97: the mental jukebox, Captain Vimes and ItsAllSueGravyBaby

Imagine your local pub’s jukebox permanently set on shuffle. (Give me a moment here to remember the days when I had a local pub with a jukebox – it’s been a while, after all). A jukebox filled with songs with songs from the last 70 years. Some of which you like and some of which you don’t, and you don’t get to choose what’s playing.

This is the mental jukebox – songs that appear in your head for no reason whatsoever in many cases. The song that’s in your head when you wake up. The one that’s triggered by some advert or other, or a random sample in something the kids are listening to. Sometimes it’s an earworm, a song that you’ve picked up along the day and that just won’t go away. In my case they have often appeared from nowhere. It’s oddly specific at times: it’ll play a cover version rather than the original. Those of you who see me over on Facebook (other social media platforms are available) will know that I share some of the less embarrassing musical moments, and I’m quite sure that my friends are grateful I don’t share the rest.

This morning, for example, the mental jukebox treated me to The Hippopotamus Song by Flanders and Swann. I don’t know why, but there we are.

Earlier in the week, in no particular order, we’ve had:

In the name of sanity I have given in and generally just enjoy what’s being played (except when it’s Julie Andrews. A line has to be drawn somewhere, after all). Sometimes I even sing along.

Finally on this week’s playlist I give you ch-ch-ch-ch- Changes by David Bowie and a….

…brilliant David Bowie segue into my heroes this week…

…and they are (once again in no particular order) Joe Lycett and Jack Monroe, aka @BootstrapCook for not sitting down and shutting up. You may well have seen them in the news this week, but in case you’ve been hiding under a rock…

Joe Lycett ‘leaked’ a spoof version of Sue Gray’s report into so-called ‘Partygate’ and the repeated alleged breaking of the Covid rules by the government. In a classic case of ‘first line only’ information gathering this apparently sent Westminster staffers into a tailspin, with panic dialling to MPs and frantic headless chickening. The email address ‘ItsAllSueGravyBaby@aol.com’ was not enough to let our leaders know this wasn’t an actual leak… Joe followed this up with a wonderful, emotional open letter about why he’s so angry.

Joe Lycett’s open letter

Jack Monroe also got angry, this time about the rise in the cost of living for the poorest end of society with basic food prices rising up to 340% – read it here – which has led to her working with the Office for National Statistics on a project called the Vimes Boots Index. As a former food bank user who struggled to feed herself and her son on £10 a week, she knows what she is talking about and has tracked food prices for more than 10 years. The ONS are now exploring better ways to track inflation and the Terry Pratchett Estate have given permission for the use of the Vimes Boots Theory to support this. If you don’t know the Vimes Boots theory of socioeconomic unfairness, see below….


You can help Jack Monroe build the Vimes Boots Index by sharing your receipts (with identifying data removed) – either old online shops lurking in your deleted mails or clearly scanned paper ones from the bottom of your shopping bag collection – at vimesbootsindex@gmail.com. It’s not fair that a ‘dine in for £10’ deal with luxury meal, wine and pudding has remained fixed for 10 years while at the other end of the scale Iceland is losing customers to foodbanks and some of Asda and Tesco’s own staff are relying on benefits to top up their wages so they can feed their families.

See you next week.

Kirsty x

The Golden Basilisk/The Diamond Sphinx – Maria Andreas

Radio: The Compass – Why We Play (BBC World Service)

Torchwood Tales (BBC Audio) – Audible

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