Monday, June 26, 2017

taĭnite na kralya

pozdravleniya chitateli i entusiasti na tŭrsachkite

time, then, for another of those posts which my friends and family are probably not keen on me doing yet seem to remain popular with those who stumble on this site by chance, look you see. so then yes, as the title of this post says to be sure, cigarettes it is. or if you like some more fags. exotic ones, too.

something of a preview of these particularly exotic fags was handed to you in those halcyon days prior to the small matter of an election which was a spectacular success for the person who called, no insisted, on it. should you so wish, you can see that preview right here. reading on, however, might be the approach you take.

on his travels Spiros quite likes, and indeed very kindly, to look at fancy types of fags and bring them over for me to have a go on. no, he does not smoke himself. as well as being the leading legal mind of his generation he is also a deft martial artists. his body is his temple, etc, and he must always remain in combat fit form, lest someone wish to challenge him to a bout. as we saw, then (possibly), this time around he got me these beauties.

indeed yes, presented as usual as i try in the glory of Commodore 64 mode, these are fags or should you wish it to be so cigarettes called The King.

whilst the name automatically suggests this in the mind of absolutely anyone it is the case that the answer is no. so far as i am aware, at the least. these cigarettes are not endorsed or branded in any overt official way in tribute or homage to The King, Elvis Presley. whilst i like to imagine him having a splendid cigar from time to time so far as i am aware He was not a smoker as such, and so such a tribute would not in a direct way be suitable.

that said, if the makers of these cigarettes called them so because of their devotion to The King, Elvis Presley, well then so much the better. let no gesture of praise ever be neglected in this world.

should you be looking at the above and thinking here, them The King fags seem somewhat bigger than usual ones, they are. regular fags would be called king size. these are called 100s, or here in the UK "super kings".

in terms of the difference, these ones are longer and ostensibly thinner, although exactly how much thinner they are is debatable. normally they would have a longer filter section to them too, but these ones called The King do not.

yes, as usual, please do heed the anti-smoking warnings present on the packaging. i have endeavoured to make them as prominent as possible. smoking is, after all, particularly silly and quite bad for you. true, sure, there's some debate about exactly how bad is bad, but all the same it is but the fool who would suggest the level is an issue. harm would be harm.

what, no, that's just something to break this up. indeed that is a packet of Marlboro, with a solitary Marlboro left, and one of them "e-cigarette" things. indeed i am having something of an enforced go at all that quitting / cutting down considerably business once again. how successful has this been? at the time of writing not so much, but trying. it's quite tough.

back to more care free times then and something of an understanding of these, The King fags. are they any good? yes, as it happens. 100s, or should you prefer superkings, are not always my favourite but then again one, or i, will smoke pretty much whatever is on offer. these were most smart, they were, to be sure.

a bit of a closer look at the branding on the actual cigarettes, as well as some further emphasis on the warnings in place? i do not see why this cannot be so within the confines of this post.

are they worth your time having a go of? should you be a smoker with precisely no interest in quitting / cutting down considerably, have no health or financial barriers to it and can happen to access a packet where you are in the world, then sure why not.

my greatest thanks once again to his most righteous excellency Spiros for obtaining these and sending them along. he really does get quite busy with all sorts of legal stuff, and of course forming short term yet mutually beneficial friendships with me, so i truly do appreciate the effort taken.

and that would, indeed, be that for the now.

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

Saturday, June 24, 2017

the mystery of the stamp of australia


ripper, as it were. i reckon this rich run of posts for the month is carrying on, look you see, with something once more of interest to share. it might only be of the most passing interest, to be sure, or perhaps even incidental, but interesting all the same.

i fairly recently received a parcel from my mum and dad, or if you so prefer my parents, out of New Zealand. nothing particularly unusual within this thus far, certainly, although yes that normally would mean something of interest had turned up. indeed it had, but not quite the intended or planned for contents.

here, me cobbers, have a bit of a gander at what was within, see what you reckon to it

crikey, yes, that is indeed a stamp showing off the splendid ways of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. crossing, magnificently as it does so, Port Jackson within the Sydney Harbour region, but for the benefits of tourists sometimes it is easier to say it crosses the Tasman Sea. which yes, possibly, might well be "the Aegean of the south"; if only we could hear the history it wishes to tell us.

one decidedly distinct aspect of the Sydney Harbour Bridge is that it is, as point of fact, to be found in Sydney, Australia. which is to say that this is not a structure one would readily associate with New Zealand, least of all within a parcel from that fine place.

needless to say i reckoned that mum and dad, or if you wish my parents, know full well how much i thoroughly enjoy boring you, dear reader, with tales of my time near this bridge and so placed the stamp within the parcel to facilitate further such stuff.

like, for instance, this glance back at my most splendid story of Sydney, linked in the colour of Australian Gold, and some photographs of me from the time.

yes, reckon i am wearing the green and gold of Australia in that picture of me with a broken arm (an incident involving a top bunk of a bunk bed), and indeed yes i reckon i am wearing my smart Boys Brigade uniform whilst listening to my walkman. Queen, probably. or perhaps Adam And The Ants. i do not recall listening to much other than those two at the time. possibly some Rolling Stones.

so anyway, in moving on as you would reckon i sent a note to mum and dad thanking them for the parcel, highlighting the stamp in particular. this would be the mystery element, then. no, either of them remember even so much as seeing a stamp like the one pictured here, let alone having one and saying "oh yes, this would be a most splendid thing to send to the other side of the world".

go on then, to make it all exciting during a dramatic pause, here's the stamp in the splendid form of Commodore 64 mode with the scan lines on.

to be honest it is not like i was looking as such, but from what i recall there was no signs of tampering with the parcel which was sent. the idea is also, to me, preposterous. for what reason would someone open up a parcel from New Zealand to Blighty just to be as mischievous as to place a used or if you like franked stamp off of Australia within it?

exactly how did this stamp get within the parcel? no idea, and if possible i have even less idea as to how i would work out such. unless mum or dad did put it in for some particular or peculiar reason and then promptly forgot all about it. this has happened before, just not with a stamp.

maybe (or possibly, bracket fans) it's a mystery that is intended not to be solved. that, i reckon, is the best conclusion i can deliver to this post. for now.

ah, that last bit has just made writing any more a bit futile, has it not.

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

Friday, June 23, 2017

comme tu étais

bonjour, c'est rock and roll

a quite interesting email came my way today, look you see. it was off of Liam Gallagher, no less, or at least according to the return address. he wanted me to see the artwork off of his new, first solo album, and also encourage me to place one of them "pre order" things for it.

it's called, as you can pretty much see in the above, As You Were. the record is due to land within the first week of October of this very year (2017), although i forget the specific date.

no, i have not pre-ordered it. oh yes, i am very excited about it, in particular as the debut single Wall Of Glass was most smart. i just don't get this "pre order" business. as nice as it is to get things in the post, some things are better in person. heading down to HMV to get the latest album off of someone you like is most certainly such a thing.

why are there elements of French on the go in this post? well, Liam. he took to that there Twitter thing of his and told everyone that he was off to Paris - the one in France - to get some photographs taken for the album artwork.

yes, quite. i am no expert on the ways of arts and artists, but was it really necessary to go all the way to France to have the above portrait image taken, i wonder? undoubtedly his answer to this would be most decidedly yes, if for no reason beyond he fancied it.

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

Thursday, June 22, 2017

lynx you under review

hi there

it certainly feels like quite a while since i reviewed some personal scent products off of Lynx, to be sure. perhaps you have assumed that i have accepted i am quite close to three times the age of people for which this deodorant is intended. not so, look you see. it's really rather more the case that i have settled in to a particular favourite from them. or two. maybe three.

for all the knocks and comments it gets i have still found lynx, or if you are big into your capitalisation Lynx, to be the best. the last one i probably reviewed (sorry, i cannot be bothered to search and link) was Black Night. as i took that to be a tribute to the song Black Night White Light off of Frankie Goes To Hollywood i have pretty much stuck with that.

also, though, every now and then i shall use Excite, for those who are destined to spend time in close proximity to me, in particular my (considerably) better half, quite like the coconut nature of it. and then from time to time when i feel Greek, Roman or American Space Program i shall use Apollo, in particular when i sense the ancestral gods i saw walking in my dreams.

time, then, for a go at a new scent they have unleashed, and what i purchased partially on the cheap.

indeed it is called You, as the title of this post gives away in a somewhat clever if not obvious way. several of the retailers i use are presently selling this at a most agreeable price; presumably as an initial push for this fragrance they have just unleashed. there is some sort of television advert for it too, but the specifics of it are things which i have forgotten.

yes, that above image is in the format of ZX Spectrum. i thought it might be quite nice to mix things up. the camera application i used is somewhat generous, however, as i would suspect such a quality image would be impossible to create on an actual ZX Spectrum.

as i have confessed to in the past, yes i do appreciate who, or if you are so inclined what, the lynx range of deodorants are intended for. primarily they are supposed to be used on a virtually exclusive basis by the more feral of teenagers. the purpose of it is to attract a mate for the briefest of times for quasi breeding purposes. 

no, i most certainly and decidedly do not wish to conjure up elements of that sort of thing happening by wearing it, thank you. it's just that i tend to find practically all other (cheap) brands of deodorant to be prickly, dry and of an unpleasant scent if not odour. a reasonable percentage of the lynx branded deodorants do, then, do what i want from a deodorant. quite terribly first world problem of me i know, but one can only play the hand which they are dealt.

at some stage in this post i shall, undoubtedly, get around to doing an actual review, or perhaps comment, on what this stuff is like. for now, though, i have every confidence that you would be interested in seeing an image of a tin or can of it in Nintendo Gameboy style. here you go.

that would of course be the "classic" original green hue Gameboy style, and not one of the later, fancier versions of the device which offered different colours as a selling point.

so how does it smell, or what's the scent like? confrontational, i suppose, in something of a stand-offish yet extroverted way. quite sugary in many ways, but with a prevailing sense of musk. this must, i presume, be the kind of smell that all them millennial type of kids running around not so much like but are instinctively attracted to. 

have i worn You out in public? yes i have. no one threw anything at me, or otherwise visibly retched, so i guess it's been accepted by society as a fragrance which shall be tolerated. so far as i am aware it did not, however, attract any of them feral teenagers, though. mostly this is very good, for i would not want such a thing to happen. presumably my lack of complimentary features, such as neck tattoos and an ill fitting, curiously stained tracksuit, prevented the attraction effect taking full force.

quite a clever bit of branding, this You is. whilst all advertising must at heart be aspirational to make you have the desire to want for it, here in the UK making it all about "you" is the key to successful advertising. stuffing advertising or sales pitches with "you" and "your" is the key to success here. an example of this would be one of the many gambling websites i see advertised. one has elected to showcase how you can bookmark  a specific part of their site as being all "making it possible for you to get to your game, so you can play your game the way you want, when you want". repetitive, but it surely works here.

anyway, i would dare to suggest that this is all i can tell you about, well, You off of the lynx or if you should want it said that way Lynx. should this all have been of particular use or interest to someone, absolutely anyone, out there, well then so much the better.

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

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

more mugs


there are two things which would be true of me, look you see. one is that i have no shortage of mugs whatsoever. another would be that i seldom fail to turn my back on a jolly good deal. these two qualities are rarely well married.

undoubtedly there are other matters true of me, but they are of little relevance right now. with the above two in mind, then, it be time to look at not one, not three but a further two mugs which i have taken under curatorship. or taken ownership of. or something like that.

yes, more Star Wars mugs, or if you like mugs what have branding and images of Star Wars on them. just sticking the name of something on it does not make it thus, to be sure. and once again it's a bit of branding what features helmeted characters, for using characters played by humans sans mask would require permission to use their likeness and the paying of royalties.

what's the story behind these ones? we were out getting some things as a family. ostensibly glasses, as it happens. we spotted them and thought they looked quite smart. also, we saw that the cost price of them was 79p in British money a piece, and thus felt obliged to get them for such a consequential fee. well, ok, yeah, i felt obliged.

yes, in the beautification of Commodore 64 mode, that is indeed one of the mugs. another Darth Vader one for the collection, and indeed another with the "i am your father" line composed upon it.what i quite like about this is the quasi pop art cartoonish orange dot background. and the font used for the name of Darth Vader.

oh hey, another month, so another look at my Star Wars concept art calendar is due. i have presented an image every month of relevance, i think, within a post relevant to all things Star Wars. which possibly means i am writing too much on the subject, but anyway.

after six months of the first released Star Wars film the thing has now moved on to the world of the second one, The Empire Strikes Back. this is the film that tends to be the favourite of my generation and those who saw them before the prequels came along and totes impressed all. not sure if i have a personal favourite, but this would be close to it. mostly as it has Lando and Lobot in it.

indeed, concept art for Hoth, the so-called ice planet. although it would appear to be more ice than snow, and i think there is a difference. all very exciting stuff, i am sure.

yes, that is the other mug. that one is a "first order" trooper off of one of the even more recent Star Wars films; The Force Awakens i do believe it was called. again, showing money is king, they keep changing the look of the troopers because someone else owns royalty rights to the so-called "classic" stormtrooper look from the first three films made. well, first three, plus the Christmas Special, plus them two Ewok films.

my penchant for collecting mugs is getting to be an issue. despite the fact that we have generous storage space in our kitchen it is coming to be dominated by mugs. we have ample and sufficient for our needs, and there are many that do not get used. the trick is, of course, that i cannot bring myself to be rid of any of them.

that's the back packaging of the mugs right there above, although you have probably worked that one out by now in great fairness to you.

right, well, there you go, let me think of something Star Wars related for July, then, so that i may reasonably put up a picture of the concept art calendar for that month in a contrived yet exceptionally incidental way.

live long and prosper!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, June 18, 2017


hey there

there are, surely, few brands so thought of in the UK as Sports Direct is. they have, look you see, quite the formidable reputation. such attribution is, to be sure, most decidedly applicable to the ostensible owner and creator of the brand, one might suggest.

whilst many endeavour to do as much of their requisite shopping at the stores to show their impassioned enthusiasm for the brand there are one or two areas of daily life which some are not quite so ready to commit their loyalty to Sports Direct in respect of. one of the more visible, if not overt, of these is in deciding to select the brand in terms of any and all requirements one may have in regards of playing cards.

yes, i have. in the interests of having something to write about here i have explored the life one leads when one has taken ownership - no, custodian responsibility - of a deck of cards branded with the Sports Direct name. well, sort of. James was away on some sort of trip recently, and i got him these to take with in case he and his chums got that bored.

the bold, stark facts about Sports Direct branded playing cards are undoubtedly what you want to know. and so know you shall. 79p a packet is what one pays for them, oh, if only cigarettes were so wonderfully priced. this may seem cheap - a bargain of note, perhaps - but please note that you can get two decks for £1 from most of the more discerning branches of Poundland. also, and it was a while ago so i am not sure, you can get Titanic branded ones for 39p or maybe 69p off of Yorkshire Trading. it is a few years since i got them for Spiros so i am uncertain if that remains true.

despite possibly cheaper alternates available in other locations there is of course one advantage to this pricing. 79p is, after all, not a great deal of money to spend in order to buy into the much noted Sports Direct branded form of brand. it is, i would wager, one of the cheapest items you can obtain with this branding on.

the above reflects, or if you will fairly accurately shows, the predominant nature of these playing cards. whilst the backs of the cards carry the Sports Direct branding and a celebration of the various manufacturers they represent, the face of the cards - the business end - are pretty much conventional. exceptions to this of course exist, but we shall get to that just now.

could one describe playing cards as a sport? i am uncertain. many would suggest it relies more on fate, fortune, luck and chance than it does skill. to counter that i would say one would need the skills and abilities to recognize when fate, fortune luck and chance are with the hand they have been dealt.

the whole debate around which activities do and do not constitute as sport is controversial and, to be frank, boring. just get on with what you enjoy or are particularly good at, i say. leave defining it to those who get paid to do dictionaries and so forth.

it is just these three cards in the deck which carry the much vaunted Sports Direct branding on the face side of the card, or if you will be business end of the playing surface. whilst one might reasonably expect it to appear on the two Joker cards, the presence of it on the ace of spades is mildly interesting. one cannot but help wonder, if not speculate, if this was done out of some form of respect and appreciation for Motorhead. i would like to think so.

to briefly go back to the costing of buying into the brand of Sports Direct to the extent that you make a decision to use them for your playing card requirements, here's photographic evidence of what you can access at Yorkshire Trading.

now then. in truth, yes, either option here is 21p more than what you would pay at Sports Direct for their branded playing cards. but do consider the extras. for that 21p more you can either get a second deck and some most splendid dice or alternatively one pack of absolutely massive cards. the latter is tempting, of course, for those of us who so dearly loved Brucie doing Play Your Cards Right.

in returning to investiture in the Sports Direct brand, what are they like to play with? in truth i know not. whilst i took these pictures i of course shuffled and sorted them, but did not have a game as such. the texture and feel of them are somewhere between matte and gloss. normal and boring, maybe, but they give every sense that they would be perfectly suitable for a friendly game. i would suspect, however, that they do not meet the criteria for them professional, high powered, big money tournaments. or perhaps they indeed do, i do not know i am not really an expert on such.

and so there we have it. kind of. would i recommend that one purchase these Sports Direct playing cards? yes if you were looking to buy into the Sports Direct brand at a low cost, sort of quasi entry level stage i suppose. also yes if you were milling or otherwise loitering about the tills at Sports Direct, noticed them for sale, thought that maybe you would want, need or quite like them and off you go.

do i play a lot of cards myself? not really. the occasional game of 2s and 8s with my family would be about it from time to time. poker is ok from time to time, but in truth normally i find it's just easier for one to take their clothes off conventionally than it is to faff on with a game based on it.

would i describe myself as some sort of patron or unofficial ambassador for the Sports Direct brand? not particularly in any sort of (ahem) direct way. they tend not to stock or sell many clothes that fit me, although in fairness they are one of the few places that do my shoe size. that said, they do sell decent quality sports stuff for kids at a good price, hence me being there fairly often. well, a couple of times a year or so i suppose.

as usual, may fate shine upon me and for some reason this was of interest to someone somewhere!

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

Friday, June 16, 2017

random bowie - lodger


And so another edition of Random Bowie, then. This is number six, look you see, which means I am doing not so bad at my idea of doing one a month. And this month, after some deliberation between two possibilities, it’s the record which was ostensibly the last of the “Berlin” trilogy and his last release of his most prolific 70s. So, yes, Lodger it is, to be sure.

For some reason I have stacks of curious facts and bits of trivia floating around in my head. In relation to Lodger, one such example is an article I can remember reading. It will have been in the 80s or possibly early 90s. Anyway, apparently this album, along with Off The Wall by Michael Jackson, was the most common record or cassette to find at car boot sales. Go figure.

Lodger is referred to as the third of the “Berlin” trilogy, following Low and “heroes”. Which is weird, you know, considering Lodger was recorded in Switzerland and New York. Granted, it shares the Eno-Bowie producer-artist relationship of the first two, but that’s about it. And by all accounts the two of them, whilst not falling out, felt that they had already “exhausted” all that they could do together at the time.

The above all seems not very promising for the album, then. That’s all negative waves above, isn’t it? Quite misleading if so. Whilst not as celebrated or treasured as Low, and not featuring anything as anthem-like as “heroes”, Lodger is a fine album.

General consensus says that the album has the name because it’s transient in theme. It speaks of not knowing a place in the world – accepting where you are but holding an inherent sense of not so much belonging as not being tied to it. Many of the song titles – Fantastic Voyage, African Night Flight, Move On and Red Sails – evoke images of travel, of movement. In this sense, perhaps it ties in more to Station To Station than it does the other elements of the “Berlin” trilogy. The infamous and not directly explained “broken nose” cover tends to underline the sense of dislocation.

The most recognizable song from this album is Boys Keep Swinging. Somehow Bowie got away with poking fun at sexism with an overtly exaggerated set of clearly comical sexist lyrics in a decade known for being sexist. Him being in drag in the video probably helped, although the “when you’re a boy” bits of him in a suit shows David doing some absolutely boss moves on the dance floor. Most consider the whole of Boys Keep Swinging to be a cheeky nod of the hat and parody of the Village People. Whatever, really – the boss drums played by Carlos Alomar and the twanging bass Dennis Davis make this a particularly funky number.

My favourite off the album is Look Back In Anger. The passion of Bowie’s vocal on it has always been something of comfort, solace and reassurance to me. Why? No idea, I just love the way he sings the song. He must, presumably, have rather liked the song himself quite a bit. On the CD I have a bonus track is a re-recording of this one from 1988. The re-recorded version is not too different in sound, but features one Reeves Gabrels on guitar. I am uncertain if this would have been just before or just after David and Reeves formed 50% of Tin Machine. Or, for that matter, what the purpose of the re-recording was intended as.

Otherwise, unless it was a bizarre play on the word of the title you have to assume that Bowie really, really wanted people to pay attention to the song Repetition. It appears as a b-side on 3 of the 4 singles released from Lodger. The songs itself is pretty dark, going as it does into the mind of a violent husband, exploring his own justification for violence. Uncomfortable listening, but my what a powerful song.

DJ, which by the standards of the 70s and his output in this regard by this time had a pretty lavish promo video, is another point of discourse if not controversy. At face value the song sounds rather complimentary to the life and plight of a DJ. A bit of digging, however, and it seems to be a dig. Who at? Ostensibly, perhaps, DJs who make a living from the music others have made, but also at the emerging, not called this yet but still New Romantics for simply “copying” his current music style and claiming it as their own. Again, though, really good song.

By the commonly accepted method of counting Lodger was Bowie’s 13th studio album proper. Unlucky for some, some might say. Certainly I would agree with that in respect of how the album is generally viewed. Or, perhaps, not viewed. This does tend to be not so much the part of the “Berlin” trilogy people forget as it is his one 70s album people tend to forget about.

Is Lodger worth the time of the more casual listener? Absolutely. Beyond the songs singled out, there really is not a bad track on the album. In terms of the singles, for some reason the four released from LodgerDJ, Boys Keep Swinging, Look Back In Anger and Yassassin – tend to be the first four discarded as and when someone at the record label is looking to trim things for a single or double CD “best of Bowie” release. So getting the album is often the only way to hear some true gems from his most impressive catalogue.

As was the case with the previous episode, Tonight, I have thoroughly enjoyed having this album on the stereo on repeat over the last couple of weeks. It was probably several years since I had last played it from start to finish. I suspect, however, that it shall be played with more regularity in the several years ahead.

Well, that’s that for another edition, then. No, not quite sure yet as to what the next one shall be. It’s possible that I might stick in the 70s, but we will see. At least I will, but hopefully you are along for the ride too.

Many thanks as ever for giving me your time to read this, hope it was of some interest!

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

Thursday, June 15, 2017

to sit with elders of the gentle race

hello there

one of those updates for friends and family really, but as it is on the web all are welcome. just so long as you are not one of those weirdo types, look you see, to be sure.

in recent times James has been away on a camp sort of thing with school, or if you like one of them school camp sort of things. they are tremendous fun, and perhaps some of my musings which follow shall recall mine own experiences. but that's not the point of this post.

with James being away we had William home alone. in order to keep him entertained, for we knew he would miss his brother, i thought it might be fun to create a sort of diary thing for him to keep. something to showcase all the wonders, excitement and adventure which he got up to whilst his brother was away.

he agreed with this wholeheartedly. and so i created the images whilst he wrote the story. and, for those of you with an interest in this, here you go.

yes, yes, i know i should encourage William to spell words correctly. but i do so dearly love his mostly phonetic spelling of words he is unsure of, such as "planit" above. besides, he scores 10 out of 10 in spelling tests as and when required by formal education; or close enough.

i suppose this sort of thing might be useful for some of you to consider doing, to be sure, if you are looking at how to keep one child busy and happy whilst their sibling/s is/are away. whilst i doubt this would be much effort with all that there "photoshop" stuff i did this quasi "old school", using scissors, a printer and a scanner.

my own times away on school camp, or if you like camp with school? i went all over the place, really. the earliest i can remember is some sort of "outback" thing in Australia, i think Queensland. it was ace. i can recall seeing a kangaroo and a koala in their natural environment. also, the ostensible "school bully" (although he was a decent lad and no trouble) woke up the camp crying one night, scared senseless as a snake had got into his tent. it was the ostensible "school nerd" who went in, picked it up and sent it on its merry way. a game changer of an event, most probably.

but, yes, you are more interested in the splendid adventure diary than my memories, so here we go with another page.

i don't think my school trips around Europe count or otherwise constitute as "camp" for we stayed in a variety of hotels, hostels and so forth. most were splendid. one impromptu stay, however - i think it was Belgium, perhaps Luxembourg - saw us stay somewhere what made tents seem far preferable.

a brief break from William's diary now for you so as you may see what James returned with from his school camp / camp with school.

the children going away were allowed to take a set amount of money with them for the tuck shop. i, as i suspect other parents would have, gave him a bit more and made the wildly optimistic request that he "try not to spend all of it". when he returned and i requested from him the change, i was presented with 12p in real money and the above items. with the above items being 2 stamps and an unwritten post card. he informed me that he used the change to get these instead of giving me the money, as he "thought that i might like them".

back, then, to William's adventures. as you can see, though, the middle two pages of his diary got a little bit repetitive.

camps away with school that were actual camps? i don't think they count as we stayed in a most splendid manor, but the fondest memories i have are of the Lake District. amazing times were had. memories were forged that will remain with me forever. also, i bought one of my Motorhead lps on the of the trips; Orgasmatron unless i am mistaken. actually could be and it might have been Rock And Roll. i think Mum & Dad might have got me Orgasmatron for one Christmas.

and so back to the diary, then, as it reaches a thrilling and most splendid conclusion. one filled with opportunity, excitement and adventure.

other than that, whilst of school age and at school me and my mates, or if you like my mates and i, or if you are of such an opinion of me myself and those that would mildly tolerate me, did go off and camp. back gardens, usually, but as we approach college age also off into the woods.

and here we have it, the grand finale of William's diary. well worth scrolling past all the stuff which i have written in between to get to, i think you will find.

and there we have it. i can but hope that this was all as entertaining and fun for you to look at and read as it was for us to make!

more as and when it happens, dear reader. although i suspect next will be the latest episode of random bowie, for those who are of a mind to enjoy such articles.

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

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

now and then

hello everyone

many thanks indeed for dropping by. and, cor blimey, there's been a fair few posts this month compared to the last two. i've been somewhat busy, look you see, but do try to make all efforts i can to update here with things of interest.

something of most decided interest, to be sure, was an item which was delivered to our home yesterday. not that we are special in this respect, for it is something that is delivered to many homes.

what precisely? why, the latest edition of Now & Then magazine.

it really is a fantastic publication, and in truth far better than the poor quality picture i have taken. sorry, for some reason was struggling to hold the phone with a camera welded on it still enough.

what makes it so good? well, other than being free, or if you like gratis, it's filled with all sorts of wonderful articles on the past, present and future of our part of the world. it is splendid to be able to look upon memories and superb to see what's going on.

the free nature of the magazine is, to be sure, made possible by adverts. these adverts are, in the overwhelming part, unobtrusive and of genuine interest to readers. one such advert, for instance, caught my eye on page 77.

no, not the tree work one, as interesting as that is. i speak of course of the one above for The Taper, a site you can see by clicking here.

this really is a splendid and most excellent new service, allowing people to bring back their memories. a wide range of services are offered, all focused on bringing back your memories. whether you need an old VHS tape made into a DVD, or photos, negatives and slides made into digital images, The Taper will deliver for you. and at some pretty sensational low cost, too, looking at what some people charge.

thank you very much for reading this far, but let me delay you no more. i am sure you are keen to go and have a look at what The Taper can do for you!

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

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

some contemporary book reviews

hello fellow reader

well, here we are. another two books read, look you see, and so it's time for me to opine my thoughts and feelings on them, whether such is solicited or not.

in an interesting turn these two novels are, at the time of writing, what one may consider contemporary reads. as in, they are relatively new paperbacks and may well be ones that people are considering for a summer read. assuming we get some sort of summer back.

so, as usual, then, a look at the two books in question and something of a spoiler free overview.

both of these novels were surprisingly satisfactory reads. no, i didn't go into either expecting them to be anything but this. it's just that both require something of a leap of faith and an acceptance of patience testing contrived plot developments. interestingly - perhaps because they are good stories or are simply well written - this doesn't cloud any positive view i have of them.

indeed there are clear links in respect of the novels. the provenance of both is W H Smith as the stickers say, with them being "buy one, get one half price". this is quite expensive for novels, since Tesco shall sell you two for less than the price of one. it was, however, all a most kind gift from my (considerably) better half.

yes, also, both are endorsed by "Richard and Judy". if memory serves correct i think these two hosted some sort of morning TV show in the 90s. perhaps they still do so now, or guest on one to talk about books. not sure and i simply cannot be bothered to look further into the matter.

right, disclaimers. from here on out a *** SPOILER WARNING *** is in place. i shall as ever try to be careful with this, but consider that a warning all the same. also, links to the novels for sale at the world's grocer are there for convenience. they are not affiliations, endorsements or suggestions as to where you may wish to purchase from.

to start where i started with these two, then, which is with The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena. this was as point of fact the novel i wished to pick up, as the title was interesting. no, i didn't know much at all of the plot, the title was just interesting.

plot? two relatively new parents are at a dinner party at their neighbours. in the absence of a babysitter they have the baby monitor with them, with one of the parents going back next door to check on the child once every thirty minutes, or if you like every half hour. on one such check the baby has gone missing......

the thing that surprised me the most about this was, and not reading up first might explain the surprise part, that it is set in New York. for some reason i had just assumed it would be an English setting, but there you go. this is relevant as, of course, the way that American coppers do things is different - decidedly so - from the English way of doing things. so the novel was not going to be in a style that i expected.

also, of course, "child goes missing despite parents saying they checked every thirty minutes" echoes a certain high profile English / Portuguese case from ten years ago. whilst saying it's hard not to see an influence as a point of departure for plot, let me say no more lest i trouble the lawyers.

how to write about this without giving much away. i suppose to say that it ticks the boxes in terms of keeping you interested - and wanting to read and read - in it's who what where when and why approach to the mystery. reveals come along a lot sooner than i had expected, for instance, but still i wished to read on and on.

i think this was a novel that said was "good for fans of The Girl On The Train". that phrase is soon becoming the "if you liked The Da Vinci Code" of selling books. but yes, i liked that novel and i really, really enjoyed this one. the novel has a wonderful, flowing style and is a pleasure to read. whilst some incidents and events are dancing on the border between improbable and preposterous, it remains entertaining all the same.

being presented with a "buy one get one half price" deal meant that i was required to select a second novel, for let it not be said that i or my (considerably) better half would turn down an offer. having had a quick look at what was on offer in W H Smith, I See You by Clare Mackintosh looked the most interested and indeed had a reasonable size print to the text. one or two others i considered lost out due to the small font used.

plot? the mother of a family has a fairly common and not unusual lifestyle down in London (innit). with it being London, life is of course full of the challenges that city represents, in particular financially. on the tube one night she (Zoe) spots what appears to be a photograph of herself in the classified section of a free newspaper. no details are given beyond a website address and what seems to be a phone number.

on investigation, Zoe discovers a different lady appears in a similar advert each day. when terrible common incidents start to link ladies who have been in the adverts, Zoe tries to balance paranoia with a genuine fear that she is being stalked for something sinister.....

in the acknowledgements section Clare Mackintosh delivers a classic example of the English way of doing things. she points out that second novels are notoriously difficult, and seems to be saying sorry in advance if it is no good. quite honestly, she need not have bothered, as once again this is a really good book. no, alas, i have not read her first - I Let You Go - but on the basis of this one i may well just seek it out.

the twists and turns in this novel are not quite so contrived or boundary of plausibility testing as The Couple Next Door. whilst not capturing the psyche of the commuter quite like the astonishing opening pages of The Girl On The Train did, it nonetheless captures the intensity of experience of London's commuter system.

I See You kept me reading, and indeed had me guessing and wondering all the way. the conclusion and twists are interesting, dare i say exciting, and do not deflate the experience of reading at all. no apology required for this book, Clare Mackintosh. this novel is very much worth your time.

and so there we have it. two fairly recent if not current, to be sure, novels read and reviewed. if you're looking for books to read during this theoretically summer season, off you go - either or both will do the job very well. and it would seem that's not just me saying that, but also this Richard and Judy business.

hopefully this has, as ever, been of some use or interest to someone somewhere. for me, then, it's on to the next books. ones which i should imagine will get commented on here. also, probably ones bought from somewhere what sells them a good deal cheaper than W H Smith.

thank you, as usual, for reading!

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

Monday, June 12, 2017

over twenty one

who is and who isn't

on friday, 9 june 2017 AD this country, ostensibly being the UK, woke eager for news on what could or perhaps would be a momentous shift in society. no, not that, look you see. i speak of course of whether or not the debut solo single of Liam Gallagher would chart, to be sure.

whilst the single itself, Wall Of Glass, is a very good an exceptionally decent rock tune we have seen that this is now not enough to chart. the likes of Primal scream and Kasabian have in recent times failed to dent the top 40.

a good deal of credit for failure in the above - and many others - must go to the way that the Official Chart Company has ruthlessly wrecked the UK charts. and, of course, to those who have worked out how to manipulate it to the satisfaction of their ego.

no matter, for Liam sort of kind of in this day and age did indeed get some chart success action.

back in the time when the charts were proper and only sales counted 21 would, if we are honest, be considered a failure. in this era of number of plays in certain circumstances somehow counts, however, that is really rather good.

undoubtedly the performance in the chart of Wall Of Glass was boosted by Liam's presence at the One Love Manchester concert. that's fairly normal, and has been a chart bounce virtually every artist has experience from such since Live Aid back in 1985. this does, too, account for the presence of the song which is at number 25 in the chart.

so anyway, nice one Liam, and bring on the solo album in October!

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

Sunday, June 11, 2017

some bubbles

hello once more

one of those posts geared to those who find the somewhat more peculiar things interesting here, look you see. all this is really going to amount to is an image of a detail of my washing machine, followed by a brief video. so, if you read on beyond that caution, time lost is yours.

a distinct joy of the boys being so presently enthusiastic about cricket is, to be sure, the wearing of cricket whites. and whites they wear. yes, i know, there are many "pyjama" like kits for the one day or other such limited over games, but the game should be played in whites. this, amongst other things, makes that shiny red ball all the easier to see when in play.

every dream has a price of course. in this case, the cost of wearing cricket whites is the subsequent washing of cricket whites.

quite bubbly, as you can see. and, indeed, as the title of this particular post offered in the form of a tacit or otherwise implied promise to you all. and when i say you all, i do mean all of you that elected to carry on reading.

normally my washing of the cricket whites would not generate quite so many bubbles. if it did then surely i would have shared earlier. no, in this instance quite a lot of stain removal liquids, and other forms of detergent, were applied.

why? well, for now here is the video of he bubbles in the washing machine for all you lovely, lovely people who are able to watch and enjoy video here.


the intensive washing is no sign of a particularly harsh game. far from it, as it happens. the match from which these clothes came was played on a lovely day. it's just that, after the game, James continued to wear his cricket whites. which was unfortunate when combined with his, to him, jolly good idea of climbing under my car. a car which was not moving of course but has, it transpires, something of a slight oil leak.

is it that the bubbles have done all which was wished of them and removed the oil stains? partially. some remnants of the mark linger. i suppose this means some further scrubbing and perhaps another bout with yet more bubbles.

well, there you have it. may i finish off by suggesting a wish, nay hope, that your washing endeavours are most supremely successful.

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

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Lenin Lennon

privet tovarishchi

many of you, i know, recall fondly the era when a new mug was quite a regular thing for me. this blog is, look you see, littered with photo opportunities of such acquisitions. those days may well be gone for now, but the idea of me getting a new mug has not.

yes, no yes. the John Lennon mug you can see is one we, or rather my (considerably) better half, has or have had for quite some time now. the new one is, to be sure, the one which features a likeness, or if you will portrait, of Vladimir Lenin on it. yes, that Vladimir Lenin, better known as Lenin i suppose.

there was no way that i could resist putting the two together. quite similar sounding names, Lenin and Lennon. and indeed remarkably similar lines. both were fond of proclaiming peace, bread and land, to be sure, but there's much more. the two of them are well documented enthusiasts of Japanese art, for a start. and probably had an uneasy yet successful relationship with someone called Paul.

as for other similarities, well, i dare say that Lenin had a Ringo like figure in his professional life, too. perhaps Trotsky or similar. 

another issue that Lenin and Lennon possibly shared, as do so many in the modern world, is that of credit facility providers revoking perks which helped make their name. Diners Club international have, as you can see above, unfortunately elected to remove complimentary shoe shines at airports.

the above is seen as yet another allowance of standards slipping in this present day, but i promise you this sort of thing has gone on for some time. just because it is not documented does not mean it didn't happen, i would argue that at some stage both Lenin and Lennon yearned for polished shoes, but no service was available.

it might be possible that you would wish to look at these splendid mugs without Commodore 64 mode being applied. also, with some Australian sugar substitute in the background, along with a pot of coffee. should that be your most earnest wish, then this last picture is for you.

how do the mugs perform in their designated functionality? very well. although i can only vouch for 50% of these particular mugs, as my (considerably) better half does not permit me using her Lennon one. the Lenin one, however, does a remarkable job in letting me enjoy coffee.

right, let me get on, then, with enjoying some coffee from this most smart Lenin mug. or tea, perhaps. as i am not, so far as i am aware, a member of the industrialised bourgeoisie, i should be able to do so with a fairly clear conscience.

byt' otlichnymi drug k drugu !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, June 09, 2017

was it spiros what won it?

hello fellow political franchise holders

this was, look you see, a subject i was kind of doing my darnedest to avoid. much, to be sure, how many of those who were directly involved, which is to say calling it, in it all were doing. to write of it has, however, become irresistible since several (kind of) readers of this blog have reached out and contacted me with a very interesting observation. well, interesting if you are interested in all this stuff.

in focus here is, as you have perhaps ascertained already, the election we had here in the UK last night. overall one has to say it marks yet another spectacular success for Theresa May. her brutality in the Home Office, where she demoralised the police and made it as difficult if not virtually impossible for British born citizens such as i to live in our own country, has extended to arrogance as Prime Minister.

but more of her later. for now, then, the influence of Spiros and a key, if not rare, victory for the Conservatives last night. yes, it's time for some Zac action and a look at what could turn out to be a pivotal result. go on, then, here's Zac in VIC-20 mode.

well known election enthusiast Zac Goldsmith has, after rejoining the Conservatives, won the election for MP to represent Richmond Park. this was after he had held the position in the 2015 election but lost it in a by election, prompted by his actions, in 2016. i did say he was an enthusiast, and let's remember his almost successful attempt to be elected Mayor of London in amongst those.

the margin of his win was, at the time of me writing this, 45 votes. slim and slender are two words to describe the nature of his victory, as indeed is the word "just" in context.

how is it that Zac won, and won by such a margin? a significant number of readers of this blog have suggested that it was the Spiros effect. a recent post of mine showed Spiros greeting Zac, with that picture being replicated below for those of you not inclined to click the coloured link. the speculation is, then, that this was taken as tacit endorsement of Zac by Spiros, and subsequently influenced the result.

is this at all plausible or likely? i am not sure. having looked at the stats for that particular post i can confirm that a substantial number of people had read that post in the days leading up to the election, should you consider 68 substantial. and isn't substantial a lovely, hard echoing word? that 68 does, of course, represent significantly more than the 45 votes by which Zac won.

so yes, maybe, just maybe. perhaps the readers of this blog based in Richmond Park, like so many of you all around the world, look towards Spiros for enlightenment and guidance. the dynamics of this are interesting. should Zac not have won then the Conservatives may well still have fallen short of the seats needed for the quasi makeshift government Theresa May is, as i write this, attempting to sellotape together. after, of course, she elected to dissolve a perfectly more comfortable working government to do all of this.

the wheels could, of course, all come off this spectacular success of a mess which Theresa May has generated. it is not outside of the realms of possibility that we, the franchised, will be summoned to vote in yet another election before the end of this year. such has happened before, and shall happen again.

as Zac really rather likes this whole election business, it may well be wonderful news for him if so. the amount of elections he is keen to contest is spectacular. i imagine he would see any year that does not have at least one election in which he can stand as being a bit of a poor year.

no doubt acres of text will be produced, across the press and throughout the internet, about what all went right and wrong in this election. as such i suppose i should not add so much. if, however, you are going to call an election, then you might want to do things like let people know for what reason it is they should vote for you. that you do by campaigning, you know, and stuff like appearing on nationally broadcasted debates as and when invited.

there are those that say we are a simple people here in the UK. perhaps. but we are not so simple, it would seem, to automatically vote for someone because they claim to be "strong and stable" without showing it, or appoint themselves to the title of "bloody difficult woman" without explaining how that is a good thing.

as things stand at time of writing, Theresa May, the demoraliser and destroyer of British families, will be off for permission to form a mockery of a government. how long it lasts shall be seen.

in passing conclusion, congratulations to Zac, then, for what was an unexpected return. i am sure at some stage Zac will pass on his thanks for any influence Spiros had in the result.

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

cricket capers continued


yes, indeed. no matter what else is going on in and around our world, there shall surely always be cricket, look you see. the season is well under way, with some tournaments of note on the go, but of course to be sure. with the boys being keen to be out playing this, the most perfect of games, there is an opportunity for pictures.

there's James prior to a most recent match. yes, quite, well spotted - that would indeed be young William hanging about in the background there. as you can see, a perfect day for playing a perfect game of cricket.

all of these pictures, i should warn, are taken from different days at different locations over the last week or so. i figured it would be best to just bring them all together rather than do separate posts for each. this is quite true for you that doesn't like seeing pictures of me myself here.

like, for instance, this one.

i would agree with any comment that you may be making about how long, big, shabby and distressed my beard is. do i plan on doing something about it? nothing but plan, dear reader. almost daily i consider charging up my clippers shaving thing to give it a trim, but alas don't get around to it. perhaps one day i will. maybe soon, since it goes like straw in the summer heat.

but less of me and more of the 75% of my family you like a lot more than me, to be sure. and of course more of the cricket. here you go, here's James doing a spot of fielding.

strictly speaking i could get away with saying that he's in action in the above at the SCG. only, though, it's not that SCG. it's Stokesley Cricket Ground rather than the one in Sydney.

have i been to the other or if you like that SCG? yes. Dad took me and Richard, or if you like Richard and i, in early 1983. although now that i look at the dates and think about it, it might actually have been the Gabba he took us to in late 1982. i am sure he shall advise me.

video, i know, can be an issue for some of you on this site. for those able to play the videos, here you go, here is a clip of James doing some splendid bowling.


yes, a video of him batting will feature too, i am just not putting them both together. for some reason, perhaps the aesthetics of it all, normally i like to spread things around here.

some recent images of my (considerably) better half? why not. i don't think she has featured here of late as such, for no particular reason. here you go then, here she is strutting her stuff along the side of the boundary rope, as she is so prone to do.

with him, alas, not being old enough to be in a competitive team yet William does not feature too much on this post. except, of course, for this most splendid picture of him.

whilst he may not yet be able to play in any sort of competitive way, William is developing a most healthy and wonderful love for cricket. he goes along to practice with the juniors on a weekly basis and really, really loves it.

is now a good time for the other video? i should say yes, because after this there are just three more images, and i feature in 66% of them. so you may want to watch the video, look at the picture below it, then depart lest you see an image of me you don't care to see.


getting back on track somewhat, yes, for those of you who can play the video with no problems - that's James having a go at batting. i say having a go, but he's rather good. no single scored off the above shot, but there was a good hearty whack sound as the ball hit the meat of the bat, so i elected to use this one.

further visual evidence of my (considerably) better half strutting her stuff by the boundary rope as, it says above, she is so prone to do? of course, why not.

speaking of my (considerably) better half, indeed for the most part we do go together with the boys to both matches and practice or if you like training sessions. whilst we just about always sit and watch the matches in full, normally when it's training time we seek something else to do.

like, for example, go for a stroll around our green, pleasant, lovely and beautiful land.

that is, of course, my beloved "Reni" hat that i have on. yes, of course, the same one what i wore to see Reni, and the others who form The Stone Roses, at Heaton Park somewhere close to five years ago.

quite, yes - all this cricket business with the boys is affording my (considerably) better half and i the chance to spend some quality time together. in quality settings, too. let me not get all mushy or washed with sentimental hygiene, instead let's just say nice one.

the videos, by the way, are sent directly (note not "streamed" or whatever) to my Dad. he is up and about on the other side of the world as the games go on, and is delighted to convey some coaching tips to James on the basis of what he sees. many thanks, much appreciated.

aaah, what a nice picture. it is not so often that i like images of myself, just like you. that one, however, seems to me to be most splendid. why yes it was taken on the final friday of the month of may this year; a very special occasion indeed.

so, well, and that's that for where we are, when we are and how we are. splendid, for the considerable most part. i can only, in my heart, hope that the same is true for all of you.

until the next time, then,

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