Idle Eye 189 : The Wicker Man

I was in Wickes on Croydon’s Purley Way the other day. Not somewhere I would normally frequent, but I needed a quality undercoat for exterior stone and wood, and the local options were beyond lamentable. Visiting one of these places is a bit like going to an airport departure lounge: the sheer scale intentionally dwarfs any notion you may have of thrift, as eight-wheeled juggernauts filled to capacity with power tools and decking thunder their way towards the checkouts.

I weaved through the aisles, keeping as low a profile as I could muster, but then I noticed a well-dressed man hovering uncomfortably in the distance. He turned, looked up and in a flash was standing next to me in front of the two pack epoxies. It was Martin Kemp from Spandau Ballet:

Martin:  Sorry to bother you, but don’t I know you from somewhere?

Me:  I doubt it. I don’t come here very often.

Martin:  No, not from here. Aren’t you that bloke who…

Me:  Martin, keep your voice down! I’m trying to get this over with as quickly as I can.

Martin:  Sorry. What are you looking for?

Me:  Undercoat. For exterior stone and wood.

Martin:  You’re way off base, mate. You’ll be after the Home Decorating section, it’s on the other side of the building. If you go down the end …hang on, let me take you.

Me:  Thank you.

So Martin Kemp from Spandau Ballet and I made our way across the absurdly complex labyrinth, stopping only for him to pick up a couple of shiny aprons from Kitchenware and a retractable chalk line set from Building and Joinery.

Martin:  You’re probably wondering why I’ve got two aprons, aren’t you?

Me:  To be honest, I’m not. But I reckon you share cooking duties with your partner, and that you’re probably a bit OCD.

Martin:  They’re both for me, actually.

Me:  Ah. Are you going to tell me or not?

Martin:  Take a wild guess. Look at the colour.

Me:  I really haven’t got time for this.

Martin:  Bright metal. Quite valuable. Think Ancient Egypt.

Me:  Gold?

Martin:  Bullseye!

Me:  So you’re about to buy two kitchen aprons that happen to be the same colour as your 1983 hit record? It’s a bit tenuous, Martin.

Martin:  So what? There’s still a few people about who’ll get it. And anyway, what’s so special about your stupid paint?

Me:  There’s nothing special about it at all. Except I didn’t have a hit back in the day called ‘Quality Undercoat for Exterior Stone and Wood’. And if I did, I probably wouldn’t be here now.

Martin:  What about the chalk line set?

Me:  Oh no…not True?

Martin:  Oh yes.

Me:  No one’s going to understand that reference. Even I’m struggling, and I work in the trade.

Martin:  Yeah, whatever. Have a nice day.

And with that, he was gone. Still trying to figure out how he knows me, mind.

Broken Biscuits No.4.


Komedia Brighton, you are a one! We got ourselves proper scared about this, and it turned out to be brilliant, lovely and the best fun EVAH. Where to start, though?

With Joss and Nick Hollywood. Because they transformed the space into a Lynchian, dystopian playground of circus animals, 50s neon and technicolour weirdness, all spurred on by Joss’s extraordinarily eclectic playlist. The boy may be fifteen, but he has carte blanche to DJ at my funeral. I’ll be posting a short compendium of clips on the Facebook page soon, be sure to check it out.

And then the acts. Kate Tym was just superb – taking no prisoners as per, she kicked off about kids, sex, Joanna Lumley, death and Take That. In that order. There are no words. Except hers. Jules Oliver‘s subtly surreal, hilarious set (who else could segue a loathing of falconry into an Essex Brides Magazine party featuring Spandau Barry?) had us all wondering when she was gonna crack. Not once, not once… And James Cook rounded off the night with a truly inspired collection of songs from his solo career. Just himself, a laptop and two guitars. Wonderful stuff!

As for Idle Eye, I’d like to thank Kate and Louise Yates for turning a six post run into something far more entertaining, Donald Ross Skinner for letting me take a piss over his 80s credentials, and to all the friends, family and those I’ve yet to meet who made the trip and helped make the night what it was. Because it was really quite something.

Now, a few weeks to regroup and then we’re off to Regather Sheffield on the 2nd October for BB5. We have a line-up in place and once again, it will not disappoint. I’ll throw something up here when the flyers are done, but if you happen to be in the vicinity and fancy a (very big) laugh, put the date in your diaries. We’re going comedy-tastic for this one, which is appropriate: my worthless degree came from Psalter Lane x


IE Audio 28 : The Magic Roundabout

In which my potty-mouthed satnav tries to save me from Swindon’s finest.