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Archive for December, 2011

The Daily Mail captioned this photograph: “Festive: Abramovich and his partner Dasha Zhukova celebrated Christmas on the Caribbean island”.

Yup, and after lighting the Christmas menorah I expect they went and sang carols around the Hanukah tree.

I, Partridge: We Need To Talk About Alan by Alan Partridge
Eleven, by Mark Watson
Martin Amis: The Biography, by Richard Bradford
Jerusalem: A Biography, by Simon Sebag Montefiore
Belieber: Fame, Faith and the Heart of Justin Bieber, by Cathleen Falsani

2011 OyVaJoys: All my TV appearances; speaking at Eton College, Wellington College, and alongside the Shalits at the FZY

One Day
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1
The Help
Justin Bieber: Never Say Never

2011 OyVaJoys: Being spontaneously offered a free collection of new crockery by my friend Jonathan Sacerdoti, just hours after I’d been thinking we needed some new plates and bowls; the visit of the magnificent Hevroni sisters; the flops that were the so-called flotilla and flytilla.

Gone too soon
Rob Daley
Amy Winehouse
Christopher Hitchens
The Fogel family
Gary Speed

2011 OyVaJoys: The release of Gilad Shalit

OyVaGoy posts
There’s Something About Tzipi
Gilad Shalit: Why it was all worthwhile
Imagine if happened Jerusalem
We need to talk about  shawarma
End of OVG (April Fool)

2011 OyVaJoys: Making new friends, including Rabbi Lew, the Paull family in Windsor, Louise Hulland, Richard Sassoon, Sam Hailes, Elliot Davis, Alanah, and many more, including this lovely horse that lives in a field near me – I go and see him most days

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds: Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Charlie Simpson: Young Pilgrim
Amy Winehouse: Lioness Hidden Treasures
Beady Eye: Same Gear, Different Speed
Leona Lewis: Hurt (technically an EP)

2011 OyVaJoys: The customary birthday visit to Bath and our anniversary weekend in Norfolk

Articles published elsewhere
Blogland: Here Be Dragons
Amy Winehouse and Tarot
Stop Picking on the Chasids
Her Friends Called Her Mummy
Bibi: the misunderstood PM

2011 OyVaJoys: Seeing Natan Sharansky speak at the We Believe In Israel conference; the trips to NW London by the ‘Berkshire Shawarma Appreciation Society’; reaching number one in the HMV book charts with my Adele biography.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds at the Roundhouse
The Saturdays at Hammersmith Apollo
Justin Bieber at the o2
The Wanted at Hammersmith Apollo
(Actually, I only went to four)

2011 OyVaJoys: Road trips to Hever Castle, the Ashdown Forest Llama Park and Burford

I still haven’t made the so-called latkes.

I was 12 years old when I first heard The Clash. A friend of my older brother played me their debut album; they had me at Janie Jones. I was gripped by their energy, fury and passion. As I explored their music and story, I was particularly awestruck by their lead singer Joe Strummer, simmering as he was with enthusiastic idealism.

How overjoyed I felt to have discovered the greatest band of all time, though I was simultaneously dismayed to learn they had already split, so I would never see them play in-person.

Within a few years I did get to see Joe Strummer perform live. First, during the several stints he did with The Pogues, as a guest performer, stand-in guitarist, and even, for one wonderfully-strange tour, a stand-in lead vocalist. Then I got to see Joe in his various solo incarnations, first the Latino Rockabilly War, and then The Mescaleros.

What superb solo performances he delivered, particularly with the latter act. I’ve so many memories: the roof nearly tearing-off the Astoria during Safe European Home, the time they opened with London Calling at Brixton Academy, and played White Riot during the encore. It also did not escape my notice or approval that, just as with The Clash, his new band had a rather cute bassist.

Joe had struggled for much of his life with depression and then the burden of being Joe Strummer, an earnest character upon whose shoulders rested too much expectation. In the Mescaleros-era he seemed to have found contentment of sort, though that adrenaline-pumping fury and trademark snarl did emerge on-stage.

No performer before or since has ever meant so much to me as Joe Strummer. Which was why on that December day, nine years ago this Thursday, I cried when the radio told me he had unexpectedly died. An undetected, congenital heart condition killed him as he returned home from taking the dogs for a walk. I don’t often mourn a person I haven’t personally known, but I truly grieved that day for the loss of such a talented and decent soul. I still miss him terribly.

My favourite of all the tributes paid to Joe came when a friend of his was asked: “Did he fulfil his wish to change the world?” The friend’s response was: “Maybe not, but he changed the way a lot of people look at the world.” No small feat.

Here he is during happy times with The Mescaleros, performing my favourite ever Clash song. RIP, Joe. Thank you for your energy, music and inspiration – all three are eternal.

I wish my Jewish friends a happy Chanukah. Non-Jewish readers may be enlightened and entertained by this humorous guide to the festival.

I am grateful to the lovely Paull family for presenting me with a mini dreidel, a menorah and 44 candles following our Shabbat lunch on Saturday. They also handed me a guide to Chanukah, complete with a recipe for latkes. The recipe looks simple enough for me to give it a try in the kitchen, and I’d like to get in the spirit of the festival, albeit somewhat superficially and goyishly.

However, my rare attempts at cooking have sometimes resulted in atrocity. As a friend who sampled one ‘meal’ I ‘cooked’ remarked: “This is a day that will live in infamy”. If my so-called latkes go comically wrong I will post a photograph here for our amusement. But you never know, they might turn-out well — Chanukah is a time of miracles, after all.

Both of the television documentaries I’ve appeared on this week are now available to watch online.

To watch me discuss Simon Cowell in More4′s 50 Years Of Bad Sex, click here. My segment begins around 59 minutes in.

To watch ITV’s Amy Winehouse: Her Life And Legacy, click here. I appear at various points throughout the programme.

You can buy signed, personalised copies of my Simon Cowell book direct from me here.

Following my appearance in ITV2′s Amy Winehouse: Her Life And Legacy last Sunday, I will be on television again this Friday evening. I will appear in a documentary called 50 Years Of Bad Sex. It is on More4 at 10pm.

My contribution is not autobiographical, I hasten to add. I’m only 38 and my experiences have always been phenomenal. Instead, I will be discussing Simon Cowell and The X Factor, as part of a wider documentary about sex and sexuality in the entertainment industry.

Should be a giggle.

When we discussed our favourite shawarma outlets, Sami’s on Brent Street got a lot of votes. I had never been to Sami’s at that stage but I gave it a go yesterday.

I have to agree – their shawarma in laffa is exceptional. The laffa itself was nice and thick, almost like a naan bread. The meat was the closest to Israeli shawarma I’ve ever found outside of the Promised Land.

Thanks to Elliot, Sandra, CityCa, Aryeh and everyone else for the recommendation. Thanks to Richard and Rob for the lift!

On Sunday evening I’m due to appear in a television documentary about Amy Winehouse. Called Amy Winehouse: Her Life and Legacy, it begins at 10.45pm on ITV2.

I donate a portion of the royalties from sales of my biography of Amy to the Amy Winehouse Foundation, the charity her family set-up in her memory. You can visit the Foundation’s website here.

Rest in peace Amy. There’s more love for you than ever.

Update: The documentary is currently on ITVPlayer here.

I was excited when my Simon Cowell biography became the number two bestseller in WHSmiths last year, but it really made me hunger for the top spot. Now I’ve achieved that with my new biography of Adele, which is currently riding high in many stores and number one in HMV. I’m very proud.

You can now buy signed copies of my books direct from me. I will add any message you want. It could be a festive present for your celeb-loving friend, a treat for you, or just a way of supporting OyVaGoy. Find out more and order here.

© Copyright Chas Newkey-Burden. All Rights Reserved. Thanks to Chris Morris.