President John F. Kennedy continues to inspire, 100 years after his birth

My photo above shows President John F. Kennedy’s beloved sailing boat, Victura, with his eponymous museum to the left and Boston’s harbour and city skyline in the background.

The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is holding a special exhibition called “JFK 100 – Milestones and Mementos” to mark the centennial of the great man’s birth. Continue reading


A belter of a TV programme on the family history of Noel Clarke

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Back in August, I waxed lyrcially about the history which is reflected regularly in the BBC programme “Who do you think you are?”. I feel compelled to return to the subject, given the sheer awesomeness of the last episode in the current run of this BBC series. Continue reading

The drugs which kill the most have been legalised for centuries, so how will legalising cannabis make much difference?

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It was good to hear Vince recently confirm his whole-hearted support for our policy of legalising cannabis. I also fully support the policy, which is actually quite a “baby step” when you consider the plethora of drugs readily available today – with more becoming available (including via the internet to one’s postbox) by the day. Continue reading

A detailed look at life on Fair Isle

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Fair Isle – Living on the Edge, is a couple of documentaries from the BBC taking a detailed look at life on Fair Isle, the most remote permanently inhabited island in the British Isles, with a population of just 55. It is absolutely fascinating – what a beautiful island and an extraordinary community!

The documentaries are here on BBC iPlayer for the next week or so.

Russ Ballard and “Fly Away” – one that got away

Russ Ballard was the lead singer and guitarist of rock band Argent. He wrote perhaps their best known song “God gave rock and roll to me“, which was later taken up by Kiss. He’s had great success as a song-writer. He wrote rock songs such as “Since you’ve been gone“, which was a hit for Rainbow, “You can do magic“, which was a hit for America, and a little favourite of mine called “New York Groove“, which Hello did.

Back in 1974, when I bought virtually every 7 inch record that went into the Top Forty, and many that didn’t, I bought “Fly Away” which is from Russ Ballard’s first solo album. Well, yesterday I remembered it and brought it up on YouTube (which was certainly quicker than finding my copy of the 7 inch single, which is probably in the attic somewhere). It’s a beautiful song, and it is a crying shame it didn’t get anywhere near the charts:

Galveston – The fascinating evolution of a pop classic

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With the passing of the great musician, BBC4 have recently reshown“Glenn Campbell: The Rhinestone Cowboy”. It is a very interesting portrait of the man.

It also gives us a fascinating insight into Glenn Campbell’s partnership with song writer Jimmy Webb.

The evolution of Galveston is particularly interesting. Jimmy Webb wrote it as a slow anti-war ballad (which you can hear below). Glenn Campbell then gave it a boisterous up-beat edge, making it a pop classic. Jimmy Webb was anti-war, bearing in mind this was 1969 and the era of the Vietnam War. Glenn Campbell was a Republican who had highly pro-war guests, such as John Wayne and Bob Hope, on his massively popular CBS TV show, “The Glenn Campbell GoodTime Hour”. Such tensions behind the Campbell/Webb partnership no doubt contributed to one of the most successful partnerships in popular music history.