Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark

Paramount Theater, Denver
March 14th, 2022

It took a very long time before I got to see OMD live. I think I became aware of them in the autumn of 1980, when their first hit, Enola Gay, hit Radio 1. I was certainly a fan: Architecture and Morality was on very heavy rotation on my bedroom record-player, though they drifted off my radar after Paul Humphreys left the group in 1989. Their re-formation in the mid-2000’s was well off my radar, but a few years ago, I bumped into a documentary about the group on YouTube, which re-ignited my interest. In January 2019 – a mere thirty-nine years after first hearing them – I finally got to see OMD when they played Tucson, Arizona in support of an art exhibition about, of all things, dazzle camouflage.

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Fuck you, Jimmy Savile

I was watching the Netflix documentary, Jimmy Savile: A British Horror Story, over the weekend. I was reminded of the time, over 20 years ago and well before he was officially outed as a massive pedophile predator, when I brushed tangentially against him. In 2000, I had published a spoof Have I Got News For You transcript supposedly detailing out-takes from the show episode in which he appeared, and which saw Paul Merton tear into Savile mercilessly. Demon, my hosting provider at the time, got hit with a legal take-down notice.

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Warfield Theater, San Francisco
March 11th, 2022

After two days there, I am convinced San Francisco is a hell-hole. Chris’s catchphrase on the trip was “I smell weed”, while mine was “Insane homeless person or angry Bluetooth caller?” Even the iconic cable-cars are terrible. You spend 45 minutes waiting to get on, in frigid conditions, then the view you get as you bounce around like a bingo-ball is this, because it’s so overpacked. It therefore says something about my love of Sparks that we were prepared to endure all of this and go there for the band – the first time I’d ever seen them live, after almost fifty years of liking them

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On Death

4th February. I’m not sure what I’m even doing here. I’m writing things down as much as a coping mechanism, as well as a record of my emotions. It’s unexplored territory, because this will be the first funeral I’ve ever attended. There have been deaths, of course: aunts and grandparents, cousins and uncles, but for one reason or another, they were always distant enough to matter only in the abstract. I’m not even a person who feels particular sadness at celebrities passing. Death has been an almost entirely abstract concept, up until three hours ago, when my sister Pat called and told me my mother passed away today.

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A Netherlands television series from the sixties is not something you would typically expect to be covered here. But in this case, there are a couple of interesting people who were very much involved. They would both go on to achieve international fame, at a level likelyfar beyond what was expected when beavering away in Dutch TV. The star of the show was then unknown theatre actor, Rutger Hauer. But the director would also go on to greater things, making Robocop, Total Recall and Showgirls. For it was none other than Dutch cinema’s greatest export, Paul Verhoeven (on set, above).

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