Thursday 24 December 2020

A Merry Christmas to you...

Can't believe it's nearly here -  time to break out some seasonal piccies.  

I do love the beautiful work of the artist and designer known as Erté.  Born in Russia but moving to Paris in the early 1900s, he became known for his stylish visuals in many fields - not just illustration but also fashion, jewellery, theatrical set and costume design, and interior decoration.  What a talented man.  Seems quite a character too, if you ever get chance to read more about him.

So here are a few of his gorgeous Christmas designs  - such fantastic graphic style...   

Wishing you the best one possible in these crappy old times and here's to better days for everyone 'soon'....

And here's the man himself (looking not unlike Dave Gahan / Marc Almond!)

Thanks as always 


Saturday 12 December 2020

Musical notes

Little scraps of paper abound in my Shedio, where I work all day with only the radio for company.  Scrawled words on torn off corners, hurriedly written, barely legible in magenta or turquoise or 2H pencil or whatever’s closest to hand.  All sorts of apparently random words and names.  Maybe they look like coded messages to a stranger’s eyes, yet to be deciphered, but once revealed they will disclose a dangerous secret.

I mean, a note I made just last week scribbled in purple diagonally across a ripped sheet reads:




Of course, I'm just being a fantasist, this is nothing as intriguing as a secret code, but for me it does point to something exciting.  My frantically scribbled notes (I'm very analogue!) are all aides memoires for songs I hear which make my ears prick up (I’m sure they actually do, like a cat’s, if only you could see them).  Songs that make me stop what I’m doing, artists who definitely warrant further investigation.

A little further investigation reveals that the artist in question here, Iraina Mancini, is a singer, actor, radio host, model and DJ, born into a musical family – her father is Warren Peace, a childhood friend of David Bowie, who also co-wrote songs with the great man and provided backing vocals for him.   Oh, imagine having a dad like that!

Iraina has already written her first solo album, but sadly there’s not a lot to hear from her out there just yet, however ‘Shotgun’ is her latest single release and I really hope it stops as many other people in their tracks as it did me the other day...  I think it’s gorgeous - sultry, darkly sensual and cinematic.

It probably comes as no surprise on listening to this to read that Iraina’s musical inspirations include French ‘60s cinema and Ye-Ye, Northern Soul, Serge Gainsbourg, and psychedelia... (right up my street!)

Iraina Mancini: Shotgun

Sunday 15 November 2020

Somewhere Elsa

Sorry it's been so long!  Posts may be sporadic on here until at least the end of the year but I am still around...  just a little too bogged down with work.

However, there is a strange and fanciful other-world which I’ve been visiting lately, just sometimes when I get chance to briefly press pause on the repetitive cycle of mundane reality. We must each have our own other-world, I’m sure - or many. They may be trips back in time, or forwards perhaps. Dreams, daydreams, places where regrets are addressed or fantasies fulfilled… Nothing is out of bounds. 

In this one, I’m of non-specific age in an indefinable location, but it's a weird and wonderful artistic illusion where the me who lives inside my head slips comfortably into her groove. Here in this safe space, feeling uncharacteristically confident, vibrant and eternally youthful of course (it is a figment, after all), I will pour myself elegantly into a Lobster dress...


and go to a party where maybe I’ll be introduced to Salvador Dali and Frida Kahlo. Perhaps it will be in Paris?

In my version of events, of course, I won't be pathetically dumbstruck (I mean, I can't even think now what on earth I'd say!) -  and there will be none of the dark, nightmarish backdrop of  war or insanity...  or pandemics.   I'm doing 1930s Lite.  But it's the fashions of  designer Elsa Schiaparelli  which are drawing me in.   A slight obsession with her led me here. I bought a little book a while back; fell in love with her cutting edge ideas and was intrigued by her extraordinary life (definitely worth reading about.  Her personality was so adventurous that even as a child she had quirky ideas - she once threw herself out of a window with an umbrella in the belief that it would act as a parachute, only to land unceremoniously but uninjured in a heap of manure... )  

Her imaginative, playful collaborations and creations (although she objected to the word 'creation', thinking it pretentious)  and her eccentric style are just the escapism I crave, even if it is only to be in my head. Maybe it's spurred on by the simple desire to dress up and venture out somewhere special, something I suspect none of us have done in a verylong while.... 

So, just for now, when I could really do with a little taste of  alternative reality (or should that be surreality) far, far away from 2020 for obvious reasons, it may be one in which I would happily get away with wearing these gloves:

this hat

(not sure of the date - 1950s?)

 these shoes


these glasses


 this brooch 


this coat

this bra!


and carrying this bag


All thanks to Elsa.

Where would you go right now if you could?

Saturday 10 October 2020

Eight arms to hold you

What has three hearts, nine brains, eight legs, blue blood and a beak? I feel sure there’s a joke in there somewhere about the royal family and a pet parrot…. but I think you probably know the answer and it lies, not in the soil, but in the sea. 

There is something slightly surreal and beautiful about the octopus and I’ve rather fallen in love with this remarkable creature. Apart from having an overabundance of hearts and brains, octopuses (octopi?) are amongst only 1% of animals which use tools, they are notorious escape artists, they can change colour, texture and shape in an instant, and even regenerate missing arms at will. Once you start reading and learning about them it just gets more and more fantastical.  I've long believed that there's a lot more going on in the animal kingdom than we can even begin to comprehend, no matter how much scientific research takes place.

My affectionate admiration towards them really came to the fore last year after watching, quite by chance, a documentary which focused on the intelligence and behaviour of one particular individual and her extraordinary relationship with humans. In ‘The Octopus In My House’ a professor and his teenage daughter bond with their cephalopod protegée called Heidi. In return, she shows them how she can solve puzzles, distinguish between different people, pass memory tests and use planning strategies. She even watches TV with the family from her huge tank inside the house, moving to the edge to be closer to the screen. I find myself wondering what she’s thinking, but I’m happy just to wonder and not to know. 

There is, inevitably, a darker side to their lives too - and they don't live for very long.  Once a female has laid eggs, it effectively spells the beginning of her end. She stops eating, becomes listless and wastes away - the female octopus in captivity even seems to go on an active suicide mission – she's very unlikely to make it through to see her new young emerge.  Nature being what it is, there's no need for her to do so - they'll fend for themselves, and thus it seems octopuses are never going to have a population problem.

But putting that grimness aside, I’ve discovered a whole new form of therapy to help soothe away some of the worries of life in 2020. The other evening I'd been stupid enough to catch up on the news before I was about to go to bed and I needed something to offset all the doom and gloom...  so I tuned into youtube and watched some octopuses.  Octopuses swimming, octopuses playing, octopuses hiding in shells, octopuses interacting gently with the sweeter variety of human, octopuses solving problems, octopuses shape-shifting: job done.  Kittens, watch out.

The obvious choice? Syd Barrett:  Octopus

Wednesday 16 September 2020

Spitfire bird

 “… The nearest thing to having wings and flying yourself,” said Joy.  “Gorgeous!” was the word Mary used.  I never thought I’d be writing about it here,  but having found myself unexpectedly drawn in by a BBC Four programme on Monday night, I too found myself  enamoured with a tiny single-seater fighter ‘plane, the wonderfully named Spitfire.  I was also enthralled by its pilots.

Joy Lofthouse and Mary Ellis, who both died in the last few years aged 94 and 101 respectively, were among a particularly unusual group of women who piloted ‘planes during WWII as part of the 'Air Transport Auxiliary'.   Bearing in mind that this was at a time when it was thought odd that women would even want to fly a ‘plane, you realise just how special a job this must have been and how much it defied convention.  These ‘Attagirls’, as they were known, flew thousands of warplanes, usually delivering them from factories to RAF air bases, solo and without compass or radio help, navigating only with maps and following railway lines or rivers.  Although not involved in combat, they still faced danger daily from enemy attack or collision with the huge barrage balloons that were deployed as anti-aircraft obstacles.

And as for the male fighter pilots – I find it hard to imagine just how they handled it, many of them aged just 18 or 19, cooped up in a cockpit so small that they had to get into it sideways, tasked with intercepting, outwitting and shooting down enemy aircraft.  There they were, alone in a lightweight metal killing machine that could reach a speed of nearly 400mph - feeling the fear, knowing it was “them or us” – as anyone in a direct conflict situation surely must.  Several of these surviving pilots appeared in the programme and, in voices weakened by the intervening decades, solemnly expressed their hatred of war.  But their love of the Spitfire was indisputable.

As with classic cars, especially the small, sleek, sportier ones, I think there's something about the Spitfire which is aesthetically pleasing.  I like its scale and simplicity. Seeing them in flight is like watching swifts; graceful, wheeling, fast, intrepid.  Maybe my love of birds and the excitement I feel when I witness their aerobatic displays is linked, I don’t know.  Whatever, although aeroplanes aren’t exactly my thing, I can absolutely understand the appeal of this diminutive yet high performance model.

Mary Ellis was particularly fond of the Spitfire and one day, on delivering a new one from the factory, she signed her name on it.  The airplane in question was never used in combat and survives today - along with her youthful signature.  On being asked, just before her 100th birthday, why she'd done that, she said with a gleam in her eye that it had really just been a romantic thing; she’d hoped that perhaps a dashing young airman would see it and get in touch.  At that moment I think I knew just how Mary felt.

Public Service Broadcasting: Spitfire

The BBC Four programme 'Spitfire' is currently available on iPlayer:

Saturday 5 September 2020

Just postponed

I feel I can’t let this weekend slip by without a little acknowledgement of something very special which should have taken place but which has sadly had to go by the wayside for obvious reasons.

A few of us would have been waking up this morning in an Edinburgh hotel room (presumably not the same one…) ready to greet a couple of days full of who-knows-what exactly, but I suspect it would have involved exploring the Old Town and The Royal Mile, diving into coffee shops, smiles and food and laughter, soaking up both culture and wine, and lots and lots of talking.   A lovely 'mini bloggers’ meet-up' was on the calendar;  one that wouldn’t be too overwhelming for those of us who are less comfortable with big groups and new faces, but perhaps a precursor to more.  For me it would have been both a reunion and an introduction, and my first trip over the border into Scotland too, I was looking forward to everything about it.  Huge thanks to John for getting the ball rolling and making it happen at least as far as it did – that is, of course, until this year's unprecedented events overcame us all.  But it’s just postponed, not cancelled, and I hope some time in 2021 we may be talking about it retrospectively.

In the meantime this presents an excuse to indulge in a perfect post-punk single by a great band who take me back to my youth and who hailed from Edinburgh, plus a lovely video, very much of its time, featuring some of the sights from the city (as well as lots of scarves and slippers...)

To next year and the friendship of bloggers...

Scars: All About You (1981)

Saturday 29 August 2020

In stitches

 A fantastic stash of vintage magazines came into our possession recently.* Well, I say fantastic... They're fantastic if, like me, you find there's nothing like a little tackiness to bring some brightness to a gloomy day.  

Tackiness comes in many forms but you can't beat a bit of kitsch knitwear, can you?  There's plenty of it to be found within the pages of 'Pins and Needles' and it seems only apt that I ended up with the condition of the same name after unwisely kneeling on the floor to browse through them.  But, oh you know how it is, you see a 1963 article on how to crochet a doily and you're hooked.  (No pun intended.)

Anyway, I can't keep them all to myself!  Let me treat you to some of the images and ads from that bygone age when the sound of our mothers' knitting needles clacking away was loaded with a strange sense of doom for us children of the '60s.  We just knew we might end up looking something like this... 

Life wasn't so great for our mums, either.   40-22-35?  "Where do you fail?"  Ffs!

There's nothing like a disembodied dog's head on a trophy shield to give you nightmares...

...oh, other than a wild-eyed, demented Gonk who wants to lick you.  Lucky?  I think not.

Still, if you seek something a little more sophisticated, you could always install a quilted cocktail bar:

- and invite Eric and Ernie over to compare sweaters

"What do you think of it so far?"


He'll grow out of it...

Magic ones?

More creepy ideas to scare the children

The ultimate in suave

And finally, is it a dress?  Is it a tablecloth?  It's both!

* With many thanks to Pete.

Saturday 22 August 2020

Super Mario

 Oh, I do love an interesting face!

What is it about some faces that just draw you in? Especially when they’re not conventionally beautiful.  I must stop inadvertently staring at people…. I forget where I am sometimes and find myself becoming preoccupied with the features of strangers – men and women, young or old - on trains, in waiting rooms, at the local curry house – one of these days it’s sure to land me in trouble.  (Maybe the wearing of face coverings is good thing in that respect too right now...)

How would I explain myself?  “I was just admiring your extremely large nose” or “I can’t take my eyes off your luxuriously bushy eyebrows!”   It might just be because I spend so much time drawing and I think my brain has got stuck in that mode – absorbing angles and curves and proportions, kind of sketching them out with my eyes like virtual portraiture, but, hmm - how would you tell that to the target of your unwelcome observation without sounding incredibly creepy?!  It would be sure not to end well.

Thankfully I’m safe to share my thoughts on this particular face without judgement here.

It is the wonderfully compelling countenance of Mario Fabrizi, a comedian and actor who is probably familiar to anyone who's seen The Army Game or (as in my case), when he was working alongside Tony Hancock in Hancock's Half Hour and his two films, The Rebel (I love this - see clip below) and The Punch And Judy Man.

I had to look up a bit more about him and was sad to read that he died very young (in his late thirties); in fact it would have been only a short while after filming The Punch And Judy Man in 1963 and, according to Wikipedia, his death was due to a ‘stress-related illness’.  This sounds particularly tragic and perhaps poses more questions than it answers, especially given that just a week prior to his demise he had apparently announced he would be leaving showbusiness.  I am so sorry that we could not  witness more of his talent and his marvellous appearance, both of which I'm sure would have aged magnificently.

However, and I hope you agree, you cannot help but feel joy when you see his lovely unconventional face in its prime.  It’s just so full of character.  Those laughing eyes, his long Roman nose, that slicked back hair - and that massive moustache!   

 "No froth?!"

(A fondly remembered Mario Fabrizi featuring alongside Tony Hancock and Liz Fraser in a brilliant scene from 'The Rebel')

Sunday 2 August 2020

A paean to pondlife

Most of the time my mum used the large Pyrex dish for baking Apple Crumble but as Spring turned to Summer and long yellow days stretched out ahead of us, the pie dish took up residence in my bedroom.  Sometimes on the windowsill - or if it got too hot there, I'd move it out of the sunlight and make space for it between my felt tip pens and Puffin books on the little white desk.  There in this modest container each year the magic would take place.


What a way to learn about life...  To get up each morning and wonder how many of the funny little black beans with nostrils and diaphanous tails might have started to sprout tiny limbs during the night.  Hind legs first, then front ones -  I could almost, almost watch them grow in front of my eyes, I'm sure.  

What a way to learn about death, too... occasionally having to scoop out a lifeless body, the unfortunate weaklings which were never going to have made it into froghood.   But the rest - I was fascinated at each stage of their development, watching them gulp down the goldfish flakes with mouths which seemed to open almost mechanically, like those of a ventriloquist's dummy.  Mesmerised by the way they swerved and darted about just below the surface.  Excited as the weeks passed and legs got longer, tails got shorter and newly recognisable frog features began to form.  Alchemy!

I don't think my mum ever made an Apple Crumble during the Summer; the tadpoles took priority.

Eventually they were ready to liberate - the timing was important, it needed to be just before there was any risk that they'd crawl out of the pie dish and end up inside the vacuum cleaner. We'd take them into the garden where the tortoises feasted on the dandelions in the lawn and where we had two small ponds.  Neither was fancy; in fact one was simply an old-fashioned washing-up bowl sunk into the clay soil, but both were full of what seemed to be the most alien life-forms imaginable.  Twitching, wriggling mosquito larvae with fan tails... wonderfully named Water Boatmen propelling themselves with oar-like limbs... and freshwater snails in tightly coiled transparent shells grazing on viridescent algae.

Some of the froglets may inevitably have been eaten by our cats, or the blackbirds, or a visiting hedgehog, but others would survive out there with the pondskaters, caddisflies and newts, growing into big bulky adults with beautifully long toes and inky speckled backs.  

I'll be forever grateful to my arty, free-spirited (and occasionally clinically depressed) mum and her Pyrex dish for teaching me to grow tadpoles in my bedroom.  And for her Apple Crumble too, of course, once the frogs were out in the pond...

L7 - Bite The Wax Tadpole

Monday 13 July 2020

Be my guest #1: John Medd and his Worm Top 5!

Brilliant!  Today Sun Dried Sparrows welcomes its first guest contribution and what a fine one it is.  I'm delighted to be able to publish this fascinating, entertaining (and educational!) post by our talented fellow blogger John Medd, whose own place of residence can be found here:

(You're far too kind in your introduction below, John, but I'm dead chuffed that you felt inspired.  Also very touched by your choice of subject matter.)

I'm really grateful to John for this lovely piece and for stepping in to help me out; more contributions are always welcome.  Enjoy,

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

When C recently announced to the world that her writing mojo appeared to have temporarily deserted her and was asking for cover in the shop I thought OK, I could put a shift in on a midweek afternoon if it means she won't have to pull the shutters down; I can smile politely at the customers if they ask me any tricky questions - I'll just say, "that's a very interesting question, I'll get back to you on that if I may..." So these are big shoes to fill, let me tell you, I've been reading C's captivating musings for nigh on a decade now and I can't even begin to get near the fine detail that she puts into her subject matter; whether it be drawing & illustration, Triumph Heralds, rambling, '70s punk bands (her love of Generation X's guitar player is unrivalled) or Bippity Boppity hats, I can only watch from the sidelines in wonderment.

And that is precisely why I shan't be exploring any of the above material - even if I feel some of them are pulling me in (Generation X, definitely). No, today I'm going to scribble a few words about - wait for it - worms; a topic I know is very near to C's heart.  Her passion for and knowledge of worms and wormeries is something that she has touched upon in her writing often and, as with most people who are passionate about things, their affection for their subject matter just oozes off the page.

However, my ramblings today on these amazing invertebrates is going to concentrate on one or two of my favourites - a Worm Top 5 if you will, and no, it won't include the Alien chestburster that exploded out of John Hurt's chest cavity, nor will it have among its ranks Jeff the 600 foot subway worm in Men In Black 2.  Hilarious though they both are.  Ditto the talking worm in Jim Henson's Labyrinth.

It will come as no surprise that worms feature heavily in mythology and legends.  They are often associated with snakes, serpents and dragons and the worm's symbolic meaning is divided between death and renewal.  Compost Corner, anyone?

The legend of the Cockburn Worm has its roots in the North East of England - a part of the world raided by the Vikings for centuries during the Dark Ages.  The Viking longboats often had worms carved into their bows.  One particular raider, personified as a monstrous Viking worm dragon, plundered the village of Cockburn in the Tees Valley but was finally slain by John Conyers.  Even the fact that Lewis Carroll would later borrow the story as the basis for his nonsense poem Jabberwocky still didn't guarantee it a place in my Top 5.

That position is occupied by Walter the Worm.  He's the brainchild of Roger Hargreaves, creator of the Mr Men series.  Walter had many cameo appearances in various Mr Men adventures, but was given his own book later on in the run.  A big shout out to the early bird too.

The Number 4 slot is a strange choice.  I'll tell you for why.  I'm no Whovian - my love of Dr Who began and ended with Troughton and Baker with Pertwee in the middle - but here's a cracking little worm related tale.  It stars Matt 'Boxhead' Smith, an oft used science fiction trope - memory wiping.  Long story short, if you touch the Memory Worm it takes the last hour of your memory away; get bitten by it and you lose decades.  Watch this three and a bit minute knockabout clip and all will become clear.  Will you remember to do that?

In at Number 3 is the Mongolian Death Worm.  A cryptozoological creature reported to exist in the Gobi Desert.  Like Big Foot, sightings are rare.  But it's bright red in colour and two foot long.  Allegedly.  Oh, and it will kill you just by touching it.  If you're looking for excuses not to go to the Gobi Desert for your holiday this year, I think this may well be it.

I love this next one.  Number 2 in my worm countdown is The Lowly Worm.  He pops up from time to time in Richard Scarry's delightful children's books.  And just in case you confuse him for any of the other worms I've mentioned here, he'll be the one wearing the Tyrollean hat.

Toppermost of the Poppermost is my favouritest worm ever.  It's Danny Kaye's Inch Worm - and is taken from the 1952 movie Hans Christian Anderson. (And yes, something of an ear worm!)

The song, written by Loesser Frank, has many fans, not least David Bowie.  This is what the artist formerly known as David Jones had to say about it:

"I loved it as a kid and it's stayed with me forever.  I keep going back to it.  You wouldn't believe the amount of my songs that have sort of spun off from that one song.  Not that you'd really recognise it.  Something like 'Ashes To Ashes' wouldn't have happened if it hadn't been for 'Inchworm'.  There's a child's nursery rhyme element in it, and there's something so sad and mournful and poignant about it.  It kept bringing me back to the feeligns of those pure thoughts of sadness that you have as a child, and how they're so identifiable even when you're an adult.  There's a connection that can be made between being a somewhat lost five-year-old and feeling a little abandoned and having the same feeling when you're in your twenties.  And it was that song that did that for me."

And here he is singing it:

Wednesday 1 July 2020

An invitation...

I'm so sorry!  I have (once again) misplaced my blogging groove.  I just don't seem to be able to get in the right mood.  I've an awful lot of work on, so my mind is elsewhere most of the time, but I've had that before and it hasn't stopped me.  Maybe it's just the situation we're all in as, although I know just how incredibly fortunate I am in so many ways, I can't rid myself of a constant low-level sense of anxiety just about the world as a whole... more now than ever.   I can put it to the back most of the time and still derive pleasure from other things, but perhaps it's at the root of why I seem to become full of self-doubt as soon as I try to write more here.

Anyway - a thought!  A few of my lovely fellow bloggers with music-themed blogs have been opening up their doors to guest posts - it's great, and works well for everyone.  But of course I don't want to tread on anyone else's toes so I wondered if I could offer a different platform here if there's anyone out there who wants it...

Therefore, if you fancy contributing a guest post here some time, on any topic that might fit into this place comfortably (no restrictions other than that of libel and extremism, you know what I'm saying) then please write in.  Perhaps you - or your secret alter-ego! - have an urge to wax lyrical about pylons, Lloyd Loom chairs or the joy of shelling peas, for instance.  Not that I'm suggesting those at all, but.... who knows?! I have a fondness for the random and the eclectic, the funny, playful and intriguing - and would really appreciate some original input.

You can get in touch via the contact details top right if you're feeling more inspired than I am and could help inject some life back into these pages.  It may also get me back into the groove...

Publication at my discretion but anonymity will be fully respected if desired!

Pretty peas

Thursday 28 May 2020

Through the magic door

Yesterday evening, on my lone walk through fields and thickets, having climbed over stiles, snaked through kissing gates and played hide-and-seek with the jackdaws, I came across a mysterious doorway.

It set my imagination alight.

What would you want to find if you stepped through this doorway?  Would it be a portal to the past, or to the future?  To the inner pages of a long-lost book, or a scene in a black-and-white film?  To a dream... abstract and transient, but full of meaning?

I know what lies behind it...

But it's terribly boring, so I won't spoil your fantasy!

St Louis Union: Behind The Door

Friday 22 May 2020


Gotta have a little moan!  About adverts (again)...

It's the ones on TV that have been

specifically made to resonate within the current situation.

You may wonder why I'm formatting this post the way I am

but all you have to do is to imagine that every line here

is being spoken by a different person, via their separate video link.

It's the fashionable thing to do now, to show how we are

all connected, even when we can't actually be

in the same room.

But it's not that in itself which irritates me.

It's the fact that

they break up their sentences half way through.

That's the thing - they don't even get to finish their own


Some people just get

three or four words.

Whereas I only have two which spring to mind each time these ads come on the screen.

Monday 11 May 2020

Mystery lovechild: the results

Thanks so much to all who joined in with the latest instalment of this absurd and trivial challenge.  I've realised that it's a bit like cooking a complicated meal; takes ages to prepare, finesse and serve up, and then it's all gone in a fraction of the time.  Just the washing up to do now...  and some indigestion tablets to gulp down.

Anyway, we started off with an amiable-looking character; I've got so used to looking at this new bespectacled face now that the actual origins somehow no longer look real to me.  'Helen', as Alyson has playfully named her (absolutely!), is essentially Bonnie Raitt, with just Buddy Holly's eyes and nose, but what a difference they make.  Both were correctly and quickly identified by Martin.


Next up, what do you get when you combine Kurt Cobain and Celine Dion? ( The top half of Kurt's face and hair, with the lower half of Celine's. ) You get a young man called 'Kyle', according to Alyson.  Martin correctly identified the Nirvana vocalist, and a warm welcome goes to Douglas McLaren who correctly spotted Celine - many thanks for joining in.  

No. 3 proved tricky.  No, not that Tricky.  It's Stormzy, or at least the lower half of his face, combined with Nona Hendryx looking suitably exotic, even more so with Stormzy's beard.  Another warm welcome and many thanks also to the soul of a collector for dropping by and correctly identifiying Michael Ebenazer Kwadjo Omair Owuo Jr straight away.  Alyson was so close with her Patti Labelle suggestion, but with a little nudge in the same direction realised it's acutally Patti's fellow Labelle member Nona instead.

Who's responsible for this living doll?  Rigid Digit was straight off the starting blocks to identify Cliff Richard, but wasn't 100% sure if Lulu might be the other half.  Martin also thought it could be Lulu.  You were both right.  Congratulations!

("... looks like an Angela to me," says Martin too.  I have to agree.)

Jon Bon Jovi and Patti Smith give love a bad name with this mystery lovechild...  Well done to Martin.

But Martin had earlier wondered if Bruce Springsteen's genes were in the mix.  I can see why.

*However I must reiterate that all lovechildren featured here must be genetically possible, i.e. with male/female parents.  Even if some of them would have had to have  their eggs or sperm frozen.  But, you know, I have to keep this realistic...

Ah, look what happens when you give Britney Spears an Ed Sheeran haircut!  As Alyson says, you get a kindly face who looks like a Frances.  And it's actually Britney's complete face, but seems that hair makes all the difference so, although Martin was quick to identify Ed, an extra clue was needed to spot this particular 'Princess of Pop'.  Maybe it would have been easier if they'd both shaved their heads...

Damon Albarn and Joan Jett combine to make one badass mean girl. (I reckon she's called Donna...)  Rigid Digit and Martin both wondered if real-life associates of Damon had something to do with this but I can confirm that neither Phil Daniels* nor Justine Frischmann were anywhere to be seen at the time of conception.

I don't know what happened down in Devil Gate Drive to result in this, but here she is.  Rigid Digit was quick to identify both Suzi Quatro and Robin Gibb.

I didn't think it would take too long to recognise this Stray Cat's enormous quiff and indeed Martin pinpointed Brian Setzer straight away.  But the lower half of this lovechild's face took far longer to identify as belonging to Miley Cyrus, in spite of valiant attempts from both Martin and Alyson.

And finally, although Martin was quick to recognise Janet Jackson here, Chuck Berry (the owner of those eyes, mouth and pencil moustache) also took a little more time to get right.  

And that's the lot.

Everyone who played along got a least one answer right, with Martin bagging the most and Rigid Digit a clear second place.  And it turns out Rol knew more than he let on, as confided he'd been to school with most of them...

But no points and no prizes - just another five minutes of your time wasted, I'm afraid!  Thanks to everyone for such astute detective work.

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