The Serial Name-Dropper

First of all, let’s start off with a link to one of my favourite websites,  What exactly is name-dropping?

Got it?  Good.

I’m a big radio fan ever since listening to BFBS in Germany in my childhood days.  I love:

  • BBC Radio 4
  • BBC Radio 5
  • Radio Tees
  • Shetland Islands Broadcasting Company
  • Falkland Islands Radio
  • Zetland FM (local radio for Redcar)

and many, many more.

Latterly, however, one presenter has been driving me up the wall.  I will not name him.  He is a serial, recidivist, name-dropper.

That was the magnificent singing voice of Bill Withers.  I’ll never forget that evening as he shared a pint and some great conversation with me… at Trimdon Working Men’s Club back in the 80’s.


Wow!  What a great track there by Tom Jones.  I was so flattered when he thanked me for a fantastic time that we had just had at a gala night of performances… at Eston Labour Club.

Thus, the structure:

  1. Celeb +
  2. Fun time description +
  3. Venue am Arsch der Welt somewhere in the North-East of England (no offence, folks)

One Saturday afternoon last month I could take no more.  After the 90th name-drop of the week, my Kindle was starting to beg for mercy.  I leapt off my bed and tuned into another station, which I think was probably something like Voice of Albania or University Radio Lagos.  Anything!  I did not care.  I just could not listen to any more name-drops.  We all have a limit, I’m afraid.

Finally, enjoy this spoof DJ telling you about all his great work for “charidee.”  I don’t know why this clip comes to mind.

Have a star-struck day, won’t you! (As Gary Newman said to me in the bar after a wonderful evening of music and song down Redcar Bowl…)


Day 1. Visiting historic York

Love Travelling

We set off bright and early in order to maximise our time in York as there were so many things we wanted to see and do during our short stay. Arriving mid-morning at our riverside accommodation, the newly opened Roomzzz Aparthotel, we were pleasantly surprised to find that our room was ready so we dropped off our bags and then helped ourselves to a cappuccino from the complimentary coffee machine in the hotel lobby.

Untitled Roomzzz Aparthotel York City

Fuelled with caffeine, we were ready to go, making our first stop at the Tourist Information office located close to the Minster, a pleasant 15 minutes stroll. From there we picked up some maps, leaflets and took advantage of the York Pass which offers substantial savings when planning on visiting a number of attractions in the city.

Untitled York Minster

York Minster was just across the square and as it is one…

View original post 1,593 more words

What was the first record you ever bought?

I think this question assumes you are over 40.


Mine was The Chicken Song, by Spitting Image.  It was a nauseating spoof of Black Lace songs.  I didn’t think it would get into the charts, so I bought it, thinking it might be a rarity.

I was wrong.  In 1984 it was at number 1 for months.  Months.

Interestingly enough it’s the B-side that is best remembered.  In one job I had a South African colleague who fitted the stereotypes described in this song.  In fact, I half expected to see this sign at his desk.

Image result for slegs vir blankes

Here it is – with apologies to nice South Africans out there!

Have a lekker day, won’t you!

Back to the Eighties…

Gender benders an’ all that.  Men wearing make-up and dressing like girls.  All very cutting edge in the early eighties.  Here’s a Culture Club hit that I haven’t heard on t’wireless for years.

I guess the answer is… yes, because years later, lead singer Boy George was convicted of assault.  The irony was probably not lost on him at the time.

Have a cultured day, won’t you!

I haven’t heard this for ages, either…

This song was part-banned by the BBC.  Relax, by Frankie Goes to Hollywood was fully banned by the BBC, thus guaranteeing months at number one.  Too Much, Too Young, by The Specials, was just banned from Top of the Pops because of the adult theme involved in the lyrics.  It was, however, allowed on The Old Grey Whistle Test, the more mature sister programme to TOTP.

I personally love this catchy tune, anyway.  You can’t beat a bit of ska.

Have a special day, won’t you!

I haven’t heard it for ages…

PhD: a very high-level university qualification.

Ph.D.: also a one-hit-wonder band from the early 80’s.  In fact, that is not true.  They were really a two-hit wonder.

Who remembers this hit, which got to number 3 in the charts in 1982.  A German version of the song can also be heard in one episode of Auf Wiedersehen, Pet.

Have a highly-qualified day, won’t you!


Who used to have the Encyclopaedia Britannica at home?  Who remembers when libraries had microfiches and index cards?

That is how we used to access information on the capital of Rwanda, history of the Sorbian language, crop rotation in the 14th century, etc.

Nowadays: we have people asking the hive mind on Facebook.

I’m on several Facebook pages:

  • Expat in Germany
  • Creative writing
  • History
  • Philately
    • Pitcairn Island
  • Travel
    • Pitcairn Island
  • Astronomy
    • Planet Pluto
  • Many, many more…

Most of the groups are good fun, eg learning about the postal history of Planet Pluto, or something like that…  I like to read the posts and contribute when others ask questions.

Today, while staring out of the window on the tram today, I coined a new acronym:

JFGI (Just Flipping Google It)

At least I thought it was new.  However, it did already exist, as mentioned in Urban Dictionary.

Years ago, I used to be a supply teacher.  The number of times I’d be asked,

Sir, what’s this word mean?

My reply would be:

Have you looked in the back of the book?  Have you looked in the dictionary?  No, then do it, and tell me what the answer is.  I am not here to spoonfeed you.

That was with 13 year olds from some of the rougher parts of Teesside.

Fast-forward to the year 2020.

FSQ’s (Flipping Stupid Questions) such as:

Where is the British Consulate in this city?

Umm…. JFGI.

I decide to relent.  I decide to send the enquirer the Consulate URL.

I then get supplementary FSQ’s…

What are the opening hours?  How do I get there by public transport?  How much is the train fare?  Can I reclaim my train fare?  Do I need to make an appointment?  Can you come with me to the Consulate tomorrow at 9am?  I need a helper with officialdom.

Umm, guess what…  JFGI.  And no, I am not at the beck and call of bone idle strangers.  I am not here to spoonfeed you…

Further questions from other groups come on an hourly basis.

Can you tell me about German history?

In a very polite English way, I reply:

German history is long, rich and complex.  What specifically do wish to know?

In hindsight I should have just replied…


Another question comes from would be Dostoyevskys.

How do I write a perfect novel?  I want to write my autobiography.  What should I write about?  How much should I charge for my book?

I decide not to reply.  I just think: JFGI.

These are questions from grown adults, not 13 year olds from the rough end of Teesside.

Then there are the ridiculously picky requests, not quite needing a JFGI response.  The enquirers tend to PM me, addressing me as “Sir”, or send me friend requests.  These are along the lines of:

Where in this city can I find an French-speaking dentist who speaks the language with an Albanian accent?  I need someone urgently to carry out root canal treatment on my Jack Russell puppy, who is scared of anyone who does not speak French to him.


Can anyone help me to find an apartment in this city?  My budget is 400€ per month.  I need a place from next week.  Who can come with me tomorrow at 11:00 to view an apartment?

You get the idea. Give me strength…

I feel like the help desk guy in this clip.

Have an self-starting day, won’t you!