John Gabriel Borkman, Henrik Ibsen, Lyttleton Theatre, 20 July 1996

This was a great production of great play.  Paul Scofield as the big man, Vanessa Redgrave as the long-suffering wife, a great supporting cast, Richard Eyre directing, what was not to like?

Janie doesn’t tend to like “classics” but tends to makes an exception for Ibsen. This production was no exception to her exception.

As is often the case, the Lyttleton did the play no favours, too big and set back for intimacy yet not quite big enough or shaped right to be the big stage. But when the only criticism one can muster is that, the fact is that this was a great night at the theatre and I am so glad we saw this production.

Paul Taylor in the Independent loved it – click here.

Here’s another little review archive link – click here.

But in truth, you had to be there.  One of the more memorable evenings at the theatre.



Coke Olympics, NewsRevue Lyric, 16 July 1996

Not my best ever lyric, this one. I don’t think it was used, but perhaps it was.

I guess I was irritated about Coca Cola’s prominence in the Olympics marketing that summer. But the games were being held in Atlanta Georgia, so what did I realistically expect?

Anyway, here are my lyrics:

(To the Tune of “The First Time”)

First line, first drug,
What a feeling is this?
Electricity surge
Extra power, what bliss.
Like a break in the clouds in the Atlanta sun
With the sound of the crowds now the contest’s begun.
These are amateur games with professional kit,
And a whole load of substance abuse, the Olympics are shit,
The Olympics are shit.


When they were new,
The Olympics were fair and true,
Now there just are no words to describe the deception
Oh no no no


Big dosh, such hype,
What a sponsorship deal;
The most mercenary yet,
Can this nightmare be real?
Let me sponsor your towel, print my name on your shorts,
The gold medal is yours, we don’t care for the sports;
They should give an award for the product which bored,
Us the most with this commercial shit, Coca Cola is it!
Coca Cola is it.

Here is the advert/song which is a suitable repository for the above lyric – other brands’ irritating soft drink commercials are available.

Here is a link to that advert’s cheesy lyric.

NewsRevue Submission To Jason Kane, 8 July 1996

Usual apologies for the poor look of the “table” of submissions, which converts so poorly from Amipro software, but you’ll get the idea.

Jason Kane seems to have called me prior to my submission; a rare proactive move by a new director before the start of a run. Well done him.

Jason Kane
News Revue


Dear Jason

It was good to hear from you this weekend. I was feeling guilty about my lack of submissions and actually had a jotter full of new ideas.

This starter pack consists of mainly the new songs, plus a couple of rewrites and one or two currently in the show which I think still have legs.

Please do call me again if you are still short of any subjects or styles and I shall try to oblige. If any of the enclosed need a bit of rewrite then I am happy to change them on request.

Good luck and I look forward to seeing you soon.


Song Title/Original Title/Artist on Tape

Approx.. No. of weeks performed/ 7+ 4-6 1-3 New

side 1

hillary / eleanor / turtles – new

john major just cares for me / my baby just cares for me / nina simone – new

tony blair / gloria / vivaldi = new

solicitors are doin’ it to themselves / sisters are doin’ it for themselves / eurythmics – new

saturday night’s all right for tantrums / saturday night’s all right for fighting / elton – new

mr ghali / mr blobby / mr blobby – new

netanyahu / hallelujah chorus / handel – new

paisley & adams / father & son / cat stevens – 1-3

ode to eurosceptics / symphony  9 mov 4 excerpt / beethoven – 1-3

John Major Just Cares Like Me, Topical Lyric, 7 July 1996

Written primarily for NewsRevue, I think this one was performed during the summer of 1996. I don’t think it made it to Edinburgh though; maybe it did.

These days (writing in December 2015) the notion that New Labour is almost indistinguishable from the Conservatives is considered to be hard-left Corbynism, but in those days, before Labour took power in 1997, it was pretty much the way most people felt.

Click here for a YouTube link to the Nina Simone recording of the original song, with those original lyrics helpfully shown in the notes, or below just to hear Nina.

♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬ ♬

(To the Tune of “My Baby Just Cares For Me”) ♬


John Major don’t care for fools,
John Major don’t care for schools,
John Major just cares for beef;
John Major don’t care for bastards’ tactics,
John Major don’t care for Eurosceptics.
George Gardener is not my style,
And even Peter Lilley’s guile,
Is something I don’t need;
John Major don’t care who knows,
John Major just cares for me.


(John dances a little – then enter Tony Blair)
JOHN: Hello Tony. Have you come to join me?
TONY: I’ve been with you all the while, John.
(They dance together – at points synchronised – at some points chronically unsynchronised)
TONY: I say I say I say. What’s the difference between new labour and old conservatism?
JOHN: I don’t know. What is the difference between new labour and old conservatism?
TONY: I don’t know. I thought you knew. What’s this “New Labour, new danger” bit then?
JOHN: New danger that the British public gets another 17 years of the same old rubbish, I suppose. I don’t write ’em. I just tell ’em.
(They dance some more.)


TONY: New Labour don’t care for wealth,
New Labour don’t care for health,
JOHN: It cares like me!!
TONY: New Labour don’t care for left wing vision,
TONY: New Labour don’t care for Socialism.
JOHN: Eric Heffer is not his style,
TONY: And even Norman Tebbit’s smile,
Is something I can see;
JOHN: (Its something he can see)
I wonder what’s wrong with Bambi?
TONY: John Major just cares for,
JOHN: The stuff Tony Blair’s for?,
BOTH: {New Labour just cares like me.}
{John Major just cares like me.}


Hillary, Topical Lyric, 7 July 1996

Not one of my great pieces and I don’t think this one ever got performed.  At least I don’t think I ever got paid for it.

My best song on the subject of Bill and Hillary Clinton, , though I say so myself, was a lyric that might sit comfortably with Billy Don’t Be a Hero.  Indeed, Mike Hodd himself (pater familias NewsRevue) often talks that one up.  I’ll upload that one too, some day.

But reflecting on this Hillary song as I write now, in December 2015, the stuff about Hillary communicating with the late Eleanor Roosevelt doesn’t get talked about much.

I did manage to find this WND piece from 2012 that discusses the matter – click here.

I really like the song, by the Turtles, upon which the lyric sits comfortably if you choose to do so.  It is one I can just about play on my baritone ukulele.

Click here for a link to a YouTube of the record, with the lyrics helpfully set out in the notes, or below just to hear the Turtles.

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♬ HILLARY (To the Tune of “Eleanor”)♬


You’ve got a thing about you,
Landing us both in the poo,
Every reporter, Hillary, smears me;
Your plans intoxicate me,
That’s why the press berates me,
Over Whitewater, will the courts clear me?


Hillary, gee, I think you’re swell,
With those properties you sell,
Through our pals’ Arkansan Mafia;
Hillary, do we both have pride?
Do we both shag on the side?
Like did Vincent Foster stiff yah?


I’ve been too altruistic,
So I’m told by my mystic,
Speaking the words of Eleanor’s phantom;
I’m going to play by new rules,
No-one calls me a screw ball,
Out of my box, I’ll box like a bantam.


Eleanor, Mrs Roosavelt,
Through the Ouija board I felt,
As I touched Mahatma Ghandi;
Eleanor, I like a good time,
Is it really such a crime?
Has it made my legs go bandy?


HILLARY: Eleanor, gee I think you’re swell – oohh aahh
BILL Hillary, I don’t think you’re well – oohh aahh
BOTH Aahhhhhhhh