Tuesday, January 15, 2019

sed iam quod erat ignotum

salve est

time again, then, look you see. another glance into the future for you, using my special powers in the dark arts, extracted from knowledge that is known but was always intended to remain unknown. normally it would be acceptable and right to say that my "mortal soul" is at risk by learning such, but as i have pointed out before according to science i am immortal. this will remain to be the case until science proves conclusively that i can, as point of fact, die or otherwise be killed in some fashion or other. with this failing to happen, the empirical scientific answer is that i shall, much to the disgust and contempt of some, live forever.

quite an unusual twist in my vast powers of summoning answers now for questions then, with then being one day in the future. it is the case that these powers, if powers is the appropriate word, have been doubled by my obtaining a second device to consult for tales of the future.

yes. to go along with my powerful and all seeing, all knowing Magic 8 Ball, i now have something called a "bitter lemon". in truth, it had not occurred to me to see a lemon as a conduit to knowing the future. for me, a lemon was - simply yet effectively - an important ingredient in the type of shampoo what Jason Donovan uses. or used, at least, for he mentioned such in an interview he did in the late 80s, on a children's tv show if i recall right. but, when i saw it on sale in Poundland for 50p, i knew it was meant to be, that i must have it.

anyway, it is unlikely you want to know the technical stuff, just answers to questions of the future. to this end, i have posed questions to the Magic 8 Ball and the Bitter Lemon. in this instance, then, i have summoned my powers to ask key sociopolitical questions that many shall be demanding answers for. so best to differentiate which device speaks which future, the answers provided by the bitter lemon are the ones presented in yellow across what follows.......

will Japan win the war against whales?


shall Brexit be a spectacular success?


will Trump make America great, apparently "again"?


shall Scotland be free of English "oppression" and become a minor slave state of the EU?


will France surrender to the first person that asks?


shall Australia win the Eurovision?


well, quite interesting that. but before i go on, yes, the answers to questions that are key from the Magic 8 Ball above are indeed in green. why? to be sure, why not.

just how often it is that the Magic 8 Ball and the Bitter Lemon either agree or disagree is almost as curious as how coarse and crass the Bitter Lemon is with certain answers. quite an uncouth mouth, this device to tell the future has.

due to the remarkable popularity of these tales of the future, yes, indeed, i shall do some more at a later date. in the future, so to speak, although to say such feels like a terrible joke or poor play on words, considering the subject matter. for now, though, however, i can only hope that some or all of the findings in this incident have been useful or beneficial for some of you.

sublimis inter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

thinking of a different time

hey there

much as the title suggests, this will be one of them "nostalgia" things, to be sure. it would be fair to assume that some of you, look you see, find such things quite tiresome. so, fair warning has been given before you carry on.

a little while ago, probably during one of them day of release posts what i try to do for the vibes, i highlighted some fancy VHS style branding for dvds and blu-rays that HMV had in stock. whereas i don't recall the exact post or the details, i can remember being impressed with them, but disappointed with the high price and the fact that i already owned all the titles they had of interest, albeit in more conventional, or if you will standard packaging.

most happy day, then, when i went to HMV over the christmas period (boxing day, if you will) and discovered that they were both of a more agreeable price and featured titles that i did not, for some reason, already own. well, at least not in or on the blu-ray format.

two celebrated and classic 80s comedies, then, in the form of Trading Places and Airplane!, or indeed Flying High as it was named in some countries for some peculiar reason. yes, of course i had these much cherished films on dvd, but had simply not gotten around to upgrading them to the fancy blu-ray versions. most merry a day it was that i could do so and go on the nostalgia kick of these mock VHS boxes with them.

cost? HMV had them in a 2 for £15 section (or 1p south of £10 if you bought just one), which to my mind makes them come in at £7.50 each. a quite reasonable price for a blu-ray title.

a look at what you get for your (if my maths is correct) £7.50, or an understanding of how much, exactly, bang you get for your buck? surely. let us start with how the discs are housed, outside of the smart replica VHS outer box.

inside the outer VHS slipcover is a not entirely flimsy but not entirely sturdy cardboard recreation of a VHS tape. not really accurate, as the holes on the back are far too close together (actually it looks a bit like a Beta cassette), but a decent and respectful enough effort.

whilst i write this i have the blu-ray disc of Trading Places on. subsequently this is taking quite some time to do, since i am thoroughly enjoying watching it again. i can recall fondly my first time watching it. this was all before the government and the bbfc interfered with video, enabling anyone of any age to rent any video, in particular off of the video shop at the petrol station. it was late 83, or early 84, i believe. the BBC had a snippet of the film on some show or other, and i thought "that looks good". as this was all pre-Beverly Hills Cop and pre-Ghostbusters, i was not quite aware of the cast, except that i was fairly sure that the white dude on the cover was one of The Blues Brothers.

my reaction to watching it for the first time was very much to rewind the videotape and watch it again, straight away. yes, it was that good, and going on what i am watching now, remains that good. great, in fact. excellent, even.

to the inside of the mock VHS box, then, and the two discs. both the blu-ray and the dvd discs have been done up like VHS reels or spools, which is a lovely touch.

a decision which has long since baffled me is that what the film industry took to often bundle a blu ray version of a film with the dvd version. i believe Disney argued that they did it so you could watch the blu-ray at home and have the dvd in the car for the kids, or something. in the majority of cases in which i have bought such a set, the dvd disc has remained blissfully untouched. but, i suppose, here it at least lets the mock inner VHS tape case look "a bit" more authentic with the two reels / spools inside.

speaking of which, and you can sort of see this later on with a look at the back of the boxes (not in Commodore 64 mode), the blu-ray and dvd discs would appear to contain different versions of each film, for the blu-ray has a longer running time. also, and but of course, the blu-ray of each is loaded with extra features, whereas the dvd seems to have just the film. thus far, though, i have not noticed any "extra" or "new to me" scenes in the blu of Trading Places. perhaps later, when Dan Aykroyd makes his "superbowl" analogy, is what they mean by the extra scene. that bit got cut for time in some UK prints, for at the time with no NFL / American Football coverage a lengthy scene comparing something to the "superbowl" meant precisely zero to us.

anything else within the packaging? oh goodness me, yes. as show above, assuming the pictures all upload ok, you see what you get. basically, then, a poster for the film, a sticker and a "trading card" or "bubblegum card".

the above, in truth, had me itching to go back and splurge more on these, what with them being a not entirely unreasonable (actually very good) 2 for £15. other titles which excited, interested and tempted me included The Thing, Scarface and An American Werewolf In London. but, they are all films that i have at least once on dvd and for certain as standard packaged blu-rays. in those terms, then, it would seem excessive and indulgent - bourgeois, perhaps - to spend so much for a poster a sticker and a collectable card.

who, exactly, are these aimed at? me, i suppose. well, not me specifically. but, you know, them like me. collectors and so forth, and those who suffer the torment of nostalgia. that said, absolutely no one in their right mind gets nostalgic for the quality of VHS, but i - hopefully we - do for the memories. home video, when it came along at a reasonable price (it took a while, on a school trip to London in the late 80s HMV on Oxford was selling Commando for some £60), was outrageous and exciting. getting a film on tape was exciting and special. now, with cheap discs and all this streaming, it all feels rather disposable.

how come i selected Airplane! to go with Trading Places? well, other than not having it on blu-ray, it is a film which competes very favourably with Life Of Brian, This Is Spinal Tap and Four Lions for the title of funniest film ever made. yes, we had the video of it, and it got watched repeatidley. whereas i cannot remember if it was in Australia or England, i think the first time i watched the tape was with my brother and sister, one weekend morning, whilst Mum & Dad were asleep and we were trusted or otherwise left to just amuse ourselves.

the only other alternate that i could think to pick up was The Breakfast Club. however, it seemed that it featured precisely zero extras, and as the version on the blu was the same as on the dvd then it made little sense to upgrade. nice though a poster of Emilio, Judd, Molly et al would have been.

anyhow, that's that then. let me just get on with watching them. if for some reason you have not worked this out, or if for that matter my opinion is of some value, then yes, absolutely these VHS packaged discs are well worth getting. this is all the more true should you find them at the price i did, or if truly fortunate an even better one.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, January 11, 2019

musings on sharing a packet of greek fags with the third best hugh laurie tribute act in leicester

hi there

it is perhaps fair, look you see, to say that just about all you need to know of this particular post is right there in the title. true, yes, that a good headline does indeed give you the story, but in this particular instance i suspect that i've gone somewhat beyond that motto of the fourth estate.

no matter, i will press on. or i shall, if that is the correct way to word it. up to you really, just read whichever of the options i have given you for wording it that you believe to be correct and accept that is it and move on.

for what reason is it that i am in a position to speak of, or have musings on, the subject of the title? a not unreasonable question, but one that i do not have a reasonable answer for. the truth is it just struck me as something that some of you might quite like to read, and so i arranged it.

yes, pictured above is the third best hugh laurie impersonator one can find in leicester. no, that is Atari 2600 mode, as it is what he requested. part of the agreement to post all of this was that i only used 8-bit style images of him, and didn't reveal his name. it turns out that the society, or if you will union, of hugh laurie impersonators is hotly contested, and they are reticent if not outright reluctant to reveal the ways in which they look like hugh, for fear of competitors stealing their act. beyond that, i did promise Phil that i wouldn't put his actual name up here, so he shall be referred to as P from here on out. which, in fairness, will save on typing a bit.

how did i come to arrange a meeting with leicester's third best hugh laurie tribute act (impersonator?) some research, hard work and dedication. the top two were, perhaps unsurprisingly with the massive upsurge in demand at this time of year, solidly booked out. happily the third was free. this was mostly due to him only being relatively new to the leicester based hugh laurie tribute act circuit; in some of his words apparently "the arse has fallen out" of the will young tribute act market and so he's diversified a bit.

securing the services of P to share a pack of greek fags was by no means straightforward. certain conditions for this were put in place. firstly, as indeed the first image gives every indication of, alcohol had to be present. the meeting also had to take place at least one hour drive outside of leicester, with what P referred to as "the wolverhampton axis" being a preference. further, the greek fags had to be of the finest quality. in respect of this, some rather splendid old friends in the form of George Karelias (or however you spell it) were procured, with thanks as ever for this going to Spiros.

exactly how big is the market for hugh lauire impersonators (or tribute acts) in leicester? massive, man. bloody huge, in fact. as far as leicester is concerned, modern culture peaked, or reached a quite natural epitome, with the rise to prominence of hugh laurie. as everything what came after hugh is thus considered a waste of time, leicester simply continues to celebrate hugh, flying the flag or burning the candle for him, or whatever. why? well, why not. i am a fan of hugh.

for what reason is it that i wished to engage the services of a hugh tribute act to smoke greek fags? i don't know, really. a lot of it was spontaneous, i suppose, that classic "it seemed like a really good idea at the time" thing. looking back it is possible to say it was an accidental tribute to the celebrated Stephen Fry & Hugh Laurie, or if you like A Bit Of Fry & Laurie sketch set in a greek restaurant, but i don't honestly recall us eating any baklava or stuffed vine leaves.

does being a (predominantly) leicester based hugh laurie tribute act (or impersonator) attract a lot of fanny? oh, goodness me yes. quite remarkable stuff, really. for the sake of avoiding rival impersonators, or indeed the paparazzi, we selected a location rather off the beaten track instead of the usual tourist hot spots associated with the so-called "wolverhampton axis". a somewhat barren and formidable place, the type which makes The Slaughtered Lamb out of An American Werewolf In London seem rather cosmopolitan in comparison. and yet still the ladies flocked to the hugh.

how did this all work out for me? quite well, as point of fact. in truth P was a little hesitant in trying the greek fags, as he had "heard stories", and they were not tales which he was at all comfortable with. i gave him several assurances, however, and so he tried, and found that they were indeed most splendid.

is there any chance of this post featuring a picture of me with an enormous glass of gin, loaded with all sorts of fruit but of a predominantly citrus based nature? sure, of course.

no, i am not really a gin fan. there was a period that i wished i was, of course. like most who saw the film, my conclusion on seeing Bowie in The Man Who Fell To Earth was that it must be awesome to just sit in one of them roadside cafe things, wearing a splendid hat and just basically drinking loads and loads of gin. i went off and gave this a try, then, but found that i was not overtly keen on gin. as that was well north of twenty years ago, however, who knows? maybe i should try again, perhaps i have developed a taste for it.

was this not all a quite costly venture? it depends on how you look at it. should you take the entire spend and weigh it against that which was gained from all of this, i think a "break even" point was most decidedly reached.

perhaps it is fair to say more than break even, as in a slight weight push in the direction of that which was gained, when you consider the below "animated gif" thing. in a rather kind gesture, Phil, who has requested to be referred to as P here, agreed to smoke one of the greek fags in a "very hugh laurie way".

yes, i would have very much liked to have experienced this in what one might describe as the natural environment for a hugh laurie impersonator / tribute act, which is leicester apparently. my understanding is that leicester is "all sangrias and sunchairs from 10am every day", which sounds quite lovely. one never knows what the future holds, perhaps one day this will happen.

since he is central to all of this, for he provided the greek fags what made it possible, where is Spiros? that is a good question. no, i am not protecting him as usual here, i really don't know. well, maybe. reviewing my correspondence with him, the greatest legal mind of his generation, it seems that the last thing i sent him was a "know your own urine" guide. perhaps he has taken this with him as he goes about his proclivity for making short term but nonetheless mutually beneficial friendships with gentlemen (preferably in uniform) in bathrooms and other such public lavatories and restroom facilities.

one more picture emphasising how the ladies flock to hugh laurie impersonators (tribute acts) whilst they are enjoying a greek fag? i see no real reason not to share another. how about, to "mix things up", this time we see it in all the glory possible with the nintendo gameboy mode?

right, ok, well, then, that's that. i really do not believe i have much more else to say on this. actually, and you may well have noticed, i ran out of things to say about this several paragraphs ago. but, with all these pictures, i may have added some padding and a bit of waffle.

by the way, i was only going to publish this in february, but Phil, who wishes only to be referred to here as P, got a bit Australian about that and insisted it be this month. so, here.

if for some reason i find myself in another land, smoking cigarettes of greek provenance, in the presence of some form of impersonator or tribute act, yes, i shall surely do all that i can to record or capture the moment and share it here.

until then, then,

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

from chaos to harmony

howdy pop pickers

and so we have been blessed with a third "single" from the newly once again solo artist Ian Brown, look you see. unless you read (and rely on) NME, as they are reporting on this third track to be released, or "dropped" in apparently modern parlance, as the "second". what a shame, they are missing out on Black Roses.

this third and presumably final (prior to the album release) track is called, as the title of this post gives every indication, From Chaos To Harmony. it's a bit of a loose, varying tempo stoned blues traveller number with a fair bit of wah wah pedal guitar on, the latter by none other than Ian Brown himself. effectively it's the sound of the sort of thing we have been led to believe that John Squire wished the band he and Ian were in, the name of which escapes me for the moment, to sound like. and no, that is not where subtle and in no way subtle references cease.

let us be honest and clear on this one, or if you like about this. under no circumstances can you be Ian Brown, as in the Ian Brown, and casually reference or use words like "stone" and "roses" in a song without it having a very overt meaning and implication. make what you will, then, of lines such as "dried up roses all turned to stone, born again? you don't know you've been born" and "dried up roses all turned to stone, too much poison to ramble on". quite hard not to hear that as giving every indication that the wonderful adventure which has been the return of The Stone Roses has really all come to an end. he rounds all of that off with one of his favourite things from the latter stages of his pre-reunion solo stuff; that is noting how "Own Brain" is an anagram of "Ian Brown".

other Roses references are apparent in the lack of a mountain of lyrics to hide them in. we get mentions of a "magic carpet ride" (Where Angels Play) and "the kingdom's all inside" (Breaking In To Heaven). it shall be with interest that i seek out interviews, if he grants them, at the time of the new album, Ripples, coming out. but of course journalists are going to ask of The Stone Roses, it's just a question of whether or not he will answer. if you go back 20 years, as opposed to forward, Ian was certainly not shy about telling it both how it was and how it is when Unfinished Monkey Business came into the world.

well, that's three really good songs the world has had chance to hear from Ripples. bring on the album, i say, or says i.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, January 07, 2019

a high wind in the trees, a cold sound in the air

hey there

i am aware of a quotation, look you see. not just any quotation, to be sure, but a quite fancy sounding one off of one of them philosopher type dudes. fancy sounding, indeed, but when you think about it one which simply states the (possibly bleedin') obvious.

anyway, the quote is something along the lines of "life must be lived forwards, but can only be understood backwards". yes, it sounds all clever and poignant and that, but since none of us know how much time we have, or what will happen with whatever period we have here on this particular planet, this is not as profound as the Welsh one out of the Manic Street Preachers who brought it to my attention might think it is.

no, ostensibly certainly i am aware that all of the Manic Street Preachers are Welsh, but you know the one i mean. the really or uber Welsh one off the band. more on that later, if i remember. but for now, to get to the point, the relevance of the fancy philosopher quote to this post is that if one doesn't know exactly when the end point of life is, then one truly cannot be sure as and when they are having a so-called "mid-life crisis".

which all makes it tricky, perhaps even a bit of a bugger, to understand or otherwise contextualise my recent decision to purchase a can of lynx (axe) apollo deodorant as being either a symptom of me having a midlife crisis or some other sort of matter for concern.

this is not, of course, my first experience with lynx apollo. i have purchased this particular make and model before, and did not particularly care for it. as a deodorant it kind of serves a purpose, but the scent is not really all that enthralling. curious, then, that lynx (axe) elected to call this "apollo", as it would strike me that this is not a suitable, fitting or respectful tribute to any of the well known people, projects, deities or what have you which one would normally associate with the name Apollo.

now that i think, for what reason is it that whoever makes lynx (axe) decided to name any of their produce after a concept so complex as Apollo? as per previous reviews of this lynx business, the main purpose or point of all lynx deodorants is that it is used by feral, rather unsavoury teenage types to attract a mate for breeding purposes. people, you would argue, of an age, social class and educational level that would care not for any of the incarnations of Apollo.

so yes, then, midlife crisis. am i in the midst of one, i wonder? probably not, in truth, for as i have established in previous posts according to science i am immortal, what with a lack of evidence of an empirical scientific nature that i can die or otherwise be killed. should i be here forever, well, then, there is not really going to be any "middle bit" for a crisis or anything else, is there?

on the off chance that i am not, as point of fact immortal - let me dare to say the lack of scientific evidence does not matter and i shall take it on faith that i can indeed die - then there is every chance that i am in the middle part, heading towards the business end. which may well go some way towards explaining why, as illustrated above, i appear to have ended up as part of the cocktails brigade.

so anyway, there i was, stood in one of them supermarket things, before the altar what the supermarket proprietor had designated as being for the celebration of deodorants. i dismissed the concern that i am not a feral teenager and set about selecting a can of it. despite several variations of it that i actually like (well, two) being available, for some inexplicable reason i found myself internally vocalising "yeah, go on then, i fancy some Apollo for a change". as my arm protruded to pick up a can and place it in my shopping basket i had a sense that i was doing wrong, but i proceeded anyway.

did i mention to Spiros that i had apparently joined the cocktail brigade? yes, in passing. he was tremendously excited about it, and with some enthusiasm proceeded to state that he had some rather splendid cocktails to share with me. it was not, believe me, all that long into the conversation that it transpired Spiros had heard "cocktails" as "cock tales". unfortunately i cannot share with you any of the details of the subsequent conversation, but i can assure it was all rather exciting.

indeed, Spiros enthusiasts, that above is - unless i am mistaken - the first picture of Spiros for 2019 to be showcased here. a heavily censored or edited one for security reasons, to be sure, but nonetheless a most splendid image. what is he up to here? something something peninsula, something something nuclear proliferation, something something negotiated disarmament, something something Korea. oh yes, don't you worry, he will be making a pile of coins of money off of it.

any lingering regrets about my decision to purchase a tin or if you like can of lynx apollo? my understanding would be that this post exists purely to expunge or otherwise address those regrets; to face them and try to make sense of it all. just what the devil, what the bloody hell, for goodness sake what on earth was i thinking?

to make matters worse - or better - i took a decision to wear / use the vast majority of this can of lynx apollo in an area of England, or the wider United Kingdom, known as the black country. further, i combined its use with some "new" hair gel what i got off of Poundland; one that they advertised and promoted as being either used in or "of" London.

a certain element still exists within marketing and advertising circles (actually squares) that believes referring to something as being "the London" or "of London" makes it, in the mind of consumers, superior and better to all others. yeah, sure. whilst there is much of merit to, from, and about London, let us not forget some things. like, for instance, their inability to elect a decent mayor. or the fact that London black cab drivers prefer you not to pay your fare in any combination of Euros, Scottish Bank Notes or Northern Irish Bank Notes. believe me, try the latter and just see what happens.

how does the gel perform? not so bad, as you will see in the very next picture. appearance wise it is rather suspect, though. it is a purplish concoction, far too explicit to publish here as it looks like the secretions or other such discharges what might be made by a fiendish alien sexual beast off one of them space movies.

well, with little else to say, and there being every chance that you are quite excited by the promise of the above, here you go - a picture of the hair gel in action. and yes, another brave venture into the world of cocktails.

oh yes, that whole Manic Street Preachers and Welsh and philosophers thing. actually, i did have something to say further about it in mind, but i cannot recall what it was. never mind, i suppose if you really wanted to know you could listen to a couple of their albums and see if you can't work out whatever observation it was i was contemplating.

it would be highly unlikely that i shall purchase or obtain any further cans of lynx apollo. my hope, perhaps aspiration, is that this whole sorry episode has now got whatever it is that was in my system about it well and truly out of my system. but, you never know. should i for some reason by another can of it, i will do everything i can to let you know.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 05, 2019

welcome to ladies night

hello there

time again to delve into the wonderful world of Bullseye, look you see. although, in this instance, it shall be so that there are no, or very few, references to speedboats. it is, i believe, both fair and appropriate to look at other aspects of this hugely influential show.

one characteristic of any developed society is the will to suppress or otherwise deny aspects of the history which formed it. quite often parts of the past, as opposed to an unknown future, make some feel uncomfortable. it is better, and aligned to the needs of the common good, to leave certain matters to be forgotten, or otherwise unnoticed,

in terms of this, Bullseye acolytes and devotees tend, on the whole, to distract focus and attention away from the first era of the show; the days before Tony Green was appointed to act as not so much as an assistant as a moral compass for Jim Bowen.

whereas every care and consideration shall be both shown and given, you should at this stage be aware of this post going to some places several of you may consider unwise. by no means is it that the entirety of the pre-Tony Green era is some sort of Conrad like voyage into the heart of darkness, but some of it is characterised by little light.

fear not, however, for there is much good from this period. like, for instance, the fairly often quite strict dress code Jim Bowen, with absolute power in his hands, imposed on some of the contestants.

yes, indeed. as you can see in the above, one of the contestants - an arrow thrower - was resplendent in a three piece suit. the suit itself was of a similar cut as the one worn by Jim Bowen, but obviously not quite so regal, so elegant or bespoke. and please note it is only in the world of tailors that one is supposed to hear the word "bespoke". i would suggest you be quite wary of anyone using the term to describe anything outside of garments.

also visible above is a category of question which seldom, if ever, featured in the Tony Green era of Bullseye. that would be the Bible. it is quite likely that Jim Bowen called upon his own vast knowledge to formulate questions suitable for the contestants. as we know, partly from his elevation to status as Pope Francis, Jim Bowen must have had quite a formidable knowledge of this particular subject.

so where is it, you might ask, that the darker, more controversial aspects of Jim Bowen's reign of absolute power pre Tony Green being on the show come into it? well, the answer to this is also found in the contestants, but not in the arrow throwing side of it all.

here, have a look at the question answering contestants on one particular episode. see, or if you will note, any possible connection between them all. a clue to this would, of course, be in the title of this post.

indeed, they are all ladies. as in, ladies of the female variety. there, at the behest and invitation of Jim Bowen, with Jim Bowen wielding absolute power on such matters of importance as who may or may not be on his show. and make no mistake, it was his show.

would it be fair to describe Jim Bowen as a bit of a ladies man? i think so, yes. he was obviously far more handsome than the vast majority of his peers, if not all of them really. hence him getting the Bullseye gig in the first place. with that being the case, then why, exactly, would he not take the opportunity of meeting more of the ladies when he could whilst at work?

please do not misunderstand this, or think ill of Jim Bowen. under no circumstances would he have used his immense position of power to manipulate anyone, or impose himself. the truth is that Jim's natural charisma combined with the exalted position of power he had in being ruler of Bullseye effectively made him one giant fanny magnet; one understandably hardly any lady could resist being drawn to.

how curious it indeed is that one of the single most controversial moments in the history of Bullseye, the proposed and wisely abandoned Christmas Gang Bang, did not happen during this particular era. if it had, you would think that it would indeed have gone ahead, since there was no Tony Green to temper the more ambitious plans of Jim Bowen.

was there really all that much wrong with Jim Bowen enjoying the fact that he could mingle with the ladies as he presented Bullseye? not especially, i suppose. the conventions at the time were probably stacked against him, but not how you might think if you are applying the standards and morals of today.

back in the late 70s and early 80s, with the latter being when Jim Bowen and Bullseye rose to prominence, much of broadcast tv was a wasteland of sexism and misogyny. the fact that Jim Bowen, above all else, was a gentleman, and would always treat the ladies with respect, affection and care, was at odds with how certain other television presenters at the time would treat women.

it is undoubtedly this brave new world Jim Bowen brought to evening television - a world filled with equality, respect and admiration yet still laced with tons of sex - that is his overlooked legacy. also, it is why Tony Green was ushered in.

why the need to introduce Tony Green? ostensibly it was assist with scoring, as Jim found the mental arithmetic of darts scoring to be quite taxing on top of remembering contestant names, making jokes and sharing his knowledge through questions. the rather more tacit reason was, however, possibly to serve as a word in Jim's ear, to be the one to say to the all powerful host that he might what to consider the benefits of the advice "steady on chap".

had the decision not been made to appoint Tony Green, so as to assist Jim Bowen with the administration of ruling Bullseye, then who knows what may have happened. it is entirely possible that Jim would have grown weary and tired of the mundane yet important art of darts scoring, and then simply elected to abandon it as part of the show.

the consequences of that are many. most immediately, it would have seen Bullseye become little more than a prototype Blind Date, presumably with Jim Bowen randomly awarding washing machines, stereos with laser disc capabilities and indeed speedboats to the ladies who pleased him in conversation.

no, indeed, that might have been not so bad. when you consider some of the rubbish which has been commissioned and broadcast - and please note i don't mean just absolutely everything ever made with Danny Dyer in it - Welcome To Ladies Night with Jim Bowen would have been a rather smart show. i just do not believe that it is one which should have replaced the Bullseye we know and love, but rather should have existed alongside it.

also, one can never overstate the importance of Tony Green to the nation. it was a right powderkeg in the 80s, it was, with all sorts of protests and riots on the go. had we not had Tony Green, on a Sunday evening, calmly telling everyone to "take their time" and stressing that there was "no rush", well then who knows how much worse our society would have become?

well, then, there we have it. another particularly rich thread examined from the luxuriant fabric that was, is, and forever shall be the blessing which was Bullseye. a controversial thread, perhaps, but also i believe an important one.

many thanks as ever for taking the time to read. yes, i would suspect the answer is, if your question is whether or not i shall consider further matters off of Bullseye during the year ahead.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 03, 2019

the banking and financial dealings act 1971

hello again

it is undoubtedly the case that many of you, being in a new month within a new year, look you see, are visiting this site so that you may inspect and review the calendar. something of an unexpected trend, commencing i believe in 2017, is that of you, the people, seeing my blog as a means of escaping the trappings of having a calendar of your own. well, why would you go to such expense when one is available here, for free in relative terms?

here we go, then, with the grand unveiling of the calendars i presently have in place for 2019. yes, just the two for now. my expectation is to have one, two, maybe three more in the not too distant future. by february and march, one can pick up a calendar for the year that has relevance to some 75% of the year for mere pennies.

speaking of pennies, this first one, presently beautifying the wall of my elevated shed, was at a standard price south of £1. how far south of £1? the tune of 21p comes to mind. whereas i do not have the receipt to hand, i am pretty sure it was all of 79p. and that was full price for it.

no, i have never really been a "car" person as such, seeing vehicles of this nature as either a means to an end or just simply somewhere that one can play some vibes as they go about their business. but how could i resist the honest wording of this calendar?

by calling this "retro cars", the producer of this calendar has revealed that they are under no illusions. they do not seek to distort the definition of certain words, flat refusing to label any of the cars featured as "classic" or "vintage". true, yes, it says that some of them are "treasured", but that's an individualistic thing, and not some broad proclamation about the value of these vehicles in the wider eyes of the members of the public.

what do we have first up? and a rundown on the dates for january, since we are here? why, it is the 1989 audi quattro, presented in the greater glory of Commodore 64 mode for ease of reference.

in fairness, an earlier, south of 1983 variation of the audi quattro did indeed achieve "vintage" or if you like "classic" status by being featured in that Ashes To Ashes tv show; the one that was a bit like Life On Mars but not quite so good. although Frankie Goes To Hollywood did feature on the soundtrack.

the one other calendar i presently have on the go in the house? it's down in the kitchen, and as last year it is one of them Winnie The Pooh ones. provenance is, but of course, Poundland, who agreed to sell it for me for a rather well balanced, neither north nor south figure of £1. which is one pound british sterling, for those of you reading that quite like such matters to be presented in the way that currency traders and foreign exchange types might look at it.

speaking of a look, before we look at the calendar itself, a glance at the most disturbing disclaimer on the back, or if you prefer the reverse, of the calendar. who knew that not even the humble calendar would be free of the fear of our litigation and liability loving modern world?

as it all seemed rather intriguing, i thought it best to have a gander at this Banking and Financial Dealings Act 1971. the implication of this warning is that any given government of our land could theoretically change the name or number associated with a date, at will and "at short notice".

my understanding of it all is that it allows government, with the consent of the Queen or otherwise ostensible Head of State, to call or declare a public holiday as and when it is believed to be in the pursuit of the common good and the greater need. but, also, yes, technically (technically) the government could (could) use this great power to fanny about with us all via the calendar.

just for example, it might be that we get a completely bonkers prime minister; one even more unsuitable or incapable of rational work that the ones we have had. which is saying something. should for some reason they have a scary majority of elected officials who fear them, and further for no reason which becomes obvious they had a hold over the Head of State, they could effectively change every single day of the year to January 26, if for some reason they really, really liked Australia.

that's January 2019 according to the Winnie The Pooh calendar, then, as usual presented via the eyes of Commodore 64 mode. for the pleasure of people looking at it, the image for the month is of Winnie (the Pooh, not Mandela) with "a collection of thing". this collection appears to be mostly leaves and feathers. perhaps that is what bears like.

returning briefly to that whole "banking and financial dealings" act nonsense, there are of course many scary things which could come about in the hypothetical scenario i have presented. the mind boggles at the ruin and chaos which would ensue if a (reasonably) freely elected government decided that i wish it could be christmas everyday by Wizzard was the best way forward for the country. landfill sites would be filled with irrelevant, discarded traditional calendars, and indeed all the leftover bits from loads and loads of christmas crackers.

does history hold any examples of governments meddling with calendars, showcasing their apparent inherent ability not to meddle with things? surely, yes. our friends in France are quite the masters of calendar tampering. i suspect, through my rudimentary knowledge of the world, that this was always done in good faith, with a succession of leaders and political control systems seeking ways to make France, and by default the French, "a little bit less rubbish" in both the eyes of and in comparison to the rest of the world. none of them worked as far as i am aware, with the punchline there being the surprise that the oxymoron sounding concept of a really good French idea somehow failed.

indeed, there you have it, the most splendid front of the Winnie The Pooh calendar. for those of you with an interest in what the front of a calendar looks like, as opposed to the "business end" held within. takes all sorts for the world to work in the way it does, i suppose.

perhaps this is just me, but all the same i am struck by the notion of this look at the calendar for the month has been more informative, in terms of giving information, than has perhaps been the case with the, what, last 24 (or so) such updates. it would, further, strike me as being rather unlikely that all future editions / episodes will be of a similar nature to this, but one never knows.

anyhow, let me let you get on with planning your month ahead with these two looks at the calendar, if that is indeed why you are here to look at all of this.

ĂȘtre excellent l'un pour l'autre!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

random bowie - david bowie

Howdy Pop Pickers

And so new year, new edition (or episode, look you see) of Random Bowie. Well, as confessed earlier, an increasingly less random thing, for the end is near. Just the three officially (or unofficially too) recognised releases to go. This particular one might benefit from being called How It Started, for it goes all the way back to the first album, at least as per the commonly agreed method of counting them.

With that, a confession - I have never, ever owned this debut album, David Bowie, in its standard released format. Something of a surprise, perhaps, but I have never seen the point of the expense. As shall be explored here, all of the songs what form the album are available across numerous compilations and cash ins.

Such confessions are, I suppose, a tradition for this first day of a new year. I have always been of a mind that so-called "New Year's Resolutions" are nothing more than "New Year Confessions", for whatever it is you have resolved to do or stop doing is a confession of something lacking in your life, no? Well, anyhow, if someone out there somewhere wants to gift me the David Bowie album proper at some stage, I would be delighted to accept it. For now, however, I get along just fine with all the tracks (and more) spread over a couple of discs. About four or so, I believe.

Of all the myths and legends in the world of rock and roll, please let the one of exactly why David Bowie became a musician be true. According to the legend, David's heart, mind, talents, aspirations, dreams and ambitions were all focused on being an actor. Right up until the point at which Hermione Farthingale broke his heart. It is apparently at that point he elected to turn his back on "her" profession, that of acting, and concentrate on music.

How plausible is it that the above is true? Quite. As Bowie confirmed in VH1 Storytellers, peculiar reactions were not out of the question. This is a chap who, assuming the music direction decision is true, would also go on to shave off his eyebrows in response to Mott The Hoople rejecting his offer of the song Drive In Saturday.

Anyway, to the music. Let's skip the 1965 "Davy Jones and the Lower Third" business, for actually I might not have them songs. But I do have a CD called 1966, now credited to David Bowie but at the time it was all credited to David Bowie and the Lower Third.

Is the CD, are the six songs on it, any good? Well, they are not bad as such. Mostly I would say it's 15 minutes of "not quite top division, but far from lower division" standard 60s pop stuff, with the one exception. That exception would be Can't Help Thinking About Me. It's a really good song in its own right, but would seem to have extra special significance in the wider context of the works of Bowie.

First off, he himself, as in David Bowie, clearly thought fondly of it. Not only did he perform it as part of his VH1 Storytellers set, he also included it in the Nothing Has Changed compilation. There are plenty of clues in the lyrics as to why this one might have stood out. A few themes that would recur throughout his career - time, guilt, solitude, remorse and questions of faith - get a look in during this less than three minute song. He also references someone calling his name and having a conversation - something I think only ever happened again on a song once more, Teenage Wildlife off of Scary Monsters.

On to the music that would form the album David Bowie, then, the so-called "Decca" recordings, called such probably because they were recorded by Decca and released on the Deram  record label. Yes, the record label that famously rejected The Beatles, and so signed absolutely everyone else thereafter for fear of missing out on something quite so lucrative. And, you would have to say, that worked out well for them, since they signed The Rolling Stones.

How best to describe the music of David Bowie on David Bowie and the era recordings? To my mind, "trippy hippy" works very well indeed. If I were to use (admittedly at the time far more successful) contemporaries and peers as a description, virtually all of the songs seem influenced by the narrative lyrical style of The Kinks and Small Faces, with the musical sound being a breezier version of the psychedelia being brought to the world by Pink Floyd and Cream. Add a dose of whimsical Donovan to that, and there you have the sound.

This may seem like a cliche, but the one song more or less exempt from the above is Space Oddity. Yes, here in its original format it very much has a "trippy hippy" sound. It's easy to say this in retrospect, knowing what happens next, but it does stand out as different from the rest of the material. Not necessarily better or worse, just entirely "different" in content lyric and style.

Indeed, ha ha ha, hee hee hee, it would be wrong of me not to mention that The Laughing Gnome is of course included in these records. Was this a desperate shot at fame with a novelty record, or did it reflect what would become David's renowned ahead of his time thinking in understanding that children's records, books, etc all tend to have a very long shelf life? In either case or any other, the song isn't one I play often, but it is fun. No way is it as "cringe-worthy" or "embarrassing" as some have dismissed it. The word they are looking for is "fun".

For all you fans of throwaway trivia, it was of course around the time of the 1990 (ish) SoundAndVision "Greatest Hits" shenanigans that Bowie's The Laughing Gnome came back into public consciousness. No, not at the behest of David himself. When promoting his "greatest hits" concert, Bowie set up something which came to be known as the "dial a Dave fave" telephone line in each country where he was to perform. The idea was that the fans phoned in and voted for songs they wanted on the set, with the winning songs (presumably those with the most votes) would be performed, ostensibly as an encore. NME, or if you will NME, wasted no time at all in setting up a rival voting system, encouraging people to phone their special number so as to prompt David to perform The Laughing Gnome as part of the UK leg of the tour. I seem to recall that the NME claimed they got "a lot" of support. As for what Bowie made of it, there were reports that he was either "amused" or "quite cross" by it all. It is entirely likely that his reaction was both of them, and then a few things in between.

My favourite song from this era is When I'm Five, which for some reason had a promotional film made for it, despite not featuring on the David Bowie album, or being released as a single. Go figure. There are a number of reasons why I like this one. The grandiose production values for a start. And, to be sure, that it is a first indication of the singing style to come - very much David Bowie, but Bowie "channelling" a character, in this instance the four year old narrator. Much of the other material from this time has Bowie sounding like he is trying to sound "a bit" like the likes of Ray Davies, Steve Marriott and indeed Donovan.

Lyrically it's a treasure trove. Evocative and provocative images are abound. Like, for instance, the "magazines in Mummy's draw", an image he, you could argue, conjured up again with the mischievous "pictures on my hard drive" lyric in The Loneliest Guy. The frequent Daddy references are also quite an untold story told in the plain sight of this song. My favourite line, however, has to be "I saw a photograph of Jesus and asked him if he'd make me five", a line repeated presumably for David to see if anyone was listening properly and picked up on the fact that such a photo existing might be rather unlikely......

Beyond the songs highlighted above, are there any lost gems lurking on either the David Bowie album or any of the associated recordings? Not particularly, in truth. And yet just about all of the songs provide decent, easy on the ear listening. It all sounds pretty similar to the vast quantities of easy beat, swing tunes produced (churned out?) in the 60s, with record labels and aspiring bands alike all hoping to hit the big time. Yes, back then people went and bought records, with real coins of money. Quite a sustainable business model it was too, for a little while.

A trick with the similar sound to what was going on at the time was that these recordings became, to a degree, anonymous. This debut album - and the general consensus is that the label hastily cobbled together what recordings they had rather than it being a thought out album structure - didn't sell particularly well on release. But, you never know - of those who bought it, maybe one or two clocked that this David Bowie guy was the future; that what they heard was enough for them to know he would go on to be one of the greatest and most important artists of the next decade, if not for most of the last half of the 20th Century and a little bit of the 21st.

There is, then, no way I would come along and say "oh, you can see the genius in these early recordings, you just knew he would go on to greatness" on the basis of the David Bowie recordings, not even knowing what we know now. Which prompts a kind of interesting question. Just what if the USA and USSR didn't get all excited about a "space race"? Had there been no superpower race to the Moon, and subsequently no Moon landing for which the BBC elected to use a song called Space Oddity on their coverage and broadcasts, would we still have had the David Bowie we know of today? Probably not, no, in truth. Perhaps in some parallel universe where no Moon landing took place every now and then Love You Til Tuesday or When I Live My Dream gets a spin on a radio station, introduced as a "hidden gem" from the 60s, recorded by an obscure and strangely named London lad called David Bowie. I am then quite happy to be living our version of the universe, then, where he is much better known. Formidably so.

So, all things considered, are these pre-Space Oddity (album) songs and recordings worth the time of you, the casual Bowie fan, or you, the music fan? Well, kind of. Overall they are decent quality songs, if not masterpieces. Curiously, they would be most splendid for anyone who doesn't really care for Bowie's better known work, but happens to be quite the admirer of any of the 60s acts I have mentioned above as being clearly influential on the songs. No harm would befall anyone who selected to purchase these recordings and elected to play them. Least of this harm would be financial, for the sets - other than the album called David Bowie itself - usually go quite cheap.

Hey now, then, well, that's about that for this episode. Just the two more to come, then. After this there really is only one album I can go to next I suppose, at least for those reading all of this in the order I throw them out onto the internet. Or "net of inter", should that sound better.

My thanks as ever to those of you who take the time to come and read these posts, or drop by to have a look at the pictures.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, December 30, 2018



And so it is that time once again, look you see. The year that is, or soon to be was, 2018, draws to a close. For the most part I would encourage one to look forwards, but it does no harm to look backwards.

This is then my semi traditional, mostly annual glance back over twelve or so months, give or take (north or south) a day or so. Make no mistake, for I am under no illusions that my view of what counts as the “best” of this or any year represents what is so for all, to be sure. But, here it all is for those who are for some reason interested in how I saw, heard and read the year that was, or “is”.


No, I didn’t see too many films this year. Of the ones that I did watch, however, I am indeed going to be as perhaps obvious and indeed populist as to say Avengers Infinity War was the best of the lot.

Why? There is no good reason why not. A staggering achievement – fine film in its own right, whilst also raising an ongoing series of these “Marvel Superhero” films to a whole new higher level. It perfectly balances a huge stack of “main characters” whilst allowing them to have depth and dimensions. This is particularly true of the ostensible “big bad” of the film. Best of all is that it stands up extremely well to repeat viewings. This is handy as both the boys have wanted it on again and again.

For want of a better, more appropriate title, “second best” would be another Marvel film, Black Panther. It broke with the colour by numbers plot of virtually all Disney / Marvel films thus far (the “we’re putting a team together” one) and brought something fresh, new and interesting.

Otherwise, Jurassic World – Fallen Kingdom did exactly what it said on the box, which is give two or so hours of dinosaurs running about. Splendid, and I must say it is with interest I am watching to see just how far Chris Pratt’s career will go with his “stand around and visibly be Chris Pratt” approach to acting. The Predator was way better than I had anticipated, with only the presence of the awful, rubbish looking CGI “uber” Predator letting it down. Venom was also surprisingly decent.

Disappointments of the year? Well, the other 75% of the family disagree, but to me Ant Man & Wasp was a little dull. I think it suffered coming after Infinity War, but being set before the events of that film. Biggest letdown of the year, however, was by some distance Solo. The magic of Star Wars was always that it was a simple, straightforward, swashbuckling adventure whole families could enjoy. When you have an 8 year old and 12 year old pair of dedicated Star Wars fans getting up and walking away from a Star Wars film because they are bored, well, you know something is wrong.

…….royal wedding

Oh, pretty straightforward really. This honour goes to Harry & Meghan (pronounced “Meghan”). A lot of this is because the wedding was one big massive throwback to a time when such weddings were used to cement treaties, agreements and truces in war. Great Britain and America have taken two ostensibly important but ultimately irrelevant prominent figures and have married them off in a way which tacitly underlines the “special relationship” between our two great nations.

Mostly, though, it gets my vote for “royal wedding of the year” purely because BBC 2 decided to have someone called Rae Morris perform live in their studios on the morning of the wedding as part of their coverage. I had not heard of her before, but was more or less hooked straight away, and so bought her most recent album.

Which leads us quite nicely to………..


A year of some very good, above average albums, but ultimately none of them with the outstanding, excellence, sheer “wow” factor of the ones which came out in 2016. No, not a typo – 2017 was somewhat poor.

Just so as to avoid getting a needless, quite unnecessary punch in the face, I must of course commence this with a celebration of Roger Daltrey. Yes, Roger did indeed treat us to a most splendid of records in 2018.

Nearest closest to a non-Roger Daltrey album of the year was The Blue Hour by Suede. A haunting masterpiece that seems not to be appreciated by the present day audience. It is, however, an album which shall continue to exist, which is to say one day an audience will seek it out and it shall be understood, rather than it being discarded for all time.

Any others close? Well, James could have had an album as excellent as 2016’s Girl At The End Of The World. Sadly, inexplicably, they allowed themselves to be distracted and for no apparent reason polluted the otherwise excellent Living In Extraordinary Times with at least two attacks on Trump. To be honest, I am entirely indifferent to Trump, and for that matter whoever America elects to elect as leader. Why exactly James decided to distract from the good music on the album with references to him is a mystery.

Welsh Wonders the Manic Street Preachers continued with their transformation into the Relaxed Sat In Comfy Chairs Chatters with Resistance Is Futile. A rather mellow, tranquil, pleasant listening record off of them, then.

Honourable mentions to the records off of Kylie, Simple Minds, (Sir) Paul McCartney, (Sir) Rod Stewart and (as far as I am aware still a commoner) Mark Knopfler, which were all jolly good listening. And, as per the royal wedding observations above, a special mention again for Rae Morris, who is splendid and someone you should give a try.

Re-releases? Or things what had not been released at the time of recording but came out in 2018? Certainly, 2 (two) came out over the year which immediately suggest they should be noted.

Perhaps the best thing about Welcome To The Blackout is that it showcases an on top form David Bowie, sounding relaxed and immensely comfortable with the music he is performing. Appetite For Destruction remains, as in now as it was then and shall surely always be, one of the most devastating, outstanding "throw everything you have at this because you might not get the chance again" rock albums of all time.

Musical comeback of the year is the happy and sad return of Ian Brown. Happy as it’s some decent new music off of Ian Brown, sad as you have to assume that The Stone Roses shall not be making any new records, then, at least not soon.

A seemingly failed comeback of the year was that of Culture Club, although now they are apparently styled “Boy George and Culture Club”. I heard one or two songs off of their new album on Radio 2, and they were quite good. But, no, I did not buy the album, and few others did it seems, for if I remember right it didn’t crack the top ten. Undoubtedly there exists a nostalgia market for their classic hits, but it is a bit of a shame their new efforts seem to have been widely ignored.

Speaking of which, by some distance my most played album of the year was one released late last year – Songs Of Experience by U2. It has become inexplicably fashionable and trendy to be seen to be not listening to U2 these days, which is a great shame as Songs Of Experience is an outstanding record. Should you be one of the many who have not heard it, what can I do but recommend you reconsider this and give it a spin.

…….posh chap

Jacob Rees-Mogg. It beggars belief that anyone could ever be posher. Cherish him whilst we have him, I suppose. It would seem we are stuck with him anyhow.


A tough one, this, very tough. This year has seen fortune smile on me, for in my selections I have read a great many more good (excellent) books than I have poor (bad) ones.

If I had to choose one that I would say “yes, read this” then it would be the superb Thirteen, or if you will Th1t3en. Just a damned good thriller with an interesting plot or if you like premise. One that I am aware of people giving a try after I sang the praises of it (with some clauses and disclaimers) was Chalk Man. So yes, that was on the shortlist too.

Honourable mention goes to Cass Green with Don’t You Cry. A quite breathtakingly brilliant modern spin on the Desperate Hours plotline; one which brings something quite new to a plot structure one would have thought had already been done all ways possible.

Also Into The Water, by her what done Girl On The Train. Sheena Kamal's Eyes Like Mine was also superb. Despite being somewhat brief, yes, Artemis off of him what done The Martian too. Well, yes, as I confessed, some good reading was had in 2018, to be sure.


I am not sure I am in a position to select my “best” post of the year that was here, but I can at the least tell you which was the most read one. With some delight I can tell or otherwise assure you it was one which sought to celebrate David Lee Roth.

Yes, The Roth Tapes as a blog post attracted somewhere slightly south of 1000 readers. Perhaps this is due to the good taste of people in the world seeking to know the magnificence of Roth, or maybe just some nostalgia for fan compiled videotapes.

Well, then, that’s that. Perhaps, or maybe, I have missed some things of importance or consequence, but overall and on the whole I’d like to think I have covered enough.

And so onto, or into, another year, then. See you in it, I hope and trust.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!