Colonel Moseley on.... My Favourite Things
To be honest I was shocked at this, since I’ve always considered myself a generous-minded sort of chap. Still, if that’s the perception of my readers, it’s down to me to put my image straight. I may not have a PR guru like Max Clifford or Alistair Campbell, but I have this blog, so here we go.
The trouble is: how do you demonstrate convincingly that you’re a good egg and a cheerful one in less than 900 words? Previously I have highlighted my view of the failings of motorists, restaurants, families, bosses and the like. I have even stated my Ten Least Favourite Things. Although I’m no Maria in the Sound of Music, perhaps I can list my favourite things, which incidentally don’t include brown paper packages tied up with string, which always sound to me like consignments of illicit drugs. Also, when the dog bites or the bee stings or you’re feeling sad, I would recommend a visit to the doctor’s or the off-licence rather than relying on this list. Subject to these caveats, here are my ten favourites (after the Mem, of course):
1. Countdown: not surprisingly, nothing lifts the spirits on a rainy afternoon at Moseley Towers more than Carol Vorderman providing a brilliant solution to 987 using four large and two small, whilst one enjoys a Mr Kipling Country slice and a cup of tea.
2. Divas: another of my weaknesses is great women singers with soul. Some have sad stories, but all are glamorous and gifted. Starting with Judy Garland and Edith Piaf, my favourites include Billie Holliday and Dusty Springfield.
3. Eating out: whether it’s a balti house, gastro pub or the Ivy, I still get a kick out of eating out with the Mem and friends. The food should be fresh and robust and the experience should be fun and an event.
4. Paintings: I’ve never been one for the Old Masters, but can be transported by the work of Stanley Spencer, Van Gogh, Bacon and Matisse. For me the best art strikes a chord and prompts an emotion.
5. Alcohol: a chilled white burgundy on a hot afternoon is one of God’s more inspired creations. I would also take this moment to thank Him for gin.
6. National Hunt racing: what was more uplifting than Desert Orchid or the sadly missed Best Mate in their prime? My favourite kind of sport involves great performances, real characters and true sportsmanship. Give me Henrietta Knight or Jenny Pitman over Jose Mourinho, any day.
7. Theatre: I believe theatre should entertain or move. Say it very quietly, but I know all Stephen Sondheim’s shows backwards; they are brilliant, literate and undervalued. I have been lucky enough to have seen a few actors who capture you entirely: Maggie Smith, Ian McKellen and the incomparable Judi Dench. They are national treasures and add to our quality of life.
8. New York: only a few destinations have something for everyone. My favourite is the Big Apple, specifically Manhattan. I have a romantic view of it with Gershwin playing in my head as I walk around. I love catching glimpses of the Chrysler building and doing all the touristy stuff from 5th Avenue, Tiffany’s, Central Park, great museums and delis, SAKS, Bloomingdales, the Rockerfeller Centre, shows on Broadway; the list is endless. If you are fortunate enough to get the chance, please do it.
9. Trashy TV: I don’t like soaps but am embarrassed to admit that as well as the football on Sky, I quite like relaxing with junk TV like Celebrity Big Brother and Strictly Come Dancing. It’s a harmless diversion and occasionally casts a light on human nature and modern preoccupations (or that’s my excuse).
10. Birmingham City FC: this is another one to mention quietly. It’s not something I shout about, but once you really support a club, you are put in a good mood if they win and downcast if they lose. I know it's also in my list of Least Favourite Things, but life is complex. It’s in the blood I’m afraid and that's that.
So there you are; so many words and not a negative one amongst them. I shall have to go and lie down in a darkened room. Hopefully normal cynical service will be resumed shortly. Pip, pip!
*a version of this piece also appeared in Birmingham 13