America, Countries, Culture, Europe, UK

I spy Bond over 60 years

We’ve all got our fave 007 moments but here’s how I spy Bond over 60 years through his exotic travel.

I was there where it started in Casino Royale. Not when (steady), but there at the casino where James first cashed in his chips.

Pupp love

Grand Man: At the Pupp

At the Grandhotel Pupp in Karlovy Vary in the Czech Spa Triangle.

The world’s most famous spy has only stayed in the swankiest hotels since.

And all you need is a tux/cocktail dress and a bundle of cash to live like Bond.

Bite-size Hamburg

Knot bothered: Pierce Brosnan

Or know your way around Marriott Autograph Collection… and Hotel Atlantic Hamburg from Tomorrow Never Dies.

Where 25 years ago James seduces Paris, girlfriend of his nemesis Elliot Carver.

Not for James the Reeperbahn which of course is the heart of Saint Pauli.

Good manners: Roger Moore

And what Hamburg is best known for although Germany’s Port City has high culture too with the Elbphi.

And spy culture too with the Alter Elbtunnel which would be ideal for a Bond chase.

Anyone for Venice?

Leave the car James: Sean Connery

This James has also crossed swords with 007 in the shadow of The Bridge of Sighs in Venice.

Where like myself I went back for a second helping.

The action switches in From Russia With Love at the end to Venice where Sean Connery’s Bond checks into the Hotel Danieli.

Roger Moore outdouble entendres Big Sean in Moonraker ten years later delivers the line “Bollinger? If it is a ’69 you were expecting me” to Dr. Holly Goodhead in the lavish Suite del Doge.

London calling

Get dressed: Daniel Craig

Now we all know that James is a man for all seasons so it’s probably little surprise that like us he is a fan of the Four Seasons.

For Londonwatchers they’ll spot the location trickery with the Four Seasons Hotel Canary Wharf doubling for Shanghai.

When Daniel Craig swims in the turquoise rooftop pool with water views.

Before showering and sizzling (if you like that sort of thing).

Miami advice

Golden vision: Jill Masterson

Of course perhaps the most memorable hotel scene was in Goldfinger though not perhaps for Goldie’s girl Jill Masterson.

Who James found dead on the bed covered in gold paint.

This being Miami Beach and the Fontainebleu Hotel nobody’s asking what you want to do in the privacy of your own room. Just enjoy.

No doubt we’ll find the next Bond whoever that is living it up in fancy rooms around the world in the next six decades.

It’s just these are the ones where I spy Bond over 60 years.

 

 

America, Asia, Countries, Europe, Food & Wine, Ireland, UK

Win win on Ginoisseur Day

Now, just to prove there’s no such thing as a new idea I can’t claim to have coined this… but it’s still win, win on Ginoisseur Day.

I came to gin late in life, piqued by the mid-2020s craze for the juniper.

And the row of gins and their fancy tonics laid out in front of me at Teach Aindi in Monaghan in the Irish Midlands.

They have 101 although time constraints limited us to six.

Not the Grapey One’s drink of choice you understand, though for research purposes, she mineswept the bar.

Unbeknownst to me, but logical as we invented everything else, it was a Scot behind the G&T.

Gee, G&T

Shake it up: Gin cocktails

Gin & Tonic: Doctor George Cleghorn explored in the 19th century if quinine could cure malaria.

The quinine was drunk in tonic water but proved too bitter and so army officers added water, sugar, lime and gin.

Now as my own paper the Daily Record is my go-to for reference I checked out what they recommended.

Although they could have asked me to roadtest them!

But the top three are Arbikie Nadar Gin in Arbroath, Tayside, the Isle of Harris and Kintyre Gin.

Dry and high

Czech me out: At the Bond hotel

Dry Martini: And James Bond’s classic drink of choice before Daniel Craig rebranded him.

We first meet Bond at Casino Royale, or more accurately at the Grandhotel Pupp in Karlovy Vary, Czechia.

Of course the Dry Martini is gin, vermouth, and garnished with an olive or a lemon twist… and shaken not stirred.

The Tom Tom Club

Supersize it: Tom Collins

Tom Collins: And an example of transatlantic co-operation between the UK and USA.

With Jerry Thomas, ‘the father of American mixology’, chronicled the gin, lime juice, sugar and carbonated water drink.

Of course with every British convention that crosses the Atlantic it has lost something in location and John became Jim became Tom.

The Italian Twist

Mine’s a gin: In Bergamo

 

Negroni: And few things disappoint when given the Italian twist.

And grazie to our amici for their one part gin, one part vermouth rosso and one part Campari, garnished with orange peel.

Now it’s been a year and a half since I was last in il bel paese and every drink tastes of a memory.

And mine is Bergamo Citta Alta, the high town in the Lombard city.

Taking the Rickey

The 47th President of America: In Washington DC

Gin Rickey: And being Washington DC this is obviously a capitol drink.

But did you know that it originated in Shoomaker’s Bar in the 1880s by bartender George A. Williamson?

Purportedly in collaboration with Democratic lobbyist Colonel Joe Rickey.

The bartender is said to have added a lime to the Civil War veteran’s ‘mornin’s morning.’

It is a daily dose of Bourbon with lump ice and Apollinaris sparkling mineral water.

The gin twist? Well, that came from the popularity of the Chicago Exposition of 1893.

And in particular the Japanese rickshaw… and then the gin rickey with gin growing in popularity.

And that means it’s a win win on Ginoisseur Day.

 

 

 

America, Countries, Europe, Ireland, Music, UK

Mayday Bravo

And whether you’re keeping the red flag flying here, celebrating the Internationale or just twirling around a maypole it’s Mayday Bravo today.

It was, of course, an Irishman, Jim Connell, who came up with the emotive words in 1889 to go with the tune O Tannenbaum.

He had been travelling by train, where you can do a lot of your thinking, in London.

So to mark May Day we’ll revive our Rainy Days and Songdays occasional series with these May Day tunes.

Way to go, Joe

Folk champion: Joan Baez

 

Joe Hill – Joan Baez: And this workers anthem relates to a union leader, framed on a murder charge and executed in Salt Lake City.

But the organiser stands for everyman and of course returns to the narrator in a dream.

And in typical American storytelling style it covers the geography of the whole country… from San Diego up to Maine.

Lennon doctrine

Comrade Lennon: And Jimmy in Prague

Working Class Hero – John Lennon: They were more Lennon than Lenin in Prague during Soviet rule.

When they would congregate at the Lennon wall to protest.

Lennon, the Working Class Hero from Liverpool, has influenced as many if not more around the world from Hamburg to New York and beyond.

Tennessee tunes

Music town: Memphis, Tennesse

Sixteen Tons – Tennessee Ernie Ford: This ditty of a song with the catchy refrain derives from Kentucky’s Merle Travis in 1947.

And the line ‘You load sixteen tons and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt” came from a letter written by Travis’s brother John.

We’ve taken Tennessee Ford’s 1955 version which hit the top of the Billboard charts and was inducted into the Library of Congress’s National Recording Registry.

The New Boss

Something to say: The Who

Won’t Get Fooled Again – The Who: And the Cockney Four whose shows were as much about menace as music nail it here.

And they captured the working class fascination of the Mods in Quadrophenia in their odyssey to Brighton.

But it’s this anthem against The Man and its clarion call: ‘Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.’

Lady Donna

Summer time: Donna Summer

She Works Hard For The Money – Donna Summer: Now you might not associate the Queen of Disco with a societal message.

But the New Yorker penned this after seeing a toilet attendant asleep on her shift at a post-Grammy event in West Hollywood.

And a reminder too for all that while music is replete with messages of working men, working women have had it just as bad and worse.

 

 

 

 

Countries, Culture, UK

Banksy, Murtsy and a history of graffiti

If my school had had a more liberal attitude to wall art, folks would be talking now about Banksy, Murtsy and a history of graffiti.

After all I was only following in a Classical tradition that dates back to the Romans and Pompeii.

For yesterday’s lewd diagrams to denote their red light district think today’s cock and balls.

Whether the graffiti great of the Classics world had the same celebrity though as Banksy has been lost to history.

An exhibition of yourself

Banksy’s capital: The Flower Thrower

But the shadowy scribbler’s notoriety is richly deserved and are celebrated at a special exhibition in Covent Garden, London.

The Art of Banksy is the world’s largest touring collection of Banksy artworks, boasting over 100 original works.

And it has already been shown in Melbourne, Tel Aviv, Auckland, Toronto, Miami, Gothenburg, Chicago, San Francisco and Sydney.

Whether they have the rat and briefcase piece he drew when I took la famiglia to New York for the first time I’ll have to go along to Covent Garden to discover.

The exhibition highlights works made for charities all over the world.

From the Bethlehem Arab Society for Rehabilitation to international activists Greenpeace.

Showing pieces from private collections, The Art of Banksy showcases his most iconic pieces.

Alongside rare works never seen by the public before.

American Graffiti

With bells on: Liberty Bell, Philly

Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, lays claim to being the modern-day home of graffiti.

Although, as in most things, New York contests this and insists the City that Never Sleeps is an upgrade.

If you’re a city break fan and seek out the places where the ragged people go then you’ll always glory in graffiti.

Graffiti always explodes where repression reigns and the Berlin Wall was probably the most graffitied surface in history.

Czech this out

Imagine: Prague

We saw it too elsewhere in Central and Eastern Europe and particularly in Prague.

Where the John Lennon Wall came to represent the uprising against the Soviet invasion of the Czech capital in 1968.

Put the boot in

The bad guy: Putin

Of course these challenging times have inspired an outpouring of creativity to reflect our support for Ukraine.

And our revulsion at the invasion and our belief that the writing is on the wall for Putin.

The good guy: Zelenskyy

So you have my permission to make your mark on history.

And maybe I’ll get my spray paint out and get my name out there.

It’s got a ring to it, doncha think for the next exhibition…

Banksy, Murtsy and a history of graffiti.

How to get there

Icons: The exhibition

The exhibition at 50 Earlham Street is on Thursday and Friday: 10.00 – 21.00, Saturday: 9.30 – 19.00, Sunday & Monday: 10.00 – 18.00.

And if you don’t know London, the nearest stations are Covent Garden (3 minute walk), Leicester Square (5 minute walk), Tottenham Court Road (8 minute walk) Holborn (8 minute walk) and Charing Cross (10 minute walk).

Tickets are priced from £14.50 and can be booked online at artofbanksy.co.uk or over the phone, on 08440 412001.

America, Countries, Europe, Music, UK

Rainy Days and Songdays Carols

Woah, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, in excelsis deo (wherever that is), it’s Rainy Days and Songdays Carols.

And particularly with the choir of carol singers from the high street in our town now having dissipated.

Sing-a-long: And we love a carol

But church services go on unabated and the original spirit of Christmas sometimes sneaks past Mariah Carey and Michael Buble.

And so a celebration of carols, their origins and the destinations with which they’re associated.

Stille Nacht

The Other Salzburg: With the Scary One

Or Silent Night which originates in Oberndorf bei Salzburg.

No, not that Salzburg of Mozart and The Sound of Music in Austria but the small city north of Salzburg.

It does though have it’s own blessed place in music as the birthplace of one of our favourite carols.

Mohr and Grober may not be as recognisable as Gilbert & Sullivan, Rodgers & Hammerstein, King & Goffin, Lennon & McCartney or John and Taupin.

But the assistant priest, and the schoolmaster and organist certainly hit on one with this classic on the Christmas Eve of 1818.

It travelled around the world and got the ultimate seal of approval when Bing Crosby sold 10 million copies in 1935.

Feliz Natal

In her working clothes: With the Scary One again

Feliz Natal as they say in Portugal.

Or O Come all ye Faithful (except they say it in Portuguese) and not this southern US draw… though Carrie on Ms Underwood.

We have King John IV to thank for it becoming Anglicised (the Portuguese are England’s most enduring ally).

The clue to King Johin IV’s musicality is in the moniker he was given King John The Musician.

His works (he is also said to have written a setting for a Good Friday standard Crux Fidelis) alas were destroyed in the Lisbon Earthquake of 1755.

Of course Portugal is full of secrets just waiting to be discovered.

Crowning Bethlehem

Philly Christmas: They love a carol

Talking of secrets, I’ve just been watching the original Jesus.

Well the blockbuster televisual one, anyway, Robert Powell retracing Our Lord’s steps on the Smithsonian channel

And spoiler here.. he may not have been born there but rather his childhood home Nazareth.

The song would be very different, or would it be? Nazareth scans too.

The carol we so love, is actually an American construct.

With it written by Phillips Brook, an Episcopalian minister, then a rector in Philadelphia, and later of Boston, in the 19th century.

And sung beautifully here by The King himself.

Ding Dong Merrily On High

Roger Bravo: Roger Whittaker

Sounds very English village hall, but mais non, Ding Dong Merrily On High is a French Joyeux Noel, ditty.

The tune was originally recorded in the 16th century by Dijon‘s finest Jehan Tabourot in his study of French Renaissance social dance called Orchésographie.

Ca va, English composer and campanologist George Ratcliffe Woodward updated it with the old ding dong that we all enjoy.  

Now randomly we can’t think of anyone better to sing or rather trill it than Roger ‘The Whistler’ Whittaker.

Deep pan crisp and even

On the King Charles Bridge in Prague

OK, we’ll get the old Christmas Cracker joker out first.

What pizza does Good King Wenceslas like?

Deep pan crisp and even.

Whether the Good King first looked out on the Feast of Stephen and the snow laid round about deep and crisp and even we don’t know.

But Wenceslas Square in Prague is usually packed at this time of year, and on most days.

It might be different this year with Covid which is all the more reason to toast our Czech friends with an Urquell. Na Zdravi.

Take it away Bing… 

Merry Christmas and sing along to yourself with your Rainy Days and Songdays Carols.

 

 

 

Countries, Culture, Europe, UK

UNESCO Europe Spa Towns

They’re extra-spacial, our thermal favourites, now officially UNESCO Europe Spa Towns.

Eleven towns were selected to represent Europe from Britain, Germany, Austria, France, Belgium, Italy and the Czech Republic.

Bath time

When in Bath

Bath, naturally flies the flag for the UK… it’s in the name.

And in Germany where they’re known as Bad as in Baden Baden, Bad Ems, Bad Kissengen.

As well as Baden bei Wien in Austria.

Czech these springs

Sip it up: Spa Triangle

We’ve lain back and thought of Western Bohemia In the Czech Spa Triangle of Karlovy Vary, Frantiskovy Lazny and Marianske Lazne

Italy boasts Montecatini and France Vichy.

While, of course, Spa in Belgium just had to be included.

As we owe the Belgian town for bestowing the name for our favourite health-giving relaxation.

Water of life

Meeowssage

Water is, of course, the source of all life and our spas but the Belgians are all too aware of its devastating force too.

And our friends at the European Historic Thermal Towns Association revealed how they had worked hard and held their breath to see if Spa would be hit.

The original Spa

Spa in Spa: Belgium

Spa though was blessed, perhaps because of its status as a healing centre.

With its qualities recognised as far back as Pliny the Elder.

He sayeth: ‘This water purges the body, cures fevers, and dispels calculous affections.’

Royal seal of approval

Henry after his spa

While King Henry VIII’s physician Agostino introduced the monarch to the waters… and dare say he needed it.

It was no surprise then that his descendant Charles II should take exile here from Cromwell.

His warts and all skim could have used some treatment.

Spas, while popular with the rich and famous are not their preserve.

And I happily joined the Great Unwashed in Marianske Lazne.

Though I did indulge myself by bathing in King Edward VII’s bath.

Forgotten somewhere?

Ready Eddie: King Edward VII

So congratulations to UNESCO Europe Spa Towns.

Although this doesn’t let UNESCO dumping Liverpool off its Heritage List or https://visitbelgium.comyears before the reconstructed Renaissance City Dresden.

 

 

 

Countries, Europe, Ireland, UK

Father’s Day memories of mine

And for the day that’s in it… Father’s Day memories of mine.

It’s funny what you remember from your childhood days but the European Championships from 45 years ago springs to mind.

And not just because it was the first Euros I remember watching.

Czech this out

On the King Charles Bridge in Prague

Or that it gave rise to the Panenka when Antonin Panenka chipped Sepp Maier for the decisive penalty in sudden death.

The first occasion when a competition was settled thus, and probably the last time the Germans missed one!

Sport was our thing Dad and I.

As it is for generations of men and their sons, and always the go-to subject for me and The Son and Heir.

A different Europe

Dad and lad: And look at that fancy footwork

But what set the 1976 Championships between West Germany and Czechoslovakia apart was that it was Father’s Day.

The fact that neither of those countries exist any more shows you just how long ago it was.

A 10-year-old at the time, I was just exploring one of the other great passions in my life (girls were to come later) – history.

For the people of the lands of East Germany and Czechoslovakia it is a relief that those countries have been consigned to history.

But it is refreshing too that Germany, the Czech Republic and Slovakia still mark that period of their history.

A new Europe

Wunderbar: With Ingrid in Dresden

Which I have seen first hand in east, Dresden, and west Germany, Hamburg..

Where our host Ingrid reminded us that when we try to airbrush history we condemn ourselves to repeat it.

While in Prague Martina gave a US family, with brattish kids, a history lesson they’ll never forget in the Astronomical Clock.

Now you’re smarter than me (not hard) if you’ve worked out who will play in this year’s final.

And no, I don’t know if Germany and the Czech Republic could meet in the final.

They did in the last game of Euro 1996 when Germany got some revenge.

And now for Slovakia

With Katarina in Bohemian Switzerland in the Czech Republic

They might, of course, meet Slovakia a pleasure still awaiting me.

Although I have enjoyed making a friend of Slovakian Katarina, who heads the Czech Tourism team in London.

We, my Dear Old Dad and I, loved spending two hours in the company of the Germans, Czechs and Slovaks 45 years ago.

When we munched on a quarter of midget gems (Scottish for bag of boiled sweets) which I’d bought him.

A treasure trove of memories

Life is just a bowl of cherries: Jim Snr

I made him find them in a treasure hunt around his usual places in the house.

So however you mark the day and I’m not expecting much, just a trip to the Caribbean, then savour them.

Just as I have with my Father’s Day memories of mine.

 

Countries, Culture, Europe

European Thermal Cafe

That’s me saved from any gardening after pulling my back… so I’ll just lie back in the bath instead and drink in a European Thermal Cafe.

Today’s Thermal Cafe Zoom invitation was the chance to reengage with the Rediscover Europe’s Thermal Towns campaign.

Thermal resorts have, of course, been with us as long as we’ve had thermals… and I’m not talking vests and long-johns here.

Pawmper time

And everyone from royalty to the Great Unwashed have taken the waters around Europe to heal their bones.

Becherovka coffee

More the latter category than the formal although I have cleaned up my act for my forays into Central Europe.

The conversation soon got round, as all good cafe meet-ups do, to coffee.

And our hosts regaled us with recollections of Becherovka coffee in Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic.

Take the waters in the Czech Spa Triangle

All of which I’ve grown to love except that I haven’t put the Becherovka in with the coffee with cream on top. Yet!

They all usually go into my belly separately.

I’ve unfinished business with the Czech Republic and a return to Hoptown Zatec is on the cards for their Hop Festival.

The route to wellness

Our friends at the European Route of Historic Thermal Towns, Simone and Catherine, appraised us of how European spa towns are reopening again.

A meeowssage

And Southern Europe has 80% bounce back bookings.

There are challenges in Germany though with 16 states with 16 different sets of regulations.

While in France we were informed that they’re allowing only 20 at a time into their thermal baths.

Gee, get G7 leaders moving

The European Route of Historic Thermal Towns lobbies the powers that be hard.

And it was Cultural Route of the Council of Europe certified in 2010.

So seeing that we’re all so well connected then we’ve naturally got onto Boris, Biden, Macron and Angela et al ahead of G7 in Cornwall.

Becherovka time

Where we just know that they’ll be sharing a thermal spa.

We all arranged to meet again for another Thermal cafe later in the summer.

The Dead Sea, Jordan

When hopefully these Dead Sea bath salts from my G Adventures trip to Jordan will have worked their charms.

And we can meet outside for the next European Thermal Cafe, and I’ll promise to keep my top on.

MEET YOU IN THE SPA

 

 

Countries, Culture, Europe

They think it’s all ova

They think it’s all Ova… it is now for a Czech tradition whose time is up because Czech women have rightly had enough.

Few of us will have bothered a jot when hearing the names of the wave of Czech female tennis players in the Seventies as to their derivation.

We did though smile at umpires stumbling over Martina Navratilova’s name.

Marvellous Martinas

They were soon to got lots of practice.

Fur Elise… in Czech Republic, and a Czech guide

The -ova suffix is given to Czech women to denote that they belong to their husband or father.

In English ova is plural for ovum, a female egg cell.

The good news for Czech women is that the Republic’s Ministry of the Interior is looking to push through a change as early as August.


The Astronomical Clock in Prague

I have been fortunate enough to have been hosted by a number of Czech women in the Republic.

And I would advise anyone who might think that because they have accepted this -ova anachronism that they might be happy to be subservient to men to think again.

Martina soon disavowed an American tourist of the notion.

When his son complained about the queues in the Astronomical Clock.

How they demonised Czech women in the past

Young Buck, or Brad, or whatever his name is, soon learned not to disrespect such an important part of Prague history.

Na Zdravi Czech women

The discarding of the -ova suffix will be long overdue.

And a last vestige of a repression dressed up as tradition.

Czech women run their society

Worth remembering though that here in the UK some still frown upon women who order pints of lager.

Try shooting a Czech woman lager drinker in Prague, Karlovy Vary or Hoptown Zatec and see where that gets you.

So we welcome the change in Czechland. They think it’s all ova…. it is now!

America, Countries, Europe, Ireland, Music, UK

Green Lighting megamix around the world

It’s one of those annoying Government buzzwords so let’s claim it back with a Rainy Days and Songdays Green Lighting megamix around the world. Our favourite songs with ‘green’ in the title and the countries where they transport us.

Wales boyo

Green, Green Grass of Home, Tom Jones, Wales: Down the road I look and there runs Mary, hair of gold and lips like cherries.

Now I dare say most homes have green, green grass unless you live in a very hot country and the land is baked brown. But this just feels Welsh.

That is until you get to the rest of the song and realise that it’s a man on Death Row dreaming of home.

Maybe, Mary had a narrow escape after all. We, though will just imagine it as the beautiful Welsh valleys.

Green Cash

Forty Shades of Green, Johnny Cash: Arkansas and Ireland: The legend is that Johnny was inspired to write this County classic when he looked down from the plane at the patchwork fields of green of Ireland.

As a recruiting call for Ireland our pals at Tourism Ireland would have been proud as in true singer style Johnny namechecks everywhere on the Emerald Island.

Quite who the girl from Tipperary town with the lips like eiderdown is Johnny would never say, perhaps because June would have killed him.

Green Burns Country

Burns Cottage, Alloway,Scotland. https://www.nts.org.uk/visit/places/robert-burns-birthplace-museum

Green Grow The Rashes O, Eddi Reader: Burns and Ayrshire: The sweetest hours that e’er the old poet and ploughman prowler spent were spent among the lasses O.

The old rogue Burns was pure rock’n’roll and could pen a lyric and a tune which is probably why he is held in such high regard by the greatest singer-songwriters of the latter half of the 20th century.

With Bob Dylan, no less, crediting the Scot as his greatest inspiration.

And Henry VIII I am

Greeensleeves, King Henry VIII/Ralph Vaughan Williams, Berkshire: And another old lothario here with King Henry VIII said to have written this for Anne Boleyn.

What better tune then for an English rose to walk up the aisle to in her home county of Berkshire.

My Scary One has lost her head plenty of times since… but that’s been with me.

Vini Verde

Night at the opera: In Prague

La Boheme, Giuseppe Verdi: Prague: No, a non-green tune didn’t slip through. Giuseppe Verdi would actually be Joe Green in English.

The Milanese Verdi had the support of Gaetano Donizetti from nearby Bergamo whom he visited in Vienna which, of course, was the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

And that included Bohemia, or the current-day Czech Republic where the thing to do when you’re in Prague is take in a production at the opera house.

Poppies and Green Fields

No Man’s Land

The Green Fields of France, The Fureys and Davey Arthur, The Somme: And in the mud of the Somme the soldiers’ minds would drift off to some verdant pasture and memories of precious moments with a loved one.

Every nation sacrificed its most promising generation in No Man’s Land but for those from the furthest outposts of Empire… well, it just seems to be all the more pointless to modern sensibilities.

Eric Bogle, a Scots-born Australian, explores the pyschological cost to one survivor ‘young Willie McBride’. And it was all the more poignant after I’d seen the statue of the Scots soldier in northern France.

And another one to make you cry

Memphis Blues

Green Onions, Booker T. & the MGs: Memphis: In the home of the Blues, Memphis, Booker T & the MGs came up with their signature instrumental tune.

The story goes that the Stax house band were waiting around for the Sun artist and rockabilly singer Billy Lee Riley to turn up and developed the song.

And why Green Onions? Well Booker T. Jones self-deprecatingly said it was because green onions were the nastiest thing he could think of and something you could throw away. We never would.

Ol’ Green Eyes… well, Blue, but!

Little Green Apples, Frank Sinatra: New Jersey and New York: And a lot more digestible with this old standard covered by all the crooners.

But of all the crooners, none compare with the Boy from Hoboken, New Jersey who made it there in New York, and elsewhere.

And just like Johnny Cash from another song, Frank does his best to include the whole country, in this case America.

So a shout-out to Disneyland, Doctor Seuss in Springfield Massachussetts.

And Indianapolis where it don’t rain in the summertime and Minneapolis where it doesn’t snow when the winter comes. All of which it does to

Beret good

Ballad of the Green Beret, Sgt Barry Sadler/Dolly Parton: Take your pick, the clean-shaven All-American Boy, soldier turned actyor Barry Sadler or Miss American PIe herself, Tennessee’s Dolly.

Either way it’s flag-waving, Americana. And even if you don’t know the song you’ll recognise the tune.

Particularly if you’re a fan of Celtic FC who famously play in green and white hoops and who have adapted the song and lyrics into a favourite fans’ song With a Four-leaf Clover on My Breast.

The evergreen Cliff

Green Light, Cliff Richard, India, England, Portugal and Barbados: And there are few more wholesome and clean-cut than Our Cliff.

The evergreen Cliff belts this one out from the Seventies.

The Peter Pan of Pop who was born in India, grew up in England, and has had homes in Portugal and Barbados, though he is selling up in Bim (and yes I’m interested).

When it gets the Green Light.