bluesshow bob's blues show blog
Today's blog will be about the letter 'P'. What's the letter 'P' got to do with Blues music? Well, apart from maybe Parchman Farm, Pinetop Perkins, Ian Parker or Paul Lamb. Read on...
Back in the 1980s, one of the most popular television quiz programmes in the UK was 'Blockbusters' a tea-time offering which pitted a pair of teenagers against a single contestant. In essence, whoever was in control of the hive-shaped board selected a letter and was given a clue to a specific word beginning with that letter. We frequently saw a giggly youngster smiling conspiratorially and with pseudo-embarrassment before asking 'Can I have a 'P', please, Bob..." This stayed with me for years. On learning my name, people who didn't even know me would throw in the line as if they'd just thought of this wonderfully childishly-ambiguous amusing question. Then they'd fall about laughing and nudge each other to ensure everyone benefitted from their incredibly amazing spontaneous humour. How I laughed.
Every time I heard it... Every single time...
In truth, I was relieved when Bob the Builder became popular - it was, at least, something new...
The letter 'P' can also, of course, save us from the frustration of trying to find somewhere to park when visiting an unfamiliar town so full marks to it for its useful intervention in this context.
The letter 'P'. This story, which did the rounds a few years ago, is, apparently, true. For those unfamiliar with the game of rugby, when a scrum takes place the opposing teams hunker down, grip the opposing team members and push whilst waiting for the ball to arrive between the crouched mass of mankind. There have been many strategies developed over the years designed to give the team putting the ball in an advantage like spinning the ball, for example, so it would bounce towards their own players. But my favourite story involves the letter 'P'. To inform their own team members exactly where in the structure of the scrum they would be throwing the ball, the scrum half would shout out a word which would have no meaning at all to the opposition. The word would begin with either a letter 'S' where the ball would be pitched to the far side of the tunnel or the letter 'P' where the ball would be sent to the near side. (In fact, I've just wondered for the first time, as I'm writing this, whether they represented the nautical 'port' and 'starboard'. Maybe I'm just over-thinking this). So, if the scrum half shouted 'Sugar' or 'Spike' the hooker could anticipate the ball arriving on his right, a call of 'Priest' or 'Paper' and the ball was expected on his left. This system worked perfectly until one scrum half shouted 'psychiatrist!' And nobody moved...
Which brings me to my final (and most important) letter 'P'.
I mentioned on Facebook the other evening that I had been given a gift by James Oliver, the guitarist with Glas, (see my previous blog re: the recording of their new live album 'Just A Stage We're Going Through'). I said that I would reveal the nature of the gift over this weekend. One of my Facebook friends decided to second guess me and suggested that it could be a copy of the new album for review. In this, he was partially correct; it was a copy of the album. The first copy of the album.
BUT: It's a copy for Preview not review. Never was a 'P' more important (apart from, perhaps, when driving through an unfamiliar city centre with a desperately full bladder and seeking a car park).
It's actually a great album which demonstrates not just the capabilities of the three musicians but also shows how they just love to play. I will be Previewing several tracks from the album on this week's Blues Exclusive. Check out the broadcast times on my Home page.