Soul Men , I Thank You – BBC Stax Prom

In a life blessed with a forty year marriage, two fine sons with two lovely daughters in law and three beautiful grandchildren there are only a few regrets: the road trip not taken to the USA in 1974, the Porsche 356C left unrescued as it eroded on a Cheetham Hill garage forecourt in the late Seventies and the Anglesey cottage with dramatic views of the Irish Sea not bought in the Nineties,

Perhaps there was one other: the Stax Volt Review not seen at the Manchester Palace Theatre in 1967. I hadn’t yet turned 14 when Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Eddie Floyd and Booker T came to town but I had already developed a passion for the music of black America. Though my paper boy wage would have stretched to the price of a ticket, there was no way this 13 year old grammar school boy would have got parental approval to attend this concert on a school night.

By December of 1967 Otis was dead following a plane crash and the remaining fantastic artists of the Stax label never again toured in Europe as a review. My first live concert was a year after this one, at the same Palace Theatre featuring the far more mundane Scaffold and The Hollies.

In those days, teenagers with a taste for more eclectic music such as Soul and Tamla Motown had few opportunities to hear it. Radio One, which launched in September 1967 as a response to the pirate stations such as Radio Caroline, had relatively little black music content. The highlight was a Saturday lunchtime hour hosted by Emperor Rosko, who was both an ex pirate radio jock and an American ! Rosko’s playlists would hold up today.

Apart from this, Radio Luxembourg, dance halls and record shops were the only places to hear any Atlantic, Stax and Tamla music. In the days of three TV channels, no videos and of course no Internet, smart phones or Spotify word of mouth was very important. You would have to buy the music on vinyl or make reel to reel tapes from the radio’s meagre output. With limited funds, those few precious 45rpm singles would be played over and over, the limited content of the label pored over and committed to memory. We knew the song titles, composers, producers, the song length, release date and even the catalogue numbers. All blue Stax UK releases were of a six digit length beginning with 601, an odd choice as there were less than fifty singles released.

Fifty years on and who of us back then would have believed that the Proms in the Royal Albert Hall would devote an evening to pay tribute to this marvellous music. Underpinned by Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, supplemented by the legendary Steve Cropper on guitar and Booker T playing his Hammond organ, Eddie Floyd, William Bell and Sam Moore ( half of Sam and Dave ) were back with us. Apart from the dapper William Bell whose voice has retained all its powers, the octogenarians Floyd and Moore needed vocal support from Tom Jones, Beverley Knight and James Morrison but their presence was still immense and they could both still pull off some moves.

Ignore the two clowns on the right – sneaked in after too much Ganja at the Notting Hill Carnival

An hour or so passed far too quickly as my teenage soundtrack played through in the unlikely setting of the Albert Hall. Ruby Turner showed her quality as she mastered the Staple Singers’ “ I’ll take you there”, Beverley Knight faced the difficult task of emulating Carla Thomas, Judy Clay and others and the outstanding James Morrison made the hairs on your neck stand up with his rendition of Otis Redding’s “ Try a little Tenderness”. This last was so good, you could see Booker T Jones smile his total approval across to Steve Cropper. Otis was back in the Hall.

To echo and paraphrase the lyrics of another fifty year old pop masterpiece, “ A Day in the Life”. I now know how much Soul it takes to fill the Albert Hall. I also now have another regret in my life that I never got to this show either.

You can still see this on Iplayer! Dont leave it 50 years.

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To Theresa, with hindsight and Scott Gronmark

This is shamelessly cut and pasted from another political blogger but he articulates it so much better than I ever could:

(1) If you’re going to run a personality-based campaign, first check to make sure that you have a discernible personality. You know, someone who doesn’t see running through a frigging wheatfield as the naughtiest thing they’ve ever done. (I suspect Boris has done naughtier things than that.)

(2) If you’re relying on old people voting for you, try not to announce three policies that will annoy/terrify them, and then fail to adequately explain the reason for any of those policies.

(3) If you introduce policies intended to address “generational fairness” in order to appeal to younger voters (who don’t like you or your party) try to explain in some detail what’s in it for them: they have short attention spans, so you really need to make the explanations punchy.

(4) Don’t treat the election as a re-run of a previous referendum. Referendums and elections are entirely different things. Asking people to, in effect, turn out to vote in a second referendum so that you won’t be forced to hold a second referendum is a fairly deranged and unappealing strategy. That was then – the election was now (or yesterday). And hanging everything on the Brexit negotiations – which a large number of your traditional supporters wish weren’t happening at all – isn’t really that bright.

(5) One thing the referendum proved is that trying to scare the pants off people doesn’t go down that well. It didn’t work in 2016, and it didn’t work in 2017. Funny that. We’re all a bit tired of doom and gloom and warnings of disaster unless we jolly well do as we’re told. That’s why your predecessor lost the referendum – and it’s why you (in all but name) lost the general election. I’ve spoken to quite a few conservative friends and acquaintances over recent weeks, and every single one of them was utterly appalled by your horrible, lacklustre, fear-driven campaign. Even those of us who were fairly cheerful a month ago were thoroughly miserable by the time yesterday finally, finally arrived – and we’re even more miserable now. It’s a simple lesson: don’t depress voters.

(6) There’s no point, in the wake of two horrifying domestic terrorist attacks, of warning us that we’ll all be less safe if your terrorist-sympathiser opponent gets into power. That is, of course, true. But as the Home Secretary and Prime Minister who cut police numbers while singularly failing to put bobbies back on the beat or to stop home-grown ISIS fighters waltzing back into the country or to prevent the spread of Islamism within our Muslim communities or to reduce immigration or to do anything about the pernicious, paralysing reign of political correctness in our public sector – well, it’s a bit late to turn round and start telling us “enough is enough”. Enough was enough a long time ago, only the message didn’t seem to get through to you.

(7) Turns out the “vision thing” matters. You’ve been in government for six years – you’ve led the damned thing for most of the past year – and I still have absolutely no idea what you believe in. As far as I can make it out, you’re yet another big government, social democrat centrist who feels a burning desire to meddle in every aspect of people’s lives – except the ones that would make us all a bit safer. Workers on boards? Really? I can’t remember you proposing a single genuinely right-wing policy. Did you imagine you’d satisfied right-wing voters by promising to deliver Brexit? Or because we had no one else to vote for? But, okay, Cameron got away with treating right-wingers with disdain – but then you forgot to appeal to the centrist wets who Cameron relied on. You seemed to imagine the right and the centre and the old would simply front up to vote for you on polling day “for fear of finding something worse.” Not good enough! People like to vote for something – a vision, an idea, a change, in order to be part of something positive. You mouthed a few platitudes about the trading opportunities Brexit would deliver – but I didn’t believe you believed a word of it. When Boris and Michael Gove and Dan Hannan and Douglas Carswell talked about those opportunities during the Brexit campaign – about Britain reclaiming its role as a great trading nation free of the EU’s socialistic shackles – I damn near peed myself with excitement. When you – who supported Remain – talked about the vibrant, sunlit, free-market uplands which buccaneering British adventurers and entrepreneurs would plunder to their hearts’ content to the benefit of everyone, I saw nothing – felt nothing.

(8) Occasionally finessing the truth when addressing voters is part and parcel of a politician’s trade – but you mustn’t do it so brazenly that they feel positively insulted. When Cameron returned from Brussels and claimed he’d negotiated meaningful concessions from the EU, we all scoffed – he lost the referendum right there. When you did a horribly clumsy U-turn over the badly-explained “dementia tax” and then claimed you had done no such thing – we all scoffed. And you lost your party’s majority right there.

(9) We can no longer rely on young people not bothering to vote. They evidently respond to simple messages, delivered with seeming sincerity, and they like to feel part of a movement (they’re terribly conformist). And, because they don’t know anything of life, have nothing to lose, and don’t really understand how money and tax work (many of them live at home, with ready access to funds from the Bank of Mum and Dad, which they never have to repay), and as none of them has ever experienced socialism (lucky sods!), you either have to explain reality to them (good luck with that), or you have to offer them an exciting, alternative vision which will somehow sound compassionate – because they like that sort of thing – and which will convince them either that they’ll be getting tons of free goodies, or that they’re going to earn so much they’ll be able to afford those goodies anyway. There’s no point in telling them you’re beating up pensioners so they won’t have to pay for the greedy old buggers – they don’t have a clue how tax works! Tell them how you’re going to ensure that they’ll be better off than their parents – not that they won’t be. Enthuse them! Excite them!

(10) When your top team includes the single most-popular, tried and tested vote magnet in British politics, give him a prominent role – more prominent than your own, if necessary. Boris Johnson was elected as mayor of a rabidly Labour city twice. He was one of the main reasons the British voted for Brexit. Yes, he makes blunders and he annoys many people and he’s nobody’s idea of a safe pair of hands. But, by God, he’s popular. He’s funny and witty and all-too-human and people respond to him as they do to no other politician. He’s the only living politician who’s known by his first name alone. I kept hearing news of Tory ministers losing their seats this morning – and I couldn’t put a face to most of them. And I’m actually interested in politics. I’m sure you had some strategic reason for keeping Boris hidden – presumably you wanted to sack him, or you felt he’d overshadow you, or whatever – but you were catastrophically wrong to do so. He’d no doubt have lost you a few votes – but he’d have won you a shedload more. This bloke wins important elections – unlike you. What were you thinking?

(11) If this election proved anything, it’s that you really have to be able to energise people. In order to energise people, you have to engage with them, talk to them, make them feel you understand them, that you’re speaking from the heart, that you want to lead them somewhere interesting and fun and either emotionally or materially rewarding – preferably both – and that you know exactly where it is and how to get them there. Corbyn – silly, old, terrorist-loving, anti-British, Stalinist nincompoop – gained 22 percentage points during the course of this election. He talked bollocks. His manifesto was packed with utterly unaffordable, goofy promises – but he sold it convincingly by sounding like he meant it, and that he was genuinely excited by it. Your manifesto – the “vaguest suicide note in history” – was packed with policies that, while some of them may have been sensible, sounded more like threats than promises. Insofar as you painted a picture of the promised land, it was a grey, dull, enervating dump that nobody would ever wish to visit. Enthuse, excite, engage – that’s the ticket!

(12) Be a lucky general. You either are or you aren’t. You aren’t.


Acknowledgement: this is not my work but that of Scott Gronmark

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2017 Election Hazel Grove Constituency Prediction

In 2015 I accurately forecast the result of the Hazel Grove seat in the General election. At the time I went in to some detail about how I thought the election campaigns had gone and what the likely factors were.

The final results were:





 Conservative  William Wragg  17,882  41.8
Liberal Democrat   Lisa Smart  11,330  26.2
 Labour  Michael Taylor  7,584  17.5
 UKIP  Darran Palmer  5,283  12.2
 Green  Graham Reid  1,140  2.6

There was a turnout of 42,759 voters, a percentage of 68.5% of the electorate which was an increase of 1.9% on the 2010 election turnout.

This time I expect the result to be as follows:

Conservative – Wragg 20,500 votes

Liberal Democrat – Smart 13,500 votes

Labour – Mishra 6,500 votes

Green – Lee 1,500 votes

The UKIP vote last tiem of around 5000 votes has to go somewhere and is likely to go to the Conservatives more than anyone else. The Lib Dems will consolidate but are generally seen as a declining force nationally. Labour will decrease slightly as people vote tactically to try to defeat the Tories here , the young will blindly vote for Corbyn but the older Labour voters will reject him.  The turnout will be slightly down.

Nationally the Conservatives will increase their seats to about 355 to 360, Labour will decline as will the SNP slightly and I expect the Lib Dems to be around 10.

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Corbyn does not support terrorism – discuss

Just over one day to go in this Election campaign and whilst all parties would prefer it not to be such an issue for varying reasons, the inevitable consequence of the dreadful bombing of innocents in Manchester and the butchery and savagery of the London attacks is that security is the primary concern.

Jeremy Corbyn has had a long history of supporting and justifying the actions of islamic terrorism, often blaming the West and “military intervention” for terrorist attacks here in the UK and elsewhere. He could not resist referring to this whilst responding to the. Manchester bomb of the 22nd May 2017. He has done this previously many times , watch this video of a speech he made shortly after the 7/7 bombings in London , on a stage with another apologist Galloway:


In 2010 he made one of several appearances on Press TV, the Iranian state TV channel. A country that denies the Holocaust, executes gays, sponsors terror worldwide, helped kill and maim British troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and since 1979 has never held a free election. Iran threatens a genocide of the Jews of Israel.  He used the appearance to attack Israel and reportedly received £20,000 for his appearances.


Every year in London , our liberal and tolerant country allow a demonstration known as Al Quds day which is basically a Muslim hate festival against Israel, there is no shortage of illegal and proscribed organisations taking part openly displaying their flags. The yellow and green one is the banner of Hezbollah. Corbyn takes part in these events and spoke at the 2012 one.


Corbyn is well known as the Chairperson of the Stop the War Coalition from 2011 until his election as Labour leader. Formed shortly after the 9/11 attacks on New York, this organisation played on the understandable need for peace from many diverse groups for its support , but in fact was a group controlled by the hard left Socialist Workers Party who seek to overthrow capitalism. As part of their ideology they are entrenched opponents of anything and everything connected to the US, the UK and Israel in particular and the West in general.


You can see Corbyn on the platform, the man at the microphone is Andrew Murray, not the tennis hero, but a member of the Communist party for over 40 years, an apologist for Stalin and a defender of North Korea. He rejoined the Labour party in 2016, presumably paying his £3, and was recently seconded by the Unite Union to Labour HQ to help Corbyn’s election campaign.

Labour are desperately trying to walk the tightrope of sensitivity to the recent attacks and trying to make political capital out of perceived Conservative shortcomings with police numbers. The London Bridge atrocity was thankfully dealt with within 8 minutes of the first call, a correct and decisive action saved many lives. Let’s hear from Corbyn about the so-called Shoot to Kill policy:


You could go and on, detailing the 13 different terror laws he voted against over his 30 renegade years as a Labour MP, his trip to Tunisia to attend a commemoration of a Palestinian murderer of the Israeli Olympic athletes, his defence of Iran and Syria, inviting Islamic terrorists Hamas to the House of Commons, his with other extremists.

On Thursday , ask yourself one question – is this a man you want to be the leader of this country?

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Corbyn is a good man, an honest man…discuss.

Think forward 20 years, could you elect a person who openly supported islamic extremists and their cause? Who you knew had refused to condemn them even though they had just murdered 22 people in your city?

This is an interesting General Election campaign. What started as almost a textbook exercise of increasing a Tory majority, has become slightly more of a race between the two traditional parties as the Conservative strategy of relying on a simple message of “Strong and Stable” is beginning to grate on the nerves at the same time as showing up as less than stable. This combined with some badly-judged manifesto ideas, such as the cost of care for older people has perhaps begun to put doubts in the mind of the undecided.

In the red corner, Labour have managed to increase their showing in the polls. One strategy has been to keep potentially toxic people out of the media spotlight. We have seen nothing of John McDonnell, the Shadow Chancellor, for weeks, Angela Raynor, a potential Education secretary without a single academic qualification to her name, seems to have been reined in. What is significant is the rise of the use of Social Media campaigns by the left. There are, undoubtedly, hundreds if not thousands of Momentum supporters working endlessly at their keyboards, sharing childish memes, images, scare stories and downright lies across Facebook and Twitter. Always ready to comment and troll on any and every politically orientated discussion from Newspaper articles to BBC question time. This is the future – get used to it.

The cleverest part of Labour’s strategy has been to relaunch Corbyn. Gone are the charity shop jacket and trousers, the Jesus sandals and the “Just popping down to the allotment” casual look. In comes the smart navy blue suit ( perhaps as suggested by David Cameron’s mother ) , the socialist red tie and the blameless white shirt. All designed to pitch Corbyn as a world leader, ironically aping the Trump Look.

But after all the media coaching, the ready made answers to the tricky questions, the constant appeal to  younger idealistic voters with feel-good platitudes and popular promises, there remains the reality that can never be airbrushed:

Jeremy Corbyn , as well as John McDonnell and Diane Abbot, thoughout his political career has been an active, ardent and committed supporter of Irish Republicanism and the IRA. He is trying to pretend now for political gain he was part of the peace process, he most certainly was not.

So here is a reminder for those over 40 and a wake up call to anyone else about the IRA in the UK:

In 1974, they placed a bomb on a coach travelling from Manchester to Yorkshire, it exploded , ripping out the back of the coach and killed 12 people including 2 boys aged 5 and 2.

In the same year they placed bombs in 2 pubs in Guildford and Birmingham , killing a total of 26 people.

In 1979, they killed 18 British soldiers in one single incident with a bomb in a culvert.

in 1982, they placed 2 separate bombs in Hyde Park and Regents Park on the same day in July, killing 11 people and seven horses.

They attempted to murder the whole government when in 1984, they placed a bomb in a Brighton hotel where they were staying. Only 5 were killed this time.

What do you think of the murder of Lee Rigby by the two murderous Islamic extremists? It was not the first time that off duty soldiers had been hunted down and murdered on British soil, watch this video about how two soldiers were hunted down , stripped, tortured, and then shot repeatedly in the head by the IRA because they got caught up in the wrong funeral.

here is a priest giving one of the soldiers the last rites:

And so it went on up to and including the 1993 Warrington bombings which resulted in the deaths of two little boys out shopping for a Mother’s Day card:

The IRA were responsible for many, many more bombings and murders. Over 1700 people died as a result of their “Just War” . In 1987 Corbyn attended a London Commemoration for IRA members killed and said he was  “happy to commemorate all those who died fighting for an independent Ireland”.

Finally, as an echo of that dreadful atrocity at the Manchester Arena by the piece of Islamist scum Abedi, we had our own IRA bomb in the centre of Manchester on a bright Saturday morning in July. A truck full of semtex was parked outside Marks and Spencers on Cross Street, fortunately due to some great police work and extensive evacuation following the bomb’s discovery no one was killed although 212 were injured.

Remember all this when next Thursday comes and it’s time to vote. You may be a Labour supporter, you may be a hater of the Tories, you may want a better opposition but we all deserve better than to be led by a man who actively supported the people who committed these atrocities, and continues to refuse to condemn them directly.

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Tattoo-shops, consulates, grim head-scarfed wives..

What do I know of Hull? Is it Kingston on Hull or just Hull, ‘Ull?

I remember it was voted Britain’s most crap town in 2003. Does it not reek of fish or has the smell evaporated with the decline of its fishing fleet? What else? John “two jags” Prescott was its most famous MP, it still has its own telephone company, no BT there. They play Rugby league, the football team is nicknamed the Tigers and the refusenik poet laureate, Philip Larkin, chose to live and work there.

And that’s about it. We usually stay at home on Bank Holidays but today we will break with tradition and visit the Uk Capital of Culture for 2017.

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Christmas Quiz 2016

How soon it all comes round again! For the fourteenth year in a row we are joining a group of increasingly decrepit friends for our annual Christmas Lunch at the Arden Arms in Stockport. I wonder how many of us will be back home for the final of Strictly? And after all the trouble I have gone to setting up the VIP passes at the Bamboo in Hazel Grove….

The quiz this year follows the same format as last year, it is an individual one and , despite my claims that everyone could answer every question, every now and again the alcohol prevented this.

I believe that this is also a quiz that is “Google proof” as simply having a correct answer is not a guarantee of the best score. Anyway give it a go and remember, Teddy, Alcohol and the Arctic are all wrong answers.

Links to everything below (they are printable PDF’s) :

xmas quiz 2016

xmas quiz 2016 answers

xmas quiz 2016 answer sheet

Previous quizzes can be found for earlier years on this site, simply use the search box using the term “quiz”

If you like the quiz and use it to entertain family and friends then a comment or email would be nice.

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