Well, hello...

It's so good to be back online again!

But why has it taken you so long? I hear you say. Well, I've had server trouble but I think it's been fixed in quite an ingenious way?

As you know, the old web is a 'difficult squirrel' (as they say in Denmark) and I have scratched and pondered the acorns longly, to get my site just right.

Actually I've just returned from a guided tour of the spanking new server that brings you these glistening pages. My word, what an edifice – what a workforce! Our 'Team' are just beavering away 24/7 to bring you 'content'.

Content: a tiny word that can never ever fully describe the toil involved in bringing you tidbits, so you can have a browse at lunchtime while you scoff your 'All-Day-Breakfast' sandwich.

The cost, the energy and the waste created by this mega-monolith? None! Yes, unbelievably (I was told and I checked) my website is 100% organic, eco-friendly and has zero emissions. We are totally green! I was aghast... but how?

Well, it was when I was shown the door marked 'Cud' that I began to think we were onto something. The door was opened to me and there stood a cow! Yes, a cow chomping away on its own pasture!

I asked the 'Team', 'Is that a real cow and is it connected to our sever?'

'Yes, Sir (they are very formal), it is and it is.'

They went on to explain that every time a nomadic surfer clicks on one of my web pages, a tiny tingle is sent to one of the cow's udders; this makes it produce milk into an urn which is then re-cycled and given to a local school for use at morning break. Not only that, this tingle also makes the cow chew more and, thus, energy is generated to power the server.

Blow me, how green is my silicon valley? Well, I welled up – what a breakthrough!

I had heard that this had been tried before without success. Rumour had it that Coldplay had used badgers to send emails but the badgers were put off by Chris Martin's revolutionary dress sense. Also that Radiohead had banks of caged Robins. Every time a track was downloaded from their site, the Robins would wildly peck tiny keyboards and randomly generate music. And there was I thinking that all of Radiohead's music sounded like it was randomly generated?

Anyways I'm glad I can reach out to you again but spare a thought for our cow when you spill something on your keyboard.



Ever tried picking your twenty favourite albums? ‘Easy’, I hear you say.

Just mosey up to the old record collection – flip, flip, flip – and out pops a range of classic records that
represent you personally, emotionally and show what a person of great taste you rightly are.

I tried and it wasn’t quite that easy but this is how I got on.

As I started taking records off of the shelves, I was reminded of the universal truth: music is related to time and place. There will always be a tune that accompanies you through times of happiness, freedom and depression and you’ll never be alone when you go on a long journey.

Never was this more apparent as when sifting through a pile of discs that were scattered across the floor.
I found an old vinyl version of the Orange Juice LP, ‘Rip It Up’. I played this to death when I moved flats. I put it on again and the opening bars transported me back to my old living room with light streaming through the windows and the heat of the Sun on my neck. I could almost touch the scene.

Underneath another pile I found ‘The Heart of Saturday Night’ by Tom Waits. It took me back to the local Public Library where you could borrow records. (Yes, that’s right young people – we borrowed records! And we even went around to a friend’s house just to listen to their new LP!).

A new record conversation normally went like this:

KNOCK, KNOCK. (Having turned up at friends house on the off-chance they might be in. No forms of electronic communication then, of course and some people didn’t even bother with a land-line).

‘Hi Bob, have you got the new album?’

‘Yeah, got it from HMV this morning’

‘Can I come in and listen to it? I can’t really afford to get one yet?’

‘Er, Ok, but my Mum says I can’t play it that much because it’ll wear the record player needle out’

I was fourteen and, randomly, had borrowed an LP by someone called, Tom Waits. That was my first brush with him. The second was some years later; I was on tour and I stood with my ear up against a closed door and listened to him play the piano as he was writing what would become, ‘One From the Heart’. I slavishly followed his career from then on.

Unfortunately both of these records didn’t make the final twenty. And therein lies the problem. Great memories aside, I had to try and pick a range of music that I thought best represented me. Not necessarily the ‘best’ records ever made and certainly not to everyone's taste but ones that ‘make the man’.

A typical dilemma: I like Kraftwerk; I like ‘Autobahn’ and ‘Tour de France’. I also have soft spot for Señor
Coconut’s, ‘El Baile Aleman’ – a frankly mental record where the great Señor does Latin, Rumba and Swing
versions of many Kraftwerk songs. Try playing that CD after a few drinks and you’ll think the world is a better place.

Annoyingly, there was one other handicap: I wasn’t allowed to include ‘blatant’ compilations or ‘Greatest Hits’. So ABBA, The Four Tops, Thelonious Monk and Trojan Records – to name but a few – suffered badly. And, also, there are givens: The whole twenty could have been Beatles LP’s and ‘Kind of Blue’ by Miles Davis is, collectively, one of the greatest pieces of music made in the twentieth century.

So, in the end, I went for a balanced selection with no particular genre of music having too much influence.

Here, in no particular order, are my final twenty – which are subject to change tomorrow; next week; next month and next year:

Beck, ‘Odelay’                                                                          Neil Young, ‘After The Gold Rush’
The Clash, ‘The Clash’                                                             The Beatles, ‘Rubber Soul’
Jimmy Cliff, ‘The Harder They Come’                                       Charles Mingus, ‘Blues and Roots’
Motown Chartbusters Vol. 3                                                      Tom Waits, ‘Rain Dogs’
Van Morrison, ‘Moondance’                                                      Television, ‘Marquee Moon’
Ella Fitzgerald, ‘Sings The Cole Porter Songbook’                    Robert Wyatt, ‘Nothing Can Stop Us’
Steely Dan, ‘Can’t Buy A Thrill’                                                  Air, ‘Moon Safari’                                      
John Lennon, 'John Lennon and The Plastic Ono Band'           Camille, 'Le Fil'   
Blind Willie Johnson, ‘Dark Was The Night’                               David Bowie, ‘Hunky Dory’
Fanfare Ciocarlia, ‘Queens and Kings’                                       Bob Marley, 'Catch A Fire'



When I got the phone call from Dan, the second assistant producer, I thought it was one of those 0800-BEEFCAKE chatlines.

'Do you like dressing up?' he said in his hip-hop-cockney slur, 'I mean, do you like dressing up animals?'.

'Depends?' I said. And then quickly followed it with, 'is this a trick?'.

Doh! I've told myself that I must never say that on the phone. Because then the person on the phone always says no but they don't really mean no because they know that I know that we know… well, anyway.

'Ha! I jacked you' said slangy Dan. This sounded even grubbier now.

'No, listen, right, I was wondering if you wanted to do the music and help out on a show I'm producing?'.

'Depends' I said. (Made sure I didn't say 'is this trick').

'It's gonna be 'nang' – it's going straight to cable! Do you wanna hear my pitch?'.

'Ok?' I said slightly slurring, trying to be vaguely hip and not at all gullible.

'Listen, listen… First take some cats; then some clothes; add some celebs – whattayergot?
"Celebrity Cats in Clothes"! Eight out of ten people prefer it!… Whadyerthink?'.

'Delightful, er, I mean "fresh". How do you see the theme tune?'.

'Sort of soft and fluffy with a hint of menace. Sort of Neighbours meets Jaws. Anyways we'll get to that later. We've got all sorts of stars lined up: Graham Norton's cat dressed up as Napoleon; Brian May from Queen, his cat is going to re-enact a scene from West Side Story and then we've got couple of rejects from The X Factor – we thought their cats could dress as the cast of Glee? They'll do anything we tell 'em… Then, the money shot, we've got the surviving members of the 1966 World Cup bringing in their cats to see if the ball really did go over the line… It's got the lot: education, history, sewing…' he sort of trailed off wistfully, drinking in the magnitude of his creation.

When I finally got his intention, 'I'll do it' I said, 'When do I start?'.

'Tomorrow. And bring your sewing machine. Must go, where there's fluff – there's money. Bye'. Click.

'But… but… it's not a trick, is it?'.



It has been brought to my attention by my attorney, Dr Eugene Trump, that there has already been complaints about my my website. It seems that some people don't believe what has been written about me and my extraordinary life! I have been advised to issue this disclaimer. Could you please read it and then touch your screen to confirm that you understand and accept it:

Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. Void where prohibited.Some assembly required. Severe tyre damage. Batteries not included. Contents may settle during shipment. Not to be taken internally. Do not use while operating a motor vehicle or heavy machinery. As seen on TV. Subject to F.A.A. approval. This is not an offer to sell securities. Apply only to affected area. May be too intense for some viewers. Sanitized for your protection. Use other side for additional listings. For recreational use
only. All models over 18 years of age. If condition persists, consult your physician. No user-serviceable parts inside. Objects in mirror are closer than they appear. Use only as directed. Freshest if eaten before date on carton. Subject to change without notice.Simulated picture. Breaking seal constitutes acceptance of agreement. One size fits all. Colors may, in time, fade. Slippery when wet. For official use only. Not affiliated with the American Red Cross. Edited for television. Not responsible for failure to perform. Not the Beatles. Substantial penalty for early withdrawal.Avoid contact with skin. Sign here without admitting guilt. Employees and their families are not eligible. Contestants have been briefed on some questions before the show. Keep away from fire or flame. Replace with same type. Reproduction strictly prohibited. No shoes, no shirt, no service. Decision of judges is final. This bag is not a toy. Keep away from children. Actual milage may vary. This supercedes all previous notices.


A NEW REGIME™ : 'Britain's Premier Diet & Politics Mag'

November 2011 sees the launch of Mark Bedford's new, full colour diet and politics magazine! It has been bankrolled by a Russian oligarch – who wishes to remain anonymous and could lose a few pounds, not only from his wallet but his waist as well!

A New Regime™ will bring you the best in international politics with tips to fight the flab! Take our lead story for November: Let us show you around the beautiful home of the dictator of a small, South American country. He has the novel idea of getting rid of middle-aged spread by making middle-aged people 'disappear'! Fabulous!

In your diet history section, we roll back the years (and, hopefully, the fat as well!) as we help you  to look amazing with the aid of Joe Stalin's Vodka Diet!

Whether you are left wing or right wing, we'll get rid of those 'Bingo Wings'!

Issue Two free with Issue One

(Warning: Your weight can go up as well as down)



Firstly, thank you so much for your kind messages of support! I was amazed
at the number of people who were fascinated by my article about the
concept of miniaturisation. And I was surprised by how many of you had made
the trip to Euro Disney and got on the 'It's a Small World After All' ride.
There were no reports of anyone shirking down in size but I can tell you now
that there are quite a few happy couples awaiting the patter of tiny feet.
Surely, I can't take credit for that!?!

Sorting through the emails, I was jiggered when I saw the name NINTENDO pop
up in my Inbox. What could that, fat-thumbed-from-gaming, multinational

'Dear Mr Bedford (how formal),' it said. 'We were very interested to read
your recent article and we feel you could be of great service to us. We are
trying to make 'Big Brother' for the GameBoy and thought it would be a
unique selling point to down-size the contestants – so that they could
actually live inside each persons machine!'.

Imagine having a contestant shout at you, every time you turned the GameBoy on?
An unmistakable cockney twang bellowing, 'ere, get me effing out of 'ere'.
I suppose you could always press button 'A' and send a giant Tetris block
crashing down on their head?

Which reminds me… Someone emailed the website and wrote about Dagenham. It
brought back happy memories of another project I was once involved in. Dagenham,
you see, is on the A13. Further on, up that fine road is Thurrock – home to
a mega-sized IKEA.

I was called in to see the Swedish wood-turners to discuss a most secret
idea that I had proposed: 'Flat-Pack Music'.

I was warmly welcomed by Ingma, Svennis and Britte (have you noticed that
IKEA employees always have a faint whiff of sawdust about them?). I unrolled
my drawings and showed them my concept: 'Build a Boy Band Straight out of
the Box!' (Only a screwdriver required for assembly). Not only would you be
able to make a fully formed group but also you could construct the stools
for them to sit on – ideal when singing the cheesy ballad. Also included a
free CD Rack to store all of their discs!

The name of this band? Woodzone, of course.


So… farewell then Ceefax, your time is coming to an end.

I was reminded of the power of the square letter, the other night. I went to my 'local' to catch the last 20 minutes of the BIG MATCH on the BIG SCREEN.

Are there never any small matches anymore? If there were, I suppose you would have to watch them on the small screen or basically, go around to a mates house with a can of beer and watch it on TV. Isn't that what we always used to do?

Anyway, the game wasn't great. It consisted of grown men who should know better than to hoof the ball up the pitch and chase after it, playground-style. As one of the regulars ranted, 'Get the ball on the f****** deck, you hairy-a****, F****** tart!'. I'll leave you to fill the blanks in – the book, 'Txts Man U L 4 Pro Foballas :)', might come in handy for this.

As the game ended, a funny thing happened. There was no post-match analysis. No, '…at the end of the day', or '…over the moon, Brian'. The landlord switched the TV over to Ceefax.

Calm crept through the pub; the noise gradually died down. I noticed that some people in the bar had turned towards the screen and had started to read the tCeefax pages. Some of the clientele moved their heads in gentle rocking motion, following the lines of copy. Others silently mouthed the words as they were reading. Next to me, my shouting friend who only a few minutes earlier, had been berating the players, donned his reading glasses. Mouth slightly ajar – he joined in.

They were all doing it! Paying silent homage to the Ceefax God. How could a report on the Motorways of Great Britain hold their attention for so long? The Lottery numbers, maybe....I had to leave. I crept out of the pub and took a last look back through the window. Nobody had stirred. The power of Ceefax is a strange and wonderful thing.

Of course it wasn't like that in the early days. I remember going to down to the BBC when they were trying to get Ceefax working. It is a little know fact that the invention of this mighty medium owes a lot to LEGO. Two boffins in basement of Broadcasting House used to leave messages for one another made out of the yellow or white bricks. You know, things like, 'poo-head', 'doofus', 'arse-wipe'. Childish, I know – but you have to start somewhere. One day, they accidently left a video camera on and filmed the words they had built from the Danish blocks. Presto! Ceefax and its distinctive square letterforms were born.

Of course, things took off. The demand became greater. All those recipes to put up on screen. Building the blocks by hand took too long. So the idea was to use rats! Yes, rats. Hundreds of them scurrying along a network of clear pipes. A tasty morsel of food their reward for a successful brick drop-off.

Bigger and bigger and bigger; page after page. The rats were exhausted. 'We're late with the holiday info page'. 'Where's the "in your local area" page?'. What could be done? Use small children, of course! Get them to speed down small tunnels on their scooters pulling carts full of bricks.

This worked for a while, until the license-payers monitoring group (Or OftMong, as they are known) found out. There was a right stink, I can tell you. They didn't mind the the use of children, it was just they were being paid too much. Ok. . . so they settled on adults with rowing machines.

And that is how Ceefax worked for many years...