Coals To Newcastle, balls to Christmas

The starvation diet, the back-of-sofa coin-searching and the redemption of those saved-up bus change tickets now begins in earnest; the best Scots band ever Orange Juice release a 7-disc box set in November.  Full details are here, but the release does, regrettably, mean that several of my family will be receiving only Christmas cards this […]

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Judging the book by its cover

My eldest is making her way through her first Secret Seven book.  So far, very little has happened; three chapters in and they still haven’t come across the “spooky old house in the snow” the jacket blurb promised.  We get the impression she’s not enjoying it much but upwards and onwards.  She might be a […]

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Afraid of the dark..?

I’m rather looking forward to the new Guillermo del Toro co-production, Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark, due out early next year.  Rather bizarrely, it’s a remake of the TV movie of the same name from 1973, something of a favourite of mine.  Del Toro has co-written the script too, and there’s a nice teaser […]

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The first sign of madness

I talked to myself a lot as child.  I would act out TV dramas on my own, playing all the parts, goodies and baddies (but obviously romantic entanglements were out because I couldn’t play women, and there was no such thing as ‘gay’ when I was growing up), always timed to last as long as […]

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Weed ’em and reap

I wonder when the gardening bug will finally strike.  When am I going to start feeling like growing my own vegetables?  I’ve been waiting a while but so far, despite a fine family tradition and many presents of kitchen garden books, I’m no closer to taking it up. Obviously I’m writing this to give myself […]

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Caught by the fizz

I’ve noticed that Sodastream is making a rather loud comeback.  DIY fizzy drinks were all the rage in the 1970s/’80s, and I honestly thought we’d seen the last of them.  But no, they’re getting busy with the fizzy all over again.  It brings back memories, a sugary flood of them, in fact.  I can taste […]

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Bobby Hebb 1938 – 2010

IHGN mourns the passing of brilliant singer and songwriter Bobby Hebb, who died on Tuesday this week from lung cancer aged 72. Hebb will always be remembered as the writer of ‘Sunny’, one of the happiest songs of all time.  Amongst my favourite versions of this often-covered classic (aside from Hebb’s own) are those by Andy […]

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Coyote gorgeous

Look, don’t bother going to see Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore.  As if you were going to.  It’s absolute rubbish.  Even if you have children pestering you to take them to see it, avoid, avoid, avoid – it’s for their own good. However, if you really can’t say no to your little darlings, all […]

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Strange phenomena

It’s quarter of a century since Kate Bush released her landmark single, ‘Running Up That Hill’.  That’s scary.  I can’t quite believe it’s been that long, but it’s true.  I was 16 when it came out, and listening to it today, it still sounds box-fresh.  In 1985, Kate Bush was a solid fixture in my […]

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Dark water

“Don’t do it!” we shouted, with our usual mirthful, carefree abandon. Bob looked up and around at us, a tiny smile appeared at the side of his mouth.  I can’t remember exactly what he said as we passed him by, but it was something to the effect of: “I’m just having a rest.” The bridge […]

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