Charles Shaar Murray panellises for the benefit of the indispensable Resonance FM —

Charles Shaar Murray, Resonance FM, benefit panel, Jude Rogers, Andrew Mueller, David Stubbs, Slaughtered Lamb, Neil DennyNever miss an opportunity to pose, dressed in black, before a blazing bloodred neon pentagram. Especially when it’s for the fundraisy benefit of an institution as wunderbar as London’s Resonance FM 104.4 indie-arts radio thang (which, let it not be forgotten, hosts — among much other fab stuffage — Anna Chen‘s Madam Miaow’s Culture Lounge, held at The Slaughtered Lamb in Clerkenwell. And most especially not when it enables one to participate in a discussion on the past, present and future of rock journalism with the likes of David Stubbs, Jude Rogers and Andrew Mueller, hosted by the mega-urbane Neil Denny of the Little Atoms show.

Which is what I did last week — and this is what it sounded like. Wit rather than wittering, and wisdom ta rass, dreadee.

The only thing that pissed me off about an otherwise fabulous evening is that I forgot to grab this golden opportunity to plug my Hothouse writing course and hardsell the last few available places …

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 …

Jewish Book Week: Old Punk Prepares Reminiscences, Rants And Anecdotes

CSM HamHigh

A little while back, I was delighted to receive — and eagerly accept — an offer to join a panel chaired by my old friend and eternally ageless sistren Vivien Goldman on The Jewish Roots Of Punk as part of Jewish Book Week, taking place on Saturday March 1 at 9pm, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9AG. Also on board will be Geoff Travis, Daniel Miller and Toby Mott, so a good time should be had by all, awreddy. (Incidentally, the event immediately before us will feature Mark Lewisohn talking about his rather impressive new Beatles book Tune In, the first volume of the massive eventual trilogy All These Years.)

We haven’t (yet) done anything as grownup and efficient as pre-planning an agenda, but I assume that we may be talking about what it  means to be Jewish, what it means to be punk and how these two states of being might conceivably intersect. I also assume that, old and dignified as we all now are, there will be little or no spitting, kicking over of microphones, shaking up beer cans and popping them in the general direction of the audience or, for that matter, mass chanting of Hava Nagila.

Nevertheless, whilst engaging in preliminary thinkage concerning Malcolm McLaren, Joey Ramone and many more (not to mention Bob Dylan and Marc Bolan, though I suspect someone will), I was reminded of a favourite adage of my late sainted father: “If I ever find out that the Worldwide Jewish Conspiracy really exists, I’ll be furious … because I was never invited to join.”

Incidentally, the above ridiculously flattering portrait may seem like an outtake from my failed audition to become the next Dr Who (damn you, Peter Capaldi!) , but it was in fact taken by Nigel Sutton on behalf of that august periodical The Ham And High on the occasion of my being Cover Boy t’other week.

It only remains to animadvert that while the next session of my Hothouse Project: Journalism As Craft And Art course (commencing February 20) is filling up nicely, we still have a few places left … so don’t be shy. I’ll be gentle with you … maybe.