Making a Monkey of the Dead

Stephen Irvine, 12 July 2013

Having relaxed into the surroundings of more exotic climes of late, it was a miserable journey back to Norwich for Sour Times this week, as another ridiculous story unfolded in the land that spawned Tim Westwood, Delia Smith and Alan Partridge. With the city still reeling from the recent dust-up at the sci-fi convention, there was fresh drama as a gorilla painted to resemble Freddie Mercury was removed from outside The Forum, at the request of the late Queen frontman’s estate.

The Mercury-inspired model was part of The GoGoGorillas outdoor art trail, an exhibition of 53 life sized installations located around the city, with the apes created to raise awareness and funds for the Born Free charity’s project to help lowland gorillas in the Congo. Mercury’s estate took umbrage with the ape designed in his image, and their killjoy attitude was backed up by Freddie’s old guitarist, Brian May.

Freddie Mercury

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Is There a Doctor in the Building?

Stephen Irvine, 22 May 2013

For those fascinated by the history of group violence in this country, from the running beach battles fought between the mods and rockers through to the rampaging football ‘firms’ of the 70s and 80s, there has always been a rich supply of references within popular culture to revel in. Whilst most people at least pretend to frown upon the conduct of the louts, people such as the great Danny Dyer have been able to forge their entire careers on the public’s fascination with this behaviour, and the voyeurs amongst us got another satisfying fill last week as news of a clash between two of the UK’s nastiest firms hit the headlines.

Norwich Star Wars Club

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Most Like Someone From Mauritania

Stephen Irvine, 19 February 2013

With another birthday lurking around the corner, waiting for me like a hoodlum in a dimly-lit alleyway, it suddenly became very clear this week that my best days are firmly behind me and vanishing fast in my rear-view mirror as I hurtle down the motorway of life towards my inevitable doom. Having quite literally rolled out of bed I spied the unpleasant profile of my expanding waistline in the mirror with a groan, before heading to the fridge for a can of Fanta and the leftovers of the previous night’s curry. I need to make the most of this; it seems as though the price of fizzy pop is about to go through the roof.

A huge crisis

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Like Nailing Jelly to the Wall

Stephen Irvine, 01 February 2013

With freezing temperatures, floods, brutal winds and Thatcher’s brave fight against illness testing the spirit of our great island of late, your humble scribe has been holed up a ’la Layne Staley in his final days; a weary recluse no longer able to fake any interest in the world around him. But, as some of your friends might well be inclined to post in a faux-philosophical, thinly-veiled scream for help on Facebook, after the rain comes sun, and as the snow recedes I am managing what the tragic Staley was never able to, ponying up and carrying on – finding joy in the ridiculousness of the week’s news: Sour Times is back.

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It’s Tripe Jim, And Don’t We All Know It

Stephen Irvine, 18 October 2012

With the Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner freefalling from 120,000ft live on TV last weekend, viewers were treated to an event offering a fascinating hint of what lies beyond our world in the infinite wastelands of space, the shots of our hero preparing to jump particularly awe-inspiring. Crucially, the impact of this superb spectacle was heightened even further by the appropriateness of its timing.

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Spies, Lies and Melted Mars Bars

Stephen Irvine, 04 October 2012

I’ll begin by asking you to step back into 1967 with me, dear readers – the year in which the police conducted a now infamous raid on Keith Richards’ Redlands estate. Picture stunned Bobbies bursting in to find members of The Rolling Stones in possession of naughty substances, and Mick Jagger in the act of eating a Mars bar out of Marianne Faithfull’s front bottom. What’s most upsetting about this yarn is not that the Mars bar bit was made up by the rozzers – it’s the truth behind what they were doing there in the first place.

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Back Down to Earth With a Bump

Stephen Irvine, 15 August 2012

This week I ask you, dear readers, to bear in mind the simple, well established refrain that applies to most aspects of life on this wretched rock of ours; ‘what goes up must come down.’ That may sound like teaching your granny to suck eggs, and the example set by luminaries from Leslie Grantham, Prince Naseem Hamed and Gary Glitter through to Tony Montana just goes to show that the good times rarely last, and gravity is always patiently waiting to oversee our descent. There are still those who seem to believe that one’s salad days can extend into eternity, however, and this can prove rather strange to say the least when coming from people and institutions of fine repute and standing.


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Fighting Fire With More Fire

Stephen Irvine, 26 July 2012

Every now and then, dear readers, those who find themselves in the most pleasurable and privileged of positions are unceremoniously cast off and cut back down to size; relegated to a spot amongst the rabblement, jostled and jockeyed into the heart of the stinking throng and ushered along on a drowning tide of greasy hair, unwashed clothes and impatience. There’s nothing to be gained from looking back to your lofty perch now, there’s no beautiful figure, silhouetted against the sunlight and offering a helping hand out of the slime – there’s no colour in this place and the only thing for it is to huddle down in the margins and hope for some magic.

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A Nightmare of Olympic Proportions

Stephen Irvine, 17 July 2012

The most curious of incidents visited Sour Times HQ recently as myself and two acquaintances were discussing ‘the good old days’ of the school yard and the strange cast of characters we encountered there. Interrupting my description of notorious tough-nut Gary Biffins was a text message simply saying ‘U got something to say bout me?’ and the panic and fear that I hadn’t felt for many long years was suddenly all over me like an ill-fitting blazer. Moments later somebody was hammering on the front door, before booting it clean off its hinges and storming in to my quarters. It was of course Biffins, back to give me another working over, and this time it was going to be a lot more than a clip round the ear…


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