Music That Makes Me Laugh

There are very few musically funny pieces, but Hoffnung was there master, although most required knowledge of classical music to get what he was doing. The first funny piece of music I ever heard was Hoffnung’s drum-roll at the start of his Albert Hall concert, which made everyone in the auditorium stand up, only to […]

Do You Want Mash With That?

One of the most intriguing musical art-forms to emerge through online creativity has been the mashup – it’s been with us for the best part of a decade and yet it still manages to surprise me when it works well. I’ve long been a fan of DJs like Zebra, Pogo and Armin Van Buuren (who […]

What Did We Learn From Out Of The Blue’s Single?

When a cappella Oxford students (and er, ‘friends’) band ‘Out Of The Blue’ decided to record Shakira’s ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ as a single and a video what did we discover? 1. Shakira’s speech at Oxford four years ago really left its mark. 2. They’ve watched way too many box-sets of ‘Glee’ since. 3. They really […]

My All-Time Summer Discs

I had no idea that the show ‘Desert Island Discs’ was still going. The last time I tuned in, Roy Plomley was interviewing people who always seemed to choose the Grenadier Guards playing something hideously patriotic. Given that my musical tastes fluctuate whimsically, it’s hard to pull together a definitive top ten for the summer, […]

Let’s Have Another Weird Song

There area lot of mad trunk songs that get written for auditions or shows that close out of town which appeal to the geek-collector in me. I would love to track down Ben Hecht’s bonkers play about Pancho Villa, which was turned into the flop show ‘We Take The Town’ (I don’t think it even […]

Did You See What I Saw?

  Music venues are a blessing and a curse – they give you the chance to see dream-teams of bands and performers you’d never be able to see anywhere else, but they can also be cattle-runs where you see virtually nothing from expensive terrible seats. From a strictly viewing point of view, the worst experiences […]

When Is It Plagiarism, When Is It Homage?

It’s a question that vexed me recently in these columns when we talked about the new TV series ‘Penny Dreadful’ and the very similar books of Kim Newman which long-preceded the series. All artists learn from one another and develop new strands out of the art they admire, others see a commercial main chance to […]

Rik Hits The Top 40

Shakespeare. Football. It’s obvious that they go together really. And the tragic loss of national treasure Rik Mayall means they finally have their day. With no official World Cup 2014 anthem, after the Football Association decided against releasing a new version of Take That’s ‘Greatest Day’ featuring Gary Barlow and Michael Owen, an online campaign […]

Morricone Forever

A few years ago I saw Ennio Morricone at the Royal Albert Hall, on stage for the best part of three hours, delivering one of the most superb concerts I’d ever attended. It was a bumper year – I saw John Barry’s final performance there, and my small local theatre hosted Michel Legrand and his […]


Because it made me laugh, and I used to do this with my brother too.