Recently, I was listening to a Marvin Gaye track via—is it just me or has their sound quality improved lately?—and I noticed this at the top of its user comments:

white person wearing chinos on cruise ship LOVES THE BLACK MUSIC

Which immediately made me think of Stuff White People Like, a blog that’s really about “Stuff That New York Times-Reading Crunchy Granola US Registered Democrats Like“, which is appropriate in the light of this blog post from my showbiz friend Clive Davis about the newly-created blog “Stuff Educated Black People Like” and his getting me into Ronnie Scott’s on Monday.

This was the first time in my life I’d visted Britain’s Most Famous Jazz Club. I’d previously been wary of shelling out to see a gig there because I’d been told it was an overpriced dump. I thought I’d heard this from my dad, but, during our obligatory England cricket captaincy conversation, he said he wasn’t the one who’d warned me off the place. Anyway, Clive explained to me that everything had changed at the venue over the past couple of years, thanks to new management, the smoking ban, and extensive refurbishment.

Having been there, I can say with confidence that Ronnie Scott’s is now anything but a dump. If you can get in to see a good band, then it’s the perfect venue. Imagine someone flying a bunch of virtuosi in from New York and having them play in your living room. I am by no means a jazz buff, but I can bluff jazz: I know a good fraction of the standards from having sung them; I know a good band when I hear one; and, bizarrely, I once even recommended a Brad Mehldau album to Norm that he hadn’t heard of. Both bands I saw with Clive were very good indeed. The sound quality was astounding. Every last note was audible—and there were a lot of notes. It’s such a relief for me to go to a gig of any kind and not have to protect myself from permanent hearing damage with the fancy earplugs I carry around with me everywhere these days.

Then Clive and I stood outside a Soho pub with our girly drinks playing the ethnic version of the Four Yorkshireman game: Clive talked about his older brothers’ various convictions for GBH and I talked about how, when I visited my parents a couple of week back, the four factories at the bottom of the lane where I grew up had almost all been replaced by residential housing.

Clive also admitted that he was going to give up on comments on his blog because of a particular strain of loon that seemed to be attracted to the Spectator site. There’s a lovely example there now, underneath an item about the Conservatives and their plans to reveal new policies to do with “the environment”:

August 8th, 2008 8:20pm

The environment is very important, so control Immigration. No other policy has as much effect on green spaces, water supplies, house building, road congestion, or energy demand as Immigration.

Any environmental policy must control Immigration

I love the combination of bloggertarianism (using “CCTV” as a pseudonym), xenophobia, and green ink nuttiness (repeating and capitalizing “Immigration”). I wonder if “CCTV” LOVES THE BLACK MUSIC; probably only if the BLACK people fly here, play it, and then piss off back where they came from—before they “affect the green spaces”.