After last week's revelation that John Denham is, in fact, best known not as a health minister but as a 17th century poet and sometime English civil war soldier, Monitor can now exclusively reveal still more surprising news about his boss. When not holding sway at Richmond House, Dobby Dobson is best known as a much-admired ska, rocksteady and reggae artiste, the veteran of several Reggae Sunsplash events, and a stalwart of the Jamaican music scene. Though Dobby Dobson's recordings are numerous, Monitor's favourite is his contribution to Rounder Records' Reggae Christmas from Studio One, where his rendering of White Christmas stands out from such mundane performers as the Wailers and the Heptones.
Sticking with the music biz, self-styled Mad Pride spokesman Johnny Haliperidol writes from Southwark Mind with news of a series of rock concerts. Sadly, his missive arrives too late to encourage Monitor's ageing punk following to don their safety pins and Day-Glo hair dye and go and see the legendary Alternative TV. But fear not, Mad Pride will be back at The Garage, Highbury Corner, on 7 October with a bill topped by Citizen Fish and the Astronauts. 'We want mental health to be a civil liberties issue like black rights and gay rights,' proclaims Johnny. 'Madness is the new rock and roll.' Ahh, well. After poetry and DIY programmes on the television, someone had to take on the slightly frayed mantle.
Finally, Monitor is happy to pass on Gadfly's dismay at the very suggestion of a similarity between his own adventures and those set out in the Wordsworth Classic Erotica magnum The Autobiography of a Flea (see Monitor, 9 September). 'I am horrified to have been compared to a flea - nasty, dirty creatures - erotic or otherwise,' he protests. 'I have always found that libidinous delights pale into insignificance when set beside the benefits of NHS catering.' Demonstrating the attention span of a gnat, he goes on: 'One of my ancestors was an aficionado of Thomas Guy, and I can state that on at least one occasion he did use an apostrophe. Family legend has it that he swatted my great, great (etc) grandfather with the words, 'That damned fly's eating my syllabub'.'