Cry, Cry, Cry – 5 moments of rock’n’roll humiliation

During a social media sabbatical lasting several weeks my only regular visit to WordPress has been for Geoff Stephen’s relentlessly entertaining Sunday brunch pop quiz
Fellow addicts will be aware that Geoff celebrates each weeks artist with a top 5 list, so to channel my inner Geoff I feel duty bound to present the five most arse-clenchingly embarrassing incidents from my five plus decades attempt to live a life in rock’n’roll. Peel slowly… and weep.

5: Mojo Not Working. Failing to burn, burn, burn like a fabulous roman candle. With The Incredible Jimmy Smith. I’ve been guilty over the years of missing out on seeing dozens of outstanding artists by choosing to wash my hair/do the laundry/watch Prisoner Cell Block H instead. Happily, one occasion where I failed to be as lethargic as usual resulted in getting to see Jimmy Smith, master of the Hammond organ and mod-jazz icon before he died. Bizarrely, in the cellar of a former North London carpet warehouse.

But as luck would (or wouldn’t) have it the cavernous surroundings merely pandered to my beatnik jazz fantasies, honed during teens and early twenties spent manfully trying to enjoy Kerouac. Jimmy steamed, wailed and preached. I drank, smoked and convinced myself that I was surrounded by heavenly beat bodies scorching the night with their fiery comet trail of spontaneity and inspiration. And that I was one of them.

Such was the strength of my alcohol fuelled self-belief that upon seeing the drummer enjoying a quiet moment at the bar between sets it seemed perfectly natural that he would want to hear everything, and I mean everything, on my mind. Grabbing him urgently by the sleeve I proceeded to babble, emote, wave my arms about and generally froth at the mouth on subjects as diverse as Brother Jack McDuff and space travel before being brought up short with the words “sorry man, I can’t understand a fucking word you’re saying”. Not to be deterred, I attempted to prove my beat worthiness by leaping up on a table with a hearty “orooni!” momentarily forgetting the low ceiling and further adding to the headache which was surely awaiting me the morning after.

What a tosser.

4: That’s me in the corner, getting free beer from some english guy. Failing to buy a round for one of REM. After four years living in London I had, by both luck and judgement, collected to my heaving bosom a number of american friends most of whom had unwisely suggested “hey, if you’re ever in the States look me up”. Calling their collected bluff I decided in 1990 to embark upon a grand tour, taking in those cities worthy of rock’n’roll blue plaques and which had free floor space for me to sleep on.

This explains why I found myself in New Orleans with two friends one night, on our way to see Peter Buck of REM playing a one off gig with Kevin Kinney of the long forgotten, and indeed barely heard of at the time, Drivin’ N’ Cryin’. Pete strummed, Kev crooned, I drank and smoked as was my wont. A good time was had by all.

Retiring to the French Quarter bar we had laughably come to call our local (after three days in town) we were somewhat surprised to see Pete’n’Kev stroll in for a spot of post-gig recreation. So, standing at a bar a couple of yards away from one of my heroes do I amiably introduce myself and explain the joy that his recorded works had brought me? I do not. Instead I recall a Tom Waits interview I had read some weeks previous in which the writer explained that mid-interview (in a bar) someone anonymously sent over a round of drinks to their table, by way of thanks. That’ll do I thought, so after ordering for myself I instruct the barman to “give the guy standing at the bar whatever he’s drinking”. “Which guy” asks the barman. This puzzled me slightly as there was only one guy standing at the bar and he was six foot four tall with shoulder length hair, looking, as you might expect, like someone used to filling football stadia with adoring fans. “The tall one” I replied between clenched teeth, resisting the sarcastic english urge to add “the one who looks like the guitarist out of REM”. Glancing uncertainly several times, the barman finally selects a beer from the fridge and with the self-assurance of someone who knows where the party is, strolls majestically past P. Buck and plants a bottle of Coors (“long, cool, golden and bubbly! C’mon.”) in front of the obligatory sad bloke drinking alone on the corner barstool. Compounding his error he then indicates to the OSB the origin of this largesse by jabbing his finger several times in my direction whereupon we stare at each other with mutual embarrassment as Buck wanders off to monopolize the pool table.

As luck would have it, my friends were less interested in recreating Tom Waits interviews and simply started talking to the mandolin wielding colossus of alt-rock. So eventually I did get to chat with him and offer the beer. He turned me down. And the bloke in the corner never bought me one back either.

3: I’m Oh So Quiet. Failing to chat-up Björk. For much of the 1990’s I was house-sharing with a girl desperate for a career in documentary film making and/or music. Her chief strategy in pursuit of this was to attach herself to the great and good in the hope that some stardust would rub off. This resulted not only in some bizarre phone conversations – I vividly recall 10 minutes trying to understand a man who appeared to be labouring with a severe adenoid infection, later to learn it was in fact Ice T – but also guest list access to some cracking gigs.

One such arose from her friendship with Talvin Singh, at the time musical arranger and de facto bandleader for Björk, then touring to promote her debut solo album, err, “Debut”. Not only did he put me on the guest list, bless him, but also invited me to the backstage party afterwards. Wooaaah! My ship had, indeed, come in.

I arrive at the Brixton Academy. Collect my laminated pass (nice). Do a bit of drinking, smoking and moshing whilst La Björk does a bit of warbling and kooky dancing. A good time was had by all. I flash the laminate and go backstage. Now, I don’t know if all backstage parties are like this or maybe I just caught a bad night. Naturally I’m expecting carelessly dressed supermodels airkissing each other and endearingly dodgy blokes with names like Art or Buddy offering me the Colombian gross domestic product. What I get of course is a room full of roadies all laughing smugly because after a lifetime of being abused, humiliated and emasculated they’ve finally found a job where they’re the alpha males. And free beer. Quite a moral trade-off I think you’ll agree.

Like any bad party, I end up standing to the side of the room away from the revellers and thinking, “I’ll just give it to the end of this beer, then I’ll go home.” I’m about an inch and a half from the bottom of the bottle when I become vaguely aware that someone has joined me in the sad-fuck corner of the room. Looking to my side, and then down a bit, I discover that the star of the show has chosen to stand next to me. Me, Kid – unconventionally attractive – Slender. Not only had my ship come in but it was also manoeuvering to dock in the Slender harbour!

So faced with the prospect of some one-on-one with the woman who the press were at this time referring to as a “scary puffin-eating ultrahoney” what do I say to draw her in to my web of seduction? How do I convince her that she has finally found the perfect companion with whom to nibble seabirds? Well my friends, these were the questions swimming round my mind at the time. What DO you say to Björk? Naturally I did what any self-respecting armchair lothario with low self-esteem would do – remained completely silent whilst still trying to recall the timetable for the Victoria line underground. After about two minutes of this she swished off with the static crackle of a dress made out of some space age material. Or maybe the sound was that of her eyeballs rolling in icelandic exasperation. It was, nevertheless, echoed by the gleeful guffaws of roadies as they high-fived each other’s arse-cleavage with schadenfreude.

Both I and, I hope, Ms Gudmundsdottir went on to find happiness elsewhere and her career doesn’t seem to have suffered for the absence of Slender input. But still, you’d think I could have at least tried.

2: Hey white boy. You’re chasing our linen around. Failing to score heroin with The Velvet Underground. We’re back to my american oddessey. Some weeks prior to not drinking with Peter Buck I found myself in New York. Naturally, after belting swiftly round the Museum Of Modern Art, the Guggenheim and the Chrysler building, the obligatory stop for any aspiring  self destructive rock’n’roll wannabe was “up to Lexington – 125, feel sick and dirty more dead than alive”. The legendary site of Lou Reed’s heroin supply immortalized in The Velvet Underground’s “I’m Waiting For The Man”.

I “hop” a subway train, discretely check my street map and make my way to the hallowed ground. To be honest I was a bit underwhelmed. Granted, I was there some 25 years after Lou and times change. But still, I had to admit to myself it wasn’t the most obvious site of chemical debauchery. Undeterred, I snapped away to immortalize the occasion. After all, who was I to question where Lou Reed should buy heroin.

Several months later I was proudly showing off the evidence of my travels back in blighty when my howling error was pointed out to me. I had, not unreasonably in my opinion, read Lou’s directions in a misleadingly english way. “Lexington – 125” I now realised, referred to the junction of Lexington Avenue and 125th Street in Harlem and not, as I thought, number 125 Lexington Avenue several miles further south in midtown Manhattan, the site, as my photos prove, of the Usha Saree centre (wholesale AND retail).

Alan and Rene Slender brought up their youngest boy to be nothing if not polite and to always think the best of folk. Consequently it had never occured to me that anyone should want to do something as sordid as buy drugs on a street corner. I just assumed you found the address of the nearest opium den and presented yourself to the proprietor. “Hello, I’m Lewis Allen Reed of rock’n’roll art happening combo The Velvet Underground. And I’d like to buy some drugs please.” “Certainly old chap” would come the reply from the Usha’s owner, “take the weight off your Chelsea boots. What’s yr poison?”

Which seems to me a much more civilized way to go about things. But maybe only if the author of your life is PG Wodehouse rather than William Burroughs. Which brings me neatly on to…

1: Not gay. Not fancy free and not even captain of the team. Falling at the feet of The Modfather. Dateline 1979. I’m 15, awkward, self-conscious, cocky, horny and feeling guilty about all of the above. Clearly it’s time for my first gig and who better to soundtrack my inarticulate teenage frustration than surburbia’s windmill-tilters par excellence, The Jam.

First gigs as we all know take a lot of planning. Not only the logistics of finding my way into and out of Leicester on a school night but also the tricky question of what to wear. Mods are an unforgiving bunch at the best of times and 1979 was particularly Stalinist with Quadrophenia in the cinemas and 2-Tone in the charts. Fortunately I had spotted the mod fondness for striped school blazers and the presence of same in a wardrobe at home. Unfortunately this had belonged to my grandfather, a man who left school in 1914 in order to join up. Which may well have been appropiate to the subject matter of the “Setting Sons” album the band were promoting, but was still 50 years before Carnaby Street’s regulation two inch lapels. In fact grandpa’s lapels could’ve comfortably accommodated a couple of election campaign rosettes should Mr Asquith have been considering running for office again.

Forging ahead regardless, I matched the blazer with a pair of drainpipe corduroy trousers (a fabric which to this day I regard with a near-erotic fondness) and a pair of hush puppies and launched myself into the sweaty edwardian splendour of the DeMontfort Hall looking, as the author of the excellent “1537” ( recently put it, like Bertie Wooster. Passing up on the drinking (clearly some years away from the need for shaving) and smoking (it would’ve played havoc with my table-tennis) I whirled dervishly with the kind of gay unselfconcious abandon that you can only muster at the age of 15. A good time was had by all.

However… as my nom-de-blog suggests, I’m not the world’s sturdiest chap. And the evening had been financed by a paper round to which I was forced to return at 6am the following morning. And the moshpit is no place for beginners. And those rock’n’roll folk do go on a bit don’t they? It all seemed a lot punchier and concise on Tiswas. I started to nod out a bit. Nothing serious, just the wish for a soft comfortable bed, a cup of Horlicks and the arms of Morpheus. Lurching back to full conciousness I found myself being forcibly propelled by concerned gig-goers to the relative safety of the stage. Over-estimating my weight based on the size of my lapels, far more force than necessary was used and I popped up out of the audience with the velocity of a salmon gamely trying to make it up a waterfall, landing uncomfortably on Paul Weller’s vocal monitor.

At this point there are, of course, only two options available to me. Either I stand up, straighten my lapels and stride heroically into the wings. Or I turn to face the audience, open my arms messianically and execute a perfect swan-dive into the throbbing melee. Sadly there was a third way which involved trying to stand up, slipping in beer, getting the hush puppies caught round the microphone lead and generally thrashing about at Weller’s immaculately shod feet. In front of a capacity 2,200 strong audience. Finally the roadies lost all patience and rushing on stage, dragged me away and flung me into the arms of a quite frankly rather over-zealous St. John’s ambulance volunteer.

To my credit, hearing the opening bars of “David Watts” I leaped up and resumed my pubescent whirling a cautious distance from the stage. Which in a way set the tone for the following 40 years – never getting too close to the action whilst dressed in an original yet wildly inappropiate fashion. I was by no means the only one to think so as at least two complete strangers approached my on the walk back to the train station muttering “it’s the bloke in the blazer. You all right mate?”.

Yes thanks, I’m just not as cool as I think I am.


JukeFox Journey! No. 10 – Journey’s End With Alan Birchenall

Who better to have the final word on the fox jukebox than Mr Leicester City himself, matchday host, The Birch. Racking up an impressive 163 appearances between 1971 and 1977 Birch returned to Filbert Street as Club Ambassador after his playing career ended and his tireless charity work provided the final astonishing post script to the premier league winning season when his life was saved by one of the portable defibrillators that his campaigning had financed.

So in an ideal world Birchenall would be listening to music which perfectly sums up the Leicester City fairytale. Well you know what? This IS an ideal world. So it should come as no surprise to find Birch’s 71 summers soundtracked by the well-nigh faultless Temptations.

“‘I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day. When it’s cold outside I’ve got the month of May. I guess you’d say what could make me feel this way? My girl’. Perfect. Just perfect. Not a wasted word. Everyone talked about Dylan’s Nobel, but have you tried reading Tarantula? Are you telling me you understand Desolation Row? Me, I thought it was a cul-de-sac on the Braunstone estate. Nobody’s giving Smokey Robinson a Nobel prize though are they? Nah mate. Too simple. Everyone can understand it. Sunshine on a cloudy day? Anyone could write that couldn’t they? NO! We needed Smokey to write it ‘cos we couldn’t. It takes a genius to say something that simple and make it sound fresh and it takes a genius like David Ruffin to sing it convincingly. Like Leicester eh? Well drilled back four and a skinny frontman to bang the ball in the net.”

You know what Birch? You’ve got so much honey the bees envy you.

Postscript: Clearly I have, over the past season and a half, been playing a little fast and loose with the truth. So on the off chance that Leicester City’s highly paid legal team are trawling the net in search of libel I should like to make it quite clear that model professionals like Wes Morgan and Robert Huth do not spend their spare time quaffing cocktails. Nor for that matter is the blemishless Mark Albrighton as hopelessly addicted to Sunny Delight as I suggested. The story about Alan Birchenall’s defibrillator on the other hand is entirely true. As friends and family members alike will testify, I’m really not imaginative enough to make up something like that.

Bitesize! bob hund

In an attempt to curry favour with my diminutive swedish audience, I now present to you bob hund, entertaining swedish alt-rock hipsters since 1991.

Occupying the centre of a Venn diagram made up of Talking Heads, Captain Beefheart and The Rezillos they fulfil a function similar to that of The Fall in the UK,  inspiring as they do equal parts blind devotion and speechless bewilderment. And in the same way that I would expect to see The Fall struggling to find a receptive audience in Norrköping, the appeal of bob hund persisted for many years in passing me by.

Until, that is, they appeared on the excellent series They Call Us Artists.

The 21st century has seen the band reaching middle age, becoming parents and moving to different cities. Not having a common base presents, naturally enough, a not insignificant logistical problem when it comes to playing gigs. Six cars filled with gear and endless arguements over who takes care of the PA.

The band resolved these problems by resorting to the rock’n’roll equivalent of inter-railing. Stepping into the unknown they mounted, in 2013, their own bob hund festival at which they appeared, not on stage, but to auction off all the band equipment. Gigs now consist of the six members arriving in the designated town and then hitting the rehearsal rooms to introduce themselves to the local bemused teenagers with a cheery “hello, we’re bob hund. Can we borrow your gear?”.

Apart, obviously, from the cost-saving advantages of such an approach it has also the effect of boosting audience numbers as said bemused teenagers turn up to make sure these hairball oddballs don’t wreck their prides and joy. “Who are we meeting first” enquires singer Thomas Öberg, a man who for many years has been inexplicably performing in a half mask. A little like a Venetian fop. “My Mothers Climax” comes the straight faced reply. After a bout of musicianly haggling we are then treated to the sight of veteran guitarist Johnny Essing staring incredulously at a borrowed Gibson Flying V slung round his hirsuit neck.

Next up, having acquainted  himself with the nearest synthpop hopefuls, is keyboard player Jonas Jonasson. Leaning amiably towards the camera he confides “there are no bad synthesizers” as his rheumy eyes crinkle and his handlebar moustache twitches with joy at the discovery of the button that allows him to make gunshot sounds.

You could be forgiven for mistaking the band for camp clowns. Titles such as “The Stone Age Can Begin” and “Cheap Solutions At Any Price” may confirm your suspicion. But bob hund (yes, the lower case IS essential) continue a literary tradition of philosophy via whimsy (Kenneth Grahame, Boris Vian), a rock’n’roll tradition of climbing up PA stacks and display an admirably self-destructive talent for doing precisely the right thing at exactly the wrong moment. This, if you recall, was the band that declined to support Blur at the height of their britpoppery in order to continue their own tour of swedish sixth form colleges.

Like rock’s most notorious iconoclasts, they mean it. Maaaann!

Blue Jeans… and other design classics

Shortly after setting up home with the future Mrs Slender, she expressed a wish to grace our bedroom wall with a rather attractive photograph of your author entertaining possibly dozens of ecstatic punters on stage at that Mecca of rock’n’roll debauchery, The Pied Bull in Islington. Not wishing to appear too immediately vain I sought sibling advice before agreeing. “Is it OK to have a picture on the wall where you’re playing guitar?” “Err, depends” wavered the Oracle, “what make of guitar is it?”

Joking aside, this was clearly the correct answer. Or question. As anybody who has ever been in a band will testify, as much as we pay lip service to the idea of our, ahem, “axe” as a mere tool, secretly we’re all thinking – does this make me look enough like Brian Jones? The choice of guitar is motivated more often by the choice of our heroes than it is by the sound it makes. Ironic then that so many of us have at some point resorted to playing a cheap Les Paul copy.

As an aside I have to say that the chances of me putting together a generation defining band are now more remote than ever. In view of this fact I would be happy for any of you to use my idea of Les Paul Copy for a band name. Failing that, feel free to choose from Bongo Leatherland, The Earl Shiltons or Fab! Gear. Or should that be The Fab Gears? You decide.

One man for whom financial necessity lead to the mother of all inventions was pathologically unsympathetic serial bowl-cut wearer, Johnny Ramone. When The Ramones formed in 1974 the once popular Mosrite guitar company had first found itself out of favour and then, since 1968, bankrupt. Consequently second hand stores were awash with the unfashionable albatrosses providing a cheap source of mojo 4-star for a generation of less educated guitar players seeking to tank up the rock’n’roll Cadillac. Fred “Sonic” Smith of The MC5, Pat Smear of The Germs, Ricky Wilson of The B-52’s, Todd Rundgren and later Kurt Cobain all cashed in, but it was the former John Cummings that made the model his own.

Like the aforementioned pudding basin do, the leather jackets and the cheap sneakers, Johnny’s Mosrite is an indispensible part of Ramones mythology, arguably because it was so wrong. Anyone cynically putting together a punk band which traded in classic jukebox rock’n’roll riffing and iconic rebel clothing would undoubtably have had Mrs Cummings’ cantankerous boy playing a Gibson 335 or Gretsch country gentleman. This of course would have been like putting a moustache on the Mona Lisa – no rebellion in copying Chuck Berry. When it comes to tearing up rock’s rule book, you need help from The Ventures.

One man who needed no help from no one when it came to placing facial hair on priceless artworks was (regular readers will have guessed by now) Bo Diddley. Here’s two pictures of Bo. First with a production line guitar from his sponsors Gretsch.

Nice. But surely we can do better? Course we can! Just send our boy into the woodshed with a cigar box and THIS is what comes out.

I remember once reading an interview with Queen’s Brian May (I’m so sorry, I have no idea why. Maybe I was running a temperature) in which he was praised for making his own guitar. Iron joinery screws used for the pickups were, it transpires, responsible for giving the Farrokh Bulsara Combo its distinctive operatic wail… But it was (and I hope I’m not blinding you with technical audio terms here) a shite guitar. It has curves and stuff, like a real guitar. Loser.

I think it was Antoni Gaudi that said something to the effect that whilst the straight line is human, the curve is divine. Well how’s that going to help you soundcheck? Bo on the other hand, armed with a guitar that looks like it was designed by Homer Simpson, is most definitely flesh and blood, a man, made 21 with something in his pocket that could keep a lotta folks alive. Eventually even the good people at Gretsch were forced to agree and throwing up their hands said “Sod it. Have it your own way Bo, we’ll make ’em square.”

Having excelled himself in the service of the man born Ellas Otha Bates, Homer Simpson then went on to design the perfect Kid Slender fantasy guitar – the Vox Phantom. We may not, you and I, agree on the respective merits of The Ramones, The Ventures, Bo Diddley or Queen but on one thing we are, I believe, unanimous. The Vox Phantom: it’s absolutely off its head.

Released in 1962, Homer (or to give him his correct name, Thomas Jennings) had clearly taken to heart President Kennedy’s promise to put a man on the moon, believing, it would seem, that said man would be needing to play a suitably space-age guitar when he got there. The Phantom had a dazzling array of nobs, knockers and effects and was built to operate in stereo via connections to twin amplifiers.

Unfortunately this combination of cutting edge technology and iconic design is rather at odds with the six strings and a fretboard setup that most people learn to play. And, it must be said, with the standard issue two hands and ten fingers that they learn to play with. Bear in mind also that rock’n’roll goes hand in hand with himalayan egos and that most guitarists object to being upstaged by their plug-in baby. The Vox Phantom was just… too much. It had the unfortunate effect of completely upstaging its… operator?

And operators there were. Jimmy Page had a bash before modestly hiding his bushel under a twin-neck. Ian Curtis it seems owned several but made the grave error of influencing the nascent Spandau Ballet by playing them at armpit level. Even Sterling Morrison – coolest musician ever: OFFICIAL – of Kid Slender lodestars The Velvet Underground, was unable to make sense of the damn thing and promptly flew the mothership back to planet Gretsch. The sad fact is that the Vox Phantom was a charming orphan unable to find loving parents to make it their own. Or was it?

Appropiately enough we need to travel to the future. 41 years into the future. Mr Jennings baby has become middle aged, synthesizers have become commonplace, the common cold has not been cured. And a band called Ladytron have released a single called “Blue Jeans”. I like it. A lot. It has an endearingly clumpy primitive electro feel like DAF or early Human League,  but the melody is pure 60’s beat girl. The lyrics? Well, I’m deaf remember. It might be about a claustrophobic affair whilst trying to get by on a student grant but don’t quote me on that.

It was some few years further into the future though that I thought to search youtube and there they were. Four angular, intense scousers, staring at the floor, thinking about Philip K Dick and sporting the mighty Phantom. I felt like punching the air. Not since Steve Claridge scored the last second winner against Crystal Palace in the 1996 Division 1 play-off final have I felt such a vesuvian surge of adrenalin. And it takes mere seconds before you realise that there is unequivocally no other guitar that a guitarist from this band could reasonably play. I say guitarist you see, as I have never bothered to learn the names of the band members. They’re just… Ladytron. A unit. I refuse to concede the possibility of solo careers or even a life outside of the band. The mundanities of paying the rent and feeding oneself are so clearly alien to these people that the only logical conclusion is that they spend most of their lives in a Sigourney Weaver-like suspended animation, emerging only to make videos and perform. Like my favourite TV programme, the Avengers, Ladytron have only a passing acquaintance with real life, with its litter, uniformed police and urchin children on BMXs. And like Steed and Mrs Peel they boast both impeccable style and perfect content.


JukeFox Journey! No. 9 – Robert Huth chooses Dakota Staton

Since bidding a fond farewell to the hallowed turf of Fortuna Biesdorf, Robert “Big Bob” Huth has been biting ankles and scaring children at the farthest flung corners of the known world. From Berlin to Chelsea, stopping off at Middlesborough and Stoke before finding his spiritual home at fortress Freeman’s Wharf, Bob’s resolute jaw and Jurassic brow have left a trail of shock, awe and yellow cards in their wake.

So after all that clench-jawed aggression it may come as some surprise that behind closed doors bon viveur Bob enjoys sophisticated evenings at home soundtracked by classic lounge jazz whilst suppressing his chuckles over a spot of Dorothy Parker.

“It never ceases to amaze me that Dakota Staton doesn’t enjoy the same reputation as her contemporaries. She knew instinctively how to pitch songs, emotionally speaking, and wasn’t afraid to do less in order to achieve greater effect. NOT LIKE THAT YOU IMBECILE! You’ll bruise the vermouth” he admonishes as I try to follow his special martini recipe.

When the dust and the olives have settled Bob and I find we’re in agreement that Dakota’s “The Late, Late Show” from 1957 is the album to own, although on this occasion he has chosen a 1973 cut from sessions with The Manny Albam Big Band. “It shows off her full range and I think you’ll agree it’s the greatest Bond theme never to grace a film”.

Choose your next witticism carefully Mr Huth, it may be your last I say in a foolish attempt at levity. Fixing me with his basilisk stare Bob eventually enters in to the spirit of the game. “Names is for tombstones, baby” and turning to the croupier adds “now take this honky outside. And waste him”.

Harsh words sir. Harsh words indeed.