The Love Songs of Jack The Ripper. Bruce Robinson’s Epic Quest.

Could a popular composer and singer have been Jack The Ripper?

I’m a Robinsonologist rather than a Ripperologist but who can resist a thousand pages of closely researched non fiction by the creator of Withnail and I? The book, due in September, will detail his epic quest, started some time in the last millennium, an obsession perhaps deepened by his own Ripper film being scuppered by Johnny Depp’s From Hell.

It may solve one of history’s greatest mysteries. Whatever facts he has unearthed the prose will be more poetic than True Crime books generally are – just as his film scripts are more pleasurable to read than most, in addition to the great dialogue, the characters and the story.

They All Love Jack – Busting the Ripper Bruce Robinson b/w photos.

Michael Maybrick, brother of previous suspect James Maybrick, wrote light music, in collaboration with various lyricists, which is still performed today. The Holy City, one of many popular songs written as Stephen Adams, appears in a 1936 MGM movie, and is mentioned in James Joyce’s Ulysses.

This song is about Jerusalem but also references Freemasonry and the wisdom of Solomon, and Jesus as a descendant of Solomon and David. As a high ranking Freemason Michael Maybrick played the organ in a lodge, and was presumably able to derail an investigation into whatever nefarious deeds he may have committed – just as Jimmy Savile was protected, witness the strong Freemason turnout at his funeral.

Charlotte Church’s The Holy City was easier on my ear than the many stentorian male versions, which soon had my dear wife begging for mercy.

Michael Maybrick, singing without a microphone, would have had a powerful voice, a mix of bel canto and can belto.

The Three Tenors, with Church and holy places photos and info.

Biographical information is otherwise sparse: he may have been bisexual, the Maybricks were ‘cold and formal’. How would his brother’s poisoning and a notorious trial have affected him?
Most importantly, why would he stop killing? Serial killers generally don’t. Addictions get worse, tolerance requires stronger, more frequent doses. How could such a killer retire to become the Mayor of Ryde on the Isle of Wight?

Perhaps Bruce Robinson will address why there were no further Ripper murders or find further crimes that fit his modus operandi.

In the light of any new information, and the tendency for just about anything to become a musical (American Psycho?!) will we see a serious version of Spinal Tap’s Saucy Jack? (Which needn’t necessarily be ridiculous, see Sondheim and Tim Burton’s excellent Sweeney Todd).
Musicals aside, any Michael Maybrick film bio would feature They All Love Jack, a Stephen Adams song with lyrics about girls loving sailors – Jack Tars.

Can’t wait for September. If only to see Jonathan Woss interviewing Bwuce Wobinson about the Wipper.
Excellent summary of Bruce Robinson’s quest so far at
Informative Michael Maybrick/Stephen Adams piece by composer Derek Strahan
sheet music for They All Love Jack at

Though he doesn’t rate himself as a thespian, his perception perhaps skewed by harsh criticism at drama school and a sexual assault by Franco Zefferilli – Bruce Robinson’s skill with accents make him a great raconteur, although the stories are entertaining enough in print, see Smoking in Bed, conversations about screen trade misadventures, with Alistair Owen, a skilful interviewer.

Great screenwriting discussion here

Three Shades Of Gay: Freddie Garrity and the Dreamers. You Were Made For Me. The Laughter of Righteous Contempt.

Disclaimer: The author admires anyone who can entertain a large audience worldwide over many years, particularly those willing to appear foolish. It’s much more honourable than sniping from the sidelines. RIP Freddie Garrity.

Blue Peter 1964. We open on an Alsatian, Petra?, then a baffling long shot of nothing at all. Should we contemplate the transient nature of all human existence and the certainty of death? The camera swings round to a grimly bald guitarist, almost a Max Wall lookalike, or an early homage to Alain De Botton. Three besuited berks are doing unison leg flips. Bands needed a gimmick back then.

‘You Were Made For Me’ would be offensively chirpy even without Freddie Garrity, cavorting and simpering, ‘prancing like a tit’ as Withnail’s Jake the Poacher would have it. Garrity definitely needs ‘working on’.

How often can someone be gay in all three senses? He is ‘happy’ and ‘frolicsome’ also ‘flamboyant’ which came to signify the second definition: ‘homosexual’. A cavorting and simpering man is often seen as homosexual, (which ignores the hyper-masculine gay personae of some gangsters, soldiers, labourers etc and also heterosexual cross-dressers.) As this winsome ditty inexorably tattoos your memory, double permanent, he strives to be endearingly pathetic, like Norman Wisdom, which could be seen as, ‘weak and contemptible’, the latest sense of ‘gay’.

The hosts of Blue Peter seem happy, well, they are children’s presenters, but the dog stares blankly,: ‘lost for barks’ as the German mother of my children said. (Dagmar Ramsden, who saved my life in my late thirties.)

A later Freddie and the Dreamers video has the band stood widelegged doing forward kicks, like jackbooted fascists on ketamine. This also triggered belly laughs, a very unusual sensation for someone who is generally depressed.

Recently, I thoroughly enjoyed A Short Gentleman by Jon Canter, a profound, finely crafted comic novel which is up there with P.G. Wodehouse and Jerome K Jerome. But it took total buffoonery to get through the grey cloud strait-jacket. Thank you Freddie and the chaps, not to mention the dog.

Baudelaire. The Effective Work Habits of Doomed Debauchees. Jaffa Cakes better than Absinthe. Cats.


Recent post have been too short. So this one is too long.

A letter to my daughter about Tarot cards. Which turned into a ramble round Baudelaire, Cats and home birth. Guest starring Richard Dawkins.

The Housewives Tarot Three of Wands. (from the stylish and witty American 50s pack.)

3 of wands

A housewife and her cleaning implements. (Or homemaker, primary care giver or gender-fluid cleaning consultant.) Satisfaction in finished work. Pause before further progress.

Baudelaire was a decadent French poet from when it was cool to self destruct young, in sordid if exotic poverty (Paris. late 19th century. Actually, it was rubbish even then. Much better to die of an overdose of Jaffa Cakes. In your 90s. Somewhere comfortable).

He is the Daddy of proto-Goth Emo romanticism. (a hotly contested title), also the inspiration for the poetic musings of Uncle Monty in Withnail and I. He probably would have liked the Tarot’s blend of Egyptian magic, gypsy legend and the rest of the rubbish, whoops, slightly speculative hippy nonsense which can be enlightening even if it isn’t strictly ‘true’, as in provable by science, mathematics or logic. However, he is just about relevant here as he wrote a brilliant poem about Egyptian deities in the shape of Cats. (This just in! He was interested in ‘Satanism’; as all occultism was termed at the time, one (duff) poem is called The Litanies of Satan, so he definitely would have seen Tarot cards. Look, Baudelaire is this week’s subject. C’est ça.)

It’s been a while since I read him (who was quoted by T.S. Eliot who DID include Tarot in The Wasteland, I hope I have now established a connection between him and this week’s card and have covered up for not being that inspired by the Three of Wands, I never did like housecleaning. Which I probably don’t have to tell you). I now avoid anything to do with drunken excess or the outer limits. I’m more concerned with survival rather than emulating my earlier heroes such as Jack Kerouac, the Beat Generation or other doomed romantics. As for Emo or the latest generation of bloodless dweebs with acoustic guitars, like that buffoon I played with at the festival: military service is the only solution.

Anyway, I was pleasantly surprised to find that dissolute dreamer Baudelaire wrote something that could have come from a business manual – perhaps The Effective Work Habits of Doomed Debauchees: ‘Inspiration comes of working every day’.

INSPIRATION COMES FROM WORKING EVERY DAY (which does tie in with the work theme of the Three of Wands.)

(He also wrote, ‘always be a poet, even in prose’. Very good, but poetry is only possible with a day job. There’s rarely any money in sparkling or elegant prose, in fact it gets on people’s nerves, as they often want a chat with someone who’s had the same experiences as themselves, preferably in everyday language. Having said that, ‘Always be a poet, even in prose.’ Encore! ‘Always be a poet, even in prose.’)

Has my memory become so bad I don’t even notice repetition? No. THE BEST WAY OF REMEMBERING ANYTHING NEW IS TO REPEAT IT THREE TIMES. Which brings us back to:

The THREE of Wands. (A tenuous, indeed desperate, link.) The simple satisfaction of a job well done. A homemaker with his or her cleaning implements, pauses after housecleaning. Or perhaps after revising a first draft, maybe before scrubbing out some dirt you’ve only just noticed.

Then it may be time to commune with household pets such as…

Cats                                        Baudelaire

They are alike, prim scholar and perfervid lover:
When comes the season of decay, they both decide
Upon sweet, husky cats to be the household pride;
Cats choose, like them, to sit, and like them, shudder.

Like partisans of carnal dalliance and science,
They search for silence and the shadowings of dread;
Hell well might harness them as horses for the dead,
If it could bend their native proudness in compliance.

In reverie they emulate the noble mood
Of giant sphinxes stretched in depths of solitude
Who seem to slumber in a never-ending dream;

Within their fertile loins a sparkling magic lies;
Finer than any sand are dusts of gold that gleam,
Vague starpoints, in the mystic iris of their eyes.

Card 8, Strength, usually has a strong woman holding the open jaws of a big cat, otherwise known as a lion. This is embarrassing to me now but I remember showing Mum this card just before Raph’s birth, (when I was a lot more new age, having just given up drinking, which lasted for eight and a half years) At least it prevented me from running around shouting ‘Don’t PANIC!’ (They used to tell men to boil water, to get them out of the way.)

Mum was incredibly strong in both births, almost certainly without any mystical assistance. Unless I invoked Aslan and he was hovering discreetly nearby, like a leonine Jeeves. Actually, one of the beauties of the Tarot, and imagery in general, whatever effects it may have as an affirmation or a spell: it helps you remember stuff. And it’s good brain training to learn the 78 cards, their meanings, how they differ in various packs, how the spreads work etc so I should probably stop apologizing for my mystic hobby. I blame Richard Dawkins, the miserable bastard. Spoiling everyone’s fun.

Love, Dad

ps Baudelaire inspired an Anime and a Manga