I’m a longtime fan of John LeCarre, I keep trying to read, see or hear anything and everything by or about him.
Consequently I’m a recent convert to Alan Furst, a very prolific writer who has written an extensive series of novels which, by and large are set in the Europe of the 1930’s and relate to the nazis, the Spanish civil war and espionage in general, a precursor if you like to Smiley. A wonderful and highly recommended author. Ask Wiki,
And then there’s the business with Khashoggi and Saudi Arabia, an oozing sore on the face of the planet. In 1988 Hillary Mantell and her husband lived in Jeddah, she wrote a book about her experiences there, it’s “Eight months on Ghazzah Street’ If you’re ever tempted to go to Saudi Arabia, don’t, read this instead.
Also I recently finished her novel,’A change of climate’ which is set in rural Norfolk and Botswana, another winner.
What are other Spillers reading obsessions these days?

One more detail: read Jay Raynor’s article on today’s front page, I wish I could write like he does.


When first we started talking about this 10 list business about 5-6 weeks ago I made a comment that I thought that the idea of standing in line for a ‘Wednesday’ posting opportunity was silly, especially since there was no structure and no one seemed anxious to assume whatever role was needed. Instead I suggested total anarchy, if you have a list ready to go, just post it. If 2 or 3 or 4 all post on the same day [extremely unlikely] , so what. we’re all capable of dealing with several items simultaneously and that includes playlists. All it would involve is establishing priorities, play this one first, then this , then that, simple. When I posted that comment there was no disagreement and even a couple of hear-hears, so I’m going to initiate that anarchy and not wait two weeks to post what I have already on my desktop and I suggest that anyone who chooses to post on this topic do likewise.
Here’s my first go, The Blues, with A and B lists, each with a bonus #11.

The Blues and jazz, often said to be America’s contribution to world culture started in the southern states right after emancipation. Individual freed slaves with nothing more than a primitive guitar sang about their burdens and the iniquities of life in a racist society. With the advent of instrumental jazz in New Orleans at the beginning of the twentieth century two separate forms evolved, country blues, i.e., simple single voices usually with just a guitar, and a more sophisticated instrumental form where the idiom was adapted into the evolving instrumental music, the beginnings of jazz. In the following lists there are examples of both styles. intermixed.


OK, here’s a thought. Suppose we had an ongoing post here that was basically a Spill billboard? A place to add any comment or question that need not be related to any existing post, it could be a comment about anything that might be annoying or delighting you, a place to post a youtube item or some such that you needed to share. If we’re lucky we might figure out how to post photos on it. I think it would be a useful addition to the Spill.

So, consider this post to be the first of many, I’ll repost it every week, if I fail someone needs to step up if it’s thought to be worthwhile


OK, for starters, there’s an ongoing¬† news item that concerns me, it possibly relates to Brexit, and also perhaps to some social attitudes in UK. Recently in the Guardian there was a story about a group of men in Yorkshire, possibly in Bradford who were arrested and charged with sexual assault of minors, young teenage girls. Their photos were included and in the article and it was noted that they were all from Pakistan. There was little doubt that they were all guilty, as were a similar group about a year ago in Rotherham, the first group numbered about maybe a dozen, the second 5-6. My first question is why is this happening and the second is, is it a factor in peoples voting to leave the EU, i.e. to return to the ‘good old days’ before the advent of immigrants? Re. the first question I’m curious if there’s a cultural component, consider; there’s a large group of young men, mostly unemployed, mostly ill educated, all living as a cultural group in an ‘potentially hostile society’. They all have young men’s natural urges which may be more easily allayed ‘back home’, does any of that relate to the problem?

Anyone have any comments or thoughts on this topic?

A new anthem for the Supreme Court.

It seems we now need to re-asses our Supreme Court, they need a new anthem.

“Every Breath You Take”
Every breath you take
Every move you make
Every bond you break
Every step you take
We’ll be watching you

Every single day
Every word you say
Every game you play
Every night you stay
We’ll be watching you

Every move you make
Every vow you break
Every smile you fake
Every claim you stake
We’ll be watching you

And that’s not just us, it’s all women plus the entire media of these United States, you’ll wish you’d never heard that phrase – ‘Supreme Court’.

From The [Brass] Bandroom


As many of you know, one of the reasons my car (bought brand new six years ago) has passed 140,000 miles is my commitment to my DadTaxi role. Jessica [DsSis] gets – literally – more mileage from this than Darcey does, and at least twice a week, that means a short trip to Huddersfield for Jess to play at Hammonds Band practices.

Hammonds, currently ranked the 17th best brass band in the world, dontchakno’?, recently recorded a programme for Chapel FM’s From The Bandroom series. If anyone fancies a bit of a musical change, here’s their hour: 

Barely believably, near the end, in one of the link interviews between pieces, Jess actually speaks! More than one sentence too!! Doesn’t say anything you couldn’t have scripted, but hey-ho, small steps, eh?

DR. OLIVER SACHS, an appreciation.

There’s something I’ve wanted to introduce to the Spill audience for quite a long time but I’ve kept prevaricating. It’s radio, does anyone listen to radio anymore? I’ve spent my life listening to radio almost daily, delete that ‘almost’, I listen to radio every day and have done so for as long as I can remember, it started in about 1940. I’m not talking about pop music radio, I don’t think I’ve listened to that in about 50 plus years, I’m talking about what I consider to be ‘serious’ radio, non commercial interesting adult stuff, you know, arts, culture, politics, music, that sort of thing.

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Ten Tracks – Joan Armatrading

It doesn’t look like anyone else has a list planned for this week so here’s a quick one without any helpful accompanying notes. Still, you will probably know most of these already. They’re not in chronological order. Like in a set-list I saved the big hits until the end.


Baby Blue Eyes

It Could Have Been Better

Loving What You Hate

Somebody Who Loves You

Steppin’ Out

What Do You Want?

Into the Blues


Drop the Pilot

Love and Affection