Derek Smalls, Molly Ringwald & the Onions & more…

First off, I met a very nice man in the shower at my local lido. It is not uncommon to strike up a conversation with a fellow swimmer. I told him fairly early on in our chat that I had written a book called Anoint My Head, and his eyebrows lifted at the news. I could tell he was the kind of guy who liked his rock ‘n’ roll so I gave him some more spiel and shamelessly dropped in the fact that the book had recently received a rave review comparing it to Spinal Tap*.

He then told me in quite an understated way that he was friends with Harry Shearer, AKA Derek Smalls bass player of Spinal Tap. And if I gave him a copy of my book, he would pass it on to Harry AKA Derek. Well, I could have dropped my soap in the shower. The thought that a comedy legend like Derek Smalls might read my book is a very pleasing one. And who knows he might pass it on to David St Hubbins and Nigel Tufnel too. And who knows what might happen then…

It just goes to prove you should always speak to strangers in the shower.

I shall report back with news.


Second off, as promised in last month’s anointy newsletter, here is a short story wot I have written called A Night In Dieppe, although I may rename it Molly Ringwald and the Onions, or maybe just Molly and the Onions. But you will have to read it to find out why.

The story is all true, apart from the bits I made up and takes about 17 minutes to read, so it goes perfectly with a cup of tea and a club chocolate orange biscuit. Or a pint and a packet of cheese and onion crisps.

Anyway, here are a couple of ways you can read if you have a spare 17 minutes. Hope you enjoy.


Third off, I *think* am doing a reading at the York Rise festival this Sunday in Dartmouth Park, so if you are in the area, pop by. I’m not sure what time I’m on exactly or what I’ll be doing, but it’s a great little festival with live music and all sorts.

The guy who is organising said in a joky kind of way “Hey you should get the band back together for the festival too!”

I felt my stomach flip with excitement but was he being serious? And was that even possible? We hadn’t played together in nearly 30 years, some might say for good reason.

I rang Marcus, my local councillor and ex-pointy birds bass player, and broke the news that there was high demand in some quarters for the band to reform. I explained it was for a good cause to help promote my critically acclaimed and best-selling memoir.

He went quiet on the other end of the line and then released a small, hard laugh. It was the kind of laugh that said, don’t bring this up is unless you are deadly serious. I’ve been hurt once before.

Yeah, sure, maybe I did lead him up (or is it down?) the garden path a bit in our youth; and yes, ok, perhaps he lost a few good years playing rock n roll when he could have been building his career helping the less fortunate in society, but he can’t deny the memories…oh the memories…

“I’m serious, Marcus,” l said. “This is a once in a lifetime offer.”

He must have been on a train and gone into a tunnel or something because he said he was losing signal and could not hear what I was saying. And then the phone went dead.

A few days later, I received a text from him, having had no luck getting him on the phone and was saddened to hear the news that he was unable to play because his arm was in a cast.

“But you just need your fingers?” was the last throw of my dice.

It’s a shame because the casts could have been a thing. No other bands are doing that. I could have worn a neck brace; Dave could have had a broken leg. Keyboardist Josh could be zoomed in for the gig on a screen from Sydney wrapped in bandages a la the invisible man. We would still need a drummer, though. There is always Dave the drummer from Blur but not sure if he has ever heard of us.

I shall probably have to do York Rise solo. I might read chapter 9, The White Horse. If you are around, come and listen. Plus there is lots of great food and bands playing.

I’m also going to be on Boogaloo Radio interviewed by the legend Andy Ross – the man who ran Food Records and signed Blur, Jesus Jones and many others…he is going to ask me all about my book, and I may tell him all about Derek Smalls.

I think that’s it for now.


PS: let me know if you enjoy the story and which title is better.

a) A Night in Dieppe

b) Molly Ringwald & the Onions?

c) Molly & the Onions*

d) A Night in Dieppe (or Molly Ringwald & the Onions)

*Not unlike the title for Kazuo Ishiguro’s latest novel Klara and the Sun which I recently read and enjoyed.

Anoint My Head – How I Failed to Make it as a Britpop Indie Rockstar

“If This Is Spinal Tap is the quintessential rock mockumentary, Anoint My Head is the closest you’ll get to that in book form.”

God is In the TV Zine


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