I don’t have many memories of you as my father. When I was very young and you were still married to Mum, you were always away with the Merchant Navy. As I got older, you and Mum split up and you moved in with your parents; my grandparents. This was probably the only time in my life when I saw you on a regular basis and we spent some great weekends sailing and hunting together. You taught me how to fire a shotgun and raise a sail although I have by now totally forgotten how. You even trusted me to sail the dingy back and forward to your yacht on my own while other kids my age where not. I always felt proud and trusted whenever they looked at me in envy.
I spent a great deal of time with my Grandfather when I was young. I used to go and spend my weekends at his house being totally spoilt and listening to some of the stories he would tell me when we were alone – or at least when my Grandmother was out of earshot. The stories he told me from his youth in Oldham and his years of running a shop in Birkenhead were always enthralling but I think my favourites were from the war. It always makes me laugh when I watch Only Fools And Horses on the telly because every time Uncle Albert mentions the phrase; “During the war…” everyone would run for cover fearing another of his war-time stories. I was the complete opposite and could listen to my Grandfather for hours.
I only ever write on here when I have something to write about. I don’t get guilty if I haven’t written anything for a while, I just sit back and wait until something comes along which I feel the need to wax lyrical about. It seems, though, that more and more it is somebody’s death which sets the brain in motion – such is the case with Roger Lloyd-Pack. Which, funnily enough, I didn’t even know was his name as he has always just been “Trigger” from Only Fools and Horses. Other than playing a part in The Vicar of Dibley, which I have never watched, I can’t remember him being in anything else. However, after checking, I find he has been in more programmes, films and stage productions than you can shake a stick at – including just about every genre from Catherine Tate to Shakespeare.
I hate Christmas. Maybe hate is too strong a word but I don’t like it anywhere near as much as I used to when I was young, although I bet most people feel the same. Christmas as a child is exciting; presents you actually enjoy playing with; not socks and slippers. What is the preoccupation with foot presents when you get over a certain age? Even worse is those people who buy you soap, deodorants and perfume. What are these people trying to tell me?
I have just finished watching the Life of Pi and I have to say what a brilliant film it is. How the computer people can come up with CGI graphics of that quality is beyond me. In fact, it was quite distracting to begin with because I kept looking for ways of catching them out – looking for some kind of blemish in their work which would give away the fact it was not a real tiger. I could find none. This did not spoil the film for me but the film itself has left me with a feeling of wanting to know more. What did the author of the book, Yann Martel, or the director of the film, Ang Lee, mean with the ending of the story? Is there more to it than you originally think and what of the religious overtones?
I was greatly saddened this week by the news of Lou Reed’s death. I have been a fan for a number of years, in fact right from the very first time I heard “Walk on The Wild Side”. I think that and Coney Island Baby used to be on Arthur Murphy’s playlist for the peaceful hour back in the day. I loved those songs and then a few years later went out and bought his “Live in Italy” album and that was it I was hooked. Simple songs played on two guitars, bass and drums as only Lou Reed could. The band he had at around that time of Fred Maher, Robert Quine and Fernando Saunders seemed to match exactly what Lou was doing. He sounded great with these guys because I think they were all pretty much on the same wavelength; the same way that Neil Young never sounds quite the same when he is not playing live with Crazy Horse. I think I must have worn that Live in Italy CD out, the number of times I played it.