The Cast

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Ray with green hairRay (the wife)

Born in Lvov/Lviv/Lwow in the former Soviet Union/now Ukraine/once Poland, brought up in Israel from the age of 2 and transplanted to America at 14, my trilingual wife is about as exotic as I was ever likely to manage to hook And gorgeous to boot.

I met her in LA. Yep, I made the rookie musician error of marrying a girl I met on the road. To be fair for the first nine years we were nothing more than good friends who in any case lived in different countries.

Whenever the band played LA she’d stay in my room, but the most we ever got up to was to get the cheese wheel out of the minibar and feed pieces of it to each as we bounced up and down playing “Name That Cheese”. Unsurpringly when we came down to the lobby morning the rest of the band had a hard time believing it.

Ten years later we got married in London and had a wonderful reception at the Earth Galleries of the Natural History Museum in.

Ray is a fashion designer with a label she is just starting called Pretty in Punk. She is a true genius at design/style/taste and I have absolutely no doubt that she will go far in her chosen field. Her designer eye is coming in very handy for the kitchen.

She’s also a brilliant cook. We both cook well, but she has the knack of being able to improvise from the most unlikely ingredients. We can’t wait till the kitchen is finished so that we can start having dinner parties again.

Ray is a stickler for detail. If she has a task to complete you may find that it takes a little longer than expected, but you can be sure that it will be done to perfection.

Ray loves the 50’s, but with an “80’s punk twist”. She buys my creepers for me.

Ray would like our kitchen to be pink.

English Rose Kitchens have clearly gone to his headAndré (the man of the house. Ha ha ha)

André is basically a web developer with a finger in the musical pie. Or possibly a musician with a finger in the IT pie. If anyone’s interested he majors in perl, php, mysql, linux, css, javascript, AJAX, that sort of thing. He’s also done a lot of Java, C#, C++ and what have you so take your pick.

But you don’t care about that. What you really want to hear about is music. Well in the early 90’s he was in a band called Big Audio Dynamite (II if you’re being anoraky about it). He co-produced the album The Globe with Mick Jones, who then asked him to join the band on keys.

Now he’s working with Gary Stonadge, the bassist of BAD II and a bunch of musicians (whom we’ll identify in due course) in a collective called Rotten Hill Gang. Mick’s also been working with them in the studio and Gary mentioned the other day that Dan Donovan, keyboard player from the first BAD, wants to contribute, at least on the recordings. Live he plays guitar and accordion.

He also plays bass, his main instrument, for Last Man Standing. An excellent live band (if we do say so ourselves) headed by the charismatic Max Vanderwolf. We specialise in a sort of vauderville acid blooze. So the flyers say.

Once in a blue Moon he plays bass for Ed Harcourt‘s side project, Wild Boar. With producer and phenomenal drummer Dimitri Tikovoi and guitarist Emmett Elvin of bizarre lunatics Chrome Hoof. Ed is a neighbour and also a good friend. Ed benefits from ADD.

While not having Ray’s keen eye for detail, André “likes to get things done” has the abilty to remain focussed for long periods of time. So much so that a casual observer might mistake his trance like state for a coma.

André would like the kitchen to be a sort of vintage blue. Or green.


Farouk is about the kindest man you will ever meet. He fixes our car and will be doing some spot welding on our bed frame (that’s a whole other blog). He also has a body shop and will probably be spraying the kitchen units.


Al is also a very nice guy. We bought our first lot of English Rose kitchen units from him.

He trained as an archeologist (actually in archeological art or somesuch) and gets slight pangs of remorse for no following this particular passion whenever he watches Time Team. Much like me though, he got bitten but some sort of musical bug and became a guitarist/engineer/producer. He now plays guitar for the reformed Cud and the never-went-away Chumbawumba, having earlier produced the latter.

You can read a bit more about Al in the article about my trip to Leeds.