Sunday, October 31, 2004


Now I don't mean to alarm anyone or be a harbinger of doom and, if you haven't noticed anything, please just get on with you're lives. However, I'm fairly sure that a major environmental change is on its way. Who knows what the repercussions might be?

I'm fairly certain that it's getting both darker and colder. I've managed to convince Mrs B of this portentious shift to the extent that she went round the house last night altering the time on our many clocks in order to try and offset this phenomenon.

So afeared are we that we've begun to hollow out organic mangos and star-fruit to make lanterns, so as not to attract attention with the big white light.

It's not just us though. People in neighbouring hamlets have been setting off distress flares at all hours of late. What's more, earlier this night, through what can only be described as an eerie mist, I saw shadowy figures in hooded capes wandering the village aimlessly. Two of the hideously deformed strangers even rapped at the door. The size of mere children they spoke in a tongue from across the great sea. They seemed to require an offering of some sort. I passed them a flagon of the White Lightning whilst Mrs B prepared enough home-made crack to satisfy their weird cravings.

They left to wander the night in the direction of Ye Olde Convenienfe Ftore.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

asbos you think that's funny

I see that they've discovered a new species of human somewhere in the world. Jamius Cullumnus, apparently only a metre tall, lived happily in the middle of the road before being discovered by Admiral Michael Parkinson just on the wrong side of the Cape of Good Taste.

Also from this week's news, I've found out why the 'kids who hang around around cinemas all day' hang around cinemas all day. It's because ASBOs (Anti-Social Behaviour Orders) have been so successful in preventing the nations youth from smoking crack and drinking White Lightning whilst sat on the wall outside Lazeez Off Licence and Convenience Mini-Mart. It's all over the papers.

Less widely reported, and of interest to those bloggers who frequent strip-clubs and lap-dancing establishments (and of particular concern to those bloggettes who work there) is the introduction of new legislation targeted at the goings on in these places, particularly when groups of men pay extra for 'two-girl shows'. Yes, ACPO (Association of Chief Police Officers) is pushing for the introduction of Lewd and Explicit Sexual Behaviour Orders, although they haven't worked out an acronym for it yet.

You've been warned.

Friday, October 29, 2004

down on the playstation at midnight

I wake to the deafening sound of static and white noise. My clock radio is so complex that I can’t do anything about the fact that it goes off very loudly at 6am every day, (not) tuned in somewhere between Hilversum and Radio Buy One Get One Free Europe. This makes me angry. I swear a lot.

Young Snicket, stirred by my swearing, runs in shouting ‘Get me some milk now’. I shamble wearily down to the kitchen stark bollock naked, switch on the 1000 kilowatt light-bulb and then realise that I forgot to shut the blinds last night, just as Mrs Hack, the farmer’s wife, is putting today’s milk bottle on the step. Rather too late, I turn off the light and spill half a pint of full fat into a toddler cup and bung it in the microwave for forty seconds.

I get back upstairs to find that young Snicket has taken my place in bed and whacked CBeebies on so, forgetting the idea of a leisurely lie-in, I head off to the bathroom. Here I sit down on the toilet as I’m too tired to stand and my aim isn’t that good with sleep in my eyes. Anyway, have you tried doing a number two whilst standing up? Whilst I’m there I’ll flick through Heat which is normally plonked over the side of the bath for times such as this. Of course, I just look at the pictures. When I see J-Lo I toy with the idea of having a Barclays. Then I see Donatella Versace and forget all about it.

Once I’m washed and dressed I hit the road without any breakfast and sit on the motorway behind a white van for two hours. I then sit at my desk and try to look busy all day. I do this by setting my laptop at an angle where no-one can see the screen and then appending tiresome and vaguely ironic comments to other people’s blogs. From time to time I get caught looking at the temp’s thong sticking out of her pants as she bends down to get another ream of printer paper.

At lunch time I think ‘bollocks to tofu cutlets and star fruit’ and go for an all-day-breakfast barmcake with a packet of crisps and a vanilla Coke. On particularly lardy days I’ll have a flapjack too. After lunch I’ll browse the web again before reviewing other team members’ work and passing it off as my own. Then I get back in the car and sit behind a white van on the motorway for two hours.

When I get home I have to park my car at the side of the road, get out of it in the pissing rain, stand in dog shite, put Mrs Backroads’ car in the garage, walk back to my car, stand in dog shite again and then move my car to its rightful place. This makes me angry. I swear a lot.

On entering the house I’m greeted by young Snicket who, stirred by my swearing, runs towards me shouting ‘Get me some milk now’. I get this and spend a solid five minutes of quality father-son bonding time with him before scaring him shitless with The Gruffalo’s Child and putting him to bed.

I then open a bottle of cheap wine and proceed to drink steadily throughout the evening. Between refills I invariably eat a hastily prepared meal (15 minutes), give Mrs B a brief snapshot of my day (90 minutes) and review Mrs B’s day at length (5 minutes) before going to bed.

Depending how much wine I’ve consumed I’ll try to convince Mrs B to let me tinker with her moist parts. Depending how much wine I’ve consumed she might let me. Either way, I’ll turn over and try to drift off to sleep watching Naked News on Get Lucky TV. Then, when I can’t sleep, I’ll sneak downstairs and play the Sims on the Playstation and make things difficult for the little blighters stuck in their little hamster wheel lives.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

portaloo sunset

Don’t you just hate those ‘my life is just so darned peachy, everyone wants to be me’ Day In The Life articles that appear in the Sunday supplements written by celebrities, usually when they’re plugging a new film, book or TV series.

They’re all so unbelievable. You know the stuff:

“I rise at 5am, prepare a green tea and eat a little macrobiotic yoghurt before heading out for my daily 5 mile run with Camus, my faithful chocolate labrador. I return and shower before heading off to the den to tap 1000 words or so into my Powerbook before 11am when I stroll along to McGuffin’s Deli for a skinny-thinny-fatté-twatté-latté and a loganberry muffin and where I chat and play boules with the local artisans for half an hour before strolling home with the FT tucked under my arm with which to check my share portfolio before trotting out another 1000 words before lunch.

At lunch-time, when my wife isn’t out curing AIDS and world poverty we snack on granola and mung-bean yak turds, slooshed down with a single glass of our favourite organic wine, Lawsons Crack.

In the afternoons I usually select a classic arthouse film such as La Belle Noiseuse from my extensive collection of laserdiscs and DVDs and retire to my home-cinema for inspiration…”

…and so on, and so on.

Absolute bollocks. Tomorrow I’m going for dirty realism in a Day in the Life of me.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

hell freezes over

Bob Mould, Paul Westerberg, Soul Asylum and others played a benefit gig in Minneapolis last Thursday for Karl Mueller of Soul Asylum who has cancer (currently in remission). The biggest surprise of the night was that Grant Hart got on stage with his former Husker Du bandmate Bob Mould for a couple of their old band's numbers (fabulously, Never Talking To You Again and Hardly Getting Over It). Mould is silent on this in his own blog, but Hart puts the pic upon a page called Hell Freezes Over on his site.

Greg Norton, the third member of Husker Du has been out of music ever since the split. He's currently head chef at Nortons Restaurant in Bay City, Wisconsin.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

tell me now how do i feel

transmission ends

drowning, not waving

It's been raining for days. When it does this I get to know what it must be like living in a little castle or, perhaps, a moat-house. It appears that there's a broken land-drain atop the farmers field which leads down to Backroads Manor. This means that all the water rolls off his field and heads directly for us.

The last time his happened was in August when I got a call to say that I'd better get home in order to dig a trench in the garden!! When I arrived, the council had already delivered sandbags and it looked like the Somme. Unfortunately, it was too late for me to shout 'but we haven't had the results of the geo-phys' because half the neighbours were out hacking away at my lawn.

I suppose I should be grateful, as the water had already taken the garage and was threatening the front foor and all that lies beyond. It would've meant new carpets, and furniture, plus electricals... but hey, that's what insurance is for. Bastard, I've had a Sony TV since 1991 waiting for the bugger to die so's I can upgrade to plasma or a projector. I'd have got away with it too if it hadn't been for those pesky neighbours. (By the way, someone said the other day that after three years you have to pump plasma tellys full of gas. Can this be true? If so, do you think it'd be covered on my Three Star service with the fire and the central heating?)

Anyway, after we dug the trench I put the kettle on and we all went out and played football and listened to Paul McCartney.

Monday, October 25, 2004

einsturzende neubaten und fritz

I think you can tell when someone's on the mend. It's when they tell you to 'get off that effing computer and do some bloody ironing'.

So, friends, my work here is done and tomorrow I return to the office. Yep, it's no more funtime backroads and back to more posts about buildings and food.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

most of the kids are alright

I took Alley and young Snicket to the pictures yesterday. Alley wanted to see the Princess Diaries 2. Me and young Snicket wanted to see something else (pretty much anything).

In the end we agreed on Shark Tale. I'd love to tell you what it was like and spoil the ending etc but young Snicket decided the instant the adverts started that he was scared and wanted to go home. Obviously my first reaction was to shove a couple of giant fondant filled strawberry laces into his mouth slooshed down with Coke from the three gallon bucket I'd just spent the national debt on. Of course this failed. Even a couple of outsized chocolate brazils when shoved in just made him look like Marlon Brando until they melted. I only remembered the reason why kids shouldn't be given nuts after he'd sucked the chocolate off and spat the buggers three rows forward at Uzi velocity earning me a clearly mouthed "For Fuck's Sake!" from a young Chav type Mum of around fifteen with her two fabulously behaved kids. Luckily the peak of her Burberry cap prevented the nuts from taking an eye out.

Well everyone in Screen 5 thought the Dolby trailer had started, but it was just young Snicket wailing in Sensurround by which time I was considering leaving him to Alley and hitting the built-in pub (Old Orleans or something). Then I remembered the shitty electric beer and decided to take him out with me and sit with the 'kids who hang around cinemas all day' instead so at least Alley could watch the film in peace.

Now. What is it with the 'kids who hang around cinemas all day'? Surely there's crack to be smoked or, at the very least, White Lightning to be drunk whilst sat on the wall outside Lazeez Off Licence and Convenience Mini-Mart. Obviously not. One Chavette must have slapped on a minky whale's worth of lip shine bling whilst I tried to stop young Snicket scaling the Spiderman hoarding in the manner of a superhero who can climb walls and shoot webs of some sort. Her young male friend, bizarrely, had the top half of John Lydon and the bottom half of Ricky Martin. Punk Cha Cha I reckon.

Her young male friend's friend (teens discover the delights of troilism very quickly these days don't they... bastards) had a shirt on which said 'PAIN IS JUST WEAKNESS LEAVING THE BODY' I thought about this for a bit. Well, for as long as it took young Snicket to topple the Spidey hoarding onto this lad's leg. In fairness, I offered him and his mates the use of my mobile to call an ambulance but, even as a considerable amount of weakness was leaving his body, he managed to flip out a phone only just invented in Tokyo and start texting like it was Morse. (The code not the opera-loving, crossword bothering detective on perma-heavy rotation on UK Drama. He didn't have a mobile. Obviously.)

Luckily, Alley appeared at this juncture. Shark Tale had been 'alright, I s'pose' so, as I made a mental note to email Leonard Maltin telling him to up it to five stars, I grabbed young Snicket and we left the area.

Bloody traffic was awful though. Dumb-ass drivers. There was an ambulance coming the other way. Must have taken it ages to get through.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

textual healing

I did that thing this morning where you're walking down a narrow corridor and there's someone walking towards you and at the last minute there's a Red Arrows style swerve to avoid collision.

Of course this morning me and this bloke swerved the same way and had to recover with that 'eyes wide open and arms and hands spread wide' move (a bit like Al Jolson - 'Mammy, how I love ya, how I love ya). This bizarre but oft repeated dance was accompanied with the obligatory stereo 'Sorry Mate!'.

Now I tend not to call anyone 'mate' except in this very circumstance but, as a phrase, it seems embossed on my innate and involuntary response to this situation. I bet it's completely out of bounds to use this phrase at the Red Arrows training camp.

Anyway, after the 'Sorry Mate' song we carried on with the usual 'Look Who's Talking' high five, low five and baby five before carrying on in separate directions, never to set eyes on each other again.

Moving on, if there are any ladies in the house, please help me out with a bit of texting ettiquette. I've been swapping texts with some of Mrs Backroads' girlfriends over the last couple of days. They've been enquiring as to her health as she's been taken rather badly. I don't know them too well but all their texts end with kisses... 'xxx'. Am I getting ahead of myself in thinking that they're offering their 'personal support' whist Mrs B is indisposed, or do girlies put kisses at the end of all their texts?

Thursday, October 21, 2004

86 with a bullet

I've given up completely now on the blooming TV/Phone/Internet malarkey at this hospital bed. I have decided to blatantly use a mobile phone instead. The heart monitor of Mr Stent opposite flickers a bit when I send a text, but other than that I think it's OK.

You read a lot in these places. Stuff you wouldn't ordinarily read, like the Daily Star, and stuff you would like The Times or, my interest piqued by the Music content promised by its cover, the Daily Telegraph. Now everyone's best mate Boris Johnson had a column in that today and, I tell you what, it made pretty good sense to me, which is a bit scary.

Did any of you boffins do that daft Spelling Test on telly last night? It was on ITV1 just before Naked News starts on GetLucky TV. Well anyway I got 86% for the record, but blimey it's a nasty format. Coxy and Gaby Logan stood where Philip Schofield and Anne Robinson do the IQ test on BBC. Just as dire too. If it wasn't for a desire to take my mind off the price of car-parking these days I wouldn't have watched it.

The other week, in York, the pay and display priced for 5 hours was £9.50. That's a lot. What's more though, the bloody machine didn't take cards or notes. I don't know about you but I've always got £9.50 in spare change knocking about in my pockets.

Had to walk half a mile to a crappy shop to by an elastic band for 5p in order to change my tenner. However, I don't like ranting posts, so I'd like to add a caveat to point out that a very pleasant time was had by all that day and I even sat on a Bullet Train.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

only when i laugh

Still ill. This room's got more boxes with flashing lights than AOL's comms room. There's even a machine that goes 'ping'. Most though have a reassuring display of regular blips or dots. There's one where there is a light that never goes out. Then there's another which, every ten minutes or so begins to oscillate wildly. I'm keeping my eye on that one.

The other thing which I don't think I've mentioned is the noise. From 8-6 every day there's a bloke directly above deconstructing an old concrete operating theatre with a pneumatic drill. If you didn't come in here with a headache, you're certainly leaving with one. If you'd paid for a fortnight in the Golden Lights holiday apartments in Tenerife and there was a building site as noisy as that next door, you'd be complaining to you're rep right about now.

Well guess what! TV/Internet/Phone missy's just been. She's obviously read IT Support for Dummies because she just said she needed to turn it off and turn it on again. Yep, that's what she said. So, you're thinking, why didn't you do it yourself dumbass? Well, because the on/off switch is behind a secret panel on the wall. Cunning, huh! 24 hours off-line all for the want of an Allen Key.

Changing tack. The Delgados BBC Sessions CD is a revelation, replete with Guided By Voices cover and songs more Uresei Yatsura than the blissed out indie pop of Hate or Universal Audio.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

the drugs don't work

Still no word on the bedside Internet connection in this blooming hospital. As Watski points out if they can't get that right what can they do? I suggested McAfee anti-virus software to Matron but she didn't laugh. She's a bit like Hattie Jacques in Carry On Doctor so I'd better not mess.

Fortunately, one of the student nurses is a bit more saucy. I can see her knickers through her frock. She's just brought me a brew and a slice of Genoa cake. Reckon I might be in there.

I notice that you can't get a beer in these places. However, if you crave a blast of nicotine (which I don't), there's a freezing cold wind tunnel in front of Reception full of Chavs with broken arms and legs sucking on Lamberts as if their life depended on it (which it doesn't).

Hey! TV/Phone/Internet maintenance woman's just been in (telly is on the blink now too). I mentioned t'internet problem and she said it's not working until they connect it to a different internet. That'll be a breakthrough for medical science. I hear Mars' internet has got some bandwidth, so that's where my money is. Trouble is there's a bit of a delay when you call out their IT support. About 24 years I think.

Either way, I hope they hurry up. I need to Google up a quick cure for Malaria. Matron is busy.

Monday, October 18, 2004

a free man in boston

He does Color Therapy. He thinks he's in Hootie and the Blowfish. It's all true!

Seriously though; anyone who's not taken time out to read Tim's travelogue is missing a trick. There's 'gay shorts', 'kissing waitresses, 'killer whales' and Twin Peaks style live entertainment. Get over there.

Moving swiftly on, there's been a lot on the news today about people being ripped off by scurrilous junk mailers telling them they've won big on draws they've never entered. One bloke interviewed on Five Live had handed over £31,000, which was supposed to be the tax on his 'never to be seen' winnings, upfront. Another woman had lost up to £300,000 over two years to different scammers. Excuse me but... fuckwits! Is it just me but I find it all very funny. If there are any under-cover Trading Standards officers or veg-packers in the house they might care to comment on my tasteless lack of concern.

Speaking of tasteless, it seems they're getting rid of GCSEs and A levels and letting kids choose vocational subjects at an early age. I think this is good. Citizens of other countries that have introduced this approach have reaped the rewards. Just think of Australia which introduced the vocation of bar-tending and who's sons and daughters have penetrated the pint-pulling industry across the globe. Half of Provincetown studied hairdressing, and much of Asia introduced the subject of minicab driving years ago with largely the same effect.

Bartending, hairdressing and minicab-driving. All good, solid reliable occupations. People will always need a beer, always need a haircut and always need somewhere to leave their kebab.

Mind you, I always think that hair-dressing, at least the basics anyway, could be gotten across to the nation's youth over a couple of double-periods, or even a rainy playtime. OK, I don't mean the fancy stuff like they do on The Salon. More the stuff that your local barber does. Mrs Backroads taught herself to cut my hair. That being said, I do have a 'number one' all over. Still barberism begins at home.

As for the initials we'll be losing, GSCEs, A levels, etc well... you just have to look at some of our oldest and most established professions who have thrived on resisting change. Prostitution for example.

Even today, twenty years since they introduced GCSEs you still see ads saying things like:

Busty blonde. Good O and A levels.

Never do you see

Raunchy redhead. Good GCSE and A levels.

(Although I suppose General Cock Sucking Expertise might be appropriate. Note to self: Send letter into Bloggers Wives suggestion box.)

Sunday, October 17, 2004

fever 103°

I'm sitting in a maternity ward surrounded by women on those audio baby monitoring devices. This is what it must be like at an Aphex Twin gig.

I tell you what though, it's like being in Curry's in here. There's TVs everywhere. Every bed has an LCD TV/phone/internet terminal. Cool. Well it would be if the phone worked, which it doesn't, and t'internet has an ODBC error. So. I'm blogging from my trusty PDA again.

Just watched last night's X-Factor on ITV2 though. Is it wrong to cry at such tosh? Can't believe Rowetta's through. She has the vocal stylings of the Mallard at 125 mph. A bit like that foghorn out of M people, although she's a bit more like the teacher in Charlie Brown.

Finally, Paul McCartney reckons winning the lottery won't change him and, hey, I believe him. Live and let die, that's what I say.

Friday, October 15, 2004

knowledge of beauty

Well that's never happened to me before. I've just driven to Birmingham ahead of an all-dayer tomorrow. By 'all-dayer' I mean a Promotion Assessment Board I'm afraid, not a Dexedrine fueled Twisted Wheel style, clap your hands under your legs, Northern Soul extravaganza. Anyway, I'm in the Midlands, home of Slade, Led Zep, Duran Duran and, erm, Bentley Rhythm Ace, not Wigan. Mind you, I was in Wigan the other day for an another 'all-dayer'. Well it was a hotel near Haydock Park actually and a conference on, amongst other riveting topics, risk management. Yes. I know.

Tell you what. I'll start again.

Well that's never happened to me before. I checked into my hotel, the Crowne Hilton Plaza Express near the NEC, went up to my room, opened the door, switched on the light and discovered a woman asleep in bed, tomorrow's clothes laid out like soldiers on the sofa.

She's startled... and I'm embarrassed. I mumble apologies and shimmy backwards out of the room and trot back down to Reception to complain. Seems the hotel's booking software had gone phut earlier in the day and they'd had to do some manual check-ins and then completely lost track of who they'd put where by the time the booking system got up and running again.

Well. Here I am in my upgrade room, drinking free wine and looking forward to telling a lady I don't know that I barely recognize her with her clothes on when I see her at breakfast.

Now, where are those Pringles?

Thursday, October 14, 2004

hate is all you need

I should draw your attention to the most recent Delgados album, 'Universal Audio', they are insanely great and are touring with Sons and Daughters mentioned elsewhere in these hallowed pages.

The Husky Rescue CD has just come out and it's worth a listen for the great band-name, nice artwork and the fact that they're Finnish.

The Beautiful South's covers lp is nearly out. I love cover versions and the BS tend to pick interesting ones. However, the BS site lists the songs that they rehearsed and rejected, including Rainbow's Since You've Been Gone, which I think would have added the NWOBHM gravitas to the collection which it desparately needs.

Minnie Driver has an album coming out which will probably be mediocre. She seems to be one of those actresses that people either love or hate. I'm strongly tempted to purchase the record on the strength of Grosse Point Blank alone, but know even now that this will be a mistake.

The new version of Battlestar Galactica is being reshown on Sky One this week, followed next week by the start of a new series. I like it.

Himalaya is good. I admire Palin's ability to make some of the world's most unappealling and dangerous war zones look like Henley-on-Thames.

Rolf on Art is good but always makes me think about when Family Fortunes asked 100 people to name a famous artist and Rolf came out top. By miles.

That Alan Titchmarsh show's alright... World History for Dummies, but why it's conducted at such breakneck speed I don't know.

Finally X-Factor, which is approaching its closing and dullest stages. However, ex Happy Mondays backing singer and dancer Rowetta is still in the fray despite being completely hatstand. I wonder why they haven't mentioned her Mondays' association. Perhaps it wouldn't do her any favours.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004


Jumble Sales are out of fashion aren't they? They're all car-boots and table-top sales these days. Pretty much the same thing though. They're still the place where CDs and tapes of Pan Pipes music go to die.

There was a Table Top Sale at the village hall the other day and the only thing that distinguished it from 'ye olde jumbel sayle' was the fact that a couple of people had rented stalls in order to offload new gear. So in amongst the dog-eared copies of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and incomplete jigsaws of York Minster were bottles of new world wine for £8.99-a-pop and Brio trains and and cars for even more. Not quite right somehow.

The first ten minutes are always the most stressful when the local dealers who've been queueing up outside pile in, grab all the best stuff, hassle the Brownies manning the stalls in order to get a bulk discount and then clear off to sell it at their own sale later in the day at a huge mark-up. After they've gone though it's just thrifty mums, moody dads and skriking kids waving their broken 10p 'slinky's and crayoned on Shoot! annuals.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

care in the community

It was the local Jazz Festival this weekend. I went along to see the town's Community Orchestra perform. The CO can be described as jazz in only the loosest sense of the word (and I know this can be pretty loose), but as the Festival's programme includes everything from brass bands to thrash poetry I suppose that's allowed.

The CO meant to perform for two hours, but only had one 15 minute dirge. They managed to mither passers-by with this on three separate occasions over the course of their allotted two-hour slot, during which scruffy young urchins usually called Cinnamon and Dylan (the type which could only belong to the town's grow-yer-own-muesli-whilst-knitting-yer-own-Guardian clientele) threw chips at each other and generally added some spice to the death-drone.

Essentially, how it works is a load of scruff-arse teachers and social workers get together for an hour each week to, ahem, jam. Several of them bring their alterno-lifestyle offspring with them, usually to hit a plastic water-butt whilst Dad noodles on a guitar and Mum gamely tries to smoke a roll-y whilst pudging out a three note riff on a melodica. The production of this calamitous din is overseen by a vaguely trendy bloke with a bongo between his legs and an alto sax between his lips (usually best not to get these mixed up I find), who sort of referees the performance and somehow gets the shambles to start and finish broadly around the same sort of time... ideally before last orders, because that's when they all nip off to the pub for a pint of Old Crotchsniffer and a packet of Tofu Scratchings.

home and away

It's been something of a challenge blog-sitting over at AFMIP as well as keeping my own house in order... Pretty competitive too, keeping up with Leanne and petite anglaise and the various shenanigans in and around AFMIP Towers.

Anyway, Tim's back from his hols and my tenure has come to an end. It's time to breathe some life into these here parts...

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

and now it's time for 'thought for the day'

Earlier this week Radio 4's Today programme aired an interview with Tom Waits plugging his new CD. Pretty unusual item for a topical news and current affairs show. It seems that this record is Waits' most overtly political of his career. Fine. Except that the extent of the incisive comment seemed to be a line about the controversial result of the last presidential election - 'Everyone knows that the game was rigged.' When pressed for his views Waits couldn't cope. He had absolutely nothing worthwhile to say, mumbling something along the lines of 'please don't ask me, it's not my area'. Even when asked a safer question about where his songs come from, Waits couldn't resist the bumper sticker schtick of 'God gives'em to me free... I sell'em to you'.

I remember when Paul Heaton was in the Housemartins who had something of a Socialist tag at the time. He was always being asked for his opinions on the political questions of the day and professed amazement that so many people were interested in the opinions of someone who writes three minute pop-songs. Years later he went on Question Time and proved to everyone why they shouldn't be interested in his views which were largely crass, naïve and embarrassing and made little sense outside of a rhyming couplet.

Paul Weller was, for years, a 'spokesman for a generation'. Admittedly, he didn't apply for the vacancy which is perhaps as well because he doesn't give good interview. His ramshackle political views have changed with the wind over the years. I have to think that what he might try to pass off as misunderstood humour is more down to a lack of 'O' levels.

I don't mean to get too down on Tom and the Pauls...seasoned campaigners all. They've pulled off some nifty tricks in their time. Neither, do I think pop should avoid politics. However, if you profess to have a point, it's usually best to actually have one.