Archive for November, 2009

Reasons To Like My Friends and Family

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on November 9, 2009 by Andrew T. Smith

I recently decided to purge my phone of redundant text messages that were taking up space and stumbled across these. No reason for including them here other than that I like them.

“You’ve lost a fight to him, you have. (R.I.P. John Inman)”

“Well done Drew!, cats now trying 2 get in kitchen window! All we need now is 4 the whippets 2 come 4 a visit – another murder!”

“Tis your fault. u gave milk!”

“Lol. I might just store it in my pouch till later like a hamham xxx”

“Ferret beautiful ferret xxx”

“Wher did you get those duck crisps from? L v k x”

“Just found the closing theme to Quatermass II on itunes. A snip at 79p.”

“What the hell is elo? Is it that spikey lego stuff? xxx”

“How much money in slang words is monkey worth? Quick TB x”

“No… I’m being serious…”

“Oh wow! I am like racecar! :D”

“Thick and crisp and even xxx”

“After punching some stuff I’m better xxx”

“OMG we’ve been living in filth urgh 😦 x”

“Do you have any personal opinions on Milton Keynes?”

“What the fuck? You? In a club? With young peoples music? What would norman clegg say?”



Book Update

Posted in Marx, Marx Brothers, Ramblings, Re-Marx with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 7, 2009 by Andrew T. Smith

Flywheel Radio Guide Magazine Cover

To all you patient folks out there waiting for my book, (there must be at least two of you, right?) things are starting to move along. Currently I have a good friend and designer working on the cover while another designer works on the interior.

In the meantime I have added a NEW PAGE to this site which includes streaming audio copies of all surviving material from the original Five Star Theatre run of Flywheel, Shyster and Flywheel in 1932/1933. You can access them at any time by clicking the link to the sidebar at the right of this page. Hope you enjoy!


Posted in Ramblings with tags , , , , , , , on November 2, 2009 by Andrew T. Smith


Moving house recently has turned up a lot of treasures long thought lost. A Gordon the Gopher hand puppet, old greetings cards, my Blue Peter badge – but nothing quite compares to my unearthing an old blue writing book that contains, squeezed between some rather awful pubescent fan-fiction, a homework assignment interview with my Grandmother.

I remember this piece of work fairly well; it was given either late on in primary school or early on in secondary school, and we were all asked to interview an ‘older person’ about the changes between ‘now’ and ‘the olden days.’ What follows is my transcription of a tape recorded interview I conducted with my maternal grandmother. The tape is long gone but I’ve typed the hand-written text up, pretty much the way I wrote it save for correcting some grammatical and spelling errors. Parkinson, Theroux or Murrow I was (and am) not, but in my defence I think we were all given a set of questions to ask.


Tell us a bit about your background.

I’m from a place called Sengenith in South Wales. I was born in 1924 – 15th of June; so that makes me seventy-seven. My mother was called Katie, my father Guillem, and brother Tommy. 


Tell us about the place you were born.

The place I was born was a pit village.


When did you go to school?

I went to school when I was three, I used to follow the other kids and my mother asked if I could stop there.


What were your hobbies?

When I was fourteen/sixteen, the war started. There wasn’t much of hobbies or things. I used to go to the park with my friend in London. I had to work, I was too young to go into the forces, so my first job was in tailoring at fourteen. I did that for two years, then I went to a place called Dunstable to work in a factory ‘till I was eighteen.


Where did you live as a teenager?

I lived in London, in North Kensington, and there were two flats over a shop. I lived with my friend and her mother. I lived with Mrs Dyer and they had five children.


What happened around Christmas?

Because of the war, the people I lived with used to keep a bantam hen, and at Christmas they thought they would kill it for Christmas Dinner. So, Christmas day we were all sitting round the table and she brought the chicken out and they all started to cry, saying, “Poor Percy!” 

Nobody would touch it.


What was the popular music and entertainment at the time?

Just wartime songs. You could go to the theatre but we never had the money. We used to go to the pictures a lot – to see musicals and war pictures.


What kind of things did you buy?

Like I said, we didn’t have money. To get clothes you had to have a ration book and if you had the points you didn’t have the money and if you had the money you didn’t have the points. Couldn’t win.


What were your main pastimes?

Going dancing.


What did you listen to on the radio?

We didn’t have it on very much ‘cause it run on a battery or an accumulator and you had to get it charged. We listened to music and comedy shows and sketches.


What was the difference between what girls were taught compared to boys?

Apart from arithmetic, boys did woodwork – the girls did cookery and sewing. We were in separate buildings.


Not exactly a riveting interview, I grant you. But there is something above that seems to capture it’s subject; she’s quiet, has some good stories, but is a little shy when confronted with a tape recorder. There has been a word processed and printed out copy of this same interview knocking about my old house for a while now, but there is something about finding my original transcription that is very special. Idiot that I am, the original audio tape is long since lost, and the notes, being only one generation removed, are the closest thing I have. 

Betty died about five or six years ago now. We were close and I still miss her. I wish I could remember the teacher who gave this homework; just to say thank you for inadvertently helping me to keep a little piece of her alive.