Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Stranger Things


so, then. i did it. i caved in, gave up, gave in, sold out, or what have you. as much as i might prefer shiny, physical discs to all of this "streaming" business, i went right ahead and signed up for all of that Net Flix (or Nit Flux if New Zealand) thing.

for what reason would i do such a thing? well, as we shall get to in just a little while here, we, which is to say my (considerably) better half and i, kept getting strong recommendations, appeals, urges suggestions and so forth about watching this new series what they have, Stranger Things. i can tell you right now, however, that this urging was totes worth it - if you are in a hurry to go, then yes, if you've been holding out on all things Net Flix like i had been, Stranger Things makes it make sense to get it.

why exactly did i have little or no interest in Net Flix or similar? i've been somewhat dubious about a source of entertainment that relies on factors such as internet connectivity, and indeed a source where stuff is "licensed", so you might find something you want to watch on it has gone. i've just always figured that having the discs of stuff simplified matters.

up to now the "Net Flix originals" have not really appealed either. i mean, i know their take on House Of Cards has had all sorts of rave reviews, but i'm very much of a mind that the bbc original of that was fine, thanks. and then along came all the recommendations and what have you for Stranger Things.

oh indeed, for those able to enable video when having a gander on their device of choice, that's an excerpt or if you like snippet off of the theme music. theme music that is on the soundtrack that i bought, as it's all that smart, it is, to be sure.

spoiler free review? Stranger Things is a 1983 set mystery / suspense / sci-fi / horror affair concerning the story of a boy who goes missing and is, to everyone but the mother (Winona Ryder) presumed dead. then stranger things happen....

the best way i can describe it is as the greatest work ever inspired by the way Stephen King told stories in his prime without actually being Stephen King. and i am not talking homage or "rip off"; i'm talking Stephen King must have seen this and gone "damn, how did i not do this story myself".

whilst i understand that the premise and the nature of the show means that it's not for everyone, the press and media are spot on saying that this show, of all of their original content, is surely the "breakthrough" one or gamechanger for Net Flix. under reports of a falling subscription base, this series has got people like me, who had no interest in what they did, being very happy to hand them coins of money.

in terms of selling and promoting this series they've taken the approach of pitching it all as being a Winona Ryder vehicle. i get that, and indeed she is truly exceptional in it. they are, however, selling themselves way short with this. each and every cast member delivers an outstanding performance. this is particularly true of the kids (and indeed teens) cast in the film. a personal favourite, however, would be David Harbour.

helping out these performance is the superb writing. cast aside are the standard stereotypes; virtually all characters have depth and development not usually afforded to such series.

is there any fault with Stranger Things? just one. in one scene, set during the summer of 1983, there's a reference to The Smiths being on a mix tape. whilst not impossible if it was after August, i somehow doubt that this would have been the case in a smaller sort of small town in the USA. but, other than that, everything felt absolutely perfect. 

for those wondering - and i will make this spoiler-free - yes, they are, thankfully, making a second series of Stranger Things i believe, but this is all very much self contained. you get a satisfactory conclusion, and the way the door is left open for more is not heavy handed or frustrating.

as for Net Flix, well, in truth if i had known just how much kids stuff was on it i would have got it for the boys a long time ago. also, it's kind of boss being able to make Return Of The Living Dead come up on my TV at random.

so, yeah, you've probably been told before reading this, Stranger Things is indeed excellent, and yes it is worth getting Net Flix for, if like me you're not a present or incumbent user.

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

Monday, August 29, 2016


heya pop pickers

there was a time, look you see, when collaborations between pop stars and other, associated musicians was quite rare. it just so happened that it used to be a matter of excitement and merriment, often as a consequence of the scarce ways in which it happened.

examples of this? the classic would be when David Bowie and Queen delivered Under Pressure, i suppose. other than that, you have that time when Prince and Madonna did a song together, and of course Kylie & Jason too. for a case where it showed just how magical a collaboration could be, it was to be that even when the two most boring musicians on the planet - Sting and Dire Straits - got together for Money For Nothing, it was all awesome, man. and, as a final example, you could say that the coming together of stars for Band Aid in 1984 took the excitement level to the extreme.

today, not so much. i rather foolishly decided to have a look at the top forty for the last week. as i flicked through dull, drab and meaningless song after song, i noticed quite a trend. the overwhelming majority of tracks in the top forty this week have the word "featuring" or "feat." between two, for so desperately the want of a better term, artists credited to the track.

this is snow to the max in the top ten itself......

yep, as you can semi-see above, apparently seven, or if you like 70%, of the current top ten are in fact collaborations between the (ahem) best of what the music world has to offer right now.

the quite depressing thing is that few, if any, of these collaborations feature any great coming together of talent. seriously. most would seem to be using "feat" to represent the fact that they have sampled a song off of one of the others, or more like that they have used a sample which that artist sampled themselves.

this is just as bad as the fact that today the term "r n b" gets used to describe virtually any form of music but the rhythm & blues the term is supposed to reflect.

hey ho, let me go dig out my vinyl and stick with it........

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

Sunday, August 28, 2016

making an offer you cannot use


yes, yes this is a gripe about the pathetic state of public transport up in my part of the world. if you have no interest, and look you see i blame you not if you do not, now would be a good time to depart.

i used to love taking the bus to and from verk. this was before Arriva, which is apparently foreign for the term "not fit for purpose", messed with the timetable so much that it was unusable. i live in an area which gets one bus an hour. and, the time of that one bus is as awkward as possible.

as a result of my previous use of them, i am on their mailing list. this means i get specials sent to me. like, for instance, this one right here.

two for one travel on the buses sounds pretty awesome, doesn't it? that's because it is, really. the sad thing about this amazing special is that my area - like so very many others - could not for the most part make use of it.

why not? well, as you can see, it's a "bank holiday weekend" special deal. which is great, unless you live in an area where Arriva have gone out of their way to make sure that no buses run on sundays or public holidays. so, then, i could have made use of this special offer, but only for 33% of the time it was available.

whilst i appreciate Jeremy Corbyn's recent efforts to illustrate the need to renationalise public transport, i remain as baffled as anyone as to why he felt the need to fake a story to do so. there are plenty of real life reasons and depressing examples to show what an utter mess the private sector has made of it all.

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

Pete's Dragon in its 2016 form

Greetings to you, the people

And so, for the first time in three years, I went to the cinema. The movies, look you see. Well, no, I didn’t go alone, although I used to very much enjoying solo visits to the cinema. Indeed the whole family – which is to say I and the 75% of my family that you all like a good deal more than you do me – went along.

Mindful of the last aspect of that laboured and poorly edited opening paragraph, here you go with a picture of the indeed mentioned 75% waiting for the film to start.

This would be the first trip for me to the cinema since Alpha Papa, I think, back in 2013. As for my (considerably) better half, it was her first trip with me since The Dark Knight Rises. Prior to that, it would have been Tangled that she last took James to, and William had not been before at all. Quite an exciting outing, then.

What did we go see? After some deliberation and debate, and after explaining to James that the law of the land says he can’t go see Suicide Squad in a cinema, off we went to see this new take on Pete’s Dragon.

How was the film, on the off chance that you are here for a review of the film alone? Outstanding. I think that I recall the sticker album book of the film more fondly than the actual 70s original, but it was one my (considerably) better half holds dear. Her comment is that it is one of those rare instances where you get upset with a remake because it is better than the original version and so puts something of a different slant on your memories.

Robert Redford and Bryce Dallas Howard are amazing. The child actors, however, really “knock this out of the park” to borrow an American colloquium. In terms of effects, they’re fantastic, really grade a work. Overall, then, a funny, emotionally engaging, well made and thoroughly entertaining film.

The overall cinema experience, for those reading on and with more of an interest in us and the peripherals rather than just the film? Pretty good, with some predictable problems. Let’s go on, then, but if you’ve only looked at this so far as you were wondering if Pete’s Dragon in its remade form was worth seeing, bye.

We haven’t been to the movies much as James has always been hesitant if not reticent to do so. He very much liked the idea of them, but often found the theatres and sheer size of the screen somewhat overwhelming. Years have been kind in this regard, and he was just fine. I suspect it is not long now before Mummy & Daddy are dropping him and his mates off to go and see whatever it is that takes their fancy. As for William, a first time experience and, with his spirit of adventure, one that he loved. He’s compiled a list of other things we are now to take him to the cinema to see, with Fantastic Beasts & Where To Find Them being close to the top.

A thing which upsets otherwise happy patrons of cinema here in England is the level of advertising before films. I would normally agree with this. Over the last few years films I have seen in cinemas in England would include Red Lights, Amazing Spiderman and the aforementioned Alpha Papa. All of them featured 30+ minutes of adverts and trailers. This, happily, gets toned down some for children’s afternoon showings, it would seem, and there were only 20 or so minutes of such. Of those minutes, a good deal seemed to be spent promoting the film Storks, which is good as it looks smart, that does.

Ultimately, however, cost is a major factor with the cinema these days. It is not cheap to go, but also it is not unreasonable – at least not in terms of admission. A “family ticket”, for either 2 adults and 2 children or 1 adult and 3 children (presumably single parents always have three kids?), costs ₤28. Gone are the days, then, of summer 99p specials down at the Odeon.

To go entirely the world of cliché, however, the cost of the concessions stand really is a nightmare. Yes, I know this has long been the bane and the thrust of many complaints and jokes, but for those interested let’s illustrate the damage to a wallet this does.

Let’s do a cost perspective of just how much the concessions stand nails you for at the cinema, shall we? Yes, we will, you don’t have a choice in the matter, sorry for posing it as a question that you cannot answer, or if you like rhetorical.

Family of four cinema ticket : ₤28

Burger King – 2 x double bacon and cheese burgers, 1 x Prague ultra special burger, 1 x cheeseburger, 4 x fries, 4 x cokes, 6 chicken nuggets - ₤22

Concession stand – 4 x small cokes, 2 x small popcorn, 1 x bag of them Starburst things off of that documentary with Michael Bolton in it - ₤24.15

Yes, I know, “cinemas need to make a profit”, etc. Every other business, in particular in the world of entertainment, has however adapted to the modern world in a way that attracts customers and still makes a profit. Only cinema, it would seem, believe that scaring people off with prices is the direction to go.

Oh, for sure, you don’t actually have to have popcorn and a drink, but let’s be serious here – what’s a movie without movie snacks? And but of course you are blocked from taking your own, more reasonably priced in with you.

Shall we be going back to the cinema? Absolutely, in particular for that one upcoming film mentioned and undoubtedly for Rogue One, which has Darth Vader in it and had better have Boba Fett otherwise that’s one absolutely massive wasted opportunity to bring him back in a sensible, practical way. We might well, however, just have the one drink and the one bag of popcorn between us, and not pay ₤3.15 for the prestige of a bag of chewing sweets off of that documentary about how fruit grows.

So, then, Pete’s Dragon in its 2016 incarnation is very much worth going to see, my family loves the cinema and I express nothing but support for those brave revolutionaries who manage to evade elaborate security and sneak their own snacks into the cinema with them. Nice one.

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

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Tesco exploitation of Barbs fans horror shock

hello there

it is always a sad day when i am compelled, look you see, to be critical of a grocer or other form of retailer that i am particularly partial to or fond of. sadly my favouritism means that i cannot remain silent, and so i am calling out Tesco on their wilful, opportunistic efforts in the exploitation of Barbs fans.

her eminence, Barbara Streisand, has a new album out, Encore. this you hardly need have me tell you, for all of Barbs' movements are very well known by all. as this is probably going to be the very best album of the year this year, i had a bit of a gander for it at Tesco. i was disappointed at what i saw.

yes, sadly, what you see above you is true. not only are Tesco being disrespectful in saying that Barbs is number two this week, they are also selling the standard edition for £10, whereas everyone else is selling the deluxe version, resplendent with a pink cover and four extra tracks, for this fee. Tesco are aiming to rob enthusiastic Barbs clients of 4 songs and more pink, then.

no,then, i've not bought this, presumably the best album of 2016, yet. it is - tsk - cheaper at this stage to do so online, although i might well go and have a gander at HMV, see what they are selling it for. or, as with her last greatest album, Partners, give it a few months and watch for it cropping up in "2 for £10" sections of various shops.

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

Friday, August 26, 2016

further reading

Good Tidings

And so here we are again with book reviews. Or book comments, or indeed book observations if, look you see, that’s how you prefer to term whatever notes I make as such. In moving on, I have indeed read not one, not three, but a further two novels since the last time I wrote this was, and so off we go.

We start off in the way that is custom, then, with a gander at the front covers of the two books in question. For those determined types who are known to be frequent readers of this blog, however – in particular those who visit here exclusively for Spiros updates – one shall already be known to you.

Something of a quick, spoiler-free overview? Certainly. HHhH is not a novel I would have chosen to read myself, but as it happens it’s one of the most remarkable works which I’ve had the pleasure of encountering. Trigger Mortis is James Bond, so it is, to be sure, and that normally determines straight away if one is interested in it or not, rather making my reaction somewhat academic.

Disclaimer time, then, although again this could be something which is rather academic. HHhH deals with a very well known – if not often discussed – historical event, whilst being a James Bond tale means that for all the suspense and excitement Trigger Mortis has, surely the conclusion of it would not take many by surprise.But, for those who like such things to be in place, please consider a *** FABULOUS SPOILER WARNING *** to now exist.

A further disclaimer, or if you like also also disclaimer, is that any links here are nothing to do with endorsements, suggestions or affiliations – far from it, in fact, as I’ve not done business with the Amazon for a long time. They just happen to be the easiest place to refer people to for books no matter where they are in the world.

That said, as previously documented the provenance of my copy of HHhH is that it is off of Amazon. Spiros was most insistent that I read this particular novel, and to this end he kindly purchased a copy of it off me off of that grocer, ensuring that they shipped it to me as quickly as possible.

Plot? Ostensibly it is an account of Operation Anthropoid, a World War II mission which set out to assassinate Heydrich. For those not overtly familiar with the Nazi regime, this mission was crucial – whilst Heydrich is perhaps not as well known or familiar as certain other leaders of the Reich, for many he was the most dangerous as his intelligence and his success in ruling an occupied territory gave every indication that he would perhaps one day take leadership overall. He would, it is speculated, have proved a far more intelligent and tougher to defeat leader than the incumbent one.

If it’s an historical account, why is it a novel? Because the whole thing is told by a French narrator (the novel is indeed itself translated from the French), and the account of Operation Anthropoid is only half of the book. Much of the narrative explores how one assembles historical information to recount such a tale, and looks at the relative merits and failures of how interpretation, not to mention personal perspective, influences how history is written. A well known saying to this extent is that history is written by the victors, and this gets looked at in a very interesting way.

One of the most interesting aspects of this narrative is the occasional insight into a French perspective on World War II. Whilst all of us in the rest of the world – indeed us English are duty bound to do so – enjoy commenting in a quite judgemental way on the French proclivity to surrender in conflict as soon as possible, what perhaps doesn’t occur to us – yes, me too – is the fact that the people of France to this day remain with a sense of shame about it. However much we may mock or tease is rather inconsequential compared, it would seem, to the shame, disgust and anger the French have at just how easily their leaders capitulated to and collaborated with the Nazis; with the leadership betraying their own people and the nations of Europe who trusted them.

HHhH by Laurent Binet is a novel that I would strongly recommend all read, or at least watch a film version of. I believe HHhH itself is being filmed, whilst another movie called Anthropoid deals with the same material. Not only is it an aspect of World War II which was important and interesting to learn about, it is in its own right an exceptional read.

Whereas James Bond doesn’t have the historical importance of Heydrich, he does take a rather prominent place in popular culture. It may well be the case that the films featuring the celebrated British agent with a licence to kill are generally more accessed than the novels, but nonetheless there remain a willing readership market for them. To this end the Estate of Ian Fleming from time to time commissions an official novel to be written, and Trigger Mortis by Anthony Horowitz is the most recent.

Plot? It’s the 1950s. James Bond is back in London, and is somewhat unpopular with the powers that be as he is harbouring / sheltering Pussy Galore from the authorities after thwarting the plans of Goldfinger. As a partial means of ending this, he is given an unusual assignment. British intelligence suggests that the Soviet Union is intent on showing its technological superiority over the West in all areas, and intends to do this by unfair means. Bond must somehow stop an ambitious attempt to assassinate Britain’s top racing driver during a race at the Nürburgring. As he works on doing so, it becomes clear that the USSR has a far more sinister way of showing superiority……

I’ll be quite honest, I am far more familiar with the Bond films than I am the novels. To this end, at first it was somewhat distracting seeing characters referred to in their (correct) literary nature rather than their cinematic presentation. But, you know, I am educated and all that, so I managed. And in doing so, I really rather enjoyed this one. No, I wouldn’t say best Bond adventure ever, but I would suggest a fun and good one. Fans of the books and films alike should get on just fine with this.

The provenance of my copy of Trigger Mortis? In truth I forget. The lack of sticker on the cover, however, suggests that it was purchased off of Tesco. They do books at 2 for £7, or something like £3.85 each, and from what I recall they don't put stickers on to this effect, unlike other grocers.  

And there you have it, or if you like there we go. If you’ve just skimmed through this all to get to my point, in short HHhH is essential reading, whereas Trigger Mortis will not displease those who love all things Bond.

My next reading adventure? Not sure as such as yet. I have quite a pile to consider and get through. All of them would seem to be fairly lengthy ones, and so with the limited time I have available for reading these days it might be a little while before the next batch of reviews appears here.

In the mean time, I can but trust that this has been of some use to someone, somewhere!

Be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

rooibos done right

hello there

a question which is asked of me nowhere near or as frequently as you might think is, look you see, which is the most superior tea on the market. there are, i suppose, reasons why this is the case. mostly i'd like to think it's that my origins and my penchant for Fortnum & Mason generally answer questions of this ilk, but i suppose really it's because few approach me with any form of question.

still, here we are. at present, and i'd like to make it quite clear that this is undoubtedly official an not just my opinion, the four leading types of tea in the world are :

1. Yorkshire Tea
2. Fortnum & Mason Tea
3. Fortnum & Mason Tea again
4. Tetley

it is with some delight and partial interest, then, that i see the incumbent forth placed tea has made a bold move in respect of using a lower down the league (but still popular) tea as part of an attempt to climb up the rankings somewhat. which it won't, but totes bless for trying.

yes, indeed. in an effort to climb north on the tea list, Tetley have looked south. some considerable distance south, as it happens, and have elected to use Rooibos, a celebrated South African tea, to boost their stature and status. and why not.

indeed Tetley was once a high ranking tea, perhaps second only to that one that had them smart monkeys in the adverts. but then, alas, Yorkshire Tea came along, and i discovered Fortnum & Mason. Tetley has, to an extent, abandoned its pride in being English as part of a plan to be some sort of "global brand" thing. so no, 4th is as high as they will get, but this move should see them cling to that position. unless, of course, that other lot go back to smart ads with monkeys in nappies in them.

considering my connections to and time spent in South Africa, am i anything of a fan of Rooibos tea? not really. it's a taste i came to appreciate over the years, but let's be honest - everything about Rooibos says healthy, nutrient rich and caffeine free. these are noble factors, for sure, but they are also ones which are odds with my ways.

tea, to me, should be builder's tea, served in an absolutely battered tin cup and drunk with your arse hanging out of your trousers. either that or it should be an exquisite, refined, delicate and fragile concern, at such times as when tea is made with Fortnum & Mason tea, served of course in priceless china and drunk with your pinkie finger stuck in the air.

well, jolly good luck to Tetley with this venture. as for an actual review of it, i would most certainly be happy to do so, should i remember as and when i get around to opening the box.

wees uitstekende mekaar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

the return of the other special one


i know, i know. i know that, look you see, the biggest story of the day has turned out to be the man who would establish a new politburo rather shamelessly faking being on an overcrowded train in order to strengthen the case for the renationalisation of the railways. quite strange, since the case is strong already, and even stranger that no one is asking why the oh so "right on" Guardian newspaper decided to run the story without checking facts. but before that there was another big story of the day.

the moment that Sam Allardyce, lovingly known a Big Fat Sam, was crowned England manager, there was something of a sense of resignation that this would be all "jobs for the boys", and that future England squads would be made up of players favoured by the press. what not many expected, though, would be that this approach would extend to that class act who has the peerless record of being stripped of the England captaincy in disgrace twice; a status unlikely to be challenged any time soon.

yes, folks, there is speculation that Sam will recall the ambassador himself, Mr Chelsea in personification, the legend that is John Terry. rather surprisingly, quite a few people are very upset at the idea of this rare talent being selected as one of the best eleven what England has to offer.

but of course that all relates to his "minor racism" case. an but of course apologists, particularly in the press and media who seem to love that special JT magic, have rushed to say that it was only the FA who found him guilty of racism, and say that he was "completely cleared in a court of law". yes, quite.

this idea that John Terry was "completely cleared" by a court of law is a magnificent piece of PR gush which Terry and his PR people have regurgitated so frequently that it is widely accepted as true. it is not. John Terry was found not guilty by default, for some doubt existed in the case. by any standard, being found "not guilty due to an element of doubt" does not equal "completely cleared".

if you are bored, or wish to check the veracity of my words, the official judgement can be found right here by clicking these words. few, if any, of the journalists and radio presenters so excited to see JT back in an England shirt have read it, so don't feel bad if you don't.

do i think John Terry should be back in the England squad? not really. he was a fantastic player in his day, but came with some remarkable, breathtaking baggage. in a very real sense, though, it's all academic. the Sam model of England football will see Joe Hart (or similar) hoofing the ball towards the heads of Andy Carroll and Peter Crouch, or any other talented England player who happens to be really, really tall. the other eight players on the pitch are entirely superfluous to the way we shall "play", so in theory any eight could be picked.

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

Monday, August 22, 2016

the Adam Clayton condition

hello there

the unexpected ways of life events can, look you see, be quite interesting and peculiar. often, at the least, this all happens in something akin to a good way. there are also some bad ones, it's true, and there are one or two incidents that you simply don't know how to take. it is the latter, i suspect, which is relevant here, as we have a look at the proclivity of people what are called Adam Clayton to show off their wares, or if you like their genitals.

had someone in, let's say the 80s, come up to me and said "how many different sets of male genitalia belonging to people called Adam Clayton do you expect to see in your lifetime", my answer would have been that i would hope none, but allowed for the margin that an (ahem) actor in the more adult orientated section of movie making might have that name. as things have turned out i can say, proudly perhaps, that i have now seen two such instances, and neither within the realm of erotica.

let's start with the present, or if you like the most recent, pedantic fans. over the course of the weekend it just so happened that trophy winning Middlesbrough absolutely spannered relegation threatened (their manager's words, not mine) Sunderland. whilst i appreciate that beating Sunderland at football is rather akin to shooting a one legged dog that has heart problems, you can only spanner the team put in front of you, and so the glorious, worshipped and celebrated Boro team posed for a celebratory picture.

the above is courtesy of the Mirror newspaper; a tabloid that i believe it is marginally socially acceptable to quote from. yes, indeed that is the current Adam Clayton censored, and indeed the Mirror has the uncensored pictured. i am not sharing it here, but i can give you this link if you are that interested.

this all happened a mere 25 (!) or so years after the other, previously better known Adam Clayton elected to show off his, so to speak, wares to the world via the conduit of the cover of the Acthung Baby album by his merry band U2.

as it happens, the 20th anniversary edition of the album features a censored version of the picture, which you can find below. the original issue, which is fairly easy to find online and in shops, does feature the full other Adam Clayton, if you are interested.

just how likely it is that i shall see the proverbial meat and two veg of a third Adam Clayton is something that i would really not wish to speculate on. i mean, i thought one was more than enough, with now two making me certain that this is enough. but, well, who knows what will come along next.

should you be called Adam Clayton and not be either a professional bass player or a loosely dressed footballer of quality (Boro only sign the best) and happen to be wondering "is there any global interest in seeing what i've got in me pants", the answer would seem to be decidedly yes. good luck to you, and i hope that career move works out.

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

Saturday, August 20, 2016

a world hardwired to not buy or sell music with ease

howdy folks

depending entirely on how you look at it and what you dig, the strangeness of 2016 being the best of times and the worst of times for vibes continues. joining the deaths, the tragedies, the arrests and the amazing music which have all happened this year comes, look you see, the return of Metallica. they caught the world somewhat off guard yesterday by releasing, or if you like "dropping" a new single in the form of Hardwired. this is ahead of a similarly titled double album, but we shall get to it.

actually, we will get to that now. i suspect you would rather all hear of this single and record, should you not be aware of it, than you would rather hear my groans and moans about how inexplicably difficult the world seems to have made it to buy music in an era when so many channels to sell exist.

i first heard the new single - and saw the video - off of a link on one of them facebook things. my initial reaction was "did not disappoint", and my second reaction was "this is smart, this is". and so, with virtually no alternate path to take, i managed to work out how to buy it off of iTunes

yes, that is the scary looking cover for the album, Hardwired.....To Self Destruct you can see, made all the more scary, i believe you will find, by my use of Commodore 64 mode to take the picture with.

speaking of scary, the video is quite terrifying, really. it's back to them doing the best kind of videos for their stuff, which is simplistic and, to use the word again, scary. here's some of it, and indeed here is some of it as it looks when a VHS camcorder is used to film it.

quite, as hopefully you can see in the above, a throwback to their two arguably greatest pop music videos, One and Enter Sandman.

so, the new album comes out in November, and is called Hardwired....To Self Destruct. also, it's a double album no less. this is something which many will be asking questions about, as in why there are not two double albums; i.e Hardwired....To Self Destruct I and Hardwired....To Self Destruct II. again, i say, if someone at Geffen had the balls to say to Axl "let's release all this stuff as four single albums, with one release every two years, rather than two double albums at once", the 90s - and Guns N Roses - would have all been so very different.

whiny bit coming up, folks, so you may want to opt out now.

whilst i have no doubt i will be off to HMV on the day of release to pick up this album, i in the mean time was suitably impressed with what i heard of what has been released to wish to buy it. understanding that there is no physical release of this, or many other, single(s) any more, i went to the online retailers to go and throw 99p at Lars, James and them other two, as if to say "bravo". this was tougher than it should have been.

in the end, as you can see above, i bought it off them twats at Apple, via their iTunes thing. it was by no means an easy thing to do. the only thing they wish for you to do is to pre-order the album in order to get Hardwired downloaded to your account. it takes some searching and digging to find the place on their ludicrous system where you can simply by the song along for 99p.

the official Metallica website? no interest in selling the song alone, alas, and no interest in selling things which are not priced in US$. that's weird, as if nothing else in your eyes then Metallica are probably the number one USA band for knowing, understanding and treating very well the fact that they have a huge fan base outside of North America.

surely, you say, the Google has the single for sale on their Play store? no. i wasn't really confident of finding it there, since they didn't have the songs off of The Stone Roses available at first, but i went and had a look anyway.

as of this morning, then, all Google, the self-anointed kings of the internet, know and care for about a new Metallica release is that someone has shoved some sort of app out there into the universe related to it.

Amazon? Amazon. it's quite depressing to see what Amazon has become. whereas once they were the ones who pioneered better deals for consumers using the power of the internet, now all they champion is higher prices and poor service. still, it was worth a look......

so at this stage as far as Amazon are concerned there are absolutely zero products known to exist or due to be released by Metallica which feature the word, term or name "hardwired". oh. and this is the lot, rather depressingly, who will have exclusive distribution rights to the new Amy Lee album next month. not a good sign that they know or understand music.

i, as regular readers will be aware, really don't care for this "download" stuff over actually holding the vibes you want to play, but so be it, that is the way of the world now. with this being the case, i am truly baffled as to why they make it so bloody difficult to actually buy music released in this way.

the simpler, cheaper and faster way to have obtained the song would have been to either "rip" the audio as an mp3 off the video on You Tube, or otherwise do a direct, less than legal if not quite illegal download of the song off of someone who had "shared" it online. i'd like to believe that there are many like me who would prefer to pay artists for their efforts, but everything about the way the record industry does online sales says "rather just go and get it unofficially please, we really don't want your money".

anyway, Hardwired is a smart, three or so minute splendid exercise in thrash aggression off of Metallica, and is well worth your time hearing via whichever way seems easiest to you.

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

Friday, August 19, 2016

thieves in the temple


one of them semi-serious, semi-not so serious, mostly hopefully interesting types of posts for you, look you see. it's all just one of them random incidents which happens to me like it would happen to anyone else, yet i have a tendency to think a bit too much about it. well, maybe it's that i like to think of things in terms of whether or not any interest would exist in them for anyone else.

earlier this week, as opposed to late next week, i engaged in a transaction in a retailer, with my part of course being the patron. i forget which shop exactly, but as a key part of the transaction i was given change, in coins of money, from the amount i tendered to purchase something or other. one of these coins was a 2p piece.

indeed that is the "heads" side of the coin, displaying a respectful likeness of our monarch, Her Majesty The Queen. for those who dislike the monarchy and this system of Head of State, by the way, i suggest you go live under a Presidency, with very particular emphasis on the Presidency of Jacob Zuma. go right ahead, taste the true waste of money, corruption, instability and ruin you for some reason crave.

our friends in America, by the way, say that we here in England have too many coins. they may be right. whereas they have the nickel, the dime and the quarter (a 50c coin theoretically exists but apparently they are seldom seen), we have the 1p, the 2p, the 5p, the 10p, the 20p, the 50p, the £1 and the £2 coins. the first three probably cost more to produce or if you like mint than their actual face value. 

anyway, the above isn't the issue. if, indeed, there is any sort of "issue" here. the thing which caught my attention was that the other side - the "tails" side, flip fans - had a sticker on it, placed there apparently by a monetary loan brokerage firm called The Money Shop.

if i am thinking of the right people, my one and only encounter with The Money Shop was that they used to have some adverts which featured David Dickinson, that orange shaded chap who was at best a second rate and at worst a poor man's version of Rodney Bewes.

my issue or quarrel with this desecration of what is, ostensibly, my 2p coin? well, firstly i would suggest the approach what The Money Shop has taken with this in terms of the advert is, frankly, stupid. to suggest or imply that gold in the shape of that 2p coin would equate to £70 in value is a peculiar and risky interpretation on the margins by which the value of gold fluctuates. the other, perhaps more interesting query is that surely it's illegal to either deface money, or use it as a conduit for advertising?

some research says that the law in this respect is confused and unclear. the closest i could find to an answer was reference to some sort of Coin Act of 1978, which basically answers the question of whether or not defacing money in the UK is illegal with the statement "yes, no, maybe".

it seems that it is indeed illegal to deface or alter coins of money if the intention is to do so for profit or gain. mostly, however, this law relates to punishing those who alter coins so that they may be passed off as a higher value than issue. i don't think any lawmaker considered that someone would place stickers on coins for marketing purposes. people who quite like making Her Majesty The Queen look like Amy Winehouse on £5 notes are probably OK, then, but i am not so sure about this sticker.

this is something i should probably get Spiros to look into. my view, though, would be that it's just a plain dumb marketing exercise, whether it is illegal or not, and it spoils my smart collection of shiny 2p coins.

hopefully this has been of interest to someone, or maybe i should just stop thinking about stuff like this so much.

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

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

poundland paddling pool

hello there

i do, and perhaps this goes without saying, do so dearly love my children. as an aspect of this i take it upon myself, look you see, to help enable them to reach whatever wish, dream or aspiration they have. with this in mind, when my (considerably) better half advised me that what they presently wished for was a swimming pool, i wasted not a single calorie of energy in making sure i met this wish, four or five days later, when i was next near a Poundland.

the climate of England, quite unlike Australia, South Africa or elements of the United States, is not one which is conducive to making it practical for homes to feature swimming pools as something of a default. there's also the fact that, i think, in England you are never any further than 70 miles (about 112km, metric fans) away from the coast or sea, so there's really no need to have a pool in your garden.

so, anyway, as you can see, off to Poundland i went, and obtained a quality guarantee mini paddling pool as i was somewhat requested, instructed and indeed reminded to do. i felt mini was appropriate, as for the most part children do tend to be smallish on the small side.

the measurements published on the packaging of the pool indicated that the dimensions of it, presumably inflated, were or are 55cm in diameter and 15cm in height. i didn't really pay attention to this in the shop, for i simply saw "quality", "pool" and most importantly "£1" and assumed that would do. had i noticed, however, i would have continued to purchase with confidence, for everything about those measurements says, to me, Olympic standards. it is not, after all, outside of the realms of reason or likelihood that some sort of Olympiad has stood in a pool of these dimensions - an action which i think you will find makes those very same measurements Olympic standard by default.

the quality which has so far ebbed and flowed from this product became all the more apparent - gushing, if you like - when i turned my inspective eyes towards the matter of just how one would inflate this most splendid of pools.

yes, that's right - it features a dual inflation mechanism, and not the sort which that b'stard George Osborne would have forced on the country had he been allowed to remain in power. having two inflation points on anything is a hallmark of prestige. an example of this would be the bike what Sir Bradley Wiggins rode to win, well, win lots of things. my understanding is that they don't let them ride around France or on smart Olympic rings on unicycles, so his bike must have had two wheels. two wheels on a bike means two inflation points.

these are also anything but standard inflation points. they are those specialist, CERN engineered ones, where one has to bite on the inflation tube, or if you like nipple, in order to allow for the free flow of air in an inwards or if you like inbound direction. that's in excess of £1 in technology there alone.

the boys were, perhaps needless to say, very excited that their Daddy had, eventually, remembered to go and get them some sort of swimming pool. their excitement, and indeed my insistence that they do so for the purpose of pictures to use here, meant that they didn't even wait for water to be placed in the pool before attempting to use it.

the above is indeed William, the youngest or if you will the most miniest of our children, endeavouring to be in the pool as a whole concern. it is, i will concede, something of a snug fit for him, although i would suggest in my defence that he is somewhat big for his age.

that said, the amount of the luxury mini paddling pool which William took up on his own meant that it was highly unlikely he would be able to swim or dive in it at the same time as his brother did. they shall have to learn to share and take turns, then. and in this respect James showed magnificent maturity, for he seemed prepared not only to wait for his go, but also to simply not have a go at all.

no, no way was i allowing his chivalrous action to go unrewarded, and at my insistence he did indeed get into the five star, stellar, by default Olympic standard mini paddling pool.

the boys, i should in fairness point out, have suggested if not requested that i stop referring to the mini paddling pool as being either "luxury", "prestige", "class" or "what they wanted". whilst i am always delighted to sort of half listen to anything they have to tell me, they are of course wrong and don't know what's best for them. i, as someone who owns a "best Dad in the world" t-shirt, of course do.

how does the award winning, quality guaranteed mini paddling pool look with water in it? pretty good, actually. both minutes that it took to fill went past in a very pleasant way, allowing me ample time to contemplate just how brilliant and excellent i am in being able to find such affordable luxuries.

indeed that is an NFL American Football ball in the pool, along with a proper football that looks like the kind of thing they use at World Cups and other such arranged tournaments. both were purchased as one concern, with Poundland generously charging only £1 for the pair.

right, i am off to grab both of my children and throw them into this mini paddling pool, instructing - with force if required, but let us hope not - them to remain within it and to have fun until such a time has passed that i believe i have extracted value in terms of entertainment from my £1 investment.

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

Monday, August 15, 2016

indulging Mad Max


i would be the first to confess that my magpie eyes get hungry for the prize. when the mood takes i can, look you see, be quite the impulsive shopper, in particular as and when something of a passion of mine has items for sale which seem to be a most splendid price. this accounts for today, when a very financially viable set of things was thrown my way related to my long-standing love of all things Mad Max.

oh, yes. the original, or if you like "classic", Mad Max trilogy, starring the shall we say fallen from grace Mel Gibson in the titular role. these are the versions of film, in their DVD form, that were re-released, or if you like re-re-re-re-released last year, as in 2015, ahead of the release of Mad Max Fury Road, which of course featured the as yet not to have fallen from grace Tom Hardy in the lead.

but surely, you say, i have these films already? why yes, several times over. whilst i no longer have the video tapes (and i wish i had held onto the pre-certification version of the UK VHS of Mad Max 2, but there you go), i do have the films on DVD from when they were issued in them card and plastic clip boxes, one of the main reasons we moved to Blu Ray was because you could only get Mad Max 2 uncut on that format and so I bought it, and I have two blu ray box sets of the film; one version with these three and one version with what to do date is now all four.

why, then, the re-investment, or if you like re-re-re-re-investment, in yet another set? to be honest, they nearly got bought last year at £5 a go purely for the new artwork. as they were presented to me today for £1 each, well, it was a no-brainer, in particular as my (considerably) better half bought them.

whilst those covers are amazing, in my opinion etc, i figured it was worth seeing if these DVDs were any better than the dreadful quality first issue versions of them. the answer is yes, no, maybe.

yeah, i was not so confident when i opened up the boxes. as you can see above, or at least you can if you are a fellow Mad Max obsessive, the disc faces say that these are the original issue discs which have just been slammed into fancy new boxes.

why my love for Mad Max? lots of reasons. being in Australia when Mad Max 2 came out would be a big one. everyone spoke of it like it was the best thing ever, as it was i suppose. it elevated action films - in particular ones involving cars - to a whole new level, not one that America had yet to reach. examples, for instance, of the ostensible hero of a film being beaten senseless during the course of the story were far and few between.

with me having next to no interest in cars other than a frequently necessary means to an end i suppose my adulation is all the stranger. perhaps it's because i have scant interest for cars that these films are what they are to me. i mean, the car work is so audacious that people with no interest had to pay attention to just what was achieved across the films.

placing the DVDs into my computer, for i insist on keeping machines what have optical drives as part of them, revealed that all discs were indeed single layer ones. each disc clocks in at about 4GB. i thought this was somewhat strange, as i could recall the original issue ones being well south of this; closer to 3.39GB in size which for some reason was the default for first gen Warner discs.

as you can see, the very welcome feature off of the original release Mad Max DVD is here and accounted for, which is to say you can watch the film and hear the original Australian soundtrack. home video versions prior to the first DVD meant you were subjected to the horrid dubbed version, the pure Australian considered "a bit much" for most (i.e. American) audiences in the rest of the world.

what happened when i put Mad Max 2 in to press play? well, rather predictably but all the same sadly, this horrendous version of the credits cropped up.....

yeah, it says The Road Warrior is the name, whereas it should say Mad Max 2. i am sure you know the story, but if not - marketing people were convinced that no one in America saw Mad Max and thus releasing a film called Mad Max 2 would confuse them, so they changed it to Road Warrior. it is, alas, only on the Blu Ray version of the film does the proper name come up.

what's in a name? well, up until now, when you saw a copy which started with the title given as The Road Warrior it meant that you were about to watch the cut to ribbons version. other than changing the name, the violence was considered too barbaric and brutal for audiences in America, and so it was heavy handedly censored. somehow Warner managed to end up reissuing this version of the film at random, around the world, until the Blu Ray release.

this DVD, however, despite having the "censored version" name, has the running length of the uncut version. i flicked through, and to my eyes it would seem that it is indeed, at last, an uncut version of this cinematic classic on DVD, albeit with the wrong title.

yeah, that's the spines of the three re-re-re-re-re-issued DVDs, spelling out Mad Max in a most smart way, made all the smarter by my use of Commodore 64 mode. you have that instead of a still or video off of Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.

anything of consequence on the Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome re-issue DVD? nothing that you wouldn't be aware of - some text based info on some actors, and the trailer for the film which features footage not used in the final movie. no sign, then, of a release for the boss two music videos what Tina Turner did for the film; videos which also feature unreleased footage.

the lack of extras are the problem with all releases of the original Mad Max films. at least with the four film Blu Ray box set there was a DVD documentary about the first film, but still. there are loads of known (and probably unknown) documentaries, featurettes, deleted scenes and alternate scenes for all three films which have yet to get an official release.

yes, i do indeed understand that the name Mel Gibson has become probably irrevocably tarnished by his antics. this is more so in America (and you'd think Israel) than anywhere else in the world, but that's where the money is, and that means his career is over. oh sure, there are people who have said and actually done worse than Mel, but that's how it goes - his disgrace is very much in the public forum where others have been perhaps more careful about what they say where.

over here, in terms of the English way of doing things, there's some shock and horror at all the things he said. it would be fair to say, though, that for many of us we found it interesting that he was praised and awarded for making anti-English films, yet it was only when he started getting abusive towards blacks, Jews and women that it was a problem. perhaps if everyone hadn't rushed to say how great it was for him to express his hate for the English then he wouldn't have assumed all of his prejudice would be embraced and rewarded, but there you go.

earlier on i didn't mention that i only really gravitated towards Frankie Goes To Hollywood when i clocked that Two Tribes had nothing to do with the nuclear war it got beautified with for a video and a remix and had everything to do with being a cheeky rewrite of the opening monologue of Mad Max 2. now that i have written that, i guess this post is done.

well, there you go - if anyone's been wondering if these versions of the DVDs are worth getting for reasons beyond the ace artwork, hopefully this has helped!

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

Sunday, August 14, 2016


greetings viewer

not too much, look you see. i wanted to share some smart music here, but in order to do that i am obliged to create a video to go with it. to do that, then, i went to the source material from where i first heard the music to extract images for you.

yes, as you will have worked out from the above screenshot, this is a return to one of my most dearly loved films of all time, Body Double. those of you in the know will, of course, have worked that out from the title of this post, for what else could telescope refer to other than the signature piece of music from this fine, fine motion picture?

telescope is the official and original name for the wonderful piece of music which plays as the ostensible protagonist of the film first gazes across the view afforded to him by the device of the title. as the years have gone by, however, it's become more common to simply refer to it as body double, for most just assume it's the title music.

anyway, here's a video with some (very carefully) selected stills off of the film, with some fancy special effects thrown in every now and then.

it's just a piece of music i have always loved and, so long as i have either ears or the ability to dream music in some form of deafness, one that i shall always love. it's just quite enchanting, mesmerizing, seductive and just a trifle saucy in implication.

it would probably be fair to say that what i am, all who i be, was somewhat influenced by (repeat) exposure to Body Double at a young and impressionable age. exposure very much of free will, let it be said. it's not a film for all tastes, but it does the job for me.

anyway, if nothing else, hope you enjoy the music. should, of course, you be watching this on a device which allows for music to be played. video, not music, but you know what i mean.

go on, you like to watch.

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

further painty doodles


a pleasant update for those who are enamoured with the artistic, painty doodles ways of my (considerably) better half, then. she has, look you see, been inspired once more to produce a painting on behalf of someone. this is a painting that, as far as i am concerned, i am allowed to show off here. in particular as i partially helped with its creation.....

tadaah, so to speak. one can only hope that you quite like it as much as we do, and indeed the recipient. as it's a painting which my (considerably) better half has worked on for quite some time, we've both gotten used to it being around the house. now that it has gone, we do somewhat miss it......

as with previous painty doodle exploits, my (considerably) better half has kept a step by step series of pictures of the development of this picture. to this extent, then, here's an early one, in which you can, so to speak, see the wood for the trees indeed.

as regular readers will know, i have virtually no talent whatsoever, artistic or otherwise, but i trust these stage images give those of you with some plenty of interest. should these pictures be the sort of thing you like to look at, i would encourage you to go have a gander at the stage by stage images of the magnificent Bowie portrait which my (considerably) better half created for me.

if, as i so rightly state, i have no talent whatsoever, then just what is it that i think i did which in some way contributed to this painting? other than buying the canvas, i bought the paint. or paints.

quite specifically, i bought several shades of blue paint at the behest, if not request, of my (considerably) better half, as she sought get the absolute right one to use, both in itself and as part of some magnificent created of blended purple.

yes, indeed i would have just gone right ahead and bought a purple paint rather than faff on and try to make a specific shade. that's probably why few, if any, of my paintings are on display around the world.

the benefit of the approach of my (considerably) better half? well, other than the picture looking precisely as she wished, there's something if not magical then quite wonderful of it. as a different level of light strikes the picture throughout a day, the colours seem to change as one looks as it.

from my side, once again bravo to my (considerably) better half for a triumph of a painting. we trust that the shiny new owner of it loves it as much as we do.

more as and when it happens, dear reader!

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

Friday, August 12, 2016

crazy Cartesian coordinates

hello there

this possibly doesn't happen all that often, let me be clear, but when someone comes up to me and ask me what my favourite type of coordinates are, i have no hesitation at all in saying that the answer is Cartesian coordinates. they are just awesome, man, and have many uses what are both valuable and practical.

it is, look you see, only a matter of time before all other forms of "what's your favourite" are exhausted, and so social media will be flooded with people sharing, or if you will excuse the cheeky play on words expressing, their totes bestest, like ever, form of coordinates.

and yes, i am very much a coordinates man. none of this co-ordinates nonsense, thank you very much, you can keep your hyphen.

any particular favourite Cartesian coordinates? all of them are just awesome, but i suppose i have always liked the dualism of the negative-positive combination, such as (-2.5, 5) and (4, -3). but just any, really, as and when coordinates are required.

well, there you go.

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

Thursday, August 11, 2016


who is and who isn't

actually, other than a not as obscure as you might think Stone Roses reference as a greeting, that statement is pretty much a valid question for any number of 4,999 specific people out there. it all relates to an email i got today, look you see.....

so an email pops up in my account with the title Your recent order for The Stone Roses - Beautiful Thing Vinyl Single. attention grabbed somewhat. what could it be? a survey? a warning that there's been some sort of misprint? a polite but ultimately likely to be declined request to send it back? weirdly, the last two form part of the answer. but have a gander......

as i said up there in the title, seriously? someone has gone to the trouble of complaining that more copies of a song off of The Stone Roses was made? what sort of twat would do that?

it's admirable that the distributor has 'fessed up to all of this, but quite baffling that they have gone right ahead and offered a refund to anyone disappointed by the situation. as in, no, they are not getting my copy back for love nor money, whether they made 5000 copies of it, 6000 copies of it or a million. if life pans out the way i want it to, i'll be getting buried with my copy, thanks.

why would you return it on the basis that 1000 extra copies, presumably not numbered like ours in the UK, were made and sold to fellow fans around the world? if anything, if you're all that upset about it, i would have thought there's a significant market out there of people who will buy it for somewhere north of the face value price.

i'd not advocate taking away the right of people to complain, ever, about anything they feel has brought them displeasure, but it's got me stumped, this one has.

anyway, dig what you dig................................

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

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

the simple pleasure of ransom demands


i suppose it would be prudent, and somewhat wise if that's not the same thing, to clarify that i do not, mostly, either endorse or encourage any action which is deemed to be less than legal. whilst frequent readers would, look you see, know that this blog is in many respects a mere imitation of life and not a guide to it as such, the more passing of reader might be misled, and perish the thought of that happening.

Poundland, or if you like Pound Land, is a place which has yet to cease providing me with items of pleasure and enjoyment, normally for the nominal fee of £1. this week was no different, and a most casual of browse availed me of the opportunity to purchase some most splendid adornments to any or all of our refrigeration units, or if you like fridges. some four hundred adornments in total, no less.

yes, away from the Scooby Doo and Secret Saturdays and, i think, Justice League magnets, you can see approximately 200 magnets in the form of letters and numbers what have been cut out of both newspapers and publications which are printed on paper, such as The Sun.

should that strike you as being the sort of thing that, from a traditional or classical perspective, was employed to craft smart ransom letters of demand with, you are not wrong and the packets of magnets are branded in a way that directly appeals to this.

making ransom demands has been an action we, as humans, have engaged in since, well, since there were at least two of us, for in order for a ransom to work there has to be at least two involved. whilst it's only been in the last 100 or so years that newspaper cuttings have been crafted in a way to allow demands to be known, withholding someone or something from someone who cares about or for the person or object in order to sway their actions or cause them to give you something has been a fairly standard practice.

the theory or thinking behind using newspaper cuttings is that it makes a demand loud and clear, yet is intended to be virtually impossible for any sort of authority to trace or prove was created by the ransom demander. simple, yet effective. 

let's take a quick break from all of this to appreciate the most splendid idea that they boys had recently with one of them inflatable hoop things.

i do know and appreciate that a significant number of family and friends around the world only really come here to hopefully see how the members of my family they like more than they like me are getting along, so it's fair do's for me to do an update to that extent from time to time. 

it might well be the case that you think holding actual physical things, such as people or objects, to ransom is a thing of the past. you may have come to this conclusion on the basis of the fact that it's all "computer ransom" these days, and of course that there hasn't been a decent, juicy ransom story for a good while, what with Bernie Ecclestone's Mum in Law (or similar) being held in such a way recently being the first widely reported kidnapping and ransom in ages. not to be.

as is the case with coercing people to do what you want them to by arranging for pictures to be taken of them as they sleep and sent to them, kidnapping, temporary theft and subsequent ransom demands happen a lot more than you think.  for every one ransom demand what gets reported to the constabulary, there is at least a dozen which are not. they just end with the ransom being paid and everyone getting along with whatever the terms were of that.

by this do i mean to imply that there are roaming, if not roving, gangs of ransom enthusiasts out there opportunistically crafting a living from this age old practice? partially. mostly its something which happens in the corporate, financial, political and media controllers sectors. if you ever see a decision made in such an area that strikes you as being somewhat retarded, if not simply completely arse-headed in nature, bear in mind that the decision taken which caused such a reaction might have been coerced from the maker rather than it being proffered up of their own free will.

what shall i be doing with my smart ransom note magnets? little, i suspect. i rather fancy i will arrange the letters to make obscene statements about certain friends, photograph it and post it to them. other than that, perhaps for fun i shall arrange messages for my family. otherwise, i suspect no, i shall not be using them to make any direct or overt ransom demands; at least not ones which i would care to confess to here.

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

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

13; blur

hello there

every now and then, be it frequent or on occasions, something or someone happens just at the time you appear ready, yet ill-prepared for it or them or both. that i know makes little sense but, look you see, i would wager some coins that you know precisely the kind of thing i am speak of.

in recent times, a chance 75p purchase of Automatic For The People led me to discover, to the surprise of many who knew me at the time no doubt, that i really rather like REM. now, at the least - the music says something to me in the present which it most decidedly did not in the past.

and, looking back to the past, as opposed to looking back at the future, Blur. their album 13, to be precise, hence the title of this blog posting i write.

a personal perspective / history / opinion of Blur? surely. There's No Other Way came out, and Blur proudly proclaimed themselves with it to be a semi-decent Inspiral Carpets tribute band, or if you like some sort of precursor to The Bluetones. The notoriously tricky second album, Modern Life Is Rubbish, came along, and it wasn't so much "difficult" as it was "just plain sh!t". then they went away, Oasis came along, London-centric journalists were determined to champion virtually any London band as being a "better lads band than what them Northerners have", Parklife released to a huge cheer of mock-cockney banter, dire music that was packaged well sold tres well.

i had zero interest, bar a couple of songs, then. and then the 13 album came along, or rather specifically the (i think lead) single Tender. at the time, it was precisely what i wanted and needed to hear, and i could not care less that the band who did it was one that i would not normally give coins of money to.

there was none of this download nonsense back then, and so a dear friend - one that i have only actually spoken to on the phone once and have not ever met - sent me the CD single. Danna, if you by any chance read this, thank you once again and yes of course i still have it.

what's the above picture of moi with my (considerably) better half got to do with things being a Blur, the ngle Tender or anything 13 related? everything and nothing i suppose; i just thought i'd put it in just in case, and who knows it might be of some relevance.

are Blur still going? hard to say. no band or artist seems to officially retire or quit and stay that way (except, weirdly, REM) any more, unless death pretty much makes it conclusive. i have no doubt that the Blur will reconvene as and when the circumstances say that it is appropriate to do so, be those circumstances entirely monetary or otherwise.

other than Tender, is 13 any good? why, yes. there's some smart songs on there, if not ones quite so good as that. on the whole, though, 13 has had more better patches than poor ones.

right, that shall do for now, then.

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