Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Boba Ferret

hello there

just yet another post on the subject of my commitment, look you see, in respect of spending coins of money on any bit of Boba Fett off of Star Galactia or whatever that i happen to see. i'm not convinced that it is so much a commitment as it is a compulsion, or if you like addiction, but anyway.

i was in one of them greeting card types of shops in order to purchase, as it happens, a greeting card. whilst there i observed that a range of Star Wars items had been added to the wares which the proprietor sells. as this is quite rare, for little is done in the way of overt marketing of this particular franchise, i had a closer look to see if there was any Boba Fett related stuff.

there was. but i suppose that is obvious, otherwise this post would not be.

what is it? ostensibly it's one of them "screen wipe" things. one purchases this size of item with a view to using it to clean the screen of their touchscreen "smart" device. cute, fun and presumably gets the job done.

as i do not do touchscreen devices, what with me being purely a button man, i have elected to see this item in terms of it being a miniature toy ferret and, as one would do with any form of ferret, i have taken to walking around with it resting on my shoulder.

that is indeed the side view of Boba Ferret, and indeed if it was a correct recreation of Boba Fett as a ferret one would see a Wookie scalp on this side. there is, alas, no approximation of any sort of scalp.

cost of this latest Boba Fett investment? a perfectly reasonable £3.50. reasonable in the sense that normally a Boba Fett item is one that i would be expected to pay north of £10 for, at the least.

yes, it is quite cute how he / it looks, isn't it.

did they have other Star Wars characters like this? yes. all of them, of course, being the ones what are robots or wear helmets. if Disney made ones of the actual human (or human looking) characters, they would be obliged to pay image rights royalties to the actors what played the parts. that is why we get so much Darth Vader, C3PO and Stormtrooper merchandise.

i have pretty much run out of things to say on this Boba Fett merchandising.

oh yes, whilst there is no Wookie scalp, they have added his smart if somewhat pointless green cape thing, and his boss jet pack / rocket launcher thing.

how does it work in regards of its intended purpose, which is wiping or cleaning the screen on touchscreen devices? i have absolutely no idea. these pictures are the last i have seen of it; the boys have decided that they now own this.

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

Monday, September 26, 2016

britpop, you say

who is and who isn't

i should probably stop reading the Metro website, the one that says it is news, look you see, but very much isn't. when not being opinionated gush (they are, after all, the last publication standing which steadfastly will not accept the Brexit vote result and move on like the rest of us) they are specialists in what is known as "clickbait", which is to say alluring headlines that make you click on them, presumably to earn advertising revenue.

i fell for one such clickbait headline today. it was a story that relates to the fact that The Stone Roses have announced another set of gigs, this time in June 2017. i say clickbait, but i would hope that this is in fact what you call that "trolling" thing, where someone deliberately winds up the internet with falsehoods.

she hasn't, has she? oh, yes she has. someone called Rebecca Lewis, who is presumably a work experience kid or simply ill-informed, has referred to The Stone Roses as a "Britpop" band. should you read the whole article, which you can if you so chose do by clicking here, she further asserts that they are a nineties band.

some amazing music came out of that whole Britpop scene, man. it was incredible. alas, and so very sadly for us fans, The Stone Roses were decidedly not a part of it. The nineties version of The Stone Roses kind of fizzled out - "the wheels came off", to quote Ian Brown from 2011 - with an ill-advised Led Zeppelin sound just as Britpop was catching on.

far be it from me to suggest Ms Lewis do any sort of research or such before slamming out an article, but had she elected to do that, she would have discovered that the self-titled album, the one for which the band are so dearly loved, was in fact an eighties thing, as it was released in the latter stages of the 1980s.

but still, onwards The Stone Roses go.

no, there are still no signs of any further releases after them two singles we were lucky enough to get this year. that the band continue into next year, however, suggests that another release might happen.

earlier in the year i jokingly said that a third album would likely be Christmas With The Stone Roses, released just in time to catch the festive market. who knows, perhaps that is exactly what they have in mind.

if you're going to go and get tickets for any or all of these shows, nice one. prepare for an experience you wouldn't ever believe possible. as for the Metro and Ms Lewis, well, perhaps i shall just give them a miss from now on.

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

Sunday, September 25, 2016

the path from obsolete to vintage

hey there

the pain across my back and the tale of retrieving The Blues Brothers in its DVD form tell you all that you need to know, look you see, of my efforts in going through yet more boxes of stuff as recently as yesterday. as would normally be the case, as i sought out that what i wanted i also found other items of curiosity. these i have kept to one side, rather than rebox, and the more interesting ones shall feature here.

like, of instance or if you prefer for example, this one.

if you're wondering what that is in the pouch then in all frank honesty thank you very much indeed for actually reading what i write and not just scrolling through the images to see what, if anything, the point of me taking up valuable internet space is this time.

what it is, as it happens, is if not a "first generation" then at the least exceedingly early type of digital camera. which is to say a sort of traditional looking camera what elected to use digital storage rather than the conventional film in order to record images.

what sort of digital camera is it? and we shall call it a digital one rather than digital or "digital" or any other such variation of smear, for that is what it is, by the way. it is a, according to what you can see in the images, Jenoptik JD 350. on the camera this is subtitled "jendigital", and it also has the word "entrance" on it, which i think means to imply that it is intended as an entry level contraption.

provenance, cost and age? these things tend to get lost as time passes by. if i remember right, my (considerably) better half and i, in those days before wedded bliss, picked this up on a holiday or if you like sojourn to England, most probably September 2001 but also possibly December 2002.  in respect of cost, two numbers come to mind, so it was either £35 or £49.95. in either eventuality, we were quite excited by the low price, as such technology back in Johannesburg cost (literally) several times more. so, we got it. and have, as you can see, now brought it back.

the above is the USB port that one connects it to a computer with. below it is one of them "AV points", the thing that looks like a headphone cable at one end, yet leads off to two or three RCA connectors so that you may plug it into a television. it is very much a first generation USB port; as point of fact it comes from a time when no one used the term "USB" and instead simply saw the wire as another type of computer cable. who knew it would become the only sort of wire everyone uses any more, except of course for them Apple things.

no, there is no slot for a memory card because when this thing was built there was no such thing as "flash" memory, SD cards, etc. what you got was all you had, with no way of expanding it. this approach to memory is, now that i think, a weirdly antiquated one which "progressive" Apple for some reason cling to, as they are the only present day company that steadfastly refuse you to add as much memory storage space as you want.

how much memory does the camera have? i do not remember, but it is not a lot. it can probably be measured in MB, and it will be 8, 16 or 32. my money shall be on the lower.

in what way was data transferred between computers then, then? as we only had 56k modems, not really by the internet. also, no wi-fi. you used them 1.44MB discs to move data, or if you were flash and fancy you recorded ("burned") to a CD-R. otherwise, data just stayed on the computer it was on and you used it there. yes, we did manage and yes we did cope. 

right there above, assuming this text appears below, you can see the "display" details. that LCD screen shows you how much battery you have left, what quality of picture you are taking (standard or best i think the only options) and how many more pictures you could take.

no, no LED display with this one - as i said, it was basically shoving digital recording onto a standard camera as it was known then. you did indeed need to use the viewfinder to frame and take your picture, and hope for the best when you downloaded it to a computer later. no means of reviewing, checking or deleting at the time.

what was the quality of the pictures like? mostly, from what i remember, awful. i have no idea what they official quality was supposed to be, but it will be well below this 1MP business of today. but, you know, back in 2001 or 2002 this was a brave and bold new technology, it just seemed awesome.

does the camera still work? maybe. so commonplace is USB as a form of cable in our lives today it turned out that i no longer have the right cable to connect this camera to a computer. what i need is the "standard" USB to "standard" USB, which is to say a standard, first generation "A" to "A" cable. before ordering one, then, i thought it best to put some batteries in to see what happened.

yes, quite it still comes on, then. the display of a number, possibly relating to how many images are left, indicates that it still works too.

the above image also highlights another problem, or if you like drawback, to this early version of a video camera. it was a proper hungry one in terms of power. even if one allows for the fact that the batteries i used are of the finest what Poundland has available, this thing just drains the juice out of any form of battery.

when you add together elements such as limited battery life, a pretty poor quality of image and the fear of damaging it as we would not (at that time) be able to have it repaired or replaced with any ease, it might come as no surprise to learn that this camera was seldom used. also, that combination suggests that this camera meets the criteria of basically every Apple product since they moved away from the proper, "classic" iPod.

so, i have ordered the cable then. how much did i spend? slightly north of £1, but also south of £1.20. what images am i expecting to find apparently stored on this camera when i plug it in? should i remember right they will be of some sort of verk function, probably from around 2002 or, at the latest, 2003.

should we pause for a moment, it is worth noting that the fact this ever existed will probably baffle the current generation. this is meant as no criticism as such, just an observation. this early version of a digital camera came along a good while before anyone thought to weld a camera onto a phone - in fact it was probably an important, early development stage of that. with the astonishing quality of image it is now possible to capture digitally on modern phones, one would wonder why anyone would purchase a non-professional digital camera that only took pictures.

is there any value at all to this camera? i have not looked it up, but i would doubt it. as the title suggests, this camera is rather obsolete in practical terms. can something 15 or so years old be considered "vintage"? maybe, i guess. the only value i can think of in respect of this is that it's an early version of digital picture taking that led us to where we are today. a value more of curiosity than financial, then.

as and when i find a supply of batteries that allow for me to take off whatever pictures are still on this camera i will share them here, so long as they're not cheeky or saucy. i doubt this will be the case, what with my incredibly prudish and puritan approach to the world, but no matter. also, i might take some new images with it, just to see how they look, what file size they are, etc.

most happy day if this has been of any passing interest or use to anyone!

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

Saturday, September 24, 2016

titles related to

hello there

every now and then, look you see, i, if not all of us, have some sort of whim or idea that comes to mind for no apparent reason. of the several i have undoubtedly had over the last week or so the most abiding was to once again watch the motion picture called The Blues Brothers. as it transpires i am eerily if not slightly spookily alone in this, but that would not be a story for here.

i was aware of the fact that i owned this film on DVD. further awareness was, alas, that it was boxed up, and would be most troublesome to retrieve. if you are in a rush, a conclusion can be drawn from the fact that i now have a bad back from moving boxes, but for those who really like linear let us go on.

having paid for the service (and with no qualms or regrets about it), it occurred to me that having a search on that Netflix thing was my most practical point of call in terms of watching this movie again. and so, to that extent, i searched.

no, Netflix does not, sadly, have The Blues Brothers available by its service. this was of course disappointing and quite a surprise, as the company seems to have a fair few titles off of Universal studios, so i had taken it as some deal was in place with that distributor.

whilst i am aware that "alternate suggestions" off of Netflix is nothing new in terms of internet discourse over the perplexities of their choices, these two were ones that had me, if only partially, raise an eyebrow. i mean, i can understand them throwing the magnificent documentary Janis Joplin - Little Girl Blue my was as a semi-possible replacement viewing idea, but Star Trek The Next Generation? i am unsure i get how exactly it is related to what i was looking for.

or, maybe i do. whilst it was never explicitly stated in the series (that i can remember), perhaps the whole point of Star Trek The Next Generation is that they too were on a mission from God. if so, that kind of puts a whole different spin on the series, and would no doubt upset a large amount of the fanbase of the show as they are in all likelihood self-styled atheists.

moving away from all things related to The Blues Brothers, except that it still has something to do with music, here's a pile of CDs i got from what has recently become my most favourite CD proprietor of them all.

on a Friday, right, i like to browse around the store with a few coins in my pocket. with CDs at £1 or £2 each, i can usually end up "treating" myself to some vibes to listen to either at home or in the car. to that end, i recently got another copy of The Joshua Tree, i believe the 5th or 6th i have bought, for £1. i figured that was an OK cost for a car based copy.

the store has at present a bonzer or if you prefer boss special on. you can get 6 CDs that are marked £1 each for £5, or if you like if you buy five then you get one free. and i did, despite only intended to get one or two. i got to that stage where it was "you know what, i might as well just pick six".

as i took that picture of the spines of the six discs with an iPhone (one of the classical versions that has a headphone port) i have every confidence that you can clearly read the titles of what i got. if not, and you are interested, fear not, as we will go back to them. and, yes, The Blues Brothers. but first, not.

i don't know what happened in the 90s (a lot of things went wrong when i turned my back it seems), but back in the 70s and 80s, when England was all decent, one of the most interesting ceremonies was bringing forth a tin that had been repurposed to house a selection or if you like assortment of biscuits. to explain, friends outside of England and those within who were not present during that era,  when one had visitors, announced or otherwise, one served their visitors tea. if one did not do this then one would be guilty of treason, and they would need not worry about visitors ever again, for one would be in prison. and when you served tea, you offered biscuits too.

the purpose of offering a biscuit or two (to take three was a social faux pas that was as unforgivable as it was just as likely to have you again arrested for treason) was to show off your social status. your level of wealth, your class and your value to the community was judged solely on what biscuits you could afford to offer freely. and do bear in mind, dear reader, that there was no such nonsense as "supermarket own brand" rubbish then.

if you were working class you would of course have digestives on offer. should you be progressive working class or middle class, what you had on offer was finer unwrapped biscuits, such as Romany Creams, or entry level wrapped biscuits such as Penguin. should you be of the elite, as in at the very top of the social class ladder, your biscuit tin featured a generous assortment of Club and Viscount biscuits.

it was delightful yet depressing, then, to see that in this modern England which has been created Viscount biscuits are now the preserve of the Poundland proprietors.

on the one side it is wonderful that Viscount are accessible to all. it is a triumph, and indeed vindication, of John Major's ambition to create a truly "classless society", although of course Jeremy Corbyn wants to put the class system back now. it also reflects the merry fact that the title Viscount is now as common as the most frequently found muck. whereas once one would gasp in honour when introduced to a Viscount, now so many have the title we might all as well have it.

i cannot but help thing, however, that we have lost something by not reserving some things for the elite. how may one show off how well they have done for themselves if the accepted way - through the biscuits they presented to guests uninvited or otherwise - has gone for good?

anyway, back to the six, or if you like one south of seven, CDs that i purchased for £5 in coins of money, or if you like a fiver. no, i did not use one of them "new" five pound notes for the transaction, although that is none of your business.


what did i select and why? in order from the upper top left, then. the soundtrack off of the film Control, what does not feature as much Joy Division and New Order as you might think. i am listening now, and Bowie doing Drive In Saturday has just come on. Higher Ground off of Barbara Streisand is now just one year south of being 20 years old. yes, it is the album what features her doing You'll Never Walk Alone, and that duet with Celine Dion. i've never got why Americans tease and taunt Canadians, but i have to say if Canada puts forward Celine Dion as some sort of "Canadian Barbara Streisand" then i'm not going to quibble. Lead Vocalist is a Rod Stewart release from 1993 that's superb. it features a combination of classic Rodders that was not, at that time, issued on a CD anywhere, along with a few new recordings that were produced by Trevor Horn, the talented man who really is only famous because Frankie Goes To Hollywood allowed him to work on their records. yes, Rod's boss variation on Waltzing Matlida is on that disc.

down at the bottom we have The Living Years off of Mike & The Mechanics. an album that was a side project for one of the less well known members off of Genesis, it features the title track that became a huge hit worldwide, as well as Nobody's Perfect. Addictions Volume 1 is a very serviceable "best of" off of Robert Palmer, a wonderful singer who has sadly not been with us for quite some time. finally, Contraband off of Velvet Revolver. bought as it's dirty, sleazy, provocative rock, and the ladies will notice me and want to have sex with me if i play it really loud in the car with the window down, maybe.

although i am thrilled to have got so many quality vibes for so little, it remains sad that we have devalued music to this point. many would say, indeed, that i have "overpaid" for the above, as i could just go and get them for free, or if you like gratis, off of the web.

"free" music off the web has been a reality for, what, 17 or 18 years now. we're feeling the price of this with an ever dwindling supply of new, decent music. what is the point, after all, of putting effort into work if you are not getting rewarded for it? we're left with those artists who have already made money in the days before the free putting effort in. when they are gone, i fear music has gone.

anyway, The Blues Brothers. yes, i worked out what box it was in and yes i spent a good hour or so moving boxes around and climbing over them to get it. and get it i did.

what's that next to it? a rather smart bookmark that happened to be in one of the boxes i looked in. it's a boss T2 or if you like Terminator 2 one, with a hologram of Arnie that reveals his robot skeleton head when you turn it. off of America, it is. it's possible that Mum & Dad got it for me, but for some reason i think Gillian is the one that found it and got it for me.

anyway, i now just need to find some two hours and twenty minutes to watch The Blues Brothers once more, since i am apparently of a mind to do so. the last time i watched it was on a flight to or from England from either Africa or Dubai. brilliant, the film is.

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

Thursday, September 22, 2016

warm in the night, cold as stone


from time to time i do, look you see, use this blog - for it is mine to do with as i so please - to pass comment on certain news events and stories that catch my attention. there have been, on the whole, two major stories in the last week. whilst neither are the main focus of what i write today, i shall nonetheless reference them in passing.

first, of course, the big one. Bragelina, or rather the dissolution thereof. it's not a subject that i was aware of caring about or being of relevance to me, but by virtue of every major news outlet making it their most prominent headline story i felt obliged to consider writing something in passing.

this i did, but alas i was somewhat trumped. nothing i could say on the subject would surpass the poignant gesture Adele made by dedicating what i believe was the entirety of a New York concert to the current Bragelina crisis. as nothing short of another Elton John rewrite to commemorate the event would match that, let me remain silent.

on we go, then, to the murky world of confidence tricksters of the internet.

this pop up window was a new one on me, and yet it's a variant on a well known scam. for the benefit of those unaware of what all this is, i thought i'd highlight it and shed some light.

for a number of years now con artists have taken to phoning people. they assure them that they are "calling from Windows" and are altering them to a problem that must be fixed. in order to do this, you must - as they help you on the phone - install some software that will make everything OK.

what this software does, as someone tested, is scan through all your folders looking for any sort of details that might be of value - passwords, banking details, card numbers, etc. these files are then copied over to the computer of Mr Windows on the phone, and are either sold or used.

evidently the scammers have run out of funding for phone calls, and so now plague the internet with such pop up windows in the hope of catching people. what better way to execute a con, after all, than to get the victim to phone you and ask to be scammed?

the other major news story of the week, the one that doesn't feature some sort of celebrity break up? the new fiver, or if you like the Five Pound Note in Coins of Money off of the Bank of England.

i thought something was most peculiar when a rather hefty queue for 8:20 on a Thursday was formed by a randomly selected ATM. word had got out that it had been stocked, or if you like replenished, with the new fiver, and so people were stood withdrawing £5 at a time to get them.

and, how are they? splendid, i suppose. having encountered plastic paper before it's not that much of a novelty to me, but i do appreciate the fact that it is for many. so long as i may get five pounds in goods in exchange for one of them, happy days.

some rather ingenious, would be marketing or other such PR nonsense type has managed to "trend" the idea of everyone donating the first new fiver they get to charity. nice try. the two i got, as in the ones you see here, are in the pocket money of the boys. charity begins at home, etc.

back, so to speak, to scams, then. on another trip around the internet i encountered a similar but different variant of this fake pop up, advising you to get in touch at once so that you may have your Windows problem fixed.

i'd like to give you some assurance. Microsoft, incumbent owners of Windows, do not give one single iota of f*** about you. they do not know who you, the user of a Windows system, is, and they could not care less. they do not, then, have a special division of people who monitor how your Windows system is operating and they most decidedly do not contact you on the off chance that something is wrong.

should you have seen a message like this or got a call and been concerned, don't feel bad, for they are very convincing sounding to those who would know no different.

how is it that blatant scams like this are "allowed" on the internet? there really isn't much policing of the internet, if any. normally criminals "hack" the servers on which websites are hosted, using them to spread these pop up windows and similar adverts on sites.

most splendid day is the day today that you read this and it's been of some use. and, may i say, bravo to NME for making the Adele dedication thing their toppermost headline news for two straight days. one assumes that when Mr Kim Kardashian makes his observation on the tragedy it shall be headline news for a month or so.

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

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

the book of shiny things

hello there

one of the characteristics of life in this day and age is that, look you see, one is unable to simply state the obvious if the obvious happens to be that winter is coming. some sort of television show, one of dubious documentary value i shall have you know, featuring a quite randy midget, several people who are very angry and at least one but possibly three absolutely massive lizards has taken it upon itself to adopt, for reasons beyond me, the term "winter is coming" as a sort of catchphrase.

in the apparent absence of being able to use the phrase that i shall not repeat, then, let it be said that cold days shall soon be with us. this also means colder nights, and further nights that expose us to ever longer lengths of being in darkness. with this being all imminent, it is somewhat wise, then, to make sure that the 75% of my family that you all like a good deal more than you do me are as visible as possible of a night.

specifically, the more important 66% (give or take) of the 100% of that 75%.

shiny, on a dark long night, is particularly good. well, reflective more than shiny, i suppose. is there a difference between shiny and reflective? i mean, surely something that is shiny is, by default, reflective to some degree, whilst all that can reflect light must to an extent shine too.

those with some brillio skills on brightness and darkness controls on their monitor or other such viewing screen may well have worked out who the above is, but for those who have not or cannot, here's a picture that does not show off the reflective value.

ta-daaah, or if you like behold, it was indeed William lurking beneath the shine.

once upon a time, i think late 70s but certainly mid-80s, the quality and class of clothing was adjudged purely on the basis of how shiny it was. if you went to work, or indeed the bookies, in the shiniest suit of them all, you were considered top dog. i believe the shiniest suit that ever was to exist - surprisingly not made by someone off of Savile Row - had a reflective value of 98.6. that must have been some suit, man.

anyway, yes, we have indeed taken measures to ensure that both boys are reflective and shiny on a night.

what of visibility issues around my (considerably) better half and i? well, my (considerably) better half has a bonzer, or if you like ripper, jacket that is quite visible anyway. i would imagine, however, that on most nights she would be out with the boys who are, i invite you to agree, going to be quite visible.

me? well, as far as most would care or be concerned, my slipping right out of view could only be a very, very good thing, so i don't bother to make any special effort so as to not cause further upset. the darkness allows me to go all ninja too, i suppose.

right, then, with shiny levels up to the maximum level and visibility pretty much secured, i shall leave it all there for now.

more as, or when, it happens!

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

Sunday, September 18, 2016

third fair


and so for the third time, look you see, the boys went off to the annual occurrence that is Stokesley Fair. it comes around just as what remnants of summer we had linger long enough to turn into autumn, allowing you to spend some time in the light whilst being aware that the darkness now shall come sooner of a night. or something like that.

the day before the fair commenced was, as famously reported, the hottest September day since, well, in about 100 years or so i think they settled on. this was something that had many worried, for the annual fair simply wouldn't be the fair if the weather was decent.

sure enough, of course, what the experts say was two or so weeks of rain fell during the day of the day of the fair starting, so it was all wet and damp and chilly as normal. still, it did not stop the fun.

that is indeed an absolutely massive fun house sort of thing; the fairground or fair in its own right attraction that the boys have a particular preference for. it was £2.50 a go on opening night, which is a very reasonable price. i shudder to think what the entry fee was or is on the weekender openings.

i am not at all sure that either William or James are visible in the above picture. my (considerably) better half is, though. i won't say where, lest you want to play some sort of Where's Wally or Where's Waldo (if i remember) should you be American game with finding her.

a particular favourite of  William's is, as the above picture perfectly illustrates, the hamster wheel that one normally gets to have a go on towards the end of a sojourn around a fun house. i think hamster wheel is the right word. it could be the wheel of death, the wheel of doom, or perhaps even just the spinning wheel.

William could spend hours on this spinning wheel of proper name yet to be determined. he did indeed try to do exactly this, and needed some quite severe coaxing to get off it. James isn't quite so taken with it. he will have a couple of goes at trying to wedge himself in order to go round and round, and when that fails it is easy to lure him away with the enticement of food.

that, my friends, is a £3 hot dog he is eating. the stall sold £2 hot dogs and £3 "jumbo" hot dogs, and i foolishly just asked for a hot dog, resulting in me being billed the maximum. interestingly enough, all evidence suggests that the standard hot dog for £2 is identical. also, a little further down the fair, i bought an identical hot dog for £1.50. it pays to be specific and shop around, then. let me say no more lest some sort of curse or spell befall me.

some video? sure, here's a look at the fun house, in which you can see one of them spinning wheel things. i would be confident that the boys, or one of them, are in fact visible somewhere in this clip, but i cannot recall specifically where.

looking at this picture of the exact same fun house, or if you will house of fun, they might well be at the top.

just how many of these fun house sort of things did they have on at the fair? at least three, but it could well be that there were four and the boys only went on three of them. i guess they are in fashion at the moment, or at least quite popular. they are pretty smart, i suppose, and at (on the night we went) £2.50 a go for two trips around it, they do represent a most splendid level of value.

in case you are scrolling through this with a sense of dread, fear not. no, i don't appear in any of the pictures. my hair was what i considered to be unacceptable for public display, and so i shunned the option of being in any selfies.

with that safety, then, onto what i would suggest is the perennial favourite of the boys, so long as my understanding of what that word means is correct.

yes, an absolutely massive inflatable slide. the concept of this is genius simplicity to the max - combine the magic of a bouncy castle with the joy of a slide and, et voila, a totes win thing for the kids. and yes, sure, i wish there was a variant of this that allowed for adults of my size to have a go.

any particular ultra scary looking rides on offer for members of the public to have a go on? why, yes, quite. have a look at this one at the back, behind the mist of the evening.

i have absolutely no idea what that massive thing stood erect in the background is called, or what it would cost one to have a go. there is an exceptional level of likelihood that i shall not find out of my own free research, for it's not likely that i would wish to engage the proprietor of it in any sort of business transaction that would see me go on it.

what does that ride do? well, from what i could ascertain, people "sit" on either end of the long shaft. some time is spent being suspended erect as you can see, with a half rotation allowing the people at either end to have a go. then it spins, around and around in case you missed the idea of what a spin is, rather fast. whilst i didn't go any closer to it to confirm this as being the case, i would have every reason to suspect that some people are taken rather ill after riding on it, or quite possibly during the ride.

no doubt one day the boys shall find this sort of ride simply marvellous, and will be offering coins of money for many goes. in the mean time, though, more simpler pleasures; ones that have a greater feeling of safety and less of a sense of risk.

indeed that is young William slowly hurtling down the helter skelter. his love of this is such that he does not refer to Stokesley Fair as that name as such, but rather as that thing where he can once a year take a ride on the helter skelter.

some video footage of William completing one of just one south of a neat half a dozen does on the helter skelter? why, surely.

if there's one thing that modern music unequivocally does not do, since we are on the subject of a helter skelter, it is the passing on of folklore, legend, myth and truth to another audience. this lack comes to mind whenever i hear the term, phrase or name helter skelter.

back in 1988 (i think), U2 unleashed Rattle & Hum, a collection of live recordings from a recent tour with new songs that they apparently couldn't be bothered to cultivate into an album proper. of the former, a cover of Helter Skelter opened the album. the cover commences with Bono informing the audience "this is a song Charles Manson stole from The Beatles - we're stealing it back". this would be to an audience who would, in parts, have little or know knowledge of that specific Beatles song, or Charles Manson for that matter. it was a time before all known knowledge was available across an "internet", after all.

throwaway lines like that used to send certain quarters of an audience off on a voyage of research, investigation and knowledge. i know for one i went off and found out about all sorts of stuff referenced by Frankie Goes To Hollywood, too. these days music seems to be more concerned about sampling an "artist" that had sampled someone else, or otherwise pushing the notion that Mr Kim Kardashian is in fact an actual, proper musician, or otherwise has some talent outside of simply being bald and looking stupid that justifies the (impressive) amount of money he generates.

but, anyway, i digress somewhat, or i did. another look at that class massive inflatable slide.

we spent a good couple of, or if you like two, hours at the fair, and spent not an inconsiderable sum of coins of money on the various attractions and food stalls. £3 a go on "hook a duck" to win a number of bits of plastic shaped as weapons is always a win, in particular when they are items that make a most annoying noise when deployed. and deployed is what the boys do with them.

another look at that super mega fun house to finish off? certainly.

and that would be the fair done and, i suspect, dusted for another year. right now, as i write this, i would imagine the fairground attraction custodians are busy disassembling the various rides and stalls, packing them up for transportation as the roam the nation to host them at other events around the land. best of luck to them. they get to see more of our country than most of us, and spend their days keeping people entertained, fed and thrilled. few of us can make such similar claims.

oh yes i still have a number of unpublished images from our travels to and from London. perhaps they will be the next post, or maybe something else will on a whim take my fancy. until then, then........

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

Friday, September 16, 2016

Spiros Kitchen


one of the more compelling observations i have made on my travels, look you see, is a distinct absence of something. it feels like quite some time has passed since i last noticed an item of quality footwear in the singular being left abandoned. not one shoe have i seen left stray on my movements through the world, or if you like life.

to be honest, there's been quite little that i have actually seen abandoned of late. either people are getting more concerned or perhaps protective of what one would theoretically call their belongings (all property is theft, etc), of the scavengers of this world are getting more pacy and a good deal more prolific.

it was, to this end at the least, with some delight that i then saw remnants of abandonment on my journey that was the day today.

yes indeed the streets at the moment are damp, if not quite sodden. after some monumental heat on tuesday it came to be that wednesday saw substantial rainfall.

we can, and if you bear with me, shall indeed have a somewhat closer inspection of the items abandoned in a moment. for now, though, Spiros enthusiasts will be expecting some sort of update on his exploits, going on the title of this post.

Spiros is, as the enthusiastic readers here will know, a man with many strings to his bow. when he is not engaged in being the finest legal mind of this or any generation, he's out there, like some sort of lone wolf, exploring and challenging the world whilst at times pausing to make what can only be described as short term yet mutually beneficial friendships with his fellow members of the gentry.

recently he has determined a way to combine all of the above, and indeed then some.

indeed, as the title perhaps promised, that is Spiros, scrubbing away at a pan within a kitchen environment. he had taken some time out from his rather busy but interestingly flexible schedule so that he may be of even more benefit to the community at large by assisting in the feeding of the less fortunate members of society. aw, bless, etc.

much of the Spiros lifestyle is spent subscribed to that "a stranger is just a friend i've not met yet" way of thinking. it is true, as point of fact, that the only thing missing from his life in following that approach all the time is a smart cagoule or anorak, and indeed a boss orienteering map.

was there any other motive for his quasi philanthropic gesture pictured above? quite. it came to his knowledge that certain quarters of the less fortunate members of society were very well versed in ways of starting fights for no apparent reason, and in getting absolutely sh!tfaced on what one might call non-standard variants of alcohol which were not intended for consumption. he wished to learn the magic of these new ways, and hoped that his efforts in feeding would be exchanged with knowledge.

i have no doubt that if such an exchange took place, i will be getting the videos and pictures of the inevitable quarrel in the course of time. for now, then, back to the abandoned items.

if we, of should this be incorrect i will take blame alone, assume for the moment that the Smirnoff promotional packaging is incidental, i would suggest that the partial contents of a ladies' purse have here been discarded upon the pavement. from what i can ascertain, that's one of them "pocket" packets of tissues,. along with an unopened and thus presumably unused feminine hygiene product.

how and why did these items come to be abandoned? it inspires, if not asks for, speculation, does it not? perhaps the lady who until quite recently was the custodian of the above was rather keen to retrieve an item from her purse or bag - a set of car keys, perhaps, or a cigarette or money - and did not care what was discarded in her rummaging pursuit. or perhaps the lady was involved in a bout of fisticuffs, and these items became dislodged from a pocket or purse as she lamped someone, or indeed got lamped.

unless by some remote chance the prior owner googles "has anyone seen my tissues and tampon?", ends up here and leaves a comment, we shall of course not never ever know the how or why of this abandonment. the only thing which i can conclude with certainty at this stage is that the lady was either barefoot, or otherwise managed to retain ownership of both her shoes. or lost one or both and a scavenger swept in and took it or them for their own.

more as and when it happens, or indeed when i get around to posting that which has in fact already passed. which everything has by the time you read it here.

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

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


hi there

for those of you who for some reason read here regularly but all the same objected to the heavy quota of family and holiday pictures i can only, look you see, hope that you've enjoyed the slight break from that. yes, indeed, by that i do in fact mean i am going to carry on.

there are, however, not so many pictures grouped together that i have left to post. at some stage i remain optimistic that my (considerably) better half shall throw together a (considerably) better post on the joys of Making Harry Potter than i did, but not as such as yet.

on i go, then, to Hamleys, or if you like Hamley's, for the internet, in a somewhat partial out of character move, disagrees with the best spelling of the shop.

we arrived at Hamleys (and let's drop the apostrophe, for you and i do not care for such things) in the afternoon and were, as you can see, greeted by a rather large teddy bear of the big variety. he, or indeed she, was most friendly, and appeared quite happy to pose with all who wished for photographs. no, i did not do a pose myself and no, i probably wouldn't do that job unless there was some very serious coins of money involved in it.

a word to the wise. if you are from outside London, or are visiting from within on the instance of a special or memorable date, get to Hamleys for opening time. children with one or all of these special reasons or purposes are invited to join in with the ceremonial ringing of the bell which marks the commencement of the premises being open to the public.

was there, you ask, by any chance a puppet show on the go whilst we visited? why indeed yes there was, and as i have an apparently lack of variety of pictures from within Hamleys, here you go, here is a picture of it underway. towards the conclusion, i think.

this is a rather good reflection on what one gets from the Hamleys experience. it is huge - six or seven floors, i think - but it doesn't use them to be the "biggest" toy shop in the American sense of it. i mean, they don't stock absolutely every type of toy you could wish for. the range is formidable, but mostly they use their space to create the sense of wonder, entertainment, imagination and fantasy you would really want to be part of the toy buying experience. nice one.

was there a somewhat close to lifesize model of Her Majesty The Queen built out of Lego within Hamleys? those of you who have read my previous posts will know that the answer is yes, but here's another look, only this time with the boys posing beside.

yes, i have covered Hamleys in previous blog posts. this was my third trip to Hamleys in about 15 months, or maybe just 14. which would mean, to my knowledge, that it is thus far the only time i have visited the same location used for a Stanley Kubick film three times in just slightly north of one year.

quite a special location too, for the last scene of his final film, Eyes Wide Shut, was filmed right inside Hamleys. whereabouts? i am not certain. some reports suggest it was the ground floor, but i don't know. perhaps i should watch the film again to see if i can't work out the exact spot, should i make a fourth trip at some point in the future. as opposed to the past.

indeed yes, James would seem to be committing an act of treason right there. i would like to think he is merely tickling the nose of our reigning monarch, but in all likelihood he is as point of fact picking it, as precisely as it looks. nice one William, though, attempting to distract Her Majesty.

did the boys bankrupt me or my (considerably) better half within Hamleys? surprisingly not. they knew they needed to save money for Harry Potter World and were mindful of our limited ability to carry things home with us, so they were appropriately modest in their ambitions. the main thing that the both of them were taken with was some sort of ring off of Lord Of The Hobbits, or whatever it was. i think it was a replica of that ring what Merlin won off of a dragon in a game of chance or something; the one that a lot of people make a lot of fuss of just to toss it in a volcano.

the answer to the second most obvious question in that last bit is no, i am not taking the boys to a volcano in order that they may throw their replica rings in. the more obvious question does indeed have the rather straightforward answer of me indeed not knowing much about whatever it was.

erm, yes, that is me just about out of information and out of pictures to show off, so there's the boys with the massive teddy of the big variety again, along with a chap replenished in top hat and tails. i would suspect or even be so bold as to suggest that he is intended to be some sort of ringmaster; the sort one would associate with a circus. and, to be honest and fair, i recall him looking and acting a lot happier than this image would suggest.

righty-ho, there's a few more London pictures i will get around to posting here. as they are, by and large, of our (much less troublesome) journey home, i think it's safe to say that you do at this stage have the highlights of our time away. i can but hope you've enjoyed having a gander and reading as much as we had doing it all!

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

Sunday, September 11, 2016

greta; the Steven Legget experience


there are those of us, and indeed among us, look you see, who can say that they walked the same lands as one whose art transformed a generation. a limited number of those can go further and declare that they knew the one who did. i shall, then, forever be one who can, in terms of the somewhat altruistic artistic avalanche whilst was unleashed on this fair planet by Steven Legget.

Steven Legget is someone that i consider to be a dear friend that i just haven't happened to have actually seen for about 25 years, give or take, and hear from only on a sporadic basis. the last time that i had an opportunity to be, give or take, within the same realm of postcode as he, he informed me that "things were busy". more of that later, and none of this stops him, from time to time, sending on his latest musical ambitions.

and, on that note, here is a sample of greta, the three seconds south of two hour mix which he sent me.

why has he called it greta? it's not for us to ask, and we should be cautious in speculation. it could easily be a reference to the name as it could be a "great" typo that he felt was far beneath him to address. all i know is that is what the mix is called, and thus that is what the mix will be known as.

what it is, however, is superb. as would be the case with the vast majority of his work, i thoroughly enjoyed being immersed within the landscape the sound creates, soaking up the ambience and revelling in the limitless possibilities the music stretches over.

beyond the samples here, in terms of what it all sounds like, think the most amazing film score ever. i'm talking Vangelis working with Jan Hammer, Giorgio Moroder, John Carpenter and Pino Donaggio working together to make something remarkable. regrettably, the film worthy of this as a soundtrack has yet to be made. i mean, sure, Steven could make the film, but there would be nowhere big enough to project it, his scope and ambition is that massive.

i mentioned earlier that actually meeting up with Steven Legget is something of a tricky thing to do. me simply suggesting that we meet was of course incorrect, and probably baffled him. there are in fact two conventional, in his terms, ways of arranging a meeting.

the first of these is to undertake an arduous, challenging, testing yet ultimately rewarding pilgrimage towards him over the course of one lunar cycle. the journey should be something akin to Jodorowsky's The Holy Mountian, only stranger and more hypnotic. at the end of this trek you would be rewarded with being allowed to be in his presence. this is the most commonly preferred approach to take. 

the other approach is less challenging and thus less rewarding. it involves you contacting him with a message along the lines of "Ste, i have some gin for you" or "Ste i have some smart 70s stereo equipment that is in full working order that i want to give you for free". on receipt of such a message, diaries will be cleared and you will be permitted to ensure that he is not displeased with what you bring. 

has the artist offered his own words on this close to two hour opus? yes he has. he described it to me as being "ambient stuff then building into a more odd raymond scott house vibe". i have absolutely no idea at all who or what a raymond scott is, but here's a sample from that ending section for you.

are you, like me a mere acolyte to the talent, able to hear this mix and more? most probably. i know Steven's got one of them "soundcloud" things on the go. you can probably search for him on that, or search for four hands and you will find his stuff. or search this blog for other references.

another image of Steven Legget before i go? i don't see why not, since he sent me three.

anyway, that will do for a bit. i trust the numerous Steven Legget enthusiasts who only ever read stuff on here if it's about him are most pleased with all of this. i know i am.

cheers for getting in touch mate, and cheers for the sensational vibes and stark images.

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

the bookie's pencil


quite a bumper Viz weekend for me this weekend, it has been. as well as a really good new edition of the magazine, or comic or whatever, coming along not so long after the last one, their new annual was, to my surprise, on the shelves. at a discounted price, too.

the yearly Viz annual, hence it being called an annual, is targeted at the Christmas market. yes, then, it is out quite a bit early, so are Christmas cards, etc.

according to the global grocer that is Amazon, The Bookie's Pencil is only due to be published, as in made available for sale, on October 6 of this very year. also, at the time of me going to press, they don't have the cover art available. link for Amazon? sure, here it is, but of course as we go forwards not backwards in time, look you see, the details may be all updated.

how come i got it so early? no idea, them lot at The Works had it available for sale, and so they got my coins of money for it. also, less coins of money than the published price. it's listed and printed at £10.99, but as you can make out, i think, i got it for £7.

now that i think, the only times at which i have paid the full published price for any book has been in WH Smith or Waterstones, and even then I have always gone with "buy one get one for £1" or "buy one get one for half price" or similar. should the record industry take a leaf from the pages of the book one (actual books now once again outsell them digital ones), maybe then we could go back to proper records and the record labels would not whine so much.

is The Bookie's Pencil any good? of course it is, it is Viz. there's a fair few adventures of 8 Ace in it, including the celebrated episode where he takes the bairns off for a portrait. sadly there is only one episode of Drunken Bakers, but it's a jolly good one.

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

on the incidental trail of the BFG

hi there

on our wanders around London we did, look you see, encounter a number of temporary installations of public interest related to The BFG. that number would, as point of fact, be two. fear not, though, if you wished for a third, for you may click here and go see the one which i encountered, partially alone, earlier in the year. as, indeed, opposed to later on this year.

what is The BFG? well, for many years it was simply a much loved book by Roald Dahl, as in he who wrote one of my favourite Bond films. quite recently that Spielberg (i think) bloke has adapted it into one of those "animated" films that's not quite animated in the traditional sense, but he seems to like it. i suspect that this film version coming along has somewhat prompted these displays one can find across London.

the above is entitled Sophie's Dream and the boys, being fans of Roald Dahl and more aware of what goes on in The BFG than i am, were most pleased to discover this one.

to my knowledge, the BFG part of The BFG stands for "Big Friendly Giant", and not what BFG stood for in the game Doom. or Quake or Duke Nukem, whichever one it was in which the BFG pretty much secured you victory should you obtain in. as all of these temporary monuments relate to dreams, i will take it as a given that the BFG in the story has something to do with dreams.

hang on a minute, big friendly giant? isn't that a bit of unnecessary description?  surely it is the case that all giants are big, hence them being described as giants. you know what, i will refer the matter to the publishers, just as soon as i have published as many books, pleased as many people with my writing and written a boss James Bond film with a volcano in it like Mr Dahl.

Sophie's Dream was, i think, the first one we found as we walked around London. the second was this one, referred to as The Countess' Dream.

where is it in London that you would find all of these (presumably) short term homages to The BFG? that would be telling, wouldn't it. i would spoil the mystery, the surprise and the excitement of telling you exactly where they are, and so i will not. which is a very handy approach to take, i think you will find, when one has forgotten where exactly they were.

my lack of knowledge descriptions aside, these are really all remarkable works of art. also, it's testament to just how well behaved the people of London - both residents and visitors - are that these massive glass things can stand and be free of harm or damage.

oh yes, there even more, as in quite a few, pictures from our travels to post here. for now, though, let me get along with the day today, see where i end up.

hopefully these images have been of use and interest, passing or otherwise, to fans of The BFG and, if applicable, beyond.

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