An Angle On The British News
March 14, 2014

An Angle On The British News


Here’s a couple of snippets from the UK news that I picked up this week. But just remember – it’s not my fault, I just live here.

First up, Rolling Stone and Caribbean Pirate Keith Richards gets down with the kids. The 70 plus rock star has a reputation for surviving the worst excesses of the rock scene. That face, chiseled and carved like a Google Earth view of the Karakoram Mountains, is well known enough but if you were taking your grandkids for a walk and saw him swashbuckling your way you might just be tempted to cross the road. “Mr Riff” seems to have abandoned a wild lifestyle long enough to pen a new book for children. With nepotic illustrations by his daughter the book, entitled Gus & Me: The Story of My Grandfather and my First Guitar, will celebrate the life of his grandfather – the jazz musician Theodore Augustus Dupree who inspired Keith to take up the right kind of axe. The once stoned Stone has become all gooey over the fact that he has just become a granddad for the fifth time. I would love to be there when he sits one of the little ones on his knee and, as that tree-bark head stares down lovingly, they ask him “Were you a good boy granddad?” The book has been written “with” a co-author and is not his first. The first ten pages of his autobiography reputedly added US $7.3 million to the coffers to secure the deal and the book went on to ship over two million copies. Richards follows in the wake of other pop/rock wannabe children’s writers like Dylan, Madonna, and Beatles Starr and McCartney who had mixed success. If the labored title is anything to go by I don’t see this latest attempt threatening to knock the J.K. Rowlings and Roald Dahls of this world off their literary pedestals. Still, he has nothing to prove to anyone, a unique style of guitar playing made him one of the greats.

Next, an unusual job vacancy has just been filled at Chartwell, the grand former country mansion of Winston Churchill now owned by the National Trust. As the Trust’s job description mainly involves roaming at will around the elegant grounds, having your photo taken, being a social media celebrity, being courteous to visitors and even being “petted” by them, there should be no shortage of applicants looking for a cushy number in palatial surroundings. The other requirements narrowed the field somewhat. To get the gig you need to be “affectionate, inquisitive, welcoming, and playful.” I could do that I reckon but then I fell at the next fence – the applicant needs to be living in a rescue centre and be marmalade colored with a white bib and four white socks. This is the story of Britain’s top feline job – to become the sixth cat in residence at Churchill’s home, following his dying wishes that there should always be a cat in the place. The first was given to the ex-Prime Minister on his 88th birthday and named Jock after the donor, one of his private secretaries. The search for Jock VI must have been a bit like the Tibetans scouring the land for the reincarnation of the Dalai Lama. Apparently the new incumbent had to have his green cat-flap door approved by inspectors from the Historic Buildings department and likes sleeping, tuna and the luxurious feel of the Persian rugs but is a bit less enamored with bright lights and opera. You can’t have it all Jock – play easy boy or you might end up back at the Cat’s Home.

Image Credit: Thinkstock

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Eric Hopton is a writer, musician, artist, and photographer. He has a degree in Social Anthropology and has always been passionate about travel, having so far visited 73 countries. His music and sound work has been used in many projects around the world and can be heard on Bandcamp and Freesound, where he has contributed over 1,300 sounds under his sonic alter ego, ERH.

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