You recently posted a comment about current TV drama – well if you want to see something that is truly exceptional, I hope you were tuned to the first part (of 6) of Wolf Hall last night, the dramatisation of Hilary Mantel’s double Booker winning series on Thomas Cromwell. Absolutely outstanding.

It is proper TV! Proper cast, proper story, proper production values – with Damian Lewis superb as Henry VIII and Jonathan Pryce excelling as Wolsey and Claire Foy a fine and confrontational Anne. But the star of the show is undoubtedly Mark Rylance as Cromwell. He is hypnotic, menacing and terrifying and yet able to convey intense, soundless emotion when his wife and daughters die.
This will win everything at the Baftas next year – you heard it here first!

Los Endos

There are a number of reasons why I like tribute bands, the main one being seeing the music I like played live. It is interesting to compare different bands especially Genesis ones as the music is technically challenging. Los Endos were the latest band to step up which I saw with my mates on a cold Saturday night at The Robin 2.

***Stop reading now if you are not a Genesis fan.***

Compared with G2, they have a number of assets which makes the better than G2, but G2 are still technically better in my opinion. Los Endos have a better drummer and bass/6 string player (on a double-necker!) but their lead guitar is a bit of a conundrum as he played the Gibson electric adequately, but the 12 sting acoustic very well – especially ‘Blood on the Rooftops’. G2 have a better singer and better lead guitar and a better keyboard player so the overall package is better.

The measure of all of this is ‘The Fountain of Salamis‘ which is a complex piece of music as you’ll hear outside of classical music. G2 played this rather ponderously but Los Endos did it with gusto even if the guitar playing was a bit passionless. However, only Hackett can play it that way. 3/5 for marks for Los Endos.

The set (how cool is that statement?) was a right mixture of stuff from the early stuff and it’s interesting that both bands play the less well known ‘Ripples’ and ‘Entangled’ off ‘Trick of the Tail’, some of my favourites and I thought the more romantic stuff is evident throughout the show – as witnessed by the groping couple in the corner. Judging by the posters, I thought we would hear more off ‘Nursery Cryme’ and having dusted off the only vinyl copy and spent all week playing it, I wasn’t that disappointed as they did finish off with ‘The Giant Hogweed and they also did the usual closing section of ‘The Musical Box’ which did have a lot of passion about it and to be honest, this is my favourite ever Genesis track.

Worth going to see? Well yes as any Genesis music played live is a bonus as the real band will never play again and it’s music that should live outside of the CD collection.

Can you successfully revive old masters?

Here’s a question for all of you born in the 1960’s: Can you remake some of our old favourite TV shows and make it for a new audience?

You see, ITV have re-vamped Thunderbirds and after the disastrous film make by Riker from Star Trek NG, I can’t see this working either. Even if it is for kids!

Part of the charm of the old puppet Thunderbirds was the fact that it allowed you imagination to run as it’s supposed to do. Even as a kid you knew they weren’t real but it was what the characters and the stories and the technology that most appealed. And then you took your toys out into the garden and recreated the story. Do modern kids do this? Aren’t they missing out on something?

In Quest of The Ashes by D R Jardine

I’ve been meaning to read this book since I bought it way back in 1985 (!)

Jardine was the English Captain in the notorious “Bodyline” tour of Australia in 1932-33.

As the article by Firth suggests, this is very much Jardines’s viewpoint of the tour, and might be read as being written by a public school boy toff. He certainly has a lowly opinion of the Australian public.

There were many issues raised by this tour, and this book manly defends his use of “leg theory” which there are many opinions. However, the main loser in all of this controversy was Larwood, who never played again for England and suffered the ignominy of bearing the brunt of the blame. However reading this book, it seems that  Larwood, Bowes,Allen and Voce were as good as anything England has produced over the years and could be said that they formed one of the best fast bowling attacks England has ever produced. If you have a moment to contemplate dream about what it could have been like to see this lot bowl the the great 1980’s West Indians batting attack. I know I have.


Last pint in the Pyle Cock

Last night I had my last pint in the Pyle Cock as it’s set to close on Thursday – a sad day. Wolfman hadn’t even been in the splendid old “Smoke Room” and didn’t realise that was the best bit of this old place. For the occasion, even the Mild was good.

Also, there was a fair crowd in so word must have got around but I will mourn it’s going as I’ve been drinking there for 20 years encouraged by Nick The Milk’s penchant for pub tours, and then continued by Duffer on our Sunday night tours.

Good job The Dog and The Vine are doing okay as Wednesfield would be dead without them.

Think Floyd @ The Robin 2

The New Year has started well for me as there is a decent selection of interesting bands on at The Robin 2 in Bilston. Last week I went with the neighbours to see Jean Genie – always a good laugh as John Manning has all Bowie’s mannerisms and that makes me laugh.

This week, JC and me went to see Think Floyd – a Pink Floyd tribute act and they were every good as well. A high standard of musicianship and they played all of Wish You Were Here and Dogs off Animals which you don’t here a lot. They also played for 2 1/2 hours and had been rehearsing since 10 that morning and that reflected in the show.

Next week it’s Los Endos so stay tuned! :-))

Project Robynne

Over the autumn and into the Christmas break I have been converting the back of my garage into something more respectable. So with the help of my friend Robynne (hence the projects title) I’ve cleared out the old pile of rubbish, had the window and door replaced and had it boarded and plastered. Following the extensive drying period as it is the wrong time of the year to do this type of thing, I’ve painted it out.

Prior to this, I’ve moved the dishwasher and the fridge into the kitchen so all the amenities are to hand. All of this required a person with the required eye and vision to suggest this so I’m grateful for this push from a friend. Sometimes you do need another set of “eyes on”.

So to make it all neat and tidy, with the help of my Dad, I’ve constructed a couple of floor cabinets with a recycled worktop over Christmas and I am quite pleased with the outcome, all done for c£1,000.

All that’s left to do is install some skirting and sort out the electrics and then paint the opposite wall once the gas pipe has been secured a bit more.


Pub #1: The Black Eagle Hockey

The tour started today at this excellent pub reached via the Metro whicSAMSUNGh was a bit problematic today as the works at Wolverhampton are still on-going and one tram broke down at The Royal.

However, it was worth the trip as tucked away in an industrial landscape is this real gem, frequented by WBA fans including Adrian Chiles himself.

The beer and food is excellent a really good selection including the evasive Enville Ale – a real find and top-ho Bathams!


100 pubs in 2015

Today I laid down a challenge to The Stymaster to resurrect one of my old Poly activities made famous by The Somerset Crew: 100 pubs in a year. As is the dear chap needed any encouragement.

So here are the rules:

  1. Me and the Stymaster have to be present in the pub at the same time for it to count.
  2. At least a half of real ale (or the nearest in the case of the Horse & Jockey et. al.) must be consumed. Lager will not count unless there are extenuating circumstances.
  3. You can’t count more than one pub more than once even if it changes hands.
  4. Must be photo’s and blogged to count on your own web outlet.
  5. Pubs will be rated 1-4. The benchmark is the Black Eagle at Hockley and The Vine (4*). A 1* pub would be The Horse & Jockey in Bilston. Bus basically, its the 100 pubs we need before most of them die.

So if you want to join us, erm, let us know! Or start your own tour!