‘It Ain’t A-Gonna Rain No Mo’ – more music hall memories

 It Ain’t A-Gonna Rain No Mo’

Oh, it ain’t a-gonna rain no mo’, no mo’,
It ain’t a-gonna rain no mo’.
But how in the world can the old folks tell
It ain’t a-gonna rain no mo’?

Grandma used to tell me that if there was enough blue in the sky to make a sailor a pair of trousers, it wouldn’t rain, so I might then play in the garden. That’s how I became interested in cloud movements. She didn’t explain that it was the wind’s dialogue with the clouds that was the referee. Or how fat the sailor had to be.

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R.I.P. Dame Vera Lynn (1917-2020): Did we really need Vera Lynn during the war?

Reposted in part tribute to the passing of Dame Vera Lynn at 103 I was in my first decade during the Second World War. Two voices over the radio made me reach for the off switch: Vera Lynn and Kathleen Ferrier. Both sounded to my child’s ears as though they were at a funeral, whatever … Read more

Lockdown Fish and Chips

Greater London has an ever-increasing number of excellent takeaway fish and chips shops. Takeaway was always part of their tradition. A teacher at Whitgift School – my immediate neighbour- said of me, you can take your Lancashire lad away from Lancashire, but you can’t take him away from his fish and chips. Fair enough. Three bus stops to my right or half an hour walk, is an outstanding Cypriot-managed chip shop. One bus stop to the left or a fifteen-minute walk is a chip shop run by people from Avelino (south of Naples) overjoyed to find a client who can chatter in their home dialect. Chippies chatter like barbers. It’s their lifeblood. And they want their clients to be happy. What’s not to be happy about this delectable food combination? To add to your pleasure – indeed, to define the pleasure – both these shops cook with rapeseed oil. Costs more says Avelino with a shrug, but clients like it and it’s fresh every day, but the increased trade means I haven’t had to pass the cost onto our buyers. So no nasty smell of overused cheap oil as you near these shops. 

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Educating Rita, says who?

The OED on education refers an inquirer through a Middle English (ME) root of educe meaning to bring out or develop (something latent or potential): very much Willy Russell’s territory in his melodramatic farce of 1980 at the Royal Shakespeare Company;  which in turn became an even more successful (1983) film of the same name. whose stage version also had the same leading actors as the film. But that is only half the story.

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The BBC takes the Corner Shop Back in Time from yesteryear to nearly next century

Polly Samson and Sara Cox (front) with the Ardern family

Do you have a corner shop nearby?  If so the chances are it will be owned and run by a family of Asian heritage, open most of twenty-four hours, friendly, better stocked than the supermarket, and all the more likely to provide you with improbable, impossible whatever,  if you have ready cash and a sense of humour. Theatre doesn’t come better than this. But this is real life. No kidding.

BBC2 have just taken us through a six-part ‘extraordinary time-travelling adventure’ on the corner shop from Victorian times to the end of our new century. At the moment Back in Time for the Corner Shop is waiting for you on iPlayer for a little while longer. If this isn’t entertainment with a big smile, I don’t know what is.

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