brilliant.

20 May 2013


And the beat goes on - man the pali-sades!

I am trying to clean my pool, laborious sweeping and coolie work.

What do I find this morning? Sordid plastic bag with the wrong sort of loo paper - that useless soft stuff that hath no tread on  the upsweep. Fortunately, un-soilèd for the nones, altho' I'm not sure that 'fluid' in one of the plastic bottles is lighter stuff rather than Robbo fils'golden dawning urine.

Around the deep end of the pool floor - too distant for them to have tossed it from the fence - ominous plastiques a la Motolov cocktails with incompetent twiggery.

Honestly, for shop steward of the Golden Eye Corfu chapter, Robbo has much to learn in the bomb-making department.

My lawyer was shocked enough at the posters arrayed along the fence; as partner in the Dendias law firm, I trust she'll show these to her boss, the eponymous Nicolas.

The jeers and insults continue, of course.

Thank God my mother didnt live to see this desecration.