Page 276. " like Maria with Captain Von Trapp in The Sound of Music "

A Broadway musical made into a film in 1965, The Sound of Music tells the story of Maria, a wayward nun sent to work as nanny to the seven unruly children of Captain Von Trapp. She falls hopelessly in love with the Captain, despite the fact that he is engaged to the elegant Baroness.  She seeks advice from the head of her former convent, the Mother Superior, who offers it in the time-honoured form of song:

Listen on Spotify:          Climb Ev'ry Mountain                 The Sound of Music



Page 277. " tapping the phone line as in Thelma and Louise "


Thelma and Louise
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThelma and Louise - Credit: jlori

In the 1991 film Thelma and Louise, the two female leads are relentlessly pursued by the FBI as they attempt to escape across the border to Mexico, after their innocent road trip goes horribly awry. They are eventually traced and cornered by the authorities, who have been recording calls to their respective homes.



Page 281. " It’s all backhanders and baksheesh like Winnie Mandela "
Winnie Mandela
Public DomainWinnie Mandela

  Winnie Mandela is the ex-wife of former South African president Nelson Mandela, and a fervent member of the African National Congress party. During the 1980s her team of bodyguards, the Mandela United Football Club, were widely suspected of carrying out numerous acts of brutality, including the kidnap and murder of 14-year-old activist Stompei Seipei Moketsi.

Winne Mandela was charged with assault and kidnap in 1991.  She appealed against the six year prison sentence and it was eventually reduced to a fine.

More controversy followed in 1995, when she was accused of awarding three building contracts to the company Professional Builders, in exchange for kickbacks.  Her home and offices in Soweto were raided by the fraud squad.

Page 282. " Geoffrey launched into ‘For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow.' "

 Listen on Spotify:

For He's a Jolly Good Fellow (traditional version)

For He's a Jolly Good Fellow (Leonard Feather jazz version)

Page 285. " favourite poem by Wendy Cope "

 Wendy Cope is a contemporary English poet who specialises in short, humorous parodies.


Page 289. " I’m taking Jerome to the PACT party at the Groucho Club "

PACT stands for the Producers Alliance for Cinema and Television.

The Groucho Club is an elite members club in Soho, a popular haunt of high-profile artists, celebrities and media figures. 

Page 290. " they were playing ‘Chestnuts roasting on an open fire’ "

A traditional Christmas song, brimming with festive cosiness, Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire can bring tears to your eyes for a variety of reasons.

Listen on Spotify


Page 295. " Going down to Oxford Street is hanging over me like going over the top "
Oxford Street at Christmas
Creative Commons AttributionOxford Street at Christmas - Credit: Chris Eason

Comprising over 300 shops, Oxford Street is a mile and a half long, the busiest shopping area in Europe. The pavements rage with shoppers all year round, but are especially hazardous at Christmas.

Going over the top
Public DomainGoing over the top

  "Going over the top" in the First World War meant leaving the trenches to crawl across the area known as "no man's land" and attack the enemy through a hail of machine gun fire.

Page 295. " Goebbels trying to rush me into invading Poland "

Joseph Goebbels
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeJoseph Goebbels - Credit: Heinrich Hoffman
  Dr Joseph Goebbels was a prominent Nazi who, as Minister of Propaganda, persuaded German citizens to support the coming war.  In 1938, he promoted the invasion of Poland by creating a hate campaign against the country.

Page 300. " voice that means, ‘Do what I say or I’ll Magimix your face.’ "
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeMagimix - Credit: missy & the universe

  Magimix is a brand of food processor, best kept away from the face.