Chuck Berry RIP

One of the greats that I did get to see, Peterborough City Council and Hereward Radio thought it would be a good idea to hold a “Rock ‘n’ Roll” evening on September 3rd, 1983, the day after their annual Country Music Festival. Chuck was the main attraction at the Wirrina stadium (a former rolling skate arena) and I blagged a way in with the sound crew, “carry this mic lead Al, and look as if you know what you’re doing”. Most of the evening was pretty unremarkable and I was prepared to be disappointed, “never meet your heroes” as they warn you.

Rumours that he was threatening to walk away if he didn’t get on stage at the scheduled time and that he be paid in cash up front all turned out to be true. So who ever was due on before him didn’t play and on came the great man on the stroke of 9pm. He was sensational, his set included: Schooldays, Sweet Little Sixteen, Roll over Beethoven, Every Day I Have the Blues, Memphis Slim, Bio, Maybellene/Mountain Dew, Let It Rock, Carol/Little Queenie, Key to the Highway, Got My Mojo Working, Reelin’ and Rockin’ and Johnny B. Goode, he was joined on some songs by his (?) daughter Ingrid Berry.

How do I know? Well it turns out that the set was recorded and had a limited CD release, but is still available as a download on Amazon

Chuck’s songs, usually played by other people particularly the Beatles, the Rolling Stones (their first single was a Berry cover), then ELO, and especially Dave Edmunds, woke me up to the “rock and roll end” of pop music. A great stylist, fantastic guitarist but above all a wonderful songwriter who inspired several generations to pick up a plank and spank it. 

My favourite song of his is Promised Land, my favourite version is a Cajun tinged arrangement by Johnnie Allan closely followed by the great Welsh rocker Dave Edmunds below.

Can there ever be a better couple of verses than these:

“Swing low chariot come down easy, taxi to the terminal zone, cut your engines and cool your wings, let me make it to the telephone.
Los Angeles give me Norfolk Virginia, Tidewater four ten o nine, tell the folks back home this is the promised land calling and the poor boy is on the line.


Please help Dentaid provide dental care for refugees in Greece

This is Samos refugee camp.  Around 1000 people live here after fleeing war, persecution, poverty and violence. No dental treatment has been available and people are suffering terrible toothache.  Many refugees are on liquid diets and can’t eat because their dental pain is so severe.  International dental charity Dentaid is determined to help.

Over the coming months Dentaid is sending teams of volunteer dental professionals to provide emergency dental care in the camps in Samos and neighbouring Lesvos.   

Dentaid needs your help to provide dental equipment, medicines and other materials for the clinics.

Please Donate Now

Make a difference with dentistry.

Find out more about Dentaid’s volunteering trips to Lesvos and Samos at

The Monday Morning Quote #409

“It is better to go through life making mistakes than to sit still and do nothing because you are afraid to make mistakes.”

The teachings of Buddha.


The Monday Morning Quote #406

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was released from captivity on February 11th 1990 (27 years ago) after 27 years of imprisonment.


NHS urged to share data so patients can be deported

If an NHS doctor divulged personal information about a patient, they could be struck off. But the government pays the NHS to do just this. A patient’s name, date of birth and address are among the data which are passed on to the Home Office. If you are in the UK illegally, they can find you and force you onto a secret chartered plane before your lawyer has even had breakfast.

Buried in the recent constitutional uproar over the triggering of Article 50 and President Donald Trump’s flurry of objectionable executive orders, was the news that the NHS has been passing on data to the Home Office so it can track down people who are living in the country illegally and deport them.

From The Conversation Continues here

I am reminded of Martin Niemöller’s words which start, “First they came for…”


David Hepworth on Trump. “He has no principles. Therefore he has nothing to hide.”



I know that the 45th President is a very easy target but that shouldn’t diminish this elegant, excellent piece by David Hepworth.

Full piece here

It concludes:

This is not a man that anybody looks at and thinks, “he represents my values or my country”.

Nobody would lend him their lawnmower.

He’s a television personality. To twist an old Tom Stoppard line, he’s the opposite of a person.

What he’s doing at the moment is “Larping”. Live Action Role Playing.

He has no principles. Therefore he has nothing to hide.

TV has a lot of answer for. This is the person the TV industry has been building towards since the middle 1950s. Nothing on the surface and nothing underneath either.


30 years on…thanks for the lessons Dad.


My father retired from work 30 years ago and, had he lived, would have been 95 today.

He left school in 1938 aged 16 and started work for WH Smith & Son leaving them in 1954 to join the publishers and stationers William Collins where he finally became sales director.  

I keep a framed copy of this profile on my workroom wall and re-read it last week for the first time in a decade or more. The two paragraphs below leapt out at me; I had not realised how much his core beliefs, values and experience coincided with mine.

These say a a lot about him and, I would like to think, about me too.



Thanks for the lessons Dad – even if I didn’t realise what I was learning at the time.