In 1991 Geller sued Randi and his group for $15 million for slander after Randi told the International Herald tribune that Geller fooled quite reputable people with the sort of cheap tricks that used to be found on the back of cereal boxes. The judge threw the case out when Randi produced in court a cereal box with instructions for performing the spoon-bending trick.

Had some interactions with Randi 15 years back. Good man who had a good run.

James Randi obituary
Stage magician and escapologist who performed as “The Amazing Randi” and who devoted himself to debunking psychics

Well, yes, but……

Davis might have fared better if he had not rejected a young hopeful named Reg Dwight, who auditioned to replace Winwood.

The impression I get is that Reg auditioned for everyone and everything back then. Undoubted skill and talent etc but no one was really quite sure where it was going to fit in….

Yes, that’s a comfort to take into the night

What pleased him the most was the knowledge that “somewhere in the world tonight, some mum or dad is going to be reaching down a copy of a book that I wrote and reading it to the most precious thing they have in the world. For writers that’s the holy grail. And that gives me enormous pleasure.”

Sam McBratney, children’s author, was born on March 1, 1943. He died after a long illness on September 18, 2020, aged 77

Slightly odd route

In August the following year he managed to leave France, traverse Spain and Portugal and reach Gibraltar, where he was flown to London to link up with De Gaulle’s Free French Forces.

Although possible. It’s just that Portugal isn’t on the route from France to Gib.

Tee hee

Anne-Marie Hutchinson was born in Donegal in 1957, one of six children of Gerry, a barber, and Kitty, a nurse. A proud member of the Irish Catholic diaspora, she was brought up, ironically, in Oliver Cromwell’s constituency of Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire. Her parents referred to the lord protector as “that bastard”.

This also being a PJ O’Rourke joke about his Republican grandmother. Never would allow the word “Democrat” to be spoken in the house, always said “bastards” instead.

Where in buggery is that?

Margaret Nolan was born in Norton Radstock, Somerset, in 1943

Yes, it was a parish and an administrative unit. But no one at all ever refers to the area as that. Midsomer Norton is a nice little Somerset town. Radstock is a fiery hell of inbred ex-miners. The distinction is always made.

True story. Brother was offered tenancy of a Radstock cider pub – rent free! Turned it down as too dangerous. Went off to run catering in Helmland instead. No, really…..

Another one gone

Johnny Nash, a singer-songwriter and performer of the million-selling anthem I Can See Clearly Now, has died at the age of 80.

Nash, who had been in declining health, died of natural causes at home in Houston, the city of his birth, said his son, Johnny Nash Jr.

The writer of this obituary……

….is just squealing with joy at being able to get this line in:

Her other lovers included Serge Gainsbourg, Sacha Distel and Davis’s friend Quincy Jones. Another was Darryl Zanuck, the Hollywood film producer who accompanied her in Uganda during filming of The Naked Earth (1958)

It’s an English thing, a colloquialism…..

An interesting inversion

After Forrest Gump Groom felt bereft of ideas that “really grabbed me”, so he focused mainly on non-fiction books about subjects close to his heart: the American Civil War, the American West, the history of aviation and the history of Alabama football. “I think that every novelist, with the odd exception such as Dickens, has one really good book in them, but the trouble with so many writers is that they keep on writing novels when they run out of ideas. They get pressurised into writing books they don’t want to do and get burnt by the critics. Fitzgerald drank himself to death and Hemingway blew his brains out. I didn’t want that to be me.”

Perhaps not everyone does have a novel in them but those who do only have the one?

Cool story

In 1978 Askews was nearly destroyed. A business partner, furious when Askew tried to stop him sleeping with the models, poached her three bookers and 22 of their models. The industry rallied round her and when the Askews managed to rearrange their existing bookings with new models, a group of “heavies” was sent to Bruton Street to take her booking diaries.

When the lead heavy demanded she hand them over, she offered him a cup of tea. Looking at the pictures of models on the wall, he saw Lorraine Chase, his daughter. “You looked after my girl. I’m not doing anything here,” he said, finishing his tea and leading his men out.

Aye up

Speaking at 103, Creamer said he could not understand how or why he was still waking up each morning. “I’ve lived a life of adventure,” he said. “It’s a good feeling to know I was able to carry out one of my dreams.”

Marvin Creamer, sailor, was born on January 24, 1916. He died on August 12, 2020, aged 104

Mr. Fontana

Despite such mishaps, he continued on his never-ending nostalgia tour. “I’m 70 now and being held together with bits of string and gaffer tape,” he joked at a gig in 2016. “To imagine I would still be treading the boards at this age is beyond belief. It’s amazing what wine, women and song can do!” It seemed emblematic of his luck that moments later he suffered a heart attack.

Oh, this is great

Angela Buxton was born in 1934 in Liverpool to a Russian-Jewish couple whose families had fled persecution in the 1890s. Her father, Harry, a flamboyant would-be entrepreneur and small-time street trader, made a fortune when he and his brother developed a system for gambling on blackjack. Despite widespread derision, they pooled their meagre savings and travelled to the south of France, where they broke the bank. Harry bought a chain of cinemas around Manchester with the proceeds and gave his family all the privileges he had never had, sending his wife, Violet, with Angela, then six, and her brother to South Africa to escape the Blitz.

Presumably card counting but still lovely.

It’s people like this who do change the world

Elizabeth Ward obituary
Pioneer of the first organ donor card who fought tirelessly to improve hospital resources after her son suffered kidney failure

There is a sadness though:

Ward claimed that an opt-out scheme would enable the estimated 5,000 people waiting for transplants to be matched with a readily available “cadaveric kidney” much sooner and that it would save the NHS millions because the cost of a kidney transplant is half that of a year of dialysis. “If the law was changed from a consent register to a dissent register there’s not the slightest doubt that many lives would be saved,” she told The Times in 2006. Ward lived long enough to see Max and Keira’s Law enacted in May.

It has been tried in varied jurisdictions and it makes no difference. There aren’t enough cadaveric kidneys that are of use whatever the permission issue.

During Stevie’s cocaine years presumably

The Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks, whose platinum solo album The Other Side of the Mirror Hine produced in 1989, said: “It seemed that we had made a spiritual agreement to do a magic album in a fabulous Dutch castle, at the top of the mountain. Whenever Rupert walked in, the room was on fire. There was a connection between us that everyone around us instantly picked up on.”

Holland’s slightly short of castles on mountains…..