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A mere pawn (still frozen)

Simon Mayo | 09:21 UK time, Wednesday, 8 December 2010

This morning I head to interview Colin Firth, unwashed. It is a shameful admission indeed but that boiler at home has left me with no choice in the matter. And my suspicion is that he will notice of course but will be too polite to say. I will then steer matters to "The King's Speech", his fantastic new film and all will be well. I will report back.
I appreciate all the broken boiler advice and I've tried most of it. Hammers, kettles and laying on of hands-all tried with no success. That gas-man needs to cometh again.

Radio 2 office today (nice and warm) to write these words while listening to Jools Holland's new cd called "Rockinghorse". Top songs as you would expect and he plays live tonight in the studio. Hooray for Jools.

Adn let's do songs about CHESS today please. There's a big tournament starting in London today (The Chess Classic) so songs inspired by CHESS and all it's pieces, moves and schemes.


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  • Comment number 1.

    Morning all,

    That looks like a trickey Feem!

    How about CHECK ME OUT - Chuck Berry

  • Comment number 2.

    Morning Simon and a good morning to all you lovely people in Blogland,

    Well done on all the blog menshes yesterday. In the words of Brucie (the other one!) "Didn't we do well?" Thanks for saying that my choice was a clever one Simon, but I thought JBG's "Drop The Pilot" was truly an inspirational suggestion, and it didn't get played. Bad luck, JBG!

    My chess choice today? QUEEN OF HEARTS by DAVE EDMUNDS

    This week is now cranking up a gear for me, so this will probably be my last post for a while. So take care on those icy roads and pavements all, stay safe and warm. Hope your heating troubles evaporate soon, Simon!

    Mcw x

  • Comment number 3.

    Good Morning Each!

    'Bits And Piecees' by The Dave Clark Five

  • Comment number 4.

    Morning all, and morning to the great unwashed,

    Howz about..



  • Comment number 5.

    CHESS - Weezer

  • Comment number 6.

    'your love is king' Sade

  • Comment number 7.

    WHITE RABBIT - Jefferson Airplane

    ONE NIGHT IN BANGKOK - from CHESS the musical - Murray Head

  • Comment number 8.

    BISHOP DANCE - Bruce Springsteen

  • Comment number 9.

    'dancing queen' ABBA

  • Comment number 10.

    Morning again

    Sorry to hear about the continuing boiler traumas, Simon. Perhaps you could de-camp to CLP's now that he has had a new boiler installed!

    Choice today - either ANTHEM or I KNOW HIM SO WELL both from the musical Chess!

    Back later

    Tortie x

  • Comment number 11.

    CHEQUERED LOVE - Kim Wilde

  • Comment number 12.

    'back to black' Amy Winehouse

  • Comment number 13.

    #10 I should have been more specific!

    ANTHEM by Josh Groban

    I KNOW HIM SO WELL by Elaine Paige and Bsrbara Dickson

  • Comment number 14.


  • Comment number 15.

    ROOK - XTC

  • Comment number 16.

    (K)nights in White Satin - Moody Blues ?

    Sorry to hear about your ongoing boiler problems Simon. Hope you get that man in soon or we will be able to smell you through the radio ;-)

    Mo x

  • Comment number 17.

    Too engrossed in trying to be clever JBG, sorry, missed your #4. Will slouch off and try and be more original ;-) x

  • Comment number 18.


  • Comment number 19.

    ELFIN KNIGHT - Kate Rusby

  • Comment number 20.

    KNIGHT - T Rex

  • Comment number 21.

    Love and Pride - KING - a good old 80's toon x

  • Comment number 22.

    THE BLACK KNIGHT - Monty Python :)

  • Comment number 23.

    'Bishop Danced' by Bruce Springsteen

    'Black Or White' by Micheal Jackson

    'Spanish Castle Magic' by Jimi Hendrix

    'Black (K)night' by Deep Purple

    'Riding With The King' by Eric Clapton & B.B.King

    'Killer Queen' by Queen

  • Comment number 24.

    BLACK QUEEN - Crosby, Nash, Still & young

  • Comment number 25.


    (K)NIGHT MOVES - Bob Segar

  • Comment number 26.

    'Bad Losers On Yahoo Chess' by Half Man Half Biscuit, from the rather fine album 'CSI Ambleside'

  • Comment number 27.


  • Comment number 28.

    'move on up' Curtis Mayfield

  • Comment number 29.

    FOOLS MATE - Bert Jansch

  • Comment number 30.

    I'm with Billie - Murray Head and One Night In Bangkok...memories from my youth... :-)

    Or, being a little more tenuous, The Stranglers - DuCHESS.

    I'll get me coat...

  • Comment number 31.

    Popping back v briefly


  • Comment number 32.

    Ha! Thought of another one:

    Beastie Boys - No Sleep 'Til B-Rook-lyn.

    Coat's on and I'm leaving now...

  • Comment number 33.

    and please play this one Simon,

    UNDER YOUR THUMB by GODLEY AND CREME (because that is where the chess piece is whilst making a move!)

  • Comment number 34.

    Proper one now:

    Muse - Knights Of Cydonia

    TTFN. Work calls...

  • Comment number 35.

    'better use your head' Little Anthony and the Imperials

  • Comment number 36.

    Last from me -

    TAKE ME I'M YOURS - Squeeze

    Back later. Have Nicetimes.



  • Comment number 37.

    JbG - I like "iThingy" !

  • Comment number 38.


  • Comment number 39.


  • Comment number 40.

    Good Morning Simon, Team and Blogpoppets

    Bit earlier today - good thing as there's no tweet from the man yet.

    My suggestions are:

    EBONY AND IVORY by Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder

    BLACK OR WHITE by Michael Jackson

    PLAY THE GAME by Queen (double whammey!)


    PICK UP THE PIECES by the Average White Band

    Back later.

    Deebee X

    PS Thank you Simon for my mensh yesterday. Sorry I didn't hear it. Will try to do better next time...

  • Comment number 41.

    #33 We'll get it played one day, MCW!

  • Comment number 42.

    #18 whoops - sorry John! So eagar to post I didn't read through. Share?

  • Comment number 43.

    'Chairman Of The Board' by Chairman Of The Board

    'I Gotta Move' by The Kinks

    'Stalemate' by Bens Brother/ Joss Stone

    'The Bagman's Gambit' by The Decemberists

    'Endgame' by R.E.M.

  • Comment number 44.

    I'm having another pilotlight moment...


    OK, I'll go now..

    But first:

    #17 Mo, no problem, happy to share. Have to confess, it was a typo! But all sounds very Merlinesque

    #2madchickster. Thanks! Plenty more where that came from. See above.

    #37 Billie. It's official. And I love your Squeeze suggestion. Oh dear, that sounds wrong

    #40 / 42 Deebee - no problem, HTS

    PS In Simon's post this morning, who is Adn? Is he a new Turkish production chap, who has replaced the nice young man?

  • Comment number 45.

    Some good stuff again today folks. Like your thinking.

    Love iThingy - surely needs to be added to the blogpoppets dictionary


  • Comment number 46.

    Last few from me....

    'Squares' by The Beta Band

    'Personal Column' by Jake Thackery

    'The First Six Rows' by Kevin Bloody Wilson

    And of these, only the first one is a serious suggestion. Good luck everyone, keep warm.

    Oh, and Simon, if I were you, I'd try to get my hands warm by getting them clamed into Colin Firth's armpits. If your first impression isn't going to be all that anyway, what with all the unwashed peckiness going on, why not take advantage of the situation. I suspect Colin Firth is quite warm, and it would seem a tad selfish of him to keep it all for himself, given your circumstances and all.

  • Comment number 47.

    'give me just a little more time' Chairmen of the Board

  • Comment number 48.

    ooh ooh ooh

    I think we need something by


    #46 Paul. Bad visual.

  • Comment number 49.

    Silence is Golden - The Tremeloes

  • Comment number 50.

    or the Sound of Silence - Simon & Garfunkel

    OK, that's it from me for now. Must do some work ;-) x

  • Comment number 51.

    Yay! And without even trying I sneaked in for the 50! x

  • Comment number 52.

    Well done Mo. Have a hat!

    ....................◒ . ◒...............
    .................... ╰╯ ................

    And here's one for Paul, for sneaking in the 150th on yesterday's blog

    ....................◒ . ◒...............
    .................... ╰╯ ................

  • Comment number 53.

    Between the Devil and the DEEP BLUE sea - Ella Fitzgerald?

  • Comment number 54.

    Morning poppety bloglets!

    I'll suggest:-

    One Night In Bangkok - Murray Head

    also from the musical Chess.

    Bored rigid today so will apologise in advance - you may be sick of the sight of me by this afternoon!


  • Comment number 55.

    Yikes. Did I kill da blog or have you all gawn out Christmas shopping?!

    Right then, let's try a topic for today ......

    What makes you listen to the music you listen to? Where do you "discover" things you may not have discovered otherwise (musically!).

    I was having this conversation with Nic last night and said that had it not been for my unhealthy obsession with Duran Duran, and devouring their every word as gospel in those interviews in Smash Hits, I would never have discovered (at the tender age of 13) the likes of T-Rex, Roxy Music, David Bowie, Talking Heads.

    I was also brought up on a diet of Beatles, Neil Sedaka, Buddy Holly.

    Just interested, that's all!


  • Comment number 56.

    Its another quick poop by from me again.

    Song suggestion from me....

    You cant always get what you want -- Joe Jackson.

    Back to it, the housework that is, such joy!

    Lovely day here today.


  • Comment number 57.

    #55 Good question Deevs. There are a number of factors for me. I got into Level 42 after falling in love with Mark King when I saw one of their videos on TOTP - it was the one for 'Children Say', and they were clowning about on a Tube train (must look that up on Youtube). It was love(?) at first sight, and I immediately bought every album, video, you name it I could lay my hands on, started to listen to them and decided that actually I really liked their music.

    A lot of music I get into because I like a couple of singles by a particular artist, and decide to buy the album. Examples of this would be Jem, Duffy and KT Tunstall (although I'm not so keen on Duffy's new single and probably won't bother to buy the second album). And then there are people I've discovered through hearing them interviewed by Simon, such as Tired Pony or Jeff Beck. But I'm always open to listening to new music - the only proviso is it should be good quality. I can't stand the sort of music where the 'singer' just shouts into a microphone. Where's the talent in that?

    On a related subject, thanks to whoever recommended 'A Very Special Christmas' recently (I think it was Alex-G). I downloaded it, and I'm enjoying listening to it on my dog walks at the moment. Yes, there's still room for the likes of Slade and Wizzard, but I think this is a more 'grown up' Christmas album.

    Deebee X

  • Comment number 58.


    #55 - obsession with music started in the late 70s (I was 8 or 9). My brother was six years older than me, so he was into different stuff. To earn a few extra quid, he mobile DJ'd with some friends in the early 80s and did pretty well out of it, so the 12s/7s/LP collection grew quickly.

    I followed in behind and started helping out when I was about 11-12. Before I knew it, mum and dad had bought me two record decks and I was mixing in my bedroom, playing stuff my brother wouldn't touch (being 18-19 at this stage, he was far too cool to play some of the stuff I mucked around with)!

    Dad would occasionally have to spend a weekend away with work and bought us an album each everytime he went away. When I was 10 and big bro was 16, he wanted Shakin' Stevens - This Ole House. I opted for The Beat - Wha'ppen!!

    I knew then music was going to play a major part in my life and I haven't looked back...I'll turn on the music before the TV. Still love it, and after watching my team at the weekend (c'mon you Hatters), meet many friends in the pub. We don't talk about the football, but tend to share stories about new music we've discovered and gigs coming up.

    So that was how I started...with an occasional stint on community radio stations here and there. Worked in commercial radio for a short time, but quickly realised I hated the politics and got out after six months.

    And that's how music jumped into my life...and here endeth Skeeve's essay for the day.


    Might be long winded

  • Comment number 59.

    Oh No! Snowing again here. That'll be snow on ice on snow on ice on snow!

    Deevs, I was brought up on Scottish Country music. It's ok for a heuch at a wedding or New Year but you won't find any on my iPoddy LOL. Your 80's experience sounds very similar to mine. I'm guessing we are of the same generation? I find that I am inspired by bits I hear on R2, but it's mostly going back in time. Some interesting suggestions on here. If only I could make the time to go explore them.

    Laters x

  • Comment number 60.

    Mo/Deebee - I'm 42, so the 80s were so important to my muscial education. The Human League's Dare is still one of my Top 5 albums of all time. I think the influence of pop videos has a lot to answer for - to think we're the "MTV Generation" but now I'd rather opt for VH1 Classic and not touch the original MTV with a barge pole!

    Skeeve - my parents had a pub, and a mobile disco! Great memories indeed. My parents split up when I was 15 and mum and I sold the 7" singles collection - there were about 2500 of them. I'm guesisng nowadays mobile DJs turn up with some flashy lights and everything loaded on an iPod!


  • Comment number 61.


    Still have a vinyl collection - don't want to part with it! Most of it is now converted into digital form, but a bloke I work with still mobile DJ's - he uses a laptop and some mixing software - that's it!

    As for the stuff I like - early stuff influenced by big bro and his mates. Later stuff was simply me purchasing what I liked - much of it was often off the beaten track, but much of it also popular. I've always liked the fun of finding new music, so spent hours in record shops in my formative years. Now I simply go on-line and try various websites. It's truly amazing what's out there and keeps me entertained for hours...which is useful when neither Mrs S or I like soaps or reality TV. Books for her, music for me.

  • Comment number 62.

    morning all

    i know him so well-paige/dickson(from the musical chess)

    dont stop me now-queen

    love and pride-king

    nights in white satin-moody blues

    mind games-john lennon

    king of the road-rodger miller

    queen of clubs-kc and the sunshine band

    move it-cliff richard

  • Comment number 63.

    how about the theme 2 z cars as i hear it when im sitting in the(rook)ery end at watford fc its the tune the team runs out 2

  • Comment number 64.

    Ah now Skeeves maybe tomorrow's topic for discussion could be books. Music and books, couldn't live without them. Well, I could but life would be a lot poorer x

  • Comment number 65.

    #64 seems I was being overly generous with my s's. Apologies Skeeve x

  • Comment number 66.

    Musician's autobiographies.

    A classic genre indeed!


  • Comment number 67.

    How about TWO TRIBES by Frankie Goes to Hollywood?

  • Comment number 68.

    I paint with a broad brush musically..seen Radiohead, Faithless, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas & Sex Pistols all in the last few years to name a few on my eclectic list! Cracker would have a hard job profiling me from my CD vinyl and downloads!!

    I got into Motown mid 70's and Northern Soul both of which I still love and listen to a lot....hence my blog Moniker

  • Comment number 69.

    Greetings Simon, Team, Nice Young Man and fellow blogpoppets!

    Sorry for the late entrance. I have a note. I have had the interesting experience of back to back meetings in different buildings, with no travel time built in. I am a leaner, fitter Alex-Girl as a result.

    Simon, sorry to hear the heating issues continue. Cuddle up to Colin would be my suggestion. Well, it is what I would do.

    I was going to suggest "Pawn to Run" by Bruce but see that JbG pipped me to it. Therefore:

    BLACK IS BLACK - Los Bravos.

    Another meeting now, then another, then another, then home. Will poop by this evening.

    Have a good one and stay warm.


  • Comment number 70.

    Pawn in the USA?


  • Comment number 71.

    Afternoon all

    V busy again today so just a qucik poop in.

    Can I add

    Black (k)Night - Deep Purple
    The Day the Ravens left the Tower - The Alarm (rooks being related to Ravens!)



  • Comment number 72.

    Good Afternoon,

    How about THE TWIST by Chubby CHECKER? I tend to twist the pieces when I play. Anyone ever played 3 way chess? Black, White and Red on a Y shaped board. It's fab!

    Or BOBBY'S GIRL? (I'm thinking Fischer)

    Some great suggestions today. #33 great idea Chickster. #47 That's what my husband says whenever anyone plays boardgames with him.

    #54&55 Never get sick of the sight of you, Deevs. You have a happy disposition. Did you hear Duran Duran's new song on Ken Bruce's show this morning? Smash Hits - oh the memories! Knowing all the lyrics and everything there was to know about singers and bands of the day. Vital info for an 80s teenager. Doesn't Jonny Saunders do a mobile disco? Maybe he could confirm the modern day kit.

    And as for Simon. Unwashed for Colin Firth! I seem to remember that gentleman leaping into a lake for a wash. Suggest you slip into The Serpentine with a bar of soap on your way to the interview.

    Have a good afternoon.x

  • Comment number 73.

    Simon tweeted a picture of Colin Firth earlier. Call me weird, but the guy just doesn't do anything for me - although I'm sure he's a very nice man. Nor, for that matter, do George Clooney or Daniel Craig. Okay, maybe I wouldn't turn down Daniel Craig if he pleaded with me... But on the whole I prefer my pin-ups to be a bit more flawed in the looks department, more real. I can't be doing with all this perfection.

    Not that I have any ACTUAL pin-ups, you understand. Mr B would never allow that...


  • Comment number 74.

    Julia - thank you, that's a lovely thing to say. I didn't hear Duran Duran this morning - I'm at work and it's so quiet in this office you can hear ants march across the carpet in the Summer! I've heard snippets of the new album and have asked Father Christmas for it for Christmas. I've promised to behave (for once in my life!). I think it's been produced by Mark Ronson - on their website, Simon was very enthusiastic about it a few weeks back.

    Perhaps if Simon interviews my heroes, I can go to R2 to make the tea ......!!!

    I'd love to be unwashed for Colin Firth - just think of the fun!!



  • Comment number 75.

    Deebee - I don't get the George Clooney / Daniel Craig thing either. Now, Johnny Depp on the other hand ......!


  • Comment number 76.

    Could I just say that George, Colin, Daniel or Johnny do nothing for me either. ;)


  • Comment number 77.

    #75 Yes, Johnny Depp would be on my list Deevs ;o)

    #76 I'm very pleased to hear it Andy!


  • Comment number 78.

    Oh Simon! I cannae believe that you're still having boiler problems! I have a bad feeling about ours now!!! And I am sure, despite the lack of hot water, that you do not smell unsavoury!! We are too clean by far in these modern times! Who on earth decided that young kids needed baths EVERY day?! Our two Highland lassies (both under 5) are fortunate if they get bathed twice a week!!

    Enjoy the company of the delectable Mr Firth!

    And, ladies, I'll have George and Daniel if you dinnae want them!!

    Huggles frae the frozen Highlands!


  • Comment number 79.

    Hello All,

    Bit late today, so no suggestions from me, some great choices from everybody.
    Well done to all for menshes yesterday

    Squeeze were very good last night (thank you for the messages on yesterdays blog), all the favourites and some tunes I had forgotten, I try not to play anything by the group or artist before going to a concert that way it seems fresher, that probably sounds a bit weird!

    Support were the Lightning Seeds also good

  • Comment number 80.

    I've got weird taste in men - very diverse! Ever constant from about the age of 16 is Robert Smith (The Cure), and I've recently seen the light with regards to Chris Packham (Spring/Autumnwatch).

    Think I'll stick with the gorgeous man at home though - once you get an A*+ its hard to top perfection!


  • Comment number 81.

    Hi Highland Lass - lovely to see you over here.


  • Comment number 82.

    Afternoon everybody

    CHECK IT OUT - John Mellencamp, assuming nobody has suggested it.

    Can you believe there is actually a song with "en passant" in title or the. But it's in French by a French bloke I've never heard of so probably not much use :-).

  • Comment number 83.

    Awww, thanks Deebee!

    My suggestion: One Night in Bangkok ~ from the musical Chess ... sorry but my brain has a weird way of working!


  • Comment number 84.

    ....in the title or the..... lyrics. Edit fail :-)

  • Comment number 85.

    HLS - see No.54 - share the spoils?!?


  • Comment number 86.

    I've just had a read of Sally's confession. Interestingly, they've missed out her 'Janet and John' moment from the written version...


  • Comment number 87.

    Take it on the run by REO SPEEDWAGON

    Take it or Leave It by The Searchers

  • Comment number 88.

    #74 You are most welcome Deevs! Single sounded good. Knew it was them but it had a new sound to it. Maybe we should draw up a drivetime bloggers' tea person rota.

    #82 Thank you so much Ken! Had a mental block on the name of that move and my brain was aching from trying to recall it. Isn't it annoying when something is on the tip of your tongue but you just can't say it.

    As for fanciable men - anyone for Alan Rickman or maybe James May's voice?

    Oh - has MOVE IT by Cliff Richard been suggested yet? In my very humble opiion one of THE best rock 'n roll songs ever.

    #86 Sally made an interesting confession to Jeremy Vine earlier - she is from Birmingham. No offence to any lovely Blogging Brummies - I was just a little taken aback because I can't hear even a tiny hint of it in her voice.

  • Comment number 89.

    Greetings Ter The Mayo & ALL...

    Bingo Star 'ere...

    Mayo Man - Most interesting, MOST interesting ter 'ear Sally B's confession yesterdee!!!!!!
    A didn't realsie she was such a keen cook & INDEED gardener!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Ok, a tune ter do with chess.... 'ow about the most nice band 'Freezepop' (appropriate what with our nippy weather) & their most nice tune 'Chess King!!!!!'

    'ope this 'elps!!!!!!!


    PS Si mate, great playlist yesterdee!!!!!!! Not in a sycophantic way... just a genuine aprreciatatataive way on my part!!!!!!

  • Comment number 90.

    #88 Julia, Alan Rickman and James May both tick the box for me! James is a lovely guy - I've met him a few times, and he's on the list of 'normal, unassuming, down-to-earth celebs'. And I'm friends with his No 1 fan, so you'd better get in the queue!

  • Comment number 91.

    Julia ..... Alan Rickman. Totally and utterly divine!!! And Liam Neeson for that matter.

    Which is precisely what makes Love Actually the perfect fillum: Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, Alan Rickman ...... hmmmmm!!


  • Comment number 92.

    #91 You missed out Bill Nighy... oh okay, maybe not!

  • Comment number 93.

    Martin Freeman and Kris Marshall ..... maybes!


  • Comment number 94.

    #63 Gazmondo, how can Watford run out to the Everton theme song?

    Particularly since it is a Liverpool based folk song originally (Johnny Todd), before Z cars borrowed it :)

  • Comment number 95.

    #91 Deevs, was just thinking about that film after my last post. Perfect! Saw it the day it opened at a cinema in Basildon. When Kris (sorry can't remember his last name) "My Family" told the American girls he came from there the cinema went wild.

    #90&92 Deebee, No.1 fan - So you are mates with Jeremy Clarkson then ;-) Will continue to be content admiring James' voice and his amusing Telegraph column from afar. There is a certain "something" about Bill Nighy as well.

    Off on the school run now - currently known as the ice rink.x

  • Comment number 96.

    #83 - Highland Lass, not that weird, it had already been suggested three times (#7,30,54).

    So if that is your mind being weird, we must all be a weird lot on here :)

  • Comment number 97.

    I love being weird. Pride myself on it!


  • Comment number 98.

    #88 not just me with a thing about AR! and I'm with you Deeves on Love Actually....a feast indeed ;-)

  • Comment number 99.

    My Christmas fillum of choice!


  • Comment number 100.




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