The Duke - May 6, 2015

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In case you have just emerged from hibernation and are keen to catch up on what you’ve missed while asleep – it’s general (and local) election day tomorrow.

That means I have an important decision to make. Do I go for a pint before casting my vote or do I wait until my X is in the chosen box? Or if the weather is good and the will power is weak do I do both?

Sorry if that sounds a tad flippant but whoever or whatever I choose, I find elections are a bit like beauty contests (though much uglier) and talent shows (minus the talent) – in that I rarely seem able to pick the winner.

Another decision to make is how late do I stay up watching the results come through?

Years ago The Manager and I were part of a posse of young Gazette staff (that’s how long ago it was!) and their partners who tried for an all-nighter. But as the night merged into morning and the swingometer morphed into a binge-ometer, we were all too tired and trashed to realise the party most of us wanted to win had been wiped out. Times change. Having missed out on an invitation to a leading law firm’s private party at Tate Britain with ex-Radio Waver Jon Culshaw doing impressions until 1am and not being shortlisted for a similar bash at the Institute of Directors with Rory Bremner hosting things until 3am, I’d hoped maybe The Cinnamon Club might include me on their kedgeree breakfast list (available until 5am). No such luck.I even thought that like major sporting events there might be a queue of Fylde coast venues applying for late night licence extensions so we could cheer on the winners, losers and others in the comfort of our own local pub.

But it was not to be. So it looks like I’m going to be making the most of by far the most boring general (and local) election in modern history by cracking open a bottle or two of wine on my own, trying to decide whether to go with the BBC’s Jeremy Vine, Channel 4’s Jeremy Paxman or anyone else called Jeremy (surely Mr Kyle has been snapped up by someone just because of his first name?) and waking up slumped on the front room sofa not having a clue what has happened.

But what if nothing is decided on the day? Can I suggest that instead of another round of tedious televised debates and backstage shenanigans, the two leading contenders slug it out a boxing ring?

Like the recent Mayweather and Pacquiao event it could also be a major money spinner as Red Ed and True Blue Dave knock seven bells out of each other for the right to rule the country’s purse strings. Other party leaders could join in if they wanted in a sort of tag them kind of way – until it was last man or woman standing.

But however you spend your May 7 spare a thought for the 100th anniversary on that date off the sinking of RMS Lusitania (then the world’s largest passenger ship) by a torpedo fired from a German U-boat – with the loss of more than 1,100 lives.

On a cheerier note film buffs will be pleased to hear that Britain’s first picture palace, the historic Regent Street Cinema in London, is re-opening its doors to the public, film-makers and students from election day.

A £1.5 million Heritage Lottery Fund means the cinema which hosted the UK’s first public screening of the Lumiere brothers moving picture in 1896 is set for a new lease of life. Now that’s something actually worth voting for.

Sad demise of legendary one-hit wonder Jack Ely

While the world of popular music mourned the passing of Stand By Me co-writer and singer Ben E. King last week, spare a thought for fans of the lesser known Jack Ely.

Who he? Well, to followers of musical minutiae Jack – who has died at 71 after a long illness – will always be remembered as the unique voice of The Kingsmen on their 1963 garage punk classic Louie Louie.

The song, written by Richard Berry, had been around since the mid-1950s and was later revived by the likes of the Beach Boys, The Kinks, Motorhead, the Grateful Dead and Led Zeppelin, but it was The Kingsmen who made the definitive low-fi version – and it was Ely’s almost unintelligible vocals which made it so unique.

Sadly for him he left the band when the record had sold just 600 copies and new lead vocalist (co-Kingsmen founder and former friend) Lynn Easton wouldn’t let him re-join when Louie Louie rose up the charts.

He lost a legal battle to form his own Kingsmen, left the music business and served in Vietnam, subsequently battling drug addiction and alcoholism before training horses in Oregon and, according to his son, content to be a one hit wonder.

But what a wonderful one hit it was.