Blogger and freelance writer from the north-east coast of England
- Top Story - November 2023
Bentley Driver, Puppy Thief
Tuesday When I opened the front door to see the beaming fizzog of my old friend Bentley Driver on the other side — a face I’d not seen in half a year — my immediate instinct was to pat my trouser pockets to ensure my wallet was in situ. Bentley gives off such an aura of shiftiness those in his company are on high alert over their possessions.
My Night at a TV Studio Live Show
Aged sixteen, I had been a guest at the children’s home where I'd been sent for persistent truancy for exactly two months. when an unexpected night out presented itself. At breakfast one morning, a buzz of excitement ran through the dining room at the news that two female residents had been rushed to hospital the previous night following an incident which, if memory serves, involved nail polish remover.
Snogging at Sixty
It is many years since I outgrew the bravado of youth, at which age I had no qualms about approaching young ladies on the dance floors of what were then called discotheques. If I got lucky, I might have enjoyed a spin with a stranger to the strains of I Feel Love by Donna Summer under the glare of a UV light that made the dandruff on my shoulders glow. If it wasn't to be my night, I'd walk home alone, carrying enough cold shoulder to cater the Cheltenham Festival. But it didn't matter; I knew I'd be back the following weekend as eager and thick-skinned as ever.
The Terrible Loss of HMS Seahorse
The dangers faced by submariners during the Second World War were so great Prime Minister Winston Churchill said that of all the branches of men in the forces, none showed more devotion and faced grimmer perils than the submariners. Sadly, in the early days of the conflict, all 39 officers and crew of the submarine HMS Seahorse succumbed to those perils in the North Sea. But one of their number left behind a poignant memento that serves to this day as a reminder of how quickly and devastatingly fortunes can change during times of war.
When Toys Influence Careers
Picture if you will, the following prehistoric scene. Inside a cave, a Neanderthal family gathers to celebrate the fifth birthday of their eldest child, a boy. After blowing on his cake (there are no candles; fire hasn’t been discovered yet), the excited lad opens his presents. There’s a Tamagotchi rock from his brother, a pencil case made of triceratops hide from his sister, and, best of all a hunting kit from his parents.
As the twentieth century sputtered to a close, I worked for four years as manager of a video rental store. To give context to how long ago that was, the movies Fargo, Jerry Maguire, and Independence Day had just been released on VHS. The store also hired out video games, but only for the Sega Mega Drive and the first incarnation of the PlayStation. The most popular games for those consoles when the store opened were Sonic the Hedgehog and Tomb Raider, respectively.
I Ran a Punk Music Fanzine
Although there had been fan-based magazines around long before the arrival of punk rock, it was via that genre that I was introduced to them. In the early days, Mark Perry’s crude effort Sniffin’ Glue was as prominent in the music press as some of the bands. While I never actually came into contact with a copy of that Vanguard organ (the general consensus is that it wasn’t great), I’d seen enough by way of newspaper features to rouse the sleeping editor within me.