All text copyright Stephen Coates 2006 - 2015


I was delighted to receive a copy of this limited edition book of essays on the dead British screenwriter Nigel Kneale edited by Sukhdev Sandhu. Sukhdev has asked me to contribute a track to the accompanying album he was putting together as well as a one day symposium in New York: "A Cathode Ray Seance"

Kneale is probably best known outside a relatively small circle of afficionados as the creator of the mysterious scientific genius  Quatermass.  But he was truly a great - of the stature and influence of Dennis Potter -  I would say.  

If you are interested, for starters check out: his 1950s adaptation of Orwell's "1984" for the BBC (incredibly shot live in a single take and the program which made Peter Cushing a star);  the terrifying play "The Stone Tape";  the freakishly haunting TV show "Beasts" and of course the Quatermass films themselves.

I provided a "Theme for the Experimental Rocket Group':
"The Experimental Rocket Group was founded by Kneale's Quatermass but if they had been a band, what would they have sounded like?  It is always delightfully strange to write for an imaginary past -  especially when that past concerns an imaginary future.  So this little piece is intended to be one of the ways Now might have been imagined to have sounded Then.."

But the main delight for me in receiving the album is that it comes on a limited-edition CASSETTE

Hurrah!  That is the first time we have had music on actual tape.

Long Live Dead Formats.


The Antique Beat Boutique is full of wonderful things for Christmas.  Apart from The Real Tuesday Weld 2012 audio Christmas Card, it was recently invaded by an army of small creatures designed and made by my good friend Koo.  She is a curious creature herself- rather shy and unpredictable - but in the time I have known her, I don't think there is once when we have met and she hasn't give me something fabulous - and always designed and hand made by herself.  She has done many drawings (mostly impertinent) of The Real Tuesday Weld over the past few years.

Anyway here they are: The Creature Comforts: 
Mr Night Owl
Ms Snowy Owl
The Cad
Banker Boy and
The Pirate

Wonderful right?

I had the idea for accesories for shy men a couple of years back.  There are loads of brooches for girls but hardly anything for the fairer sex. But whenever I wore my Death's Head Flower (made by dear Za Za) people would always stop me to talk about it and I mean EVERY single time. So now it's what I recommend for a boy with a broken heart.  And I mean boys of either sex naturally.

(Antique Beat have been selling them to confident girls too  - that wasn't quite the point but that's commerce for you I guess)

As Koo says: "Show your lapel some Love"

There are also some absolutely lovely other things in the boutique but I am starting to sound like an advertisement so I will stop - you get the picture I'm sure.

I probably won't write again now until next year.  Assuming the Mayans (and me) were wrong and the world won't be ending in the next 24 days, I intend to be sitting by the fire or beach-combing in the far north of Scotland.  It has seemed a very full year.  I can't be bothered to list all the incredible achievements and witty comments I made but as ever, it was the people that mattered.

It has been great fun getting to know and playing with Matthew Snowden and Josephine Lloyd.  And I remain very appreciative of my stalwart bass player the crime jazz detective Don Brosnan not to mention the boy with the golden flute Jacques Van Rhijn and Wing Commander Clive Painter.

And of course to you, if you are there and reading, looking or listening.

A pleasure and an honour as always.



This old house is full of stuff collected over the centuries. I can no longer recall when I got some of it - but it's quite nice to open a box and re-discover something you had forgotten about. The other day I came across a 'Thunderer' a 1920s policeman's whistle. There must have been a reason why it seemed important to have one at the time. It is still very loud. I blew it and an old lady on Saffron Hill jumped a foot in the air. 

The curious object in the photographs is a Telescopic View made in 1951. Tricky to photograph but it's lovely to peep through the viewing hole into the little paper world beyond. It shows the famous view from Trafalgar Square through Admirality Arch looking down the Mall towards Buckingham Palace.  Millions have passed through the arch (often without noticing one of its secrets The London Nose). I love it. Just as with the Telescopic view, you squeeze through from the hurly burly grey noise and spin of the square and pop out into the calm green otherworld of St James. 

It is a curious building  - more a curved monument, a grave classical smile at the London sky. 

I was annoyed recently to read that it has been sold. It is a public building - well a publicly owned building at any rate -  presently a suite of drab government offices and the place that lardy John Prescott was supposed to be doing the other with his secretary. The reason given for the sale is that there is too much of such space, it is  inefficient and very expensive to run and so on. All very laudable I'm sure. 

But it has been bought by Spanish property developers to convert into a high-end hotel. Given the location I thought it would make a rather good Museum of Politics or perhaps a Tourist dis-information centre. I'd probably even settle for a Museum of the British Empire (I mean you could have a whole floor of horror!). But, as with the BBC's Bush House, that other flogged-off bit of Beaux-Arts-Paris-in-London, most Londoners (of whatever origin) will probably now never enter it. 

The surprising thing in this case was that there seemed to be absolutely no fuss made about it. Many people didn't and still don't know. Most are surprised if not a little disbelieving to find out but then the announcement was slipped out as a matter of fact, in an after-the-event sort of way: a bit like announcing that pizzas will have less salt in them from now on. 

I suppose we have got used to the family jewels being sold off quietly. It is a time of austerity after all and, like in times of war, politicians love citing that whilst smuggling through some ideologically motivated sneaky deals and making the dissenters seem naive and out of touch.  

In the 1970s, they wanted to knock down Inigo Jones' Covent Garden and build an elevated freeway. Nice. 
(Do let me know if you have any interesting ideas for how it could be used yourself - you never know..)