Nearly Whamageddon Happenstance.

This originally appeared on Facebook and Twitter the other week, and here it is in case you missed it. There’s a nice playlist in here too if you fancy making it to get you in the mood.

I had the car on Thursday and was bombing around the locality (!) doing my chores.

On social media it seemed as though everyone was getting in the spirit of things. There was a bit of a skirmish going on about Radio 1s decision to play a radio edit of ‘Fairytale of New York’ by The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl which reached number 2 in the charts in 1987.

Switched on Radio 6 Music and listened to the delightful Mary Anne Hobbs. Between the ace ‘Head Like a Hole’ by Nine Inch Nails and the new one by Mogwai called ‘Dry Fantasy’, she played ‘Pearly-Dewdrop’s-Drops’ by Cocteau Twins which is one of those Christmas songs that don’t feature Christmas, and always puts me in the right frame of mind.

It was a crisp November day and I was heading from Selly Park up to Bournville Garden Centre. The Centre was now resplendent with Christmas haberdashery, golds and greens and sparkly lights. Father Christmas’ of all shapes and sizes manned the doors, eyes twinkling behind round spectacles.

On the speaker system they played ‘A Spaceman Came Travelling’ by Chris de Burgh and ‘Ring Out Solstice Bells’ by Jethro Tull. Was this going to be the day? Was this going to be the day of Whamageddon? 12 days early? I waited with baited breath.

The next song in the queue was the most punk rock single since ‘Pretty Vacant’, ‘The Millennium Prayer’ by Cliff Richard. Cliff’s an anarchist and doesn’t give a fuck about you or your clique.

Got back into the car to leave the Centre and did a bit of wonderfully cack-handed driving trying to figure out the one way system. Mary Anne Hobbs was now playing ‘Raining Blood’ by Slayer.

Had a coffee and a bit of a mooch about Bournville Green which was as wonderful as it always is. A place out of time, a wonderful sanctuary for my busy brain.

Got back in the car. The delightful Shaun Keaveney was now playing ‘Everything She Wants’ by Wham! Close to Whamageddon, indeed, on the Wham! The Final CD it’s programmed after the ‘Pudding Mix’ of the-song-that-must-not-be-named. Track 8 and 9 respectively.

Got to Morrisons. Can’t remember what was playing. But walking down the aisle to get to the self-scan queue I noticed that not only are they selling Wham! The Final CD for a tenner but also George Michael’s Faith on CD for a fiver (with one of the best album covers ever.)

This is interesting because the Faith album was released in late 1987, which is when ‘Fairytale of New York’ was released.


For earlier writing on George Michael, a life collecting (and selling) records and childhood memories, please click here.

For more on #whamageddon, who this year are partnering with Great Ormond Street Hospital, please click here.

Morrissey Dream

A dream I had about Morrissey, which we may be able to learn something from.

It’s called Morrissey Dream.

Morrissey was dead. He’s been photographed hanging out with some Proud Boys, kicking in chairs and knocking down tables. He was in a bad way, and later, in his hotel room, he took his own life.

The reaction on social media was startling. As much as some vilified him for his beliefs later on in life, he still was a hero to others. Whilst his fans poured out their grief, the vilifiers reflected, typing #thoughts.

This started trending, and waves of acceptance of each others’ differences spread throughout the world.

Whilst all this was happening, Guru of Gang Starr also passed away. The fact that the acclaimed MC passed away in 2010 is not relevant to this story. It was a dream.

They both found themselves in the afterlife. A bit like lovely Netflix drama ‘The Good Place’ (recommended.) And there was no hostility, even though you would have thought that was the case.

It all started when Guru had bought a tandem bicycle, and couldn’t find anyone to ride with him. Up popped Morrissey, and the two hit it off.

The best bit was when Morrissey bought a motorbike and sidecar, and you can imagine the larks that ensued.

Hinterland: Renegotiating the Archive – A new artwork by Georgiou & Tolley

Hinterland: Renegotiating the Archive: Sound and Picture Poems

Darryl Georgiou and Rebekah Tolley-Georgiou

This blog is a brief overview of ‘Hinterland: Renegotiating the Archive: Sound and Picture Poems’, a new artwork by Darryl Georgiou and Rebekah Tolley-Georgiou. The work is part of Creative Multilingualism / Slanguages, an AHRC funded project led by Oxford University, investigating connections between linguistic diversity and creativity.

Hinterland means many things.

Hinterland: Renegotiating the Archive – Sound & Picture Poems, explores the notion of multilingualism, cross-cultural encounters, and the ‘untranslatable’; a project to fill the holes in language and visualise something, when language isn’t quite enough.”Read More »

Music as mind enhancement or simply, Green.

This is the first in a series of proposed audio/visual projects I want to explore and research over the next few years, the specific reasons for why will eventually become clear he says enigmatically. 

The first one I want to look at is ‘Music as mind enhancement’ or simply, ‘Green.’ Seems very obvious when you think about it, with music having the power to evoke strong emotions, or a state of just being and enjoying the moment, but what I’m interested in is looking further into the narratives and sensations I feel when I listen to certain styles and pieces of music.

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Arts Forum Selly Oak – discussing art under isolation – meeting 09/04/2020

I chaired an Arts Forum Selly Oak meeting on Thursday 9 April over Zoom. The brief was to – “discuss initiatives and ways in which artists can support themselves during this unprecedented time, share ideas and thoughts on how to deliver the arts to the public in isolation, and figure out if there is anything that the Forum network can help with.” The Forum is part of a wider network, Number 11 Arts, that enables local communities and artists to engage with one another, and with the wider artistic community in Birmingham.

To start with we looked at the way in which some of the major arts organisations in Birmingham are moving their work online so that people of all ages can access their work under isolation. Then we looked at this within the Selly Oak district, and then analysed how the Forum could use these models.

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Sunday Xpress in Isolation Mode at Centrala – Announcement

For the foreseeable future Sunday Xpress will be broadcasting their events online on Centrala‘s Facebook platform and kept on YouTube.

This is a call-out for poets, artists and groups to get involved with some special ‘isolation mode’ shows: Send us video files of performances in bedrooms, sheds, gardens, front and back rooms, wherever as long as you’re social-isolating – sticking to that Sunday Xpress freedom of expression and diverse programming ethos that we’ve all grown to love over the years.

And it doesn’t have to be something new – you can send existing material, promo videos, short films, anything. They will be compiled into a suitable running order, and compered by the wonderful Brendan Higgins, pre-recorded from his sitting room in Yardley.



No payment fee for this, but there will be an option for viewers to donate to a musicians and performers charity to be decided by the Sunday Xpress and Centrala.

And you don’t have to be a regular or a West Midlands resident – this is open as you want it to be.

Tech bit (ask someone you know for help in this!)

Minimum Width : 120 pixels
Minimum Height : 120 pixels
Minimum Aspect Ratio : 100×400
Maximum Aspect Ratio : 400×100

So yes – any files – send them over to me at I’m hoping to have enough for a few programmes so flood them in. I look forward to curating!! (is that right/is that what they say)

All the best

Jim xxxxx

Exploring art under self-isolation in Birmingham (and beyond.)

I’ve been talking to a couple of arts organisations about what their plans are to showcase their arts programming, and also to get people to engage with art, whilst part of the world currently gets to grips with the fact that getting out and about may be a bit more limited than what they have been used to as 21st century citizens. But already there individual artists and organisations are taking  steps to surmount all obstacles, and this blog will take a micro look at a macro phenomenon. Starting of course, in Birmingham.

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Trailer #1: ‘UK Theme’ – a radio play on the nostalgia bubble, post-Brexit terminology and test signals.

‘UK Theme’ is an idea I’ve had for a while, a play about a radio producer who tries to decipher a code in a piece of music that used to open up the day on Radio 4. This blog should be read as a trailer for the play, and will be followed up by a second one later on in the month (if I’m being realistic, though if it comes sooner you’ll be alright.)

I was heading to the Midlands Arts Centre (MAC) on the 25th of January  to see a 4K restoration of Alejandro Jodrowsky’s El Topo (1970.) I was listening tothe Radio 3 programme ‘Freeness’ as presented by Corey Mwamba, a special programme profiling the Ideas of Noise festival that ran across fantastic venues in the West Midlands. 

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Introducing ‘The Post-Satire Trilogy’…

This week I will be publishing a long-form blog about events that have shaped the 21st century. The blog will reference three books I started writing throughout 2004-2009, and never completed. Due to the current political situation I feel that the books do need to be finished, and what will be appearing on this blog will be a synopsis of the work. The finished book, I am hoping, will be released as ‘The Post-Satire Trilogy’, and will be an overview of these books, piecing together the narrative with socio-political commentary, and also my reasons for writing the work.

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Sunday Xpress meets Surprise Attacks…Live at Centrala 17.11…

A special Sunday Xpress event brought to you alongside Worcester-based promoter Surprise Attacks, all in our lovely home at Centrala. Seven bands for your enjoyment, including Dame Area – all the way from Barcelona – and a headline slot from Xpress favourites The Courtesy Group.

Here’s the line-up, and hopefully in order of what to expect on the day, in order of appearance. All timing are approximate, but we hope to get things rolling a bit earlier. Doors open 4pm for soundchecks. Get there for 5 and we’ll take care of the rest. It’s going to be a long night. 

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