Monday, May 30, 2016


hello there

May, look you see, is a complex month for my family. this would be in terms of both home and abroad, for scattered around the world are members of what would once be called our clan who have reason to celebrate an instance. mostly this would be birthdays, but the occasional wedding or other such festivity is marked during those or indeed these 31 days.

to mark them all on this blog during the month would dominate it somewhat for that calendar period for you. let it be said, then, that appropriate wishes were wished to all who had reason to receive such wishes. it would be amiss, however, not to reference at least one here, and so one i shall.

yes indeed my (considerably) better half celebrated the passing of another year. which year? well, thus far to my calculations she's quite comfortably close to setting a record with regards to how many birthdays one has whilst "in their 20s", but it's nit my place to ask too many questions.

i suspect that the picture above, the one which shows the 75% of my immediate family which you like a good deal more than you like me, will be reason enough for you to be celebrating to. in order to spoil this somewhat, however, here you go, here's a picture which features moi.

that is of course in the mode of Commodore 64. when i shared the above over on all that social network media thing, snapbook or what have you, it proved to be less than popular. perhaps it will get more widely celebrated here, or indeed perhaps not.

did my (considerably) better half have a further "in the 20s" birthday of consequence to note and remember? i would like to think so. sure, it involved formalities such as verk and what have you, but also gifts and cards and cake and other such things.

another look at the three you all like, only this time in a slightly better lit picture? of course.

and there we go for both a marking of celebrations and, one would suspect, blog posts for the month of May. looking back it would appear that this has been a busy month for my nonsense postings. also, one of the most popular ones i have ever had in terms of readership, with some 500 or so of you having a look at what i wrote for that whole The Stone Roses release new music stuff.

what will June bring? we shall kind of find out together. only i will find out first, as it will be me writing it and that. but, in context, close enough to be together.

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

Sunday, May 29, 2016

i can, and shall, obey

good day to you

Spiros has, as he is so prone and want to do, got in touch with me in regards of a concern or matter that has caused him some distress. actually that would be a couple of things in this instance, look you see, but unless you want some really bizarre sentences on the go it's going to be for the best to look at them one at a time.

first off, Spiros had a gander at the blog post i did yesterday concerning the Revenge Of The Jedi and he did not like it at all. he requested that he make use of this blog as a conduit to describe his extreme dislike of all things Star Wars, and to tell you all that he believes that it is something for "twats".

why does he not like it? we've not really discussed it at length, but i think it's due to their only being one character of a clear homosexual disposal, that golden robot one. i imagine that Spiros is upset by the stereotypical presentation of homosexuality through this character. if, as promised, Episode VIII features an abundance of gay characters, i am sure he will enjoy it.

the other reason for Spiros contacting me - not that i would wish to undermine the importance he places on the above - is probably of more interest to you, as it comes with a picture. as he went about his business this week, which is to say being the greatest legal mind of his generation, he saw this most rare of sight upon the Thames, that dearly loved river down in London.

no, you are not mistaken, that is indeed a British vessel of war upon British waters. who knew that such a thing was still possible, in particular after it appeared that the German navy had taken ownership of this particular port authority?

there are those, of course, in this day and age who will suggest that it's "racist" for a British ship to have the temerity and nerve to sail upon ostensibly British waters. but such people are actual twats, and make it the problem of everyone else that their minds cannot function in abstracts.

why is Spiros, as the greatest legal mind of his generation, down at the docks looking at ships so often? despite the pressures on and demand for his time, everyone needs a break. he elects to spend his down time, so to speak, soliciting the friendship of sailors. this is most admirable, as you would suspect a number of them are quite lonely after being out at sea, and thus no doubt appreciate the brief but emotional companionship what Spiros offers them.

exactly why was a British ship on the Thames? not sure. it's possible that it is there ahead of the EU Referendum thing, a subject you are no doubt tired of by now and one that i have pretty much said all that i can say about. if we vote out, which i hope for, then maybe this ship is on standby to suggest to the Spanish that unfair fishing quotas are over, and it is no longer our problem that they cannot manage their own body of water.

anyway, more as and when it happens, dear reader, whether that me to me, our nation or Spiros.

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

Saturday, May 28, 2016

the return of the revenge of the jedi

hello there

it wouldn't normally be my place to try and deliver something that is populist here, look you see, but every now and then a trend catches my eye or attention. over the last week or so there has been a bizarre and possibly close to inexplicable revival in the interest around Revenge Of The Jedi, the so-called "original" title for the film we now know as Return Of The Jedi. if this is what you, the kids, want to read about, well then so be it, let's have a gander.

what's the big deal with Revenge Of The Jedi? well, as per the above, this was what we were all told the film was going to be called. it got switched to Return at, give or take, the last minute. why? there are two versions of the story.

the "official" story is that all things Star Wars creator realised, late on, that a jedi would not crave nor take revenge, and so switched to return. also, parents might just have been reluctant to take the kids along to something with as vicious a word as revenge in the title, and so changed it to a softer toned one.

meanwhile the "unofficial", as in more plausible, story is that both George Lucas and the film distributors had grown tired of the incredible bootleg industry around the first two films. by deliberately misleading people about the name - going as far as poster and trailers with it - they would cause bootleggers to produce a whole load of counterfeit goods that would be worthless.

in truth 1980s merchandise branded Revenge rather than Return is of course worth a pretty penny in terms of coins of money today, whether it is genuine or fake, but i can assure you that for every $1million made off of Revenge stuff, Lucas and Co will have made at least $10million off of Return.

i mentioned that the revived interest in this is almost inexplicable. it is in all likelihood related to the fact that a rare, forgotten and previously thought "lost" teaser trailer for Revenge from the UK came to light recently. we shall indeed have a look at that, but for now here's a look at the well known USA trailer for Revenge.

did the change of name particularly bother me? no, not really. for most of 1982, whilst i was in Australia no less, us kids were all under the impression that it was going to be called Splinter Of The Mind's Eye, for there was a novel out at that time of this name. one of the kids at school claimed to have read it, but refused to tell us what happened in it.

anyhow, the above USA trailer for Revenge had a few things of interest in it that are interesting today still, so to speak. if you didn't spot them, or could not play the video, or just plain want it made easier for you, here you go, here's the three things of most interest.

that is indeed Luke, the nancy boy farmer, about to slay some people whose guilt of a crime worthy of death has, strictly speaking, never been proved. but hey, this is Luke - he thought nothing of blowing up a massive space station, no matter how many innocents were on board at the time.

what some - to be honest not me - find interesting about the above is the colour of Luke's lightsabre sword thing. whilst i wouldn't say it is quite as blue as many claim, it is clearly not quite the green we saw in the final film.

it was quite common back in the 80s to rush out a trailer using footage which wasn't quite the finished product. from what i remember the first Ghostbusters ones featured a whole lot of visible wires and cables in it. that said, there's a difference between showing "unfinished" effects and showing "no effects added" footage. like, for instance, the "force ghost" of Obi Wan Kenobi sans "special glowing force blue" effects.

quite a rare bit of footage, that, albeit in a "blink and you will miss it" form. this is something i am possibly mistaken on, but as far as i am aware none of the many "making of" or "behind the scenes" footage of either Empire Strikes Back or Return Of The Jedi showed them filming Alec Guinness doing his stuff without all the fancy effects being present.

Alec Guinness famously didn't like Star Wars or the attention it brought him from fans. rest assured he did, however, really like the money that the film earned him, which was why he didn't fight too hard to get out of the contract in place for him to appear in three of them.

a feature of trailers then that is a feature of trailers now is to use footage that does not end up in the final film. in the case of the one for Return Of The Jedi, it was a very major scene that was eventually dropped. 

the above shows the classic "gang" all leaving Tatooine. there was a massive sandstorm for some reason (maybe something to do with it being a desert planet, and them two moons or suns or whatever causing all sorts of tidal issues), and the team had to fight through it to board the Millennium Falcon.

what's interesting is that this scene - like another on Tatooine showing Luke building his lightsabre and "force communicating" with his Dad - didn't ever surface until the films were released on Blu Ray. another point of interest would be that this dropped scene would be the only time the cool gang - Luke, Leia, Han, Chewbacca, Lando, R2D2 and C3PO - were all on the Millennium Falcon together.

yeah, the above picture of Darth Vader off that trailer is included just because it looks a little snazzy.

was there an awful lot of distress, outrage, sorrow, sadness and regret about the fact that the trailer for Revenge Of The Jedi seemed to contain spoilers? it does, after all, show a defrosted Han Solo, and his eventual fate was one of the cliffhangers from Empire Strikes Back. the answer is no, no one kicked off about spoilers.

why not? well, there was no "internet" back then to kick off about. there was also no SJW (social justice warrior) brigade to get all loud and upset for a moment on behalf of others. also it's the case that, despite the fact that in retrospect the trailer shows a lot, it actually doesn't show the two "big bad" characters.

more of that in a bit, but first here's the recently unearthed "rare" UK teaser trailer. and it really is a teaser, for it is not much more than a series of still images. 

whilst for those who have watched the film it would feel like either of the above trailers are laced with spoilers, they both very cleverly avoid any reveal of the two big hidden characters - Jabba The Hutt and The Emperor. you have to remember that, at this stage, no one had ever seen Jabba The Hutt (he only came into A New Hope in the special editions in the 90s), and all we had seen of The Emperor was a hologram thing in The Empire Strikes Back. also, there was no suggestion of the fact that Darth Vader would reveal what was under his helmet and mask. so, although you think you saw a lot of the film in the trailers, you actually didn't get to see the major secrets that the film had in store.

what do i think of Return Of The Jedi? mostly it's kind of the weaker of the original three, yet strangely it's one one that is the most rewatchable. Leia's smart slave outfit helps make that the case for certain, but overall it's just what a Star Wars film should be, i suppose - amazing action that thrills all linked with a pretty decent and well thought out plot.

a look at Boba Fett off the trailer before we finish here? it would be quite wrong of me not to.

the fact that a fair number of people can get all excited about a somewhat flimsy 34 (!) year old teaser trailer showing the (ahem) 'original' name is quite the testament to how fondly remembered Return Of The Jedi is, i would suggest. well, more than suggest, since i wrote all of this. my favourite Star Wars? well, i can distinctly remember all the family going off to see the first one at a cinema, but overall Empire Strikes Back will remain boss for me, mostly because the bloke above was an absolute badass in it.

if you've been one of the ones that was all interested by the revival of the Revenge Of The Jedi concept this last week, hopefully this has in some way or another fed your interest closer to the point of satisfaction!

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

watching the washing

hi there

those of you who have followed this blog from the start, more or less, will be aware of the fact that being stalked is nothing new to me. it's not something i have ever really worried about, look you see, as invariably all cases people leave their stalking of me to some distant admiration, with the occasional photograph being taken. like, for instance, that episode some 9 years ago, when Trigger stalked me at some sort of music concert. and yes, that episode did indeed led to him being appointed as my personal photographer, so there you go - it's not like all there is to stalking is a downside.

anyway, today was a day where i discovered that i was being stalked from a most unlikely source - my (considerably) better half. she's been quite brazen about it too, for she forwarded on this picture of me, with the boys, not long after taking it.

i must confess this is a little scary. i mean, the implication here is that, by taking and sending this picture to me, my (considerably) better half is saying "i know where you live, and i can get to you". it's all a bit like when certain newspaper proprietors send certain public pictures of themselves asleep in their beds; as if to say "do not regulate us and do what we want you to do or else".

wouldn't the above be all a bit elaborate and rather overtly dramatic for someone who ostensibly lives with me to do in order to put the scares on? kind of, i suppose, but it's not for me to ask too much of why she's doing it, or to what end.

what, for the sake of completeness, were me and the boys doing when this picture was taken? washing the washing machine. it was excellent, man.

it was white wash today, in the literal rather than political sense, and by my word had the boys done quite a number of the shirts they wear as part of their school uniforms. a gallon or so of that marvellous 'vanish gold' stuff is in there, decidedly stripping ink, paint and goodness knows what off of the white shirts. it makes a whole load of foamy bubbles in doing so, and it's always excellent to watch.

anyway, progress with my day, i must.

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

Friday, May 27, 2016

surprisingly effective

'ello 'ello 'ello

it is not entirely outside of the realms of reason, look you see, that some of you who are abroad in the sense that home for you is not where it is for i, believe that my references to the English way of doing things are something of an obvious exaggeration. i can, having seen how it works in several corners of the world, entirely understand why this is the case. could it really be true, in this time when our world feels like it is becoming ever more encased in darkness, that a place exists which remains so steadfastly quaint that civility is the order of the day? yes. yes it is.

to make the story i am to share with you all the more comprehensible i felt a visual aid was necessary to stimulate the impact of it and your understanding thereafter. forgive me, dear reader, for the only actor or model available was myself. so you'll have to look at me.

i would be quite certain that any number of you have all sorts of fabulous and wonderful ideas about what i might be projecting, or if you like portraying, in the above photographic modelling shoot. what i am actually showing, however, is quite  a profound sense of resigned shock and despair at a text message i have received. further, in this role play - and i am quite keen to stress the fiction of the work - it is specifically a text message from the constabulary, requesting that i hand myself in at the nearest police station.

for what reason am i doing this? because such a thing is now happening. no, not to me, but the scoundrels, rapscallions and  general bad eggs of our society who have done wrong. Sussex Police have taken to sending text messages to known villains, advising them that the constabulary are aware that they have done wrong, that they should consider to have had their collars felt, and they should - with humility, dignity and a sense of shame - hand themselves over at the local lock up.

it's not so much that this action in itself is a lovely illustration of the English way of doing things as such. rather, it is the case that this newspaper report indicates that the approach has been "surprisingly effective"

yes, quite, i am pretty much thinking what you are at this stage.

off the top of my head, i am thinking that my dear friends and family in South Africa are possibly in need of new underwear right now, for theirs is presently soiled as an unfortunate side effect of the mirth caused by this. not mirth from laughing at it, perhaps, but that sorrowful laugh you do when you learn of something and so deeply wish that their own world worked in the same way. for them, i wish it were so too.

i am aware of the fact that something similar exists to this in America, although rather more involved. in America a well known "sting" operation is to send letters to the last known address of a suspect or otherwise wanted criminal and advise them that they have won tickets to an event - perhaps a baseball match, or some other similar pastime. greed invariably gets in the way of them thinking about whether they had actually entered a contest and so, despite this sting operation being rather well known, off they go to the event only to find the American equivalent of the constabulary (peace officers, i believe) waiting for them.

i, as a general rule, tend not to consort with the criminal underbelly of society, and nor do i - to the best of my knowledge - have any outstanding warrants against my name. with that being the case it is unlikely that i would ever receive such a text message. what would i do if i did? the world traveller side of me would wish to simply delete it and get on with my life. the English me, however, would select an appropriate suit, wear it, head down to the local station, hand myself in and apologise profusely to the Peelers for any inconvenience i had caused.

oh, to live in a world where this sort of thing happened and no one found it funny because it all seemed like a perfectly reasonable way to go about life.

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

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

found footage films found for £1......

Greetings Earthlings

Found footage films, look you see, seem to have had a peculiar renaissance of late. Is renaissance the right word? Maybe.

As far as I am aware the first really well known “found footage” film was Cannibal Holocaust in the late 70s, and then….pretty much nothing until Blair Witch Project took the format on. Blair Witch in itself broke ground, of course, by being the first film which used the internet almost exclusively for marketing (a very bold step in the late 90s), but that’s another story.

The 00s and 10s have seen the format gain all sorts of popularity, with it once again being the horror genre that it’s used in. Of the found footage films from the last 10 years or so I must confess I have only seen the one – VHS – but I am aware that something called Paranormal Activity exists and, so I am led to believe, also uses this narrative form.

VHS was the only one I had seen, that is, until this weekend. Poundland, a shop I am rather fond of, has gone crazy insane with brand spanking new Blu Ray discs on the go for ₤1 each, and so I have stocked up.

Amongst the treasures they had on offer was not just one or even three, but two “found footage” films. I had not heard of either, and couldn’t really tell them apart, so I went right ahead and bought both.

Should the above picture not be too clear, the ones I got are called Skinwalkers (originally released as Skinwalker Ranch) and Alien Abduction. In a most peculiar move for me, I also watched both films over the weekend after I bought them. Well, I’ve grown weary of the same NCIS repeats on TV every night, and there was no Eurovision or anything like that.

Were either of them any good? Yes. For a spoiler free review for you, both films – whilst covering fairly similar ground – were well made, featured almost all good casting choices and provided a decent number of “scare jumps” for the thrillseeking sort of film watcher who likes such things.

A closer look at both? Surely. I will try my best not to do too much of this, but be warned about spoilers ahead and to be safe, in case you didn’t get the message, please note that a *** POSSIBLE SPOILER WARNING *** sort of warning is now in place.

The first one I, or rather we, for my (considerably) better half watched both with me, watched was Skinwalkers. Plot? Footage emerges from a ranch (Skinwalker Ranch) that appears to show a very bright, fast moving light appear in the sky and seemingly make a young child vanish. A little while later a task force from an apparently official body charged with investigating the paranormal turns up to monitor and record events at the ranch to try and work out what’s going on.

The only real problem I had with this film was the name. Skinwalker Ranch suits it perfectly, Skinwalkers makes it sound like a very different sort of horror film. Changing it was a dumb idea, unless it was done at the behest of the lawyers of George Lucas who felt it might sound rather too much like his own Skywalker Ranch, and then it was a very wise idea.

The other problem I had with the film was that one of the actors involved was just plain awful. Worryingly he was the one who, early on in the film, seemed to be the leader. Fears that he would have extensive screentime, however, were misplaced, as he barely features after his clumsy intro. I suspect he was in a lot more scenes, but the are now mercifully sat on a cutting room floor somewhere.

Other than those points, a solid scarefest that keeps you interested. You have no idea for sure was to what’s going on, and there’s plenty of scares across the 80 or so minutes the film takes of your life. A big plus for those that like the idea of found footage films but are not quite so keen on the “shaky cam” effect which tends to be on the go in most is that a lot of this “found footage” is recorded on fixed monitor cameras.

What's that above? The other four Blu Ray discs I bought for £1 each off of Poundland. Yes they are two of them Twilight things and no I most decidedly do not like them but my (considerably) better half does. Well, she is married to me and thus likes all whiny emo boys that glitter ever so pretty in the moonlight. The King's Speech is about some dude with a stutter and it's based on history, so I will assume it's one of them biopic things about Morris Minor out of Morris Minor & The Majors; a band who briefly had some chart success with Stutter Rap. The Woman In Black is one I saw on DVD and it was good, so I figured for 20% of the price I paid for the DVD I could totally upgrade to Blu Ray.

Did I have any reservations about buying either of these films? Yes. They both have been awarded a “15” certificate from the BBFC.

Whilst I am aware of the fact that they have got better (as in they almost treat adult audiences like adults), the BBFC were always notorious with horror films. If in days gone by they awarded a 15 to a horror film then that meant that the film had no scares of consequence and no graphic violence or nudies. If, however, they awarded it an 18, then you could be sure that all the cool stuff, the graphic sex and violence, would have been cut, and so too with them the scare factor.

Happily both had scares, tension and thus the entertainment factor you would want off a horror without being overtly violent (and having no nudies). This is even the case in Alien Abduction, which for some reason makes use of that most arse headed technique of the world of cinema; starting off the movie with showing it how it ends.

Plot? A family go off on a jolly camping holiday. Quite a few strange sights are seen on the first night, all recorded by a video camera that the family’s 11 year old autistic child uses to view the world around him on an exclusive basis. By day two, it gets stranger, and by the second night it gets a lot darker and scarier.

It’s similar but different to Skinwalkers, as I think you can probably work out for yourself. It is, frankly, ace it is, to be sure. The performances are really good across the board – in particular the 11 year old autistic boy and what you’d categorize as a “redneck”, a character which avoids the lowest common denominator stereotypes. Yes, this one features a bit of “shaky cam” action, but it’s not of a nature that makes you dizzy or nauseous.

Other than the silly decision to show the end of the film at the start, the only real flaw here is that there’s quite a few too many “blink and you will miss” details hidden from direct view as you watch. On the one side this sort of thing is nice to find on repeat viewings (Usual Suspects, Se7en), but on the other I would think it’s rare that someone would watch a “found footage” film more than once. To this end, then, it seems like a lot of the attention to details paid by the makers was a waste, unless like me you “rewind” the disc to see something your own (considerably) better half clocked and you did not.

Over on IMDB these two films get close to an “average” rating, with Skinwalkers getting just over 5 and Alien Abduction getting just below. For what it’s worth, I’d go a point or two higher. That I got them for ₤1 a go may have some bearing on that. If you’re looking for less than 90 minutes of decent filmmaking that gives you cheap yet very effective thrills, these two will do the job.

As ever, I can only hope these pondering comments are in some way of some use to someone out there!

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

brown shoe in the road

hello there

it is with some reluctance that i bring you the latest episode of a phenomenon which occurs with bizarre regularity. i am somewhat torn, look you see, between the fact that a significant number of you seem to like learning of these events and the fact that they now, in an unsolicited way, tend to have somewhat sinister repercussions for me.

on my travels, or if you like journeys, thus far this week i have once again encountered that most peculiar of sights - a lone shoe abandoned. as has usually be the case, this abandonment has taken place in the vicinity of Club Bongo International; a nightspot of some reputation for the gentry and the ladies.

whereas the last time this happened it was all shiny and silver and sparklies, it's all of a more conserved, perhaps dour nature this time.

one of the more interesting aspects of this abandoned shoe - if indeed there are aspects of interest related to it - is that it's placed in a way as to suggest the wearer was making use of the parking meter at the moment they elected to abandon the shoe. the black, quasi-obelisk item you can see the toes of the shoe pointing towards is, as point of fact, the parking meter in question.

could this be related? difficult to say. perhaps the person operating the parking meter felt like they had to make some sort of sacrifice, or other such gesture, in order to have the blessing of the parking meter. it's possible, of course, that the person paying for parking took the view that they were being charged too low a rate, and so left the shoe as a tip.

also, of course, it could be that a more civic minded sort of rapscallion was combining both abducting someone whilst paying for parking and as part of the balancing of the two the abductee struggled a bit and lost a shoe as a result of the skirmish.

that last point of a potential explanation is a crucial one, and relates to my concerns about sharing this here. it remains, no matter how remote, possible that this shoe is off of someone what got abducted, and thus the likes of interpol, europol and the regular constabulary are looking if not directly for this then some form of clue which this would turn out to be.

i would not want, then, some over zealous fan or enthusiast - and i didn't single out or directly name Mark when i said that - to take it upon themselves to retrieve this shoe from its present place and deposit it on my desk at verk. no, please rather just leave it exactly where it is, and allow nature to take its course.

what can i tell you of the shoe? it's quite brown, is it not? there is some shiny on it, in the form of some gold trim or detail. it's a shoe which features the branding of Guess, a fashion house which i am reliably informed is "like Versace, only better quality, better priced and not just for gays", although i would have thought one was now free and clear to wear whatever one wished in this day and age.

as for why it is that so many items of footwear of varying quality is turning up abandoned on my travels, the answer is, alas, i have no idea. if you'd prefer, of course, you can phrase that as i simply do not know. i shall, however, make every effort to record all such future instances, and trust that no vigilante or other such renegade reader of this blog takes matters into their own hands.

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

Sunday, May 22, 2016

the English way of doing things


those of you who read my theoretical book reviews, in particular as and when i have read a book off of Peter Robinson, will be quite familiar with my use of the term the English way of doing things. this is, look you see, a nod of the hat to the peculiar ways we, as a people and as a nation, have.

in respect of the works of Peter Robinson, the term comes into play with crime resolution - it is very English indeed to expect the baddie, or if you like the villain, to hand themselves in at the end of each novel and confess, despite the constabulary being nowhere near catching them. this is how we believe the world should operate, as illustrated by that time when Jeremy Corbyn asked if it was really necessary to shoot the terrorist behind attacks in Belgium and France, arguing surely that as the chap was cornered surely he would know the game was up and thus would turn himself in.

does this rather quaint approach to and view of life extend to other areas of the English way of doing things? oh goodness me yes. a quite brilliant insight into further thinking is a lovely book i found called Whitstable Mum in Custard Shortage.

i found this rather charming book at The Works, and paid £1 for it. it was that good, and that beautifully priced, that i went back and got a couple more copies to hand over as gifts, which i did. i trust the recipients have enjoyed it as much as i have.

what is it? a charming collection of stories from local newspapers around England. not just any old stories of course. no, far from it - it's a coming together of tales which are most decidedly English in being considered newsworthy and of value in going to print.

the title is, of course, taken from one such story. whilst the news of a Mum facing a shortage of custard is both tragic and something all should be informed of, this is merely the tip of the iceberg of tales within this most splendid of volumes....

no, seriously, these are not made up. the above are two real news reports relating to the important subjects of roads being available to do, well, precisely what they exist for.

sure, these two might not be the funniest headlines in the book, but i am trying not to spoil the treats for anyone, or give away so much that you elect not to pay the surprisingly low cost which this book is available for - the amazon link in yellow is your friend in this regard.

there are many treats in store for the reader, dear reader - tales of seagulls being rescued, curious cats being stuck in tins, police being called upon to assist drunkards with their knickers, witches being blamed for a spate of mysterious horse braidings and,  with this being a particular favourite subject, ungrateful cows snubbing rescuers.

with this being a very English book about the English way of doing things, there is of course a frequent mention of that subject we so dearly love to discuss, debate and indeed argue about - the weather.

indeed yes, you do get quite a few instances of the full story being reproduced in this book, as is the case here with a tale of snow. as you can see, it's an urgent update report, advising people that some snow on a roof is stubbornly refusing to remove itself from the premises.

if one were to strike the topic of the weather from our daily conversations then one would find England to be one of the quietest, least talkative countries on the planet. but, rest assured, in our silence we would all be pondering the many things we'd like to be saying about how hot, cold, wet, dry, muggy, humid, pleasant, wonderful it all is.

the back of the book features a few other of the gems hidden within its pages.

most of those, i suspect, speak for themselves - which make them very funny (to me at the least) and also exceptionally good headlines. a good headline, after all, is one which basically tells you the story.

whilst Jeremy Corbyn perhaps rightly gets criticism for not quite grasping the right way to deal with a cornered terrorist who intends to blow himself and others up, let it be said there is absolutely nothing wrong with the heart of his thinking. the English way of doing things is, essentially, to get on with it. what would be so bad, after all, to live in a world where the only bad news is that of swans being smug?

if you seek out and find a copy of this brilliant book, i do trust you enjoy it as much as i have!

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

iron man merchandise

hello people

sadly, alas, no. if you've stumbled upon this post hoping to find some smart gear to wear as you do one of them boss "iron man" races involving water, bikes and running, you have, alas, come to the wrong place, look you see. this one is going to be all about the other iron man, as in Iron Man, him off of the comics and that smart film what they made.

this weekend i had reason to dig through a few more of the ever dwindling boxes we still have stuff in. whilst the purpose of this digging was, curiously, to find some Playstation 2, or if you like PS2, games, i found these as i went about my business. the toy element was one i had kind of forgotten about.

the above should look like a boxed, or if you like non-unboxed, smart toy which allows you to add elements of Iron Man armour to a realistic looking Robert Downey jrn action figure, along with an "ultimate" 2 disc edition of the DVD of the movie in a smart case which looks like most of the head of Iron Man. indeed yes, i purchased these in the wave of excitement which greeted the triumph of the first film, some eight or so years ago.

eight years on and it's kind of easy to if not forget then not recall just how important and influential that first Iron Man film was on the world of movies as we know it today. it really was one of those films which came along that you could point at and say was a "game changer".

why? well, let's have a look. at the time this came out, "super hero" or if you like comic book movies were in a slump. yes, i know the hype was building around The Dark Knight at the time, but it hadn't come along and smashed box office records just yet.

up to the point of release of Iron Man, we'd had two efforts at making a movie of The Hulk fail despite the talent thrown at them, Batman Begins won critical acclaim and praise from fans but was by no means a huge financial success, and the otherwise well received, money making Spiderman and X Men films had fallen apart with failed third films.

once again, as was the case right after Batman & Robin in the 90s, it seemed that the comic book movie world was dead, for if there is no money in it then no films would be made. quite a calculated risk paid off. in an unusual move, it was evidently the case that Disney & Marvel elected to go for which character would make the best film, rather than which character was the most bankable. let's be honest, as well liked as the concept was, before this film Iron Man was hardly the best known comic super hero, was he?

casting Robert Downey jnr was a similar masterstroke. it would be fair to say, pre-2008, he was an actor considered as talented as he was troubled, which is to say a lot, but for the most part the latter prevented people harnessing the former. whilst he wasn't grade A box office stuff at this stage, he was someone perpetually loved by fans. in no way was he a safe bet for the role, but he was a good one.

the knock on effects of the success of the films? well, at their most obvious, this would be all them Avengers films you see today. if Iron Man had failed on the level that Hulk did, it's unlikely more money would have been thrown at the rest. also, the financial success did, to a degree, allow Disney to get their hands on Star Wars, both in terms of the cost of doing so and winning the trust of everyone that they could do a very good job with that property. and, so far, you'd have to say they have.

but hey, back to my semi-shiny sealed plastic toy and DVD set. the question is, what to do with them? in terms of value, the action figure seems to fetch between £30 and £50 - far higher than the R129 i paid for it (roughly £5), but i am not sure that's enough to tempt me to sell it. whilst it would feel like a shame to open it up after all this time, i do kind of think that letting the boys open it and go wild with it offers the best value.

as for the DVD, well, it looks like it should be worth a pretty penny, but alas no. other than a superior picture quality being available on the Blu Ray, the market for physical formats - no matter how well made - is dead. the value seems to be less than £10, so that can just sit on the shelf untouched, i guess.

hmn, this blog post feels like it has all gone a bit sales pitch, which wasn't the intention. whilst people do from time to time get hold of me and ask about buying stuff off of me, i've never intentionally tried to sell on here, and that's not what this one was meant to be about. more just a remembering the impact of the film, and a bit of "hey, look at the cool stuff" i have sort of thing.

and, as ever, hopefully this has all been of interest to someone out there!

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

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Stone Roses - All For Seventeen

hey there

there are times, look you see, where i shall look like some sort of apologist in this post, i suppose, or the sort seeking to make excuses. perhaps i am, for it would be all but impossible for me to be objective on anything at all to do with The Stone Roses. i'll try and be balanced, but bear with me if not.

after all the euphoria and excitement of the new song off of the band, All For One, this Friday happened to be the first chart to be compiled at a point where we, the kids, could actually buy the song. would the buzz, the excitement and the enthusiasm for this get the song to number one, and in doing so give the band their first ever number one? no, of course not.

number seventeen it is for the lads, then. not at all bad when compared to their peers, so to speak, for Primal Scream didn't even make the top forty with Where The Light Gets In. but still, people, and the band you'd think, were probably hoping for better.

any reason for the relatively poor showing? certainly. making it a "secret thing" in terms of where you could buy it didn't help; one had to be on social media and following them to see that you could purchase it off of iTunes, and iTunes alone for a few days. also, the 7" vinyl and CD single, with each only featuring the song All For One alone, are only out July 1. and, you know, the fact that the band have given it away for free on things like Spotify and all that You Tube business.

also, a lot of people do not like the song, which is fair enough. actually, it's boss - as much as i love the fact the band are back, many love the fact that once again they can be critical of the band and hurl abuse at them. for some reason, though, abuse at the band was always creative and interesting. the single best review of the song i have read, for instance, suggested that all it was in fact was "Bryan Adams shouting over the theme from Rainbow". that's probably accurate, but what the hey, i dig it man.

all things considered, it's probably just for the best that in the last few years they have, as i've mentioned more than once, fiddled and messed with the chart so much that these days it is, very sadly, all but an irrelevance.

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

google has worked out i have a beard

hello there

last year, or possibly the year before, i had a bit of a wonky science experiment thing on the go with google. whilst everyone seems terrified of just how much data Google has on everyone and everything, it's the case that i, look you see, really rather think that they do, but it's cool as they have absolutely no idea how to manage or use it.

the way i tested this was not intended to be accurate, comprehensive or complete. it was, however, meant to be a test that was exceptionally easy for the Google to deliver accurate results on. that was to say, and you can search through this blog for previous results, that giving them an image of me to search should have been a piece of cake for them to match and find.

why me? not vanity. i'm just an average dude (granted, slightly larger than most), the proverbial "man on the street" expected to be worried about what Google knows of me. and yet i am also who has had a blog running on the Google for, what, 11 or so years now, and as a consequence they have literally hundreds of pictures of moi indexed. as i have not thrown any "privacy" or other requests, finding an image of me by searching from an image of me should be a breeze, should those concerned be right.

that is indeed a fresh new selfie of me, taken for the purposes of this test. to make it easier for everyone, i even took it with an Apple device, since Apple are also apparently most enthusiastic about grabbing and keeping data about people.

sadly, as a consequence of Apple and Google not liking each other, the selfie you see comes up sideways here on my computer. hopefully it was the right way around for you on your device, and, as you can see below, i can assure you it was the right way around for the search......

so, there we have it. Google has, about a year or so after i first did these tests, worked out that i have a beard, and so has grabbed a whole load of images of dudes with beards that might be me. interestingly, it would seem that they have a pretty good idea to work out the pigmentation or shade of my skin, too.

what they have not done, unless i am mistaken, is actually found a picture of me.

facial recognition software and capabilities have been in the news again, and of course everyone's worried. whilst i have no doubt one day it will be a thing, no it is not on Google. there's a massive difference between harvesting huge amounts of data and being able to use it. the analytics, the indexing, the variation computations and all sorts are very far away from being part of day to day use.

or, you know, it is here and it does work, and i'm just a government or Google stooge trying to throw people off the scent, telling them to relax, stay calm, etc.........

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

Friday, May 20, 2016



there are, oh, ever so many things, look you see, that i did not think would happen, or if you like occur, within the span of the day, months or perhaps years that i have left on this planet. i suppose i could provide you with examples of this, but as they would mostly revolve around or relate to the significant development of grey hair i have on the go, let's rather cut to the chase. which, in fairness, would result in us getting to the point and purpose of the title of this blog.

i have, dear reader, as of yesterday become the custodian, and indeed the curator, of one of the most important collections held within the western world. yes, i, simple, humble me, have or has had greatness thrust upon me in the form of taking ownership of the much vaunted, highly celebrated stamp collection of Spiros. or, at the least, what remains of it.

yes the above is indeed all that remains. the full collection was eight, but the stamps which featured Idi Amin and Yitzhak Rabin are now lost. how were they lost? well, Spiros tells people that they were destroyed by jealous insurgents from Syria or some other made up place, and screamed "daeth to the infidels" as they threw them off a building. i happen to know for a fact that he gave them away to a gentleman whom he made a brief yet apparently beneficial friendship with in a bathroom facility in Istanbul.

but let us worry about the stamps that survived. are you noticing something of a common trend across all but one? yes, that's right. in order to celebrate and show if his liberal way of life, Spiros has devoted much of his life to collecting stamps what feature world leaders renowned for a similar sense of liberalism. yes, i have over the years asked Spiros if he is absolutely certain that most, if not all, of these were indeed exponents of liberal values. his answer to this is that it is "not his problem" if over the years victors have written history in a way that enhances their own stature at the expense of others.

the odd one out? Thomas Pringle, bottom middle. Spiros was particularly pleased to send me this one, as he said that he was my favourite poet. at the risk of upsetting this perception i had to ask Spiros why he believed this, as i only vaguely recalled him. Spiros assured me that whilst we were at University i once handed in an essay on the Pringle of Thomas. apparently it was one of the most sublime, well composed, considered and finest essays ever submitted to the University in respect of poetry or any other subject, let down or if you like marred by the fact that i had insisted on addressing the poet exclusively as Thomas "wanker wanker" Pringle, due to the fact that i did not care for him.

whilst i do not recall writing such an essay - i can barely remember what i write here - i do not for one minute dispute or doubt that this was indeed the case. Spiros remembers these things better than i do, and it pretty much sounds like something i would have done.

meanwhile, whilst we are in the philately zone, i read a report with great interest this week which suggested that Royal Mail considers moving to a system where they only deliver mail on three days of each week, as it will help cut costs. i would draw the attention of Royal Mail representatives reading this towards the bits in italics. as this is not an official approach or policy as such as yet, it would be greatly appreciated if they would then resume the service to us which they are commissioned to do and deliver post to us, correctly, no matter what day of the week it is. thanks.

by the way, no, "daeth" is not a typo. this is how Spiros said that the gentlemen in the bathroom facility said it, presumably before they snatched his two stamps and made a dash for it.

anyway, off i go, then, to presumably construct some sort of vault or other such secure means of keeping these stamps safe.

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

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

modern adventures in record collecting


just something of a plug, look you see, or a shout out. the 2016 phenomenon of falling back in love with quality music and quality music being released that loves us is, it would seem, worldwide. so much so, in fact, that our friends in Australia are able to access a most splendid guide to their adventures in seeking out and purchasing vinyl.

i am unsure if Tait's Modern Guide To Record Collecting is available outside of Australia. also, i am unsure of whether or not it is of relevance to the people outside of Australia, as it focuses on them and their expeditions around the globe in search of quality vibes. also also, i am unsure if i have permission to use the above image, but hey ho, it's done now and has been done to promote the book.

it's the case that i have not read this, sure, but i have seen an extract, and that extract tells me that this guide has been very thoroughly researched. the international section in particular, as it happens, as virtually any place in the world that an Australian (or anyone else) might venture in search of vinyl is covered......

oh no, that is no mistake or forgery. that is an exact, real thing, and it's absolutely wonderful to see that Mum & Dad's efforts with Old Grumpy's Gallery have been discovered, appreciated and given a very smart shout out in this guide.

if you happen to be in, near, around or on Mount Maunganui and you're looking for some quality vibes, off you go - the locals will be your guide to getting there, or you can just click this link and find your own way.

anyway, let me get on with the evening.......

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

adventures in modern reading

hello you, the people

Wowee, look you see, it does feel like the gap between book reviews here gets wider, or indeed if you like longer. This pains me probably more than it pains you, dear reader, for it is a sign that I am simply unable to read as many books as I may wish. Once again that’s with thanks to Arriva, the theoretical public transport company who appear to loathe and detest the idea that anyone may with ease use their buses.

A look at the two, for there has been decidedly two novels I have read since the last reviews, novels which I have read most recently? For certain.

Quick, spoiler free reviews of both, for those that want a rough idea? For sure, to be sure. Both were excellent reads overall. Black Order suffers from familiarity with “codes hidden in history” novels, whereas The Secret Speech is, say, 80% genius and 20% let down.

The remainder of this blog post should be read with a fabulous, sensational *** SPOILER WARNING *** in mind, although of course I shall endeavour not to wreck or spoil the novels you want to read. And, as ever, any links to books here are not a sign of affiliation, endorsement or advertising; included purely for your ease.

Let’s start off, then, with Black Order by James Rollins. Provenance of my copy? Second hand copy off of the library, 50p I think or maybe ₤1. No, 50p, I checked.

Plot? Well, what’s a super secret, highly efficient, deadly, world saving outfit called Sigma 6 to do when there’s no actual threat to the world? The answer is use the down time to, at the request of a Monk, have a bit of a gander at some odd shenanigans near a Tibetan monastery related to flashing lights, whilst also investigating someone making expensive purchases of rather rare, famously owned books across Europe.

Wouldn’t you believe it, those two fairly innocuous sounding things end up being connected, and all related to something which is very much a threat to the world. In this case, it all ties in to an utterly bonkers idea of a wealthy, reclusive right wing South African to resurrect the idea of a Nazi “master race”.

Any good? Yes. I thoroughly enjoyed this read. Sure, there were many preposterous turns and co-incidences, but that’s what fiction is kind of for, kids. The only real problem I had was, as alluded to earlier, just too much familiarity with this sort of thing..

I will be honest and say that more than once I had to stop what I was reading and have a think about whether or not I had in fact read this one before. I don’t think so, but far be it from me to stop you searching to see if I had in fact done that and the review is somewhere on this blog. It’s more likely, however, that it’s just the case that there are only a finite number of stories once can conjure up around Nazi exploits in Tibet, and so concepts in novels looking at hidden secrets shall inevitably overlap.

What kept me going was how much I enjoyed the writing style. This is a long novel, but also an immersive experience of one. It really did pull me in and give me an expansive, thoroughly enjoyable yarn to indulge in. I enjoyed it so much I’ve bought another book by the same author. It, alas, seems to be one with the same characters as Black Order but from earlier in the series. I will imagine that I’ll still enjoy it.

On, then, to The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith. This would be the third novel I have read by this author, and yes indeed it is the one that is the sequel (of sorts) to Child 44, which was a brilliant novel and something of a hey-ho film.As for the provenance of my copy, exactly £1 second hand off of the library, although weirdly I have seen it for sale at that price in Poundland.

Plot? It’s three years after the events of Child 44. The Soviet Union after the death of Stalin is a very different place. New supreme ruler Khrushchev is a liberal in comparison, and is making previously thought impossible statements about how it worked under Stalin was all wrong. The foundations of Soviet rule, in particular with regards to law and order, are being shaken.

Protagonist Leo Demidov is not untouched by this. His efforts to keep his false family, sellotaped together from scraps of lies and murder, and his dedication to keeping his homicide office running as an actual thing despite officially there being no crime in the Soviet Union, come under threat when his past actions as an enforcer of the Stalin way come calling for revenge and retribution.

This novel is mostly genius. It’s hard, dark and unsettling as you’d expect, but as usual – for the most part – it’s got a solid plot and showcases some of the best writing you will find in the world today. Certainly it is far better than mine. The problem is that for all the highly satisfactory pacing and twists, as you get to the end it goes very rushed, and in its rush things that you would consider key details – like how some people got where they were and why – are skipped over. This has happened in the other novels by Tom Rob Smith I read.

My abiding thought is that it’s a shame Child 44 did not perform well at the box office. That fact probably means no green light to film this, and that’s a loss as this would make a much better film, even if Tom and Gaz did it all with their very silly Russian accents. Also,. Hollywood would be brave to make this film with the Stalin/Kruschchev dynamic, as many would rush to suggest it’s all a bit comment on Putin in intent.

Will I be having a go at the third part of this trilogy, Agent 6 I think it is called? Certainly, if I can find a copy of it at a most agreeable price. But not for a while, for I have many other books sat here that I wish to read. I think it's roughly a year since I read Child 44, so perhaps at this point next year I will do business.

And so there we have it. Two novels which, I doubt I need to say again, I thoroughly enjoyed whilst acknowledging that they have flaws. If you were giving thought to reading either I would say go for it, although, unlike me in respect of 50% of the above, make sure you do it in the order of sequence in which the respective series were published.

I do hope and trust, as ever, that this has been of use to someone somewhere!

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

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

fortune teller

hi there

this blog post does not, as such, feature anything really pertinent to the world or realm of a fortune teller. it's just the first title which popped into my head. also i am quite the advocate, look you see, of giving the air of publicity to what you might call second or third tier songs off of The Who.

just a quick update on the dominant 66% of the 75% of my family who you all rather like a good deal more than you do me, and as ever you are not wrong to do so. most of the people reading this will have known of me long enough to have become quite tired of my ways, and thus are all the more pleased to learn of other things of other people what are likely to be more interesting than me.

this is indeed young William, or if you like "boy two", which i have briefly adopted as his name, or if you like nome de plume (or however you say it, sorry but i am decidedly not Spanish), to see if it makes the business of parenting any easier. no, this experiment of mine has not gone down at all well, but who said that the advancement of human endeavour was easy?

he is indeed laying out a deck of cards across a table, and doing so with a substantial level of clarity and focus. i would be certain that it is this picture as to why this blog post is called what it is, or something along those lines.

why was he doing the above? because he can, or at least he could. none of us could see any particular reason or sense in stopping him, since he was causing no harm. he also did not ask us to place any bets in relation to the most splendid thing that he was doing, and to be honest if he's stood laying a deck of cards out on a table then he is not off doing something which is likely to result in an item of value, be it financial, theoretical or sentimental, coming to be distressed, broken and irreparable.

a brief pause from my own parenting exploits, if you will, to consider the adventures of my own parents, or at least one of them. is it at all possible, you are probably asking yourself, that my Dad has encountered a bar ice bucket styled in a way that resembles one of the dice off of the cover of Straight Shooter, the legendary Bad Company album? yes.

speaking of yes, is it "earworming" when you get a song stuck in your head, and you keep wanting to listen to it and sing it to yourself? that's kind of what is happening to me with the song Find My Way Home off of the The Friends Of Mr Cairo album by Jon and Vangelis. you can, i trust, work out how all of that links to the word yes, or if you like Yes.

anyway, to the adventures of James, or indeed "boy one" in terms of my most brilliant idea for making parenting a more simplified matter.

if that looks like James surrounded, albeit partially, by kitchen roll rolls, that would be because that is exactly what it is.

in recent times James has developed a most peculiar proclivity for any form of rolled paper. toilet paper rolls and kitchen rolls absolutely fascinate him, and more than once we have had to retrieve the former from his bedroom as and when there was a requirement to use it elsewhere.

when a school project required all the children to take in a kitchen roll, then, James was in his element. he was all the more in his element when they were told that they could take the unused rolls home, and that some of his contemporaries expressed absolutely no wish to do so. apparently he solicited each and every one of his classmates, and asked them if he may have their unused roll. quite a few, as you have no doubt ascertained, were delighted to oblige.

so, to recap, boy two is content if there is a surface on which he may spread cards, boy one is satisfied if he is surrounded by paper that is rolled, and Dad is delighted with a world that has things what are related to Paul Rodgers in it. parenting? nailed it from both sides of the fence, dear reader. yes, Richard, Gillian, i hear you; definite room for improvement in my efforts as a brother in comparison.

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

Sunday, May 15, 2016

random may be it

hello there

well, after something of an absence of this sort of thing for some time, here we go with a collection of random images culled, for the most part, off of the internet. i don't particularly have much else to offer you at the moment, look you see, and so i offer these in the hope that they get found and prove to be of some interest to someone somewhere.

mostly a music and slightly a film related collection this time around, but a few of the images relate, more or less, to neither. and starting all that off is one that i cannot say for certain is legit, but a cursory glance across the internet suggests that actually it is.

what that? the caption with it around the web says that it's 18 people having a bit of a dance, or if you like a shindig, within the confines of a club or hall in Aldershot, back in 1961. the interesting aspect of this - not that Aldershot it's most interesting - is that the band playing happens to be a more or less finished and complete version of the pop group The Beatles.

this would be some 12 - 18 months before they made it big, so to speak - not that playing at a club in Aldershot to a select audience isn't big. stories like this tend to be true - from what i recall Queen first played a gig similar to this, only to an audience of 4 people, and there was only about 12 at the "legendary" first gig off of the Sex Pistols. in regards of both of them, if the amount of people who claimed to be at them was close to true, them both played debut concerts to a quarter of a million people. wow.

now then, we are a way off a hat trick, but the best thing about Christmas for the last two years has been a screening of Chas & Dave's Cockney Knees Up from 1982. how about, ladies and gents, a look at the TV Times article promoting it for when it was first shown in 1982?

why has this been rebroadcast for the last two Christmases we have celebrated? a mix of things, i think. for one i expect the royalties and fees to show it are disproportionately low  in terms of the talent on display in it. also, it is Channel 5 what shows it, and as far as i am aware it's Richard Desmond who owns that channel. if you wish you can dig up information on this gent, but he is very Chas & Dave. i don't actually care why they keep showing it, i am most pleased that they have and hope that they continue to.

a slice of history for you, beyond the history above, and here's a super computer from, i think, 1968. it says that it is an analogue computer, which i would take to mean an abacus, or possibly a pad of paper with a pencil.

that's awesome that is. these days people seem to want smaller computers for some reason. i do not. i want a big, massive bank of computer stuff, all shiny and with switches, like that one what they built in the cave at the end of Superman III. i like the idea of my computer looking totally massive and impressive.

some more music? for sure. here's a collection - sadly and sorry a blurry one - of some Depeche Mode posters and things that someone had upon their wall.

nice dedication that. my bedroom wall probably looked more or less the same, but with Frankie Goes To Hollywood rather than the Depeche Mode. from what year is the above collection? Violator is clear and present, so i would say late 89, early 90 maybe?

on to the visual arts, then, and none more visual than Don Johnson off of Miami Vice and all them other things which he done that are fabulous but just not as well remembered.

actually he did a very smart film called Dead Bang not long after Miami Vice, and he was the best part of that Tin Cup film. also i can remember he was really very good in a miniseries called The Long Hot Summer; one that i would track down and watch again if time allowed me to do such things.

indeed that pictures is of Don smouldering and pouting. i thought that most of the ladies reading this, and a fair few of the chaps, would like that.

that said, the next image might be something of an acquired taste. so to speak.

yes, indeed that is a promo picture for the first Hellraiser film, which came at the world in 1988. there have been several films with the name since, but only the second one was any good, and even then that one for some reason moved the whole plot to Chicago from London / Liverpool without ever giving reason for it.

as much as i love the first two Hellraiser films there is a school of thought to say that none of the films so far have ever really lived up to the awesome potential of the concept. i think i read they are having another go at the films, hopefully it turns out smart. and now that i think, wither Clive Barker? i really loved his novels, i must remember to see if he's done any in the last few years and i've somehow missed them. Arabat, i think, was the last thing i recall.

on to film of a more family orientated nature, then, and here's how the magazine the TV Times elected to promote the screening of the Disney film The Black Hole on ITV. back in 82 or 83, i think.

back then there was not an "internet" to copy and paste pictures off to go in your magazine. if you didn't have promo pictures given to you for a film or whatever then you had to organize for someone to draw what you wished to published. whilst them pictures are better than what i could draw, well, they are not quite as accurate caricatures as they might me.

a return to a bit of music and a gander at someone who was incomprehensibly famous despite the fact that such fame would be celebrated with controversy and arrests today? sure. here's Lemmy off of Motorhead with Samantha Fox. no, not the US 'actress' of the same name, but the Brit one who had a somewhat similar career to the US named one.


i would imagine that a great many people who were not there in the 70s and 80s are, in the context of today's standards and morals, left simply baffled by the number of elder members of the entertainment community that had relations which girls of school age. without in any way or manner justifying it, your understanding comes from what was considered "perfectly normal" back then. as in, Samantha Fox came to fame for posing topless for the legendary Page 3 of The Sun "newspaper" in the 80s. when she was 16. and no, they didn't hide that she was 16 or lie about it, the fact that she was doing nudies at this age was positively celebrated.

add to that the fact that, for example, Billy Wyman was marrying a 16 year old, and Jimmy Page was considered "a bit of a cheeky lad" for abducting and, ahem, guess, a 14 year old fan, and you kind of get an idea as to why and how certain things we'd raise an eyebrow at today flew under the radar and into the realm of "ha ha nice one" back then.

as for the Lemmy, well, he was a ladies man, man. as in not girls. 

a celebration of some of the lesser know and not quite as fondly remembered stars of the New Romantic period of pop music? sure.

Haircut 100, man. i think their big song was Love Plus One, although something called Fantastic Day comes to mind too. my abiding memory of the band was that the singer, Nick Heyward or something, was very shy. he was always quiet and blushing when someone tried to interview him on TV. my thought on that is, if that's the case for you, don't go and become a f*****g pop star; then, rather be a plumber or something else what pays the bills and doesn't bring much media attention.

A Flock Of Seagulls? the only positive there is that they took their name off of a lyric from Toiler On The Sea by The Stranglers. otherwise, crap hair, a lack of bass and  I Ran is as good as it got from them, and it's just all plain whiny.

more non entertainment stuff, of sorts, then, and here's what is described as a mobile swimming pool in New York, somewhere in the 1960s.

that's very smart, that is. you couldn't do that now, of course - too much traffic, people are just not fun enough to do it any more and you'd need billions in public liability insurance, since today is a time when no one is prepared to accept that either consequences or accidents can happen as a result of decisions we make and actions we take.

also back in time for you, and indeed with a brief but all the same impressive return to the world of computers, here's what a hard drive of 5MB capacity looked like, and indeed here's a glimpse of how easy it was for a chap to transport it around.

yes. when i said that i like the idea of my computer looking big and massive, i think it is pertinent to say that i would very much like it to retain the rather more compact nature of hard drives that we know today. for a scale sort of thing, that 5MB drive being lifted into an aeroplane could hold approximately 70% of the digital download of All For One by The Stone Roses, a download which i have apparently bought twice.

referring back to cultural and moral differences between then and now, there were things that happened then in promoting music which do not happen now. a big one, of course, was taking out a full page advert for a new album - to do that today would probably see the album released at a loss. which is weird, considering how many ways there are to promote something now.

also today, if you say anything about anyone, even in terms of a generalised group, someone will take offence on behalf of that person or group and mouth off about how offended they are on behalf of someone else, and will not stop or shut up until people pay attention. usually this causes massive waves, and then is forgotten about within a day or so.

basically, the two points above mean that the below would be unlikely to be a thing today.

there is an absolutely massive drive to make sure that China, or if you like the Chinese, are in particular not upset by anything. films are made in such a way to appease the Chinese authorities and make them look super (cf The Martian, most Marvel films off of Disney), and as recently as last night we saw a watered down Eurovision Song Contest so that it would not fall foul of Chinese censors.

should Pete Townshend wish to have made an album like the one above today, he would have had to call it The Chinese Are The Best Cowboys, or even possibly left China out of it all together.

was the album, in among all of this, actually any good? no. as was the case with Queen, Rolling Stones, etc, when at this time artists were allowed to make mostly indulgent solo albums they didn't use the best stuff on it, rather instead keeping clear hits for the band. why? well, from an artistic point of view releasing something as by The Who means a much bigger audience than exists for Pete solo, and from finances in means a very great deal more money. on the plus side for the record, as you can see All The Best Cowboys Have Chinese Eyes was released on tape, too.

a promo poster for a late 80s gig by the Pink Floyd in France? sure.

i'm not really a big Pink Floyd fan, to tell the truth. some of their stuff is all right, but mostly it just plain doesn't say anything to me. i appreciate the fact that they have more talent than me, and loads more success and money, and as a consequence have a good many more fans than i do.

i must like some of their songs, you would think, otherwise i would not have bothered to put the above in at all. but yes, mostly it's for their fans to find and enjoy. happy looking.

for a penultimate look at the world of vibes in this post, an advert off of an American magazine from 1982 that shows how much effort once we had to go to in order to obtain, or if you like attain, the vibes we want.

yeah, before an "internet" which allowed you to order stuff from overseas, or simply obtain it in an unofficial way, you had to scour magazines to find ads for imports of records what were only released in one part of the world. in this case it would seem that the records were from Germany.

i happen to have that Story Of The Who set on vinyl. boss, it is. it rather successfully condenses highlights from Tommy on one of the four sides, and it still sounds quite coherent. well, as coherent as it, greatest work of art from the last century that it is, gets.

current music fans upset about being ripped off by record labels over having to get an expensive box set just to access one or two rare tracks may well take heart from the pre-Axl AC/DC set above. yeah, throwing old records together and re-selling them to you on the promise of it being an exotic pressing and some unreleased stuff being on it has always been a thing.

an image of a beggar running after the car of his excellency King George V, cap in hand (the beggar, not the king), asking for money? that's what it says this picture is of.

is the picture legit? not sure. someone with talent could soon photoshop that, and did they even have cars like that when King George V was around? also, there's no fact to say that he is a beggar what is betting, in particular as he has quality footwear on. perhaps it is just a gent that neglected to doff his cap in reverence as The King went by, and has run up to make amends for that, lest he get executed. such things used to happen when you were rude to royalty, you know. wars were started for less than a lacking cap tip.

finally, and you may argue the best has been saved for last, kind of, here's David Lee Roth (the best) as part of Van Halen (kind of)

the dynamics of the above are interesting. this is Van Halen on tour in 1982. by this point, right, if you live in a town with a population of 5,000 or less, then the combined efforts in this respect of your entire population have had less sex in the last three years than what Roth had experienced by this point. he was amazing in that regard, man, and probably still is. paradoxically, all that is known of his band mate Eddie "Edward" Van Halen, pictured with him, is that his one son was not born until about 9 years after this, so it's possible that Eddie's doing a sex count was at zero at this stage. he should have dressed as smart as Roth, man, in particular with respect to neck scarves.

phew, that's that. thank you for reading, and i trust that some if not all of the above helped pass some time, or proved to be of interest. more as and when it happens, dear reader.

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