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Pooh sticks, a different view

February 14, 2014

One of the ignominious things that afflict you when you turn 60, apart from hair growing from places where it has no right to exist, and stubbornly refusing to grow in places it would be welcome, is that you get sent things like kits to screen you for bowel cancer. The general idea is very laudable, but when you look at the practicalities, the nasty reality emerges. At the age of 50, you suddenly get letters and offers from Saga, which is a shocking reality check, but reaching 60 is another big step towards to great abyss. I went along with the whole unpleasant bowel cancer (although some of my literary critics may suggest that I should be checked for vowel cancer) episode because it is worthy, but it is one of the least dignified activities in which I have ever been involved. In six decades of debauched rock and roll and ex-pat south of France living, that is saying something. The only episode that came close in terms of undignified was the “grot contest” in the early 1970’s; a group teenage dare to meet in a pub with the ugliest girl you could find on an evening out. This used to be a bit of fun at the Derby Arms in old Aylesbury when I was growing up. There was one poor girl known locally as The Mousse who was excluded, because if you turned up with her it was a walk over.

Anyway, I digress. I don’t want to be too graphic here but the cancer screening involves using a small cardboard stick, lovingly provided by the NHS, and smearing it with samples of your own faeces, and then posting the smeared depository off to the Bowel Cancer Screening unit. Please do not ask me to go into the exact mechanics. It took me about an hour to work out how best to achieve that. And who would be a postman? This whole (hole?) operation has to be done on three different days, and lovers of A A Milne will know of what I speak when I say that I shall never again be so enthralled by his concept of Pooh Sticks.

flooded Sussex

These are the green fields of Sussex, viewed from the train…

So on the way to the station to go to London on Currencies Direct business, I diverted via the Post Office to leave that little treat for Postman Pat, and caught the train to Victoria. First stop was the offices of Sony/ATV where an old pal is employed as Deputy Managing Director. He was once a lawyer so he has clearly worked his way into the real world pecking order. Having established that Currencies Direct is an obvious partner for this publishing house, it was off to meet with Al Yiddley in Covent Garden for lunch.

Davenport Lyons were staging a “publishers lunch” and I had mistakenly expected it to be rammed with crusty old music publishers, much like myself, but I suppose an address by Hugh Tomlinson QC, an expert on libel law, about the impact of the new Defamation act, should have alerted me to the fact that the publishers present were newspaper publishers, not music biz chaps like myself as I had hoped. Thus I found myself in close proximity to the legal eagles from The Guardian and Mirror Group Newspapers and the like. I did meet one chap worthy of comment. He moonlighted in a band with a name somewhere between the Doobie Brothers and the Dangerous Brothers. The Dubious Brothers (I like them on the strength of their name alone) are about to reform after 24 years for a reunion concert, and I for one want to be there.

Holding court in general, and on my table in particular, was Al Yiddley (not his real name) who I am about to engage to ensure that one of this columns resident limericists and widow of the late great song and comedy sketch writer Bryan Blackburn, receives her or his just deserts. “Welcome Home” he may once have said to Peters and Lee, and it is my duty to make sure that his royalties will be coming home soon.

Chris France

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Rev. Jeff permalink
    February 14, 2014 12:03 pm

    Predictive text it seems has a use,
    But it leads to much spelling abuse,
    Though its pretty high tech,
    Chris really should check,
    Coz it don’t know its mousse from its moose !!


  2. Rev. Jeff permalink
    February 14, 2014 12:08 pm

    I’m assuming of course that you do! Good blog today I actually laughed aloud twice.


  3. Helen permalink
    February 14, 2014 3:45 pm

    He is known as a notable wit
    in the music biz he is a hit
    but he poohed on a stick
    & missed this neat trick
    & ended up deep in the
    roses are red violets are blue ….


  4. Rev. Jeff permalink
    February 14, 2014 4:33 pm

    Yes I was impressed…wish I’d thought of it ! Terrific Helen.. very good …you are getting better and better. Still on holiday ?!!


    • Helen Blackburn permalink
      February 14, 2014 6:01 pm

      Thank you Rev. Yes I am still on holiday. Just off for a foot massage in Hollywood…. Woo Hoo. My Valentines day gift to myself !!! Am thinking I should have ended my limerick, with just the word Mire Instead of rose are etc. What say you ?


  5. Rev. Jeff permalink
    February 14, 2014 11:20 pm

    Yes probably slightly stronger but hey who’s judging ?!! I often write one and half an hour later think of a word or line that would have been better but I’ve learned to live with imperfection!! Have to say yours are getting much tighter which is really the aim. Enjoy your foot massage and think of us poor souls back in blighty having to suffer the worst storms so far. You wouldn’t believe the strength of the wind and just how bad and widespread the flooding is.


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