A wry view of life for the world-weary

Category Archives: News

Gig Of The Week (2)

The tragic death of guitarist, Michael Casswell, TOWT’s cousin, last September was a shock to his family. What was also a shock to them was how respected and loved he was in the music biz as he rather hid his light under a bushel.

On the hottest day in 40 years we went to the subterranean music venue that is the 100 Club in Oxford Street to attend the tribute concert put on by his friends and colleagues. It was a great evening with his band, East of Java, putting on a storming set.

There were cameos from the likes of Tony Hadley, Limhal – who had me dancing in the aisles – and the wonderful Marcus Malone band.

Check out tribute concert highlights

Check Malone out playing with Michael

The venue had smartened up since I was last there, some thirty-seven years ago, and the beer was considerably better – I had to have the BrewDog Punk IPA.

It was a great evening and one which did Michael proud.


Hat Of The Week

It’s a real pisser when one leaves one’s hat in the back of one’s car and has to make do with an EU flag.

Cheap Booze Of The Week

It is good to see that the lure of cheap booze still has a certain attraction for the Brits, particularly so if you are staying in Finland where alcohol is prohibitively expensive.

Four Brits, I read this week, were participating in an orienteering competition in southern Finland. The ability to read a map came in handy when they realised they were near the Russian border and had the opportunity to grab some cheap booze. So they parked their car by the border, nipped across and within the fifteen minutes or so they were there, managed to quaff the contents of several cans of beer.

Alas for the intrepid foursome, they were spotted and had their collars felt when they got back into Finland. They have been released and have returned to Blighty but will probably face a fine.

Not such a cheap beer then!

Irony Of The Week (6)

Whatever your view on climate change, soaring temperatures in the Arctic leading to ice melting and heavy rain have had some amusing consequences.

In 2008 the Norwegian government built the Global Seed Vault deep into the side of a mountain on Spitsbergen to lodge a million varieties of seeds with the aim of preserving our food supply, come what may. Of course, the unthinkable has happened – meltwater has inundated the entrance tunnel, giving the precious seeds a dousing. “It was not in our plans to think that the permafrost would not be there and that it would experience extreme weather like that,” said a spokesperson. With planning like that, I bet they forgot a packet of lettuce seeds.

And then I read this week that a team of 40 scientists from five Canadian universities have had to abandon an expedition into the Hudson Bay to research the impact of climate warning. The reason for putting the four-year project on ice – warming temperatures created perilous ice conditions off the coast of Newfoundland, making it dangerous for their ships to go any further. So these climate change warriors became victims of climate change but at least they got their hands on some empirical evidence.

Toilet Of The Week (11)

Are children really so reluctant to use school toilets because of the noises that accompany the relieving of their bowels and bladders? Apparently so, if Cecilia Cato, a councillor in the Swedish town of Tingsryd, is to be believed.

Her solution is to pipe music into the bogs and the Council are to vote on her motion, I learned this week. This innovative ploy has already been introduced at the newly built music school in the town and some claim that the mellifluous atmosphere provided by the sound of music will be environmentally friendly, reducing the temptation to run taps and use excessive toilet paper to drown out the sounds.

If the motion is passed, what to play? Handel’s Water Music is an obvious as is Tchaikovsky’s 1812 overture. What about Beethoven’s Battle Symphony, scored for 200 cannons, or Abba’s Waterloo? Suggestions will be gratefully received.

Lessons Of The Week (2)

Never make an important decision whilst walking in Snowdonia.

Teaching Aid Of The Week

For children of a certain age, there is an irresistible fascination with the word poo. Parents and relatives react with shock when their little darlings use the word inappropriately whereas the kids find doing so highly amusing. But instead of feigning shock and surprise, wouldn’t it be a good idea to harness the young’s interest in matters scatological into something positive?

Well, this was the reasoning of publisher, Shuji Yamamoto, who, I learned this week, has developed a series of books around a character called Professor Poo  – a spectacle wearing, moustachioed turd. The books have been flying off the shelves like shit off a shovel – some 1.83m copies have been sold since March.

The books feature various exercises called Unko Kanji Doriru (poo kanji drill) and are designed to put some fun into the balls-aching work of memorising over two thousand kanji characters. Each sentence the children learn includes the word poo and this novel approach appears to be a hit with students and parents alike.

School wasn’t that much fun in my day!

Sangfroid Of The Week

Here’s a question to mull over. If you were in the fortunate position of having a little bit of warning before disaster struck, what would you do? For some it would be to check that they had clean underwear on and, perhaps, a freshly laundered shirt. For others it might be to eat your favourite food or a glass of hooch. But, I must confess, it has never crossed my mind to go out and give the lawn that final cut.

This astonishing picture shows Theunis Wessels cutting his lawn in Three Hills, Alberta in Canada whilst in the background there is a fully formed tornado only a couple of kilometres away. The twister headed away from the house and five minutes later was gone.

Hardly worth putting the mower away for.

Drugs Of The Week

If you want to get high, use your loaf, I learned this week. TV presenter, Angela Rippon, failed a routine drugs test after eating a loaf of poppy seed bread and a poppy seed bagel over a three-day period. The test picked up the presence of morphine in her system, enough to have got her fired, if it hadn’t have been a controlled experiment. You’ve been warned.

Aside from bread, according to this year’s Global Drugs Survey,  magic mushrooms are the safest recreational drug of choice. Of the 12,000 who fessed up to ingesting the psilocybin hallucinogenic ‘rooms in 2016, only 0.2% needed emergency medical treatment, a rate five times lower than those who had taken Colombian marching powder or LSD. The bigger risk, it would seem, is eating the wrong sort of fungi.

Mushrooms on poppy seeded toast for lunch, I think!

Pipeline Of The Week

Heavy metal festivals are not my thing – a line up including Megadeth, Alice Cooper and Trivium would have me running for the hills– but details of The Wacken Open Air festival to be held in early August in Germany caught my attention this week.

Festival goers consume on average 9 pints of beer each over the three day event and ensuring there is enough hooch to drown out the racket coming from the stage is of paramount concern to the organisers. To meet demand and ensure that the only hiccups are from drinking the beer too quickly, this year they are installing a four mile long pipe network to bring in the beer. 35 centimetres in diameter, it will deliver beer at a rate of six glasses every six seconds and as an added bonus will mean that beer trucks will not need to clog the roads and churn up the field.

Pipelines are also being laid down to bring in water and to remove effluent. Let’s hope they don’t mix them up, although lager drinkers may not notice the difference.