28 April 2008

The day the music died

Buddy Holly has a lot to answer for.

Or, rather, his estate does - for I am sure that he little imagined, when he buckled himself into his seat aboard that Beechcraft Bonanza back in February 1959, what a monster he had spawned. Thirty years later, someone chanced upon the idea of turning his life story into a stage play, complete with soundtrack. They set in motion a terrible bandwagon that has culminated in the head-on collision that is "Never Forget - the Take That story", currently being advertised across London. Truly the new theatrical genre of "Jukebox Musical" has reached its nadir.

To date there are approximately 9,588 pop groups being written up for the stage, with another 5,116,225 in development. Having already been hit with Abba (Mamma Mia), Boney M (Daddy cool), Madness (Our House), Billy Joel (Movin' out), The Beach Boys (Good vibrations), Rod Stewart (Tonight's the night), Queen (We will rock you) and Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons (Jersey Boys), I do begin to wonder where the line will be drawn. Milli Vanilli? Toni Basil? Or maybe "Shaddap You Face - the Joe Dolce Story".

Perhaps more worrying is the impact this will have on future creative endeavours of the pop stars of tomorrow. When the Amy Winehouses of next year are discovered, will the A&R men suggest they write an extra track that could be turned into a first half closer for the musical of their life? Will future artist sing summaries of their careers to date, in order to give any future stage show a lift halfway through the second act?

Even more frightening is the prospect of "Unbreakable - the Westlife story", coming to a stage near you. At which point I will launch a campaign for the reinstatement of the Lord Chamberlain's office as licenser of plays to the west end stage. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

23 April 2008

Man eats dog

In his forthcoming memoirs, John Prescott admits he was “not a very successful bulimic”, which probably doesn’t come as much of a shock to anyone who has seen him in the flesh. I should also hazard a guess he wasn’t much of a 100m hurdler, disco dancer or spandex model either.

Look out for Tony Blair’s autobiography where he tells the world he was a little bit taken with political spin.

02 April 2008

Dr. ink

Headline on today's London Evening Standard:

"Binge drinking crisis in London A&Es"

You'd think doctors would set a better example.

01 April 2008

Le jeu belle

Widespread consternation has been caused by the announcement of a tightening of the rules around foreign football players coming to the UK. For those coming from outside the EU, both players and their wives will be expected to speak English to secure a work permit. Jacqui Smith, the home secretary, has warned: “It’s fair that we should now set our expectation that they’re able to speak English before they come here.”

Fortunately for the future of the game in England, there are, as yet, no proposed requirements that British players should be able to speak English before they start work.

Getting out of arms way

Last week at their annual conference, the National Union of Teachers (NUT) denounced the Army for visiting a disproportionate number of inner-city schools on recruitment drives. The implication being that those attending under-performing schools in the UK would have limited career options other than as IED-fodder in the back streets of Afghanistan.

In 2007, 27 youths were murdered in London alone, mostly from knife or gunshot wounds. So far in 2008, nine young men have been stabbed to death in the capital. Maybe school leavers living in some British cities might fancy joining the army just to get away from all that violence.