A Silly Discourse With A FaceBook Friend On Molly Mal Owen

Mic:    I knew a fish counter once, used to tot them all up down and around Newlyn when the fishing fleet came in. A lady named Molly Malone, sister to a brother who shared a mother with another. She wheeled a real barrow through the streets broad and narrow crying: ‘Grockles, I’ve Brussels’ as she attempted to flog stale vegetables to the tourist trade. She had seven different barrows, or barras, as she called them, one named for each day of the week but her favourite was Barra Monday. Oh, honestly, she was a dab hand at the fish counting but she gave it all up when she’d reached a total of 2013 on the musical scale and then lost her plaice. An odd looking lady she had a bottlenose and a full and generous mouth with luscious lips that looked for all the world like two fat peeled prawns. She had an odd way of sidling up to you; she walked like a crab because of a precariously balanced red mullet hanging over her eyes, and two huge pollacks which she used to juggle whilst racing round on a pair of skates, without a flounder, squatting on a perch and whistling ‘My Ting-a-Ling’ (though from a distance, and that was always the best option with Molly, it could sound more like ‘Why-ting-a-ling’) She performed this musical rendition a whole tone and three quarters above pitch and would fiercely screech: ‘What Char!’ or ‘On yer pike’ at anyone who complained. She married a Piscean, a German Cockle Fancier (Herman the German Merman) who quaffed gills of anything spirit based, so she was always ‘Herr-ing’ him and he’d be fiddling with her fillets. He, Herman the German Merman, it must be stated, was a gifted fiddler too; he could fiddle with fish fingers, a strange congenital abnormality he suffered with, wherein his fingers, seen from above, (reminiscent of a scene from ‘Above Us The Waves’) resembled nothing less than some several skinny deep fried and battered slices of mechanically recovered fish meat in breadcrumbs. Yet they were exquisitely and delicately arranged in a fan like flourish. He absolutely adored soul especially that of Lemon Louie the brown and pinkly striped man who used to sunbathe behind a slatted wooden pallet at the back of Mallets in Truro. (Although to be fair, at a pinch he’d do it wherever the mood took him and conditions were collectively conducive). Herman, the German Merman, could play all sorts and not just Bassett’s mind you in spite of a speech impediment which caused him to add a ‘Chrissie’ sound to his words. To hear him help Molly with the fish counting was extremely amusing on a wet Wednesday as he’d be uttering ‘1-ch, 2-ch, 3-ch, 4-ch, 5-ch, 6-ch, 7-ch, 8-ch, 9-ch, 10-ch! They lived happily just off Cod Row near the harbour and he, Herman the German Merman, used to carp on about how he could sleep anywhere any time; he claimed he was a natural kipper you see. All was well until she fell under the spell of a well endowed sardine squasher and debonair de-boner, who’d perfected a natural style of smile. This he applied to his mouth at any and all opportune moments thus ensnaring the yearnings and desires of any young fish orientated females. He, a young Finn called Pil Chard, late of a small village called Dor Salle processed selected sea-harvested items for Shipham’s Fish Paste Products and she lost her heart, lungs, liver, kidneys and spleen to him and left Herman the German Merman squirming with a sermon which he’d deliver at the river where he’d shiver and quiver crying: ‘I’ll never forgive her.’ Sadly all without effect or authority. He got himself a dog, a coley I think, then later joined with a canny Scottish lady, a mother of four called Ma Kerrel and together they made a recording of ‘Salmon Chanted Evening’ on which Herman played bass and it did well – somewhere.

Oh, oh, it’s time for my medication, must go; I have to have cod liver oil on my cornflakes.

Mic McCreadie

A.H.    Game, set and match… Enjoy the cornflakes.


The Funeral Of Alistair (‘Larry’) Law.

LazThis Report for those who could not attend.

The funeral of Alistair (‘Larry’) Law took place at 13.00 on Monday 29th September 2014. It was held at The Weston Mill Crematorium, Plymouth. The dress code was ‘informal’ to reflect Larry’s ‘laid back’ attitude. Larry’s coffin was borne shoulder high into the chapel by his family and friends: brother, Jonathon Law,  his two sons, (Larry’s nephews: Adam and Philip), Marc Physick, (brother-in-law) Bob Mills and Mic McCreadie (long time friends).

Bach’s ‘Jesu, Joy Of Man’s Desiring’ played as the coffin was carried to and laid upon the bier with respect and ceremony. The chapel was filled to capacity with family, Larry’s many, many friends, many of Larry’s work colleagues including the Assistant Chief Constable of Devon and Cornwall Police and other high ranking officials. There were so many mourners in fact that some folk were not able to find a space within the body of the chapel and had to hear the service relayed on the P.A. system speakers.

The service was conducted by Police Chaplain John Howard, himself a one time colleague of Larry’s, who then made the Introduction followed by the first hymn: ‘O God Our Help In Ages Past.’

The service took the form of a celebration of Larry’s life and achievements. Emotional eulogies were given and poems were recited by his brother Jonathon and two of Larry’s closest friends, Mic McCreadie and Bob Mills. After the eulogies, prayers were said and the congregation then sung ‘The Lord Is My Shepherd’ and this was followed by the ‘The Lord’s Prayer’ before the Committal when a recording of the traditional air: ‘The Flowers Of The Forest’ was played as the curtains were drawn across.

The Chaplain gave the Blessing and a recorded version of Bob Dylan’s ‘Forever Young’ sung by Larry and Mic was played as the family and congregation filed out through a Guard Of Honour of uniformed Police. A collection box, for those who wished to make a donation to support the work of the  R.N.L.I., was available on exiting. This collection raised a little over £400.00.

A reception with refreshments including champagne was held in The Future Inn near Derriford and this too was overflowing with family and friends who’d come to make their last farewells to a dearly loved man. Gifts and tributes were presented to Larry’s parents, Iain and Rosemary, and among these was an especially compiled scrapbook by Linda Cory Stoneman containing photos, mementos and the collected posts and writings Larry’s friends had made on Facebook throughout his illness and hospitalisation in Derriford. It would be impossible to even attempt to list all the people who came to see Larry off but among those who travelled up from Cornwall were musicians John The Fish, Adrian O’Reilly, Keith Hills, Tom Palmer and Mic McCreadie all of whom had interacted musically in some way or another with Larry. These same musicians, and many of Larry’s musician friends from Plymouth and its surrounding areas, will be involved in the Charity Benefit Concert which is to be held on Sunday November 23rd 2014 at The Lowenac Hotel, in Camborne, Cornwall with the music beginning at 5pm. Entry will be free of charge but donations will be requested to benefit the R.N.L.I.

Some Utterly Nonsensical Exchanges With A Facebook Friend.


Mic McCreadie

Lungworm. Can you make a viable soup from them? Discuss


Richard Stevens

I am still attempting to but it’s not that tasty even with lashings of paprika. I will not, though, be defeated.

Mic McCreadie

Do you gut them before cooking or is it all grist to the mill, so to speak?


Richard Stevens

No time for gutting Mic. I do slow cook them to ensure that all of the ‘goodness’ remains within the liquor but I’m not sure I would recommend this meat to Heston.


Mic McCreadie

Mmm, I think I know what you mean. I’ve been given a half ton of the little buggers – well they were flung over the rear garden wall sometime during the night, and am thinking of stuffing them with mushrooms, garlic, fatty pate and a smidgin of proper, real toe jam. (I still have some of the proprietary brand of ‘Sweaty Palmer Toe Jam Preserve’ ©™. I’m having trouble finding a suitable funnel though, that’s my main problem today. They’ve got such small mouths – and arses. We’ll see, I suppose.


Richard Stevens

I wonder if it is worth force feeding the little bastards before dispatching them. Save on the stuffing. Just a thought…


Mic McCreadie

You’ll not believe this: the little f*ckers have formed a circle and are fighting back. I’ve been squirted with some foul smelling fluid as I tried to smear them with brown sauce (non faecal) and when one or two hundred died they got shitty – so to speak. I’ve called the police but they’ve refused to get involved and told me to try worm powder. I didn’t know you could get powdered worms. If I had I’d not have bothered with this rig-ma-role I can tell you. Hang on, some of the little bastards are trying get into the knife drawer, I’d better go.


Richard Stevens

I am so sorry. I should have warned you about this. A similar thing happened to me some years ago. A group of the little bastards took control of my Kenwood Chef and used it as a weapon against me. I was alone and cornered in the kitchen. Imagine my fear. In the end I distracted them by turning on the radio. Steve Wright In The Afternoon was on. For some reason they all threw themselves into the mixer simultaneously and met their mortal ends. I am certain to this day that some of them had a little smile on their faces. I shall never forget that day…


Mic McCreadie

I’ve only time for a quick note while the Fire Brigade are mopping up and the ambulance men have finally accepted my refusal to go to the local Casualty Department. Richard it was all out war, nothing less. Unbeknownst to me, and hidden by a worm shield they fashioned with their own little repugnant bodies, one of the little f*ckers had burrowed through the keyhole of the knife drawer which I keep locked due to being married, as you’ll no doubt understand, you being in a similar sort of circumstance and what-knot (know what I mean when I put ‘knot’ and not ‘not’?) Anyway a surgically sharp knife was quickly gotted and I was threatened with it, I’ve been up the sharp end before having, as you’ll readily understand, been married before. I had to act decisively or lose my life so, like a Springbok gazelle, I turned a neat pirouette whilst at the same time turning on and igniting the gas ring,

‘Come on then’, I screamed, ‘if you think you’re squidgy enough. Come and get me you furrocking shite bags!’

I uttered this challenge in a high pitched sing-song voice because I knew they’d be infuriated by that and sure enough they were incensed and made a very slow rush, well more of a sludgy, slimy ooze across the work top and, just as I’d planned, straight into the fierce heat of the gas ring where, I’m happy to report, in seconds they were toast!

I was victorious and elated, of course I was; I had vanquished mine enemies in the face of death. That was why I did the arabesque and leapt upwards with such force. It was this action that caused me to puncture the plaster of the ceiling and rupture the gas pipe which feeds the upstairs. The resulting fire has utterly destroyed the kitchen and half of next door’s penguin, though to be honest it never, ever looked happy in my humble opinion. I was severely lacerated by exploding glass and ceramics and have sustained quite painful injuries to my nether regions. I was naked, as I tried to explain to the police (who now were more than happy to get involved) and the firemen, because clothes in a war zone can be constrictive and impede one’s free movements, not recommended when fighting a pitched and seriously deadly battle with lung-worms or other nematodes etc. Happily the end result means I am free of these vicious little bastards and even as the men are smacking me around the arms and buttocks with their rubberised truncheons and wrapping me in a stiff blanket festooned with various straps and buckles and making shushing noise as I struggle to bite them, snapping hungrily at their noses and ears, I am firmly resolved never again to have lung-worm on my menu! I must go now, it seems I have absolutely no choice in the matte…

Mic McCreadie

James Taylor at Plymouth Pavilions. 05th September 2014.

The James Taylor Concert at Plymouth Pavilions last Friday night (05th September 2014) was a delight.

We arrived in good time to have a drink and meet up with some friends as we milled with the growing crowd in the bar – where there was no seating and us paying customers were being managed and corralled by grim faced, muscled stewards like so many cattle. We had what we initially thought were good seats; we had no choice during the booking process – you got what they gave you, and were about two thirds up the first tier in Row KK, very slightly stage right as you faced it.

The man himself was effortlessly charming, natural, self effacing and genuinely modest. His stage presence was all those things rolled in to one so the concert seemed like a personal one-to-one interview and the balance of songs was, in my opinion, well thought out and meticulously planned. There were new songs interspersed with many of the old favourites all performed with precision and grace and such innate ease. I was disappointed though by the sound. In my opinion and also possibly because of our position in the hall, the sound in the first set especially was a tad disappointing with Mr T. being drowned out both by the band and also by the backing vocalists so much so that in full flow the overall sound was mashed and indistinct. More separation would have helped I thought though on speaking to our friends during the break they, in their seats nearer to the stage, reported that they had no such problems with the overall sound. A musician friend and also a man who knows his way around a recording studio had this to say: Plymouth Pavilions is always tricky from a sound perspective. ‘Mashed and indistinct’ describes my experience there very well and overall has put me off booking tickets for shows. The venue wasn’t designed for great acoustics and even the finest touring P.A.s can’t overcome the deficiencies in the building’s construction. Everything I’ve heard there has been woolly, lacking clarity and separation. Great to hear you enjoyed JT in spite of the sound and annoying neighbours.

The band were good, tight, displaying an intelligent grasp of interplay in harmonics and chord inversions. It was clear they all knew very well what they were doing and how to do it, they were well rehearsed and enjoying themselves too and the whole evening was a study in how to present a laid-back, feel-good vibe (I know – but factor in the fact that I lived through the 60s musical revolution and hippy culture so…) There were many high points and memorable moments but, for me, the best was when he, J.T. sat to perform ‘Fire & Rain’, for it wasn’t only sung; it was ‘delivered’ in all its sad sincerity. The stark content of emotion in those lyrics was brought to life by his simple, uncluttered and telling performance. Standing ovations were de rigueur, the encores were ‘spontaneous’ with James acting as though they hadn’t expected them, good easy fun but better was to come. After a full-on night of performing, as the crowds shuffled their painfully slow trudge to the exits James came back out to sign tickets, shake hands have photos taken with punters just like he was any old everyday musician and not the internationally respected artist we all know and love. A very charming, genuinely humble man.

My only other disappointment was caused by the fact that we, my lovely missus Chrissie and I, had the bad luck to be seated right next to a woman who was completely off her face and, again in my own opinion, certifiably insane. She spent much of the concert throwing herself against the seat backs thereby affecting the whole set of chairs all buckled together as they are, so we all rocked back and forth to her crazy rhythms. She was waving her arms like she was actually ablaze, screeching as she flapped, yes flapped, her legs open and shut. Her sense of timing was notable by its sheer absence as she clapped along inappropriately and out of step with everyone else and this grew more apparent as she replenished the diminishing fluids levels in her sweating body with copious swigs from her back-up rations resource i.e. the clear liquid contents of a large unlabelled plastic drinks bottle. She and her partner had clearly come prepared and did not have to queue for drinks at the bar during the 20 minute interval. People beside and behind us offered their condolences as they witnessed this one woman maelstrom become totally and physically involved with ‘Steam-Roller Blues’. I wanted to punch her (kindly) to sleep and give her peace but Chrissie wouldn’t hear of it. She bore the onslaught, which lasted more or less the whole length of the concert, with a patience and fortitude that simply amazed me. There was a moment of savage pleasure for me at least when she stood to screech her approval at the end of a song then forgot that when you stand your seat defaults to its ‘up’ position.

When her ample arse smacked heavily on the floor and she became trapped with her knees jammed against the back of the seat in front of her, I exulted! For the briefest of moments I believed there might indeed be a God after all!

This delight was savoured inwardly though because no noise I made, such as shouting, (nay, fecken roaring), ‘Serves you f*cking right!’ would have penetrated her selfishly blurred and fogged consciousness. She was that much of a twat! It was though, an undoubted moment of unforgettable extra joy for me as her partner manfully tried to assist her out of her predicament. As they fought together to return her back to a sitting position it soon became clear that he too was also somewhat ‘tired and emotional’ and the synchronised manoeuvres required to manipulate her and simultaneously fight to keep the spring loaded seat in the ‘down’ position proved almost insurmountable. So I happily witnessed her struggle to maintain her dignity as her track suit type trousers caught on some sharp edge and her undergarments were suddenly on public display looking, to me, to be none too fresh.

I’m happy to report too that the second set sound was a lot better and that overall we both had a lovely night and enjoyed it all immensely no matter the few ‘disappointments’ we had to bear.

Mic McCreadie.

The Funeral of Clive Palmer.

Clive from Tim WThursday December 4th 2014.

On a bright and sunny though cold afternoon on Thursday 4th of December small groups of folk began to gather in the grounds of St Mary’s Church at the bottom of Chapel Street, Penzance for the funeral of our dear departed friend, Clive Palmer. Greetings, handshakes, hugs, exclamations of surprise were issued in steaming breath as old friends found old friends and old memories were rekindled. It was lovely to see and hear. Across the sun sparkled water lay the fishing port of Newlyn and below that Mousehole, the whitewashed houses contrasting the light and darker greens of the hills above. The sun cast angled shadows from the ancient gravestones. As the crowds grew so too did the hubbub and now sudden cries of laughter also interspersed the general buzz of chatter. This lulling murmuring was soon stilled though by the sound of a piper playing on a full set of Highland Pipes as Bill Buchanan (of http://www.cornishhighlandpipers.co.uk) began the musical prelude to the arrival of the hearse bearing Clive’s coffin and the following limousine carrying his close family and friends. The strains of ‘Highland Cathedral’ and ‘The Green Hills Of Tyrol’ among others drifted among the gathered throng who started to make their way into the beautiful old church which had once been a chapel in the 13th Century and also rebuilt in 1834 as Bill began playing the hauntingly exquisite air: *’The Dark Isle’. (*link:  http://youtu.be/-cIij7zWdN0 )

As Bill, Clive’s own personal bagpipe tutor, played on, Clive’s coffin was taken from the hearse and brought up to the church doors. A respectful hush then fell over the congregation as Clive’s superb composition: ‘A Leaf Must Fall’ by The Famous Jug Band was played on the P.A. system and Jilly Johnson’s pure, sweet voice sang Clive’s own poignant lines: ‘If you must go, go now…’ which filled the air as Clive’s coffin was wheeled in to stand in place before the altar.

The service was conducted by Reverend Sian Yates, who after the opening sentences, led the congregation in the hymn: ‘The Lord’s My Shepherd’ with Mr Nigel Wicken on the organ who, like seemingly all church organists, played the last verse with some unusual flair and a certain gusto!

Reverend Yates conducted the opening prayers then a eulogy containing tributes from old friends was spoken by Mic McCreadie. This included a glowing accolade to Clive’s recorded work: ‘Banjoland’ from Elton John, Clive’s musical prowess on the banjo from Billy Connolly, heartfelt tributes from Mic, then John Bidwell and Mick Bennett, both ex-members of C.O.B. (Clive’s Original Band) plus Ralph McTell and was followed by Clive’s song: ‘Evening Air’ being played over the P.A. with the congregation invited to read the lyrics from the Order Of Service sheets instead of singing along as it was felt that Clive’s unique voice should be clearly heard. Then a beautiful poem especially written for Clive by Bob Devereux, another of Clive’s many old friends and artistic collaborators, was recited by its author.

After a short sermon which was followed by the Committal and Prayers another hymn: ‘Abide With Me’   was sung. Then, with the family in close procession behind it, Clive’s coffin was carried from the Church to the sounds of C.O.B. singing: ‘Wade In The Water’ relayed over the P.A. system. The coffin was then loaded into the hearse for its final journey to Penzance Cemetery where Bill Buchanan played: ‘The Lament For Mary McLeod’ on the bagpipes as the closing prayers were spoken and Clive’s coffin was lowered into the grave.

Mourners gathered in The Yacht Inn to await the return of Gina and her family from the Cemetery and all the usual post service socialising took place as addresses and telephone numbers were exchanged, drinks were quaffed, names were put to faces not seen in many years and folk were happily reacquainted and reunited with one another. Time passed, people began to leave, others formed smaller and smaller groups, the noise and bustle dimmed to more familiar levels and the afternoon dwindled down to evening as the cold grey winter’s sea washed along the shore on this day as it has done for years and will do for years yet to come.

Mic McCreadie

05th December 2014