Steve Colman: Dirty tricks and showbiz

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Two things really stand out for me this week - Football and football.

Oh sorry, no, Football and Showbiz. We’ll get the showbiz out of the way first.

Three guests this week, the first of whom is at the Sunderland Empire on Saturday night. Joe Longthorne is a real trooper putting all his health problems behind him and showing that his voice is still as brilliant as ever.

He’s still got his great sense of humour too and will be showing that no doubt in the act doing his Shirley Bassey impression which she has described as the best in the world.

I played a track which he said wasn’t originally going to be recorded after he and Barbara Windsor returned to the studios at 2am after a “few” drinks.

You Can’t Take That Away From Me is great and I’d selected it from his collection as one to play and he gave us the great story.

I can’t get there on Saturday but he is coming back on Friday, May 6. I also pointed out that Friday and Saturday nights seem to be the dates he comes here, so expect a party!

On Thursday I spoke to Michael Flatley. He has been descibed as “prickly” to interview by some in my business, but he was fabulous. OK, he had something to flog, but he gave some great honest answers to my questions which maybe in the past he might not have done.

In the build up to St Patrick’s Day next week they are showing a 3D version in the cinemas of the legendary “Lord of the Dance” - it will take you back stage too and how some of the special effects work as well. I said to Michael that in truth, there are some films which are being released which have 3D effects for the sake of it but really Lord of the Dance is the perfect subject for the medium. It’s as if you are on stage with the dancers actually leaping up and down doing the business. It starts it’s limited run on Sunday. And I bet you’ll come out dancing, or trying to. Don’t fall off the pavement!

Friday morning was interesting after putting off an interview with anyone from The Searchers for a while as there had been other people and fish to fry. (well not exactly frying people) John McNally came on the show. What an incredible inspiration. I noted that he’s coming to The Custom’s House South Shields next month, then back in the region in Durham later, and he then appears at The Playhouse, Whitley Bay, at the beginning of September. I pointed out to him that there seemed to be a little gap between August 28 and that Whitley Bay gig and asked if there was any reason why that might be? He didn’t bat an eyelid but I was aware that he celebrates his 70th on August 30. The man still plays five-a-side football every Tuesday and Thursday night, for goodness sake, with ex footballers from Everton! Sounding like a 30-year-old he remembered the time when his brother was bringing back all the great 1950’s records from New York as he was in the Merchant Navy, which inspired him to get involved with the music business.

Just after talking on the radio we started chatting off air about football and he offered me his Torres Spain shirt. So I took it. Hopefully he’ll start playing as well again as he did originally for Liverpool.

Chelsea of course are beginning to get amongst the places again. A win at Blackpool has got things back on track and within nine points of the top of the table leaders. There is a game against Birmingham in hand and of course the game at Old Trafford to play. So that could spice things up again towards the end of the season. Don’t forget Chelsea won the Premiership by one point last season. Watch this space.

Barcelona showed the way they can play; both good and bad. I don’t think it is any coincidence that when they started doing their usual dirty tricks feigning injury and dropping as if a sniper was high up in the Nou Camp stands, things started to change for them and the first goal was scored. No one from Arsenal wanted to get anywhere near in case they were penalised. Did you see the Spurs v Milan game? I don’t know what made me think of it but I think it was inspired by Peter Crouch missing a header and I wondered, if Peter Crouch had a rush of blood to the head, how long would that take to happen?