Oh, the humanity!

BBC: Cilla Black's funeral to feature song from Sir Cliff Richard

Hasn't her poor, bereaved family suffered enough already?

Having said that, I'm probably missing a golden opportunity to pop down there and play the Devil Woman Game.


Guardian: Katy Perry joins Taylor Swift v Nicki Minaj row – and brings Rihanna with her
Wading into the Twitter spat between Swift and Minaj over Video Music award nominations, Perry all but confirms that Swift’s hit single Bad Blood is about her.

No, me neither.

Change of direction

Zayn Malik has left One Direction!


(No, me neither.)

1.5×-scale mechanical Roger Moore

On Tuesday night, I dreamt that Jen and I were in a seaside penny arcade. I don't know why, but I believe the penny arcade was in Whitley Bay on the north-east coast of England. One of the arcade's main attractions was a 1.5×-scale mechanical Roger Moore.

I should, perhaps, explain that the larger-than-life, although otherwise extremely life-like simulacrum of the former James Bond was dressed in a double-breasted khaki safari suit, complete with buttoned pockets, and was poised in mid-backhand-throw. Initially, I assumed that the famous actor's facsimile was about to throw a shaken—a Japanese throwing-star martial weapon. On closer inspection, however, I realised that it was about to launch a toupée.

Roger Moore

The real Roger Moore.

Before I could stop her, Jen inserted a coin in the slot alongside the likeness of the erstwhile Simon Templar and, with a whirring of wheels and a clicking of cogs, the mechanism began to advance towards her, karate-chopping and kicking in an extremely robotic, though disconcertingly life-like manner. Fortunately, Jen acquitted herself extremely well, fending off the likeness of the one-time Persuader's blows with ease.

And then I woke up.

Most dreams are pure nonsense, but it is often claimed that great ideas can also come to people in their sleep. Which was this, I wonder? Is the world ready for a coin-operated 1.5×-scale mechanical rendition of Sir Roger Moore, or is it an idea ahead of its time?

A Lidl touch of glamour

The glamour has gone out of supermarkets.

—Prof. Jeremy Baker
ESCP Business School, Oct 2014

Prof. Baker pretty much hits the nail on the head, here: what modern supermarkets most certainly lack is glamour.

When I pulled up at Sainsbury's last week, would it really have been too much to ask for the foreign gentlemen in the car park who offered to wash my car to have worn something a bit more glamorous than damp-looking, brown overalls? Sequins, perhaps, or maybe even a top-hat. Furthermore, within the store itself, I can't help thinking they missed a golden opportunity recently when they installed new spotlights in the bananas section. Would a chandelier or two really have been all that out of place? And as for Deidre on the checkout: a very nice lady, I'm sure, but I reckon someone more of the calibre of Scarlett Johansson, say, or Cate Blanchett, might add a certain je ne sais quoi.

Carte Blanch

Sainsbury's new checkout lady?

Of course, where the supermarkets really missed a trick was at George Clooney's wedding last week. A civil ceremony in Venice is all well and good, but I'm sure, for the right financial incentive, the star of Ocean's Eleven would have been just as happy to lead his blushing bride down the Home Baking aisle at the Dewsbury branch of Lidl.

Tesco and Sainsbury's are in a bit of a mess at the moment. Put me in charge, and I'll soon add a touch of Hollywood sparkle.

Open letter to Chris Martin

BBC: Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay star Chris Martin to separate
Hollywood actress Gwyneth Paltrow and Coldplay singer Chris Martin are to separate after more than 10 years of marriage, the couple have said.

Dear Chris Martin,


Yours sincerely,


Some people are never bloody satisfied

It has been suggested to me that my scoop about Stense sitting on a hill with her dog last Thursday was somewhat unsatisfactory, in that it was totally un-newsworthy. I would beg to differ. Hello? It was about Bafta-award-winning Stense, directrix of prime-time TV shows, and a total fox. It even involved a dog. Animal interest, and all that! How much more newsworthy could it possibly be?

But if it's genuine, no-holds-barred, rock ‘n’ roll gossip you fickle punters are after, try this for size…

Steve ‘Copperhead Road’ Earle has a new drummer:

Bill & Steve

Bill (L) and Steve (R) on Friday.

Apparently, Bill's going to get Steve to cut back on the mandolins. A bit less Fairport, a bit more E Street.

Once again, remember, you read it first on Gruts.