Archive for May, 2008

Jack and Bruce

31,May, 2008

I saw Bruce Springsteen last night along with 60,000 other people at the Emirates Stadium here in London. Months ago my Refol Nadene offered to get me tickets and I said no, I don’t like big stadium concerts. But when my neighbour Martin said he had a ticket spare, I just couldn’t resist.

It was wonderful and dreadful. It was great to see The Boss again. It seemed that the passing of years has missed him and he was as energetic as he was a score of years ago. Emotions swirled around me like a leafy breeze but most of them were because of nostalgia. Bruce was the soundtrack to my high school and college years. I remember dropping a needle on, Night, before I went out on Friday evenings. I remembered playing, She’s the One, on my cassette player in the car on the way to a big date. I remembered my father buying a copy of, The River. I was shocked he got me something so appropriate and hip. He told me he read a review in Time Magazine and wondered if I had ever heard of him. I didn’t have the heart to tell him I had bought the album a week before.

But mostly I remembered the late great Jack McEntee. Jack was a year older than me and a wheeler-dealer even at the age of 17. He was the president of the Coffee House Committee at my high school. The CHC would periodically put on little shows where we would serve herbal tea and students would play bad covers of folk songs and even worse renditions of music they wrote themselves. On an evening in 1975 Jack showed up at my house to “take me to the library” and immediately took me to a tiny 300 seat music coffee house in the Philadelphia suburb of Bryn Mawr called The Main Point. He had been the night before and said I just had to see this guy.

The concert last night was bad mostly because the sound was dreadful and I was miles away but even if I was in the front row and the sound was picture perfect, it could never compete with the night that me, Jack and 298 others spent with The E Street Band.

Jack nipped back stage and when he reemerged he said he had gotten Springsteen’s manager to agree to do a concert at our high school. Now all Jack had to do was convince our principle to let us put on a pay-ticket concert in our school auditorium. And Jack did it.

We printed the tickets and we put them on sale but the concert never happened. Why you ask? Did the principle change his mind? Did Springsteen pull out at the last minute? No. The concert was canceled due to lack of interest!

I hadn’t thought about Jack in a long time. It made last night’s concert worth while.

I found this recording that was made that very week at the same venue by a local radio station. Enjoy.


Three thoughts for Friday

30,May, 2008

English muffins in England are just muffins – but ironically the ones they sell in America are better.

In response to a 50th birthday party invite, a friend replied, “50 is the new 40.” This has kind of thing had been going on for a while. Soon people will be saying, “Dead is the new alive.”

I bought a suit that had a label stating PROFESIONAL DRY CLEAN ONLY. I don’t know about you but I don’t know that many amateur dry cleaners. Not once can I remember a friend saying, “You know nothing helps me unwind at the end of the day like the smell of dry cleaning fluid.”

So Sick of Socks

28,May, 2008

One of the other reasons for my posting delinquency is – socks. I have written very little about socks in the last couple of months and I wouldn’t blame any of you for suspecting that I have abandoned my ‘new pair of socks a day’ experiment but you would be wrong.

I haven’t been writing about my socks because I am embarrassed to tell you that I am sick to death of socks. Like living on ice cream and pizza (which I practicably do) I have realised that the joy of donning a new pair of socks, mainly comes from the novelty of it. But it’s not that I’m just getting jaded by the old hat-ness of a new pair of daily socks, I find that fresh footwear also adds a mental dilemma to every morning.

I have a huge hamper of socks. (That’s another thing, every shopping trip is now a scouting expedition for affordable hosiery.) Some socks are very nice, like the gorgeous Sockshop’s Colour Burst range and some are dirt cheep, like M&S’s value range at 25 pence per foot. Now I don’t want to waste a good pair of socks on an ordinary day where I am just going to be dossing around the house, nor do I want to be caught out at an unexpected business meeting trying to hide 50 pence worth of nylon around my ankles. This means that every morning I have to predict what that day is going to be worth and I am finding that my choices are becoming self fulfilling prophesies. I’m sure yesterday would have been a better day if I had only splashed out on a better pair of socks but I also know that if I force it and put on a fine pair of socks and the day develops into an ‘any old kind of day’ then I’ll go to bed feeling like a failure.

But these are the burdens I have placed on myself and my feet. I’ll not give in to the temptation of used socks, or worse, barefooted-ness. But please keep me in mind when you are down on one knee – doing up your laces.

John L

Sorry and News

28,May, 2008

Ok I’ll start with the mia copas. Sorry I haven’t been posting. I decided that the tonic for my depression over the publisher of Shadowmagic going bust was to throw myself into writing Shadowmagic 2. It was an “I’ll show them” philosophy that has been reaping great rewards. I am now over 65000 words in and Coner and his friends are up to their armpits in trouble. I decided that writing the blog was as much of a distraction as Deal or No Deal but I realise now that I was wrong. The blog is important and I promise to post at least once a week if not twice that.

On the subject of Shadowmagic, I hinted a while ago that my novel has been bought by a big publisher. I was saving this announcement until the link at was working but I’ll tell you guys now. Shadowmagic will be published in a limited edition hardback by HarperCollins/The Friday Project on August the 2nd.


11,May, 2008

There are those out there who say I am immature.  So I posted this to prove them right.

A Timely Tale

7,May, 2008

Before I went away on my last cruise ship. (If you want to know where I went just ask RobC cause he seems to be stalking me.) I told Nadene this story and was glad I did.

Twenty-some years ago as I was travelling the world I found myself on the Spanish island of Tenerife for about five months. It was the heyday of cheap package holidays and all of northern Europe had turned the once deserted south of the island into a hotel/apartment/nightclub jungle. I was working in night clubs as a magician. The club owners didn’t really care about my act they just wanted to have some kind of event in their clubs – anything- so they could give out free admission tickets. At 2 AM they would stop the music and throw me on the dance floor. Most of the patrons had scored and were off bonking – the ones that were there were too drunk to even notice me. It was as horrible as it sounds but what – give up showbiz?

While waiting for 2AM to roll around I had a lot of time on my hands. I hung out in Stumps a British bar but every nationality had there own watering holes. I realise one night that I had been to a Swedish, German, Irish, Spanish, Dutch, and Norwegian bar so I decided that this night I would see if there were any national bars that I had missed.

In a precinct I had never been in before, I saw Cafe de Paris. French, I thought to my self, I haven’t been to one of them. The place was dark and I walked up to the bar and ordered a drink. It was very expensive. A plump woman sat next to me at the bar and spoke to me in Spanish.

When I looked confused the bartender helpfully translated. “She wants to know if you would like to buy her a drink?”

I didn’t.

“The drinks for the girls are £20,” the bartender added.

I wondered why a drink for this woman would be four times the price of my already overpriced beer and the confusion must have shown on my face cause that’s when she placed her hand on my crotch. Like a veil being drawn away from my eyes, I looked around and saw that I was in a brothel. How I had missed it before still baffles me to this day. It was dark and lit with ruby light. The paintings on all of the walls were just short of pornographic. Everywhere you looked men were lounging on low sofas with scantly clad girls draped over them. I gave my bar neighbour back her hand and made a quick exit.

Now the reason I was glad I told Nadene that story before my last trip is because while I was away Nadene was very busy. She practically bought every flowering plant at the garden centre and filled the yard of my house with colourful plants. I arrived home and just sailed past them without even a word. But she couldn’t take it personally because – after all – I’m the guy who walked into a a brothel and didn’t notice until I had a strange hand in my lap.

By the way, the flowers are lovely.

Attention Grammarians

1,May, 2008

While writing Shadowmagic 2 (yes I’m working on it and I’m about 55,000 words in) I wrote the following sentence in reference to a scene where my male characters get away for a drink without the women. It has sparked a contaversy with my gentle readers:

It was nice having a boys night.

Should it be written boys or boy’s or even boys’ ?

Everything You Need to Know In 7 Minutes

1,May, 2008

Slate V has done it again.

If you have been kicking yourself for not following the Demacratic primary process – don’t. Count yourself lucky. Saying that, maybe now is a good time to jump in, cause it has to end by August. It won’t take much to catch up – just 7 minutes – thanks to the excellent Slate V.