Thursday, February 23, 2017


hello there

oh, you say. today is indeed, look you see, possibly a strange time to look back at a cause of celebration, but i have just gotten around to it. it's been busy. not that this is much of an excuse, for when it comes to the ways of the world in which one may be busy, who is and who isn't, i suppose.

anyway, yes, after that laborious, contrived and challenging introduction, on to the point. it was recently the circumstance that i - moi - marked another year of being around passing in the milestone sense. how was it all? good. and how have they been, the years, in general? i would so surely argue there has been many more good than there has been bad.

i am indeed blessed enough to be surrounded by people who are so kind as to celebrate special events with me via the conduit of good wishes and gifts. the former i cannot really share with you here, but i suppose i can over on that facebook thing if you elect to connect with me. it is fortunate, however, that the latter allows itself to a more visual representation.

should the above look like they might be an indication of a selection of the gifts which my family, the 75% of my family whom you all tend to like a lot more of than you do like me, lavished upon me, all is well. yes, i know that looks all rather smart in Commodore 64 mode, but a "proper" picture to come along soon.

not that it was just my immediate family who lavished gifts upon me. and not that this has stopped, either, for i am reliably informed that an extra special one is on the way from the mainland. actually, it probably will have arrived by the time this is published, but at time of writing no.

yeah, this blog post is getting a bit confusing with the writing, even by my usual standards. sorry for that, just a confusing day i guess. clouded, somewhat. anyway, let's press on.

indeed yes the above is a celebration of two of the equally fantastic seven 7" singles which were released by the band Frankie Goes To Hollywood; the best there ever was, the best there ever will be. this framed celebration was presented to me by my Uncle, and yes that Uncle, the one that took me to see the band perform their art. it was, of course, presented on a broader scale as an offering on behalf of the entirety of the sensational Harlo gang, and i appreciate it all from all.

when the subject of a birthday comes up it is a natural instinct to consider this a most suitable, indeed agreeable reason to have cake. cake is always a very welcome thing to have, and the thing with it is that when there's a justified reason for having some it means you can eat even more of it than usual to show your passion for celebration.

the most magnificent sponge cake you see above, resplendent with cream and jam as is the English way of doing things, was most kindly and thoughtfully baked for me by Gran. i would like to give you, dear reader, every assurance possible that it tastes absolutely magnificent. William, our youngest, really likes the taste of this cake too. he is, however, quite small and relatively easy to fight off, allowing me to enjoy more of it all the more.

speaking of Gran, it is one of the realities of life that she is no longer able to visit either the nearest HMV or the closest tobacconist as much as she might like to. such things are quite an effort for me, and one must remember that Gran is now precisely twice my age.

with the above being the case i was presented with suitable and indeed sufficient finances to go off and collect some very specific things for my birthday as a gift from Gran. this i most certainly did.

yes, indeed. a rare case of a UK bought packet of my most beloved and so sorely missed Marlboro Red, and the most recently of released of David Bowie compilation CDs.

in respect of the Marlboro, they remain the finest cigarette in the world, and so out of jealousy, spite and malice they are the ones most brutally taxed by the British government and thus most expensive. they are of a cost that, despite being in no distress financially, i could not afford to smoke on a regular purchase basis. the travels of Spiros, and others, around the world to places where they are cheaper is a most wonderful, luxuriant and splendid blessing.

a closer look at the David Bowie set will be here with us below soon, or right now if you like - just scroll down, no one is stopping you. for now, though, a look at them gifts from that 75% in the detail which is decidedly not Commodore 64 mode.

actually i have missed out one or two things here, and i have missed out the boss, brilliant popping candy chocolate bar that Auntie (no, the other one) got me too. hey ho, let's play the hand dealt.

and absolutely yes, that is a plush lush meerkat you see before you. i really do love meerkats, man. here in England they seem to be associated with some sort of adverts. for me, though, i shall always fondly remember going to see them in the parks and zoos of Africa. awesome, beautiful creatures they are. and as with the cake, William has taken something of a shine to this gift for me, but also as earlier he is quite easy to fight off so don't worry.

that is indeed the luxurious 4 disc (1 x Blu Ray, 2 x DVD, 1 CD) box set of the celebrated 1976 film The Man Who Fell To Earth, starring David Bowie and others whose names i failed to catch. a really beautiful box set too, and one that in time i shall no doubt have a closer look at on the pages of this blog.

the novel? the very latest Charlie Parker adventure from John Connolly that exists in a paperback i have mostly enjoyed these novels, in particular the last few, i look forward to starting to read this one quite soon. i have some 50 or so pages of Nomad to go, and that has been one of the best novels which i have read in quite a while.

yes the above is indeed the magnificence of the Frankie Goes To Hollywood celebration presentation in Commodore 64 mode with the scan lines most decidedly on. there would be little more i can add in the way of comment, i just thought it would be smart to include this variation of the image here.

cards? cards. in this day and age it is of course the case that greetings and messages of goodwill are sent digitally if not electronically. that would be because it is cheaper and easier to do so, and there's nothing wrong with that. what would be the point of technology, after all, if we did not use it. also, electronic greetings here in England might well be all stored by the wicked and the evil of Theresa May for who knows what purpose, but at least they don't suffer attempts at being stolen as is the case with the mail.

but still, it is most splendid and wonderful to get things through the post, especially and in particular when they are really awesome and amazing birthday cards.

no, your eyes do not deceive you, young jedi - a significant percentage of the cards received, or at least those that are on display here, are branded with all that Star Wars stuff. well, the odd flippant comment aside from time to time, i have really rather liked all the Star Wars stuff since i first encountered it, what, some 40  years ago. blimey.

on  the one side this post feels as though it is me, me, me, woo hoo, look at me, i had reason to celebrate. on the other, though, this is my blog, kind of, and so what else is it that i would write about, or where else is it that i would put it? hopefully, as my age suggests, this isn't all generation snowflake of me, at the least.

a return to look at that David Bowie Legacy set? sure, and of course an appreciation of the fact that, thankfully, for the time being Marlboro are resisting the legal requirement to change the iconic packaging of their brand. i guess they are waiting until March or May or whenever it is, when it becomes a legal requirement.

i elected not to purchase or otherwise obtain this Legacy set, either in this 1 CD format or the 2 CD one which has also been released, when it came out. the reason for not doing so was that it left the door open for someone to get it for me one day as a gift, if they so wished, and that i had the overwhelming majority of stuff on it quite a few times over.

it is, however, a rather smart set to have. the single edits of songs actually feature, which is nice. rather infamously, the early 90s Singles Collection featured, rather frustratingly, the album version of songs rather than the not available at that time 7" edits. the compilation itself has been rather well thought out and flows really well.

with regards to stuff unheard on this set by me, that would amount to two tracks. that's the "2016 edit" or remix of Life On Mars?, and the "radio edit" of Lazarus. they are very nice indeed to have for the sake of completion in the collection, but neither pose much of a challenge to the original, loved versions.

and that, as they would say, would be that. thank you for indulging me by having a read of this and, should you have sent them on, thank you once again for the good wishes!

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

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

avec cristaux fraicheur


i am not at all sure, or if you like i am uncertain, as to which proposition holds the truth, dear reader. it would either be that my occasional musings on the subject of toothpaste are rather popular, or it's just that anything which i write is, look you see, quite pleasant to read. neither would strike me as being likely, but the figures tell a different story to that which strikes me.

the last time, i believe, that the subject of toothpaste rotated around to being a thing here was November of the year gone by. as opposed to that November which is to come. that particular post, relating to Max Fresh branded variations as it did, can be found by clicking here, although thus far some 300 people have made such discovery without me leading.

interestingly, should you be interested in such, this new, or if you like most recent, post on the subject of toothpaste relates in certain ways to that previous one. this is in ways which go beyond similar familiarity of the subject, too.

the above, showing with the precise clarity of Commodore 64 mode, are two new packets, or if you will tubes, of the 'Max Fresh' toothpaste which the 75% of my family whom you all like a good deal more than you like me prefer. as illustrated, it is the "shiny" version of the product which usually costs more, and yet i was able to procure this for £1 a go off of Yorkshire Trading.

it might be that i was able to obtain this at a lower price because of the language variations on the packaging. the variations are indeed hinted at in the title, and the introduction. there's no way you would miss such clues, i suspect, but there you go, confirmation that you had not.

perhaps the most important part of this post would be the consumer information awareness element, so let me do that now.  per the earlier post i have both observed and noted that the "plain", non-embossed version of this toothpaste was freely available from Poundland for £1 a go, whereas the shiny, embossed variant of the packaging was sold for £2.50 or higher at other stores; mainly ones who have foregone the simplicity of making all £1 a go.

this has changed, somewhat. certain stores, i not - and please i did not single out Morrisons, but still - are now selling the flat, bland version of Max Fresh for £2.50 or higher, rather than the shiny version. so watch out.

yes, that above picture is indeed the boys as they are or were this week, and no this does not really have much to do with the main crux or thrust of this post. we just happened to go on a lovely walk during week, which during the course of i took this picture. i thought family and friends around the world might appreciate it.

what was the thrust or crux of our walk? to visit the postal services. one of them wished to enter some competition in one of their magazines, and so we went off to post it. yes, there was rain, but as you can see the boys were very much prepared for it and anyway there was not so much.

toothpaste? sure, we can go back to that now, if you like.

here, or rather there, you go. the above shows off the rather internationalist, or if you will global, nature of this particular style of branding of the apparently quite celebrated Max Fresh toothpaste. there's the name and that of it in what i have taken to be French, along with in in Arabic, or an Arabic related language.

of the many curious anecdotes and incidents which i have experienced one would be pertinent to the above. once i went to see a doctor. the ailment or condition or problem i could not recall. what i can remember, however, is that i got to hear off of the doctor that one should not purchase any product which has Arabic writing on it, for it has been poisoned as an important strategic part of the Middle East's efforts to wipe out the West.

no, seriously, this i was told with a straight face by a medical professional, and no, not really i did not and do not believe it. i have always taken "multi language" packaging to be a simpler, efficient and far more cost effective means for producers to reduce their operational costs. should i be wrong and the doctor have been right, however, well then bravo you, the Middle East, for exploiting our Western weakness for our passion for indulgent luxury dental products, and may you do well with your win.

and that would be that for now. more, toothpaste or otherwise, as and when it happens, dear reader.

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

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Harry Nilsson hygiene products

hi there

over time, for it is all i have to do such with, i have waxed lyrical of my love for Harry Nilsson. he's one of those great artists who, for some reason, has been overlooked by the world at large. most, look you see, know him as "song from Midnight Cowboy dude", which he is, as well as being "dude what did the proper version of Without You". but there is, look you see, much more to the man and his music.

something i really rather like to do is, when chance, time and the elements permit, live my life by the lyrics which Harry has left us with. in another time and another place, or if you prefer by clicking here, you can see and recall the time when i had a go at his idea of putting the lime in the coconut and drinking it all up. this was in accordance with how he willed it to be in the song Coconut, off of the celebrated Nilsson Scmilsson album.

whereas that did not go down at all well i have every confidence that a slightly less literal interpretation of the song lyrics shall be a most spectacular success.

yes. oh, hang on, i have just noticed that there's a sort of rainbow glint to the above picture, and of course it is Harry Nilsson's recording of Somewhere Over The Rainbow which is the most celebrated and indeed fondly remembered.

where was i before i got distracted. oh yes. as you can see, someone called Original Source is quite the fan of Harry Nilsson to. i assume this to be the case, as that would, to my mind, be the only possible reason why someone would stick lime and coconut milk into some body wash lotion type of stuff.

is this another post about me buying cheap hygiene products and writing a post about it to distract from the fact that i bought cheap? no, not at all. i didn't actually need any, but when i saw the ingredients on this bottle i felt obliged to buy it.

the above image does indeed represent some of my copies of Nilsson Schmilsson, whilst granted it covers the majority of my Nilsson collection as a whole. how many copies of Nilsson Schmilsson do i have, exactly? at least four, with the other two not on display here still boxed away.

why would i have so many copies? well, have you heard it? it's a pretty incredible album. sometimes a piece of music is so good you just need to purchase it again to satisfy your adoration. other examples would be The Stone Roses off of The Stone Roses and, indeed, Welcome To The Pleasuredome by Frankie Goes To Hollywood.

Nilsson Schmilsson is, of course, the album which Coconut features on. those of you who have not heard the album are missing out. that said, many of you will have heard the Coconut itself in isolation, for it is the song which plays on the end credits of Reservoir Dogs.

whilst it is clearly the case that this lotion, or if you like potion, or if you prefer body wash, is inspired and informed by Harry Nilsson, it isn't actually an officially endorsed Harry Nilsson product. but it should be, and i hope the manufacturers give some of the money from sales over to the Nilsson Estate as some form of royalties payment.

have i used this body wash yet? no, not as such. i have every intention of doing so, as and when my current one (some mix of banana and milk, i believe, perhaps even coconut milk once more) expires or otherwise finishes. and yes, i would suggest it is quite likely that i will sing Coconut as i use it. and no i will not be doing a video of it to share here.

i would have to say, ultimately, yes, it is true. there can be no avoiding the fact that my "trying to live life by the lyrics of Harry Nilsson" rarely, if not seldom, goes beyond a reference to the one song every four or five years. but i do look out for opportunities, all the same.

anyway, more as and when it happens, dear reader. if not sooner.

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

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Stones Hold Court


Some years ago Keith Richards, or if you like Keith Richard as our friends in America seem to have a proclivity for calling him, made a statement as part of some sort of interview. That statement was along the lines of how established his regular day job, a card carrying member of The Rolling Stones, had become in English life. His exact and precise words escape me, but it was along the lines of how everyone in England born after 1962 had but three constants to their life – the Queen, the Sun and the Rolling Stones. Flamboyant and arrogant perhaps, look you see, but fairly difficult to fault.

To this end, then, it’s somewhat fun to occasionally look at a specific day in the period from then to now and see just what it was that this great constant, The Rolling Stones, were doing. For sh!ts, giggles and the sheer fun of it, I thought I’d throw a dart at a board and see what date chance, for my aim would fail, gave us to look at. And so it was that chance decreed it would be 18 February 1973.

As it turns out, The Rolling Stones were not in England on that date. Nor were they, dear reader, anywhere to be found on the decidedly English side of the equator. No, the band was off doing a gig in Melbourne, Australia, as part of what came to be known as their “Pacific” tour.

The Australian leg of the Pacific tour came after the ill-fated, as in cancelled, proposed Japanese concerts. Much, you would think, to the disgust of the Japanese teenagers of the day, the Japanese authorities declined to let the band enter the country as they had the temerity and nerve to, as was their duty as rock stars, indulge in drugs. This was all bad luck for Japan, but good news for Aussies, as it meant the band were refreshed, ripper and raring to go.

In terms of the date we agreed to look at in random ways, The Rolling Stones played at the Kooyong Tennis Courts in Melbourne on 18 February 1973. The day before they had done two shows at the same venue, presumably to meet demand. Which naturally makes one think about exactly who thought that a tennis field would be ideal to host the number of people with an interest in seeing the biggest rock and roll band in the world.

Can you see or hear the performance of The Rolling Stones on 18 February 1973? 50%. There’s a link here for an upload of a pretty good bootleg of the show in audio format alone. Also, some people sell CDs of this recording for north of ₤20, but as the band would not get a penny of that you’re probably all better off just listening online for free.

So if you want to hear it online for free, at time of going to press these coloured words here are the link you want to be clicking on.

Any particular highlights of the gig? Well, yes, all of it. This is The Rolling Stones, people, and further what many would say was “peak” Rolling Stones. The set was somewhat heavy on the three albums recorded most recently towards 1973, which means mostly it was made from numbers off of Let It Bleed, Sticky Fingers and Exile On Main Street. Many would argue that them three form a triumvirate of their greatest albums, so certainly win for the fans in attendance.

It is indeed true that another game one can play with any date you like from 1962 onwards is “what were The Rolling Stones doing on that day and how much of what they were doing related to Ronnie Wood getting married or divorced”. Whilst the last 25 or so years have provided some rather interesting and exciting entries, this was not the case back on Sunday February 18 1973. No, back then The Rolling Stones were a virtually Ronnie Wood free zone, with Mick Taylor being second in command to the card carrying Keith Richards. It can be said that, for the most part, The Rolling Stones did what they did then for the love of music and further did as they wished with the revenue generated by it. Concerts, albums and compilations were not hastily arranged on a whim to satisfy any bill generated by the matrimonial adventures of prolific romantic Ronnie.

A fair question would then be what was Ronnie Wood doing on February 18 1973, and how much of what he was doing was some sort of self-starter project to finance an adventure in matrimonial bliss or otherwise pay for the end of such satisfaction. This has a simple answer. At that time he was a member of the fantastic group Faces. On that Sunday he, Rod, Kenny, Ian and other Ronnie would have been gathered around the radio, listening to the chart. It is highly likely that they would have had some pop and crisps on the go as they did, making a party of it. When they heard the chart they would have been delighted, as their single Cindy Incidentally was a new entry at 17, climbing to number 5 the following week.

What did Ronnie do with the coins of money earned off of the success of the Cindy Incidentally single? More crisps and pop, probably. I’m not sure, but I think back then Ronnie and Rod were rather more inclined to brief, short term relationships with the ladies just after concerts had been completed rather than going all civil ceremony.

Anyway, that’s what the Stones were up to back on February 18 1973. There’s some people, one or two in particular, who I know for a fact are pretty big fans of the Stones but were most likely busy with something else that day. For them, then, a 44 year old puzzling mystery of what Mick, Keith, Charlie, other Keith and Bill were doing that day has been resolved. Hopefully the information has been if not of use then of flat interest to some others, too.

Thank you, as ever, for taking the time to read this. Or indeed just to look at the pictures and slim through my words.

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

Friday, February 17, 2017

where men meet

hi there

the many fans of Spiros may be forgiven for rejoicing some as this post does indeed relate to the latest of his activities. i do appreciate that, look you see, due to certain idiosyncrasies and his fondness for making new friends of gentlemen many of you will have clocked that this is so from the title alone.

in this instance, however, it is a Spiros observation, or indeed if you like happening, that has a far wider context. a much wider context, perhaps, in particular if you prefer the word wider to far. if playing scrabble, or some similar word game, wider would certainly win the player more points, i would imagine.

anyway, Spiros was recently out and about as he is so prone to do. as he was not of a mind to engage a London cabbie in a bout of fisticuffs he elected to travel via the Tube, being as it was one of those days where they weren't on a result he saw the following now somewhat famous poster, and indeed something of a less well known happening related to it.

yes, that is indeed the somewhat celebrated poster off of Lloyds Bank, which may or may not be the same thing as Lloyds of London; a matter i will leave you to check on. this poster has been celebrated as it is a sign that Lloyds in particular and financial institutions in general are starting to warm to the idea that some men just plain prefer to live with other men.

an interesting, and one would suggest unexpected, effect of these posters is that they have given the gentlemen of London who identify with the chaps portrayed on the advertisement a new signalling place to meet. according to Spiros, gentlemen who wish to meet other gentlemen - for purposes of short term, mutually beneficial friendships or otherwise - no hang around in the vicinity of these posters.

Spiros, then, reckons that if you are a gent in London and are eager to meet fellow gents, simply hang around as close as you can to the poster. other gentlemen will stroll by to check that you are there for the same reason, and if so no doubt a suitable conversation and arrangement may be brokered.

no, the above is absolutely nothing to do with Spiros, for he is known to be loathe of anything related to all that Star Wars business. this is rather a quite fetching set which Magic owns and sent me an image of, which i thought i would share here. if i share it here, after all, it means that i have done something with the image, and know where i may find it should i wish to look at it again.

anything else from Spiros? yes. he sent me an image of a sink, or if you like wash basin, from a gentlemen's toilet facility which he had visited. there would appear to be some sort of mess within the confines of the basin element of the wash basin.

no, Spiros did not inform me of what exactly the mess was, how it got there or what part he played in this. i was, as you perhaps may well imagine, somewhat reluctant to ask too, for he may share stories with me of it that would really be best served remaining private. but he did intimate that it might have involved the French. or, at the least, a Frenchie.

well, there we go for now. gents who wish to meet other gents in London should, then, proceed to hang around the indicated Lloyds bank poster. who knows, perhaps you may well meet Spiros there. as for everyone else, i have no doubt that further adventures off of Spiros will be with us soon.

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

Thursday, February 16, 2017

the Barbs happening

Hello, Dolly

I was recently contacted by my parents who, look you see, said that they had acquired if not procured something which I might be interested in. Upon hearing this I said something along the lines of oh yes, I might, might I be, posing it of course as a polite question. Yes, they said, you might well be.

Some images were forwarded to me in order to ascertain whether it might be the case that the possible might be interested which was expressed might well be translated into an actual interest

Upon viewing these images, this was decidedly to be the case.

Yes, indeed. What you can see here, assuming I upload the images the right way around (I am writing all of this at a time long before I shall be posting it), is the decidedly celebrated Barbra Streisand Television Specials box set. This was, I believe, released in 2005, but was always elusive to me in terms of availability and affordability. So, up front, nice one and thank you very much, Mum & Dad, for thinking that I might be interested and offering to send it my way.

What is it? Well, firstly, how dare you be so insolent as to ask so many questions of Barbs. Barbs gives, as and when she wishes to, and gives for a cost. If we ask questions of this she may well throw a wobbler and just take our money without offering us insights into her art.

Beyond that most obvious of answers, what it is would be a coming together of some most splendid, made for television sort of television specials which Barbs did. When? In the 60s, with a partial footprint in the 70s, too. Five in total, since you are being pushy and asking, and so the set consists of five discs.

As you would imagine, I elected to spend several hours just admiring the set, looking at the pictures, reading the words and feeling a sense of connection with Barbs. And then I decided to play one of the discs.

Which one, though? It would have been far too obvious to start at disc one. Somewhat naturally I was really rather drawn to the disc entitled The Happening At Central Park, in which I took it as a given that Barbs would do a concert in Central Park. Some, say a dozen or so, years prior to Mr Simon and Mr Garfunkel doing the same, only with a lot less Barbs songs in the set.

The Simon & Garfunkel Concert In The Park is fascinating. Other than featuring some most splendid music, it does have some curiosities. Like, for instance, the bit where Paul Simon tries to make out like he is not a total reactionary square by cracking a joke about marijuana. And the bits where Paul Simon makes Art Garfunkel stand around on stage doing nothing whilst Paul Simon does some Paul Simon solo songs.

But, we are not here to discuss other, arguably lesser as they are not Barbs artists performing in what must be one of New York’s top three parks. Certainly, you would think, it is the most central of them. No, we are having a look at Barbs in Central Park. Or at least I was going to, until disaster struck.

Yes, dear reader, that old friend of DVD, region code enhancing (RCE) had blessed this disc, and all the discs in the set. The disc was either locked on Region 1, for the USA only, or Region 0, which should make it “multizone” but for some reason Blu Ray players do not like at all.

Most DVD players, if not all, normally have the means to allow you to freely change the setting of the zone, allowing you to play any DVD from anywhere in the world. This is not the case with Blu Ray players, which are locked on to a specific letter for Blu Ray and a very specific zone number for DVD.

I do kind of “get” why they did all this RCE stuff. It was to “protect” markets and distribution rights, all in some sort of effort to protect certain territories from losing out to cheap imports. Understandable from the business side of it, but not so much for us, the poor consumer. Exploiting customers for every penny they can is the way of the entertainment business, of course. For some reason they think we should appreciate this, and all got very surprised when people elected to use something called “an internet” to avoid being so mercilessly ripped off.

So, does the above all mean that I was unable to watch Barbs in action in Central Park? No, not at all. I was able to wield a little bit of magic and know how, and (ahem) was successfully able to have this particular television special play on my TV system with, quite frankly, gay abandon.

When one starts the disc one is confronted with what one might consider to be an interesting bonus. This bonus is the presentation of the Barbra Streisand introduction, by Barbra Streisand, for the 1987 home video release of this televisual feast. Presumably the 1987 home video release was prompted by the unexpected – and highly lucrative – success of the Jane Fonda Workout home video cassette release. Undoubtedly Barbs wanted some of that, but also told all and sundry that they could f*** right off if they thought she was going to wear leotards and legwarmers for something so trivial as money.

Just let that sink in, then. Here I am in 2017, watching a Barbs special from 1967 what features a special message from Barbs recorded in 1987. It’s like FlashForward come real, man, maybe I am a traveller in both time and space.

What does Barbs say in the 1987 introduction? Quite a few things, as it happens. You have to remember, though, that this was all pre-Clinton administration, so at the time Barbs didn’t really care for political statements as there was no invitation from Bill to come and do a sleepover in the Lincoln Room at the White House. Instead, then, she expresses some displeasure with Lloyds of London, and indeed with the authorities of Central Park who did not allow some 25,000 people to come into the park at one in the morning to watch her rehearse.

In terms of the actual show, or if you like happening (and Barbs does like that), it’s splendid. A bit short, perhaps, and rather top heavy on wisecracks and jokes from Barbs, but splendid all the same.

Any particularly interesting wisecracks and jokes? Yes, they are all wonderful as they are all from Barbs. One of the most heart-warming segments is when she assures us, the poor people, that wealthy fabulous people such as Barbs also have to, from time to time, pay for things like glasses. The spectacles variety of glasses.

That might, then, be just about all that there is what I can say about the Barbs box set for now. Undoubtedly I shall be watching the other four discs in the box set, just as soon as I have weaved some more magic what would enable them to work on my tele and that.

Many thanks again, Mum & Dad, for this most splendid set. It is a wonderful and mightily appreciated gift, to be sure.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

ode to the would-be thieving gypsy bstards of the postal services


after so many years of being subject to the vagaries of the corrupt, incompetent, criminal and frequently striking ways of the postal system in South Africa i have, look you see, enjoyed the reasonable, safe, secure and efficient ways in which it is all done here back at home. how quite unfortunate, then, that i should experience an incident which shatters this comfort zone.

a comfort zone which, in fairness, i was warned not to get too complacent about. i can just about recall when i got home getting all excited about a postal system that works. a friend, the noted theology instructor Franny i believe, warned me that fundamentally the post services and the staff which populate it are all complete twat in a bad way, and that i was simply setting myself up for disappointment.

that disappointment, alas, came through the letterbox.

the above, as so below, shows a greeting card which came in the post. the handwriting says it is off my sister. whilst the exact reason as to why she would be sending a greeting card escapes me for the moment, i would like to assure you all the same that it is not related to the 14th day of the 2nd month of the year. no, thank you, our family does not work that way.

anyway, as you can see, someone within the postal services has methodically, and indeed quite deliberately, torn a corner off of the envelop in which some form of greeting card is housed. why would they do such a thing? why, to see if there is any money or other such items of value in it, which they would then steal.

on the one side it is most amusing to think that my sister would randomly go "here, brother, have some coins of money in note form". another interpretation would be that "at least" they delivered the mail. in respect of the latter, quite true - in Africa they tended to just dump or burn the mail, irrespective of whether or not the dumper had the imagination to steal items.

an episode like this is deeply unpleasant. it is a shame that we, here in 2017, still have a society in which employment in the postal service is awarded, on a frequent basis, to those with a penchant if not proclivity for theft. all this whilst honest people, ones who would be glad to do the job without grumble and free from theft, remain ungainfully out of employment.

so far as i know, tampering with or intercepting mail in this way is illegal. when you complain, though, you find that the "evidence" requirements are impossible, and that the system is all set up so that no postal service anywhere has to deal with any unpleasant staffing realities. nice work if you can get it.

when one hears of reports on the news that so many thousands, millions perhaps, of jobs are likely to have robots replace humans, we all go "oh, no, that's terrible, where will those people work". it is rather the case, i feel, that we should be embracing this. robots are, i would suggest, unlikely to start stealing items of mail if they were designed, created and implemented to deliver post. robots would also presumably not go on strike at times of maximum inconvenience, such as Christmas.

yes, i am aware of the fact that "the majority" of staff in the postal service probably are decent, non-stealing types. that doesn't make it all ok and fine when things like this happen. saying that is like when you complain about something and get told "well no one else has complained". that you are the first to complain of something probably entitles you to a special badge or similar award, but stating that is the case in itself does not make the problem go away.

right, let me get a diary or calendar or perhaps dictionary out, see if i can't jolly well ascertain what exactly is going on with the greetings card which seem to be coming through the door. welcome, of course, as these cards of greetings most decidedly are.

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

Sunday, February 12, 2017

a pleasure denied


of all those who would say that i am sometimes prone to peculiar interests i, look you see, would place myself at the forefront of such a gathering. i'm quite aware of my curiosities, if perhaps not my limitations as a consequence of them.

no, this isn't one of those "be yourself" inspirational sort of posts, although if you do choose, or rather elect, to take it that way then that's nice. this is all rather to do with my interest, or if you like passion, for seeing various dairy products with quite specific dates on them.

sadly, it seems, i am to be denied such pleasures this year. as you can see on the one row there, the milk i found is all dated around, or if you like either side, of the one i would want to see.

why was this the case? who knows. perhaps the cow overlords who determine the lifespan of the bovine produce (or whatever the fancy way of saying milk is) felt like they would make life all awkward and difficult for me this year, making it so that i could not see the date i wished.

also, it could be one of them conspiracy things. the date that i wanted on the milk happens to fall on a Saturday this year. recently, and i cannot be bothered searching for the story, someone worked out that crisps always have a Saturday as their expiry or best before date. perhaps there is some sort of link in all of this, one which sees milk never expire or reach a state of staleness on a Saturday so as to leave the field clear for crisps.

pies, in particular pies what have some lovely pork in them, is where it's at this year, then. when in need, it would seem, one may always trust and rely on Yorkshire to deliver the goods.

so yes, sure, whilst milk would normally be my "thing" for this, i am delighted that some brave and presumably quite plucky pigs stepped up and agreed to be slaughtered for pies in such a way that their best before date would strike upon a particular point on the calendar that i for some reason wished to see printed on a consumer item.

it is indeed cold here, and flakes of snow seem to trickle past my window. indeed, maybe this is interfering with the mechanisms of my mind and as a result that's why i have taken the time to write all of this.

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

Saturday, February 11, 2017

the guardians of a loveless isle

hi there

it has been, look you see, something of a tempestuous week. this would be if you happen to define tempestuous as being one of change and adjustment, as it happens. and, of course, the testing if not all quite that torrid weather.

when such things flame into being it can be, no matter what your faith or what you believe in, something of a blessed relief when certain elements stay if not the same then quite the same.

whilst that is a distant, or if you like establishing, shot, there can be no doubt that the regular readers of this blog, peculiar bunch that they are, know exactly what the above is all a return of. for those of you who are not regular readers of this blog i would respectfully venture to suggest that you really aren't missing all that much, but know that you are all very welcome.

it has, it feels, been quite a while since the sight of abandoned footwear has greeted me on my travels through this world. this would be, i suspect, the first such instance of it this year, and it was quite a while back into 2016 that i can recall the last one. i had taken this that the people out of a night were taking considerably more care to retain their footwear, or were otherwise attending various social orientated venues in a more barefoot approach.

what's that above? why, it's my old university library card, now some 21 years old. 21 years and a month, as it happens, looking at the date on the back of it. this got handed back to me by Gran earlier today, after she had found it whilst looking for some stuff. yes, it is in Commodore 64 mode for your enhanced viewing pleasure.

in returning to the abandoned footwear, which undoubtedly you find more fascinating that any sort of library membership i had, you're probably wondering where it is where i spotted it. actually, no you are not. you will know, then, that as usual this was left in the vicinity of the celebrated Club Bongo International club, a venue renowned for years as a social place for people to meet socially and be, well social.

assuming, of course, that the way in which the patrons of the place lose 50% of their footwear does indeed happen in a sociably social way, and not as a consequence of a disagreement which has led to a bout of fisticuffs or similar.

one of the interesting this about this, the abandoned rather high heeled, quasi platform shoe of prosperity and beauty is that it laid, presumably in the spot where it fell, untouched and unremoved for some three days. i would very much like to think that it was left so out of respect for the patron - presumably a lady - who left it behind, with many suspecting it to be a good idea to leave it where left in case she elected to return to collect it.

that said, it is however far more likely that the people passing it by tutted some, and said "well really" under their breath, whilst scowling, lamenting the decline of modern standards and composing a letter in their minds to a suitable newspaper to decry the ills of "broken Britain".

also a lot would have walked along and looked away, not wanting to see it in case they got involved with some police enquiry, should it transpire that the constabulary are looking for it in relation to a criminal matter. 

no dear reader, fear not - the above is not a hack or hacking attempt on my site here. it is a screenshot of a most ambitious and indeed widespread hacking attack which affected many, many websites earlier this week. it was carried out by however you say the name above, although of course i would suspect that this is not their real name.

should you or anyone you know have been affected, indeed knacked, by this hack, then it is the case that you need to update if not upgrade to the latest version of WordPress, WP 4.7.2, to ensure that your safety and security settings prevent, for now, a further assault by those that carried out this one.

strangely it is the case that a disproportionately high number of the sites affected by the above were based in Ireland. it is something of a mystery as to why someone would have gone to the effort to bring the above message mostly to the attention of the Irish, but there you go.

a closer, indeed final since it has in fact now been removed, look at the fancy abandoned shoe? surely.

it is, if only to my mind, certainly a most splendid one, it clearly being exotic, exquisite and smart, oozing as it does the presumed sophistication and class of the owner.

should it have been that my imagination was of a different nature i suppose i could have taken the time to jazz all of this up in some sort of Cinderella referencing story. should you have some disappointment in that it is not, well, you could always just take these images and set your own blog up where you do that yourself.

anyway, time for me to get on with things. nothing in particular, just things.

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

Friday, February 10, 2017

Marie Marx - This Is The Thing

howdy pop pickers

to start off with the predictable, as regular readers here know this blog is all just my random thoughts for the most part. this has come about, look you see, after starting it off as a fairly simply way to amuse friends and family around the world. i neither planned nor expected to find so many others all reading it. yes, there's a point.

i don't really set out to do much here beyond entertain myself, with it being admittedly really nice when it seems more than a few take the time to read. it's not normal for me to try and take any sort of advantage off of my dear readers, with one exception. i really like nothing more than being able to showcase and share some unknown pleasures in terms of music that hasn't got the backing of a massive record label to expose it to the world. sometimes this comes in the form of recorded music from dear friends, sometimes it's from people who have flatteringly got hold of me and asked me if i would mind having a listen. in the latter, the door is forever open.

which is all a long, potentially laboured and perhaps irrelevant introduction to the fact that here's a, for want of a better term, review of an album called This Is The Thing by someone called Marie Marx.

if you're asking who, fear not, for so did i when i saw her CD. we shall get to the latter part in a bit, but for now know that all, surely, is unknown to you before you know it.

i still really don't have much of an idea who she is, except of course for the fact that she made a record. that which i have pieced together suggests she is a native of the North East, like myself, and regularly performs in and around the region. perhaps you have seen her live, which would make you one up on me.

yes, review coming. how best to describe the music within the record? on the web i've seen folk and blues uttered, but i am not quite sure this does it justice. to me it's best said to be semi, or just slightly off, acoustic, for once in a while some electric instruments creep in. and, overall, it's a really very lovely album to have a listen to.

and Marie's singing style? i am reticent, if not reluctant, to do comparisons, for i believe all of us have our own voice in this world. Marie, indeed, certainly does. there is, however, only so much scope for that to carry weight in a written review. the best i can do, then, is to say that her voice - very pleasantly - falls somewhere between that bass sound of Adele and that higher pitch of Dido. in respect of the latter, i am very delighted to say it is with the distinct benefit of not sounding like it's sung through gritted teeth.

to be very honest about it i did get off to a somewhat shaky start with the record. the first two songs on it, You're All I Need and Leave Me Alone are, partially respectively, all about falling in love forever for the first time and falling out of love forever for the last time. they're really good songs, but i was sat listening thinking "you know what, maybe me as a gent somewhere in his 40s is not quite the target market for this music". but then came the rest of the album......

it would be fair to say i was solidly hooked as of track three, Where Do You Go. a lovely, more compelling than haunting melody, beautiful instrumentation and a really wonderful lyrical delivery. and then along comes the quirky, beautiful and engaging Just You And Me, and then, well, just a fantastic collection of songs.

provenance, as an aside, of my copy? as in how did i get this in the first place? Magic. no, not magic magic, but the Magic, my occasional co-pilot. we had reason to be at the celebrated and very well reviewed TP Coffee House (yes click the words in colour to visit their site) and they had some copies of the CD for sale. Magic, knowing that i both love music and love having things to write of here, kindly purchased me the copy that i have played a few times now, and that you can see the images of. nice one Magic, cheers.

since i would seem to be in a linking mood, how about a few links to Marie Marx, then? sure, as i am confident this would help you discover more of her music, should these words here have tilted your interest in that direction.

first off, i found this performance of Where Do You Go on that You Tube thing. go on, click and give it a listen. from my experience, if you like that one then you shall surely fare rather well with the rest. and no matter how you got on with that one, please do give Just You And Me a listen, your life will be all the better for it.

as for more on Marie Marx, here is the link to her official website, from where it seems you can purchase downloads of the songs. if you listen and like, please do - we really must get back into the habit of supporting and appreciating musicians financially, otherwise the world will fall silent. and yes, kids, indeed Marie is on facebook, if that's how you prefer to find things.

anyway, hopefully you give the music a try, and indeed it would be just great if you enjoyed it as much as i have, and shall continue to. beyond that, thanks as ever for reading.

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

Thursday, February 09, 2017

february sees further super fanny snow fall


this post would, look you see, pretty much do what it says on the box, if you assume that it is in a box and the title of the post is what's written on the box. except for the parts which are not, but what's the rush, we will get there. maybe. i mean, you might just switch off now, thinking that if i read any more of this i will have a headache, to be sure.

we live in a world in which, undeniably, is populated by charlatans and soothsayers, albeit cloaked as they are under the politically correct term "weather forecasters". in recent times they have predicted something called "snowmageddon" for our fair country, advising all and sundry who metaphorically cross their palm with silver that they are doomed, etc.

indeed yes, as point of fact, what you can see quite clearly - in Commodore 64 mode terms - above is the dramatic damage caused by this most recent "snowmageddon" this morning.

these forecasts, or if you like prophecies, are ones which they have all made since October. one of the perks of being a "weather forecaster" in England, indeed the UK, is that you can earn a living by simply saying "well it might snow" every day between the commencement of October and the business end of March. perhaps i should set myself up with one of them "weather bureau" caravans myself, and roam the land to earn a living in such a way.

no, the above is nothing to do with the "snowmageddon", which thus far has been just yet more fanny snow, as such. the above is indeed a pound coin sterling. an unusual inclusion, granted, in a story about snow and related prophecies, but bear with me, there is a point to it.

it is within the realms of reason that we shall get more sinister snow that this fanny stuff you see in the non-pound coin pictures here. as there is the potential for it then it is of course fit and right that as much warning as possible be given. that said, one does tend to feel all Peter & The Wolf about it, and not the cool version of it what was narrated by David Bowie, either.

there are only so many times one can hear a warning about something which does not without simply tuning out of it all, and considering those warning to be charlatans. 

the above picture shows, in extreme graphic detail. how one of the headlights on my car, The Silver Hornet, has been beautified with an eyelash of snow. it looks quite lovely, and indeed it was a shame when the rather jerky nature of my boss reverse move made it come loose and shake off to the ground.

another look at that pound coin? certainly, and perhaps some clarification as to why i have included it here.

what caught my eye, as i am sure is true for you, is the fact that this pound coin was minted in 1983. it is possible that this was in fact one of the first such coins to be minted, then, as i believe it came into circulation in that very year. well, maybe. i mean, i am all but certain that the 20p was introduced in 1982, and this the year after. all i do know for certain is that it was in 1983 that i ever first handled such a coin. that was when i returned home off of Australia, and such a coin certainly did not exist before then.

if you would be so kind as to indulge some philosophy. it is unlikely, true, but there is nothing to say that this pound coin what i handled is in fact that very first one which i ever handled. if so, who knows what adventures it has been on over the last 34 years. perhaps they have been as interesting as mine, or maybe it has spent most of that time sat in a jar and has only recently returned to circulation.

anyway, back to snow, and an image similar to the one with which we started this jolly adventure, but different as it is not in Commodore 64 mode.

thankfully this was but a smattering of fanny snow, and not the proper hard man stuff. as such, it was not glued or welded to the windows of The Silver Hornet. far from it; all one needed to do was blow on it a little and it scattered back to the winds which brought it, ultimately falling to the ground.

of course there is the chance that the thicker, heavier and most decidedly unpleasant sort of snow shall fall, as predicted, over the next few days. i really, however, rather hope that this is not so.

i can assure you, however, that it is really very cold here at the moment.

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