Monday, June 16, 2008


Greeted with the acrid aroma of piss is not something one expects of Oxfam. One does expect a Julia Fordham artifact. Someone equipped with an unkind mind might suggest there could be a link between the two. Fordham's single was called "Where Does The Time Go?"A more apt title might be "Where Did My Career Go?" Fordham seemed to be forever popping up on breakfast TV or Pebble Mill back in the eighties and early nineties much to the bemusement of the hosts who clearly had very little idea who she was and often looked worriedly around for security. She looked as though she had been chiselled from an iceberg, gleaming white and radiating emotionlessness. She should have been a dinner party shoo in but back in those days Sade had that market cornered. Imagine it, the party is gently warming up, lively friendly chatter is being exchanged and then the hostess says "Darling, shall we put on that new Julia Fordham CD?" Guests cough, one or two keel over feigning illness, others make excuses and scurry for the nearest exit, then the boyfriend quickly pops in a Sade CD and the evening is rescued . As she sang before an audience of OAP's on Pebble Mill she probably wondered if any of them would live to see her guest on Wogan. Maybe she did and if she did why didn't she do an Ollie Reed or Grace Jones? A violent drunken outburst might have shunted her one top twenty single ( "Love Moves (In Mysterious Ways)" no19 in 1992 ) into, for her at least, the unknown, the top ten. That dizzying achievement was never hers. My twisted imagination pictures her starring in a Phoenix Nights special.

A more rewarding encounter in Cancer Research where I picked up LP's by the Who (Tommy) and the Liverpool Scene (Amazing Adventures Of) for £1 each. And a Jacques Brel LP was scooped up for a £1 in British Heart Foundation.


As Wob would have it in his song extolling the merits of charity shop delving over traipsing around your local souless shopping arcade for some designer tat. Eschew your lazy ways, surrender your permanent place on the sofa and discover some real British talent, as opposed to the lukewarm losers ITV and BBC serve up on their "talent" shows, and go see Wob live. Buy a CD if you must, and for his sake I suggest you do, but do not deprive yourself of the pleasure of experiencing his energy and charm in his favoured habitat, the local pub. He can actually sing, he is often beset by strange urges to sing show tunes while tuning his guitar and it's almost like being in a West End theatre. His dexterity on the guitar is equally sublime. Last night in the Evening Star in Brighton he displayed his virtuosity on the ukelele and though I had a nasty attack of the Formby's (I was about to rush out and clean the nearest window) I forgave him.

And the charity shops. Brighton has been good to me of late. Fingers filthy and brow beaded with sweat as I raced against sunday shopping hours I uncovered a few glories. A Wild Poppies 12", a single by Robyn Hitchcock horrifically titled "Eaten By Her Own Dinner", 7"singles by Linda Smith, Kieran Halpin, Orange Cake Mix, Reverb and Aislers Set. And the fabulous find of the day, a 12" by Reflection AOB signed by the band. An ebay seller had it listed for £179 a few weeks ago, then when it didn't sell he relisted it for £199! Brazen idiocy, surely nobody will cough up that for it?