Monday, 30 June 2014

The Reggulaters at The Carpenters Arms, Hayes.

That looks like the makings of a good Saturday night; The Reggulaters playing Hayes at The Carpenters Arms.
And that meant a whole lot of West London’s Skinheads were in Town (plus one MOD and Robyn)- thanks to everyone for a warm welcome.

What was in the bag?

Just the finest, clearest, cleanest rendition of the classic Ska and Rocksteady of Trojan Records back catalogue.
These are the Mighty Reggulaters;

And the Saxophone was in particulary good form on Saturday;

Not to forget the unforgettable sound of the keyboards;

Which made some of these classic dance tracks unbearably good and had me beaten in the hat department too.
If you click on a picture you get better quality and a slideshow.
Now if I’ve wetted your appetite how about a trip to The Brookhouse, Hayes on 11th July when it’s all happening again?

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)
Contact me :


Sunday, 29 June 2014

It's coming.......

Feeling a bit low? An empty feeling as the World cup carries on without us?

It's coming home
It's coming home
It's coming
Cycling's coming home....

Oh well, it's got me excited. Now all I've got to do is try to work out where I'm going to be and how I get my act together to get there.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)


Contact me:

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Friday; laughter and tears.

We buried my good comrade and friend Jack Harrison on Friday.

No priests, no black cars, no flowers; but a bloody big red banner on the coffin, surrounded by all his friends, relatives and comrades.

A life of struggles; Father of Chapel (that’s chief shop steward to you young folk) at The National Graphical Association, member of Slough Trades Council.

We fought together; the Miners Strikes, the Print strikes, the marches, the pickets and on Friday we gave him a good send off.

And at the end?

A rousing singing of ‘The Internationale’ that you could hear at the other end of Slough.


Arise you starvelings from your slumbers

Arise ye criminals of want

For reason in revolt now thunders

And away with the age of cant

Now away with all your superstitions

Servile masses arise, arise!

We’ll change forthwith the old conditions

And spurn the dust to win the prize


Then comrades come rally

And the last fight let us face

The Internationale unites the human race!


Then comrades come rally

And the last fight let us face

The Internationale unites the human race!

So it was never really going to be a fun Friday after that but it was a celebration of a life well lived and well fought.

Farewell comrade.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

che Says]

Friday, 27 June 2014

Memories, like ripples in water.

It’s Tuesday and, as you know, I have (after 48 years) retired from watching England play international football. It’s fair to say that England gave up the game before I did.

What could I do to take my mind of the game with Costa Rica? What was so far removed from football that I could forget, without the need to join the French Foreign legion?

I went to see some old friends.

In fact I went to the Courtauld Institute – it’s an educational charity which is why you have to pay £6 to get in. Believe me it’s worth every penny and if you go on Mondays it’s half price.



These are just the best pictures (fewest, greatest, wowiest) you can see in a small place.

The Courtaulds were textile millionaires who wanted to be remembered for something other than being capitalist gangsters (which is what they were). They wanted to set up an educational trust and display old master pictures to show everyone how cultured they were.

Their act of genius was to employ a young art historian just out of Cambridge as a secretary; Anthony Blunt.

Even though his first love was the renaissance and Poussin, he scoured Europe and got them to buy up impressionist and post-impressionist masterpieces which were then available at (relatively) knock down prices.

It is just the most amazing collection of pictures. You don’t believe me?

Degas, Manet, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, Seurat (there’s a lot of Seurat – I could just slip one of those little oil sketches under my jacket and…..) Renoir, Cézanne (Oh they are so good), Pissaro, Dufy (love Dufy). Did I mention Picasso?

If none of that means anything to you then gamble £6 and see if you aren’t amazed.

Old friends? The first time I went to the Courtauld I was a student and it was hidden on the third floor of London University; a bequest that no one (as in government) really wanted and didn’t want to spend any money on.

My old friends were crammed into too tight a space, hidden in nooks and corners and the whole mess was being jealously guarded by Anthony Blunt who was then the director. His was a life and a half – he will get the credit he is due one day.

So it was a journey back in time 37 years. It was also a trip into the future too – an exhibition of prints that was really an exploration into form and shapes. Take a look, it was good.

This is a sculpture which carves sand into zenlike patterns with one paddle and then wipes them out with the other at the same time; it hypnotizes.
That wasn’t the real reason I was there; I wanted to see ‘The Return of the Rudeboy’, a photographic celebration of Rudeboy culture.


It was OK, good photos but there were two problems.

While there is a resurgence of the dress and mannerisms of that era amongst some young black men, the whole scene was about gangsters and about an era of confidence and optimism that came after Jamaican independence. That’s why the music was so bright and powerful too; today the gangsta’s are wearing brand new trainers. That may change, but I really don’t think so.

The second problem? I have, well, a certain look you know.

The problem? Japanese tourists started to take photos of me – thinking I was an exhibit.

After a few shots I moved on – had a look at the textile exhibition of the Albers family – not really my thing although I like the Bauhaus.

I went back and had a second trip round the Courtauld.

Then at 5pm I had an appointment at The Museum of Water;

It’s over on Sunday, so you may have missed it but then it goes on tour; first stop Denmark.


That’s the artist Amy Sharrocks accepting my second donation; some 1664 lager (a bit diluted) from the top of Box Hill on Midsummer’s Night, holding hands with Robyn watching Lord Snooty’s fireworks 50 miles away at Glyndebourne. Thanks Lord Snooty.

It’s a magical, humane artwork and if you get a chance to see it my exhibits are 431 and 487. One day they will be on the website at – take a look if you can.

By then I was tired out and needed an injection; in the toilets at grand Somerset House on The Strand.

I left early and went to McDonalds at Charing Cross for a meal and for some very sentimental reasons.

In 1978, I took part in an Anti-Apartheid protest against my university which was profiting from companies operating in racist South Africa.

It was a weeklong hunger strike and at the end of it all a friend helped a couple of us stagger (yeah really) into that McDonalds for a strawberry milkshake. It was all we could take and you have no idea how good it was.

We lost that battle but we won the war.

Had another milkshake, just for old times sake.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)
Contact me:

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Ashford and St. Peter's Hospital wastes £128,000 on a junket.



Last month St. Peter’s Hospitals health workers and support staff were demonstrating outside the front entrance. Unlike management, they are subject to a pay freeze at a time of rapid inflation. Jobs are being cut, waiting lists are rising.

It’s another world at the top of the NHS Trusts, as this extract from a story in The Daily Express (23/6/14) shows;



Managers and medics travelled to New York, Miami and Pennsylvania for a week-long fact-finding mission.

 It cost the four medical groups – all in Surrey – £281,100, an average of £1,434 per person, per day.

 Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals Foundation Trust spent £128,000 sending a 12-strong contingent.


Royal Surrey County Hospital – which cut 70 jobs last year – sent 12 staff at a cost of £117,700.

Dr David Eyre-Brook, chair of Guildford and Waverley Clinical Commissioning Group and its deputy chief executive Karen McDowell ran up a bill of £21,400.

 Their counterparts at North West Surrey CCG cost £14,000.


Of course, the alternative would be to employ another 10 nurses across the four trusts.

The money wasted by Ashford and St. Peters alone would have paid for another consultant or 4 nurses. As each nurse would ideally cover about 8 beds, those 4 nurses (accounting for shifts, time off, holidays and courses) would have allowed the Trust to carry out another 8 operations a week or about 400 extra a year.

Was the trip worthwhile? Did they learn a lot?

They obviously didn’t read this study which I recently republished;


 The National Health Service has been praised as the world's best health-care system by an international panel of experts who said it was superior to those found in countries which spend far more on health.



The study, entitled “Mirror, Mirror on the Wall,” also described US healthcare provision as the worst globally. Despite investing the most money in health, the US refuses care to many patients without health insurance and is also the worst at saving the lives of people who fall ill, it found.

The Commonwealth Fund, a Washington-based foundation produced the report. The fund is respected around the world for its analysis of the performance of different countries' health systems. It examined 11 countries, including detailed data from patients, doctors and the World Health Organisation, the Guardian reported.

 "The United Kingdom ranks first overall, scoring highest on quality, access and efficiency," the fund's researchers conclude in their 30-page report. Their findings amount to a huge endorsement of the health service, especially as it spends the second-lowest amount on healthcare among the 11 – just £2,008 per head, less than half the £5,017 in the US. Only New Zealand, with £1,876, spent less.

In the Commonwealth Fund study, the UK came first out of the 11 countries in eight of the 11 measures of care the authors looked at. It came top on measures including providing effective care, safe care, co-ordinated care and patient-centred care. The fund also rated the NHS as the best for giving access to care and for efficient use of resources.

What a waste.


Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)
Contact me:

Treading water.

Monday night - that means I'm only two days behind in Blogland - that's OK if I was to do nothing for two days I could catch up.

I went to my Jazz Club, a little tired.

And this is the incredible back row of Trevor Tomkins on drums, John Donaldson on keyboards and Andy Cleyndert on Bass.

The stars on the front row? Mmmmmm that's Henry Amberg-Jennings on trumpet and Flugelhorn and Don Weller on Saxophone.
So if I was to tread water for a while? Does that give a clue to where I went on Tuesday?

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)


Contact me:

Wednesday, 25 June 2014


Monday afternoon and I was particularly pleased with myself; in the way you feel after you've done something stupid and got away with it.

This was a hanging branch about 20 feet up in the treetops. Just hanging, it's what lumberjacks call a 'widow maker'.

I got a rope up there and pulled it down, without it landing on my head (just, which is always the best feeling). Then when it was stood straight upright managed to cut it into sections and bring it down.

That was good - unfortunately there's another about twice as big but we'll worry about that later.

And now I've worn myself out and got behind with this Blog by about three days - how did that happen?

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)



Tuesday, 24 June 2014

My poor hat.

People have been asking why haven't I burnt my hat - when I said I would when I got to 20,000?

You don't mean it do you? That hat's been around over 5 years. When I bought it I was 'well', or so I thought. I was 'working' and wearing suits and steel toecaps. Life was 'normal'.
You don't want me to burn all that do you?

All those memories, all that skankin'?

Oh, all right then;

I suppose you enjoyed that, didn't you?

I suppose you want to linger, savouring the pain and sense of loss?

You can click on any picture for a slideshow, if you must.


Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)


Contact me:

Monday, 23 June 2014

You read it here first.

I know I go on a bit about The Hobgoblin in Staines.

Here’s a facebook message from The Hob – the autumn schedule. Who knows what I’ll see of this but I’m looking forward to whatever I can get my hands on;

So everything's been a bit quiet on the music front recently with all the football going on, only a couple more gigs left before the refurb ( which I shall be informing you all about soon)

 But to get you all excited about what's to come when we’re open here's a little taster of the bands confirmed so far.......




















And if you don’t believe me how about this?

The Carnaby’s are the support act for Blondie on these two dates;

29 June 14 O2 Academy Sheffield

30 June 14 Shepherds Bush Empire.


I reviewed the Carnaby’s when they appeared at The Hobgoblin Rockgoblin in April, here’s what I said;

Of all the bands I hadn’t seen, I had the highest expectations of them. I liked the last couple of numbers which were more fast and furious.

What I saw was a really slick, well-rehearsed band; ambitious and tightly focussed on where they are going. They have everything it’s going to take to make it big except for luck and there’s no reason at all why they shouldn’t find some of that.

But the music? I was looking for an edge, a sense of danger and didn’t find it. Ok, I’m too picky. Everyone else thought they were great.

April down the Hob, June up there with Blondie.

You read it here first.


Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

Contact me:

Sunday, 22 June 2014

A Midsummer's night's dream.

Midsummer’s day night and I could have gone to see The Reggulaters playing authentic Trojan Ska in Watford. The fabulous Highs were playing Mod classics at The Sun. Groove Manoova were funkin' in Kingston and No Lip (No1 Punk Band) were on in Guildford.


I spent Midsummer’s Day night sitting on the top of Box Hill with Robyn, drinking 1664 and watching the longest day of the year end as night came down ever so slowly over the Surrey Hills.

As the lights of Gatwick Airport came on and turned the clouds orange, a firework display started on the far horizon just for us.
Huge mortars and rockets, reduced to the size of your fingernail.

A magical night of dreams; midsummer’s day’s night.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

Since I wrote this I learnt that it was the 80th anniversary of The Opera House at Glyndbourne in East Sussex. That's nearly 50 miles away from Box Hill which fits in with how small they looked.

So I guess I owe Lord Snooty a thank you for laying on those fireworks for us. 

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Midsummer's day.

The sun is high in the sky and the hay is crying out to be cut…..


Got up, made sauce for pizza, made two meat loaves, made pizza, ate pizza…..and went to see a jazz band at 1-00pm.

Yeah, that's Jazz on a Summer's day;


This is 'Pimp my Jazz' who I've seen before although not with the excellent Esta Daley on vocals, guesting here.

I'm at Harmondsworth's summer féte, it’s the next village along and I’m there in solidarity because they are threatened with being flattened by Heathrow Airport’s new runway just like we were.
It was in The Domesday Book, it has a fifteenth century longbarn, a church, two pubs and a lot of people who don’t want a runway on their homes.

How nice is that?

The airport has been buying up houses to try to stifle opposition. They have now said the ancient protected buildings can stay (surrounded by concrete) as long as everything else can be flattened.

So, as I said I’m here to say that we care, in a quiet sort of way, to soak up the sun and some Jazz on this, the longest day of the year.

Part two? I’m hoping that’s even better.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)


Come on Algeria!

Z doh!

I’m supporting Algeria.

They are dragging along the bottom of their world cup group but they showed lots of courage and fight and they are supported by the very nice man on the counter of the privatised pharmacy at Charing Cross Hospital.

All I do know is that they don’t have all these advantages;

Daniel Taylor, The Guardian;

Ultimately it always comes back to the same thing. When Roy Hodgson and his players arrived back in Rio de Janeiro it was to the best training facilities in the city. They have a 72-strong entourage from the Football Association including a psychiatrist, nutritionists, a turf specialist, a cook and at least one guy whose job seems to be to spray the players with water when they start overheating. They have industrial fans, heat chambers and individually tailored recovery drinks after inviting scientists from Loughborough University to study their sweat patterns. Hodgson has talked to Sir Dave Brailsford and Lord Coe about how to co-ordinate a successful team and everyone is agreed: nothing more could have been done to create the right environment.


“No excuses,” Wayne Rooney had said. Steven Gerrard described it as the most meticulously planned operation he had known. Hodgson could scarcely have sounded more confident. “Anyone who thinks we can’t win the World Cup has to be barking up the wrong tree,” he said, two days before landing in Brazil.


Yet here we are, embarking on the inquest before a lot of the teams have even played a second game. England were the team that wanted to play like Spain and, eventually, they managed it. Except the headline in Marca on Thursday was “The End”. England have managed it even before they finished their week-long course of malaria tablets.

Meanwhile, (I’m not the first to say this, it’s from Twitter) I have decided to announce my retirement from England international football viewing.

After 48 years of despair it’s time for younger men to carry the burden of sitting on an armchair or holding a pint while the pub goes silent again and again.
England? I suggest a summer of community service. as they have been playing like a non league team and as most people cannot afford to go and see them play; how about a summer of visiting minor clubs for friendlies, bringing football home?
A bit of practise wouldn't do any harm either.

Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

Friday, 20 June 2014

The Football Association issues an apology.

        An Apology

The Football Association would like to issue this apology and an explanation for the England football teams poor performance in the 2014 World Cup.

In an effort to streamline our operations, improve efficiency and lower costs we have, for a number of years, been combining our travel arraignments with the British Olympic Association.

By some terrible accident it appears that the England football team were wrongly sent to Novia Scotia and by the same error, the English (under 14 years) second reserve Synchronised Swimming team were sent to Rio de Janeiro for the football tournament instead.

We would like to apologise for any distress this may have caused.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

20,000 Thanx.

Neil Harris

(a don't stop till you drop production)


Contact me;

Sour loser.

A whole lot of people (more than three, less than five) have asked me to post the photos I entered into the show. This was my second placed entry;
                 'No Lip at the Hobgoblin'

This got nowhere;

                    'Lazer Girl at the Hobgoblin'

Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Sour loser.
Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Snake Oil.


It was a grey and miserable morning today and it came after a grim few days.

I was off to my appointment with Dr Feelgood of Charing Cross hospital (purveyor of rare herbs and proscribed chemicals), never a happy prospect. Today went OK - I have another month. That's a spring that's turned into a summer, a World cup, a Tour de France and who knows what.

That's some snake oil you got there, Doc.

I saw my Algerian friend in the Pharmacy, worried about the prospect for his team playing a much fancied Belgium this afternoon; I wished him luck. I said I'd support Algeria if England gets knocked out but from the look on his face he didn't think they were going to last any longer than we are.

The picture is from Sid's Shoe Repairs, Key cutters and Trophy shop on the Fulham Palace Road. You normally can't miss the amazing football trophies in his window. Not today - he's sold all his World Cups! This ones from earlier in the year.

I'm glad - when he put Chelsea's colours on the European Champions league cup they went and lost it.

Now there's just space in Sid's Trophy cabinet for a World Cup.....Come on England!

Anyway, I should be doing a serious review of last night at my Jazz Club - but I was a victim of a nasty incident. I was minding my own business watching Alan Barnes in fine form on the Saxophone when I had my hat and my walking stick stolen.

It's not right - I've got a condition.

Another month - how cool is that?
How much trouble can I get into, I wonder?

Neil Harris

(a don't stop till you drop production)



Monday, 16 June 2014

More from Wraysbury fair.

I couldn't resist the vintage cars and bikes that are on display at the fair;

This is an Indian - a legendary American bike from the 1920's, here in tricycle form. If you look at this link you can see the big bikes in real action;

Here's a Police car from the 1950's while this is a little faster - a Bugatti;

This is much cooler, it's a Caterham 7 and although it only has a normal car engine it's really fast because it's very light;

I always get very nostalgic about working vehicles from another age. There's a family locally who specialise in restoring trucks and lorries to 'factory new' condition but they weren't exhibiting this year. This is a Post office (actually telephone) van from the 1950's to 1960's; 

All the equipment and everything else you could think of;

Finally, from the Arts and Crafts tent;

A superhero made of vegetables (well why not?) from the under 11's.
For better pictures click on a photo for a slideshow.
Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)