By Ashley Morrison You can’t fail to be aware of the buzz surrounding the film The King’s Speech, which swept all before it at the recent Oscar ceremony. As a lifelong stammerer myself, I was intrigued and possibly slightly nervous at how the film would turn out. The trailer was moving and comical in equal parts – the latter because of the unorthodox and now dated therapy techniques used by speech therapist Lionel Logue. These days, techniques have moved on considerably. But what about technology? Has it actually improved life for stammerers, or does the best therapy come from within?
by Terence Dackombe I imagine it will be one of those too-cheerful-by-half doctors who seem to run their surgeries from the studios of breakfast television that will write it. Probably launched in time for Valentine’s Day next year, “Your Guide To Maintaining A Partnership For Life”. Something like that, only with a sexier title, obviously.
There will be two people in this world who will definitely not be consulted as expert contributors to this no doubt great work. Stevie Nicks, and me.
As my haphazard history of relationships with women is of little interest beyond my world of memories of “It’s not you, it’s me” and “I hope we can still stay friends”, the reader may be pleased to know that we are instead going to try and unravel a period in the life of Stevie Nicks, when overlapping relationships, torrid break-ups and splintered friendships led to her spilling a million dollars on cocaine.
by Magnus Shaw: Can I ask you this? When you’re attending a rock concert (not an 02 Academy club style affair, but a more sedate allocated seating event) at what point do you fetch drinks, buy food or have a pee?
If you go right at the start when everyone’s arriving, good for you. That’s when I use the facilities too. Or perhaps you attend the bar and lavatory between the support and the main act. Again, perfect choice, that’s what the interval is for – no argument whatsoever.
However, if you wait until a band is on stage and your fellow ticket holders are concentrating on the music, then push your way past the entire row, ensuring you shove your rear end into the faces of its occupants, before returning five minutes later with large beakers of beer, bags of Doritos and even pizza, repeating the process in reverse, can I ask you this?
What in holy hell do you think you’re doing?
by Terence Dackombe Richard Keys opened the huge, overwhelming chasm of the show he presents with Andy Gray by issuing a plea for callers to debate the great footballing matters of the day – including MK Dons’ (of the third tier in English football) splendid victory over Peterborough the previous evening.
From the hosannas of the Champions League to the Denbigh Stadium in Milton Keynes in five weeks.
After the supplication for listeners to call in, there was a queue of football people waiting to feel a metaphorical arm round the shoulder and a 19th hole style of chit chat. It would be over stating it to call them interviews.
Craig Bellamy; Karl Robinson, youthful manager of the previously mentioned MK Dons; and Ugo Ehiogu. The drums were beating to a rhythm of favours called in.
Bellamy and Ehiogu said nothing; Robinson bounded along like a puppy off the leash in the spring sunshine, but also said nothing.
by Magnus Shaw At the end of January 1976, vascular disease did what the authoritarian might of the American government had failed to do. It broke Paul Leroy Robeson, killing him with a massive stroke. Imagine for a moment that Bob Marley, at the height of his career, had been labelled a dangerous radical, prevented from international travel, banned from live performance and his records removed from radio playlists. Would that have shocked you? Then consider this man’s extraordinary life.
Today, in England, and without even paying that small fee, I can live my life as if I was in Boston, Milwaukee or Los Angeles.
I can access live American TV, the New York Times is just a click away, and thanks to my iPhone, I can drive along the M4 surrounded by the urban sprawl of West London, listening live to KTYD-FM in Santa Barbara and imagine I am driving the Pacific Highway, just like Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate.
by Magnus Shaw The first edition of Top of the Pops was broadcast from Dickenson Road in Rushholme, Manchester in 1964 and featured the Rolling Stones, The Beatles and Dusty Springfield. It was presented by Jimmy Saville.
We can’t watch it now. It was the BBC’s habit to wipe broadcasts of ‘no particular significance’ and that first show was a victim of that policy. From its debut, TOTP ran until the Summer of 2006, when it was pulled from the schedule (barring a Christmas Day edition).
Since then, rumours of a resurrection have persisted but have been unfounded. Even a campaign by Andy Burnham and the Ting Tings failed. But now something stirs.