Who Is Like God?



Who is like God?

Love was the father and love the mother.

You arrived in December, anticipating another Christmas

A reward in yourself rather than a present

A pilgrimage more than a journey

Because we cannot find love in ourselves

Only with another

And you were the purest love

The world of love in a moment

To complete the place that was prepared for you

A place shaped, breathed into, palpitating, anticipated for you

And you arrived linking Winter with Spring

A week after Mandela died and two days before his burying

You arrived, your hair already hinting of gold

Woven like the wealth of the Transvaal on the South African flag

You arrived to separate the before from the after

The Anno Domini

Dividing the past from the future

You arrived to say that there was no going back

As the Ukraine edged westwards

After the charge of the dark brigade in Crimea

And your mother wrote the gospel of your life

Like a scream of joy

As the Scribes and the Pharisees fled back to the Old Testament

Making way for the new covenant of love

Turning over and seeding the soil of hope

Too big an enterprise now for the old scythes and hoes

‘We need a tractor’ you said in almost your first words

And we realised that the lines and the furrows

Could mean happiness after all.

Roy Stannard for Michael’s Naming Day 21.8.16

For a version of this mixed with music please visit Soundcloud at:

Star Formation: Mike Kerr of Royal Blood


Mike Kerr and Ben Thatcher of Royal Blood with Jimmy Page

Stars form when the right amount of dust and gas coalesce due to gravitational pull. Within the star nuclear reactions continue to release energy to keep the star hot. Just before the star bursts into existence all these forces are working together at their optimum strength.

It’s a sultry early Autumn day and the leaves on the trees are beginning to feel a little restless. The greens are transmuting to the first hints of yellow. The sun is high in the sky and the wind is thinking about migrating from north to east. I’m in my car parked in a road near the eastern entrance to Worthing where suburban folk mow lawns and shape hedges to fit whatever sits behind their frontal consciousness. Up the road is an ordinary secondary school that doesn’t quite realise yet that it will become famous soon, mentioned in Wikipedia, visited by pilgrims, worn as a badge by generations of students to come. At the other end of the road is a pub, deadly quiet at 3 o’clock in the afternoon, unaware that it will become the third or fourth point on the tours that will sprout up in this very ordinary part of West Sussex, England.

Mike Kerr in Brighton

Mike Kerr in Brighton

I’m parked outside Mike Kerr’s house, or more accurately, his parent’s house, waiting for Mike to arrive, ready to drive him across Sussex to radio studios where we will conduct the only radio interview in the week when his band’s album has gone to Number One in the official UK charts, with 66,000 sales in six days. Noel Gallagher’s ‘High Flying Birds’ album four years ago was the last rock album to sell as many. Later in the interview we would joke about Mike and Noel leaning against the bar and comparing album sales, we would joke about Mike getting Dave Grohl wrapped in a box for Christmas.

Half a decade ago I’m in the Thomas a Becket pub in Worthing watching a band comprising four  kids who were at school with my son and who I had known since they were eleven years old deliver an electrifying venom-filled punk set with their leader and songwriter George McCanna delivering invective disguised as rock lyrics about the pointlessness of suburban life. Flavour Country with George, Joe Dennis, Toby Lancaster and a young, bespectacled geeky guy called Mike Kerr on keys and bass were a ferocious blast of teenage aggression, bemusing the pocket of regulars leaning at the bar.

Hunting The Minotaur

Hunting the Minotaur – Mike Kerr (2nd left)

A little later I’m in the Cricketers in Broadwater, Worthing. My marriage has fallen apart and my only solace is the music. I’m nursing a pint of Harveys, the only beer you should drink in Sussex, when the young keyboardist in the band that had morphed from Flavour Country into Hunting the Minotaur gets up and sings with a guitar. I didn’t know he sang, and it was good. The dust and the gas were forming, the atoms splitting.

The taxi pulls up and out rolls Mike and his old friend from school, Nat Clark. They had been in a pub and Mike needs to go in the house and have a leak. Nat sits in the car. “Well, I say”, “what do you make of all this?” “Mad” he replies. Mike studied catering at Northbrook College and has been working when he’s been working as a trainee chef amongst other things. This week the job description changed to actual, real, bona fide rock star.

Mike, Nat, Roy in studio

Mike, Nat Clark & Roy in the studio

Yes, he and Royal Blood duettist, drummer and mate, Ben Thatcher have appeared at Glastonbury, Reading, Leeds, and Finsbury Park with the Arctic Monkeys. They have appeared on Later with Jools Holland when Neil Finn put the thumbs up on camera at the end of their explosive performance of ‘Little Monster’. Matt Helders of the Arctic Monkeys wore a T-shirt hurriedly created for him when they headlined at Glastonbury. At that point Royal Blood hardly existed.  The NME and Kerrang and Q started calling them the future of Rock ‘n Roll. But until this week they did not have a Number One album.

I had Mike’s phone number on my mobile. My son Callum, a mate of Mike’s had forwarded it. I texted Mike and asked for an interview. The old respect between young musician and someone who has run radio stations and labels kicked in. Against the advice of his management, label and press office, he agreed to meet up.

Mike Kerr & Ben Thatcher of Royal Blood

Mike Kerr & Ben Thatcher of Royal Blood

Earlier that day at 7am I had driven over to Seaford to load the computer play out system at Seahaven FM with the Royal Blood album in its majestic entirety, some historic and very rare Flavour Country/Hunting the Minotaur tracks and a selection of music that Mike had referenced in interviews and some other stuff I just knew he liked. ‘I know him’ I thought.

We are in the car driving though the South Downs on the way to Seaford. Mike’s phone rings. It’s George McCanna, his  old compadre in Flavour Country/Hunting the Minotaur. He’s heard that Mike is back from touring for a couple of days before flying to Paris for the next leg of the tour. They arrange to meet later.

Mike tells me that he learned to sing in Joe Dennis’s living room, practising and remembering some of the tricks that George used to deploy. I can hear George in one or two of the higher register yowling vocal breaks. The neutrons start to split and re-connect. The forces are forming like a large dark cloud on the horizon. I realise that this will be the last car journey like this. Ordinary and relaxed, three people laughing and joking on the way to another Sussex town.

Mike Kerr of Royal Blood & Roy Stannard

Mike Kerr, Royal Blood and Roy

Mike’s mobile is very private. There are no press interruptions even though everyone wants to talk to him. He has grown charisma, the star quality sets like a interplannetary aura around him. The old spectacles have gone, the hair is wild but fashionable, the leather rocker jacket stylised and perfect for the music, the speech more considered, the gaps between questions and answers long enough to create a sense of importance. With a jolt I realise that he does now look like a young Marlon Brando.

We arrive at the studios. Seahaven FM is a small independently run and financed radio station. A community station where no-one is paid, even the fulltime Director, Nick Mallinson, who does what he does for the love of it. These stations occupy the space that the old pirate stations used to before they went dance obsessed. Enthusiasts gather around the microphone to deliver their eccentric, passionate, obsessive love of music in all its colours and genres for the pleasure of other obsessives.

Royal Blood (IndependentT

Ben Thatcher & Mike Kerr of Royal Blood

There are 250 and rising of these stations in the UK. They attract over 1 million listeners a week. Who? People interested in their community, the travel and the traffic, the micro climates of weather, gossip and what’s on. Seahaven FM on 96.3 in Seaford, Peacehaven and Newhaven and on www.seaheavenfm.com is one of the better ones. David Scott, erstwhile of Southern FM and other commercial stations, now retired, occupies the Breakfast slot. The local MP Norman Baker has a show called ‘Anything Goes’, and anything does, musically. There are world music shows, rock n roll shows, jazz shows and I play whatever I like on my Thursday 7-9pm slot because I’ve been listening and working with music for the best part of 40 years and I’ve paid my dues.

I re-arrange the songs on the playlist to suit Mike Kerr’s mood and taste. Unaccountably, I feel nervous. The boy I knew has grown into a man, a star has formed. He has ‘people’ who look after him, but today he has climbed under the fence and escaped. He is off line, off circuit. He can say what he likes and so can I.

The next two hours fly by. I cover all the obvious questions that you can read in all the press interviews, but we also go a little deeper, the prodigiously talented George McCanna is mentioned and honoured. Mike’s Mum, Angie and Dad, Bob, who I have known for years are thanked. His school friends Joe, Toby, Alex and my own son Callum are referenced with love and respect. All musical talents in their own right. We play adrenalin-pumped rock and roll, we nod back to Led Zeppelin, and nod forward to Drenge who have left the ‘F’ word at the end of their track ‘Blood Sport’ and which, having heard it go out live, I have to go back and edit out on the recording. The Arctic Monkeys, Foals, Muse, Queens of the Stone Age, The Raconteurs, Them Crooked Vultures also feature. Musical signposts rather than antecedents, combined with the Royal Blood album it’s a rock ‘n roll show that Peel, Walker, Lamacq and the others would have all revelled in.

At the end, we all feel good about what has happened. In this week of all weeks, it’s good to mark the passage of time, to pay respect to the people who have helped along the way. This may be the last time Mike Kerr gets to be the local boy from Worthing chatting about music with his mates.

I drive him and Nat back to Worthing. It’s been a blast. We say goodbye outside a pub. He walks in and Ye Olde House at Home in Broadwater, Worthing joins the ranks of the immortals.

The particles collide. The light explodes. Mike walks through a doorway and the star forms.

From now on we will all have to watch it from a distance.

© Roy Stannard 6.9.14

The interview and track by track discussion of the Royal Blood album along with all the tracks can be heard on Mixcloud/roystannard:

Hour One:


Hour Two:






The end of the Pier doesn’t mean the end of the road

Worthing Pier - only 55 left in the UK

Emily Gosden’s piece about end of the pier entertainment in the Daily Telegraph (9.6.11) makes the valid point that out of 55 remaining piers in the UK only six are offering traditional Summer seaside entertainment. The end of the pier show has been part of the English seaside landscape for as long as Punch has been altercating with Judy and candyfloss has been blown away by stiff north easterly breezes.

Punch and a Judy

In Worthing there is an additional threat. Apart from the economy, the migration abroad rather than to the UK for Summer holidays, the dwindling municipal coffers for seaside promotion, here the Council operates all three major venues (The Connaught Theatre, the Assembly Hall and the end of the pier Pavilion Theatre) and there is no more money in the cupboard to maintain the cultural and leisure service to the community. The theatres have been advertised in The Stage and expressions of interest requested from operators keen to take the theatres off the Council’s hands. Worthing Theatres Trust is a Company Limited by Guarantee (Community Trust) set up with this in mind – and to return profits, pride, interest from local groups and schools and good old fashioned bums on seats back to the venues of Worthing.

It is well documented that Worthing’s Connaught Theatre has a rich theatrical tradition – it’s where Sir Alan Ayckbourn CBE (who announced this week that he is to become WTT’s Patron) as a young assistant stage manager performed on stage (they were short handed) in 1956. Pinter lived around the corner and wrote in the Town. Susan Penhaligon started her career here. Mark Wynter, Michael Simkins, Nick Day and many others trod the boards early in their careers in Worthing.

However, The Pavilion, built in 1926, is a thriving venue for traditional seaside entertainment. Every Wednesday afternoon in August John Mann’s Seaside Summer Melodies on the organ will beguile the elderly – and in the evenings in a Tardis-like experience, you will be able to track down the 60s group The Searchers, the inimitable Ken Dodd who holds the record for the longest stand up show ever performed in Worthing, The Rat Pack who will swagger on stage, then set the controls to ‘One Night of Queen with Gary Mullen’ followed by ‘That’ll be the Day – the stage show, along with old-time TV comedy duo, Cannon and Ball, The Glen Miller Orchestra, The Alter Eagles, before finishing the Season with Jim Davidson’s Seaside Frolics.

If this wasn’t enough, Worthing Theatres Trust TT has already made a public declaration that it will seek every means of preserving the future of the world-famous Wurlitzer organ found in The Assembly Hall. It is listed. Who else owns a listed organ? The Trust also sees a public trust as a means of increasing community and educational participation in the three venues – with a particular emphasis on encouraging local schools and colleges usage of the three venues. The Preserving theatres, culture, the arts is not about creating a business plan. It doesn’t – and shouldn’t fit into a business portfolio or a corporate plan. This is why we are receiving support from actors, directors and other theatre professionals who have worked at the Connaught Theatre and other Worthing venues. You can’t chip away at people’s memories.

The world loves the sound of waves against shingle, the curlicue calls of seagulls tossed into the channel gusts, the cries of children building memories like sandcastles. In Worthing we know how to do history, heritage and the celebration of what we are, and where we’ve come from. Worthing Birdman is an annual exercise in futility as participants build their own flying machines and try to fly off the Pier. One year an entrant came within centimetres of succeeding. Futility – or hope?

Worthing Pier from the Pavilion Theatre

Each September in Worthing we celebrate our heritage with the Annual Pier Day where people flock to the pier to enjoy vintage fun, frolics and a veritable mountain of popcorn, candyfloss and Edwardian sing-alongs. As one of the six remaining piers that endeavours to entertain its public, we see our job as preserving this facility for future generations.

The Trust is appealing for public support at this critical time – especially from the 17,000 plus people who signed the Save Worthing Theatres petition.  

Visit  www.worthingtheatrestrust.co.uk and go the to the Friends page to join up immediately as a Friend of Worthing Theatres. Alternatively, email your request for a form to  ideas@worthingtheatrestrust.co.uk

Which part of your history are you prepared to see sold?

South Pacific at the Connaught – another reason why we have to save the theatres..

South Pacific by Worthing Musical Comedy Society

The Connaught Theatre Thursday May 19th 2011 

Director: Lee Payne  / Choreography: Terri Moore  / Lighting Director: Stephen Holroyd

It was good to see a packed Connaught Theatre warmly receive South Pacific’s cute opening scene as Sky Cook and Robert Glick, playing the children of the Musical’s romantic lead Emile De Beque, sang and acted in French. The preamble with WWII combat footage reminds us that there is a serious war going on behind the South Pacific froth. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1949 musical is based on Tales of the South Pacific by Pulitzer-Prize-winning novelist James A. Michener which focuses on the story of an American nurse in World War II, Nellie Forbush (showstopper Amelia Regnante), who falls in love with De Beque, a French plantation owner played by Chris Keen who exudes warmth and character throughout. He confesses that he killed a man in France – but what she still doesn’t know is that he has two mixed race children. There is an undertow of criticism of the US racial insularity running through the script which led to some discomfort in society at the time, but which seems quaint and arcane today.

The US army, Captain George Brackett (played splendidly by Paddy Gosden) and Commander William Harbinson (captured perfectly by Andrew Taylor), need his assistance and recruit Nellie to try and uncover De Beque’s political opinions.

Adam Knight

Running alongside this main romance is the tale of Lt Cable (Adam Knight, showing huge promise and smouldering control in his first lead) and Liat (the doll-like and demure Kristie Murphy), the daughter of Bloody Mary (played with wit and style – and with vocal excellence by Caroline Lowe). Their rendition of Happy Talk was memorable.

Some of the dialogue and vocal performances were hard to discern against the music – a mixing issue rather than a musical one. The band was excellent and ably led by MD Nigel Newman.

The character of Luther Billis is a comic anchor of the show and a lot of responsibility sits on the shoulders of the actor playing him. John Chambers does this with energy, pace and tremendous humour. John can also sing which is a bonus. His performance of Honey Bun with the full line-up of dancers was a highlight of the evening.

I have to mention first timer Michelle Quibell (Ensign Dinah Murphy) who delivered a memorably comic performance in the ‘Wash that man right out of my hair’ scene. Will Croome as Lt. Buzz Adams had the cameo of the night with his rat-a-tat-tat delivery in the military briefing scene.

Amelia Regnante

The final word has to go to Amelia Regnante who was equal to the tremendous acting, singing and energy demands placed on her. Resisting the temptation to overact and deliver lines in a cod southern US drawl, she sounded authentic and played the part with the subtlety and dignity it deserved. She undergoes a personal value system transformation and this was delivered realistically and with style.

The show sees two men change their minds but fulfill their military mission. The mission succeeds but one man lives and one dies. The women are defined by their relationships with their men. There’s lots of antediluvian attitudes to smile at, but this show does contain ‘You’ve got to be carefully taught’ a subtle song on many levels and delivered with understated power by talented teenager Adam Knight.

Overall, a fine show with a great ensemble WMCS cast that demonstrates precisely why the current campaign by the Worthing Theatres Trust to keep all three performance spaces open must succeed. A community show for all in a much loved community theatre.

Roy Stannard


Why saving theatres is great theatre

Jonathan Woodley - Stage managing the rescue of theatre in Worthing

Since Christmas something rather remarkable has been happening in Worthing. Because of the cuts in Central Government spending, the Town has been looking under its moth-eaten bed to see what obsolete pieces of social detritus it can afford to get rid of.

The Town Council in its wisdom has decided that Theatre is the defunct slice of culture it can justify eliminating. We will all be too poor or depressed to go to the theatre anyway. And it’s costing us £1.2m a year of money we can ill-afford to spend.

In steps Jon Woodley from the central casting department of ‘The Big Society’.  He is a charming young man of 26 with an equally engaging  fiancée, Ann-Marie Clarke, who work in London as a Theatre Consultant and Programme Manager respectively. He is the son of Kim Woodley who runs the wonderful Broadwater Manor School which has itself produced several talented actors. Jonathan, then, is a scion of Worthing, brought up in its rich tradition of producing  and repertory theatre. Jon was a member of the Worthing Youth Theatre based at the Connaught before going on to study Stage Management at the Royal Acadamy of Dramatic Art (RADA). After this he worked with amongst others, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Royal Opera House, the National Theatre of Ireland, Bill Kenwright Ltd, and Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. 

For three months he has laboured in the shadows taking the Council’s accounts and producing a startlingly good proposal to take the three theatres of Worthing into public trust ownership and running them quixotically for the  ‘benefit of the community’.

This week the Council Cabinet met to discuss the future of the theatres. Jon Woodley was invited to share his thoughts. An amazing concession in its own right.

The idea is that the Trust would take the Town’s Connaught and Pavilion Theatres and the Assembly Rooms into a social enterprise-based Trust or Community Interest Company, if a way can be found to avoid the protracted EU legislation on Asset Transfer from public to community ownership.

This campaign, of course, fits the Government template for ‘The Big Society’ to a ‘t’. Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary is already rubbing his hands together at the thought that a local community could take a significant public enterprise out of the public subsidy ditch and thrust it atop the Big Society hill, glittering and golden – and profitable.

A petition to save the theatres with 17,741 names was handed to the Meeting before proceedings began. That is approximately one-sixth of the population of Worthing or twenty-five full houses at the Assembly Hall.

The outcome of the meeting was three recommendations from the Cabinet Committee to do the following: 

  1. A Committee has been formed: this committee comprises of 4 councillors who have volunteered to set up a group, specifically in order to work alongside the council staff in investigating and implementing the best route of putting in place an alternative body to manage / run Worthing Theatres. 
  2. The Council staff (the Chief Executive and the Head of Arts and Leisure) have been requested to investigate the alternatives to a full EU procurement route, which include other alternatives such as Community Asset Transfer.
  3. The Councillors have requested that these actions take place as quickly as possible, in order to resolve the process and put in place another management (The Trust, for eg) as quickly as possible, to allow maximum preparation and transitional time for the Trust to be established and responsibility transferred.

A note of caution was sounded by Council officers who advised that Cabinet Members should not show favouritism with any party until it is legally established which method they can adopt.

Once the Council has made its recommendation about the direction it will take, Jon Woodley and the Trust will then register the Trust or charity in the correct form with Companies House.

Jon Woodley was understandably delighted with the outcome, “We have achieved everything we could at this stage. The support for the Theatres was overwhelming. Worthing is a passionate centre for theatre and the arts. We need the whole Community to get involved and help. We will need to raise funds in order to get the Trust up and running. This can be done via corporate sponsorship, donations in kind, membership schemes and advertising.”

In the meantime the political machine ticks over. The ‘Yes Minister’ contingent in the Department for Communities and Local Government, where Minister Eric Pickles (responsible for the promotion of ‘The Big Society’) was given a private briefing last week by Worthing Council Leader Paul Yallop, are already preparing press releases.

The Group has already been approached by a TV production company to take part in a series of documentaries about the Arts trying to survive the cuts, to be broadcast on BBC2 later in the year.

The interesting outcome is that at the meeting there was a single solitary soul in the room who wanted one tiny scintilla of the theatre provision in Worthing to touched. There were no Thatcher revivalists calling for the theatres to stand up and be profitable or die. Not a single councillor asked why they had been making a loss when the ticket sales were only averagely poor. Even the very organ of Government responsible for removing the funding for the Arts is looking like the cat who ate the cream at the prospect of ‘The Big Society’ being brought to life in little ol’ Worthing.

There are people already rehearsing their laissez-faire lines for television. A thought occurs. Cynically. Perhaps they should be on stage? They should stand up and be heard before the final curtain falls on theatre in Worthing.

The website is being set up: www.worthingtheatrestrust.co.uk

Go and visit your inheritance soon.

A Place in the Sun – my love affair with Tracey Thorn

Seashells and carousels – Tracey Thorn in The Marine Girls
I first stumbled across Tracey Thorn on the Cherry Red compilation ‘Pillow and Prayers’ in 1983. She had three songs on the album under her own name, The Marine Girls and Everything but the Girl. I was astounded by the maturity, magical resonance and mellifluous marshmellowness of her voice. I also loved the feeling of walking along Springtide beaches staring into rockpools that her voice conveyed.

I was at the leftish University of Sussex, camping out on the Vice-Chancellor’s lawn, protesting in a kind of self-harming way by occupying the Administration Block and thwarting attempts to distribute student grants (remember those?) to indigent students.  I would hang out in the Pulse Cafe at Sussex University, making out as a callow proto-revolutionary in Mandela Hall, visiting the Vinyl Demand record shop off Trafalgar Street, dipping into the vaguely seditious Solstice Bookshop (run by contemporary Paul Bonett, now a successful avant garde Estate Agent in Brighton) and engaging in some highly self-indulgent pirate radio activity.

Solstice Bookshop in the late 70s, Trafalgar St, Brighton

For a boy from Southend, transplanted to the exciting and Graham Greeneian Brighton landscape, Tracey Thorn’s melancholic voice accompanied this Bohemian existence perfectly and I rushed out to buy as much of her work as I could.

The all-female Marine Girls were formed by Tracey with her schoolmates Gina Hartman and Jane Fox in Hatfield, Herts England in 1980. At first, Tracey Thorn played guitar, with Gina on vocals and Jane on bass. There was a drummer shortage so the band applied necessity to invention and pursued a minimalist approach to arrangements. Gina Hartman sang on ‘A Place in the Sun’  and recorded the first album, ‘Beach Party’ before leaving (voluntarily) and was replaced by Jane Fox’s younger sister, Alice Fox on vocals. This was before Tracey Thorn first put voice to mic. The original trio recorded a tape called ‘A Day by the Sea’ and sold it to their mates. The Marine Girls eventually released two albums in the UK – 1982’s ‘Beach Party’ and 1983’s ‘Lazy Ways’. ‘Lazy Ways’ was produced by the band’s mentor, Stuart Moxham of Young Marble Giants.

The video for early single  ‘A Place in the Sun’ was shot on Brighton Beach and features some background footage of the now derelict West Pier. I looked in vain in the video for a glimpse of me with a crocodile of 100 German foreign language students – a Summer job I had at the time.

Whilst at Hull University, Tracey began writing her own material as the logistics of getting back south to write with the rest of the band was difficult between university breaks. The Marine Girls broke up after Tracey and Alice Fox fell out following a concert in Glasgow in 1983. Tracey then recorded her solo album ‘A Distant Shore’ which influenced Curt Cobain and others, before joining Ben Watt in Everything but the Girl. In 1997 Cherry Red Records packaged the two Marine Girls’ albums onto one CD and 4 years later spinART reissued the albums in the US.

 “We never really paid much attention to these so-called ‘rules’ about what a band was supposed to be,” Tracey said. “We didn’t know anyone who played drums, for example, so we just formed a band without a drummer.”
The very minimalism of the sound, instead of placing the album in an envelope between post-punk and the advent of the ‘Twee’ (Altered Images etc) movement, creates a timeless voice from the eighties bedsit low-fi chamber. Tracey’s unique voice remains a siren call from the caves of the southern isles which forever recreates the hours spent listening to these albums on headsets and Walkman on the stony, yet strangely comforting beaches of Brighton, Hove and Worthing.

Play these albums now and enjoy the waves gently lapping at the toes of your imagination.


Bass – Jane Fox (tracks: 1 to 31)
Guitar – Tracey Thorn (tracks: 1 to 31)
Percussion – Alice Fox (tracks: 15 to 31), Gina Hartman (tracks: 15 to 31)
Saxophone – Timothy Charles Hall (tracks: 1 to 14)
Vocals – Alice Fox (tracks: 1 to 31), Gina Hartman (tracks: 15 to 31), Tracey Thorn (tracks: 1 to 31)


Lazy Ways (Tracks 1 to 14)
‘Originally issued in album format 1983 BRED 44, and as a double play cassette with Beach Party C BRED 44’
Beach Party (Tracks 15 to 31)
‘Originally issued in album format 1981, Licensed from Whaam Records reissued on Cherry Red Records 1987 BRED 75′

Track Listing:

Lazy Ways

1. A Place In The Sun (2:31)
2. Leave Me With The Boy (1:50)
3. Falling Away (1:46)
4. Love To Know (2:52)
5. A Different Light (2:22)
6. Sunshine Blue (2:05)
7. Second Sight (2:58)
8. Don’t Come Back (2:01)
9. That Fink.Jazz-Me-Blues Boy (1:32)
10. Fever (2:14)
11. Shell Island (2:27)
12. Lazy Ways (2:42)
13. Such A Thing.. (2:22)
14. You Must Be Mad (2:02)

Beach Party
15. In Love (1:53)
16. Fridays (2:03)
17. Tonight? (1:19)
18. Times We Used To Spend (1:41)
19. Flying Over Russia (2:05)
20. Tutti Lo Sanno (2:21)
21. All Dressed Up (1:46)
22. Honey (2:02)
23. Holiday Song (2:12)
24. He Got The Girl (1:24)
25. Day/Night Dreams (1:10)
26. Promises (1:29)
27. Silent Red (1:33)
28. Dishonesty (2:16)
29. 20,000 Leagues (2:23)
30. Marine Girls (1:39)

31. The Lure of the Rock Pools (1:50) 

Marine Girls – A Place in the Sun – original video shot in Brighton 1982 – featuring rare footage of the West Pier and Peter Pan’s Playground:



The best undiscovered guitar album in the world, ever?

Adorable -  Against Perfection

Adorable were one of the pre-Oasis bands on Alan McGee’s Creation label. Hailing from Coventry in 1991, they consisted of  Piotr (Pete) Fijalkowski (vocals, guitar), Robert Dillam (guitar), Steven ‘Wil’ Williams (bass), and Kevin Gritton (drums).

Apart from one of the best guitar rock bands ever, there is an additional element of interest for me in that Pete Fijalkowski is now based in Brighton and plays local pub gigs including The Wheatsheaf.

After recording a 12” of “Sunshine Smile” (b/w “I’ll Be Your Saint” and “Breathless”) that was pressed to be released on record producer Pat Collier’s ‘Money To Burn,’ label the band signed to Creation Records in 1992, and after a UK tour supporting Curve they released their first single, a re-recording of “Sunshine Smile,” in May of that year.

“Sunshine Smile” was NME’s Single of the Week, and topped the Indie Singles chart as well as entering the mainstream UK single top 100 charts for three weeks. A backlash in the press against the band’s outspoken image immediately followed, and the band weren’t ever interviewed in the mainstream UK press after their debut single. The band released “I’ll Be Your Saint,” “Homeboy” and “Sistine Chapel Ceiling” (NME single of the Week), which all went into the Top 5 in the Indie charts, but failed to enter the mainstream Top 75.

Their masterpiece – the album Against Perfection, released in 1993, went to #70 in the album charts, and the band toured the USA, Europe, Australia & Japan.

The second album, Fake, could be perceived as more insular, which Fijalkowski himself suggests was the result of the band feeling vulnerable. Creation was reviewing their contract and Pete himself admits in the Cherry Red release of their best work ‘Footnotes’ that he was expecting to be dropped at any time (Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine – got the courtesy of a phone call from Alan McGee, Adorable didn’t).  The album does contain two of their best songs – Submarine and Road Movie  – but whilst  two singles (“Kangaroo Court” & “Vendetta” – see below) again entered high in the Indie Singles chart, the album didn’t trouble the mainstream Top 75 – and strained relations both within the band and with Creation resulted in the band announcing their split onstage in Brussels in late 1994.

In subsequent years, the band has been re-classified as being part of the shoegaze movement. However, the poetry of the lyrics and romanticism present in much of the songwriting makes this a misnomer. ‘A to Fade In’ remains one of the finest paeans to the fleeting nature of fame and the human condition ever written. Pete went on to form Polak and bands such as Ash & Oasis have acknowledged their admiration of the band.

Subsequent to the band’s demise Robert Dillam moved to Scotland where he joined The Zephyrs, whilst Fijalkowski went on to form the band Polak, who signed to One Little Indian Records.

A few years ago he was selling second hand books on the beach in front of Brighton’s crumbling West Pier. Noel Gallagher is a millionaire several times over.

Buy ‘Footnotes’ on Cherry Red (CDM RED 327) via Amazon.co.uk and discover the genius of Adorable for yourself.


Against Perfection (Creation / CRE 138) – Mar 1993
Fake (Creation / CRE 165) – Sept 1994
Footnotes – Best Of 92-94 (Cherry Red / CDMRED327) – Jan 2008

Sunshine Smile (Creation / CRE 127) – Apr 1992
I’ll Be Your Saint (Creation / CRE 133) – Jul 1992
Homeboy (Creation / CRE 140) – Oct 1992
Sistine Chapel Ceiling (Creation / CRE 153) – Jan 1993
Favourite Fallen Idol (Creation / CRE 159) – Apr 1993
Kangaroo Court (Creation / CRE 172) – Apr 1994
Vendetta (Creation / CRE 177) – Sept 1994

To enhance your listening pleasure and to rehabilitate Fijalkowski’s place in the annals of Rock I give you the following download of ‘Against Perfection’ and the singles ‘Kangaroo Court’ and ‘Vendetta’ – the latter being deleted and therefore impossible to find.