Spam Microsoft style!

20 10 2014

Just a  to be careful when viewing emails today I had one saying they had news about a local lady who had an accident. It invited me to click on a dubious link, and it came from a dubious email address!

This is one in the spam section of hotmail – removed the link on click here, in case somebody is caught out via this blog!

From:  Microsoft Outlook Team® ( Your junk email filter is set to exclusive.
Sent: 20 October 2014 08:29:33
This message is here because your junk email filter is set to exclusive.

Dear Customer,
Your incoming messages were placed on pending due to our recent upgrade. Verify your account now to get your mail updated. 

Click Here to confirm your Account.

Microsoft Corporation
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052

Privacy Policy | Customer Support

You Tube selection

16 10 2014

This this time round I do not know why I looked up best man speeches, but here are two well worth looking at.

Great if your best man can entertain with a guitar!

Here is a more conventional “funny witty” speech. Note the use of many cards to prompt him, works very well indeed!

Finally, totally irrelevant but I cannot resist the funny sermon – Rowan Atkinson style – a gem!

Radio Newsbeat

16 10 2014


Good to hear Howard Hughes back after a break on BBC Radio Berkshire.

Roger Day’s Uncool Radio is well worth a listen from time to time .

The BBC have a new online database of old Radio Times dating from 1923.  Interesting to see what was being broadcast at the time. In 1923 on 2LO the London station a children’s story called “Little Black Sambo” was being read. Considered innocent then, but racist now.  The full story about the new archive is on the link below, but you will find a link at the end of the article.


News selected from the Radio Today site.

Elliott Webb moves to BBC H&W breakfast

Elliott Webb is taking over from Howard Bentham as one of the co-hosts of the breakfast show on BBC Hereford and Worcester from next month.
Elliott – who spent years in commercial radio with stations including BRMB and The Pulse – will team up with Toni McDonald on the programme from 3rd November.
Howard Bentham is leaving the station after 10 years on breakfast to join BBC Radio Oxford. Elliott’s mid-morning slot on BBC Hereford & Worcester will be taken over by Malcolm Boyden who currently does a show on the station’s weekend schedule as well as weekday mid-mornings over on BBC Radio Oxford.
The new breakfast show will feature Elliott and Toni between 7am and 9am. Toni will present the 6-7am hour on her own, while Elliott will keep his current 9-10am phone-in hour.
Jeremy Pollock, Managing Editor at BBC Hereford & Worcester, told RadioToday: “This is an exciting new line up for BBC Hereford & Worcester – both Elliott and Malcolm are fantastic presenters who’ve established themselves really well on this station. Better still, they’re both broadcasting to their home patch. They’ll be building on the great work Howard’s done in his time here – Howard’s made a huge contribution to the station over the past ten years, with many memorable stories and campaigns. We wish him well at BBC Radio Oxford.”
Posted on Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 at 2:10 pm by Radio Today UK.

Australian radio presenter Mel Greig has told the Radio Festival in Salford about how she was the victim of internet trolling for 12 months after the suicide of nurse Jacintha Saldanha.
Mel and co-host Michael Christian – then at Sydney station 2Day FM – made the prank call to the hospital where Jacintha worked and where the Duchess of Cambridge was being treated for acute morning sickness in 2012.
Speaking at the Radio Festival 2014, Mel talked about the background to the prank call as well as her feelings in the aftermath.
“Prank calls in Australia have been around for years,” she said. “They’re normally quite harmless because you get permission from the person involved. We didn’t think about what could go wrong, because there was a process in place. We thought ‘Let’s have terrible accents and see how quickly we can get hung up on, then have a laugh at ourselves getting hung up on.’”
Mel gave presenters attending the Radio Festival session some advice about wind-up calls: “Don’t call emergency services, don’t call hospitals. We thought there was a media centre or a reception to go through. If you’re going to do a prank call, make sure you know the person you’re pranking.”
She said that after making the call the team at 2Day FM’s Hot 30 Countdown was shocked that they’d got through, and wondered whether it had actually happened. Mel says she emailed a suggestion for the editing process – to change the nurse’s voice and remove personal information – but that it was ignored.
Mel also spoke about what happened after the call had aired and the hospital had said that no action would be taken against the staff who’d taken the prank call. “It was surreal,” she said. “You had all the biggest news outlets talking about it and the majority of it was positive.”
But things changed when news started to break about Jacintha Saldanha’s death. “Midnight Friday night I was in bed, my boyfriend was on Twitter and saw some horrific tweets saying I had blood on my hands,” Mel told the audience in Salford.
“My phone started ringing and I was told one of the nurses had committed suicide. There were three hours I don’t remember. I was in complete shock and so disgusted with myself that I’d played a part in this poor woman’s suicide that it was so hard to live with.
“When the hospital said they’ve got the support, they’re not going to be disciplined, you believe that. After the suicide it was horrific. People were saying I deserved to die. I honestly thought I did deserve to die, because I was in lockdown and reading all the messages. I believed everyone in the UK hated me and wanted me dead. I believed everyone in Australia wanted me dead.”
In an interview with journalist Daisy McAndrew, Mel also talked about her feelings and the support she received: “I went into a really deep depression but I wasn’t going to commit suicide. When you’ve got people who are supportive they don’t let you go down that route and I was lucky that I had people around me. I was never to be left by myself. It was a constant feeling of numbness. Work were great in providing security and also mental health – they found me a psychologist.”
And she spoke about the abuse she’s received: “It was a good 12 months of trolling. I still have a stalker now. Nearly two years later and it’s still topical – people want to talk about it. One individual has been harassing me for 18 months. I don’t want to be the victim, I don’t want it to be about me. I was vilified the most, I don’t know why the media focussed more on me or whether it was because I was female.”
Mel said that the appearance on stage in Salford was the first time she’d been near a microphone since her engagement party 8 months ago, when she’d made the decision that she did at some point want to return to work in the media.
She also said that since arriving in the UK for Jacintha’s inquest and a series of media interviews, she had noticed what a lovely country it was, joking that it wasn’t full of people with pitchforks waiting for her when she arrived as she had expected it might be. “I’d love to move here if the opportunity came up,” she said.
Posted on Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 at 4:19 pm by Radio Today UK.

Various radio groups and presenters came together for a 12-hour RSL station this week, broadcast live from a tent outside the Radio Festival in Salford.
Presenters on the pop-up service, which was available yesterday on DAB and FM in Manchester as well as online, were BBC network presenters Ken Bruce, Jane Garvey, Fi Glover, Stuart Maconie, Adele Roberts, Anneka Rice and Raj & Pablo; Heart’s Joel Ross; Key 103’s Adam Caterall; Rock FM’s Jordan North; 5 live’s Chris Warburton and talkSPORT’s Max Rushden; Free Radio’s Ben Burrell; Fun Kids’ Bex Lindsay; Xfm’s Clint Boon; Absolute Radio’s Vicki Blight; and student radio award-winners Glen Scott and Emma Jones.
The studio and broadcast equipment were built and co-ordinated by Broadcast Bionics. The 12-hour 8am-8pm broadcast was streamed online with live video too, and there was also additional video content produced by students from the University of Salford.
Delegates at the Radio Festival in Salford also made guest appearances on the pop-up station. They included Radio 1 Controller and Radio Academy Chairman Ben Cooper, who went on for a few minutes with Ken Bruce while the Challenge Radio output was being simulcast on Radio 2. Listen to his inability to name any One Direction hits here!
Jordan North on how he was asked to be involved in Challenge Radio, and that it’s “OK to be an anorak!”

Leading radio production companies have called on the BBC to introduce a statutory 25% quota of value of programme making for radio in the corporation’s next charter in 2017.
Speaking at the Radio Festival in Salford, the CEO of Somethin’ Else Jez Nelson – who’s also a board member on the Radio Independents Group – set out RIG’s position on BBC Radio and how it could grow the relationship with indies.
As well as the quota, he also called for the BBC’s Window of Creative Competition to be expanded to cover 25% of the value of contracts issued.
At the moment, the BBC’s agreement with DCMS is for the BBC to commission a ‘suitable proportion’ of its radio programming from indie producers, which the BBC has set at 10%. In 2010, the BBC Trust also required as part of its radio network supply review for the BBC to introduce a 10% Window of Creative Competition (WoCC) where indies would compete directly with BBC in‐house producers for commissions. In 2012‐13 indies won 80% of WoCC hours, in 2013‐14 they won 75% of hours.
On BBC Director General Tony Hall’s ‘compete or compare’ strategy outlined last year, Jez Nelson said: “It recognises that although there are of course big differences between these platforms and sectors there are also many similarities and a great deal of crossover.”
Nelson said current radio commissioning was too low at a maximum of 20% of hours, but also that using hours as a measurement tool means that indies are ending up with a disproportionate of low‐value commissions. “Although the BBC has opened up new areas of the schedule for competition ‐ looking to commission the best ideas regardless of source ‐ it has done this in a way that legislates that the smallest number of people are exposed to those winning ideas. That can’t make sense,” he said.
“We believe competition is in the best interests of the audience who are paying for the service ‐ limiting that competition is wrong,” he added.
Nelson stressed that RIG supported the BBC and the continuation of the Licence Fee. He pointed out the importance of BBC Radio services, and called for protection of radio budgets, saying: “In our view BBC Radio has suffered disproportionately from DQF because of its relatively low funding compared to TV. We believe the BBC Radio budget should be ring‐fenced and not simply cut in accordance with any uniform cuts implemented in the future”
Speaking after the speech, Jez Nelson told RadioToday: “As a growing creative industry, doing business with commercial radio and others in the UK and overseas, as well as the BBC, we were keen to place on record some of the other factors we think point towards the need for the BBC to be just as radical in radio as they’re being in TV – in a world where there is increasing crossover between different types of content, radio shouldn’t be left behind while TV heads into a new era.”
You can read Jez’s full speech to the Radio Festival here.
Posted on Wednesday, October 15th, 2014 at 11:50 am by Radio Today UK.

The Radio 4 Today Programme has reported that Stephanie Hirst was forced off-air by her employers as it was “in her best interests”.
Global Radio apparently said it “did not think gender reassignment was suitable or commercially viable content” which resulted in the sudden disappearance of Hirsty from the Capital FM Breakfast Show in Yorkshire four months ago, as first reported by RadioToday.
At the time, Hirsty said: “I’ve decided to take a break as, personally, it’s been a tough 12 months and the time has come to make one of the hardest decisions of my life.”
Global Radio said she had decided to leave “to focus on the process” but a letter to Hirsty from Global, seen by the BBC and signed by Richard Park, suggests otherwise.
The letter says “We have a responsibility for your well-being, and having considered the matter we are not satisfied that going through this process ‘on air’ is in your best interests.”
When questioned about the truth, Stephanie said “Everyone was supportive. There is nothing more I can add that can be of use to you.”
Stephanie first appeared on a public stage at The Radio Festival yesterday where she said she finally felt alive and happy, now her gender reassignment was public knowledge. See the session in full here.
Global says: “Hirsty made the decision to take time out to focus on the process he was going through. We were sad to see Hirsty leave but we were happy to offer him our full support.
“We wish Stephanie all the best in the future. It’s standard practice in radio for presenters to come off air once they’ve made a decision to leave.”
Posted on Thursday, October 16th, 2014 at 9:13 am by Radio Today UK.

BBC Radio 2 presenter Richard Allinson is joining Magic 105.4 to host the drivetime show on an interim basis.
He’ll cover Nick Snaith whilst he’s standing in for Neil Fox who was arrested last month and has not been on-air since.
Richard is losing his weekend early breakfast show in the recent changes at BBC Radio 2, but will continue to cover. His agent told RadioToday: “Richard has a long relationship with Radio 2 and that is something that all parties are very happy to continue”. The move to Magic marks a return to commercial radio since his early shows at Capital in the 80s and 90s.
The station, which is going national in January on DAB, has also made some changes to its weekend schedule with the introduction of specialist music shows including a Soul and Motown slot with Angie Greaves.
Other new shows include Magic 80s with Gary Vincent every Friday night, and a Sunday night music show with guest ‘big stars’.
Elsewhere on the weekend, Paul Hayes takes over the 10am slot on Saturday morning for the rest of 201 and Denise Van Outen will be on-air at 1pm. Saturday afternoons will see Celeb-show The Green Room with Jo Parkerson move to a new slot at 3pm meaning Nick Snaith will move to a new 4pm start. At 6pm a brand new music show with Angie Greaves called “Magic’s Soul Town” – is promising “the best of Motown and Soul featuring regular interviews and special guests”.
Content Director Liam Thompson: “Our new weekend line-up offers appointments to listen around music pillars we know our audience loves ahead of the Magic brand going national in January 2015.”
The new weekend schedule starts on Friday 17th of October with Richard Allinson starting drive on Monday 27th October 2014.
Posted on Thursday, October 16th, 2014 at 4:11 pm by Radio Today UK.

Regular Radio 5 live show for Jenny Jones

Sochi Olympic medal-winning snowboarder Jenny Jones is joining BBC 5 live to present a new monthly series of Jenny Jones’ Extreme.
Each Thursday from 9:00pm-10:00pm in 5 live Sport, Jenny and co-host Will Perry will be taking a closer look at the adrenalin fuelled world of extreme sports.
Featuring interviews with some of the sports’ most courageous and charismatic characters, the series will also cover the biggest events taking place in the UK and across the world, while giving listeners an insight into what it takes to make it as an extreme sports star.
Commenting on the show, Jenny said: “I can’t wait to get stuck in with Will and team at Radio 5 live, shining a light on a selection of awe-inspiring sports that capture the imagination of millions of fans across the UK. With a personal love of any sport outside of snowboarding that gets the pulse racing, it’s going to be great fun getting under the skin of this adrenalin-fuelled world.”
Posted on Thursday, October 16th, 2014 at 5:17 pm by Radio Today UK.

Charlotte Green – review of her session at the Kenton Theatre Henley on Thames

12 10 2014

Charlotte Green was greeted by a large audience. She calmly delivered an amusing and informative guide to her work at the BBC, occasionally reading from her new book.

She has had a love of radio since childhood, when it was always on at home. The audience chuckled when she said that her mother had to contend with her practising the news, whilst her sister pounded away on the piano! Charlotte’s other great interest was acting. People all said she has a great voice and should use it for a job. She admitted that she was a chatter box as a child.


Being on University radio, led to her finally getting a job at the BBC, reading the news. Laurie McMillan was her mentor, showing her the ropes. Charlotte was left on her own one day, and realised that she had to read the news. She felt that she read it rather fast, but after Laurie said how well she had done this.

Charlotte told us that news needs to be read authoritatively and calmly, with the need to show empathy without emotion.

Charlotte is interviewed in this You Tube interview – and it covers the information here in more detail.

She discussed the time that she giggled on air. Her love of working with the Today Team, News Quiz, and reading the news. The shipping forecast had to be fitted in before the pips at the top of the hour, this was not always easy. She did not get on with one Studio Manager who had wandering hands though.

This is the You Tube recording of the famous giggle on air!


Charlotte told us she has moved to Classic FM and hosts an arts show. She has returned to the BBC to focus on reading football scores on 5 Live. She admitted that she was a bit of a tomboy as a child and followed Spurs, so this made this work enjoyable for her.

A great hour’s entertainment for all!

This is a video of Charlotte doing an interview on Classic FM

To complete my review Charlotte reads the football results for the first time.


Mike Read’s new book “Seize the Day

6 10 2014

On Saturday, in the Town Hall Henley on Thames, we attended a discussion between Mike Read and Sue Cook. It was part of the Henley Literary Festival.

Earlier in the week we also saw Charlotte Green in discussion with a journalist about her new book. I will be including my review of this session in a week or so. I was given complimentary tickets to the Charlotte Green session in exchange for a review by me in the Henley Standard. To be fair to them I am holding back that article on site until it is published.

The Town Hall has a lovely old hall at the top of the building.  A large paying audience was there.

Sue and Mike entered the room to raptuous applause.

IMAG1300 IMAG1295The pictures above were taken at night with poor lighting, so Sue and Mike are a little blurred.


Mike Read is a very interesting person. He has lived in Henley on Thames for two and a half years. He likes it for the same reason I do. There is always something going on here throughout the year.

He also has musical talent, not only in the world of pop.

He told us of his work setting Sir John Betjeman’s poems to music, and getting them issued on CD.  He also has written musicals, one which was not very well attended. He went bankrupt on more than one occasion, and sold off his valuable record collection to clear the debts.  He managed to digitise it first.  The pictures I have seen of it on the Internet seem to indicate it was a massive collection of albums etc. I wonder how he managed that at short notice?

Mike was full of reminiscences about pranks played on the Radio 1 Road Show on Smiley Miley. One was when they arranged for him to sign his autograph on stage. They tricked Smiley into signing for army service.  He was well and truly taken in by this.  Mike also spoke about the Jimmy Saville scandal. He said that there was no common room at the BBC for DJs, they always said hello in passing most days. Mike told the police that they could have had no knowledge about Jimmy Saville’s sexual perversions. Jimmy always seemed to be into himself most of the time with his catchphrases etc.

I asked him about his time on Big L, the land based station a few years ago. Mike then to my delight told the audience  at some length about the importance of Radio Caroline, Ronan O’Rahilly and pirate radio.  He also agreed with me that Commercial Radio had become very stale in the UK.

Mike has no regrets about his life, hence the title of the book “seize the Day”.

Mike has incredible hair a full head of black hair, in my opinion. Possibly it is dyed, he is one year older than myself!

He comes over as a pleasant, friendly and knowledgeable person.

The book is rather over-priced at £20 but the Kindle version is £9.95.

It is however a very detailed book and worth buying – look on Amazon at the sample pages of the book, it is amazing how much he tells about music and life in a few pages!


For the record Wikipedia records the following facts about Mike Read

Read is the only child of a publican. The family moved from Manchester, Lancashire, to Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, when he was an infant. He attended Woking Grammar School followed by a sixth-form college. He was an estate agent for a while, and recorded under various names including Mickey Manchester.[2]

Broadcasting career

Read’s professional broadcasting career began in March 1976 at Reading’s Radio 210, where he co-hosted a show with Steve Wright, before joining Radio Luxembourg late in 1977.

He joined BBC Radio 1 at the end of 1978 and was soon presenting the night time programme before John Peel’s show, where he championed new groups and featured live sessions. He took over The Radio 1 Breakfast Show on Monday 5 January 1981, a spot notable for his on-air decision in 1984 not to play the Frankie Goes to Hollywood single “Relax” due to supposedly obscene lyrics. Halfway through a broadcast of the song, Read lifted the needle on the track, denounced the lyrics as “obscene” and refused to play it again.[3]

Following on from his five-year stint on Radio 1’s breakfast show, Read took over a Sunday morning show in 1986, from 10.00am-12.30pm. In 1987, he moved to Saturday mornings from 10.00am-1.00pm, and also to a Sunday afternoon show from 1.00pm-3.00pm, where he played classic tracks. In addition he hosted Round Table and later went back to it as the renamed Singled Out on Friday evenings, where musicians and disc jockeys would review the new single releases.

Read’s Saturday morning show ended in September 1988 and his Sunday afternoon oldies shows finished in January 1989, when Alan Freeman rejoined the station to host an oldies version of Pick of the Pops. From January 1989 to September 1990 Read presented a weekly show called The Mike Read Collection which went out on Monday evenings, and still remained on the Friday panel show Singled Out (which had by then gone back to its original name of Round Table). He remained in this slot until 1991.

After Radio 1

Read left Radio 1 in 1991 and moved to Capital Gold, (then a London-only station), presenting his Mike Read Collection, which went out on a Sunday night, before taking on the weekday Drivetime show in mid-1992, where he remained until he left the station in late 1995. Also in 1992 he was heard on BBC Radio 2 presenting special shows looking back at Cliff Richard‘s career and playing his music. In addition to a daily show on Capital Gold, he joined Classic FM, where he presented a weekend show. In 1996, he presented the networked Breakfast Show on Classic Gold stations around the UK.

From September 1999, he presented the Breakfast Show on Jazz FM in the North of England, then in 2001 joined Spirit FM in Chichester, initially presenting a Sunday show from 10.00am to 1.00pm before moving to a weekday afternoon show from 2.00pm to 3.00pm, playing music from various featured years.

Between 2003 and 2004, Read presented a Saturday morning show on the Magic network around the UK. In May 2005, he became the weekday morning presenter on Big L 1395, a station modelled on the 1960s pirate radio station. He has also done occasional stints on Talksport. In November 2008 he took time out from Big L to present the 3.00pm-7.00pm Drivetime show on Hull-based station KCFM for a week (10–14 November) as cover for Shaun Tilley.

Read became the third ex-Radio 1 DJ to broadcast on the station, along with Tony Blackburn and Paul Burnett. From 17 November 2008, he launched a 10.00am-2.00pm weekday programme slot on Star 107.5 covering Gloucestershire and the Malverns. Read also presented a weekday show between 5.00am and 7.00am (9 February – 9 September) on internet radio station Wight FM (this was voicetracked). He also presented a regular slot called “Dancing Through the Decades” on Saturday evenings between 6.00pm and 10.00pm on KCFM.

In October 2009, Read was reported to be part of a team of veteran DJs forming a new radio station One Gold to rival the BBC.[4]

In November 2009, Read began hosting a mid-morning show on the TotalStar network in the West of England.[5]

From 1 November 2010, Read returned to Big L with a daily show from 8.00am-12.00pm Monday-Friday. He has hosted a daytime show on Total Star in Gloucestershire continuously since 2008.[citation needed]

From July 2011, he hosted the Golden Hour on More Radio (Swindon & Wiltshire), formerly Total Star Wiltshire.

Since April 2012, Read can be heard on Magic 1548 in the North of England, where he presents their Weekend Breakfast show, on Saturdays & Sundays 7.00am-10.00am. He also presents the afternoon show Monday to Friday on BBC Radio Berkshire between 1.30pm and 4.00pm.[6]


He combined his radio work with a second career as a TV presenter, hosting the popular 1980s Saturday morning programme Saturday Superstore, as well as the Saturday Night music game show Pop Quiz, which regularly got audiences of 10 million and featured rock and pop stars answering music trivia questions. The show spawned board game and computer game spin-offs. The penultimate episode of Pop Quiz in 1984 featured a face-off between pop bands Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran, and in 1994 he returned to host a one-off special of the show for the anniversary of Top of the Pops. The format was revived twice, firstly in 1994 by the BBC with Chris Tarrant as the host, and then in June 2008 a revamped Pop Quiz, filmed without a studio audience and in a pub (rather than a television studio) in which the participants were members of the public, aired on Red TV. This was, again hosted by Read.

Additionally, he presented UK Gold’s TV genre quiz Goldmaster in 1997, having also presented Top of the Pops on many occasions between 1978 and 1989, and hosted Yorkshire Television‘s children’s series Pop Quest from 1977 to 1979.

In 2004, Read was one of the contestants recruited for the jungle-based ITV reality show I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! though his stay in the Australian outback was short-lived – he was the first celebrity to be evicted by the viewing public. He is a regular newspaper reviewer for Sky News. In 2014, he appeared in The Life of Rock with Brian Pern as himself.


In 1979, Read wrote and performed the pop-punk song High Rise (upon which his Radio One intro jingle was subsequently based) under the guise of The Trainspotters, following this in 1980 with My Town by next studio group, The Ghosts. He then wrote lyrics to Simon May‘s TRIC Award-winning Trainer television theme. The resulting UK Top 30 single, More to Life, was performed by Cliff Richard. Read also provided a guest rap on Slade‘s 1991 UK Top 30 hit, Radio Wall of Sound.

After I’m a Celebrity…, Read recorded a charity single when he lyrically re-worked Hank Mizell’s Jungle Rock and as the Jungle Boys (with Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock and Lord Charlie Brocket) had a UK Top 30 hit single. The follow-up, which made the Top 75, was a new version of Mungo Jerry‘s In the Summertime. In 2005, Read’s song Grief Never Grows Old featured on a charity recording in aid of victims of the 2004 tsunami. Performed by an ensemble of artists named One World Project, the single reached Number 4 in the UK singles chart.

Read has written music to accompany many poems written by John Betjeman. Thirty of these songs were recorded by artists including Cliff Richard, David Essex, Gene Pitney and Marc Almond for the 2006 various artists’ album Words/Music, and subsequently re-released in 2008 as a double CD titled Sound of Poetry.


Read has staged a number of musicals, including:[7] Young Apollo (a musical about the life of Rupert Brooke); Oscar (a 2004 show about Oscar Wilde which was derided by critics and closed after one performance);[8][9] Great Expectations; A Christmas Carol; Cliff – The Musical (which closed after three months) and Ricky Nelson…Teenage Idol. He took one of the lead roles in the Cliff musical, touring with it and appearing for the three-month run in the West End at the Prince of Wales Theatre. His Betjeman show (based on his musical settings of Sir John Betjeman poems) has occasionally been staged for charities, including the Royal Marsden Hospital and Children With Leukaemia. Actors appearing in his musicals and shows have included Nyree Dawn Porter, Brian Glover, Colin Baker, Anton Rogers, Jeremy Irons, Alvin Stardust and Bernard Cribbins.[7]

Books and poetry

He was one of the founder editors of the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles, the best-known UK chart reference book, and also co-wrote many of the other Guinness music books.

In his own right he is the author of 35 books, the most current being Forever England a new biography of Rupert Brooke, Major to Minor: The Rise and Fall of the Songwriter (2000) and, with Richard Havers, Read’s Musical Reciter (2004), a collection of trivia from the music business. His poetry books include The Aldermoor Poems, Elizabethan Dragonflies, A Room With Books and the latest, New Poems for Old Paintings. Also on the poetry front he has edited and supplied biographies for the two best-selling poetry books 100 Favourite Poems and 100 Favourite Humorous Poems and contributed to many of the Poets’ England series. He has just completed his first crime novel and is currently working on a second.

Contemporary art

In October 2007, Read embarked on a career in the world of contemporary art, with a gallery of works in the medium of confectionery entitled Choc Art. The work includes recreations of album sleeves by the Beatles, his own take on the iconic map of the London Underground, and works based on the paintings of L.S. Lowry.[10] By the beginning of 2008 he has created over 25 canvasses. Two galleries had exhibitions of his Choc Art at the latter end of 2007 in Surrey and Hampshire and another in Essex in January 2008.

Personal life and ventures


Read had a stalker who had changed her name to Blue Tulip Rose Read and believed that she was married to him. Rose was from Welwyn Garden City and her original name was Carol Ballard.[11]

Rose was featured in a film made by Jaine Green for Channel Four in 1996 entitled “I’m Your Number One Fan.” The film was run as part of Channel Four’s “Fame Factor” season, which examined the dark side of fame.[12] Rose was one of the most candid interviewees in the film. She was filmed as she travelled to the offices of Classic FM, and as she wrote “love letters” to Read.[13] The film stated that Rose had been writing obscene and threatening letters to Read for many years.


Having spoken three times at Conservative Party conferences, including in 2006 entertaining guests at a Tory conference dinner with a ten-minute political rap,[14] Read claims he was asked to run for the Conservative Party nomination for the London Mayoral elections in 2008.[15] His article announcing that he was instead putting his energies behind Boris Johnson‘s ultimately successful candidacy, published on The Guardian‘s Comment is Free blog on 17 July 2007, attracted a then record 1,132 comments, most of them derisive.

On Saturday 21 July 2012 Read spoke at the UK Independence Party‘s South East regional Conference in Frimley, where he was also announced as a member of the party.[16]

Mike Read has since spoken at the UKIP 2012 Annual Conference at Birmingham Town Hall on the first morning, Friday, 21 September.

The Rupert Brooke Society

In 1999, Read founded the Rupert Brooke Society of which he was chairman for a few years as well as editing the society’s twice-yearly magazine and creating a museum at the Orchard Grantchester with Robin Callan.

Record collection sale after second bankruptcy

Read was reported to have been forced to sell his £1 million record collection after being declared bankrupt a second time.[17]

Cash in the Celebrity Attic

In 2011, Read featured in Cash in the Celebrity Attic with Lorne Spicer and expert John Cameron where they searched for antiques and collectibles at his home in the Cotswolds. The items they found raised funds for a memorial to Britain’s Bomber Command of the Second World War, and included Charlie Drake memorabilia and artwork made of chocolate and candy.

Charity work

In 2013 Read, along with three friends, formed the British Plaque Trust, a charity established to commemorate deceased achievers in show business, sport and the general arts by unveiling blue plaques on buildings with which they were associated. The organisation aims to act alongside the work in London of English Heritage who have stated that they are “restructuring” their plaque scheme.

A celebration of radios – facebook style

29 09 2014

Tonight I found this wonderful facebook page

Wireless of the Week!

In some cases Chris does use pictures from other sites but he does get information about the sets and comments from others about reception etc.  Well worth a visit. Open even if you do not have a Facebook log on!

Internet Radio – Quasar Radio

25 09 2014

A new Internet Station is on air testing

Some anoraks have got hot under the collar, saying that the station is doing the same as Radio Caroline, using the album format.

Roger Matthews and Cliff Osborne and others from Caroline are on the station when it starts full transmissions.

It does seem to point that Radio Caroline has made a mistake by going off satellite and only using the Internet for transmissions.  I do hope that they manage to raise capital to go out full time on AM legally.

As to Internet Radio, the stations come and go – so will Quasar last as many years as our beloved Radio Caroline has.

From their web site

About Us

Quasar Radio was created by a group of disenchanted former radio professionals who, to a man (and woman), had grown tired of the very limited fayre available on the radio dial today. With seemingly more and more small and local stations being swallowed up by corporate giants who simply turned their acquisitions over to automated bland formats, often playing the same few hundred tracks in constant rotation, we found nothing on offer in mainstream radio  that we would want to listen to.

TGenesishis is not music radio. It is a tiny percentage of what is out there. There are quite literally hundreds of bands that have released thousands of albums over the past six decades so surely there must be an audience out there for a station playing quality album tracks rather than a few hundred hit singles? From the outset our mission was to create a station that WE would want to listen to in the sure knowledge that other radio listeners who felt similarly disenfranchised would listen too.

The music on Quasar is not genre specific nor pigeonholed into specific eras.  The overriding criteria is that it must be good music.  So alongside well established album artistes new and upcoming bands, possibly still struggling for that elusive first recording contract, will get an airing too providing their music is good.

On Quasar you will hear music from the likes of Pink Floyd, Genesis, Led Zeppelin, Dire Straits, Chicago, The Eagles, Renaissance, Average White Band and The Beatles to pick just a few names.

BAlabama Shakesut newer bands such as Zervas and Pepper, The Strypes, Alabama Shakes, White Denim and John Grant  will feature alongside  old favourites and other excellent tracks that time has forgotten.

Of course, as with most things in life, there is a cost to providing such a service even running  a relatively low cost based “on line” station. The costs of streaming, PRS & PPL licensing, broadband, professionally produced imaging  etc are met by the station staff. But we are also more than happy to accept any donations that listeners may like to make, either in the form of one off donations or regular monthly contributions, through our PayPal account.  If you enjoy listening to Quasar and you feel you would like to make a contribution  then please go to our Donate page


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