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Sun 23rd Oct - Lemmy and Premmy stuff

I do love my rock biography films.

Thanks to the recent ‘Back and Forth’ DVD I’ve been playing Foo Fighters stuff constantly on my iPod and subconsciously wishing I was Dave Grohl.

Now, by contrast, I honestly don’t wish that I was Lemmy from Motorhead, but having watched his 2010 documentary this week, I can at least empathise with him. A man who epitomises the rock and roll ethos - all that is commendable and worthy of the man, as well as plenty that you can’t condone but still have to wonder at. Like, how is this man still walking the earth? Is a one-armed bandit the weirdest thing to have as a dressing room demand? And how can he still hear anything?

Lemmy truly is unique. A genuine bonafide warts ‘n’ all embodiment of a lifestyle that about 0.00001% of those rock stars who claim to follow his doctrine are being truthful about. I love the but where he admits that he’d probably still be in Hawkwind if he hadn’t been booted out for being drug-busted on the Canadian border. I love the fact that the answer he gives to “What’s the most precious thing to you in this room?”, he answers “My son…” And he doesn’t live in a crib either. If Bo Selecta was going to take the piss about someone's house....

I did meet Lemmy once when he paid a visit to the Edwards No. 8 Rock Club on a warm summer Saturday night in Birmingham. He was sat at Harry’s Bar, an area away from the loudest dance floor, happily drinking Jack & Coke and chatting without the slightest semblance of attitude to those who dared approach him. And most didn’t dare as I recall – he just looked too hard (and still does) Our singer in Shotgun Wedding, John, held no such fears though, and was straight in there for a natter-Lemmy was gracious and accommodating. John will remember more about that conversation than me (or perhaps not!) but most rock stars wouldn’t have even gone to set foot in a rock club, let alone patiently speak to punters asking him a million and one questions.

And he does have the best bass sound ever. Whenever The Three Amoebas play our (very occasional) gigs, ‘Ace Of Spades’ is still my favourite number to play on the drums.

He will outlive us all.

Found myself being pressed into service as talkSPORT commentator in extremis last Sunday. Having covered West Ham/Blackpool on the Sat afternoon, I’d then headed back to the studios to present my usual 9pm-midnight shenanigans with Alvin Martin. Halfway through the programme, I got a text of Nigel “no mistake at all” Pearson, who was set to be the man on the mike for West Brom/Wolves the next day…only he’d just become a daddy and wasn’t leaving the hospital anytime soon.

And so arrangements were quickly made for me to assume commentary duties alongside Stan Collymore. You do have to be prepared for such last-minute changes in this job - lest we forget how many last-minute replacements for Alan Brazil I’ve had!! This just meant a bit more prep and a bit less sleep once I’d returned home to the Midlands at around 2am. It is staggering just how many middle-lane huggers one encounters on the M40 at that time of night. I counted 12 between the M25 link and Warwick Services - a sad thing to count, I know, but being pissed off with them does keep you awake better than cans of Monster or Relentless caffeine-packed legal highs.

The game itself was a good one, crammed full of the usual high-octane challenges and no quarter commitment you’d expect from a Black Country Derby, but Albion won the day due to their ability to finish the odd chance that they created, whilst Wolves simply couldn’t quite get the final ball right. I’m a little concerned at the form of Matt Jarvis, whose wing-play has stunted a little since his England call-up, and Jamie O’Hara looked nowhere near as comfortable playing as the support striker in a 4-4-1-1 as he did last spring. But for all Wolves’ shortcomings, it’s worth noting that Gareth Macauley, the Baggies centre half, was given the Man Of The Match award, with Jonas Olsson surely not very far behind him.

And that was why Mick McCarthy wasn’t too despondent or tetchy in his post-match press conference – although the next home game vs Swansea is one where the home support will be primed for hostility were the visitors to score first. I’ve seen Wolves fans get prickly quickly with their own – former skipper Paul Butler got dogs abuse one game against Grimsby back in their Championship days – boss Dave Jones was quick to jump to his captain’s defence afterwards, and rightly so. It was bang out of order. Karl Henry is the latest to be under the fans negative scrutiny…even if he scored and broke his Premier League duck on Saturday, it would only satisfy those dissenting voices up to a point.

UPDATE And that’s EXACTLY what happened at Molineux as Swansea went 2-up. Never heard home fans chanting ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning!” to their own manager – that’s usually the playful domain of away fans to a home boss…like Man City fans have just done to Fergie. Mick does not deserve such in-game abuse. Nor does any boss. Boo your own during the half rather than at half or full time and you might as well put the oppositions shirt, bobble hat and sponge pointy finger on whilst you’re at it. Only ever booed once when it wasn’t half or full time… that was when Paul Furlong flung his Blues shirt to the pitch after TF substituted him against the Albion. Never disrespect the shirt if you’re given the honour of wearing it.

And whist we’re on the subject down the road at St Andrew’s, my rag-tag bunch of frees, the unwanted and the unloved continued to gain momentum by beating moneybags Leicester by 2-0. Quite how Chris Hughton is drawing performances such as these out of this ‘getting to know you’ squad is utterly beyond me. But it is damn impressive. I knew Chris Burke would be a hit having watched him flourish at Cardiff, but the emergence of loan signing Chris Wood has been so so pleasing, as has the versatility of someone like Wade Elliot coming in from Burnley.

And then there was the total glory and majesty of Thursday night in Bruges – what a finish, and what a fillip for this squad and the hoards of fans that travelled out to see it. 1 away win in Europe is amazing. 2 in a row just feels greedy somehow. Top of the group too – can’t help smiling to myself as I type that…

I am still of the opinion that automatic promotion is a totally unrealistic notion for Blues, but never rule out the possibility of a play-off place for any side in the Championship at this point in the season.

Whilst Ricky Gervais takes many plaudits (and rightly so) for his comedies The Office & Extras, the role of his co-writer Stephen Merchant has always been a rather shadowy one. Infact when listening to the legendary podcasts with Ricky Stephen and Karl Pilkington, it’s often Merchant who delivers the best lines and wittiest responses to Karl’s drivel.

Whether he could pull off an entire stand-up show solo was another matter, but having seen him at Symphony Hall on Monday night, I can happily report that he is funny and that he doesn’t necessarily always need the ‘crutch’ of his usual cohorts alongside him. A very self-deprecating routine based loosely on his fruitless search for a potential Mrs Merchant, there were plenty of smart observations and a quite brilliantly conceived encore section involving unwitting audience members which I shan’t spoil for those who are yet to see him…but to paraphrase my wife, he is ‘as funny as he thinks he is’ – which is no mean feat.

I’m typing this last para at Wembley Stadium 2 hours ahead of the NFL International series between Tampa Bay & Chicago. Just checked and Mike Ditka is no longer Bears coach and the Fridge isn’t playing…it’s been a while.

Nice place, Wembley – not been here since…… :o))))))))))))))

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