1. The Paul Temple mysteries on Radio 7. I enthused about them last week, and I'm still enjoying them immensely. The mysteries are pleasingly complicated and twisty, but Paul Temple's appalling suave-ness is possibly the most entertaining aspect of the whole thing. He keeps reminding me of Harry Enfield's wonderful "Woman: Know Your Place!" sketches - the final scene of a six-part mystery ended with Paul's wife getting a bit teary when congratulated on her part in solving the crime, to which Paul cries "by Timothy, women are extraordinary!", which provokes gales of laughter from his wife and their chum Sir Graham Forbes. When the credits ended the (female) BBC 7 continuity announcer was actually laughing at this, and so was I. Thank God for BBC Radio Player and Listen Again.
2. The new Aimee Mann album, The Forgotten Arm. I really like Aimee Mann. She writes the sort of straightforward music that could be really bland but somehow in her hands isn't boring at all, and the result is really satisfying. The new album is absolutely fantastic, and I've been singing most of its songs constantly for a few weeks now.
3. Do the Bambi, the new album by Stereo Total. Crazy Berlinisch electro pop with a dash of yé-yé and a smidgen of rockabilly. If you don't like this there is something wrong with you. I'm just saying.
4. Anything by Arthur Marshall. I have been indulging in a bit of a Marshall binge recently, as you may have noticed, ever since I found two of his books that I hadn't read before in the Oxfam bookshop on Parliament Street. I was doing an interview just round the corner from the shop yesterday, and popped in just in case there were some more that I'd missed. And there was! Obviously someone's Marshall collection had been donated to the shop, so I'm glad that it's been kept intact by me. By the way, if wonderlanded, cangetmad, slemslempike or anyone else who loves vintage school stories hasn't read Marshall's Girls Will Be Girls, a collection of his New Statesman book reviews, they must find a copy as soon as possible because it is one of the funniest things I've ever read in my life.
5. Making fun of Ju Ju. You don't have a Ju Ju of your own, you say? Well, feel free to mock mine. But don't be mean. Patsington and I have many ways of making fun of Ju Ju, but none are cruel. For example, we find it highly amusing to pretend that our nimble feline neighbour, Bubbles, greatly admires Ju Ju in the same way that Alan Clarke admired Margaret Thatcher. "She's magnificent!" (we pretend that) Bubbles says, in a rich booming voice. For another example, we noticed a chapter in a Gerald Durrell book called (and I'm not making this up) the Ju Ju That Worked, and so invented an entire story in which Ju Ju meets her doppelganger high in the Himalayas. This other Ju Ju is perfect and saintly, and also owns a small and successful tea shop, making her (of course) The Ju Ju That Worked, as opposed to our Ju Ju, aka the Ju Ju that has never worked and never will. The possibilties are endless, because Ju Ju is just inherently amusing. To her sadly besotted owners, anyway.
Oh my God, I am being PUNISHED (possibly by some ancient Egyptian feline god) for encouraging people to mock Ju Ju. I heard piteous wails from outside and realised that Ju Ju was having yet another pointless confrontation with her enemy, Mittens. When I ran outside to rescue my hapless pet, she waddled after me into the backgarden and then started PULSATING. Seriously, it was like something out of Alien, it looked like something was moving about inside her. Then she started to cough and cough and finally puked up a hairball. Now she is fine (as she always is when she's expelled such revolting stuff) but it was actually quite terrifying when she was wobbling around like that. She's now sitting on my feet purring loudly, by the way, so perhaps I am forgiven. Also, the nice top which I am wearing this evening for a fancy dinner with my beloved Patsington is now covered in fluff (from when I picked up Ju Ju and cuddled her to calm her down after her puke-athon), so I have truly atoned for my mockery.