Tuesday 1 April 2014

When It's Five O' Clock in Italy: A Cultural Catch-Up

Generally, I like old soul too much to have much patience for neo-soul, but I was impressed when I caught up with Gregory Porter on a youtube clip (the source was Later with Jools Holland), on a friend's recommendation. Marie-Claire recently saw him in person at The Lowry and was glowing in her praise. 


As for prospective gigs, one of the most interesting is the Robert Glasper and Soweto Kinch double bill at The Academy tomorrow. I probably won't be there: at £17.50 plus booking fee, it's a bit out of my price range. 

I only caught three films at the Viva Festival this year: two were brilliant - Pelo Malo (Bad Hair) and La Jaula de oro (The Golden Dream), and one was rubbish (Pense que iba a haber una fiesta)

But the second week of Viva found me in London, researching and interviewing for the Bill Leader book, which is going well, thanks, albeit painfully slowly. 

Eva has just shouted from the next room that the new mayor of Paris is Spanish. Rising stars to look out for now include Gregory Porter and Anne Hidalgo. 

Two films need to go back to Lovefilm, both warmly recommended: Madeinusa (from Peru), and the Wim Wenders documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams

What else am I up to, culturally,speaking? Well, I'm hooked on repeats off Charles Chilton's Journey Into Space on Radio 4 Extra. There might even be a link with the book. Which is to say, the give-away sign that an Earth astronaut's mind has come under the sway of Martians is that they start to sing a particular song, and that song is an old music-hall ditty called 'When It's Five O' Clock in Italy, It's Night-Time Over Here'. 

Wild, eh? 

I thought it might be something Charles Chilton and John Foreman cooked up between them in a pub somewhere. John Foreman, a big music hall-man, was my interviewee in London. He denied it, but knew Charles Chilton. So I asked Bill, and he offered a nice Charles Chilton story which resulted in Confederate flags being festooned in a window display at that left-wing bastion, Collett's. For the full details, you'll have to buy the book (when it's out). 


  1. Hi Mike,I have it on good recommendation that 'Cave of Forgotten Dreams ' is actually by Werner Hezog and not Wim Wenders...........

  2. Of course it is! This is why I need a proof reader badly. If I can't get through a simple 200-word blog without making a serious clunker, imagine an entire book! Luckily Dave White, who works as assistant editor at Rock 'n' Reel, has offered his services (when the time comes). He proved his worth by correcting the placement of an apostrophe in the title of a Paddy Tunney LP I name-checked in my piece about Bill Leader's Gold Badge event, scheduled for the next issue: from A Wild Bee's Nest to a A Wild Bees' Nest. Yes, I had a singular bee rather than a collective. Honest! I must be going mad!

  3. Indeed, I even got the title of the music-hall song wrong. The correct title is 'When It's Night-Time in Italy, It's Wednesday Over Here'. Robin Dransfield covers it on his 1980 LP, Tidewave (with thanks to John Foreman for turning up extra verses).


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