Billy Idol – Brixton Academy

Best gig I’ve been to in AGES. Billy Idol keeps on ruling. Needless to say, I adore this review. Nothing to add – it’s perfect.

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

Last night a little angel came pumping on the floor
She said, come on baby, I got a license for love – Rebel Yell

It’s unclear what Sir Billiam Of Idol made of his Smash Hits magazine nickname, but it was always a sign of respect. The Bromley boy is back on his home turf; although it’s unlikely he brought his shamelessly self-promoting Billy Idol tour T-shirt at the Glades shopping centre. He’s in Brixton for a sold out intimate gig and it’s clear he’s making no apologies for the sort of cock-rock orgy that would bring Radiohead out in hives. It’s so uncool that it’s immediately cool, as he belts out Shock to the System with the enthusiasm of a groom on a Billy Idol karaoke machine. He looks like he was always going to look; like a rock star that’s offset good times with yoga retreats and good…

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Is camping REALLY a good idea?

When writers go camping, they’ve got one advantage over other campers, they can write about it when they get home – which proves once again that writing is the best therapy. Please go like on Tom’s blog 🙂

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

“I can’t sit still and see another man slaving and working. I want to get up and superintend, and walk round with my hands in my pockets, and tell him what to do. It is my energetic nature. I can’t help it.”

Jerome K. Jerome – Three men in a Boat.

I’ve been camping with two under 6-year old boys for a few days and I’m shattered, like I’ve been sleeping in the bass bin at a Leftfield gig. It’s a unique type of tiredness that suggests you missed an entire night’s sleep and have been covered in a layer of sweaty glue and smell of a bonfire.

Any self respecting idler should listen attentively for suggestions of camping, and be ready with excuses at the drop of a bent-tent-peg that’s impossible to hammer into even the softest ground yet remains in the equipment bag. Nothing has ever looked better…

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Smalltown Boy


“Smalltown Boy” is my favourite 1984 song. The year before that it was “Relax” by Frankie Goes To Hollywood but they (and that song) deserve a post all of their own…so, Smalltown Boy: the haunting voice and lyrics spoke directly to me.
My English teacher who was very fond of me because of my ability for the language and my love of all things British told me the song was about the pain and struggle for acceptance of a Scottish gay boy. I may have been a precocious child in many ways due to my love of books, but I knew very little about the gay community or even about what being gay actually meant. There were no “gays” in my village or if there were, they were in hiding. Gay rights would have been an alien concept in this rural area. My teacher and I looked up Glasgow together which is where the singer Jimmy Sommerville came (and had escaped) from. It looked desolate to my eyes and very different from my sleepy Burgundian village. And yet…

I guess it was the first time I properly understood the fact pain was a universal concept whatever the reasons behind it. When I heard the words “the love that you need will never be found at home“, I identified completely and felt that the gay boy from Glasgow and I were the same, united in this yearning for something and somewhere else. He suffered in a big city and I among the fields of wheat. We “never cried to them but to our soul.” By the time the song was released, he had already left with “everything he owned in a little black case” and so would I years later, but in 1984 it gave me hope to know he had escaped, to realise you didn’t have to put up with misery, that it would get better, that there was a place somewhere where acceptance was possible. Funny that it turned out London was Jimmy Sommerville’s destination when he ran away, because that’s where I ended up too. 

Years after I had left, there was a big scandal in my village because my English teacher who had been so pleased to teach me about Britain was caught in a compromising position with a male student. It turned out he was gay, no wonder he had known so much about the gay community. Of course, I had not suspected anything at all, as I said I was precocious in some ways but still very naive in others. To this day, I cannot listen to Smalltown Boy without being transported right back to that time, it’s a song that I still love and it still means so much to me – it made me feel understood and infused me with hope. 

*This is an extract from a personal essay I wrote last year. I am going to an 80’s night on Saturday and the shameless selfie is the outfit I selected this afternoon for the occasion. Sadly, I do not own a smalltown boy t-shirt so I decided to go with ‘Frankie says’ out of my 80’s t-shirt collection – yes, I have one, I still love 80’s music. And always will.*

Writers – Are you past your sell by date? 

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

One of the problems of being a writer, apart from the frown and that the last thing you wrote being a shopping list, is the fear you’re only as good as the last thing you wrote. Although parsley, butter and cheese might be significant at the time, they offer poor legacy were the Southbank Show to popup, intending to  document what you’re currently working on. Of course the Southbank Show was taken off air in the Middle Ages so the likelihood of their interest in my shopping list is unlikely, but it’s important to be prepared all the same. After all I’ve had a ten pence piece in my pocket since I got the Scout’s Nuclear Winter Survival badge. To be honest that’s as much as most writers are due to earn according to new research suggesting only 10% of writers now earn a living from their endeavours.

The thrill of being…

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We need to talk about what’s Cool.

The latest from my favourite – definitely very cool – writer.

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

It’s been apparent for years that some people are cooler than others and it has to stop. No UK political party has ever addressed it, not even Corbyn’s Labour, so it’s clearly not a vote winner, which once again is cool people’s gain. And the rest of us? Well, we’re just left on the slag heap of credibility.

These days its harder to determine who’s cool thanks to art students and hipsters who dress like children fumbling in the dark with access to nothing but high-waisted jeans, 70s beanie hats and shoes rounder than Cobbler Smurf’s. I saw someone with a rolled up cigarette inserted through her ear apparently pierced for this exact purpose. She’s clearly someone who wants the people to know that she smokes, even when she isn’t. Is that cool? She clearly thinks it is. Of course it’s hard to define cool, through doing so you instantly lose…

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What came to pass


Where there was friendship once, the land now lies neglected, weeds and ruins usurping sweet memories
The woman who could talk the black of a crow suddenly doesn’t think there is anything to add
Others she involves
With an edited report
She omits facts that are crucial
She’s very, very careful
And in this way she redraws
Her fingers dirty with chalk
Her mind febrile
She stoops to – almost – lies
As a last resort
Until she is left
With the picture
That will let
Live with herself
But the truth she hides, ignores
It’s too harsh and too simple
What came to pass was due to the worship of false idols over honesty and the real

Image credit: Abandon on Instagram

Allergic to mornings


I don’t like the taste of coffee, I also think it looks and smells like the bottom of a tar pit. I’m envious of others who have caffeine to help them with the process of emerging from the folds of sleep. Like many, I’m allergic to mornings and it’s the time of day when I’m invariably at my most grumpy.
I can’t stomach the news first thing, or those chirpy early birds eager to get the worm. You know, the sort of people who virtuously tweet meaningless faux deep motivational quotes at 7am followed by #MondayMotivation or #WednesdayWisdom
No, what I need in the mornings is some synth led music, some joyous tune that speaks to my soul on a profound level. That and green tea is my usual routine. I do miss smoking, that first cigarette of the day, that glorious nicotine hit…indeed it’s always in the morning I feel a vague craving for that filthy habit.
And it’s also then I write narcissistic rubbish such as this.
I have a deadline for my Master’s this week, and I’ve chosen to go with Gonzo journalism, a form I love and which really suits me. The only problem is, there is only one Hunter S. Thompson and anybody following in his footsteps just reads like a cheap imitation. But, I’m giving it a go all the same. I can’t be timid, if I’m going to fail, it’s got to be spectacularly – there’s got to be a blaze and freaky flames.

Why A Writer should NEVER attend a Job Interview.

Do go and like the original 🙂

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

The problem with work is that it happens during the day. 

Why be a writer? is the sort of question that should be asked of any aspiring scribbler – in a tone suggesting profound concern whilst shaking them by the shoulders and marching the towards the job centre. You might be your own boss, which sounds like a good thing, but unless you work for the council’s Parks Dept, do you really want a boss who lets you start gardening simply because the sun comes out? Mmm, perhaps it’s best leave that question unanswered, because smelling the bloody roses doesn’t pay the mortgage. And nor does writing.

I recently applied for a job, you know, it was a quiet day on Twitter and sadly the Life Assistance Agency doesn’t really exist; although if so it would probably be attempting to hook car keys from a drain with a coathanger. I…

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Why we all need to slow down…

Please go and give Tom some love on his blog 🙂

Idle blogs of an idle fellow

Busyness is an important topic for Idle blogs, which has been put off for too long… 

‘Keep busy’ someone once advised me, which would have been helpful had the reason for my seeking their advice not been due to doing too much. Now, before anyone who knows me has choked on their cornflakes, I’m not renowned for industriousness; as I’ve said before, writing a book doesn’t appear to be doing much beyond quietly swearing under your breath, and I’ve avoided real work like the moon avoids the sun. It’s no coincidence that my greatest inspiration has been Jerome K Jerome and his Idle thoughts of an Idle Fellow.

Beware the barrenness of a busy life, Socrates once said, which someone (probably himself) astutely wrote down before it was forgotten. Coming from someone who was a stonemason, hoplite foot soldier and later a founder of western philosophy, this is possibly…

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