Thursday, September 28, 2017

Pheaturing Phile Alum Chas Hodges

Hey there, good afternoon, welcome to the Phile for a Thursday. How are you? If you've ever wondered how news websites get obituaries up so damn fast, here's an insider secret: the stories are often pre-written. When a beloved celebrity that a website's audience cares about is elderly or ill, a reporter might decide to write their obituary in advance, leaving blanks for information that won't be available until the death actually happens. It's definitely a time-saving practice, helping outlets be among the first to break a story. However, as one Hollywood Reporter writer just proved, it's also a risky one. Thursday night, shortly after news of​​​​​​ Hugh Hefner's death broke, a Twitter user named Lauren Ashley Smith happened upon The Hollywood Reporter's obituary for the "Playboy" founder... and she immediately noticed a few errors. "Hugh Hefner is gone and so is the job of the person who did this," Smith tweeted alongside two screenshots of the article.

As seen in the images, someone at THR seems to have accidentally hit "publish" before making the necessary changes. For example... The headline begins with "ADVANCE OBIT:" and ends with "XX DO NOT PUBLISH." The publish date is listed as "12/31/1969." Hefner's age of death is reported as "XX." The details of his death read as follows, "Hefner died WHEN and WHERE of WHAT, according to WHOM." Within an hour after Smith posted her now-viral tweet, THR had updated its article by cleaning up the headline and adding in information about Hefner's death into the story. Phew. But that doesn't matter, because the pre-written version will still live forever on the Internet. I'm sending our best wishes to the person WHOM is responsible for this error.
An "American-style" restaurant in Belfast, Ireland called Ribs and Bibs came under well-justified Internet outrage in late September after an employee wrote a "joke" on a sandwich board advertising their cheap lunch option. "You can beat the wife," went the sign, "but you can't beat a £5 lunch." You know what's better than a cheap lunch? An expensive lunch that doesn't tell you to beat your wife. According to "The Mirror," the restaurant's social media attempted to do damage control, responding to a negative comment by saying, "My God mate get a life, it's a bit of wit on a small board out side a restaurant, we're not putting it on the front page of a news paper or making a move, see it for what it is, not as you see it!" A bit of wit? Nah. This is a bit of wit... That sign is just bafflingly tasteless. The owner of the restaurant has disavowed the sign in the wake of the outrage, according to the "Belfast Telegraph," but he won't fire the employee who wrote it. He also took the tone-deaf route of claiming his company is the victim of a "barrage of abuse on social media." "I feel that we have been subjected to a horrendous trial by social media," he said, before elaborating, "I was horrified. I have spent three years building this business up from scratch, trying to build up a reputation, and with just five words that's all gone." Via the "Belfast Telegraph," he continued to lavish on the self-pity, "The employee didn't understand what those words meant to everybody and was left in fear of losing his job. We're all victims in it. The business is not in immediate danger of folding, but I'm worried about the long-term impact." Wow. Even though the guy's acting like he's the victim here, he did reportedly accept an offer from a women's aid group to "educate" his staff about domestic violence. Meanwhile, Ribs and Bibs will indeed have trouble coming back from the terrible reviews flooding its Facebook page. I wonder what their food like though.
Human beings are cruel, petty creatures, who moan about the elusive nature of love while simultaneously building their own emotional hell. To support this bleak perspective, I present to you the latest dating trend, which is dramatically called "submarining." While ghosting is what happens when someone stops texting without explanation (unfortunately they don't usually die), submarining is what happens when a boo-thing stops texting you, and THEN RE-EMERGES FROM THE DEPTHS OF THE OCEAN MONTHS LATER. Except, instead of rising from the ocean like an emotionally torturous mer-person, they send you an underwhelming "sup" text as if they never disappeared in the first place. Submarining maybe the worst of all worlds possible, because it includes the humiliation of being ghosted, then once you've moved on the monster COMES BACK TO TORTURE YOU MORE. While it's in the same family of emotional terrorism, submarining is NOT to be confused with zombieing. Zombieing is when an ex decides to slide into your DMs, does an apology, some eyebrow wriggling and tries to get back to smooching but really eats your brains in the end. Despite the emotional "Walking Dead" scenario, zombieing is slightly more dignified (ugh) because the ex at least acknowledges and weakly apologizes for the way communication ended and the passage of time. If your brain is already jangling with all the horror-movie terms that apply to your dating life, you might as well read up on mooning and cushioning while you're here in hell. Truly, the icy players are out here thrashing hearts and we've gotta relegate them back to the lonely bench where they belong.
Here's your disturbing airline customer service nightmare story of the day. A woman was aggressively pushed off a Southwest Airlines flight from Baltimore to Los Angeles on Tuesday because she demanded that two dogs be removed from the plane. According to the airline, the woman told the crew that she had a life-threatening allergy to dogs, but failed to provide documentation. "Our policy states that a Customer (without a medical certificate) may be denied boarding if they report a life-threatening allergic reaction and cannot travel safely with an animal onboard," the airline's statement said. After the crew allegedly tried to escort her out peacefully, "law enforcement became involved," Southwest explained. As per usual, a passenger recorded the whole incident on their phone, in which you can hear the flight attendants telling them all to stop. In the video, you hear the woman telling officers, "My dad has a surgery," and her repeatedly telling the officers, "Don't touch me." Another passenger very sympathetically heckles the ordeal with "Jeez lady, get off the plane." “If you look at the police, they were being overly aggressive," Bill Dumas, the guy who recorded the incident, told CBSLA. Southwest Airlines issued the following apology.

Here's hoping the woman and her father are both alright.
Flying is already a huge hassle, but if you see these four letters on your boarding pass, things could get way more inconvenient. If you see the letters "SSSS" on your boarding pass, expect to spend even more time in security with the Transportation Security Administration, or TSA. Damn, and you thought having to take off your shoes was bad! According to Business Insider, "SSSS" stands for Secondary Security Screening Selection, and it appears on your boarding pass when you are selected for an additional screening by the TSA. The meaning of the "SSSS" stamp was never really a secret, per se, but travelers are just now catching on to its meaning. "SSSS stands for Secondary Security Screening Selection and it appears on a passenger’s boarding pass when they’ve been selected by TSA’s Secure Flight system for enhanced security screening," the TSA said told "Business Insider" in a statement. "Secure Flight is a risk-based passenger pre-screening program that enhances security by identifying low and high-risk passengers before they arrive at the airport by matching their names against trusted traveler lists and watchlists." Oh, and it gets worse if you are trying to catch a connecting flight. If you are stamped "SSSS," you have to repeat the additional security level at each connecting airport. No quick pit-stop at the airport Cinnabon for you! According to Distracitfy, if someone continually is given the "SSSS" stamp, they can contact the TSA and appeal to remove it. However, if you show up at the airport and see the dreaded stamp on your boarding pass, there is nothing you can really do. I guess that's why they have you arrive to your flight so early. I guess that's why they have you arrive to your flight so early.
So, if you think of cheating on your loved one you might think twice after you see this...

I wonder how much that banner cost. One thing about me is I like to follow the rules, but there's some people that take it a little too far...

So, there's a new movie coming out that looks very interesting. Check it out...

Drunk Kirk looks good, right? Did you see President Trump's new hat? No? Well, check it out...

So, ever see those tip jars in restaurants? Sometimes places get really creative with them...

Hahaha. So, you know I am a Star Wars fan, and a football fan by now. Some people I think are bigger fans of both and have found a way to blend the two... like this guy...

Haha. Do you cook? I don't. I never cooked anything in my life but after seeing this I might start...
This dishwasher magnet makes things marginally easier. I say marginally because dishes are always going to suck. It's one of the unbendable laws of the universe. Like gravity, or the way a Subway sandwich shop smells. So, last week I asked you to send me pictures of dogs in pajamas and I am still getting them sent to me so I thank you. Look at them...

Awe!!! Hey, it's Thursday, so you know what that means...

In February 2002 a woman was eating a bowl of clam chowder at a McCormick and Schmick's seafood restaurant in Irvine, California, when she bit down on something rubbery. She thought it was a piece of calamari, but when she spit it out into her napkin she discovered that it was a condom. She immediately complained and the restaurant manager took the condom from her. The woman later sued and won an undisclosed settlement from the restaurant. The restaurant itself tried to sue the supplier of the clam chowder, but a judge ruled in favor of the supplier.

If you spot the Mindphuck let me know. That's fucking disgusting. Alright, it's Thursday and you know what that means... time to talk football with my friend Jeff.

Me: Hey, Jeff, how you? Welcome back to the Phile. 

Jeff: It's always good to be back on the Phile!

Me: So, the Steelers did not come out their locker room for the national anthem. And they didn't come out for the game either. Hahaha. So, what do you think of this whole anthem kneeling business?

Jeff: Honestly, I have no issues with what the Steelers did and I have no problem with kneeling as a form of silent protest. When you turn on the news and see people with torches protesting in the streets, rioting and looting. I don't want to make this all political, but notice how many teams did this once a certain President called out a handful of players who did it? It was more of a protest to him and his politics than to anything else at this point.

Me: I can't say much about the Steelers losing as the Giants lost as well. I was thinking... there's a few notable Owens. There's Owen Wilson, Jesse Owens, Terrell Owens and now the Giants are Owen three. Hahaha.

Jeff: Don't forget about Kevin Owens and Owen Hart. Sorry! I had to throw in a wrestling reference when I could.

Me: That's cool. So, I have seen a professional baseball game and an NHL game, and this Sunday I'll see my first NFL game which is the Giants versus the Bucs. You've been to NFL games before, right? What is it like?

Jeff: I will tell you that going to a football game live is a much different experience than watching it on TV. I've been to three NFL games in the past.

Me: I can't wait. Jeff, did you hear about the anonymous Dallas player saying if anyone on the Cowboys kneels, they will be put on the "shit list"?

Jeff: I did not hear that. If anyone really believes in something, especially at this level whoever said that should step up. Especially considering the Cowboys did kneel at one point. They locked arms with their owner as well.

Me: What else is going on with the NFL?

Jeff: There's not a lot of news. A few more injuries this week. But the vast majority of news involves kneeling, so yeah. Moving on.

Me: Hey, so, Disney once again has taken over an NFL teams logo... I am very partial to this one...

Jeff: Hahahaha, other than a changing of the font it looks the same! Could have done something with "Mickey and the Beanstalk"!

Me: True. I never thought of that. Okay, so, how did we both do last week? Both our teams lost I know that.

Jeff: Well, I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is I went 1-1 with a Steelers lose. The bad news is you can your name to the Owen list as you went 0-2 for the second straight week with a Giants lose. So I lead now by a score of 8-2. I'm 3-3 for the season with 2 Steeler wins and you are 1-7 with 0 Giant wins.

Me: Ugh!!! Okay, let's pick this week's picks... I say Packers by 10 and Lions by 10.

Jeff: My picks are Jags by 7 and Raiders by 4.

Me: Great. I'll be at the Giants/Tampa game so look for me on TV. Have a good week. I'll see you here next Thursday.

Jeff: Have a good week.

I don't get it. Hahaha. Let's see who kicked the bucket. I think you know...

Hugh Hefner 
April 9th, 1926 — September 27th, 2017
I salute the passing of a great American hero. Thankfully salutes are just with one hand.

Donald Trump is not one known for deleting his old tweets. It's a fun game to go through his old tweets and find the ones where he complains about Obama doing the exact same things that Trump did when he took office. Trump has tweets so embarrassing, offensive and odd that it's actually shocking that he hasn't deleted them. But for some reason, a few night's ago he started deleting tweets he sent supporting Luther Strange for Alabama senator after Strange lost the election. But the strange (see what I did there?) thing is, he's left a lot of them up, too. He probably deleted the one about Strange "shooting up" in the polls just because he later realized that might not be the best term to use. As for the other two, maybe he just felt like they were no longer relevant. But remember, this is a guy who left this tweet up...

So who knows what the President is doing. Either he was planning on deleting all his Luther Strange votes, and then realized people were noticing, or else he only planned on deleting a few, and accomplished that. Or else he's just got no plan, and is playing fast and lose with that delete button. He did congratulate Roy Moore two days ago, though he had to point out that Strange started "way back" just so we'd all know it definitely, absolutely wasn't Trump's fault that Strange didn't win.

Today's pheatured guest is a Phile Alum, English musician and singer, probably best known for being one half, and lead vocalist, of the English musical duo Chas & Dave. He is also the author of "Chas & Dave: All About Us," the 66th book to be pheatured in the Phile's Book Club. Most of all, he's a cancer survivor. Please welcome back to the Phile the fantastic... Chas Hodges!

Me: Hey there, Chas, welcome back to the Phile, sir. How are you?

Chas: I am fine.

Me: Okay, let's get this out of the way first, my friend. Late last year or early this year since you were here on the Phile last you were diagnosed with cancer... what kind and what stage?

Chas: Cancer of the oesophagus and it was caught early.

Me: You are so lucky they caught it at an early stage. How did they discover it in the first place?

Chas: I reacted quickly when I found I was having difficulty drinking a glass of water. An endoscopy found that cancer had swollen my gullet passage leaving less than a centimeter hole for everything to go through.

Me: Did you go through chemo and radiation treatment?

Chas: Yes, both. Just finished radiotherapy and the doctor don't want to see me until three months time, so that's good.

Me: The band took a break when you were recovering but it still must of been hard to tell Dave, your wife, band and friends. Who did you tell first?

Chas: My wife Joan.

Me: Did you do any songwriting when you were recovering?

Chas: A bit but mainly I have been making sure I play regularly. I have not gigged for six months. This has been the longest barren gig gap since I left school. I want to make sure I am physically fit when I return to the stage.

Me: You recently played your "return show" at Hyde Park at a huge festival... was that that like? Did it feel good to be back on stage? I bet it did.

Chas: All great. Big crowd, played great, didn't miss a note, smashed it. Felt great. All this after a six month gap. Last time I went six months without a gig was 1956. Just before I joined a skiffle group.

Me: Do you still do a lot of songwriting, Chas?

Chas: I constantly make notes of ideas or record musical passages that come to mind. Then when I sit down to write proper I have these ideas to start me off.

Me: Okay, so, before I forget, recently I interviewed musician and author Wesley Stace who used to go by the name of John Wesley Harding and I mentioned you and asked if he was a fan as Wes is from England. He is a fan and said he was at one time was going to invite Chas & Dave to his Cabinet of Wonders shows in the states but wasn't sure if Americans knew who you were. I said they did, but he said you wouldn't of heard of him. So, have you heard of Wesley Stace and if you were invited to do those shows would you come over?

Chas: I have not heard of Wesley Stace but would like to hear of him.

Me: I'll get you two connected. Do you get a lot of response or hear from American fans?

Chas: Yes, periodically.

Me: When you first came to America what was your reaction?

Chas: Wished we had spent more time playing in America.

Me: Okay, so, let's talk about your autobiography, which was FANTASTIC, "Chas & Dave: All About Us" is the 66th book to the pheatured in the Phile's book club. The book took a long time to write, didn't it? How long?

Chas: The first half, "Chas Before Dave" came out in 1987. Twenty years later a publisher read it and begged me to bring it up to date. I didn't really fancy doing it but my wife said I should. "Someone else will do it and get it wrong," she said. She was right, so I did.

Me: Why did it take so long to write? Did you write in spurts here and there?

Chas: First half took me some 3 years using Scotch tape and a clapped out typewriter. Second half took me 6 months using a word processor. Got to grips with it pretty quick after initially losing whole paragraphs here and there and breaking out into mini cold sweats.

Me: Did you tell anyone you were writing the book at all, or was it a surprise?

Chas: It all came about when John Pidgeon, who ghost wrote Eric Clapton's book, said he would like to do a Chas & Dave book. So we had a meeting. He said to go away and write down any memories and let him have them. We did. Well, I did. Dave couldn't get into it. I filled up a couple of exercise books and sent them to John. He called me up. What he said to me was totally unexpected. He said I didn't need him. My writing was perfect. "But what about grammar etc," I said. "People want to hear YOU," he said and that's what comes off the page. Well, I thought, he's a professional writer. If he thinks I should write it myself, who am I to argue? So I did.

Me: I agree. That's what I loved about the book. It originally came out in 2008, and a lot has happened with Chas & Dave and yourself in those nine years, so have you thought about updating it or writing a sequel?

Chas: No, but now you mention it, not a bad idea.

Me: I wish you would. I love the way you were honest with it, and didn't hold back. I could picture you speaking the whole time, which was cool. Is there anything you wish you put in the book or wish you didn't?

Chas: Nothing that immediately comes to mind.

Me: What did Dave think of your book when he read it? He should write a book, Chas, right?

Chas: He expressed his approval. Like I said, Dave could not get into writing his own book. It is not his cup of tea. He tried it and didn't like it. I tried it and did like it.

Me: When you started to be a professional musician with Cliff Bennett, Jerry Lee Lewis and Gene Vincent you were a bass player but switched over to piano. What made you decide to switch and what is your favorite instrument to play?

Chas: I dearly wanted piano to be my main instrument. When me and Dave got together I felt I was accomplished enough on it to become so.

Me: Was it hard to switch to piano?

Dave: Not really. But I was now in charge of the lead instrument in the band. It was up to me now to provide stimulating solos whereas on bass, I didn't have to think too hard.

Me: I have interviewed you a few times and everybody always say they love your interviews but I don't ask enough about Heads Hand & Feet... ugh. I can't please everybody. What was your favorite experience working in that band?

Chas: Playing alongside my pal and all-time favourite guitarist, Albert Lee.

Me: When the band ended do you wish it could of continued, Chas?

Chas: No. It was an enormous experience. Most especially a long some 2 month tour of America. I loved it. But it began to feel more and more wrong all the time singing to Americans in an American accent. I had to become myself. This was my plan when me and Dave got together.

Me: Wasn't it during your time in that band where you met my dad, sharing a stage with Foghat or Savoy Brown?

Chas: Yes, it was. We played alongside some marvelous bands.

Me: You were lucky enough to see The J. Geils Band in concert back in the early days like my dad did (Foghat and them did many shows together.) Was there any band you saw that you were in awe about?

Chas: Yes, J. Geils I think was my favourite band. Edgar Winter was impressive. Procul Harum with my long time pal, Gary Brooker, will always be up there.

Me: I was listening to a lot of the Chas & Dave catalogue and the musicality between you guys was so amazing. Was it you who did most of the songwriting and arrangements?

Chas: Yes, I did all the string and brass arrangements. Songs like "Ain't No Pleasing You," and "Wish I Could Write a Love Song" were entirely mine. "Gertcha" and "Rabbit" we wrote between us. 

Me: Your first song you recorded as Chas & Dave was "Pay Up and Look Big," am I right? Was that a sort of biographical song?

Chas: Yes, it was. Also it was a saying my nan used a lot. Uncle Alf, her son, she said, was always the last to give her his housekeeping. Pay up and look big, was what she often had to say to him.

Me: You guys have done something a lot of bands didn't do and that's the montage, non-stop songs on the "Jamboree" albums. Those are so much fun to listen to, especially on long car rides. How do you guys come up with those arrangements and pick what songs you want to play?

Chas: Most of them were songs we had learned from our family parties. My mum, Daisy, was a great pianist and knew a wealth of songs. Dave often said if there was competition for who knew the most songs, my mum would win it.

Me: Originals or covers? What do you prefer?

Chas: Originals probably but covers are so much fun.

Me: Eminem sampled one of your songs! Which song was it again and how did you find out? Whatcha thought?

Chas: "My Name Is" from a Labe Siffre track "I Got The..." I think. Didn't think much about it. Just a session we were on.

Me: You opened for Clapton and Led Zeppelin, Chas... all those had different kinda audiences, how did Chas & Dave go down at those shows?

Chas: Went down great on both occasions but enjoyed the Eric Clapton shows best. We used to bring our old mate Albert Lee onstage to do some rock 'n roll with us at the end. Eric said, "What about me?" So they both ended up coming on the finale of our set.

Me: I love the song "Gertcha," which we talked about before here. Can you tell the story behind that song?

Chas: My grandmother was an east ender and used to say that word and "cowson." I never knew it was a swear word growing up. Now I miss her. "Gertcha" was said by our parents and mainly our grandparents. We thought it would be fun to bring it back in fashion and also to reinstate the old semi swear word "cowson."

Me: I have to ask you about "Ain't No Pleasing You." That song was a hit single but no one wanted to release it as a single, right?

Chas: Me and Dave were doing it for a year before it was released as a single. The top plugger of the day, Alan James said, "It's a lovely song boys but it's not a hit." We knew it was because of the reaction we were getting. We decided unscheduled to do it on a live TV show. Our manager Bob England said he had so many calls the next day that he was forced to release it. In his words he said it "had its own legs" and it just walked up the chart to number one in most charts. I wrote the tune and the lyrics. Didn't realize it at the time but the lyrics were based on my brother splitting up with his missus.

Me: It's a more serious song... one I can relate to a lot. Is it easier or harder to write a serious song opposed to a song that is more fun like "Rabbit"?

Chas: Not really. Mostly they are both 10 percent inspiration and 90 percent perspiration.

Me: Hey, I have to tell you this, recently I interviewed drummer Gilson Lavis about his artwork and I saw this one that he did...

Me: Have you seen it before? What do you think and do you know Gilson?

Chas: Yes. He gave it to me. It's great. Gilson is a great drummer, artist and person.

Me: So, whats next for you, Chas? Are you going to be going back into the studio or hitting the road? You must be itching to play. 

Chas: Soon be back on the road and soon be in the studio recording new stuff. 

Me: Yay! Thanks so much for being here again on the Phile. And thanks for the book. Like I said I really enjoyed it. Keep well, and please come back on the Phile again soon. All the best. 

Chas: Thanks, J.P. Wish you well. Chas.

That about does it for this entry of the Phile. Thanks to my guests Jeff Trelewicz and of course Chas Hodges. The Phile will be back Sunday with singers Tracey Bryn and Melissa Belland from Voice of the Beehive. Spread the word, not the turd. Don't let snakes and alligators bite you. Bye, love you, bye.

Not if it pleases me. No, you can't stop me, not if it pleases me. - Graham Parker

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