I am a proud member of Team Election Wipe, the fruits of whose labours will be broadcast shortly before the polls open.
A short piece for the Guardian about “the best board games you’ve never heard of“:
Cosmic Encounter: Ignore the name. And the scifi-flavoured box. This is a strategy game, but the brilliance is that each player can utterly break the rules in a different way. One might be permitted to play out of turn; another might be allowed to declare themselves the winner if they go out first. What you do, and who you trust, is determined far more by this rule-breaking than by the straightforward mechanics underneath. The possible combinations of these disruptive powers mean that each time you play, it’s a thoroughly new experience – and each time, it’s the greatest board game you’ve ever played.
- Do Something: How to win quizzes – from pub contests to Mastermind
- Do Something: How to solve a cryptic crossword
On the 40th anniversary of Nick Drake‘s death, a short piece for the BBC News Magazine:
His first album, the pastoral Five Leaves Left, correspondingly begins with the lines: ‘Time has told me you’re a rare, rare find / A troubled cure for a troubled mind’.
The second, Bryter Layter, is purposefully upbeat and the last, Pink Moon, ends: ‘So look, see the sights, the endless summer nights / And go play the game that you learned from the morning’. This is music of comfort, not of despair; rebirth, not death.
And there’s a John Peel version of my favourite track, Cello Song, at the Guardian.
A piece for the BBC about how Brian Wilson and Tony Asher composed God Only Knows.
These conversations were fractured. Wilson, who had been denied a childhood, would break off to show Asher his mechanical parrots or to watch episodes of Flipper, an “aquatic Lassie” series about a dolphin which invariably reduced him to tears.
In time, Wilson played Asher the pieces of music he had in mind for an album called Pet Sounds and Asher essayed some lyrics to fit the themes Wilson had in mind. When they got to God Only Knows, things didn’t start well. Wilson felt that “I may not always love you” was absolutely the wrong way to kick off a love song. Too negative, he insisted.
Indebted to Nick Kent’s The Dark Stuff, Kingsley Abbott’s Pet Sounds: The Greatest Album of the Twentieth Century, Timothy White’s The Nearest Faraway Place: Brian Wilson, the Beach Boys and the Southern Californian Experience and Brian Wilson’s Wouldn’t it be Nice: My Own Story (with Todd Gold (and Eugene E Landy)).
Two pieces in today’s Do Something supplement: How to win quizzes – from pub contests to Mastermind and How to solve a cryptic crossword.
- 6.00pm, Sat 13 Sept: Festival Drinks Reception
- St Michael & All Angels Parish Hall, Bath Road, London W4 1TT