Wednesday, December 31, 2014

post 336

hello there

well, i can't call this a "best of the year" thing, as it just upsets people for no reason. these are just the things that i was most impressed with through the year, look you see. you are most welcome to disagree, partially agree or agree. just dig what you dig, man, look you see.

here we go, then.

The Year In Music

for me the best part of the year was being able to walk into HMV and purchase albums on their date of release. with only a little bit of falling out with HMV along the way.

yes, as per the picture, i believe that Songs Of Innocence by U2 was the best album of the year. away from all the hype, hysteria and nonsense around the release, or more to the point the initial giveaway, what seems to have been lost on a lot of people was that it is a very, very good album.

as for the nonsense around the release, well, that's just modern times, i am afraid. a great many talent-free people who had somehow landed record contracts worked out that they were able to get publicity by bad mouthing U2 for giving their album away for free, in particular immensely obscure and insignificant rap / hip-hop artists from America who pretty much had no idea who or what a U2 was.

as for "normal" people who complained about an unwanted album being "forced" onto their Apple product, well, let me not shock you, d!ckhead, but there's a clue in the pointless nature of that whine in the form of it is an Apple product. Apple routinely and regularly put sh!t on your device that, if you had a choice, you would not want anywhere near you. so shut up and work out how to delete something you don't want without writing about it all over the internet.

away from U2, and we were blessed with some amazing albums. in a semi-specific order, Holly Johnson, Kasabian, the Manics and Morrissey all released brilliant records. a late arrival was, of course, the Robbie Williams one i mentioned a couple of posts ago. a sign of concern, perhaps, is that with the possible exception of Kasabian, it's the "old guard" that are being relied on for quality new music. where are the new decent bands, please? have we really given up on the music industry?

other than releases of albums, the music highlight of the year was unquestionably Metallica's headline slot at Glastonbury. for the first time since The Who or Bowie, the headline act just did a great set for the fans with no agenda to flog their new or most recent album.

The Year In Books

i would, for the most part, refer you to the many, many reviews of books i have posted here throughout the year 2014. for those that simply cannot be bothered with such things, well, i don't think they were first published in this very year that i read them, but The Martian by Andy Weir and I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes were the two best novels that i had the pleasure of reading. i would happily suggest to everyone that they give them a try, they were both excellent.

speaking of which

The Year In Bus Rides

Frankly, for the most part every bus ride was a good bus ride, for it meant that i was not driving. However, in the spirit of this post, some of the more outstanding bus trips i took this year.

* the one or two where the bus was woefully late, and the driver went completely mental with the speed in a valiant effort to make up the time.

* the one where the driver greeted me with the words "goere more", or whatever good morning in Afrikaans is. unexpected, to say the least, in Yorkshire.

* the one where the bus driver attempted to totally demolish and trash the clutch and gears. unless they are the same thing, which i confess they might be. 

* the one where the bus got cut off by a big massive fat guy that had somehow squeezed into a Ford Ka, and the bus driver having a smart road rage taunt at him. was boss watching the fella try to get out of the car he was wedged into and make an effort to run after a bus, it was.

* the one where the bus driver went around the roundabout (traffic circle) several times prior to exiting it just to make absolutely sure.

all of them, in several ways, were memorable. feel free to pick from the above which you think was the best and i am happy to agree with you.

The Year In Movies
i wasn't really expect much out of a film that had, as highlights, a dancing tree and a rat with a gun, but wouldn't you know Guardians Of The Galaxy turned out to be the best film of the year. excellent, it was - i think, but accident, it has given a whole load of kids the same sense of wonder and excitement my generation got as kids when Star Wars came along - a film no one expected much of, but became much loved by audiences.

and that's it for films of the year. a dire year, really, although in fairness i have yet to watch Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes. i have the disc on the way, and i am looking forward to it. yes, child of the condiment phoenix, i am aware that it has Gaz in it and yes i shall forward on.

2014 was, as far as cinema was concerned, all about flogging trailers for films to be released in 2015. of those trailers, Mad Max Fury Road looks like it shall be brilliant, Jurassic World looks like it could be one of the best films ever, Star Wars VII - Mission To Moscow looks like it could be OK, and Terminantor Geynisissie or whatever they have decided on looks like it could well be Terminator Phil Collins, sadly.

The Year In Television

this whole "Freeview" digital television thing meant that it was possible for me to watch Bullseye repeats every night of the week. i didn't, but i would say of the 364 nights thus far that i could, i probably did for about 200 of them. nice one, smashing.

and that's just about all i can think of.

whatever you watched, read, listened to or opted to travel via in 2014, i trust it was all excellent, and may 2015 be even more excellent for you.

many, many thanks for reading this and all the stuff from the last year; hopefully i will see you, or you will see all of this, in the new year.

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

Christmas around the world (ish)

hello there

crivens, gadzooks even, it's the last day of the year, so it is, look you see. i had, then, better do a look back at Christmas celebrations from last week, for to do it in the new year would be something that strikes me as being a terribly pretentious thing to do.

first and foremost, of course, i trust you all have had, or are continuing to have, a most excellent Christmas. yes, of course, even those of you who do not celebrate Christmas for what it is as such because of religious reasons or beliefs, but no doubt get something of a break at this point of the year anyhow. ours has been great - my first at home for many years, and of course the first English one for all in the house.

and here we are - well, all but me, for i was behind the camera (yes, a proper camera) - visiting Gran and Gramps on Christmas morning

those are indeed Thorntons chocolate gingers that Gran & Gramps have. they would have loved some of the fancy ones from that fancy shop off of the very fancy Sandton City, but Thorntons ones will do, apparently, along with having us about for a year or so.

Father Christmas, or if you like Santa Clause, somehow managed to drop some rather ace Guardians Of The Galaxy toys for the boys off at Gran & Gramps, which they were well impressed with.

to go slightly away, but not too far, from Christmas, this next picture of Gran and Gramps recently came to my attention. it's from, give or take, 40 years and two months ago.

many, many thanks indeed to a chap called Jim for not only finding the above, but also for sharing it with me and certain parts of the world.

and, speaking of the world, the title of this post sort of promised you Christmas around the world, so let us get on with that. if you were wondering whether or not in New Zealand, or if you like Aotearoa,  they choose to celebrate Christmas by going up a mountain,  here comes an end to your sense of wonder about this most pressing of matters.

yes, indeed they do. and they go right up to the edge and everything, indeed Bono close to the edge. and wear Christmas hats too. New Zealand looks awesome, man, not at all like they present it in them films with the midgets and the rings.

now then, dear reader, an extra special treat coming up for you in the next picture. this paragraph, or if you like bit of writing, exists surely so you can brace yourself and be ready for it.

if you are sat there looking at the picture to the side and wondering "is that who i think it is", well, the answer is very much yes it is, in a real and definitive sense, assuming of course that you are thinking this is Spiros. no, not the big massive penguin, the chap bent over in a compromising yet oddly accommodating way before the penguin.

is getting bummed off big massive penguins a regular thing for Spiros, you ask? partially, i suppose. in this case it was quite a surprise and chance event, as you can more or less work out by the fact that he has dropped his brolly.

why does Spiros walk around with a brolly? he was brought up in one of them colonial places, look you see, and the only ideas or knowledge he had of where he lives now came from the rather more elitist, idealist type of missionary dude. they created for him a picture of Life in London (innit) being one in which gentlemen are, at all times, expected to walk around with a brolly and wear a bowler hat. i will wager some coins of money that his bowler hat is on the top of the penguin you cannot see the head of in this picture, to be honest.

one of the best things about 2015 will, no doubt, being able to share with you the further adventures of Spiros. it is, after all, highly unlikely that he will stop sending me random pictures of spew. i have no doubt at all that he will also continue to have class fights with members of the hackney carriage fraternity too.

an extra special image for you who like things that are related to the southern side of the equator. no, alas, Grant enthusiasts, there is nothing for you here, for i got no images from him this year. Richard enthusiasts, however, are already no doubt absolutely thrilled already by this picture here, long before they read this very sentence.

yes, in fairness, Richard does often wear a red nose and antlers during the course of every or any given year. here, however, he is pictured wearing them specifically, or if you like especially, for Christmas, which is a jolly nice gesture.

it sounds like he, Erika and the kids all had a fantastic time, with family and friends visiting and making merry. i know for a fact that Christmas was a good deal warmer for them where they are than it was for us, which goes in many ways towards explaining the shirtless, or if you like shirt-free, look that he has adopted for this picture. not that, as a Newcastle fan, he allows such things as cold, indeed inclement, weather to be a barrier to wandering around with no shirt on. no, i don't know who Newcastle's next manager will be and i don't really care. ace if it is Tim Sherwood, unless there is someone even worse than him available at the moment and i can't remember who it is.

that went a bit off course, that last bit did. here, look, here you go, here's another picture showing how much hotter it was there than it was here.

and there you more or less have it; Christmas around the world, or at least the known parts of the world. if your part of the world has not been covered in this blog post, then either you are living in a yet undiscovered part of the world or you simply did not send me any pictures.

oh, go on then, to finish off, one of the boys on the day after Christmas, or if you like Boxing Day, or the Day of Goodwill. i don't think anyone calls it Goodwill Day, but if you want to, knock yourself out

one more post from me to follow for this year - yes, the inevitable one. beyond that, though, thank you so much for sticking with me and reading this year, and i hope there's stuffs of things of interest to entertain you throughout 2015.

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

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

icy pictures

hi there

very little to do with me, look you see, this post. my (considerably) better half remains all excited, indeed giddy, about this ice and snow business. a consequence of this has been her going off with her phone camera thing and taking some pictures.

as she was so kind as to mail them on to me, i thought i would post them here for those interested in such things.

yes, i know what you are thinking. indeed, my (considerably) better half is, well, considerably better than me at taking pictures and that. she also, it would seem, has a considerably better camera phone thing, or if you like phone camera thing. except hers seems to go through an awful lot more cases, or if you like pouches, than mine does, i will have you know.

funnily enough, looking at the statue in the picture above, we have Doctor Who on the TV here right now. but not an episode that features them scary, spooky angels. so blink away, i guess.

if you like the above picture then you are probably going to really like the next one too.

yeah, sorry, not a lot to say at the moment - just letting these pictures do their thing for you!

well, there you go. many, many thanks indeed to my (considerably) better half for sending them along, and well done on getting some truly ace images!

my usual rubbish shall no doubt return soon, but i trust you have all, for the most part, enjoyed a more artsy, proper and worthwhile blog post!

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

Monday, December 29, 2014

Robbie Williams - Under The Radar Volume I

hi there

no, google enthusiasts, there is no link to an illicit download of this album here. for the sake of £4.99 for the official download of it, go and be decent and purchase it at the official store, look you see. i would say purchase the CD, like what i did, but it appears to be sold out for the time being.

right, with the pirates gone off to hunt it elsewhere, back to you, the person presumably interested in obtaining this the "right" way. or indeed the wrong way; but you just want to see a review of it first.

i found out about this new album off of Robbie Williams by accident. NME ran a story saying that it "wasn't eligible" for a chart battle with the new Take That one, as it was not a barcoded release through conventional shops or online retailers. what new Robbie Williams album, i asked, and with the help of google i found it.

yes, that is, i am assured, the cheeky chap himself showing off his back cheeks to the world on the cover.

Under The Radar Vol 1 is, as the name somewhat suggests, a collection of rare and previously unreleased tunes by the Williams of Robbie. for reasons i am unsure of, but may well guess at later on in this post, it seems that Robbie has opted against dealing with the more regular of record labels and is selling this more or less himself, off of his website alone.

with it being what it is, the first question you may well have would be is it worth it? my answer is yes, indeed it is, there are some superb tunes on here. there are two schools of thought on this whole "previously unreleased" business. some get excited about the idea of hearing yet more from a favourite artist. others, in particular some musicians i am honoured to know (heya, Nasher), believe that unreleased tracks were not released for a reason, and are better off left unheard by fans.

what's the deal here? are they worthwhile hearing? as i said, yes they are, and as it happens on the inside of the CD what i ordered Robbie says something similar too. yes, he would, since they are his tunes and he is selling them, but still, he is honest on this subject

just about every track on this CD would have effortlessly slipped on to any of his releases in the 90s or early 2000s; those wild and wonderful days when music still mattered and was not quite so transient and utterly disposable as we have allowed it to become. when you consider the exceptionally high standards of the music he created then - pop music, yes, but brilliant, intelligent and truly memorable pop music - it is intended as the highest praise i can possibly give when i say that nothing here would have been out of place on a "proper" release from the cheeky lad.

i really like all fourteen tracks on the disc, but if i had to select but one highlight, it would be the second track, Raver. i would really like to know the provenance or if you like history of this tune. i am unsure if this is an unreleased one or an obscure b-side, but i know that it sounds very, very much like Barriers off of the Suede. now then, did Brett hear this and "borrow", or did Robbie hear the Suede do their thing and "borrow", i wonder? either way, it doesn't really matter, as the result is the world has two awesome songs that sound rather similar.

yeah, the above picture is basically what arrived in the post for me after i ordered it, and has been put in here more or less as an excuse to let you have a look at his backside once more. i know that some of you will appreciate this; yes Gillian i am talking about you.

as for the practicalities of this release - one can only purchase it directly from the Williams of Robbie via his official internet site of the web -  it's a good thing and a bad thing. the bad, mostly, is that it got released without some people - me - knowing about it. my fault, or if you like my bad, for not subscribing to him on email, twitter or what have you i suppose. for the good, well, as far as i can see he sells and ships it worldwide, so no fans need miss out. also, a download of the album was included when you purchased the CD, allowing one to hear it straight away.

it is smart that he can do this. i wish that more musicians could, but alas they can't. not every band or singer is in a position where they own all the rights - publishing, releasing, etc - to all their songs, and they are not, sadly, free to do with them what they like. great that Robbie can.

i have had a quick look at the official site and, as of the day today, the initial run of CDs has sold out, but it looks like they are making more to order. nice one. in the mean time, if you are that keen, click on the links i have sporadically put over this post and you can buy a relatively instant download of it. well worth it, but i think you have got that message from me by now.

sorry, this and just about all of my blog posts of late feel like they are unstructured and rambling. not sure where i lost the knack to do it all free flowing. or maybe i am, and i am just over-thinking or being paranoid about it or something.

another look at that magnificent CD cover? sure, why not.

i do not, i confess, have the CD any more. i never ever intended to keep it. i bought it for one reason and one reason only - to send all the way to New Zealand.

my sister is, as a number of you will be all too aware, quite the fan of the Williams of Robbie. i suspect that she, like me, will have had no idea that this was released, so it was nice to be able to get it for her and surprise her with it.

at least i think it was a surprise. maybe she did know that it was being released and went "oh that's nice".

yes, indeed, the observant of you. sticking out of the Robbie Williams CD is in fact the Sainsbury's voucher for 1p that Spiros sent me. i had no idea at all what to do with it, so thought i would send it to New Zealand and see if they could work out some practical use. actually, they are very welcome to come up with an impractical use for it too.

i did have hopes that this would arrive at its new home in New Zealand prior to the dawn of Christmas, but alas no, it was not to be. arriving the next working day after the Christmas festivities was not too bad, considering the fact that, as i recall, i was only able to post it some 10 days before the event.

yeah, i am busy trying to fill up the space next to this picture for you, hope you appreciate it.

what else can i say about Robbie Williams, or if you like the Williams of Robbie? i do hope that this release has been enough of a success for the lad for him to consider further releases in general and a volume two of this in particular. if volume two featured the same picture but taken from the other side, well, no doubt my sister and many, many other fans would be all the more delighted with that particular release.

many of you out there are no doubt all too ready and willing to pour scorn on the Williams of Robbie. knock away, if that amuses you. i happen to prefer living in a world where there are massive, big, pop and rock stars, making excellent music and doing their thing to entertain the world. just enjoy it, man, dig what you dig.

right, as ever, hope this has been of use to someone somewhere! if you happen to buy the album, i hope you enjoy it as much as i do!

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

Sunday, December 28, 2014

travels in snow

hi there

actually i have opted to dispense with sentimental hygiene, mostly. yes the day today marks one year since i have been home and, of course, one year that the 75% of my family that you actually all like and much prefer have all been in their new home. it's so far so very, very good, and we are rather looking to the future years instead of reminiscing too much. but, look you see, many thanks to all of those who have helped us get to where we are. you know who you are and we love you.

onwards to today, then, and an adventure of sorts. yesterday was, for the most part, dominated by the excitement of snow arriving. today was to, in similar ways, be dominated by the challenge of attempting to drive around in it. neither i nor my (considerably) better half had driven in snow before. today, with it being present, and the roads icy, but not to excess, seemed like to be the best time to do some experimenting to this extent, or if you like to that effect.

was it cold today, you ask? why yes it was, according to the dashboard.

before we could commence navigating the icy and hopefully not too treacherous roads, there was the small matter of needing to make sure that the car was ready to go. although elements of the snow had melted away over the course of the evening, our car - as indeed was the case with the majority of other cars around - was clinging on to the snow as much as it could.

time, then, for my (considerably) better half to continue her embracing of a love for all things snow and see if she couldn't get it, along with the ice, off of the windscreen. 

in tremendous fairness to her, the enthusiasm she has thus far expressed for all things snow was not diminished by this most arduous and cold to the touch of jobs. she took to the task with some gusto and enthusiasm.

did i assist? yes, of course, but not at the times i was busy stood taking pictures.

off we went, then, safely and soundly. most of the major and secondary to major roads are in fact gritted by the council, so they were relatively safe to drive on. the minor roads, such as the ones in the village where we live, tend to fair not so well when it comes to gritting. we went rather steadily along those roads, then, and experienced no incident beyond getting to where we wished to be.

where is it that we went? shopping. we figured that most of the Boxing Day and yesterday crowds would have been and gone, and that it would thus be a relatively calm and not too distractingly busy time to have a gander at what was on offer. we were mostly correct - the places were busy, but not packed to any sort of silly levels. also, there was no punching, kicking and grabbing by shoppers, which was nice.

what did we get? lots of different things. for some reason a couple of you really quite like, or are somewhat partial to, seeing what new threads i have obtained. here, for those of you, is a less than fantastic image of some smart new clothes i found today, then.

best of the bunch? perhaps to feature in a later picture, to be honest, but of those on display here i would say the new black strides are smart. they seem to have relatively decent sized pockets, which is something of a bewilderingly rare feature of English trousers. do the people of this nation no longer keep things in pockets?

 the boys had some Christmas money, or if you like money for Christmas, from Grandma and Grandad. they were, understandably, keen to spend it. whilst James got some very smart new football boots, William was fortunate enough to find this.

yes, a very smart remote control K9 off of Doctor Who. looks impressive and expensive, doesn't it? impressive, yes, expensive, quite surprisingly not. this came in at a price that gave a penny in change off of thirty notes, which surprised me, and indeed the lady on the till. nice find!

what we have experienced of it thus far is quite smart, although we have not had it riding around yet. we, alas, did not read the back of the box properly, and do not yet have the right batteries. i shall be off to fix that in the morning.

i did indeed, if you are wondering, try to remedy the battery situation earlier this evening. a walk down the village, alas, ended in me finding that the two shops open on an early Sunday evening did not stock the batteries we require. hey ho, i was able at least to get you a picture of the tree all lit up, as i believe i promised to in a post from earlier in the week.

Christmas trees, i suppose i should say, for as you can sort of almost make out there, it seems that two trees have lights all over them which signifies them as being trees of Christmas.

anyway, back to threads. best clothing acquisition of the day today? undoubtedly these smart new boots, underwritten and financed with much love and with my greatest appreciation by my (considerably) better half.

although the footwear of choice i had been using appeared fine on the surface, the tread on them had all but gone. they were of little practical use in this colder, icier weather. for safety i required some more, and that they are exceptionally stylish is an added bonus.

i shall no doubt take them on an inaugural, or if you like first, walk tomorrow. well, when i say take, i mean wear - i am not going to carry them around like some sort of plank or doilham or, if you like, divvy.

right, dishes do not magically wash themselves it seems - something of a failure of mankind not to have that fixed so close to 2015, but no matter. best i go and attend to them in the traditional, perhaps conventional, way.

i trust that you have all had a most excellent weekend!

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

Saturday, December 27, 2014

snow be here

hi there

well, the 75% of my family that you all like are very excited at the moment. there has been a sense of disappointment in their number, look you seem about the fact that the rest of the country has faced a weather apocalypse in the form of snow. we had mostly missed out on this utter, utter destruction and devastation. that is, until now.

actually, we did have some earlier, as this first picture shows.

it being up on a hill - even a famous, celebrated and most impressive one - was of little or no use to them, apparently. no, they wanted full on snow, the kind that blocks off all the roads and keeps you barricaded in your home.

this evening, however, we were finally lucky - their word, most decidedly not mine -  enough to get the fall of snow, or if you like snowfall, down at our level. and it is falling snow that is of the nature which stays for a bit.

my (considerably) better half is bouncing up and down with joy at all of this, and has taken several videos of it all. here is one of them for your viewing pleasure.

yay, whoohoo, snow, great, fantastic, brilliant.

i don't mean to be a grouch or anything like that, but the novelty factor of snow kind of wore off for me many years ago. when? i am not sure precisely, but it was somewhere around the time that i either had to walk 3 or 4 miles through it to do an exam, or possibly when i had to dig myself out of a house.

but yes, there was something of a smile on my face when i saw it falling once more. partially from nostalgia; mostly from seeing the excitement everyone else here had of experiencing it.

we did, as avid readers of this blog shall recall, have some earlier on this year. it was just a fleeting look at it, however. this looks like it could well hang around for a few days.

as i have been writing this it has been falling further and laying. these next two pictures are but 30 minutes apart. for starters, then, here are the 75% you all like rushing to be outside at the first fall of snow.

and here are my class, if not sensational, size 13 footprints a little bit later.

and it is still very much falling, dear reader. well, i suspect it would be quite an interesting and somewhat unusual story for you all if it was somehow rising, would it not.

the above hopefully gives the reader of this blog who has never lived in snow something of an insight into how one can so easily be "caught in a snowstorm". when it falls with the intention of staying, it comes with some speed, look you see. it's not like people recklessly go out in the stuff.

tomorrow would be a day that i had planned to go off and do a spot of shopping. the current condition of the car, however, gives every suggestion of me not going off to do a spot of shopping tomorrow.  

as i have not actually driven in snow before i am somewhat concerned about doing this. it is something that i will no doubt not be able to avoid forever, but i may well get away with not doing it tomorrow.

how is the snow affecting my efforts to fail at that quit / cut down considerably on the smoking front thing? ever so well, as it happens, ever so well.

it was something of a challenge to get the above done, and i trust you all appreciate it. should i get some sort of medal or certificate for my valiant effort? i would not refuse such an honour if it were to be bestowed upon me.

anyway, i think i shall head off now and make some sort of effort to keep warm.

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

Christmas viewing

hello there

well, i am sure you can understand the lack of updates from this time of the year - it's a period for spending with family, friends and indeed the television. i have a small, short opportunity to post some stuff, or if you will nonsense, for you, dear reader.

what was, in many respects, the televisual highlight of my festive season? why, look you see, Bullseye. they had an awful lot of Bullseye on, and i watched just about as much of it as i could handle.

yes, that's right, it was all proper episodes of it too, featuring Jim Bowen. observe, if you will, the most magnificent decorations in the background of that picture. it is the presence of those decorations which signify that, according to Bullseye, it is indeed Christmas.

it would be quite tiresome for you all, i imagine, if all i did here was post loads of pictures that i took of the television whilst Bullseye was on. it is, if we are honest, probably quite tiresome for you to read this blog at the very best of times anyway. let me make some sort of heartfelt if likely to be destined to fail effort to bring some elements of further interest.

like, for instance, the windscreen of our wheels on our indeed around mid-day today. 

yes, that's right, frosty ice, or if you like icy frost. no, we have not fallen to the snow as such as yet, but this is a clear calling card that announces we can expect it soon. the 75% of my family which you all actually like are very much looking forward to this. me? not so much, really. i have lived through it before, and tend to not consider the idea of it as being as brilliant and as sensational as they imagine it will be.

back to television? sure. when i left England, many years ago, Channel 5 was a company, or if you like outfit, that specialised in video tapes that you bought to watch at home. in my absence, a TV channel has emerged which calls itself channel 5, or maybe just 5.

anyway, for Christmas Day night, which i think you might call Christmas Night in some parts of the world, they had a most smart Chas N Dave special on, originally recorded and broadcast in 1982. did i watch it in 1982? no, for i was not in England then either, i was in Australia. or somewhere similar.

happy days, then, that i could at long last see this special that i had no previous knowledge or idea that it even existed.

sure, on one level you can say that a Chas N Dave Christmas special now, as it did then, emphasised if not illustrated the major problem in British society - that mass communication was and indeed is controlled by London, and done so in an isolationist, insular way, in which only things of London were presented. the thinking, perhaps mindset, was that there were only two types of people in the UK - those in London and those that wished to be in or of London.

you could, however, take a different level all together and simply enjoy it as a good old fashioned sing-song by two jolly decent cockney lads. i went with this level, but respect the fact that many will have gone for the other one. hey ho.

i do not remember if i posted this picture before, but if i did here it is again, since a year ago today we were all sat something like this for several hours on a plane.

yes, a year ago today we were flying to what is now for all of us home. has the year gone fast or slow? it has gone at its own pace. i will possibly, if time permits, do one of them "one year on" posts tomorrow, although in reality you can if interested just go through this blog and see aspects of the year as it has been i suppose.

the important thing, which is well worth bearing in mind if i am prone to waffle and sentiment about it tomorrow, is that it has been good, very good in fact, and long may it continue.

back to Bullseye, you ask? sure, why not here is another Christmas edition they had on yesterday.

i know that most of you will be all excited and a little Australian about the presence of Roy Hull and Emu in the above. i would ask you, however, to have a gander at the sensational wardrobe Jim Bowen selected for this special edition. mostly, though, i would suggest you focus on the superb magnificence of Eric Bristow.

yes, that is indeed the crafty cockney, Mr Bristow. i think he's supposed to be dressed as one of them pearly king type of people London is known and celebrated for. i think, however, he does a really passable job of looking like the leatherman out of the Village People, or indeed a patron of that fine bar the Blue Oyster, as seen in them Police Academy movies.

anyway, that's been it for TV and beyond thus far. more later!

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

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

boba, bongo and bread

hello there

well, this is undoubtedly my last post prior to Christmas, so all the best and all of that stuff, look you see. i trust that all is splendid and well with you wherever you may be.

and what would be the reason for this post? none in particular really, except to bring together a few images that may, or indeed may not, be of interest to some if not all of you. and, in the season of goodwill, where would one start other than with Boba Fett?

oh yes, he - and the stormtrooper he was bundled with for no apparent reason - are free of their packaging and are merrily being played with.

how are they? quite smart, really. for added awesomeness, Boba fits perfectly into one of several Batmobile toys we have. Boba Fett blended with Batman is indeed, i am happy to report, as awesome and as brilliant as it sounds. imagine a Boba Fett and Batman "crossover" movie. they could both stand around, in silence and all moody, randomly freezing people.

verk has, as it happens, finished for the year. yay, bit of a holiday for me then, dear reader. i had this idea that for some reason you might want one final image from the year of me stood outside the much celebrated, partially loved Bongo, so here you go.

that is in fact mostly the winds of the weather pushing my hair back than it is any sort of styling decision made by me to make it look like that, but i suspect you knew this.

will there be similar images to the above from me throughout 2015? i would certainly hope so.

onwards, then, to the present day today. i had a request to take an image of the tree of Christmas that is present within the village and post it here, so this is what i have done. although, now that i look at it and consider the matter, it might not have been all that bright an idea for me to have done this during the more daylight of hours today. 

it is a tree that, to me, serves its purpose. several others have, however, expressed degrees of dissatisfaction with it. the gale force winds of some considerable strength that we have had of late has not been an event which has enhanced the tree and its appearance, shall we say. when the wind picks up one does get a fearful feeling of it falling over.

it is remotely possible that my travels will see me go past it during darker hours. if i do this, and i remember, i shall certainly take a picture of it in all its glory, which is to say one in which the lights are far more accentuated and visible.

with verk being finished the boss took us all off to the fanciest restaurant in town as a year end thanks, which was a brilliant gesture. it was a place i had seen and always fancied going to.

i was not at all let down by it, as the food was amazing. what did i have? balti mushroom and paneer. it was class, it was. also i had loads of the finest naan bread i have ever tasted, which was brought to us on these big massive spikes.

would i go again? for sure, as they say in Sweden, for sure. i would very much like to take my (considerably) better half along so she can enjoy it. off we shall go, then, when we have secured a suitable date on the calendar when someone can kindly babysit for us.

who is the young lad rather distracting from the class bread in the above picture? we shall get to him a little later. in the mean time, it seems that somewhere in Europe someone is planning on opening up a rather class, indeed smart, Stones store. 

where and when? not sure, alas, sorry, but all the same that looks pretty class and thus i thought it would be a good idea to post it here.

more of Boba Fett and the stormtrooper that was in the same package as him? sure, why not.

a very wise and most agreeable purchase, this new Boba Fett was. as per previous posts, now that Disney own all that Star Wars stuff i imagine we can expect loads and loads of Boba stuff being shoved on the shelves for sale. most happy day.

right, back to that young lad. he is one of our cadets at verk, called Calvin or something like that. here he is doing some very smart colouring in whilst waiting for whatever it was on the kids menu that he ordered for himself to eat.

no, he is not really like the scandinavian houseboys that Spiros hires. he is actually a very class lad, good at his job and we are very glad to have him on board with us.

back to today, then, and i took a stroll around the village with the boys. well, you know this, for you saw the magnificent picture of the most certainly placed tree i took. i tried to take some pictures of the boys on our walk, with fair to middling results.

 there was some intention to look towards me in fairness, but that did not quite work out all that well. they did somewhat better in the next one, though.

and that's about that for this post. my day began far earlier that i had intended it to, i still have some of that wrapping business to attend to and i am somewhat tired.

whatever you are celebrating for the remainder of this week and most of next, i hope you enjoy!

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

Monday, December 22, 2014

commercial Christmas

hello there

Christmas is here once again, so let's all have some fun....and those in the know are aware of how to finish that one off, look you see.

our, as in my (considerably) better half and i, Christmas business is done and dusted, with the mere matter of wrapping to be attended to, presumably soon. this, however, proved in itself to be no barrier at all to be deciding to indulge in one or two gifts for myself, and if they are to be passed off as Christmas presents to myself well then so be it.

what, another Boba Fett? oh hell yes, in particular as it was for some reason priced at £10 in the shop i spotted it in. for some reason online everywhere has this one for at least £15 but usually £20, playing up to the fact that Boba Fett things are usually the hardest ones to find despite being in relatively high demand from fans. yes, i know not everyone likes Boba, but there are more people who want a Boba Fett toy than, say, a Jar Jar one. or a young Anakin.

i have no doubt at all that, now Disney owns him and his helmet, Boba Fett stuff will become far more widely available. in the mean time, though, onwards to another investment that i made.

yes, another edition of those Uncanny Tales like comics that i remember so fondly from my youth. i have a few more on the way too. well, it's Christmas and that, thought i would treat myself.

this edition of Alan Class, alas, turned out to be not so great, featuring as it did mostly some secret organization battling someone or other who have the shady acronym SPIDER as a name. it was OK, but i prefer the more Twilight Zone stories in them. which, hopefully, i will get in the next order. still, glad to have this one, thanks.

how is my man flu going? still there, alas, and still terminal. i am soldiering, or if you like plodding, along, though, and trust that you and the world appreciate the sacrifice.

back to Boba Fett? certainly. here's the back of the box.

for those who catalogue and collect this sort of information, the box on the back seems to have some sort of specially printed, perhaps unique number on it. mine is number 42721 if that is of any interest or use to you; best i state that now before the box is torn open and i play with the Boba Fett. and, i suppose, the stormtrooper that is in the box.

there was an unpaid for and unsolicited present at verk today, by the way. during afternoon break, a point at which i yet again commendably failed miserably at quitting smoking, i and a few others who had failed were treated to a show of some members of the constabulary trying to address the needs of two - let us be honest here - tramps that the sauce appeared to have got the better of.

mildly entertaining it was, really. at one stage one of the tramps simply biffed the other and chased him off. the remaining tramp seemed to engage the members of the constabulary in some sort of conversation. he, possibly mid-sentence, got rather bored with it and opted to just stagger off, leaving the coppers to it.

quite a rare sight, that was, during the day. it is, however, something that one suspects happens rather frequently during evening hours down town.

another image of Boba Fett? oh, go on then.

yes, indeed he is still in the box right now. i shall not, however, be doing that "collector" thing. it is a toy, after all, and a class one at that. soon Boba Fett shall be freed from the plastic casing and played with. i will do my best to remember to take pictures of that when it happens.

right, i believe me and my man flu are not too far off from retiring for the evening. i leave you, then, with the hope that you have liked the Boba Fett images as much as i have.

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