Saturday, February 28, 2015

never mind all that #TheDress nonsense.....

hi there

yeah, i have had that picture waved at me a few times, and told that if i see a certain colour in the dress it means a certain thing of some significance in my life? oh really?

the colour of that dress, or colours, is simply insignificant in the realm of the universe when contrasted and considered against the colours that the Jim Bowen is wearing on an episode of Bullseye tonight. behold, ladies and gentlemen, see what colours you see.

what does it mean if you saw certain colours? well, if you noticed any colours at all, it means you were misled from seeing what a fine cut of suit it is, and how dapper the Jim Bowen looks in it.

this post is in all likelihood it for February, kids. see you in March.

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

Star Wars weekly

hi there

here's one of them posts that might be more for the casual user of google rather than my more discerning sort of regular reader, but if all who see it have some level of appreciation then that's nice.

i recently had reason, as the discerning from above will be quite aware and no doubt tired of hearing of, to celebrate another birthday. i got a staggeringly high and very valued number of good wishes. on top of this some most splendid gifts too.

one of these gifts was particularly moving and special, as it came from Sharpy. it was a very kind action of him to take, and all the more impressive that what he sent did not come from W H Smith.

well, it might have originally, i suppose, but in this case he purchased, or rather re-purchased, it off of one of them comic convention things. a comic convention where he was, presumably, one of the few not dressed as something or someone off of one of them science films.

what Sharpy sent me, as you can see here, was one of the Star Wars comics issued way back in 1978. at that time we only had the one Star Wars film, and no practical way of knowing that further would be made. still, we were very happy with the toys and the comics. 

there is of course every chance that i owned a copy of this comic at the time of publication, that time being August 2 1978 (it is edition number 26, fact fans). there was a paper shop up the road from where we lived at the time - New Marske, i believe - and Mum would get me one from time to time. also, every now and then, i was sent to these shops to get the newspaper, the Evening Gazette, or some other such errand.

the cover looks familiar, but it would be greatly and sorely amiss of me to state as any sort of fact that i certainly remember owning this one. whether i did or not before does not matter, for i do now, with thanks to the kindness and the thoughtfulness of Sharpy.

i would not want to step on the toes of copyright too much in respect of the contents of the magazine as such, but i am sure none out there would object to a few highlights. certainly not when they feature, as is the first thing to do so here, look you see, an advert.

the current generation, or if you like the "kids of today", might be baffled by this. but in 1978, right, us kids saw Star Wars at the cinema - once - and that was more or less the only time we would get to see it until it turned up on TV, usually some 4 or 5 years after it had been shown at the cinema. nope, home video was not widespread, and there was certainly none of this DVD or "download" nonsense.

the above, then, was exciting. these projectors let you watch 20 or so minutes of a movie in your own home, whenever you wanted to watch it. hard to think now that such a thing was so revolutionary.

if you wanted to watch it in colour and with sound, it cost quite a bit, as you can see. for a sense of perspective, internet tells me that a house (an actual one) cost £13,820, so £165 for a projector was a fairly big ask. i think, although obviously this varies, a car cost some £600.

sometimes video arcades and amusements had special booths set up where, for 10p or so, you could watch a bit of a movie on it. i know this because i enthusiastically put 10p pieces, with my brother and sister, into such a projector at such an amusement arcade so that we could watch bits off of Star Wars. i think it was in Blackpool, but it is possible it was Rhyl. 

a bit of one of them "public service information" posts from the comic now. every now and then, you see, the internet is not all about pictures of cats, frogs and debates about what colour a dress is. sometimes you can use it to share stuff that might be of interest, use or curiosity to someone.

so, if a Mr George Milbank, or his son John Milbank, who is now probably about 43 or 44, and grew up in Hunts, Cambs (Cambridgeshire?) is reading this, well here you are, this is what you sent in and had published in this particular edition of the Star Wars weekly comic. what an absolute bonus it would be if that young lad there found this.

photographs, too, were an expensive thing then. a camera cost a lot of money, film was expensive and you had to wait a good fair while to have the pictures developed. think about that, all you kids who use that Twirker thing to send a hundred pics of yourself to each other every day.

i have not googled or yahooed my own name since it seemed like the thing to do back in, what, 1997 or 1998, but if anyone who knows the Milbank family of the above has done so and found this, then nice one.

finally, for now at least, a 'pin up special' from the back of this particular edition. i say for now as if for some reason anyone wants more i can scan it in, i suppose. but hey, this pin up special. have a look.

would it be just me, or do the stormtroopers above have helmets that look rather more like they do in the upcoming 2015 movie Star Wars Episode VII : Mission To Moscow rather than they did in the original 1977 film? if so, maybe Sharpy also sent a copy of this comic to the makers of the new one; a chap called JJ or something similarly avante-garde.

anyway, i trust this was all of some use or interest to someone out there!

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

Thursday, February 26, 2015

books from the bus

hi there

well, no. as usual it's just a round up of books that i read on the bus. if the bus did indeed give books, making sense of my title there, that would be awesome, man. just grand, it would be.

i have, as would be the new standard, completed the reading of a further two novels upon my travels, look you see, and so it's time to post some reviews for the interested parties, whoever or whomever they might be. no, i never know when the "m" version is proper, clever looking way to use it.

what's that you can hear? why yes, i do indeed have the Guilty album by Barbs on as i write this. i am thrilled that the sound of this album is imbued in such a way that you can sense the sound of it as you read. and indeed i am singing along.

more Barbs later. much, much more Barbs. but for now books.

a spoiler free review of them? well, both were rather good. borderline excellent at times, in truth. but there are flaws - the Robinson one is brief and light, the Smith one could be considered to have a less than satisfactory, possible sequel baiting ending. which i appreciate is spoilerish, sorry.

as ever, any links which appear below are not an endorsement or suggestion as to where one should go and buy a book from; they be here just for ease of reference from the (mostly) universal shopkeeper.

be warned, as *** POSSIBLE SPOILERS *** lurk throughout the remainder of this post. which is to say that if either of these books are ones you are curious about, the answer from someone who has read them is yes, go for it.

here is the second of three books that Aunty got me for Christmas, and thus by default A Necessary End is the second novel i have read by this Peter Robinson bloke.

plot? it actually starts off with one of the most brilliant premise ideas that i have yet encountered. someone is killed during a protest march - some sort of leftie, hippie tree hugging stuff. but is it a random act of violence that saw someone killed, or was it a rather brilliantly planned murder in the midst of mayhem? or is it something else?

somewhat sadly, the same problem that existed in the first novel i read off this fella is here once more. although rather exceptionally well written - better, for sure, than i could do - it is infuriatingly shallow and skimpy. it's somewhat short in length, but the problem is that what space there is in the novel is somewhat squandered on things that do not really add to the story. and there is a much bigger, better novel idea hidden away here, dear reader. the plot, as was the case with the first one, is something that is resolved purely with that trick that is 'the English way of doing things' being accepted as a valid form of line of investigation by the constabulary.

and what is the English way of doing things here? pub. the overwhelming majority of this novel takes place in a pub. as in - someone killed? let's go to the pub to discuss it. chief inspector copper arriving? let's take him to the pub. constables arrive with a suspect? send them to pub as a reward. need to speak to a witness? meet them in the pub. need to speak to a suspect? take them to the pub. need to resolve some relationship issues? meet in the pub. need some time to sit and gather thoughts? do it in the pub.

and yet this is all very, very readable. it's exceptionally well written, despite the shortness of length and detail, with the words flowing in a way that make it pleasant to peruse whilst dans le bus. there is also something wonderful about the idea of how all crimes ever will simply get nice and neatly dealt with in a dreamy sort of cream scones and tea in an afternoon idealistic idea of England.

before we go onto the next novel, a quick break then. a good friend has recently got back in touch with me via all that face twerker snap book stuff. i was very happy to hear from him, and delighted to see that he found this picture, showing days of future past at verk.

that image is some 8 years old, and as you can see, celebrates the dawn of Spring. apt, i suppose, since Spring is on the way here where i am now.

man, i am lucky to live with the heavy heart i do. whereas i am so very fortunate to currently be at verk with a truly amazing group of people, and be close to family and friends, don't for one minute think i do not very deeply miss all those amazing family members and friends that i have been fortunate enough to know around the corners of this building we call a planet. yeah, if i stop to think, i guess i do get all sad and emotional about those that i miss, but hey, the English way of doing things is to carry on. so let's hit the next book.

well, not "hit" it as such, perhaps a review would be prudent. i think this has been quite a big seller, so how much value i can add by commenting on The Farm by Tom Rob Smith is debatable.

plot? a poor gent with a wealthy boyfriend in London has his life turned somewhat upside down when news filters through that his parents, in Sweden or if you like Sverge or whatever, are going "a bit weird". next thing you know, one of them is phoning to tell a side of a story, the other lands on the doorstep of the ultra rich boyfriend to tell their side of the story. and it's an intriguing one.

and that's it. in essence, The Farm really is a one trick pony. it's a short story at heart, dragged out and prolonged to the length of a reasonable novel. dragged out is rather harsh of me there - i am sorry. it's not forced to an excessive length, and the writing on the go here is simply breathtakingly brilliant.  i am rather please to see that he has another three books out - some sort of trilogy, the first part of which is to be a film with him off of Dracula and him off of the new Mad Max in it - as i will in all likelihood have an interest in getting them and having a read.

i knew nothing at all about this book before i started reading it. as you will see, the back cover gives nothing away at all. it was, however, on special offer at the cigarette counter at Morrisons, so i figured why not. it was this or Fifty Shades Of Grey, dear reader. and i am not sure what sort of lady i would attract the attention of if i was seen reading that on the bus, thank you.

the ending. hmn. you saw the spoiler warning, yeah? if this were a short story, it would feel like a suitable ending. as a novel, however, everything about it says "left open for another volume to follow". i really hate it when they do that to books. but i stand by my review, this is a superb read.

news from Spiros, then. he is a bit concerned that some of the people who like to read of his exploits fear that he has become a soft southern London nancy boy of late. well, the "nancy boy" element is not exactly a new thing, but to address he recently opted to pick a fight with a London taxi driver just so he could send a picture of it. and here it is.

apparently the fight broke out after Spiros passed a harmless, innocent comment along the lines of how the taxi was a "dirty f*****g disgrace" and questioning why the driver did not have any pride at all about keeping it at least in a slightly less messy state for his clients; clients that he apparently "should be f*****g grateful for the business of". the taxi driver somehow got it into his head that this was an insult and thus a fight broke out.

Spiros has found a more natural home on London buses of late. as much as he loves a "bit of banter" with the cabbies, he finds that on London buses people really, really like drinking booze whilst smelling of wee, something that he has ambitions to do himself and thus watches with enthusiasm to pick up some tips from them as to how to do it.

yeah, it's gone quiet - the Guilty album has indeed finished playing. i may well play it again, in advance of a proposed significant number of Barbs posts here.

so there we go for another post. i am already, as point of fact, some 100 pages into the next book that i will review. no picture, but it is by an Australian, and something i found in Pound Land or Pound World, i forget which is which.

as ever, if any of the information or details above have been of interest or use to anyone, nice one!

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

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

on Chasing Yesterday

hi there

so, one can hear Noel Gallagher's second "solo" effort today, thanks to Apple. this is ahead of the release next Monday, 2nd March or something like that.

i have heard it, look you see. twice, as it happens. is there going to be a third time? unlikely. this is quite sad, for as much of a complete dick Noel is, he happens to be very much rock and roll, and the music was always good. walking to HMV on the day of release and buying his new album should be a "this is happening", no brainer sort of formality.

if his first solo album was anonymous and sounded like a gent who wished to be regarded as an elder statesman of rock, sitting on a rocking chair and having critics applaud his every whim, then this one is all "it is time for me to release something, here you go".

everything about the album screams "contractual obligations". the 44 minute running time seems rather like the length an album had to be to qualify for album sales. the ten tracks are all nice and neat of a fairly equal running length.

lyrically one should never expect much from Noel - he's not writing epic prog rock, after all, he's doing regular rock, to be sung and shouted along to. however, here we have far too much "na na na nanananahhh" and "la la la lahalaaaah" instead of regular words. there are also vast acres of instrumentals on this short album; instrumentals filled with mediocre, pedestrian and frankly dull guitar ditties.

there are a couple of times when you kind of wish the lyrics, when they appear, were absent. on track six, for instance (Noel was clearly very half arsed in naming songs and the album so i am not going to bother either) he seems to be going on about a ninja. a particular highlight would be track ten, during which Noel cribs, borrows or "lifts" from Adele. oh yes, that Adele.

i am going to sound like an apologist here. Noel's been a recognizable presence in music for 20 years. let's look at how he compares to other elder statesmen of rock 20 years into their careers.

in the 1980s, after some 20 years of fame, one found Jimmy Page doing the soundtrack for Death Wish II. Roger Daltrey was doing a trout farm. Pete Townshend was selling his songs to banks for adverts. Paul McCartney was doing songs with frogs. Bowie was recording Never Let Me Down. Paul Weller was getting knacked for doing The Style Council. the Stones were sitting on piles of money having temper tantrums.

in comparison, Noel Gallagher marking 20 years in the business with a dull, insipid, this will sort of do kind of album is hardly all that bad.

i really, really miss Liam. i liked Beady Eye. there was no lying or dishonesty with Liam - if he released it then it was at least to his ears decent, and he gave it everything, giving it all for the fans. Noel wants money for minimal effort mediocrity, and as we have seen he makes no secret at all of the fact that he wants more and more and more money.

the best thing that can be said of Chasing Yesterday is that this second album makes the first one sound really exciting all of a sudden.

will i end up going and buying it? probably, despite myself. i feel this kind of weird obligation about it, like i am saying "well if i don't buy this then i am saying yeah, rock as it once was is gone". so if i do post pictures of me in HMV, it's all me clinging to nostalgia and memories, nothing to do with the album.

for all those who rushed off to sell out his tour in seconds - man, i really really hope he has enough sense and decency to give you a set top heavy with Oasis. which, in fairness, is what so many rushed off for tickets in the hope of.

Noel - i hope you and every musician that plugs away makes as many millions and billions as possible. be as rich as you can handle. but some decent music, stuff where you at least pretend to be interested, would be jolly nice in exchange for all the coins we can give you.

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

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

cow revolution

hi there

i was kind of thinking that my next post, or if you like musings, here would be about Barbs, Body Double or books, even. in respect of the latter, i have nearly finished a second novel since the last reviews, look you see, so such a thing is due, and due soon. however, certain events - events that you can presumably guess at from the title of this post - happened, indeed in a very real sense occurred, today that cannot go unreported.

as i strolled to the bus stop this morning, i was struck - startled, perhaps - by the presence of cows. in the road or at the bus stop? well, neither, for they were in their field and that. they were just rather randomly close to the hedge which separates them and their barbaric life from those of us who dwell in the more civilised elements of our planet. here, have a look.

yes, that close. as you can see, too, the clever cows have successfully stripped away much of the hedge, leaving only a sparse suggestion of a fence for them to navigate before they unleash their revolutionary strike on our way of life. well, some barbed wire too, but cows are naturally immune to barbed wire; much as certain flowers are.

am i, you may ask, quite certain that this is all documented evidence of the cows preparing to undermine and destroy our world as we know it? yes, fairly. i mean, yeah, ok, it might be them all just huddling in a corner in the hopes of avoiding the attraction of the rather amorous bull that visits from time to time - that one that has ideas of doing things in a field as 7 in the morning that usually only the likes of James Hunt or maybe Rod Stewart would probably see as normal, although with them two presumably with a lady rather than a cow sort of cow thing.

have i been able to identify the ringleader, or if you like the mastermind, of the revolutionary strike being planned by the cows? why yes i have. here is a brief video which mostly has its focus on the leader that i have identified.

oh yes, i quite agree. that cow there has all the appeal and charm of any sort of South American dictator you care to name - that's how they smoothly sneak their way into affections and ultimately seize power.

would i be prepared to accept that i am being judgemental in declaring that what the cows are up to is revolutionary in intent? perhaps. this could, i suppose, simply be an evolutionary step from them. indeed it is entirely possible that this is also simply the start of a liberation movement; that they will at last be free of the shackles of oppression that have been oppressing them.

after about ten or fifteen minutes - instantly, with all things being relative in the grand scheme of things - the cows noticed that i was on to them and so dispersed. except for the leader, of course - that cow lingered, staring at me, to let me know that they were quite aware of me being on to them, and to state that any efforts i made to prevent it all would be a futile failure.

is it not possible, you ask, that all this is some sort of wild, bizarre over-reaction on my behalf, caused by the fact that my walk to the bus stop is in relative daylight for the first time in some four or five months? perhaps. but still, it might be the case that the cows are up to something - something that may or may not have a degree of impact on the world that we know.

if there are any further developments - developments which both i and the internet somehow survive - i will most assuredly and decidedly bring you the details here. if, dear reader, you opt to keep reading this blog after this post. i hope you do, but i am not going to get all Australian about it.

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

Monday, February 23, 2015

bag and body double

hello there

yes indeed there was much merriment and celebration last week, and no it was not all about the fact that i was in some considerable pain and agony on the dental front. that seems to be clearing up now, thanks for asking, but shall no doubt return quite soon when i go and see the teeth mender dude who will take out two, possibly three, teeth, look you see.

what gifts were bestowed upon me? well, a few really. i am so terribly sorry that i cannot show you the lovely Mars bars i got, for they were eaten with some formidable haste. however, behold this combination.

yes. just, well, yes. two items of immense awesomeness and excellence, i trust you will agree.

the significance of the statement on my smart new bag? well, other than one of them subliminal or acute answers to anything age related, it is a statement that means an awful lot to many, many people. no idea who or what? don't panic, just do one of them google thingies and you will find the answer.

as for the blu-ray of Body Double, well, the film is as exciting now as it was when i first saw it, some 30 years ago with my chum Norman. we "got away" with renting it as it has Frankie Goes To Hollywood in it, and why would they be in a film featuring gratuitous sex and violence?

i think this was a seriously limited edition blu-ray, i have a nagging feeling that "only" 3000 copies were pressed for sale. or maybe i am thinking of the soundtrack. the superb, awesome soundtrack.

i shall probably do a full on, out and out blog post on the magnificence of Body Double soon, so shall not say too much. well, OK - the film has not perhaps aged as well as it could, but many moments of it are as shocking and brilliant as they were when i first saw it.

cards? why yes. here's the smart card that the boys got me. as you can see, the makers of One Direction merchandise - makers who are very, very busy, going on the amount of items you can buy which feature this brillo ace band - had for some reason opted to make One Direction birthday cards only for the sister of any particular purchaser.

as you can see, it was but the work of a moment for the boys to transform a One Direction card intended for a sister into one that they could, with nothing but pride, give to their Dad. nice one boys, i very much appreciated the trouble and effort you went to in order to do this for me.

am i still very much a One Direction, or if you like 1D, fan? oh goodness me yes. they are mint, epic, mega, all that sort of thing. i love all their songs so much i could not possibly name just one of them as a top slice of poptastic music.

anyway, off to pop some pills off of the tooth mender. more at a later stage, unless for some reason i have a go at back-dating blog posts.

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

Saturday, February 21, 2015

a tale of two cables

hi there

my family, as in the 75% of them that you all actually like and much prefer to hear about than anything i do, have taken quite a shine to - developed a penchant for, even - trashing USB cables. their passion for this means that, despite practically everything one buys these days coming with a USB cable whether you need one or not, we had something of a shortage of them in and around the home. oh.

whereas one can obtain any amount of USB cables one would care to mention from the Pound Shop, i thought i would be quite thrifty and astute in getting some more online, look you see. why, after all, spend 100p on a cable when you can get one - postage included - for 99p?

it turned out, or indeed transpired, that it would have been a lot less baffling and confusing to buy 50% of the two cables i got from the Pound Shop for 100p. why? well, you will see, if you read on.

99p plus free delivery is an interesting concept. it speaks of just how low a cost these USB cables must come in at for companies which sell them. even if they were all made in that big massive factory full of Chinese kids that Apple believe to be the way forward, surely shipping costs would make it so that selling them at 99p and posting free would be done at a loss, i would think.

if a padded envelope costs one, say, 5p or 10p, 1st Class postage would be 62p, and 2nd class postage would be 53p. if you went high there, 72p leaves one 27p to play with to procure the USB cable and to sell at some sort of meaningful profit. it could be done, i suppose.

what's that, you ask? oh, that's how the problematic 50% of the two cables i bought arrived. yeah, they went right ahead and sent it via Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed by 1pm. a means of postage which starts at a cost of no less than £6.40. which means that on my order the people selling the cable were operating on a £5.41 loss on postage alone.

bizarre, curious and fascinating. also highly annoying, as no one was at home to sign for it. which led to another story, but we shall get there.

in the mean time, however, here's the other cable i bought. yes, it is indeed, as point of fact, a purple one, but my blueberry camera thing seems to have given it a blue tint. unless it looks purple to you and my current dental problems have caused me to go colour blind.

many thanks indeed to the company who provided the above, as this was a headache free experience. the postman dude just put it through the letterbox, and the cable can now do its thing.

the other one? well, we got the card slip thing on Wednesday, right, and worked out where to go to collect. some 8 or 10 miles away, the place was. not a problem, my (considerably) better half said she would go and collect on Thursday, after work, since the web of internet said the place was open until 5.

when she got there, however, they informed her that although they are open until 5, they - in secret - only let people collect mail before 1pm. cheers for that, Royal Mail, very kind of you to keep a secret like that. the people at the collection office informed my (considerably) better half that if she just phoned, however, they would arrange delivery for the next day, the next day in this case not being a Bowie album but being Friday.

this, as it happens, turned out to be bullsh!t of note. the earliest we could arrange delivery, or as Royal Mail reckon "redelivery", was Saturday, that being the day today. obviously i now have it, 3 days later and if you so wish 4 days after i should have got it. if only the company had just sent it via regular mail.

is the cable worth, in any particular sense, any of the above? not really. i am left wondering if this cable was sent in this way as a pricey insult or slur from the seller towards the buyer, or if it is all part of some elaborate tax dodge. in future, then, i think i shall resort to and rely on the sanctity of the Pound Shop for all further USB cable requirements.

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

return of the gratitude attitude #4 (and presumably final)

hi there

an unusual, perhaps unseasonal, delay in updates here. sorry for that. what have i been busy with instead of writing here? a touch of sex ironing, and some business with the dentist, amongst other things.

of those i know, look you see, that the dentist is the one of most interest to you. what was i doing there? allowing the dentist to admire my teeth. he was surely impressed, declaring that my teeth are the finest of any homoerectus, or if you like erectushomo, that ever lived, and he would very much like to take pictures of them to show off and so that they may stand as testament to the personification of perfection in regards of just what is possible in tooth excellence.

ha ha, no. i have knacked teeth, and am in some considerable pain and agony as a consequence. i have two of them abscess things which are hurting, and when the medication has gotten rid of them i can look forward to two, possibly three, being extracted.

also, there was this.

which went super fantastic ace boss well, and thank you so very much indeed for all the many kind and wonderful messages from around the globe or, if you like, world.

but you want to know which if the personal hygiene product people have gotten in touch with me, you do, as that is what is promised in the title.

a forth, and in all likelihood final, company has responded. this time it was Lynx, the letter to who was in the original post, but here it is again anyway if you cannot be bothered to click on that link there.

Dear Lynx
Just a quick letter to say that I am finding using one of your products in particular, the Excite deodorant / body spray, most satisfactory to use.

I am, for the most part, finding that it somewhat accentuates my sexuality. This would be opposed to it either acting as an extension of it, or simply enhancing it. I would like to believe that this is the intention you have for it amongst us consumers, and so believe it might be of interest – no matter how passing – to hear this.

The peculiar thing about it is that the unmistakable base scent of Excite is that of coconut. Coconut is a food substance that I do not like, but it is a wonderful smell. I would be hesitant, indeed reluctant, to say that this circumstance I find myself in has any irony to it, as the song Coconut by Harry Nilsson is one that I am particularly fond of.

Many thanks indeed for taking the time to read this letter, and of course my greatest thanks for making available for sale a product which, if not doing what it says on the box, nonetheless serves its purpose to a most admirable and appreciated extent.

Yours, etc etc...... 

the response i got was pleasant, to the point and really very kind of them, in the light of reading my letter to them once again....

basically it seems that they are really quite gratified by my enthusiasm for their Excite range of products, and for the most part wisely opted against engaging in any sort of conversation or discussion around anything related to coconut.

ouch, this tooth abscess thing is really starting to smart, as an Australian might say. 

a month or so later and i think it's fairly, if not relatively, safe to say that the last company contacted will not respond. sadly, i accidentally saved over the letter to them with the one about lovebead toothpaste, so i can't share it with you. 

i was not really expecting a response from them, to be honest, and it was not a company i wished to write to. a friend of mine, who shall remain nameless to protect their infinite modesty, suggested that i write to someone called Femfresh or something like that. they are, if you don't know (i didn't) a company that make products for the ladies of the planet, and are products which, as far as i could work out, are intended for use entirely and indeed exclusively on the more lady only parts of the human body. To this end the basics of my letter was then how i do not use their products and probably never would, but nonetheless i congratulated them on whatever it is their product actually does. 

so, who next to randomly write letters to? well, i have not heard back off of Bono after i posted him some batteries, but this could be the direction i take. it would be there mere work of a moment to post Paul Weller some fuses, for instance, and perhaps Ringo Starr might be short of some soldering iron stuff. 

if i go right ahead and post some random stuff to randomly linked people, i will let you know all about it here, no doubt!

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

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

bed, manifesto and bubbles

hello there

just one of them posts where i bring a few random pictures from the last few days together for you, if you are at all interested, look you see. nothing much in the way of great excitement, but also a few things that are indeed of excitement, depending on how you interpret them.

first off, a long overdue, hard fought and ultimately successful victory over the intelligent ways of my beloved and treasured washing machine.

this washing machine of mine is one of them "intelligent" ones with loads of sensors and computers and that in it. the purpose is to stop you overloading it so the motor does not knack, right, but also to stop itself from using far too much liquid or power so that you make loads of bubbles. in theory, no matter how much detergent (or whatever) you put in, it should control itself so that it does not become a bubble festival.

yes, take that you b@stard, as much as i do love you washing machine. i clocked that if you simply hide them smart laundry liquid balls in a sheet this evil machine from cyberdyne systems is helpless in stopping the bubbles when the water hits.

sadly i did not get it to bubble so much that the machine was spewing them out of the back or all over the floor, but i am home alone for a little bit of a couple of days this week. i will give it a right good go, i will, look you see. if i succeed and i don't get too excited i will try and take pictures.

onwards, then, towards the bubble-free world of HMV. i was quite excited about my usual stroll past the store this week as it was another "day of release" thing. After ten years, a true labour of love for the talented people who made it, No Manifesto was released on DVD and that Blu Ray thing. 

surely, as the spiritual home of vibes and quality music, HMV would be celebrating such a thing in the display window and in the store? erm, no.

somewhat understandably, i suppose, the window was all Game Of Thrones being released on shiny discs. well, the fourth season. this makes sense. it is popular, and it is also apparently the most downloaded TV show in history. which would mean it needs all the advertising and promotion it can get to sell it. still, i was confident that in-store they would have a nice display for No Manifesto, featuring it in their "trending this week" section, or maybe just have it in the new releases.

we will get there, dear reader, but that was yesterday, and this picture is today.

this is a receipt off of Poundland from this morning. amongst other things, i bought a blu ray of a crappy sounding horror film called Fertile Ground, purely as it was a pound and had an 18 certificate on it. yes you did indeed have a sample of this logic yesterday, dear reader.

just you have a look at that their receipt. granted it is a little blurry and unclear, but you can i hope make out the words "Age Confirmed Over 18" just under the DVD part. this would imply that they did indeed verify my age, presumably by means of requesting me to produce official identification which indicated that i was, as point of fact, old enough to purchase this motion picture. no, dear reader, they bloody did not do such a ruddy thing!

i am a bit hurt by this, to be honest, and feeling somewhat emotionally fragile. are they implying that i look that old that there could be no purpose served by asking me to prove that i was over 18? i mean, am i likely to just age a year or so overnight?

back to No Manifesto and thus back to HMV. i could have ordered it off of amazon, who had the disc for sale cheaper than what HMV were offering. however, as you more regular of reader knows, i quite like going into a shop i like and purchasing things on the day of release. so i didn't order online.

i was quite disappointed when i walked in to the store and the film / documentary / disc was not on proud display as part of their "trending this week" section. i got even more disappointed when it also did not feature on their presumably lesser "released this week" section. i went to look at the CDs to see if they had just shoved it in with their albums, and got really emotional when it turned out that this was not the case.

off to the basement i went, then, where they shove all the stuff they are not pushing to sell.

oh yes, as you can see above, i got it. specifically, i got the only copy that my nearest and frequently dearest branch of HMV had bothered to stock. yes, DVD. with them having just 1 (one) copy of the DVD, i did not dare to tread towards the emotional turmoil that would have been finding they had 0 (zero) copies of the blu ray.

this singular copy had just been randomly shoved on the shelf, it seems, in amongst a whole load of One Direction DVDs. i am glad to have been able to save it.

have i watched it yet? no, but i am very much looking forward to a screening of it with my (considerably) better half. hopefully soon, and no doubt a review to follow as and when we do.

finally, then, all things bed. well, not all things, just things. something. i have, as some of you know and a number appreciate, a thing, indeed proclivity, for buying lovely new bedding sets that i believe would be suitable for Barbs to have in her own home.  whilst i have managed to fight this addiction for a fair while, i saw a set at the weekend that i simply could not resist, dolls.

yes, indeed it is all lovely and fancy and bourgeois. i like to think that it projects the kind of image i want to project, even though i am far from certain as to just what that image is.

anything i add here will take away from that image, so let me call it quits for now.

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

Monday, February 16, 2015

Flesh Eater

hey there

wowee, at last - the third or fourth film i have watched during the year that is 2015. i am pretty sure it is only the third, look you see - Grudge Match and Woman In Black being the other two that i can remember with a degree of certainty. oh no, it was three - Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes. So watching Flesh Eater does indeed make it four.

anything you could possibly want to know about this film is right there in the title, to be honest. it does more or less what it says on the box, except my copy did not come in a box. it's one of several films i have purchased for the whopping fee of 49p on the understanding that it comes in a plastic sleeve rather than a conventional DVD box. fine by me.

if for some reason you wish to purchase this film - before or after reading this review - those nice people at amazon seem keen to sell it to you for not all that much more than i paid. and they will probably send it in a box too, if you are all that bothered about it.

a spoiler free review for you? sure. if i had gotten my hands on an uncut version of this when it came out in 1988, when i were but 15, rather close to 27 years ago (!), it would have been seen as the best film in my stash of VHS tapes and declared a masterpiece.

some 27 years later (!), the reaction is rather more subdued. the effects, whilst cheap, are a mix of impressive, creative and hilarious. the excessive nudity is very, very welcome. very welcome indeed; a fact i make no apology at all about. it's just that the market for these films has become diluted. with high definition cameras and editing software so cheaply available, there are now thousands of movies like this around. low budget partial gems like this just don't have that special kind of impact anymore due to the proliferation of ultra-low budget rubbish.

before i go any further, the only thing of consequence i can add to the above is that this version i have, and the one i linked to off of amazon, is indeed the "uncut" version of the movie. i am not going to go into history of cuts and things, but on fan forums and the like it has been confirmed as being a direct presentation of the Region 1, USA unrated / uncut edition.

right, *** SPOILER WARNING *** in place for the rest, as i am probably going to end up giving most of the movie away.

and, just in case you missed that above, the return of an old friend here for you, you wonderful and wild fans of all things scrolling text (if your device allows it) :

the film commences, after some nifty opening credits, with some typical (for the 80s) teenage kids riding on a trailer, being towed by a tractor, into some woods. why are they being towed somewhere? no idea. it seems that in America gangs of teenagers always think it is a class idea to head off into some woods, drink beer, listen to some vibes, get naked and get killed.

as they are being towed to wherever (it seems to be mostly random), another farmer dude is busy pulling a tree stump out of the ground with another tractor. if you watch this film, i encourage you to savour this particular scene, as for the most part the budget was spent on two tractors.

just why is this other farmer dude pulling a tree stump out of the ground? it's a good and fair question, and one that does not have an immediate answer. why, out of all the trees in this unused woodland, is he having a go at this one? i mean, it does not look like they are planning on farming or building on the land, or doing anything.

anyway, for some reason this other farmer dude starts digging near where he pulled the tree stump out. and by "for some reason" i mean "to ensure the plot". very well hidden, under a smattering of leaves and a shovel full of dirt, he discovers some sort of tomb. on the tomb there is one of them sort of "devil" pentagram things, a lengthy warning about how you should not open or disturb the tomb, and a chain with a rudimentary padlock on it.

can you guess what, when faced with the above, our friendly redneck farmer dude decides to do with the tomb? can you? really? are you sure? i mean, it would be pretty stupid to open it up, wouldn't it? nooo, surely not? he's not going to do that, is he?

so some immaculately dressed sort of zombie type dude comes to life the moment his tomb is opened, right, and he grabs the redneck farmer dude above and takes a massive chunk out of him; his neck if i am not mistaken.

ah, you say. so what happens next is basically Friday 13th meets Night Of The Living Dead, which would mean zombie flesh eater dude (an actor from Night Of The Living Dead, i believe, reprising his role) goes and picks off the campers one by one, only he eats them instead of using a spear gun or machete. you would, as it happens, be partially wrong to say that.

we do get the camping kids (if they are camping), of course - doing some fancy dancing, taking clothes off and having a bit of ooh la la. and yes, one or two of them end up dead. one, in a bit of a nod to Friday 13th and i did put a spoiler warning up, via a pitch fork.

no, no pitch fork pictures here, but for your pleasure an image of the kids doing all dancing and stuff whilst they, for the most part, still have some clothes on.

at this stage the plot somewhat wobbles and diverts a bit. somehow a news crew are alerted to this zombie flesh eater dude (pretty awesome, considering this was all pre-mobile phones) and they broadcast warnings about it. we then see lots and lots of other characters, and a party that is going on at a barn near where the kids were doing all that camping. also, shots of a family in a house, making toffee apples and randomly having naked showers.

sorry, i wasn't paying as much attention as i could between the 40min and 50min mark of the film when all this happened. it might make sense if i did, but i didn't, so i didn't.

i did pay attention to the party thing, however. alcohol + class stereo + teenagers = strong and good chance of nudity. this did indeed come along, but what turned out to impress me the most was some smart dancing. here, have a look, i took a bit of video of it off of the tele and that for you.

that's smart that, isn't it? sadly that which i have filmed is all we see of it, more or less. we do, however, get a lot more of the karate kid in the above scene, which is boss if not epic.

i think the karate kid character is my favourite out of the movie, for reasons which shall be revealed at the end of this post. well, not end end, but towards the end. you will see.

why is karate kid my favourite other than the reason to be revealed? he's just awesome. at the party, right, he stops dancing and goes off for a touch of ooh la la with either a cheerleader, or a teenage girl dressed as a cheerleader, or a cheerleader who has come to a fancy dress thing as a cheerleader. anyway, zombie dudes turn up (oh yeah, when main zombie dude bites you then you also become a zombie flesh eater; a concept borrowed off all that Dracula thing i think), and he goes to see what the noise is all about. maybe it was putting him off his stroke or something.

when he sees all the shenanigans off of the zombie eaters, right, he jumps in and decides to karate chop one of them, as the karate kid outfit has obviously given him karate powers. or maybe, like the cheerleader, he is an actual karate kid, and he just wore his usual clothes to the party.

as it turns out, and i did put ample spoiler warnings on this post, a karate chop - class as it is - is not an effective weapon against zombie flesh eater dudes. nope, not at all. karate kid dude, alas, ends up getting quite knacked.

anyway, that plot wobble comes back, and some sort of posse of redneck farmers assembles with big guns to go and sort out all of these zombie flesh eater dude types.

the leader is, of course, a gent in uniform, and this scene with the copper is the best non-nudity related moment of the whole movie.

yes, that's right. the troop ready to go off and slaughter the zombie flesh eater dude types are all stood around him and yet he is still speaking to them via a f*****g bullhorn loudspeaker thing. how amazing and awesome is that? the best part is that whenever one of the redneck farmers ask him a question he answers without the class bullhorn loudspeaker thing.

why do i do this? i mean, i have access to several bona fide classics of cinema, and i have a number of highly rated films that i have yet to watch (Inception, for instance - nope, still not seen). and yet i end up watching rubbish like this. well, i just really, really like trash, i suppose.

anyway, off the redneck troop go, interestingly in packs of three. remember, kids, this is some 5 or so years before him with the beard made that Jurassic Shed thing with the velociraptors hunting in packs of three. no, not that one with the beard, the other one - him who did the shark film.

this is a still of three of the redneck farmer dudes strutting, looking for some zombie flesh eater dudes to knack. somewhere along the way they also got told to shoot them in the head.

i particularly like the above scene as it features the best uncomfortable, scared but let us look hard scene ever made outside of the members of Survivor walking very quickly indeed through a mostly black area of some town in the Eye Of The Tiger video. serious, go watch again - the keyboard dude or drummer in glasses looks like he is going to sh!t himself in it at any point.

let it not be said that this film is without drama, pathos, poignancy or emotional engagement, dear reader. there's a quite moving scene in which one of the redneck farmer dudes becomes aware that one of his offspring is a zombie flesh eater, and must be put to death via bullet in the head.

through the magic of quality acting, can you work out which of the three in the above picture was the father? if you said the middle one, who was sort of crying as the other two shot the absolute sh!t out of the child of their mate, you are most astute in your observation.

so, zombie flesh eater dudes killed, buildings burned, blah blah blah. the only thing that remains, since further nudity is unlikely, is to insert a sort of a "tag" thing to allow for a sequel if enough money and interest was generated. so we get that copper from earlier come back to inspect the carnage, only he does not have his class bullhorn loudspeaker thing with him.

my (considerably) better half reckons he looks like someone well known, but cannot remember the name. to me he just looks like a fat Mark Wahlberg, or if you like Donnie Wahlberg.

and that's that, really. as far as i am aware no sequel was made.

did i get my 49p worth of entertainment out of this disc? yes, very much so. i refer you to the opening comments - this was all a throwback to the era of the "video nasty" and the totalitarian BBFC banning everything it could. no way at all would this have gotten a release in the UK in the 80s.

oh yeah, karate kid? here, have a look at how he appears in the credits.

yep, billed only as "Karate Guy". even though the Cheerleader, billed here as Cheerleader, says his name - Steve or Peter or something.

spare a moment of thought for Steven B Sands, dear reader. after this film he presumably went off to audition for other roles or, if you like, parts. on his CV he would have had to point out he was once cast as the pivotal part of "Karate Guy" in Flesh Eater. that might have been tricky when he went for more family orientated parts. although Michael Madsen went straight from Reservoir Dogs to Free Willy, so you never know.

as for technicalities of the disc, you get possibly more extras that the film deserves. here, have a look.

yeah, you get a photogallery with an isolated soundtrack, the trailer and a pretty comprehensive 35 minute "making of" thing. except it seems to be an anniversary "retrospective" than a "making of" recorded for posterity (presumably) at the time.

this is tremendous stuff for Flesh Eater fans, but highlights a problem with other, dare i say better, films. Mad Max 2 for instance. there are deleted and alternate scenes for that film. there is a making of too, which shows how they did all of those incredible things with cars. none of them feature on the blu ray or DVD. the same is true of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome - none of the deleted scenes, no making of and not even just one of the two Tina Turner music videos. sigh.

so, yeah, that's that. if you, like me, grew up in the 80s and read Fangoria, hoping to one day see all of these awesome films they got in America but Thatcher decided Britain could not watch, give it a look!

thanks, as ever, for reading.

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

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Morphy Richards Accents

hello there

consumer review action group time once more, kids. i bought a shiny new thing today, as i am so prone to do as and when i go to the shops. this post isn't really one to sort of show it off and flaunt it, look you see, but more to give a review of it (so far) for anyone out there that is browsing the web and looking for an opinion on such a thing.

a look at the shiny thing, all close up? sure, why not.

yes, all shiny. and purple too, although Morphy Richards, the manufacturer behind this kettle, claim that it is in fact a "plum" colour. i suppose that is in keeping with the Accents theme they have seen fit to brand this with. purple is not an accent, perhaps, in the same sense that plum apparently is.

why a new kettle? ours was looking a little bit battered. as it would, you would expect, from frequent daily use over the course of a year or so. as i was off out shopping with the day today, then, i was charged with finding out if i could see a suitable new one for us to use. i think i did.

i am trying to find a link to this specific one, that which i bought, for you if you wish to place an order, but i am having little luck. the amazon website appears, unusually, to be down right now, and no other proprietor seems to make the plum / purple one available.

if you are inclined to buy a non-plum one in the UK, Argos can sort you out with red, white or black for (at the time of publishing) price i paid for this, which is £49.99.

yeah, i did kind of baulk or choke a bit at paying a penny short of fifty notes for a kettle. but then i thought this is something that we actually use a lot, so we would get the value off of buying a more expensive one. and yes i know to you readers in London £49.99 is not an expensive kettle; but in the rest of the world yes actually it is.

ah. amazon is working now and, again at time of printing, they are charging a tenner more for this kettle than i paid. a rare case, then, of online being more expensive than off. although you can get the non-purple plum variations off of them for the same fifty note related cost.

yeah, review parts coming up, for those wondering if they would like to buy one or not. but first, well, why not, another look at it in all its glory.

OK, points to be aware of with the kettle. first off, the element of great importance with a kettle, which is the ease with which one can fill it. the answer is "not too easy but not too difficult".

this kettle features a removable lid or top thingie, which is different from all them modern ones with a "flip lid" thing attached. they call this style a "traditional" one, or, for those that charge more, a "heritage" one. it is in the version that Morphy Richards has sold me (via Tesco) where you can the touches of class and user friendly use you paid so many notes for. 

yes. i know you are mesmerised by the shine off of it, but look at the ring handle thing in the picture. that's where you put a finger in (presumably) to remove the lid. a very nice touch is the rubber, or some other such heat resistant stuff, placed around it so that you do not burn or hurt your finger with any great ease when removing the lid after a recent boil. nice touch, that.

this protective coating is also present on the elegant, dare i say flamboyant, handle of the kettle, which also make handling in those post-boil moments a relatively safe and unlikely to scold or burn experience.

it is this handle, however, that poses something of a user problem to use.

whereas this handle is excellent - awesome, even - for use in terms of pouring boiled water into a cup or some other such vessel, it provides quite an obstacle course for one when one is filling the kettle via a conventional tap in the kitchen. ah. bother.

we quickly came to the conclusion, then, that filling the kettle via the spout would be the best, sensible and perhaps only option. i point this out because for some the class war still rages, and they believe that filling a kettle via the spout is uncouth, anti-social and the preserve of the proletariat. 
i'm pretty relaxed on the subject of how a kettle gets filled, really. i mean, boss if you can do it the way you are supposed to; no problem if it has to be via other means. so long as the kettle is filled, boils and thus can provide a foundation for making coffee (or tea from time to time), that's just fine by me. i appreciate my view could be seen as being "sitting on the fence" and make me an enemy to all sides in this class war business, but so be it, that's just how i see this.

whilst we are discussing the spout - or at least whilst i write of it and you read - a word of warning about it. the flow of water from it is urgent. very urgent indeed. i would go so far as to say i have never before experienced such a fast flow of water from a kettle.

i have tried to make a video of this to show the speed. it is not a very good video, due to lighting issues, but here it is all the same. if it gives you a clue as to what i consider to be fast flowing, nice one.

the flow is so fast, as point of fact, that i do not believe the otherwise ridiculous warning in the instruction book is all that ridiculous. not in this case. the idea that someone would need to be warned of the contents of a boiled kettle being hot is a foolish one, for such a person might not be the best in the world to allow to command a kettle. or anything with electric in.

however, on a first or second use, the speed with which the water comes out is really worth giving a warning about. so well done Morphy Richards, although you probably printed this to limit liability or something like that.

i am not sure, at least i am not convinced, if this is an illusion purely caused by decline to our previous kettle, but it seems to my (considerably) better half and i that this kettle does not half boil very fast, and retains the boiled heat for quite some time. this might be something to do with that wider base of the pyramid style and that; i am not a scientist or anything so would not know this with any degree of authority.

so, worth the £49.99 price? on the basis of use on one afternoon, i believe so, yes. my (considerably) better half likes it, and her being not displeased makes my life easier, to say the least. it is clearly well made and an item of quality, so yes, a good purchase.

plus, the light on it that comes on when you switch it on to boil is boss.

there are cheaper kettles out there, cheap ones which are also purple and indeed shiny. they, however, do not have much in the way of longevity to them. if your life is as dependant on coffee as mine is, it kind of makes sense to "go big or go home" when selecting a kettle.

yeah, it's all sleek and stylish looking, but the key here is that it seems built to last and built to perform to optimal levels in the world of water boiling. so that's a win.

enjoy your tea, coffee or cuppasoup with whatever kettle you use!

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