He’s 14.

You’re feeling nervous, aren’t you, boy?
With your quiet voice and impeccable style
Don’t ever let them steal your joy
And your gentle ways, to keep ’em from running wild
They can kick dirt in your face
Dress you down, and tell you that your place
Is in the middle, when they hate the way you shine
I see you tugging on your shirt
Trying to hide inside of it and hide how much it hurts
Let ’em laugh while they can
Let ’em spin, let ’em scatter in the wind
I have been to the movies, I’ve seen how it ends
And the joke’s on them

Here we go: 



When I first heard Blackstar.

I just shook my head.

Then I saw the video to Lazarus.

And I shook my head again.


Lazarus is such a smart, neat piece of music.

A poem.

Set to – just – the coolest music.

Against the backdrop of such a beautifully weird and theatrical little film.

Look up here, I’m in heaven
I’ve got scars that can’t be seen
I’ve got drama, can’t be stolen
Everybody knows me now



Here is Part 1:

And here below is The Lyrics Game Part 2.

Don’t cheat.

10 lyrics this time.

From songs you’ve heard.

See how many you get.

Answers below.

(Scroll down.

But not until you’ve done your best, OK?

If you get 10 you’re pretty cool).

  1. Look at your children. See their faces in golden rays. Don’t kid yourself they belong to you. They’re the start of a coming race.
  2. We lived in the shadows and we had the chance and threw it away. And it’s never gonna be the same, ‘cause the years are falling by like the rain.
  3. What have I become? My sweetest friend. Everyone I know. Goes away in the end.
  4. 57 Mount Pleasant Street.
  5. Sleep, pretty darling. Do not cry. And I will sing a lullaby.
  6. Well it’s been building up inside of me for oh I don’t know how long. I don’t know why but I keep thinking something’s bound to go wrong.
  7. We’re no strangers to love. You know the rules and so do I.
  8. The gods may throw a dice. Their minds as cold as ice. And someone way down here. Loses someone dear.
  9. Shooting stars never stop. Even when they reach the top. Shooting stars never stop. Even when they reach the top. There goes a supernova. What a pushover-yeah. There goes a supernova. What a pushover.
  10. If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me?

Answers below.














  1. Oh! You Pretty Things. David Bowie.
  2. Hello. Oasis.
  3. Hurt. Johnny Cash/Nine Inch Nails.
  4. Weather With You. Crowded House.
  5. Golden Slumbers. The Beatles.
  6. Don’t Worry Baby. The Beach Boys.
  7. Never Gonna Give You Up. Rick Astley.
  8. The Winner Takes It All. ABBA.
  9. Welcome To The Pleasuredome. Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
  10. Free Bird. Lynyrd Skynyrd.

YES! A must listen:

One Christmas Day.

In my early 20s.

My ‘early grown up’ years, if you like.

I found myself sat around a strange table.

In a strange house.

With strange people.

Pushing turkey around a plate.


A couple of half-mouthfuls into the meal.

I sensed myself floating.

Well, it felt like floating.

Because as the conversation ricocheted around me.

And across me.

I became aware that I hadn’t looked up from my plate for a good two minutes.

I became aware that I was pushing food around my plate.

I became aware that I felt alone.


And it was part way through one of these plate-stares that I felt the stinging in my eyes.

And the warm tears rolling down my face.

Just a couple of them.

And I remember thinking:

I hope no one noticed that.

And I also remember thinking:


I hope they did.


My new girlfriend was sat to my right.

But I didn’t know her, of course.

She was new.

We were new.

And the beautiful, perfectly Christmassy room.

Packed with her uncles, aunts, mum and dad, sisters and brothers was all new too.

And I remember thinking.

That it’s funny how you can feel so alone.

When you’re not alone.

The Invitation.

It had seemed like a good idea at the time.

A new girlfriend inviting me to her place.

For Christmas Day.

Especially because the house I shared with my friends in Newcastle was empty over the Christmas period.

And especially as my mum’s house contained my drunk, bullying coward of a stepdad.

So when the invitation came.

I went.

Grown ups.

I want to go home.

I thought.

I didn’t say it out loud of course.

Grown ups can’t say things like that out loud.

Can they?

But then I thought to myself that.


I didn’t actually want to go home.

What I actually wanted.

Was a home.


On Christmas Day in 2019.

I was sat in my home.

In an imperfectly Christmassy room.

With all the right people.

And my mind floated back 29 years.

To a 22 year old me.

A teary me.

A lonely me.

Sat in a perfectly Christmassy room.

With all the wrong people.

I thought about my journey.

From there.

To here.

I thought about the people I’d known that would make my homes over the years.

And I thought about the people I’d known that would break my homes over the years.

I tried to dilute the bitterness I can still taste so vividly.

With the pockets of happiness I remember so warmly.

During my teenage years.

And during every decade since.

And naturally.

I thought about The Smiths too.

Singing this:


I love this song because of how the lead singer looks.

What a fine looking chap!


I also love this song because of how he sings it.

And because of the way the keyboard brings the tune to life.

And that short saxophone solo.


But most of all I love this song because of these two lines:

‘Cause we all have wings.

But some of us don’t know why.

And because of how he sings these two lines.

Here it is:


Have a great 2020.

I hope you fly.


In 1988.

On Tuesday the 21st of June.

At about 6.30pm.

I was walking past The City Hall in Newcastle upon Tyne.

I was 20 years old.


And in 1995.

7 years later.

On Thursday 7th December.

Mid morning.

I was wandering by Central Station in Newcastle City Centre.

Aged 27 years old.

The First Day.

On that first day in 1988.

At 6.30pm.

A guy outside Newcastle City Hall tried to sell me a ticket to see Stevie Ray Vaughan.

The concert started at 7.30pm.

I’d never heard of him so the guy (exasperated) laughed, shook his head and just gave me a ticket.

Stevie Ray Vaughan was good!

And that there ‘Wikipedia’ tells me that Stevie Ray Vaughan:

…was an American musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer, and one of the most influential guitarists in the revival of blues in the 1980s.

He is commonly referred to as one of the greatest guitar players of all time.

Which is nice.

And sad too, actually.

Because Stevie Ray Vaughan died under 2 years later.

Aged just 35 years old.

In in a helicopter crash.

On his way back from playing live with Eric Clapton.

The Second Day.

On that second day.

Seven years later.

In 1995.

As I was wandering past Newcastle Central Station.

A couple of guys asked me if I wanted two free tickets to the opening night concert at ‘The Arena’ in Newcastle.

The tickets were for that very night.

I’d not even heard of The Arena, as it goes.

And I didn’t know who was playing.

But I said yes, anyway.

And as the guy with the tickets handed them to me.

He leaned in and, still holding one end of the tickets as I held the other.

He said this to me,

You will go won’t you?

I paused.


I said.

And the guys wandered off.

RP. RT. 

Seeing the 1988 Stevie Ray Vaughan concert was really something.

Right place.

Right time.

And seeing the 1995 David Bowie concert.

For free.

On the opening night of The Newcastle Arena.

That was really something, too.

When Coldplay first happened.

19 years ago.

In 2000.

I really liked them.


Yet with the passing of time.

I was unsure if I really liked Coldplay ‘back then’ simply because they were new.

And I was unsure if I grew to like them less because they became popular.

(This is quite typical of course).

But, these days, there is no uncertainty in my mind.

I am sure why I liked them in the beginning.

It’s because Parachutes is the best album they ever did.


Parachutes is the album that Chris Martin sings best on.

These are the songs that his voice was born for.

The songs are simple.

And bare.

And beautiful.

And here it is:


2011 is my favourite.

John Lewis Adverts.

There have been 13 John Lewis adverts.

The first was in 2007.

And it was called ‘Shadow’.


Here’s the set:

2007. Shadow.

2008.  Clues.

2009.  The Feeling.

2010.  A Tribute to the Givers.

2011.  The Long Wait.

2012.  The Journey.

2013.  The Bear and the Hare.

2014.  Monty the Penguin.

2015.  The Man on the Moon.

2016.  Buster the Boxer.

2017. Moz the Monster.

2018. The Boy and the Piano.

2019. Edgar the Dragon.



What about you?

Here they all are: