Communication Breakdown……..

BBC Radio 4 Today programme.

Former art student millionaire (and Led Zep guitarist) Jimmy Page is also a huge fan (and owner) of Burne-Jones tapestries. The somewhat awestruck/sycophantic interviewer attempted to infer a link between the subject matter of the tapestries and the lyrics of Stairway to Heaven – a source of inspiration, perhaps?

“No“ says Page “I didn’t write the lyrics!“

No pretention there, Jimmy! Well done!

Self in name …….

It never ceases to amaze me how skilfully (and frequently) Will Self can turn any topic into a moment of self aggrandisement. In commenting on the death of Anthea Bell, the translator of Asterix as well as many other works including those of Freud and Kafka, Self chooses to use WG Sebald as an example claiming that his ’eminence in the English reading world’ would not be as great if not for Bell’s ‘magnificent translations’. I am sure they are. I am also sure that the selection of this example as opposed to a better known author is designed as ever for ‘Self promotion.’

A close encounter of the Cheadle kind…

I do love bookshops and a small independent bookshop called Greenhouse Books, has recently opened near my home. They also make a good cup of coffee so I called in this morning and was stunned with the number of people who came in who the owners knew by their first names – great sense of a bookish community. The most interesting was a large heavily bearded man wearing a Russian fur hat and carrying a large rucksack. He complained about getting old and then went off at a tangent talking about Akhenaten, Horowitz, his family and many more apparently unrelated topics. I paid for my coffee and he turned towards me and said ‘you’re a musician aren’t you ? A jazz musician’ which I accepted as it was ‘close enough for jazz’, as they say. However he would not accept that he could not have recognised me from the Slug and Lettuce as I have not played at that gig! At this point, he suddenly said ‘Saint Thomas’ and then proceeded to demonstrate to me how he had developed a new conga rhythm for the classic Rollins tune! An amazing encounter!

Sticky pencil ……

Monday morning is always Monday morning. To complete the scenario there has to be a ‘sign’ to confirm this. To fulfil this role, my Perfect Pencil – a modestly titled writing product from Faber Castell – leaped unaided from the bookcase performing a perfect dive into mug of, now cold, coffee which my considerate wife had brought me an hour earlier. Hmm.

Handy travel tips in Rome !

On leaving the station look for an information kiosk. If you tell them your destination they will give you a slip of paper on which is written the letter referring to the point at which you catch the bus, the number of stops and the name of the stop closest to your destination.

Immediately throw this away and ignore any indication that it gives you otherwise you may find yourself, as we did, even further away from the destination than you were when you started the journey having already spent 25 minutes on a suffocatingly packed bus!