Sunday lunch with Wilko Johnson


Charles Shaar Murray does Sunday lunch with Wilko Johnson and Team Wilko in Southend

After a delightful visit to Wilko Johnson — who, leave us not forget, stared death in the face and saw death back down — I dashed off a quick Facebook post, which went sort of like this:

“Yesterday: a lovely Sunday afternoon by the seaside … to be precise, hanging out with Wilko Johnson and a bunch of his mates, including the inimitable Norman Watt-Roy, Wilk’s manager Lisa Climie, his saviour cancer specialist/ace photographer Charlie Chan (yep, that really is his name and yep, he’s heard ALL the jokes at least 100 times each so he doesn’t need to hear any of them again, ever), the splendiferous Anna Chen and several other lovely peeps.

“Festivities included an epic Chinese meal, during which everybody ate until it hurt and everybody who wasn’t driving drank until their back teeth floated. Wilk’s still in the comparatively early stages of recovery from his MASSIVE life-saving surgery, but he’s in good spirits (though he’s no longer drinking any), working hard to rebuild strength and stamina, itching to resume maltreating Telecasters in public and even speculating on returning to Game of Thrones once Ser Ilyn Payne is no longer ill in pain and he’s strong enough to wield the Big Sword once more. And he thanks all y’all for the good vibes.”

Imagine my surprise (and I’ll imagine yours) when THIS suddenly showed up in the Daily Express We noted with some amusement that my offhand reference to ‘the seaside’ somehow ended up in Express-ese as a visit to the beach. Which it wasn’t – we convened chez Wilk and then decamped en masse to the raththah mahvellus Zen City for the Big Eat.

Gad sir, will these meejah vulchaz stop at nothing?

Pix by Team Wilko member Micky Fawcett

Charles Shaar Murray’s next Hothouse Project “Journalism as Craft and Art” writing course starts Tuesday 30th September in West Hampstead NW6. More info here.

Wilko Johnson, Yuriko, Charles Shaar Murray, Lisa Climie, Anna Chen, Micky Fawcett,

Chalkie Davies Goes Click At Snap, bringing crackle to pop …

Best rock photograoher Charles Shaar Murray with best music journalist Charles Shaar Murray

Chalkie Davies Snap Gallery

To Piccadilly Arcade’s Snap Gallery (Jaysus, what a gallery queen I’m becoming in my old age) with the ever-delightful Anna Chen to enjoy an emotional and long-overdue reunion with dear friend and former NME colleague, ace photog Chalkie Davies, now long since resident in New York. We were there to check out his mini-exhibition Chalkie Davies Goes Click, a tantalising teaser/prequel for a way more grand and elaborate show to held next year at the National Museum of Wales and featuring 33 classic shots from his days (months, years …) at the NME, including unforgettable images of Blondie, The Clash, Bowie/Ronson, The ‘Oo (well, Pete Townshend’s smashed Rickenbacker), John Lydon, Elvis Costello, Phil Lynott, Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Sid’n Nancy, David Byrne and many, many more.

We ended up not in a Soho doorway but in one of our favourite West End eateries, The Canton, for major catch-ups and anecdotage, much of which cannot enter the public domain as long as all three of us remain alive.

Chalkie’s exhibition runs until April 26, so ankle along … hey! Ya never know … Jah Chalk might even be there in person …

Chalkie Davies Anna Chen photograph Pete Townshend's smashed guitar

Charles Shaar Murray’s Guide to the Blues on Madam Miaow, Resonance FM

Anna Chen is back with a bang! To be precise, her new eight-week radio series of Madam Miaow’s Culture Lounge on Resonance 104.4FM on Tuesdays 5-6pm starting this week, 4th March.

To kick off, I’m giving my Guide to the Blues, Parts 1 and 2, Ancient and Modern: the 1920s to the early 1960s when the Blues was almost entirely African-American, and the mid-1960s to the present when the white kids got it and joined in (Part 2 follows on Tuesday 11th March).

In brief, pre- and post- Stones.

With guest Stephen Dale Petit. There will be a listen-again opportunity to hear it after broadcast on Soundcloud which we’ll post here.

Farrago Poetry Zoo Awards: Anna Chen and CSM score his’n’hers prizes …


the lovely one got hers for Best Performance By A London poet (‘Ackney is London, innit?) and the cat in the hat got his for Best Fiction Performance (as if all my performances weren’t fiction of one kind or annuver) and they look lavly in our living room. Making the presentation: Farrago mover’n’shaker John Paul O’Neill and, of course, it all took place at the RADA foyer cafe in Malet St, in the heart of London’s glittering West End.  This was a coupla weeks back, admittedly, but it’s so hard to keep up with such a fast-moving existence, I’m always a few weeks behind myself …

Meanwhile, please be advised that we still have a few places left for seekers after wisdom and enlightenment via my Hothouse course … kicking off this coming Thursday, Feb 20, in the heart of London’s leafy West Hampstead. Hurry hurry hurry, but please form an orderly queue and try not to trample the peeps in front of you …