Saturday, January 30, 2016

All good things come in threes, and as this post is about harmony - well, roughly - here is a third collection of tracks you might like, all vaguely related

As I’ve said before, these soundfiles should play fine on your Mac using Safari, Chrome and Firefox, and on a Windows PC using Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox. They don't seem to work on a Mac using Opera. I haven't tried them on Opera on a Windows machine cos I can't be buggered downloading and installing it. There are several other browsers out there - e.g. Maxthon for Mac - but at the moment is usually use an elderly Macbook running Snow Leopard and many of them demand a more up-to-date OS. But I feel I’ve done a my bit and if your browser doesn't play these tracks, it's up to you to sort it out. With the slightly longer last piece, give it a little time - not more than ten seconds, but a little time - to load.

I was thinking about the last but one post and how I discovered new music, and more to the point, new music I liked when I remembered how I came across The Boswell Sisters. The were huge in their time, the Thirties, and it’s fair to say that although spotting their success, many other ‘sisters’ (and I don’t doubt ‘brothers’) formed themselves, but The Boswell Sisters - Vet, Connie (later Connee because, apparently it was easier and faster to write as an autograph) and Martha - stood out.

They were musicians in their own right. Vet played they banjo, Connie (who had to perform and sing sitting down, often in a wheelchair) played the sax and Martha the piano. And all this after a straightforward classical music eduation. But they were born and grew up in New Orleans, and soon
came to hear blues and then jazz, and were smitten by it. I mention them because of how I came across them. Donald Fagen, of Steely Dan, grew up in New Jersey to parents Jerry, an accountant, and Elinor, a ‘homemaker’ (I think ‘homemaker’ is the modern term I am obliged to use). But before she married and had a family, Elinor had worked as a singer in hotels in the Catskills, and Fagen - Donald, that is - remembers as he was growing up in the Fifties his mother singing Boswell Sisters songs around the house. So I checked them out and immediately liked them a lot.

I can’t say I have a deep knowledge of the Thirties popular music scene, but I should imagine The Boswell Sisters (left) stood out because their arrangements were quite complex. I don’t know whether they played their respective instruments one stage - I doubt it - but their harmony singing is great, and I have always loved harmony singing. So here’s a track, a well-known song covered by many, but for me they give it something special.

The Boswell Sisters/I’m Gonna To Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter

 

Fagen, it has to be said has what might be described as a ‘singular’ voice. It isn’t one of your common or garden pop or jazz voices by any means. (Other singers I like with ‘singular’ voices are Bob Dylan and The Kinks’s Ray Davies.) But Fagen can sing and sing well, and obviously inherited his mother’s talent. More to the point of this blog is his performance of Maxine, a song on The Nightfly, and one of my all-time favourite songs.

I haven’t yet come across a cover except Justin Morell’s instrumental version, but I doubt few can come close to singing it as sublimely as Fagen. The reason it is included here is because of his breathtaking harmonising with himself. I had read somewhere that he sang all the parts on Maxine, but I double-checked and sure enough although other singers add background vocals on other tracks on The Nightfly, only he is credited on Maxine.

I once bought The Nightfly songbook and tried to teach myself the song on guitar, but I never got further than the first 16 bars. It’s got some great chords, but as usual I give up - I’m an awful weak giver-upper - and then mislaid the songbook. About 20 years later (i.e. in the last few years) I decided to try again, but as I couldn’t find mysongbook I thought I would buy another. Some hope: on Amazon you’ll have to shell out at least £201 for a used copy (though very good - what a relief) and if you want a new one it’ll cost you at least £402. So, do you know what, I decided against it and still hope to find my own copy. Here’s Maxine:

Donald Fagen/Maxine

 

I know The Eagles are regarded as uncool by some - some few idiots, I should say - but more fool them. They might not write complex tunes like Steely Dan (who famously put them down in their song their song Everything You Did on their album The Royal Scam, but even though I like their music a great deal those two cool Noo Yorkers Fagen and Becker can slightly get up my noise as can quite a few of the Noo York ‘art’ scene, who seem perpetually to carry on a great love affair with themselves - David Byrne and Talking Heads to exactly nothing for me. Maybe I’ve got cloth ears. And maybe not), but - what a digression, eh - The Eagles did what they did bloody well and I still many of their songs. But then that’s me, uncool. And in their first incarnation they harmonised superbly. Seven Bridges Road was a standard at their concerts:

The Eagles/Seven Bridges Road

 

Before I come on to Take 6, a black soul, jazz, gospel a cappella group (though they don’t sing this one below a cappella), here’s a bit of harmonising you might also like (if you like harmonising). I could have chosen anything from Palestrina and Victoria, but I have chosen this piece by England’s very own William Byrd, merely because he was the most recent of these three I came across. This is the Gloria from his Mass for Five Voices:

William Byrd/Gloria from Mass for five voices

 

Then there’s Take 6. I can’t for the life of me remember how I came across them, but I am very glad I did. This one, Grandma’s Hands, has been covered by loads of singers, some well, some not so well, but - racism alert - I really think it’s only fair that black singers should sing it. With anyone else it seems to become, as I pointed out a few days ago, just another song in their repertoire. But when Take 6 sing it is seems to grow.

Take 6/Grandma’s Hands

 

Finally, here’s a piece which has got nothing to do with harmony. An hour or two ago (it’s Saturday night and I am off to work in London tomorrow morning and thought I might have a shave now to have just a few more minutes of a lie-in) I was listening in the bathroom to Lullaby Of Leaves by sax player Illinois Jacquette. (I posted two guitar version of the song in my last post). And them, because my iPhone was on ‘songs’, next up came this: the first movement of Alban Berg’s Lulu Suite. And while listening to it, it suddenly struck me just how much, in some ways, jazz and more recent - good - classical music have in common. I mean, were you told this was a jazz piece and didn’t know any better, you would most probably accept it as such. It’s 14 minutes long, so have that shit first, but then spend 14 minutes listening to a rather beautiful piece. I think if you like jazz, you’ll probably like this.

Alban Berg/Lulu-Suite: I. Rondo: Andante Und Hymne



PS If this kind of music sounds vaguely familiar, it’s because a great many German and Austrian composers, not all of them Jewish, fled Germany and Austria and headed for the US when the Nazis came to power and some found work in the Hollywood film studios. There is some great music in those Thirties and Forties films, especially in film noir like Double Indemndity and Build My Gallows High which is partially ignored because it is just ‘the soundtrack’.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

A bit more jazz for those who like that kind of thing. And those who don’t are banned from this blog for a week.

These soundfiles should play fine on your Mac using Safari, Chrome and Firefox, and on a Windows PC using Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox. They don't seem to work on a Mac using Opera. I haven't tried them on Opera on a Windows machine cos I can't be buggered downloading and installing it. There are several other browsers out there - e.g. Maxthon for Mac - but at the moment is usually use an elderly Macbook running Snow Leopard and many of them demand a more up-to-date OS. But I feel I’ve done a my bit and if your browser doesn't play these tracks, it's up to you to sort it out. Chin, chin.

I was looking at my most recent post, the one before this one, correcting one or two of the literals which always slip in (me being the conscientious sort eventually, though apparently not immediately) and it occurred to me that the selection of jazz musicians and their tracks I had posted might seem to some a little top-heavy with the jazz equivalent of what some classical musicians describe as ‘squeaky-gate music’. Well, at least to some. And for those ‘some’ it is perhaps not as ‘accessible’ as it might be. (I once knew a double-bass player with the BBC Wales Symphony Orchestra and that’s when I first heard the phrase ’squeaky-gate music’.)

By the way, when I use the word ‘accessible’, I mean it pretty much as close to an insult as you can get without exactly being insulting. Des O’Connor (for real oldies), Adele, Florence and the Sodding Machine and all the other shite they play on BBC Radio 1 and 2 is ‘accessible’, as is the classical excerpts played on Classical FM. I hope that doesn’t make me sound like some kind of stuck-up, snobby prick, but I have to say that - with some very notable exceptions, quite a few actually, for me ‘accessibility’ is in inverse proportion to ‘interest’.

The exceptions, of course, are for me some of the ‘accessible’ black music, lovers’ rock, soul and related genre. To many ears, Alexander O’Neal and Freddie Jackson, say (and I shall include tracks below, just for the craic, so you can see what I mean) is, or can, be pretty bloody ‘accessible’ in my sense of the word and trashy to the point of despair, but I have to say I love them and stuff like that. And I haven’t yet chosen which track to post here but I shall make sure it makes my point. For example, Freddie Jackson does a version of Me And Mrs Jones which I like even better than the original hit by Billy Paul, but I shan’t be choosing that one.)

So here are a few more jazz tracks which I have on iTunes by way of contrast.

First up is this one by pianist Bill Evans and the guitar player Jim Hall. Evans had a heroin habit (and was a few years ago featured on Radio 3’s Composer Of The Week just to show the world that they aren’t necessarily a gang of old farts). Jim Hall didn’t have a heroin habit (though you often get the impression being addicted to smack was pretty much de rigeur for some jazz folk. Chet Baker (below) was another.

All Across The City/Bill Evans and Jim Hall



Then there’s Herbie Hancock’s take on Leon Russell’s Song For You (very beautiful and, in his version very simple). Christine Aguilera sings - bloody well - and until then I, who had not heard a lot by her, thought she was simply some pop diva. I was wrong. I have previously posted about the song Song For You and the different versions of it, some of which are too awful for words, notably ones by The Carpenters and Whitney Houston - crass beyond belief - and some which are good, though for my money Leon Russell’s own version is best, with Herbie Hancock coming, in his own way, a close second.

Song For You/Herbie Hancock with Christine Aguilera



I have about nine different versions of Autumn Leaves, from this one by Chet Baker to a very good one by Eric Clapton and, to my mind a pretty awful version by Bob Dylan. Not everything he does turns to gold. But it is a great song and one which I can play on guitar quite jazzily (it’s basically only six chords, although you can - and I do - and oddly enough the same chords can be used for Helen Reddy’s Angie Baby, which is awful, and I do a mad, disturbed jazzy version. Disturbed? You’ll understand if you know the song and the story it tells.).

Autumn Leaves/Chet Baker



I am not black (and never have been - nice white middle-class chappie, me) but every time I hear Billie Holiday’s version of Strange Fruit, I get a chill up and down my spine. For me this is a unique recording, and at the risk of sounding unbelievably pretentious it’s a song white folk sing at their peril. I have another version by Sharon Robinson (who co-wrote Everybody Knows) which is half-decent, but I have also had the misfortune to have heard renderings of it which make the song just another in the singer’s repertoire. (Just looked the song up on Spotify and see that Nina Simone sings a version, which is good, and Annie Lennox, everyone’s favourite singing feminist, which is, predictably, just another song in her repertoire. White honkies: stay away. Leave this one for black performers who will know a lot better than you might ever what they are singing about.)

I could go on, but I don’t want to sound mad or pretentious or right-on or anything like that. All I’ll say is (and for me the revelation only came after reading Howard Zinn’s account of black life in America in his A People’s History Of The United States) that in recent and not so recent history no one has been more shat upon and fucked up like blacks in white cultures and Jews in every culture. So, you white singers: sing Strange Fruit at your peril. I doubt you will come anywhere more than a million miles close to conveying what it meant to Billie Holiday.

Strange Fruit/Billie Holliday



I got into Steely Dan years ago in a big way and although I think in their most recent CDs they don’t quite have the fire of their early stuff up to Gaucho, though the tunes are still as good, Donald Fagen’s first solo CD, Nightfly, is that rarest of rare things perfect from beginning to end. And Maxine was one of the best tracks from it. Somehow I came across Justin Morell, the guitar-playing son of another jazz guitar player, John Morell (isn’t Google great, eh, makes you sound knowledgable). He had produced a great CD called The Music Of Steely Dan and this is his band’s take on Maxine. Mind there’s a lot more to Morell than this and he is worth checking out.

Maxine/Justine Morell



Stella By Starlight is pretty much a jazz standard and this is Joe Pass’s version. As a rule I don’t like to much fiddle-faddling (like sodding Chopin) in my music and far prefer clean guitar lines, but Pass is my exception and I don’t know why. Well, I do: he makes it all seem so breathtakingly simple. The same is true of Earl Hines who comes after Pass with Stormy Weather, another jazz standard.

Stella By Starlight/Joe Pass



Stormy Weather/Earl Hines



I didn’t get to hear much by Gerry Mulligan until quite recently, although I had often heard the name and, for some reason had assumed he was a Brit. He’s not. He also had a heroin habit. Here he plays The Cat Walk with someone called Ben Webster. I could google Ben Webster, then pretend I knew, but I can’t be arsed.

The Cat Walk/Gerry Mulligan & Ben Webster



Dizzy Gillespie is another jazz name even folk who don’t follow jazz will probably have heard. Usually folk play A Night In Tunisia, but in an odd way that has become so well-known it’s getting close to a jazz cliche. So here you can listen to Trumpet Blues.

Trumpet Blues/Dizzy Gillespie



Then come two version of Lullaby Of Leaves, which is a tune which sounds very familiar and seem to have heard for ever, but which I couldn’t have named for the life of me until very recently. The first is by Billy Bauer, who (thank you Wikipedia) spent most of his career as a sideman and seems to have released only on CD of his own. But I like his playing a lot. Then after that there’s Grant Green’s version, which is just as good. I love his really clean and unfettered guitar lines. The guy playing Hammond organ on Grant Green’s recording is a guy called Baby Face Willette (thanks Wiki) and I can only say I wish I had been called that. I think the ‘Willette’ is important. Baby Face Powell doesn’t quite do it, does it.

Lullaby Of Leaves/Billy Bauer



Lullaby Of Leaves/Grant Green



That’s enough jazz for one day, but posting these here has got my appetite up, and there’s lot more where these came from, Lennie Tristano, Wes Montgomery, Barney Kessell, Swedish singer Lisa Ekdahl when she does jazz (apparently most of her career was a straightforward pop artist in Sweden), Art Farmer, Art Blakey, Duke Ellington, Harry James, Roy Eldridge, loads and loads and loads and fuck Michael Jackson (but not Prince. He can be sublime and often has been, although not quite as often as he seems to think).

But, the big but: my Achilles heel which I mentioned above - the schlock I like. Here are two great examples of superb schlock, especially the first Good Morning Heartache.

Good Morning Heartache/Freddie Jackson



followed by Innocent.

Innocent/Alexander O’Neal

Friday, January 22, 2016

New music and one way to come across it (though I'm sure there are many others. And if you have any jazz you can recommend, get in touch). Некоторые джаз для моих русских друзей.

These soundfiles should play fine on your Mac using Safari, Chrome and Firefox, and on a Windows PC using Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox. They don't seem to work on a Mac using Opera. I haven't tried them on Opera on a Windows machine cos I can't be buggered downloading and installing it. There are several other browsers out there - e.g. Maxthon for Mac - but at the moment is usually use an elderly Macbook running Snow Leopard and many of them demand a more up-to-date OS. But I feel I’ve done a my bit and if your browser doesn't play these tracks, it's up to you to sort it out. Chin, chin.

Time was when you got to hear new music by going around to someone’s flat, or being taken by a friend to one of his (or her) friends who would then play music you liked and you asked ‘who’s this’. That was then. Of course there’s the radio, but then of all the good, interesting new music out there it seems to me - going on what I have discovered and got to like over these past 20 years - that just a very, very small amount of it gets played on mainstream radio.

There’s the drawback that I can’t abide (here in Britain) Radio 2, and I get very impatient with all the utterly inconsequenctial and mind-blowingly trivial chatter about fuck-all on Radio 1. But, as I say, what gets an airing there is so bloody mainstream, they might as well collect their knighthoods now and save us all a lot of grief.

Radio 3 is better, not least because it is more or less the only radio station in Britain which plays jazz, and a broad variety of it at that. Then there are the various radio stations you can pick up on the internet and - courtesy of 3/4G and smartphones - listen to whatever is being played around the world. The trouble is that it isn’t just Britain which chooses ‘accessibility’ over ‘oh, that’s interesting’. There is, of course, a thriving music scene out there, but how to track it down. Again, Radio 3 is helpful by broadcasting several nights a week between 11pm and 1am a programme called Late Junction.

It is while listening to this that I have come across several singers, bands and musicians and subseqently gone on to buy an album of their music. Good examples would be Lake Street Dive (who do a great, jazzy version of Hall & Oates Rich Girl), Anouar Brahem, a Tunisian who plays the oud, and Sevara Nazarkhan, an Uzbek singer. And if the last two sound a bit too achingly right on for your tastes - what with the migrants being in the news and the imperative for all us white honkies these days to value everything and anything even vaguely ethnic - don’t worry, I’m still a million miles of joining a protest march and eating tofu. Both are just great, or at least to my ears (if you like music and aren’t too hung up on the 4/4 beat which makes so much Western music sappy and dull and predictable).

Another way I’ve hit upon of discovering new music is quite simple - look up the sidemen and other musicians the guys and gals you like play with. It started with Dave Fiuczynski, a ‘jazz’ guitarist of this parish. I play guitar, though by no means to any great standard (though I would trust myself to bullshit my way into the admiration of some gullible souls by the simple expedient of swinging nicely, playing a variety of major sevenths in more or less any order, and - this is crucial - returning to a root note or one related to the root on the eight beat, always). It is a revelation how easily most people are suckered. But - big but, obviously - if I played better the music Dave Fiuczynski writes and plays is exactly what I should like to play.

I came across him - he likes to publicise himself as a ‘jazz musician who doesn’t particular want to play jazz’ - when I bought a cheap MP3 player and as part of the package was given voucher to download 20 tracks from a large selection. I chose 20 jazz tracks and Mr Fiuczynski happened to be one of them. But oddly, it was pretty mainstream stuff. Then I checked him out - probably on Spotify, which is very useful for checking up on stuff before shelling out the shekels - and boy was blown away. The first CD I bought was Amandla, and here is the title track.


Amandla/Dave Fiuczynski

The next guy I came across was John Medeski. I came across him because he played on Fiuczynski’s CD Lunar Crush. I checked him out, too, liked the stuff he and his two bandmates produce and bought in. Here is one of his tracks.

 
Last Chance To Dance Trance (Perhaps)/Medeski, Martin & Wood

I found the bassist Reggie Washington in the same way, looking up who Fiuczynski was playing with, checked him out, liked it and ... Here’s one of his tracks.

 
Mr Pastorius/Reggie Washington

That’s also how I came across the Indian/American sax player Rudresh Mahanthappa, although in this case Fiuczynski was asked to play on his CD - he was the session man if you like.


Gopuram/Rudresh Mahanthappa

Finally, and just for good measure, here is a track by John Scofield and his band. Can’t say a lot about this except it is the most ‘accessible’ track on the particular CD it appears on - Up All Night - but I like it a lot. It’s a tune which was a hit in 1971 for The Dramatics (no, I hadn’t heard of them either). I logged onto Spotify to listen to it, and - well, I won’t be buying their, the original version. I understand Britain’s The Beautiful South did a cover, but I’ve not yet heard it.


Whatcha See Is Whatcha Get/John Scofield And here is a live performance if you are interested:

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Ever wondered why ‘hat’ rhymes with ‘prat’? But what’s a little pink between friends? Can’t we settle for ‘light red’? Please?

I don’t think anyone of my family, relatives, friends or acquaintances would describe me as a stylish man, and I must admit I have very little interest in fashion. In fact, I regard those who chase the latest fashions to be seen in it at all cost as on the verge of neurosis. But I do have a thing about flat caps. I started wearing one - though only in cold weather, so I am most certainly off the fashionista hook - many years ago. First, it was one of my father’s, the usual sort of nondescript rural look which, a bit green, a bit brown, a sort of hint at a pattern but not much. And although they kept my head warm, I didn’t much like them as they pretty much screamed middle-aged and getting on so loudly - or at least I felt they did - that only ever wore them when I was alone.

All that changed when it occurred to me that you don’t have to wear one of those awful old-git flat caps and that there is a variety of rather better looking ones. My first, I think, was a dark green tartan cap with a red woollen bobble on top. But that one I left in a pub between London and Brighton, although to this day I can’t remember why I was visiting Brighton and, more to the point, where I had bought the bloody thing. And I wanted to know that so I could get another like it. But I didn’t. Then a few months, maybe a year later, I came across another tartan hat, one which fitted snugly and kept my head lovely and warm. I had it for about two years before it, too, got lost. Looking for a replacement, I came across a very useful online hat store called Village Hats which carries a variety of different kinds of hats and, more to the point, a wide range of flat caps, or better, flat cap style caps. The first one I bought there was a grey ‘newsboy’ cap. Like it a lot, but one night walking from where I had parked the car near my brother’s flat in Earls Court, London, to his flat I somehow - somehow - lost it. I wasn’t wearing it at the time.

I spent some time retracing my footsteps, but it was gone. So I bought another or the same style, another grey ‘newsboy’ hat (pictured). But by now I had got the bug. Just as some folk - and a great many women - have different shoes for different occasions and not just for different weather, I have decided that there’s no reason why I shouldn’t do the same with caps. So over the months and recent years I have bought several more hats - an oilskin cap (which my wife says makes me look like a pimp - yippee!), a black corduroy cap (which, come to think of it, I haven’t seen for a while), a blue serge hat, and then my pride and joy, another read tartan hat. But there’s the rub. I bought it on the same Village Hats website and when it arrived it wasn’t quite as red as I thought it would be, but that didn’t bother me. Unkind colleagues decided it wasn’t red at all, but pink, but
then who doesn’t have unkind colleagues (who, come to think of it, figure quite prominently on newspaper staff). But it was most certainly tartan. It also had a shape and brim which I had seen the former Arsenal footballer Ian Wright wearing and which shape I liked, and if you still can’t imagine what it looks like, take a look that Andy Capp cartoon here - it was pretty much like that. Then I lost it. Or I thought I had lost it.

I looked everywhere. I had once worn it to La Pappardella around the corner from my brother’s where I have taken to having a meal of a Sunday when I work only one shift. I persuaded myself I had left it there. But I hadn’t. No one had found one there. I then decided I had worn it in the outside smoking area of The Brewer’s Arms, in South Petherton, Somerset, where I usually stop of on a Wednesday for a drink and a cigar and to watch whatever football is showing on Sky (and now BT Sports). I rang them, but was told no one had handed one in. So I decided to buy another, and this is where my story really starts.

I have already reported just how unkind some of my colleagues were be describing my red tartan cap as ‘pink’. It’s not ‘pink’, I told them, it’s red, although I was bound to concede - I’m the honest sort - that it was a very light red and that anyone who might think it ‘pink’ might, at a push, have a point. But I have to say that didn’t bother me. Not one jot. Anyway, I looked on the Village Hats website where I had bought the cap a few months ago, but I couldn’t find it. Nor could I find a facility detailing past orders so that I could track down another. I rang up Village Hats, explained what I was about and could the woman at the other end of the phone look up that order and tell me
the name of the style of hat and the manufacturer. Yes, she said, give her a minute, and she was back not long after: ‘It is a ‘Jodie’ and was made by Jane Anne Designs,’ she told me. It is on the left. Do you have any more in stock? I asked. No, she said. Well, the obvious thing was to look up Jane Anne Designs on the web and I find the firm within minutes.

But what struck me as a little odd was that - er, all the hats on it is website were for women. And it proclaimed itself on its web blurb thus:

Jane Anne Designs are located in Manchester and are a leading wholesale supplier of Ladies Formal Hats, Fascinators, Ladies Casual Hats, Cloche Hats, Wax Cotton Hats, Fur Hats and Trappers. Our Wedding Hats, Fascinators and matching Bags are really popular; reasonably priced and they are all exclusively designed in the UK by Jane Anne Designs. Our Ladies Casual range includes Knitted Cloche Hats and Classic Wool Felt Cloche Hats in different colours. Our Ladies Wax Hats are ideal for the wet outdoors, whilst our ladies Fur Hats and Trappers will always keep you warm.

It might strike you as it struck me that there was no mention at all of hats for red-blooded males such as me. What was going on? I rang to find out. Yes, the woman there told me, we do sell the ‘Jodie’, and, yes, we do still have it in stock. And, no, she told me when I asked, we don’t sell men’s hats. So the Jodie is a woman’s hat? I asked. Yes, the woman told me, didn’t you notice the floral lining? Well, yes, I had noticed the floral lining but honestly didn’t think too much about it. I didn’t there and then buy myself another - bugger the colour and bugger the floral lining: I liked and like that cap. Google a bit more and found some firm or other in Yorkshire sold it for a couple of quid less than Jane Anne Designs. But I still didn’t buy one, because I planned to drop in at the Brewer’s Arms that night and try my luck again. Who knew, perhaps it had been found and handed in, but the woman I spoke to on the phone didn’t know. Actually, it hadn’t as Duncan, the landlord, assured me.

That’s was it really and there and then I decided I would get another. But thank God I didn’t because what should turn up, tucked away in an Asda bag for life in my stepmother’s kitchen? So there you have it. But to demonstrate that that hat has a perfectly respectable pedigree and that all kind of men liked and like wearing it, I have gone to some trouble to find photos of them on the web wearing the ‘Jodie’. Stuff you, unkind colleagues.