IT'S forty years since I failed my first driving test.

I went on to fluff a few more and after that eventually gave up.

I dreaded every weekly hour from the instructor as much as a visit to the dentist.

I even hid behind curtains to avoid the lessons I'd paid for - something Paul O'Grady and I have in common.

Not accepting defeat, I still paid through the mouth, so to speak, for extensive lessons that were going nowhere.

Yet I had come to the end of my road.

Failed tests came and went with nerve-wracking consistency.

On one occasion it was like a scene from Some mothers do 'ave 'em when I switched on the windscreen wipers and couldn't stop them.

And then as I was driving out of the car park the un-manned security barrier came crashing down on the bonnet.

"Oh my, we are having problems", sighed the Basil Fawlty look-alike examiner.

Realising I had nothing to lose, I decided to go out with a smile.

He pointed at a road sign featuring a reindeer inside a red triangle. He asked me what it meant?

I said: "approaching Norway". 

Now, as I celebrate four decades of my pedestrian life, I do not envy those learning to drive - especially with a much-needed, revamped "modern" test coming into operation this December.

I welcomed the theory test and now I applaud these changes - it is essential for safety on our roads. It will save lives.

As technology advances and cars change, motorists need to adapt to new scenarios such as the arrival of sat-nav.

Years after failing my last test I discovered a card hidden in a drawer from my mum "congratulating me on passing my driving test".

Alas, I simply wasn't good enough.

As I ripped up that well-meaning card with tears in my eyes, I vowed never ever to tempt fate again.

But good luck to all those who are going to have an "L" of a time ahead.


CHEERS to one famous Hollywood star who popped into Liverpool's iconic FACT Cinema over the weekend.

Woody Harrelson has made more than 70 films including Indecent proposal and Natural born killers.

And, of course, the global smash hit sit-com Cheers.

He is one of the great movie mavericks and his latest film makes history - filmed in one take and sees him as sole "writer, director and star".

He says of his work: "too much of this is true".

It focuses on a night in 2002 when the star got into trouble in Soho and was pursued by the tabloids.

Now Woody has recreated it - warts and all. Lost in London is a brutally honest, yet very funny film laced with real emotions.

During his nightmare 24 hours he was given a feather for luck by one of his daughters. And boy, did he sure need luck.

I asked him if he still had the special feather.

"Nope. Lost it..." he said with a wry smile.

"And I even lost the stand-in feather for the film. I lose things".

But he has lost none of his charm or luck.

Woody is no stranger to Merseyside.

Last year he accepted an invitation by Sir Paul McCartney to give a Masterclass at LIPA.

At Fact, Woody's exclusive Q-and-A was one of the most revealing I have ever been lucky enough to attend.

The only thing he didn't talk about was rumours about his part in the next Star Wars film. Watch this space.


IT seems you can't get away from Q-and-As these days.

Yesterday the team behind Letter to Brezhnev had a reunion 30 years on - also at FACT.

Next Wednesday LFC manager Jurgen Klopp will provide words of wisdom at Anfield during a special "evening with". 

But Jurgen doesn’t come cheap.

The ticket price is enough to put LFC fans into the red - £195.


Two days later - also at Anfield - they present day LFC players who will talk - price £128.

A lot cheaper in May, at the Floral Pavilion and hosted by soccer guru, John Keith, there are two chances to meet past icons.

"Merseyside loves its legends", JK told me.

Bob Latchford and Ray Clemence will recall glory days.

And they will be followed on another evening by Phil Neal, Ian Callaghan and Jimmy Case celebrating 40 years since Liverpool's first European Cup triumph.

By the way, if he is ever brave enough to have a Q-and-A here on Merseyside about his career I would go and see Kelvin McKenzie armed with questions.

I have also been saving up rotten tomatoes for years.


RADIO drama ... as I was glued to the radio recovering from the shock of Theresa May's lectern announcement yesterday, I recalled some other revelations closer to home last week.

That is the only way to describe the recent ill-informed debate on the Roger Phillips phone-in about the controversial council paper, Wirral View.

The Inferno tuned in as did that other guardian of the free press, Wirral Leaks - and what a show we heard.

Labour's Matthew Patrick made a passionate "man of the people" plea.

I have seen the very email from the council in September 2016 promoting a "new advertising opportunity" for businesses.

Roger didn't seem to know the council was touting for advertising but was duly told by one independent businesswoman.

Point made.

The saga continues. Great radio though.

Peter Grant