Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Horror Killer Quiz

a fellow blogger, the link for which i have forgotten (sorry dude, but nice one on being an extra in Bram Stoker's Dracula!!!!!), had a link to this horror killer quiz, and as it is quite smart i decided to include it here.

we have all seen and done these online quiz things before, but this one is well above average. it seems to be rather advanced in the way it calculates and gives you an answer, so if you have an interest in finding out which psychopath you are, click the link above or in the title and have a go!!

needless to say, i was hoping that i would turn out to be Leatherface from the Texas Chainsaw Massacre films, or even perhaps the great Ash from the Evil Dead series. i was neither, but i was a close-ish link to Leatherface. which one am i, then?

well, who am i to argue or get upset about the fact that i have been associated with the brilliant, most excellent Hannibal Lecter?

i am not at all sure i would ever have an interest in cooking and eating people, but the other aspects of Hannibal are really all rather class, cool and something that i would be proud of. i think :)

anyway, if you decide to have a go on it, have fun with it!!!

7-inch heaven.......

hey everyone

well, i seem to be on an order spree today! those excellent chaps at recordstore have some more excellent deals on 7" singles, and who am i to deny myself the pleasure of hearing quality music as it was intended to be heard?

first up is something i am not that bothered about, My Friends by the Stereophonics. i have not been too impressed with their last few efforts, but hey! it's got a 7" single so i am interested, and the CD single features them covering the Stones classic Gimme Shelter. the "phonics", to their credit, do astonishing covers, so this should well be worth a spin. ho hum, that's the theory at least!

i am somewhat more excited about Conquest from The White Stripes. it's another single lifted from the astonishing, curious Icky Thump album, and is released in the form of no less than 3 (three!) coloured 7" singles. alas this is only released on December 31, but is well worth ordering now!!

i have no connection or relation to record store at all, other than being a very happy and impressed customer. as a consequence, i would wholeheartedly reccomend that you use them for music buying!

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


hey everyone

well, i think the other babies have been getting a fair amount of attention of late, so i thought it only fair to put a new(ish) image of Daniel up here!

there's also the case that every now and then i get an email from those in New Zealand "asking", if not complaining, that i do not include enough of Daniel on this site. well, there you go!

it is good to see him healthy and happy, and of course growing and developing. we all look forward to one day meeting him in person, but for now i guess the pictures (and a DVD video if they get around to making one there, hint hint) is the best that we will be getting!!

be excellent to each other!!!!

see the mountains kiss high heaven

well, i think i can afford this. thinking about it is a little late, really, as it has already been ordered, and will be on its way to me from the USA rather soon!

i have been sat with season one of Twin Peaks for a good 4 or 5 years now, my folks kindly picked it up for me. i, ahem, have not really done much with it, as it was all of 7 episodes and i suspected just watching those would be a more frustrating experience than anything else.

season two has been available for most of the year, but i have been using my funds somewhat more wisely, ie purchasing things for James. as he seems to have an abundance of things lined up for his birthday and Christmas, i guess it is OK for me to buy something for myself!!

in the UK, and i would imagine at the time here in SA, Twin Peaks was shown as one continuous series - i guess in the States they decided to split it. there were no continuity errors or mishaps that i recall, so watching the whole thing as one gets my recommendation. there is a rather lavish "gold box edition" out there for those who have none of this majestic series, go buy it!

for some reason the critics get very lazy and just dismiss the latter series or part of Twin Peaks as being not as good as the first. this is not the case at all - the arrival of Windom Earle was inspired, and the "deaths by Shelley quotes and chess board moves" plot was and shall always be awesome!

with so many fan and official Twin Peaks sites out there for all to see, i really don't see a good deal of sense in me going on about the series in too much detail here!!

remember, the owls are not what they seem................

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Willem Boshoff

well this is a few days late, but my thanks once again to my good friend Duncan 'Spiros' Arthur and his current employers, Standard, for inviting me to lunch last Friday. considering i verk for one of their competitors or, if you will, rivals, they were very generous in their hospitality and extension of friendship, and it was a most delightful experience.

the reason for the lunch was to meet and greet Willem Boshoff, one of South Africa's most respected and prestigious artists. it is always an honour to meet someone who is not only a gifetd artist, but has also remained dedicated to a calling of arts. Standard are currently running an exhibition of some of his finest artistic statements, and should you be in Johannesburg before it ends on December 1 (unlikely, i know!), you could do a lot worse than pay a visit. failing that, i have included a link to his site in the title of this update - please take the time to visit it and see samples of his work for yourself!

it has always surprised me that Spiros has never taken on a more artistic career, to be honest. he once created a work of art, known simplistically as space #1, that quite frankly astounded and dazzled anyone and everyone that either saw it or was fortunate enough to have it faxed to them.

whereas i would never dare put any of the artistic works of Spiros on this site, i have included one of the images that Willem has on display, titled nothing is obvious. i think a combination of the texture and the sentiment within it appeals and grabs my attention, but as i am not expert i can offer nothing beyond the words "i quite like how it looks".

say no more, i guess!! i look forward to my next visit to Standard and Spiros in the not too distant future. i suspect, however, it will be less Executive Dining Suite, more The Bender's Arms Pub for lunch next time!!

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

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

new Joker image (sort of)

nice one to Empire film magazine for a new and rather tasty image of The Joker from the very anticipated film The Dark Knight. i was really dubious about the idea of Heath Ledger in the part, but with each new image it's getting more and more impressive.

i hope this marks a turnaround in the fortunes of Empire. i really loved the magazine, but in the mid-90's every edition became a case of "all come and praise Quentin Tarantino" despite the fact that he wasn't doing much, and then the interwebnet came along. ho hum, someone somewhere still thinks the magazine is cool enough to get an exclusive image like this one, so perhaps i should pick up this edition and see if it has got any better with the passing of time.....

i note on the cover a reference to Mummy 3 - erm, wasn't The Scorpion King kind of supposed to be that?? oh well, it's not like the rest of the cover is accurate - The Joker could be called many, many things, but "new" nemesis for Batman is somewhat discarding a few appearances from the manic one, is it not?

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

Indiana Jones and the Lack of Alternate Clothing

here are some pics from the imminent film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. pay attention to them as you remember the "classic" trilogy of Indy films.

never mind that Harrison looks rather old (i think we can all deal with that), look at what he is wearing. this one is supposed to be set some 20 years after Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, yeah? and Indiana Jones is still wearing the same clothing????

let's put this in context, shall we? this means that, for 20 odd years, Indiana Jones not once went clothes shopping, and nor did anyone give him any new gear to wear. i mean, full credit to the manufacturers of his jacket and pants, then, but come on! even Han Solo wore a different outfit in each of the Star Wars films, and it is not like you saw many shots of intergalactic clothes emporiums in the background of any class space battles. for heaven's sake, even John McClane had a brand new vest at the start of each Die Hard escapade!!

as for what's happening in any of these pictures, don't ask me, i have no idea. i mean, despite the clothing issue, it still looks like it will be quite class!!

there is one class development in these pics, mind. look - Indiana Jones is using AN ACTUAL PROPER TORCH with BATTERIES and a GLOBE. this makes a change from the usual handy stick or bone and tin of paraffin he uses to see his way - the one that he always lights with a zippo or something, yet never appears to smoke and thus would not have a practical or rational reason for owning.

the cousins!

hey everyone

well, James and Lyla have seen a bit more of each other in the past week or so than they are used to. i, as ever, have been useless in getting pictures, but thankfully Grandma and Grandad are quite good at capturing them!!

here they are possibly holding hands as they enjoy bottle time, but it is also entirely possible that James is just shifting Lyla out of the way to see if there is anything he considers to be his, or is just worth taking.....

...and i think on the basis of this picture you can assume that there was nothing worth taking, or just simply that holding hands is quite boring and a very distant second to drinking a bottle!!

assuming the South African Post Office does not make a mess of it, with a bit of luck the fine people of New Zealand, Great Ayton and Newcastle will be receiving a DVD featuring James and Lyla!! they were sent yesterday, so you would imagine they could deliver them before Christmas, or at least before too late into 2008. we shall see.......

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

into the solar plexus


Brown Lipstick.


Styrofoam Peanuts.

Master Of The Universe.


The Last Of The Great Smokers.

If the words, names and phrases above mean not much of anything to you, or certainly nothing beyond He-Man and Skeletor in one instance, then it would be safe to assume that you have never read The Bonfire Of The Vanities by Tom Wolfe. You would, then, be well advised to stop reading this and immediatley seek out a copy of this wonderful novel.

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to describe this novel as anything short of being the greatest work of literature produced in my lifetime. I guess I should say “to date” with that, but 20 years on from publication and not one single novel has come close to holding a candle to the Bonfire.

Now how can I justify the claim above? The justification is in the story of the novel as much as it is not – ostensibly, it’s the tale of a wealthy Wall Street financier with a somewhat tangled web of a life, and him possibly being involved in a hit-and-run incident with a black youth in an area of New York that he would not and should not have been in.

The socio-political overtones and content of the broad plotline certainly make it a significant review of the times, but the tale of Sherman McCoy has much more resonance than a simplistic, quasi-update of something like To Kill A Mockingbird.

Sherman, Maria, Larry Kramer, Reverend Bacon et al are some of the finest literary creations you will ever read of and digest. This is, partially at least, because they are characters we, as the world at large, have created. They are figures which are symptomatic of the late 20th Century, in particular the excessive eighties. To use the old analogy, these characters were there to see, hidden in plain sight, Tom Wolfe merely etched a way a bit at the surface to make them clearly visible.

And in doing so, there lies the strength of this novel. The rich fabric of words that Tom Wolfe has woven in The Bonfire Of The Vanities makes it something of a guilty pleasure to read. Despite having 7 or 8 “new” books to read eventually, I find myself currently reading Bonfire once again. I have lost count of how many times I have read it in the last 15 – 18 years, to be honest.

The Bonfire Of The Vanities
underlined my own desire to be a writer, and reading it again, whilst a sheer joy to the senses, makes me feel guilty for not writing anything of consequence myself, or at least trying to do so. It ignites a desire to start writing once again – I find myself with all sorts of ideas for novels and stories in my head, presumably inspired by reading this great work.

Once again, then – if you have not read The Bonfire Of The Vanities yourself, be not ashamed, but be determined to go out, find a copy and read it as soon as possible.

A strong word of warning for the lazy – DO NOT, under any circumstances, opt out and find a copy of the film “version” of it. The film version is awful – bad casting, a mockery of the language, concepts and ideas of the novel, and is pretty much unwatchable. It is almost as if they deliberatley set out to make the worst movie in the history of cinema.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Tropic Thunder - bad casting

well, Tom Cruise would certainly seem to be keen on this method acting business, going on this image of him from the upcoming film Tropic Thunder!! the mind boggles at what his character is supposed to be or do, but clearly not much action in this action-comedy affair, planned for 2008.

the details that i know is that the film is something about a bunch of actors making a war film all of a sudden have to become "real" soldiers to fight in some conflict or other. how funny that can be is anyone's guess, but it would certainly appear to be billed as a comedy.

on the plus side, as well as the talented Mr Cruise, the film features perpetual favourites of mine in the form of Steve Coogan and Robert Downey jnr. that would usually be enough reason for me to wish to see the film as soon as possible. however, there is one major problem.

the film also, sadly, appears to feature one Jack Black. i appreciate that he was one of the voices in the film Shark Tale, which James holds very dear, but there is no getting around the fact that Jack Black is a talentless waste of space who has ruined many otherwise possibly fine films.

it was not always bad news when Black was involved - his supporting role in High Fidelity was excellent. but when they give him the lead he makes a mess of it by just shouting a lot and looking like a beaten puppy.

going on the quality involved, i may be persuaded to overlook the fact that Jack Black is in it, but then again as and when i see the film, i can see it being the case right now that i am just going to get annoyed by him.

be excellent to everyone other than Jack Black................

bye bye Mac......

it seems that this man will be out of a job shortly, if reports are to be believed.

the mind boggles what the can of Red Bull in the bottom right corner in the pic above is all about, but it certainly didn't help him much, did it?

he failed to do his job, and thus should be gone. that said, the players he picked clearly had no interest in helping - barely a handful of them actually cared for the honour of playing for England, and the results showed that.

ho hum, i really don't have much interest in the international sides and tournaments anyway, probably because as those involved do not seem to express much interest i do not see why i should!

England manager loses details of 25 million alternative goalkeepers

Sources within the Football Association have revealed that national coach Steve McLaren lost two crucial CDs containing vital data about England’s European Championship campaign. Apparently the two disks contained details of 25 million alternative goalkeepers and one about individuals who might possibly support Peter Crouch up front.

Details of the 25 million better goalies were held in a spreadsheet listing biometric details such as ‘Ability to see ball’ and ‘Can catch’ and ‘Propensity to concede shocking howlers in the first ten minutes of the game’.

Although millions of the individuals listed on the disks were under ten years old (half of which were of course girls), it is thought that these players might still have given the England manager a few more options between the sticks. ‘Little Jessica Harrison celebrated her eighth birthday yesterday – she probably would have stopped the first one’ said Alan Hanson. ‘And what was Sol Campbell doing all game that eighty-seven year old Edna Johnson couldn’t have done if the coach hadn’t lost her address and telephone number?’

Steve McClaren now looks set to lose his job as England manager, and the FA are looking at their list of alternatives. These are held on a couple of CD Roms which were posted to Soho Square and should have turned up over a week ago. In the meantime England will have to find another goalkeeper to play in next summer’s crucial friendlies against Andorra and San Marino. Alistair Darling has volunteered to pull on the Number One shirt.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Terminator : The Sarah Connor Chronicles

hey everyone

well, i would consider myself a fan of the Terminator series of films, and would always be keen to see the continuance or perpetuation of the series, but i have mixed feelings about this development. some sort of TV series based on, or rather acting as a continuance of, the films?

i believe this starts in the USA relatively soon, depending on this whole writers’ strike one would assume. i must say they are doing some rather attractive, if not aggressive, advertising for it!

whereas the first Terminator film is a science fiction classic, i do hold some reservations about how celebrated T2 is or was. everyone declares it a “masterpiece” and immediatley quotes the special effects. yeah, the special effects were awesome – groundbreaking then, and still stunning today some 15 years later. the problem, however, is that the plot was weak, the script was awful and the concepts were, by and large, flawed in comparison to the original. Terminator 3 is the only actual “proper” sequel in terms of plot, development and so on. For some inexplicable reason, however, most seem to slam it.

as T3, if you will, is the most recent entry and didn’t go down as well as it could have, one suspects this TV series idea will have an awful lot of scepticism to overcome before it is accepted. the constraints of TV means that the content might not be as strong as the films, and the budgets, one would assume, will be distinctly lower.

erm, a big factor in the relative success of the films that, you would assume as a given, will be absent from this TV show is a certain ex-Austrian called Arnie. as he was The Terminator, irrespective of foes presented, i am not sure how much momentum will be generated for an Arnold-free Terminator. let’s face it, the indestructable, all conquering cyborg was far more interesting than Sarah Connor or her offspring in the films.

if, as the posters suggest, this is going to be humans vs machines all the way through, then that could cause all sorts of problems. for a start, and the ***SPOILER STARTS*** must go here, Sarah Connor was dead before the war of the machines, according to T3. how will they engineer it so that she is all of a sudden alive to commence battle, or will we have sporadic, and possibly ridiculous time travel incidents of Terminators popping in to try and battle her? ***SPOILER ENDS***

it is somewhat obvious to say that a “wait and see” approach is required with this one, as no one will be seeing it for a couple of months at best! i certainly hope that it turns out to be decent, but i am not building up too many expectations.

be excellent to each other, or, if you will,

i’ll be back...........................

Monday, November 19, 2007

Dino Dinner!

meal times at home with Mama and Dada are something of an adventure for James. he seems reluctant to just sit and eat with us, like he does at school / daycare, and like he does with Grandma and Grandad.

this is of increasing relevance in my life, since i know pick him up most days and am kind of responsible for making sure he eats! other than outright bribery with sweets, there are ways of getting him to eat :

here we are with an elaborate mixure of what James calles "Zazoos", which to you and i would be fruit loops - he has renamed them after the birdie out of The Lion King owing to the birdie on the packet. he is also eating crackerbread with Kiki cheese all over it (and over his cheek) and, if i am not mistaken, some raisins!

you will also note that he has several toy dinosaurs with him. a successful way of getting him to eat is to ensure that the dinos are there to eat with him!!

he had cousin Lyla visit yesterday, which was a most excellent bonus! they sort of played together, but James also sort of made sure that Lyla knew which toys belonged to him!!

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

what you watching?

hey everyone

not much of a big update really, i just happened to catch what i feel is a really good picture of James, and so wanted to put it up here!!

he is sat watching something or other, probably The Lion King or Finding Nemo, in the company of his big dinosaur and wearing one of Mama's shirts!!

he was wearing one of Mama's shirts as Mama decided to try a new shirt on in the lounge. James came along, grabbed the one that she was wearing and pulled it over his head!!

oh well, not much else to comment on!!

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

Friday, November 16, 2007

our friend Bobby

hey everyone

my thanks to the Harlos, namely Colin, Angela, Christopher and Andrew, for the fine pictures they sent across of late. i suppose i should make arrangements to put the pics of themselves that they sent up here, but in the mean time i could not resist putting up the excellent picture of our dear friend Bobby from Newcastle.

Bobby is a regular visitor to our shores, but alas i do not believe we will be seeing him this Christmas. this is indeed a great shame, but we trust that he will be fit and well at home by the Tyne. as and when it is possible for Bobby to come and visit us, i have no doubt that as ever he will find himself to be a most welcome guest.

in the mean time, i am not so sure that Bobby makes use of the interwebnet on a regular or even irregular basis, but i trust that all friends of Bobby who happen to see this are just as delighted to see him fit, healthy and happy in this pic as i am!!

in the spirit of Newcastle, w'aye man!!

hello Lyla!

well, as all the other children have featured in posts of late, it is on fair, right and indeed a delight to give you an update on dear Lyla!

here are some recent picks that her Mummy, Erika, kindly sent through to me recently. here she is posing with a rather fetching pair of sunglasses - very Bono like in style, and these pink ones would probably look rather fitting an apt on Mr U2!! of course, as it is, they look better on Erika than they ever would on Bono!

and here's another shot of Lyla outside playing, enjoying the sun and perhaps looking at Mummy (or Daddy) and wondering what that camera is!

i believe Lyla will be on her way over to visit James and us at the weekend, assuming that all goes well with the traffic as they head to our part of the world!! nice one, we do not get to see her (or Richard and Erika!) anywhere near as often as we would like to, so i certainly hope that the roads are kind and they arrive OK!!

in the mean time, i hope you have enjoyed the updates from today, and be most excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

for those of you who have rocked

nothing really, just an awesome picture of The Who, thanks to the New Musical Express.....

i am on the lookout for a rather impressive image of Ringo Starr, Harry Nilsson and Keith Moon out on the town that i saw in a recent Mojo or Uncut magazine. if you have it or know where it is online, please advise!!

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

erm, watering the tortoise.........

hey everyone

thanks to Grandma and Grandad and their camera, here are a couple more pictures of James from his visit to them earlier this week!

he does not have the Dino Wellies on in these pics, instead his favourite trainers, covered in giraffe stickers. they, perhaps obviously, got a very good soaking, which is why they are still at Grandma and Grandad's house drying out!!

i can't claim to be much of an expert in the field, but i was completely unaware of the fact that a tortoise was an animal that required extensive watering on a frequent basis. James, i would suggest, spends more time with and certainly seems to be more interested in all things tortoise than i, so who am i to question his ways in this respect????

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

The Birthday Girl

hey everyone

just a couple of pictures from New "Sheep" Zealand of Katie celebrating her birthday in some style!

Firstly, here is her rather smart looking kitchen playset, which i think i referred to in another post. nice one, it is rather smart looking indeed, and i am sure a lot of fun to play with!!

as far as i can work out from Gillian's emails and comments, Katie had several parties and events to mark her second birthday. i guess they do things with style and in excess down in New Zealand, then! this one looks like it could be the best, a nice family picnic!

as Daddy Grant, Katie and young Daniel feature in the picture, one can only assume that Gillian was responsible for taking the artistic, somewhat avant garde picture!!

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

Duran Duran's Red Carpet Massacre - a masterclass in majestic music

Whereas I stand by my view that Uncle Dysfunktional from the Happy Mondays is in all likelihood going to be the best album of 2007, a late challenge has emerged to this title. Duran Duran’s Red Carpet Massacre is, quite frankly, an astonishing work of music.

I suspect that any reader of this will not need an account of the majestic days of the 80’s where Simon le Bon and his gang reigned supreme. Whereas their 90’s efforts were sometimes average, the brilliant Medazzaland being exceptional, some readers may be delighted to learn that Red Carpet Massacare returns to the style and the sound of their 80’s glory.

I guess the best way to describe the album is as being a welding together of the sadly mostly overlooked ingenuity and intelligence of the Medazzaland album with the style and flair of one of their 80’s classics, Rio being the most obvious example as that was by far and away the more accessible iconoclastic pop masterpiece. With Duran Duran now mostly being the original “classic” line up, this is the album that one may well have expected 2004’s effort, Astronaut, to be. Not that Astronaut was bad or a failure, it was just not the achievement in excellence that this one is.

In playing the album I have not really hit on any weak tracks as such, but I must say I was taken aback when I heard the single from the album, Falling Down. It’s not a bad track, but then again it is not the strongest. Ho hum, perhaps they are doing that old Morrissey trick, holding back on the best of the album for the album to give some impetus and interest when it lands. I would be hard pressed, however, to say what should or could have been the lead single. At the moment I guess my favourites would be Valley, Skin Divers and Zoom In. Valley has a very “please remix me” sense to it, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see that one released in the near future.

I believe a great deal of credit, and indeed thanks, needs to go to this Justin Timberlake fellow, and his “Timbaland” production outfit. I know he’s rather famous and well established, but I could not tell you all that much about him. Going on his work with Duran Duran on Red Carpet Massacare, however, he clearly has a great deal of love, respect and admiration for the band. One would have to assume that he is responsible for the sleek sound of this album, so nice one, good work fella!

Overall, though, the album is from Duran Duran and thus it is Duran Duran who receives my compliments. A fantastic effort, chaps, and I trust that it gives you an elevated and well-deserved amount of success and critical acclaim.

My advice is not only to go out and get Red Carpet Massacre, but also to seek out and get the astonishing Medazzaland album at the same time if you do not already have it. The two complement each other very well indeed, and I still cannot understand why Medazzaland was ignored at the time of its release.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

24, 23, 38

it may very well be an English thing that things tend to happen in 3's, but November 15 is one of those days where things occur in 3's for my family.

firstly, today is a very happy birthday to Katie Louise, turning 2 years old or, if you will, 24 months of age today. or yesterday in New Zealand time, i think / guess. i had the chance to speak briefly to those in New Zealand yesterday, and it sounds like they were having a most excellent time!

i do recall going to see Katie when she was born, full of fear and trepidation about the imminent arrival of James, and being rather impressed with just how stoned my dear sister Gillian appeared to be from the birth drug thingies they gave her! i also recall the unbridled joy at meeting dear, beautiful Katie. nice one, i am glad that she got treated well on her birthday by her Mummy and Daddy, and i trust that she has enjoyed playing with the card we sent!

and, of course, our beloved son James hits that 23 month age bracket today!

i guess Mummy and Daddy had better start planning something for your 2nd birthday, which is getting closer and closer! i think we will be aiming for some sort of party at home for him, as well as sending through a cake and some treats for all his teachers and classmates!

i do of course well remember James's arrival. he was rather stubborn about joining the world, but when he did it was all worth it. i do recall the other doctors and what not assuming that i was some sort of medical practicioner when they saw me in the surgical gown and mask, i still wonder who of that fine profession looks so similar to me?

anyway, son, as and when you are of an age that you read this, should this site and the interwebnet still exist then, we are glad you are with us, we love you dearly and we love every moment we get to spend with you!

as for treats to mark his 23rd month, well, this week he has already received some quality dino wellies, an absolutely enormous new toy dino from Grandma and Grandad, and a lovely new stuffed toy giraffe from his Mama. i guess i could try and say that i will treat him by allowing him to have a lollipop or two when we are at home this afternoon, but he tends to get them out of me anyway!

and, to round things off with a third and final matter, a very happy anniversary to my dear Mum & Dad, beloved Grandparents of James, Lyla, Katie and Daniel. i will not say how many years as it may well give away their ages which would be just rude, but they have quite an impressive record! erm, now that i think about it, the number of years is featured in the title! in the words of Homer, D'oh!

unfortunatley, or fortunatley they may well say if they are sat in bed our outside with the laptop reading this, i do not have any pictures of them on hand to post, but here's a rather nice pic of Christ Church in Great Ayton to mark the day!!

well, i do not believe there is much more that i can add to this update! i do, now that i think about it, wonder where this things come in 3's business all started off. no idea at this stage, if i recall to do so i shall research it and, if the results are interesting, will consider thinking about updating this interwebnet page thingie with the information!!

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

more Ian Brown

those fine people at Record Store have the next Ian Brown Single, Sister Rose, available in a rather tasty package, fellow fans! click on the link in the last sentence, or just on the title of this entry and be whisked away by the magic of the interwebnet to their site and the details for it.

the track itself is one of the standout tracks on the current The World Is Yours Album, and this release has a certain curiosity value to say the least - the 7", a picture disc no less, features the song by the great one performed in Japanese?? looking forward to hearing that one!

with new singles in December from the Stereophonics and The White Stripes on the way in December, i imagine my collection of records, the format one should play music in, will be expanding rather nicely indeed......

meanwhile, an update and an apology - having seen James's new Dino Wellies up close, i can confirm that they do indeed feature dinosaurs on them, and there is not a crocodile in sight............

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

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

80's Revivals and Jeremy Beadle

i am not privy nor aware of all the UK press and media, but of what i have been exposed to, i cannot but help notice that the (wholly endorsable) trend for the revival of all things 80's has yet to extend to the works and existance of one Jeremy Beadle.

please do not misinterpret me - i am, by no means and certainly by no stretch of the imagination, calling for a revival of Beadle himself or any of his television programmes. it just strikes me as plain odd that his rather popular appearances, notably Game For A Laugh (i think it was called that) and Beadle's About have not been either rejuvinated or just made some sort of reappearance.

i suppose in this day and age of various scams and scandals involving tv shows, it is perhaps only a matter of time before someone goes back, investigates the Beadle era set-ups and stunts, and establishes that they were probably all faked anyway.

well, should a Beadle revival kick in, if it amuses you to do so please recall that you read of the idea here first, or at least in the infancy of the revival. if you have found me by means of an irrational search on Beadle, welcome to my site.

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

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dino Wellies!

hello from the sick bed!!

well, i am laid up at the moment with a rather nasty bronchial infection - spent a good deal of Sunday coughing and wheezing! ho hum, have some anti-biotic thingies and some medicine for it, it seems to be getting better!

in the mean time, James is visiting Grandma and Grandad at the moment, which means he is also visiting the hosepipe, the tortoise and of course his beloved friend Marmite! Grandma and Grandad have got him a most excellent present :

Dino Wellies!!! i suspect that they might well be intended as crocodile wellies or something, but that would be me being a spoilsport. i believe James sees them as Dino wellies, and for all i know that is in fact what they are!!

in any event, they look most smart!!

oh well, not a lot else to report! hope you read this in better health than i write it!!

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

Monday, November 12, 2007

state of fear

once upon a time, a fire at a disused building would not really have had much news and media coverage. a disused building on fire in London would perhaps have had a brief mention in national news in the UK.

this, however, is the 21st Century. a world of saturation news and media coverage. instead of being oblivious to the fire going on now, i cannot move for coverage of it. as far as i can determine, the facts are that some plastic or polyester are on fire in a disused bus station. there are 8 (eight!) of the supposedly scarce fire brigade trucks on the site, and within minutes the smoke has reduced and whatever fire there was, well, it seems to be no more.

the world, however, is being bombarded with "personal eyewitnesses" (as if you could have a different kind of eyewitness?), each giving their own theories and ideas as to what the cause is. every 60 - 90 seconds, they are announcing that they "do not believe it is a terror attack". it is clearly not a terror attack, so why even bother mentioning it?

most radio & tv news stations need to fill their airtime up with something, anything really. this is why we had a ludicrous amount of time given to the tragic story of one child going missing whilst on holiday with her rather thoughtless parents. yes, that is a sad story, but the coverage of it was at least excessive, and ignored the fact that hundreds, if not thousands, of children vanish or have harm befall them every day, sadly.

this current story, and old unused building being on fire, is no story. two paragraphs in a local newspaper at best, it should be. but the media is making it into something of a catastrophic level.

thanks to our information age, our technologically "advanced", with blanket news and information coverage available everywhere, any time, is it any wonder we have created a world in which we live in a state of fear, where every incident in the world is thrust upon us, convincing us that it is a "major disaster" and will directly affect us, no matter how many thousands of miles away we are?

it's an interesting thing we have done, unleashing all this choice and constant information; information that we are gifted, information and knowledge that we have not earned and thus do not respect.

the news and information broadcasters / producers will not change their ways, so all i can do is urge you to be mindful of what they tell you. invariably, the best advice i can offer anyone is when reading a news article, note what they do not tell you or emphasize, rather than being concerned with what they wish to highlight.

be excellent to each other, or rather, to quote another famous quote :

don't panic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Shaun William Ryder - Functional, apparently

just as it was somewhat strange that James Blunt’s 1973 should be, in my humble opinion, the single of the year (still not topped), it is curious that the best album of 2007 should be Uncle Dysfunktional by the Happy Mondays.

i finally got around to playing the new album from the (yet again) reformed Mondays this morning on my drive to work, and it blew me away. “reformed” is an unusual way of describing them, there be only 3 of the original line-up as i recall, and one of those is dancer-“vibes” guider Bez. but then again one of them is Shaun William Ryder, and essentially he is the Happy Mondays.

so, how did we get to this fine album? many, many years ago, the Happy Mondays released two killer albums, Bummed and the classic Pills n Thrills n Bellyaches. the latter was defining in terms of the band and the era of the early 90’s. with respect to The Stone Roses debut album, which is timeless, perhaps only Primal Scream’s Screamadelica could challenge the status of PTB as the record of the era of one generation under the same groove.

it then all went a bit pear shaped, to say the least. Yes, Please is a qualified bad record, making Second Coming by The Stone Roses look like an accomplished and polished follow-up to a classic record. the one classic track, Hallelujah, would have made more sense coming from the messiah-like PTB era Shaun Ryder, on Yes, Please it was symptomatic of overblown egos and self-indulgence.

the first instance of the indestructable ways of Shaun Ryder came in the comeback from the mess of Yes, Please, namely It’s Great When You’re Straight.....Yeah in the form of Black Grape. every track produced in respect of this first album was of the highest quality, and the album still stands up pretty well today. alas, Black Grape’s second and final album, Stupid Stupid Stupid, is easily one of the worst ever recorded and released, and it is of little surprise that the “band”, if i can call them that, dissolved not too long after it.

and so, after a few years of guest appearances here, reality tv shows there and legal actions stopping him entering a recording studio, Shaun Ryder is back under the name which made him and he made. in the light of the somewhat dubious history of the above, i was needless to say a bit reluctant to play Uncle Dysfunktional, but am now pleased, to say the least, that i did give it a spin.

considering that Shaun Ryder looks and acts something akin to an extra from One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest of late, the funked up, dance experience of Uncle Dysfunktional is breathtaking to say the least. on the basis of this album, to quasi-quote the late great Tony Wilson as credited in the excellent 24 Hour Party People, even the white man gets up to dance with this record. the slurring, brain muddled Shaun Ryder of interviews becomes the husky, dirty old man vocalist alluded to on PTB tracks like Bob’s Yer Uncle. whatever instruments that Bez is not playing are clearly endorsed by Bez vibe, and the vibe is good.

there is little or no point in highlighting any particular track as the whole thing merges into one long festival of funk indulgence. if you must have standout tracks, maybe to sample them before going and experiencing the whole album, C***** Disco and Jellybean has the saucy charm and wit Ryder is known and celebrated for, whereas In The Blood is just a general, all around awesome track.

the entity known as the Happy Mondays probably have no right to release a record of this astonishing excellence, and Shaun Ryder certainly should not be coherent or “with it” enough to produce yet more moments of genius. they have done and he is would be the answer to those two comments. my earnest recommendation is to grab this record, revel in it and enjoy it – there is a strong likelihood that, at the next chance they get, they will blow it all once again, and who knows when the luck that lets them bounce back will elude them once and for all?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Death Star Insurance Claim

Many thousands of years after the destruction of the Empire’s famous ‘Death Star’, a protracted legal battle is continuing over unpaid insurance money, amid claims that the Empire’s ultimate weapon was seriously under-insured.

The Death Star was targeted in an unprovoked attack by rebel terrorists, four months after completion, and only days after a successful demonstration of the ‘ultimate firepower’ of this most awesome weapon. The resulting explosion completely destroyed the biggest capital project the Empire had embarked upon to date. To add to the distress of the Empire’s Property Management Group, it was subsequently claimed by their insurers that their policy limits fell at least 150,000,000 Galactic credits short of what they needed to rebuild.

A complex legal battle has continued ever since, with the result that thousands of years after the dramatic destruction of the Death Star, still no insurance money has been paid out. Insurers claimed that unnecessary delays were caused by inadequate responses on the initial claim form. For example, under the section marked ‘Date and Location of Accident’ they had put ‘A long time ago in a galaxy far away.’

‘These random attacks have really hurt our business’ added a spokesman for one insurance company which specializes in TIE-fighter starship coverage. ‘We used to deal mainly with storm-troopers who had scraped the edge of one of their TIE-fighter’s wings reversing into a parking space. But now we are looking at hundreds of instances of large-scale destruction of whole vehicles. It is making the galactic insurance sector completely unviable.’

Despite the compensation delays, the Emperor has personally pledged to ensure the Death Star will be rebuilt, and this time the X-wing shaped hole in the side will be properly plugged to make sure ‘lightning doesn’t strike twice again.’ ‘Then we will be launching an all out final assault on the Jedi forces’ said the Emperor. ‘As soon as we have got the all-clear from the Health and Safety people.’