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Friday 6th May 2022


I tweeted about the BFG’s friend’s cock yesterday and it had around 10,000 likes by the end of play today. I told Phoebe how popular her observation had been and she asked if she would make any money from it. She’s not just the comedy genius of the family, she’s got a good business brain too. 

She started dictating a story tonight and pulled a title seemingly out of nowhere Animalpocalypse - which seemed so good I assumed she’d heard it somewhere else. But whilst there are a few hits on Google, there aren’t many and nothing that would have found its way to primary school. How the Hell did she come up tight that? The story was about the only kitten left alive after robots have killed everything else. It’s pretty amazing stuff. I am in awe. I am not even the second best author in my family. I am still better than Ernie though. His stuff is shit.

A man called Adrian who has been investigating my family tree sent me loads of scans of letters to local newspapers made by my grandad, Geoff and great grandad, Tom, today, including articles by the latter about ventriloquism and the prospects (in the 1919s) of man ever reaching the moon. He wonders if space craft might be steered by wireless waves, as some boats apparently were. “Shall we ever be able to journey to the moon?” He asks, adding, “The feat seems an impossible one. But who knows?” He estimates that the trip would take fifty days with a flying machine going at 200 miles per hour, but appreciates the problems caused by being in a vacuum, the cold temperature, the meteorites, but thinks that ships would be able to carry liquid oxygen. He closes saying “These imaginings might feel vain and impossible, but nothing is impossible these days.”

There’s also a letter from Tom in which he points out freaks in Nomenclature, where people with associated names have found themselves in the same location or job. “Quite recently at a brotherhood meeting the speaker, chairman and soloist bore the names of Herring, Eales and Salmon. “Is this a fishing match?” Said the Steward. “Yes” was the reply, “we are going to fish for ‘soles’” I think I remember Geoff showing me that letter or at least telling me about it. Those old codgers loved a bit of word play.

Good to see the Herring sense of humour going back through the generations.

There are some thoughts about poetry and happiness from my grandad from 99 years ago and it is very touching to read his words handed down through time like this. Even Tom couldn’t have imagined how his words might be transmitted in the next century. But it was a lovely surprise to receive this stuff. I never met my great-grandad so it’s cool to read his words (and his advice about ventriloquism) and it was even nicer to essentially get a letter from my grandad after all this time

I’ve caught about ten minutes of Top of the Pops 1992 over the last two or three weeks and am left wondering if people thought they’d run out of songs at that point. Not only was nearly everything a cover, but some of the covers were of things that might not even make a primary school assembly - Neil Diamond singing “Morning Has Broken”(and looking like your fucking grandad), Rod Stewart singing “Waltzing Matilda”. Fucking Hell kids of 1992, how could you allow this shit to happen. Kylie was covering Kool and the Gang which was at least nearly current, but Jason Donovan was doing “As Time Goes By” which whether you associate it with Casablanca or the sitcom with Judi Dench in it, is a song for fogeys. It’s a pretty much faithful rendition of the song, with orchestral backing, but to make it his own Jason changed the very last note of the “as time goes by” bit to give it a minor shift away from the original. It seems a weird choice to do the song exactly like any crooner would, but then deliberately mess up the best bit. But Jason knows more than me about pop music. This was his last top 40 hit, peaking at 26.

The point is that the young people of 1992 should be ashamed of themselves for letting the charts be polluted with this utter bilge. I was 25. You can’t blame me. Strange to think that I had my own Radio 1 show around that time.

We started watching the final series of Better Call Saul tonight. I could hardly remember anything about what was going on at all. We’d rewatched the last episode of series 5 earlier in the week to try and get back into it, but even so we’d forgotten more than we remembered. When you’re my age there’s no point in watching a TV series as it goes out. Just wait til they’ve finished it and then watch the whole thing from the start. That way, at least, it will make some kind of sense. For Better Call Saul that also involves watching all of Breaking Bad too. I can’t remember much of that either and consider it one of my favourite TV shows ever. On the plus side it does mean I don’t know which characters are still alive by the time you get to BB, so it gives everything a bit more jeopardy. 

Badgers! First Edinburgh Fringe guest is revealed in the news area of

Become a badger here 

RHLSTP book club with Matt Winning talking about his book Hot Mess. 

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