Sunday, July 31, 2016

branded random

greetings, dear reader

well, i'm at a bit of a rare loose end, so let's go right ahead and have a look at some more random images that i have extracted from the internet. i was, look you see, actually on the prowl for some classic music adverts, but seem instead to have found a whole load of non-music stuff off of the 80s.

yeah, i know there are a few sites and "apps" dedicated to randomly sharing images like what i am doing here, but i for some reason think that there are people out there that quite like the idea of a few comments thrown in and not just the visuals.

there are, unless i am very much mistaken, 14 or if you like fourteen images that i have on the go here, and it seems that they will crop up in a quasi alphabetical way, depending on what i called the image file. just about all, i think, are marketing and branding things. starting with.....

yes, an example of that thing which has been gone from the world for, what, 20 or so years, now? an advert for cigarettes, no less. that is indeed for the fancy, posh version of Benson & Hedges; the kind smoked only by the ruling elite, members of the aristocracy and other assorted landed gentry.

oh, no, you are not missing anything - the advert really is the total crap that you see. as best i can work out for you, the concept is that a milkman has delivered some B&H in the snow, and some sort of bird - presumably a robin or perhaps a sparrow - has hopped along to have a gander. i think it's supposed to be a play on the problem we had in the 70s and 80s of birds, in particular magpies, stealing a drink of milk from doorsteps. this problem was, of course, resolved by the public execution of all milkmen after a fabulous show trial, and now everyone just buys milk from shops.

did adverts such as the above really inspire people to start smoking? if they did, well, i'd then suggest that was really all rather a quite natural - and valuable - trimming of the herd than it was an issue. be that as it may, we no longer have class adverts like that on the go. or, for that matter, this next one.

indeed the above is from America - 1982, i think. it's off of that Bloomingdales lot, a company which i believe enjoys a distinct level of fame and brand awareness around the globe. that's probably because the name gets mentioned from time and again in films and TV shows off of America.

i have absolutely no idea if the above approach was a success, but i would suspect not. despite the fact that there was one scene of the sport in the film, i for a start think it's a bit much attempting to use the film Chariots of Fire to sell cricket whites, since the film is generally better known for celebrating another form of athletic endeavour.

would i think that selling the classical English cricket look to America in the early 80s would be a win? well, not really. i mean, this was a couple of years before Miami Vice, but i mean, still. they had smart things like Dallas and Soap on to guide their fashions, i would have thought.

an 80s public service announcement off of British Gas, in order to give this post some semblance of credibility, purpose and worth? sure.

it strikes me as that would be very confusing for a lot of people today. for a start, telephones do not look like that any more. if confronted with a phone with a dial on it, i suspect the Millennials who wander around aimlessly with stupid haircuts would get blown up or experience some other form of distress as they attempted to simply touch rather than spin the buttons.

also, it's not like you can actually smoke inside any building in the UK anywhere any more, so the chances of blowing yourself up whilst you have a fag as you call British Gas to come and fix their shoddy installation are remote, to say the least. if you did do that, they'd probably put what remains of you on trial for smoking indoors.

a simplistic, no-nonsense approach to advertising for a stock brokerage type of firm off of America during the early 80s, before the economy all went knacked? done.

actually i really quite like this no nonsense approach to advertising. it's a no-nonsense, "this is us, give us your money" statement, saved from being 100% business card formal only by the gesture of a snazzy font being used for the text. the same advert for today would feature clouds, trees or some other such abstract; thought up by a branding guru to underline the "aspirational" nature of giving all your money to a brokerage.

would i have wished to work at an early 80s American stock market brokerage, based in New York or similar? absolutely. to me it looks like a lot of scribbling on paper whilst you smoked very affordable cigarettes right there at your desk, also eating doughnuts and getting completely and utterly sh!tfaced on bourbon or similar as and when the market periodically crashed. now, sadly, it's all finger sandwiches and muesli, along with health fanatics making decisions on touch screens.

whatever happened to C&A? i am fairly sure that when i left England in the early to mid 90s they were still a going concern, but now i am back they seem to have gone. no doubt they were another business destroyed by an "internet", which we shall get to later, or just poor business administration. i note with interest that more classic British businesses have gone bust during the time of EU expansion than internet, however.

no matter, what hurts here is that it would seem that we now live in a world where one cannot with any ease purchase smart Jinglers branded clothes. that yellow shirt - brown cord trousers combination is an absolute win, and i would be delighted to be able to stride around town in such fashions.

more early 80s American stuff? OK, sure, why not. i mean, for some reason i am getting a good deal of readership and traffic off of the former USSR these days, and they were quite the ones fascinated with all things America at that time. here you go, comrades, behold the car of the bourgeois.

on balance i think yes, i would like a Cadillac to drive. sure, it's massive and so i will dent and knock it, and i would wager that fuel economy was nowhere near the thinking of its design or build. you can be certain, though, that such a car would have an absolutely amazing cassette deck in it. possibly even an 8 track player, which would be sort of OK although i don't have a recorder and so could not make tapes for it.

no, i am not looking into getting a new car. if i was, i suspect a Lada would be it, or some other sort of product from the Soviet bloc. hey, if all of them are reading this blog, the least i can do is have one of their cars.

i am also not really in the market for a new direction with my hair. if i was, however, i would totes be at David's, as it seems he would be boss at styling my hair in a way that was more extraordinary than it was simply ok.

one of the most exciting aspects about David's? that he was on the go every day of the week, assuming that America has seven days to a week too. here the English way of doing things means that you cannot get a haircut on a Sunday, lest you wish to be arrested as some sort of sexual deviant or other such form of social misfit. it was only in the 60s, i think, that they stopped hangings for people found to be shaving or combing hair on the Day of the Lord, goodness knows what very public humiliation would befall those who took cutting implements to their fringe.

that last point is all true, as you can find it here on the internet, and as we all know if it's on the internet it must be true, for why would one report falsehoods on it? on that note, Jeff Goldblum must be getting pretty tired of dying whilst on location in New Zealand by now, and this whole "internet" thing is not quite so new as everyone takes as a given as it being.

what's that above? that, ladies and gentlemen, is a prototype "internet directory" from the 80s. we did not, however, call it an "internet"; we called it "teletext". if you had the right sort of television, you could press a button, type in numbers and retrieve information in a mostly text based format off of Oracle or Ceefax. if you had a stupendously fancy television, you could also print off pages from it for use elsewhere.

a good many people claim that they invented "the internet". that total bellend off America, what's his name, Al Gore or something, is one. also that English bloke, Tim something, who got a knighthood for it. i would suggest that "invented" is a relative term. it was not that much of a leap of imagination, or too much of a game changer, to move teletext off of television sets and on to computers.

more on "internet invention" in a bit, but now on to a truly great passion of mine. if i were asked what materialistic thing do i miss the most - that i long for, and wish i could have every day, then the answer would be Marlboro. if i were asked to elaborate on that, i would without  doubt say soft pack Marlboro in particular.

sigh. gone are the days. they are just too damned expensive here in England, alas. as in, they cost about £4 a packet more than the brands that i make do with. it is super awesome amazing when someone treats me to a packet, as Spiros most recently did, but for the most part they sadly remain elusive and absent from my life as i know it these days.

hey ho, i can at least look at the above and remember the days of glory when they were accessible and affordable, i suppose. yeah, sure, smoking is bad, silly, awful for you, etc, but Marlboro are just the most awesome thing ever, i'm afraid.

a little earlier in this blog post we had a look at the formal, no-nonsense approach to brokerage and stock market representation preferred by our friends in America. a look at how the English way of doing things took to encouraging people to dabble in stocks and shares is to be found below.

yes, indeed, quite. the British approach to stocks and shares was less formal brokerages, more adverts on behalf of the Government placed in television guide magazines.

the most famous Government sell off that saw shares theoretically placed in the hands of the great unwashed proletariat was, of course, British Gas, what with its "if you see Sid, tell him" approach to advertising.

i might very well be quite mistaken, but so far as i am aware gone are the days in which one could become a shareholder (admittedly a minor one, but still) in a major airline simply by filling out the form they found in the TV guide. these days it all has to go through agencies and brokerages, and of course must be signed off and approved by a wide range of financial conduct authorities. where's the fun in that?

strewth, what's that above? just my efforts to add a touch of glamour and class to this post. all i know of it is pretty much all that you can see on the above -a supplier of exquisite lingerie that is only slightly laced. why so? no idea, perhaps the American sexual psyche was simply not ready for full on lace during the early 80s.

speaking of early 80s America and the partial way in which they did things, back to all things "internet invention". here, look, you see they had an internet on the go in 1982. via a VIC-20, no less.

other than all them boss games and things you can see on the left, on the right is the world of excitement and adventure you could get from hooking up your smart VIC-20 to if not the internet then a "network of inter connected computers". see, you could access CompuServe, do shopping, book holidays, play online games, etc. basically, everything you can do on an internet today, except illegally download stuff, look at nudies pictures or show images of your cat to random strangers.

this whole internet thing has simply adapted and evolved over many years, then. it's silly and crazy to say that one person invented it or is responsible for it; that's like saying whoever invented the DVD is responsible for the creation of home entertainment. other versions existed before, and did the same thing in a different way.

Watergate, then.

one of the earliest phases of "dumbing down" the world, to get us to the stage where, and I quote Noel Gallagher here, "99% of the population are as thick as pig sh!t", saw 'Watergate' be somewhat misinterpreted by the media in terms of how the "Watergate Scandal" brought down President Nixon, a Head of State who was one of the few, if only, ever to be referenced in a Bowie lyric. the Watergate was and probably is still a hotel. this is to say it was not a gate for water, and had no relation to the actions and activities that brought down a President. yet every time there is a scandal that looks to rock or bring down a person from power, we get the word "gate" stuck on the end - Irangate, Emailgate, Lewinskygate, Infaltegate, etc.

some of that WWF, now WWE, stuff to finish off? sure, yeah, why not......

that's a UK TV magazine snippet from early 1987, and suggests that it is announcing the first ever screening of the American form of wrestling on British TV. up until that stage, wrestling for us in England began with Big Daddy and ended with Giant Haystacks. every now and then in an American film we got a snippet of their version of it - the opening of Highlander comes to mind - but mostly we didn't get to see it.

which is the best version of wrestling? all are quite smart, i suppose. there's a particular type that Spiros engages in which, frankly, is unlikely to get broadcast on TV any time soon. he seems to enjoy it, despite the fact that there's no potential for branded clothing from it.

anyway, that will do. should any of this random stuff have been of interest, nice one!

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

Saturday, July 30, 2016

the £1 all day breakfast tin under review

hi there

despite my good, strong professional working relationship with one of them 'celebrity' chef types, i am not what you would call known for being any sort of cuisine guru. i cannot, look you see, actually ever recall being requested to proffer some comment or advice on that which people would eat.

today, however, i had something of an experimental lunch. for a number of years i'd seen something called an All Day Breakfast in a tinned form offered for sale. recently, with my curiosity piqued, i purchased one when it was on sale for £1, down from an amount normally north of this value. today i had it, then.

the anticipatory, that is to say advance, reactions to my intention of doing this were, to say the least, mixed. sadly from certain narrow minded quarters - my sister and my (considerably) better half in particular, but also James - there was an expression of abject horror, despair and to a degree disillusionment that such a thing existed, never mind that i proposed to consume it.

it was not, happily, all negative waves, man. William, as we shall shortly see, was excited by the prospect of such an awesome invention, and my brother took nothing but pride in the fact that i had obtained such a many faceted splendid thing.

a look inside, or if you like within, the tin?

yes, rather predictably the focus of the contents is on beans of a baked state, the ingredient which you would assume was the cheapest for them to instil within the tin. this is not to say that the other ingredients were lacking, as once again it is the case you shall surely soon seen.

indeed i am aware that posting images of food in general, and that which you are about to eat in specific, is usually the preserve of that whole Twerker or Tinder or Twatter thing; whatever that one is called that a number (two) of iconic homosexual legends of the BBC have quit in a hissy fit. forgive my rare stray into this realm, then. i can assure you it is one that shall seldom be seen again.

how does an all day breakfast tin look once it has been warmed up and emptied with some passion and enthusiasm over two generously buttered slices of toast? mostly like this.

how amazing and appetizing does that look? also yes, it does look like something else. one can only assume that they settled on the name "all day breakfast" for this product when it was determined, or otherwise ascertained, that "artery f****r" would not be a strong, marketable brand.

what does the above picture have to do with all of this? absolutely nothing, dear reader, it's just something else that i picked up today.

the Best Of Neighbours DVD is of course for me. the disc promises some five hours of the finest moments of that fine television show, hopefully from the 80s era when i watched it. yes, at the forefront of the disc is the wedding of Scott and Charlene, an episode which i would imagine to this day enjoys the highest ever ratings this Australian masterpiece has ever attracted.

as for the book, a guide to Soaps (as in Soap Opera tv shows), that's for my (considerably) better half, so it is, to be sure. i sh!t you not, as part of the laborious process we (mostly she) has underway to prove that she's most happy with life in terms of the English way of doing things, my (considerably) better half is required to do an exam which features questions on British soap operas. so best she study, as there's no chance that we are going to start watching the wretched things, no matter what Theresa May wants.

should the contents of the tin look less when stretched across the two pieces of toast, that's because not all of the contents are on display. as highlighted earlier, William was most enamoured with the idea of an all day breakfast in one simple, convenient tin. he requested that he may share this most splendid banquet of a feast with me, and i agreed to do so. 

oh, dear, i just see that i have called this blog post "under review". this would imply that i intend to give some sort of comment or review of it, doesn't it? well, ok. it's not horrid as such. aspects of it are really rather quite tasty. it has not left me ill or horrified, and after consuming it i was able to drive for an hour or so in a manner that was not hindered or obstructed by the fact that i had eaten it.

would i have it again? absolutely, and here's a picture of me giving the thumbs up as a way of approval in respect of how, for £1 a pop, awesome it is.

would i recommend or otherwise suggest that anyone else has a go at a tin of all day breakfast? that's up to you, really. if you are grown up enough to navigate the internet as far as my corner of it, i would suggest you have the succinct and correct level of maturity to make such a decision for yourself.

right, hope that's been of some use or interest to someone out there!

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

Friday, July 29, 2016

wrapping up London exploits


this might be overtly ambitious of me, and indeed for a limited audience, but no matter. i have milked my rather short trip to London for a number of posts here already, look you see. the time has come just to slot all the rest of the pictures into one post, and recount those stories i can recall.

the quite exciting elements of my journey commenced before they even began. why's that? well, after my family had dropped me off at the train station to commence my sojourn, i was confronted with a message advising me that my train had, as point of fact, been cancelled. oh, bother.

how so that i made it to London and, indeed, back? an enquiry at the ticket desk left me informed that "cancelled" is an ambiguous term, apparently, and it was not so much cancelled as it was deferred to a fellow train station. i simply had to get on one other train to catch the service. and so, i did.

oh yes, there will be quite a few images of me here in this post, so you may well feel much better about skipping it all, i suppose. for those enthusiastic about my appearance, go wild.

rather than mind my own business, for outside of one minor rock opera i composed about a train signal booth employee and the rise and fall of his "on the sick" scam i know little of how the railways work, i suggested to the people at the ticket desk that maybe, or indeed perhaps, sharing this information on the "all things are relative" definition of cancellation with a wider audience might benefit those who had, in the greatest of fairness, paid them considerable coins of money to do such a job. they did.

some video of the world passing by as the train motored, or whatever it does (rolled i suppose), towards London? sure, here you go, just for the handful of you who can actually play the videos on this site.

how did the train journey go? after the panic had fallen away and i could relax a bit, most splendid. i was able to read a fair chunk of that Dying For Christmas book, which i reviewed for your pleasure over on this post here.  and now i see that in that review, of sorts, i forgot to draw attention to the fact that poor editing has cursed Dying For Christmas - the hideous oxymoron of a phrase "revert back" features in it.

one knows that they have arrived in London, ostensibly the King's Cross area of London, when they are confronted with a massive portrait of the lean, tight, pert, engaging, well toned and quite exciting backsides of several (four) Arsenal players. 

why the backsides of the Arsenal players?  there are several theories concerning this, with the overwhelming majority of them involving potentially libellous statements about the sexual proclivities of the players and fans alike. quite often together, but let's not go there. my theory would be that if Arsenal just show the backs of people wearing the shirts of certain players then they don't have to pay any image rights to the actual players suggested at being depicted.

my own views on Arsenal? i have no quarrel with them. sure, they attract the odd bad fan that they'd probably rather not be associated with - Piers Morgan, for instance, and also Osama Bin Laden - but they can hardly be held to blame for this. if anything, i have nothing but empathic sympathy and understand of Arsenal's plight. as a sexual magnet, i also attract many, and have no say in such matters.

i arrived at Kings Cross, then, some 30 or so minutes later that i was scheduled to, but no matter. as in, no matter where you go, there you are. and where i was turned out to be a place where i could have a cigarette after going some three or so hours sans one.

what are them people in the background doing? no idea. messing with mobile phones, looks like. either they are booking one of them Uber things, which London Black Cab drivers reckon is little more than paying someone to interfere with you sexually, or they could be doing all that Digimon Go stuff.

as you have seen the image of my reunification with Spiros at his house previously, we shall skip that. also, you have seen my adventures with Dory and her daughter, so we will skip that too. although the bulk of the next pictures are off of that day.

here is, if for some reason you are interested in it, a picture of me going down one of them fancy escalator things what they have at the tube stations in London.

i think this is in Canary Wharf, going back down to the platforms to make my way to Piccadilly Circus after travels with Spiros, but i could be mistaken. it won't be at Westminster station, that much i can assure you. with all them armed coppers around, no way was i going to pull out an exceptionally Brazilian looking phone.

if you're a fan of the works of that Roald Dahl bloke and all his fantastic books, then rejoice for you may well like this. whatever it actually is.

this image, and indeed the one that follows, was taken on the walk towards Buckingham Palace. it is placed before an unspecified arch of some consequence and, well, that's the limit of my knowledge. sorry, folks, evidently i am not quite as familiar with The BFG as i might need to be to know what this is.

but still, if you are a fan of The BFG and all that, surely this will make sense to you and my lack of knowledge, or if you prefer your spades to be shovels ignorance, makes little difference.

i just recently mentioned Buckingham Palace, so that allows me to quite nicely include here a picture of me with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. no, not the actual one, but a reasonably respectful one what they have made out of Lego in Hamleys.

before my next trip to London, right, one that will be in the future rather than in the past, i must do some digging and find out on which floor exactly it was in Hamley's that Stanley Kubrick filmed the final scene of Eyes Wide Shut. theoretically, and i don't know that it was filmed in sequence, it would be the last thing that the great one ever did direct. i'll see what i can find online, or perhaps just watch the film to work it out, and have a picture taken of me upon that spot.

onwards, then, towards quite early on the Saturday that i headed home. very early, in fact. whilst New York is known as the city that never sleeps, London surely does like a bit of a kip or a snooze. very little, if anything, happens in London on a Saturday morning between 6:00am and 8:00am. the trains, for one, do not run as smoothly as they should.

if i am looking somewhat distressed in that picture above, it is because i was. that's me on the escalator at King's Cross, having finally made it to King's Cross. i got there some 20 minutes later than i had planned to be, owing to three tube trains on the bounce simply not turning up at the time they were supposed to.

some people think tube drivers are twats. others, i have observed, consider them to be total and utter bstards. i'm not sure if this is harsh or not. the basics, so far as i am aware, is that a tube driver gets paid some £50,000 a year to sit in a box at the front of a tube train, and be ready to press a massive button saying "stop" should for some reason the automated stopping system not work. in theoretical terms they work some 20 hours a week, refuse to work more for it would "interfere with their social lives" to do so, and have an ambivalent approach to working those hours.

my view is that the London public transport system is the best, most amazing thing ever, and it is a disgrace that we in the rest of the country have to put up with an unreliable, inconvenient and ludicrously overpriced system. public transport should not cost more than a car to use. the point, surely, is that it is there for those who can't drive or cannot afford to?

at King's Cross, then, and more literary / cinematic things for you.

i have only ever seen the Harry Potter what Ian Brown is in, as well as Gaz Oldman. i think there was this train platform in it, and i am fairly sure it would feature in all of them. anyway, this platform is quite the attraction at King's Cross, as many fans of this little boy who plays with his wand wish to stand and have their picture taken by the display.

it's that JK Rowling woman what did Harry Potter, isn't it? she's another one that has that same affliction what Rod Stewart has. neither of them seem to grasp that being born in England makes you English, no matter who you are related to or how much you want to be Scottish. i mean, Scotland is amazing, man, and i very much hope to visit there once again soon, but you can't just go around pretending you are from there because you like it. nationality can, after all, make some Scots slightly tetchy. just ask that Scottish bloke who deleted all his illegally downloaded Bowie songs after Bowie had the temerity to express an opinion, followed by the poignant statement "i am glad the unionist c*** is dead" earlier this year. the latter was, i take it, an action designed to bring comfort to many.

oh, the actual Harry Potter display thing at King's Cross? sure.

again, i may be mistaken, but i believe the idea here is that you hold on to the handle of the trolley and act like you are ramming it through the wall, all magic style. perhaps i will have a look at the films of it all that didn't have Ian Brown in them, but i doubt they will be as smart.

yes, you are quite right - to my knowledge my frequent visits to King's Cross means that i have indeed visited every single train station what the Pet Shop Boys have named a song after.

here i am, apparently a little after 8 in the morning, enjoying a cigarette before getting on the train home.

if i don't look to be enjoying the cigarette, i assure you that i was. any look of disdain or contempt about me is down purely to the fact that i, out of desperation, had a bought coffee off of a London shop. coffee shops in London seem unable, or simply not prepared, to make decent coffee.

whilst the coffee i got at House of Spiros was smart, every purchased cup was awful. back in the 80s, there was a massive trend in London to fill the gearboxes of cars with sand and gravel, as this was cheaper than fixing them before sale and it was all prior to any sort of consumer rights or laws existing. for some reason the coffee establishments of London seem to think this is worth reviving as part of their trade.

who knows, if they could get their hands on some decent coffee rather that the awful, hideous stuff Costa and Starbucks sell, perhaps everyone would not look so miserable and anti-social on the tube.

and, finally then, after some reading and some listening to the vibes, home.

yes, home to blue skies, lovely weather, and a brief wait whilst my family came along in the Family Truckster to collect me and all the fancy wares i had collected whilst in London.

and, phew, that's that. i would seem to have got an awful lot done in one evening, one full day and one brief morning in London. it is quite an amazing place, and i look forward to my next adventure a great deal.

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

Thursday, July 28, 2016

olive, blueberry and sunflower

hello people

it's coming up to being quite close to that time, dear reader. yes, my present bottle of shampoo is all but empty and so, look you see, i need to quite carefully select which type of shampoo i should be using next.

in recent times i have been moving away from shampoo what has lemon in it. this is partially due to a lack of lemon based shampoo on the shelf, but also in part due to the fact that i am starting to accept that no amount of lemon shampoo used by me is going to somehow transform me into Jason Donovan. no, i think i am going to have to chalk that one up as a dream deferred, if not quite defeated.

my next choice of shampoo shall not, then, be lemon based. as to what it shall be, well, i am somewhat torn on this one. here, have a gander at my options.

yes, as you can see quite clearly, there's some blueberry one that offer to serve as some sort of anti-oxidant thing, or there's a mix - or if you like blend - of mystic olive with sunflower seed.

that is indeed some Brut in the background. it's one of them gift set things, and features bodywash and a tin of deodorant. it was going cheap, and one look at the box lets you know why. it, quite mistakenly and laughably, suggests that Brut is a French creation. leaving aside French hygiene, everyone - and i do mean everyone - knows that Brut was invented off of Kevin Keegan in the 70s. he did some documentaries on it and everything.

anyway, shampoo. which one to use? my natural inclination is, but of course, to use the blueberry one. not only is it named after the phone i prefer, but it also has that all important, powerful anti-oxidants stuff in it. now yes, granted, i am not 100% sure what an oxidant is as such, but if a product is so proudly promoting itself as being against it, then i feel i must too, for the sake of my hair, be an advocate of standing against these wretched things.

what's that above? why, as you should be able to make out, it is some stage gear belonging to one Sir Elton John. he was recently booked by some sort of corporate concern to perform a private show, so to speak, down in Canary Wharf. Spiros is, other than being the greatest legal brain of his generation, quite the Mr Canary Wharf as we know, and so his attendance at this event was quite the formality. backstage VIP elite attendance too, as it were.

the other shampoo does, however, have some appeal. the ideal of using mythic olive is exciting, if not arousing, mindful of the above. i mean, mythic olive sounds like the sort of thing a fabulous pop star might use, leaving us humble sort to make use of just regular, readily available and actually exists olives.

the offer that the mythic olive, blended with well known lubricant sunflower seed oil, makes to make my hair somehow weightless is an exciting one. also a scary one - it doesn't sound like it would be at all penetrative in terms of doing what you want it to, no matter how much you may plead with it to do so. there's also the small matter of just what tacit agreement or statement is it that i am going to make to any passing Greek or Turkish sailors if i am flouting olive washed hair?

decisions, decisions. well, a decision i suppose. both shall be used, i suppose, but the concern is in which order. i know that you, the dear reader of this waffled, do not have a single ounce of care as to which one about you, which makes your reading of this all the more wonderful.

let me go and ponder the matter some more.

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

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

angel, apes

hi there

and so yes, this is one of them "filler" posts. for some reason i, look you see, like to keep the post count up to one a day across a year. in some years i have failed, in others i have exceeded it. such is life, i suppose.

mostly then this is all about commerce, as in i have gone and bought more items of stuff today. book items, as it were, and very reasonably priced ones at that.

i am not at all sure which was the most exciting thing for me, really - finding a copy of Falling Angel off of William Hjortsberg or finding it for all of 50p. i have a 90s print of it, but that features one of them black and white noir covers - this one is far, far better.

yes, indeed, as the cover promises, this was filmed as Angel Heart. a brilliant film, and quite a controversial one too. so controversial, as point of fact, that when that posh twat did an Alan Parker retrospective on the South Bank Show, he highlighted Mississippi Burning as his "most controversial and challenging" film and did not make a single reference to Angel Heart.

plot, details, etc? neither the book nor the film (especially the film) are for the feint hearted. in short, a private detective called Harry Angel is hired - with a generous fee - to track someone down. it takes some remarkable twists, and is quite brilliant in doing so. the book and the film are two very different experiences, yet tell the same tale.

weirdly, despite having read Falling Angel twice, not once have i ever read the source material for another classic of cinema, Planet Of The Apes. seeing the novel on the go for £1 was, then, a bit of a formality. it's quite common, of course, for this novel to be referred to as being "the one written by some French twat", but that to my mind is rather harsh on Pierre Boulle. yes, mercifully, the copy i have has been translated into English, or if you like a proper language.

the other one is the one i am most excited about. well, kind of. i expect this, a novelization of two episode of the short lived and rather ill-fated TV show of Planet Of The Apes to be quite poor reading. no matter, this is a USA edition book, and it has a wonderful pulpy kind of pulp fiction press feel to it. if anyone were ever at a loss as to what to get me as a gift, i would say any 70s or 80s awful looking, trashy novel that is a USA edition shall always be welcome.

anyhow, that will do for now. i am off to write some poetry, or something.

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

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

V/H/S 2 - the £1 DVD review


I know, look you see, that I am somewhat late to this party. V/H/S 2 is some three years old now, which in modern terms is like totes ancient I suppose. However, it’s only now that Poundland has made the DVD available, hence me owning and watching it. Also, about a week or so ago it was reported that the last ever VHS machines had rolled off the production line, so the hipsters and other assorted vermin will be all over anything connected to that legendary form of home entertainment.

My memories of V/H/S was that it was mostly good. I will have a look and see if I can link to my review of it here, but off the top of my head I think I was pretty OK with it. Certainly time has been good to memories; I thought that it was boss enough to spring a whole ₤1 on the sequel when I spotted it.

A quick, spoiler free review? Certainly. In many respects this bucks the trend of sequels – in particular horror ones – being weaker. I’m not 100% sure it’s better as such, but certainly the equal of it. The linking parts between the VHS tapes watched were certainly a step up from the original. Basically, four very good “found footage” horror jolt short movies, then, with a reasonable amount of nudies and a most splendid amount of graphic violence.

Be warned, then, that *** POSSIBLE SPOILERS *** are ahead here. I will do my best to limit them, in particular via editing one of the segment titles.

Plot? Well, it starts off with a shady, seedy (is there really any other kind?) sort of private detective being called in to investigate the apparent disappearance of a college student. The detective and his lady assistant break into his place and discover piles of VHS tapes. As the shady private detective has to go and do all sorts of detective things, the assistant starts watching the curiously labelled tapes at random.

We watch the tapes as she watches the tapes, so it’s probably going to work best if I go right ahead and go through each one of them.

PHASE I CLINICAL TRIALS : A chap called Herman gets a fancy bionic eye installed after losing his regular eye in a car crash. A condition of this new technology is that it can record what he sees for the benefit of those who put this new technology in, so they can ostensibly monitor the performance.

Herman starts seeing “things”. A fellow patient, who had something else biological installed, seeks him out to explain what’s going on, and what he can do about it..

It’s a little pedestrian and predictable, but this segment really made me jump some. One really stomach turning scene, no excessive violence and one lovely nudies scene.

A RIDE IN THE PARK : Mike goes for a bike ride in the park, with the obligatory camera attached to his head. As he rides a lady in some distress approaches him. Wouldn’t you know, she’s somehow transformed into a zombie. And she bites Mike…..

This is, frankly, brilliant. It’s that thing that no longer seemed possible or likely – a fresh, original and thoroughly entertaining take on presenting a zombie story. Also very harrowing and disturbing viewing.

No nudies and a lot of hectic violence in it, overall I would say this was my most favourite section.

SAFE HAVEN : A news and/or documentary crew (seemingly in Japan or somewhere Asian) have negotiated unprecedented access to a “doomsday cult” compound, with the bonus of getting an interview with the cult leader. As secrets and lies unravel about each member of the crew, the cult leader gets all erratic and somewhat bizarre, and then some very strange things start to happen….

I really enjoyed this one too. A particular highlight was the mental manic cult leader. Every now and then you get a sense that it’s all going to be predictable, but it has quite a knack for turning in different directions.

No nudies of consequence that I can recall, but do be warned – this one most decidedly is not for the squeamish. There’s some brutal, graphic and quite disturbing violent imagery on the go in this one. Which, in fairness, you want from a horror film.

SLUMBER PARTY : It starts off with a couple going away on holiday, leaving their children home alone. The parental wish expressed is for the kids to all just get along fine and behave. This of course does not happen, and pranks aplenty go on between brother and sister and their friends. The pranks increase in intensity, and are on the verge of getting well out of hand when all of a sudden someone or something else arrives…..

I want to link this to some reviews I did earlier this year, but it would rather spoil any surprise element for you. There’s some really awesome sound and vision effects in this one. Does it scare or shock? Not really, alas. A bit of discomfort, but it just lacks the punch of the first three.

Some nudies but you can’t really see or make out much, and minimal violence. The tactic here is to shock, and it sort of does that a little.

So yeah, overall a really good, solid 90 minute “found footage” film. I know that “found footage” is all the rage these days, but like the original film V/H/S 2 seems to do it that bit better than others.

The magic of VHS, then. Getting your hands on a tape, in particular an unmarked one that had stuff recorded on it, was exciting. You had to load it up, play it and fast forward it to see what was on it. You don’t get that with DVD, Blu Ray or digital files – no mystery, just load it onto a PC and skim through it within seconds.

Would I recommend V/H/S 2 to the general public? Not really. Horror film fans, and those with a high tolerance threshold that are interested in some really creative and inventive storytelling, oh yes. I’d have thought, however, that pretty much anyone who wanted to watch this has done so at some stage over the last three years. Then again, I hadn’t, so you never know.

As ever, hopefully this has been of some interest or use to someone out there Yes, I will get around to watching all these unwatched modern classics that I have sat here, but what can I say, I can’t resist having a gander at films like this as and when Poundland have them on the shelf.

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

Sunday, July 24, 2016

sail on silver bird

hello there

every now and then, look you see, one sees a look that they wish that they could have about themselves. well, i do, at the least, and as this blog is my adventures, i will take it as true of everyone.

usually it's some sort of rock or pop star that one sees and wishes they could look like. quite often this would be Daltrey off of The Who, who looks awesome in blue jeans and his massive hear. in some instances it's likely to be Paul Rodgers, the only dude who has ever pulled off the all black clothes with brown boots to any success. first prize, of course, would always be 78 - 84 era David Lee Roth, with also a slight nod to the Yankee Rose era look. the drawback of looking like that classic era Roth, however, is that you would be dead by sex after one day, for no normal man could cope with his vast talent and prowess in this regard.

for me right now, however, the perfect look to have would be Paul, closely followed by Artie.

over this very weekend i was lured into purchasing a set called Simon & Garfunkel's Greatest Hits purely on the basis of the awesome pictures of the two of them on the cover. well, that and there was no arguing with the £3 price requested for some 45 minutes of quality.

the front and back (with the inside equalling the latter) images show off that most rare period in the career of Simon & Gaarfunkel, which is to say when Paul had a boss moustache on the go. i may well be mistaken, but i think no other record cover, either of the duo or of Paul alone, features this moustache era.

i tend to keep the beard and moustache look mostly as i would get confused for my Dad if i had the moustache alone, but also because i can't pull off a smart looking moustache like this. if i were to go just moustache alone, i would want to do it only if i could have one that made me look as smart as Paul does here. well, that or a boss one like what the leatherman out of the Village People has.

there seems to be a bit of bad blood once again between Paul and Artie. earlier this year the two of them were mouthing off very much against each other, with all sorts of rude names being used by the two when discussing the other. i am led to believe, however, that Artie was all love and affection for Paul between songs at Glastonbury. i have no idea; the BBC elected not to record nor broadcast his set.

common convention usually says that Paul was the brains and the talent of the duo, with Artie there for his vocal range alone. this is quite unfair, really. Artie's solo stuff shows there's much more to him. also, i shall not have a word said against the voice that delivered Bright Eyes to the world.

both of them look most smart in that cover picture above, but if we are honest whilst Artie is 100% dapper Paul is 1,000% dapper in that image. look at that hair, man, and the stylish way he carries both the cap and the jacket. Artie just looks awesome, mind.

anyway, i am off to daydream about how smart i would look if  i could somehow pull off the awesome look that either Paul or Artie have in these album cover pictures.

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

Saturday, July 23, 2016

travels with a man called Spiros

now then

and so, after something of a longer break from it than i intended, look you see, back to tales of adventure and excitement from my recent visit to London. further, dear reader, we reconvene with the story that many of you were most looking forward to - the tale of travels with Spiros. yes, i know that's what it says on the title so you knew that, but an introduction is always a splendid thing.

if my motivation for returning to London was, as was the case last year, to meet some dear guests from America on a sort of "half way" basis, then an ambition was to spend as much time with Spiros as i could. this i achieved, somewhat, by taking some extra turns in travels. this allowed me to get something of a sense of his magnificent life, but in a way that didn't mean i had to live his life to do so as such. he's quite happy with his lot, i suppose, but i did not fancy entertaining his ideas of meeting gentlemen for short term yet mutually beneficial friendships much.

the above is indeed Spiros and i in his stomping ground, Canary Wharf. this would have been at around 9am on Friday of last week, which is to say the one before last.

my reason for heading to where Spiros does all that smart stuff, what with him being the greatest legal mind of his generation, was mostly to spend some quality time with him, but partially also to be able trace my way back later. even if i wasn't visiting our dear friends from America, right, if i had stayed with Spiros then my head probably would have exploded off of all that clever stuff what he does.

the journey to Canary Wharf? well, i had fun with Spiros, chatting and what have you, but if i were alone i would say it is the single most depressing thing, ever. surprisingly the oldest of the old tube trains are used on the line. they are uncomfortable and get very hot and muggy very quickly. everyone looks bored, depressed or isolated, and if that didn't get to you then the armed police at Westminster station (where you have to change lines) most certainly would.

yeah, that's later in the day, as you can see by the darker clouds. if you want to know what i did during the day whilst Spiros went off and legalled the arse of several things, you can check out most of it by clicking here and indeed here. and here.

what do i make of Canary Wharf? to be obvious, it really is soulless. there is, despite some bars and that (we shall get to them), absolutely no sense of existence, life, knowledge or feeling beyond that which can be measured and calculated in pure fiscal terms. and yet, weirdly, that's not exactly a criticism.

the only reason Canary Wharf exists is to make money. it was designed and built to attract money, and to progressively make more. it cares not for anything which is not coins of money. and, in truth, it works quite well for all concerned. that is, it does if left alone in splendid isolation. the quasi-Narnia like state of the place is so cut off from the rest of the world that it's little wonder things like that whole Brexit thing took it by some surprise. just as it cannot understand anything beyond money, the place cannot understand how people in places that are not Canary Wharf think of anything other than money.

and yet there's the usual token effort to make a purely corporate environment sense something that is almost human. in corporate terms, social = alcohol and this alone, and so there are a smattering of bars, flanked somewhat by caravans selling various duck dishes to consume.

Spiros and i, as you might well gather from the above picture, enjoyed a couple of pints in one such bar. a rather splendid Amstel was on tap, served by a happy go lucky Polish gent. also i had a smart chicken and bacon bagel, prepared by someone whose nationality escapes me for the moment.

some video of the social side of Canary Wharf? sure. regular readers will, of course, have previously seen a clip of some gentleman angling for a fight in the Wharf, but there is no such shenanigans in this footage.

if the soundtrack can be heard but not determined in the above clip, that's Absolute Beginners off of Derek Bowie you can hear playing. there was some "cheap to licence" selected 80s music on the go the whole time, which meant that Spiros and i got to hear a good deal more Fine Young Cannibals than would normally be the case on a friday.

time to go wandering, then. and i note that blogger has, despite my smart numbering system for the pictures, uploaded them all from this point onwards in a different order than i had intended. never mind, we shall stick with the random nature of it.

that's me having a gander around Canary Wharf. i was stood having a cigarette whilst Spiros quickly ducked into some boardroom or something to kick the arse off of a legal matter. what legal matter? doesn't matter, really. Spiros does tend to just pop into random meetings in random buildings on an ad hoc basis. it is seldom, if ever, the case that the meeting and conclusion isn't the so much better for it.

i had a look around, then, and said no. my mate Spiros, who is always looking out for me, suggests that i consider taking up a position back in the world of finance. should i approach the Wharf with my talents and track records, i could probably realistically earn some five to ten times as much as i do now. the trick, ladies and gentlemen, is that i would be far removed from being as happy as i am now. i love what i do, and so shall do it. when everything is worth money, money is worth nothing. being who you like and doing what you want isn't something you can add a value to. 

after a couple of pints, then, and a bagel and listening to some music from the 80s that didn't have some clever royalties licensing signed up for it, we headed off. ostensibly this was in the direction of House of Spiros, but we decided to take the scenic route. well, when i say "scenic", i mean we elected to hop off at the London Bridge stop of the tube to have a wander around.

the above is indeed the boat off of Sir Francis Drake. well, no, not the actual boat off of Sir Francis Drake. it's a quite smart reconstruction of it. there was a tour, of sorts, going on whilst i took this picture, but more of that later on.

of the many things which one can do at London Bridge, and some of them we shall get to in more detail, one which was of interest to me was to visit the Globe. well, the reconstructed Globe, as per the boat above. i can remember in the 80s when Sam Wanamaker and Robert De Niro started the funding for it. they were so dedicated that De Niro, who had otherwise refused to do so, all of a sudden started giving interviews, so as to promote the ambitious plan and gain funding.

that is a most smart sign that they have there. evidently the way they present A Midsummer Night's Dream in the Globe is far more interesting, exciting, exotic and sexy than the way it was when we did it at college and that. perhaps the director of this production clocked something i, and certainly my teachers, did not and they have loads of smart nudies in it.

two of the best other things down by London Bridge are the Borough Market and a pub. the market is amazing, man. dozens, if not a hundred or so, food and drink stalls, all with samples. a smart fella need never actually buy himself a meal if he can get to that market. you could wander around, pick up a sample of all sorts of bread, cheese, sausage, meat and what have you as you go and be left feeling most stuffed in the stomach area.

the pub was amazing, man. most vibrant, and more interesting and lifelike than the affairs they have at Canary Wharf. we only went in for a quick pint, right. in those five or ten minutes, though, we saw some smart stuff. one point of interest was seeing a gentleman, some 10 to 15 years older than us, escorting - very firmly around the waist - a young lady who was some 15 to 20 years younger than us out of the pub. he had quite the grin to him as he did this, so yeah, he was probably quite the proud father or grandfather or something.

the other thing which happened was that we were approached by two Brazilian ladies, who sat with us and had a drink. no, not that sort of Brazilian, i mean as in actual off of Brazil people. i took the above selfie of me and Spiros as they took one of themselves, and i think they inadvertently saw that as a cue that we wished to engage them in conversation and what have you. should they have been chaps off of Brazil i dare say Spiros would have had some interest in passing, but alas no they weren't. all the same, maybe we now have  that Zika virus, whatever it is.

back, briefly, then to The Globe. can you go in and around it when there isn't a performance? yes you can. can you do this for free? ostensibly no, as i believe the fee for a tour is £20 or so. the exit to the tour is, however, quite easily accessible, and so you can just walk in and have a gander gratis.

well, you can walk in through the exit free and have a gander gratis right up until the point an absolutely massive black man in a security suit comes up to you, asks you just what the f*** you think you are playing at and requests, in most staunch terms, that you leave. still, i managed to get this picture, and yes i believe the gentleman who believes a uniform bypasses social skills is pictured in it.

phew, this is taking some writing, this. i did warn those of you who are looking forward to some Spiros action that this would all be quite the opus, and something that probably requires some sort of legal vetting before it gets published. i shall probably skip that but.

we were, as it were, at London Bridge. a bridge would normally signify a body of water, and so yes, here you go, here's Spiros and i stood by the Thames.

did Spiros and i get up to anything not depicted here by pictures as a point of reference? most decidedly. we quaffed a few ales, watched some quality cinema like They Live and The Big Lebowski, visited certain cornershop establishments and even offered, although it was declined, to help a lady who was in some distress, what with her crying down the phone whilst clutching a hastily put together bag of items and being in the company of a number of children of inherently different patriarchal origin.

but, back to the boat off of Sir Francis Drake that is not actually the boat, but still.

one can indeed take a tour of this boat. Spiros advised me that it costs £6 to do so, and further that you have to walk exceptionally, indeed unnaturally, slow in order to make that tour last to the extent that it would endure £1 per minute.

that sounds like a rip-off, then. here's the rub. if the people who do all this magnificent restoration and recreation work cannot secure funding, then they do not exist. it's a difficult situation to be in, then, when you very much want to support and give patronage to endeavours such as this, but also don't want to feel like you are being fleeced by it.

another look at the Thames river, in particular without me being in it but that smart monorail thing which Canary Wharf has on the go in action? sure.

the Thames really is that dirty old river that Ray Davies so famously sang of. and,. indeed, so did Derek Bowie in a smart cover version (Reality special edition, i think). it's filthy, dirty and quite smelly. also, it's soaked in a history of the modern civilised world like so little else is.

after some busy times with Spiros after a very busy day around London in general, it was time to return to House of Spiros. that meant a return to the tube, and here we are on the platform of the tube station.

which tube station? don't remember. it might be London Bridge, or this could be when we changed lines at Westminster. doesn't really matter i suppose; this selfie was only taken in order to capture the dude with the awesome afro in the background.

alas, no, my adventures did not take me to Tottenham Court Road tube station. i will go there once again, one day. last year it was closed for work, and this year i just did not have enough time. fans of a certain 1981 cinema classic will understand the reason and wish for this. 

a selfie on the tube itself? sure, why not. i mean, why wouldn't you? well, that's a good question, actually, as not once did i see anyone else taking them. the tube is something of a social vacuum, it is.

whilst one sees all walks of life whilst riding the tube - in particular when, as was the case with me on that friday you spend four or so hours on it - what you seldom, if ever, see is any sort of social interaction. people just get on it and drift into their own world. it's all very much head down, read book, read paper, look at phone (despite no signal underground), etc. i think it was Bryan Ferry what sung "loneliness is a crowded room". look at how people blank the world and everything in it whilst on the tube and that makes sense.

there's been a bit of a downcast beat to some of this post, hasn't there? sorry, that was not my intention at all. i had, as usual and as ever, an absolutely boss time with Spiros. it would have been amiss, however, for me not to have commented on my surroundings, or if you like environment.

yes, still, despite the short nature of my travels there are indeed a few more things to post from the place. i think i might slam them all together in one sort of "mega" post soon, but for now, you people wanted a day with Spiros, you people kind of sort of got a day with Spiros. the business ends, so to speak.

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