Go Sober- Day Eight

October 8, 2013

Last night was a test. I am in a choir, Note-Orious, and Monday night is choir night. And choir night is also ‘have a few beers after choir’ night. In a pub!

What to do? I could go home straight after choir… but beer is my reward for having sat through two hours of choir!

I could have had a soft drink- (oh! Just typing that has made me feel ill and weak). I can’t abide soft drinks in a pub. Most soft drinks, in pubs, are horrendously over-priced (I once paid £47.34 for a half pint of weak cordial). Having a soft drink in a pub is like having communion with Richard Dawkin’s in his downstairs toilet. I don’t know exactly how or why, but hey!, simply (and I think that’s needed now) it’s just not on.

Cheryl, from choir, came up with the solution. She said “Why not have a pint of non-alcoholic beer?”

Yes! Why not?

I’d forgotten such drinks even exist! Of course, it goes without saying that they’re shit, but desperate times call for desperate (non-alcoholic) measures.

Non-alcoholic beer doesn’t come in pints. You can’t get it on draft. It comes in beer-like bottles, and the fake beer I had last night was Bavaria.


Bavaria ‘beer’

It wasn’t bad.

It wasn’t good, but it wasn’t bad.

It wasn’t beer. But it was something, and that something was not (I think; I hope) a soft drink.

I had my one bottle of Bavaria then made my excuses and left.

I have since looked into the non-alcoholic beer market. I have my eye on this:


Bernard Beer

But there’s a catch. Non-alcoholic beers aren’t, in general, non-alcoholic. Last night’s Bavaria (which tasted like liquid Weetabix) is an exception, being a true 0.0% alcohol. But most other non-alcoholic beers, like Bernard’s, are actually 0.5%.

I cannot stray. I am going sober. To even take a sip of a 0.05% supposedly non-alcoholic beverage would be to betray those who have so far supported me in raising money for Macmillan Cancer Support.

Please help me and my wife, Zoe reach our ridiculous target of £1664 (in honour of a certain beer). If you can sponsor us the equivalent of a bottle of Bavaria each (just about £1.50 for two from The Alcohol Free Shop) we will slowly but surely get there.You can sponsor me, or Zoe, or both of us here, here, or here. Thank you.

Here’s one of Bavaria’s most celebrated citizens. Why not enjoy a cold bottle of malty 0.0% Bavaria as you watch Siegfried Fischbacher do his thing. And then after that, have a drink!

Dogs, sheep, llama, people

October 21, 2012

A few weeks back we went to the Brockwell Country Show. The choir I’m in, Note-orious, were singing there. After singing (but no dancing from me; I was still on crutches, recovering from a fractured pelvis- convenient indeed) I hobbled around and took a few pics of dogs, sheep, a llama, and some people.

I hope the people featured don’t mind. I still feel a little uncomfortable photographing strangers. Not so much with the animals. They like it.

Like Trumpton

September 14, 2009

Sort of. The choir I sing in, Note-orious, had one of our rare public performances yesterday. It was the Upland Road Street Party- though how a road can have a street party is beyond me. I guess a road party just doesn’t sound as much fun.

Here’s some young whippersnappers who played at the street party last year, just to give you an idea. Yes, that’s how it works. We turn up, stand in front of someone’s house, and sing. Here’s our setlist:

  • Rhythm Of Life.
  • One Day Like This.
  • Unworthy of Your Love.
  • I Don’t Feel Like Dancing.
  • This Nearly Was Mine.
  • James Bond Medley.
  • Chasing Cars.
  • Shine.

In time I’ll hopefully get hold of some pictures. For now, here’s Mayor Hook… oh, excuse me! The Worshipful the Mayor Councillor Jeffrey Hook to give him his correct title, and the Dulwich Ukulele Club.

The Worshipful the Mayor Councillor Jeffrey Hook tells a joke or two

The Worshipful the Mayor Councillor Jeffrey Hook tells a joke or two

The Dulwich Ukulele Club don't clean the windows

The Dulwich Ukulele Club don't clean windows

Social secretary

January 27, 2009


I’ve become a Social Secretary. How it happened I’m not so sure. I’ve never seeked high office. I was off at a Barack Obama Quiz Night Party when Vicky, the genius behind Note-orious, the choir I am now a member of, said she needed people to form a committee. And somehow or other last night at our first choir practice of 2009 I was voted in as the Social Secretary. This for someone who has enough difficulty just saying “hello” to people.

That’s me above with Phil Denison and Trev Neal. We’d organised a comedy gig in a field. This would be in the late 70’s/early 80’s when comedy gigs in fields were all the rage. You may remember FieldAid in 1983 when comedians with coutryside-related names got together to try and raise awareness about the plight of the field mouse; Harry Hill, Sid Fields, Shane Meadows (not strictly speaking a comedian- he made a short black and white film for the occasion called Somerfields), Lee Cornes, Benny Hill, Bob Mills, Charlie Drake, Chris Rock, Craig Hill, Noel Fielding, Dave Gorman, Eugene Cheese, Glenn Wool, Harry Enfield, Jeff Green, Jimmy Cricket, Joan Rivers, Jon Plowman, Joe Cornish, Katy Brand, Keith Fields, Matthew Horne, Mike Gunn, Paul Thorne, Reece Shearsmith, Reginald D. Hunter, Richard Herring, Rob Deering, Russell Brand, Sean Lock, Tim Vine, Tommy Cooper and Victoria Wood.

It was a pretty big bill, and every comedian who was a big noise in 1983 tried to get their five minutes in that field. We had no hope. Neither of our names lent themselves to any aspect of the countryside. Having said that, a few of the above were lucky to make it. There a was petition sent around by some peacenik comedian trying to get Mike Gunn banned. Mike pointed out that just because he was called Gunn didn’t mean he either liked or even had a gun. They let him in. The biggest fuss was over Dave Gorman. A lot of comedians tried to have him barred. He said he was allowed in because he knew a friend of a friend who lost an arm in a nasty combine harvester accident. Cheeky, I know. And also trying to make light out of a tragedy. The event chairman, Angus Deayton, overruled all objections and let him in.

FieldAid took place a year before LiveAid. By the time of LiveAid these charity types had got their act together. FieldAid was a fiasco; All comedians overrun, and with the exception of Charlie Drake (who did a tight two and a half minutes) the average set ran to about 17 minutes. Jimmy Cricket did 78 minutes! The whole event went on past 8 o’clock and no one thought about bringing any lights. By the time Victoria Wood brought the show to a close at 5.34am there were only four people left in the field.

Still, I remember it fondly, as I’m sure you do if you were there. And it’s legacy? The field mouse is no longer endangered. Job done.

I hope I’ve learnt from events like FieldAid. I hope I can put what I have learnt to use as Social Secretary for Note-orious.

Please feel free to leave your comments, particularly if you attended or performed at FieldAid. I would love to share your memories.

Singing for Obama

January 21, 2009

barack-bookLast night I went to the East Dulwich Tavern for a Barack Obama Party. I’d watched the Inauguration earlier. Heck, those vows! When, moments away from officially being the President, Barack stumbled and came to a halt on “I will execute-“… a whole world waited with baited breath.  Who? He kept us dangling, but then, phew, picked himself up and became  the 44th President of the United States. Hooray, one and all! *

The pub had their big screens on, showing us the journey from Capitol Hill to the White House. That’s a journey of 1.7 miles. It took him bloomin’ ages! You’re the President now, so you can be a bit cheeky. First thing you should do, before you do any of this “sorting out the country/world” type of stuff, is demand a faster car.

I’ve called this post Singing for Obama because they then had a pub quiz, an American Quiz, and our team was led and created by Vicky, the big cheese behind Note-Orious, East Dulwich’s best choir (I don’t know if East Dulwich has any more choirs; I bet it has, and they may be better. but I don’t care… we’re the best). And we were called Singing for Obama. There were four of us; Vicky, Mark, Emily and me. And we did ok. Here’s some randon answers:






The winning team got 31 out of 44… Ah, I’ve just got it! There were 40 questions, but one was in four parts. 44. Fancy not noticing at the time.

Anyways, they got 31. We got 26. Now that works out at 59%. May not sound too great. But, looked at another way, Barack Obama became President of the United States- that’s PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!!!… with 53% of all votes.  So now I say pretty pretty good!

* Aha! A bit of research reveals all. Lookee here. If Barack stumbled it was only because he was thrown by the daft old chief justice of the U.S.Supreme Court getting it wrong. Duh! Well done, Michelle K.

Barack bedtime stories.

December 17, 2008

barackI’ve just arrived in America. I may be tired. After our choir’s Christmas party… that’s Note-orious by the way… I got to bed at 2am. Up at 5am. Finish my packing. Ha! It’s just throwing undies into a suitcase! Leave the house at 6am. Get to Heathrow at 7.30am. Fly away at 9.30am. Arrive at 12.25pm (that’ll be 8.25pm to you lot in England). So now it’s 5.30pm here… 1.30am for you. So, I’ve been awake for 19 and a half hours. I’ll stay awake til about 10pm, that’ll be 6am for you and by then I’ll have been awake 25 hours. Have you kept up with that? I’m not sure I have. And I’m assuming you are in England when you could be in Yugoslavia or Stoke (yes, I know! Stoke’s in England… it’s late, or early, I’m tired).

If I were a child, I might be lulled into sleep with the above Barack books. $16.19 and $15.29. Ok, I’m tired, but they seem funny prices. Barack books for the kids! You don’t get that kind of thing in England. There’s no Where the Gordon Brown Things Are, or We’re going on a WMD hunt.

Tomorrow, more news of the childrens books of America, including a review of the no.1 bestseller, Hey Mr President, Catch My Shoe!

Goodnight. Or as they say in America, goodnight.

Tonight we sing.

December 8, 2008

picture-of-choirI’m in a choir. Note-orious. And tonight we sing at the Magnolia on Lordship Lane. If you know it, and you want to hear us, come along.

How will you recognise us? We’ll all be wearing red and black. If I feel daring, I might put on some red socks.

When I was young I was in a choir. Back then I had to dress like this…