Tuesday, May 31, 2011

victory at verk

hi everyone

well, i have some (limited) reservations about posting this latest escapade of mine at verk here, but i figure what the heck, i have not done that many updates this month. and this one is a most triumphant achievement anyway!

at verk last week we had a contest to celebrate the cup final we sponsor. in short, our teams were required to come up with a song or a war cry for either or both teams.

my first song, a nice tune about what The Pope said when Orlando Pirates went to Rome to see him due to it, apparently, being offensive and possibly obscene. i am happy to say that my second song was accepted and performed.

my second, accepted song was a reworking of the classic, traditional Birmingham song, well known to all lovers of the game. for the purposes of here, though, it was reworded to S*** On The Leopards rather than S*** On The Villa to have it make sense. my good friend Zama chipped in, adding a refrain of "glory, glory Orlando Pirates" at the end of the song.

after a rousing performance, and indeed us watching the other contestants perform some truly excellent (albeit lacking is foul language songs) the judges retired to consider the merits of all the performances and decide on a winner.

despite some fantastic performances, including a breathtaking performance of Ipi Tombi by some dear friends and colleagues of mine, the result was that we, with my reworked classic, won!

it may have been my rewording, but the performance - full of passion and shouting - is what won it. well done to those so unfortunate enough to have been in my team!

i, of course, acknowledged those who did not win (i.e. the losers) with all the style and class you would expect.

dear me, i am unaware of how much i tower over everyone until i see pictures like this!

those with a keen eye may note that these verk pictures are somewhat different, artistically speaking, from the usual. that would be because my usual personal photographer, Trigger, was on leave that day, thus these fine pictures were taken by the photogenically talented Sinbad.

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

Monday, May 30, 2011

tales of the high seas, fags and bicycle races

hi everyone

well, Mum & Dad have returned from their most recent expedition to the British Isles, no matter how hard Iceland tried to prevent them (air travel 1, volcanoes 0 i believe you will find). oddly, i have not been inundated with pictures from their travels this time. there are some pics i wanted to include that are not here with me at verk for some reason, but still the picture count is, as far as i can work out, less than 100. usually one is fortunate to get less than one thousand pictures from Dad over a 3 week period, which makes one wonder if he is getting tired of sending so many pictures, or if he just simply objects to certain comments i make around the pictures he sends.

let us test if it is the latter with some observations around the pictures i have here with me!

first off, and where else but "bonny" Scotland? Mum & Dad hired a boat type thing that was of a size which would not look out of place in the Abramovich collection. they took Gran and Gramps off with them for a week or so to sail the lochs and what have you of this fine land.

the weather in Scotland, alas, appears to have been on the inclement side of not pleasant during May. i have heard reports of very choppy waters, rain and cold, strong winds. i have further heard tales of people deciding not to go cruising the waters with the weather as it was, and would you be at all surprised to learn that Dad was not one of those?

nope, Dad does not do this "nature is telling you not to go there" thing at all, something you are all no doubt aware of from his adventures in Australia earlier this year. it seems that Dad believes all one needs to beat the bad weather is the correct kind of head gear.

yes, that's Gramps and Dad wearing outrageous head attire, the kind of thing you would more expect invading, marauding Soviet troops to have on that holidaymakers. little wonder, then, that Dad did not do his usual trick of befriending gents who live with other gents on boats on this trip, they were probably rather intimidated.

what concerns me most about the picture above is that that's two generations of us quite happily wearing that sort of thing. i am probably only a couple of years away from doing s*** like this too, unless i already am and everyone has been too polite to take me to task.

when the weather got really bad, it seems that Dad came up with an even better way of defeating it and sailing on. that would be by heading below deck and letting Mum sail it around.

looking at that picture, i am once again very much reminded of Billy Connolly's excellent "summer holidays in Scotland", where he tells how Scottish people all have photographs of them on the beach wearing wellies and a raincoat.

well done Mum for no doubt doing your best under the conditions! the boat did not sink, so you must have done a good job!

Admiral Bob did, it seems, condescend to allow the crew to go ashore every now and then, hopefully to get some reprieve from the storms but knowing him most likely to see if any of the gents who live on boats were instead now living in caravans or something. no matter the reason, it at the least allowed for some excellent, non-storm battered pictures to be taken, like this splendid one of Gran and Gramps with Mum and Dad.

returing back to wellies, and indeed returning to the relatively storm-free beauty of Great Ayton, here's a wonderful picture of a cousin who is all too often, sadly, absent from this blog thing of mine, Natalie.

she is, in this picture, going along in Mum's wellies. well, they were pink and pretty, so it stands to reason that she would wish to try them out. Gramps looks rather impressed with them, and indeed i am impressed with the size of his TV - i bet his shouting and swearing at assorted politicians is even more excellent with that on.

no trip to England, of course, would be considered anywhere close to complete without seeing the notorious, infamous Harlo gang. fortune smiled on Mum and Dad, to a degree, as they were in town at the time they were visiting and not off "doing Harlo things". well, at least not for the whole time - Andrew was off having a bash at this bowling business in the cricket, which is a very fine thing to be doing.

no, i have absolutely no idea what those chaps in the background are doing either, but good to see Andrew taking up the finest art there is. i certainly hope Andrew carries on with it; i dare say i could have been a fine cricketer, if it wasn't for all the booze, cigarettes, unhealthy eating and women. and lack of talent.

on the subject of cigarettes, it's quite tricky to pick the bones out of the next picture, really. my Dad is an ardent and celebrated anti-smoking sort of chap (in those halycon days when flying was actually an enjoyable experience he actively got other non-smokers to book up all the smoking sets with him to create the phenomenon of non-smoking flights) and the Harlo gang are hardly known for their embracing of tobacco products.

the above serves to make the below pictures just baffling.

hmn, will have to write that one off as "one of the many funny ideas Dad gets whilst on holiday", i believe. i hardly need repeat any of these other funny ideas that he gets, although it is worth illustrating a modified version of one of his usual tricks with the next picture.

a frequent event of Dad away and in someone else's house is the prospect of him bothering with the contents of other peoples' kitchens before six in the morning, usually whilst still in his pyjamas. i note with some interest that he has decided to wait a while and get dressed first, and then just command other people to interfere with everything and meet his usually unusual demands.

"bring me sausage" he seems to be saying to Colin here, whilst Christopher joins in. it does seem, now that i think about it, that Christopher is taking over the role of messing about in kitchens whilst in pyjamas, although in fairness he is in a dapper dressing gown / smoking jacket; one that you trust does not allow it to "just let it all hang out" as per my Dad's approach. by the way, recent visual communications with Christopher suggests that he practically lives in this dressing gown / smoking jacket these days; good for him!

the last two pictures of this particular update speak of an almost unspeakable horror that one suspects shall soon be here with us. Colin, it seems, persuaded Dad to have a go on one of those tandem bike thingies.

i know what you are thinking when you look at the above. it is the same thing that i was thinking, although i was afforded to ask him about it. the answer to what you are thinking is yes, apparently, he does absolutely have to wear those red shoes of his at all possible times.

the idea of Dad attempting to ride a tandem around at home is one which causes as much fear as it does mild amusement. the saving grace of avoiding this was that his brother-in-law is not here to mess about with him on it, thus making the idea of him getting one somewhat unlikely.

that is, however, until Mum was somehow persuaded to have a go on it too.

oh dear. i suspect that at this moment there is a confused conventional bicycle seller left somewhat perplexed and confused by a gent in red shoes demanding a tandem, and a tandem now, no less. i shall let you know when, rather than if, he has managed to procure one.

righty-ho, that's it for now. i will try and find the other pictures i wished to post here soonest, and it will indeed be interesting to see if Dad sends any more after reading this lot!

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

Thursday, May 26, 2011

May 26 1975

hi everyone

well, as some of you may be aware, i quite like, every now and then, having a look at a particular date in history for no apparent or given reason. it strikes me as today being as good a day as any to have a look at this day a mere 36 years ago.

it was quite a fascnating day, really. as we head towards Wimbledon, it is interesting to note that on this day in history one of, if not the, longest games in history was contested by Anthony Fawcett and Keith Glass (no, i had never heard of them either) duelled for quite some time on the court.

in regards of a subject always close to my heart, music, the number one selling single in the UK this week was the most splendid Stand By Your Man by Tammy Wynette. impressively, it kept Windsor Davies and Don Estelle out of It Ain't Half Hot Mum off the top spot with some sort of novelty song, along with a whole range of disco numbers, for lest we forget this period in history was one of the most significant in the rise of disco. Telly Savalas, he of Kojack fame, was a new entry in the chart at the same time too, with his inspired cover of You've Lost That Lovin' Feeling. it came straight in at #49 in the top 50. The Best Of The Stylistics by, oddly enough, The Stylistics was an number one on the album chart, closely followed by the celebrated Once Upon A Star album from The Bay City Rollers.

the written word would, of course, be as much of a passion of mine as music, and the world of publishing certainly had some interesting moments on this particular day. the cover of The New Yorker, one of the world's more celebrated magazines, certainly had an interesting cover.

an interesting oddity of The New Yorker is that it currently has more subscribers in California than it does in New York itself. well, why read about a place where you live, i guess!

Gordon Honeycombe remains one of the most celebrated and fondly thought of newsreaders to have ever been employed by ITN. he certainly was quite the celebrity in his day, and on this day in 1976 he made a rather famous appearance in the much treasured Yorkshire Post newspaper.

interesting publications, or if you will arrivals, on this day were not limited to the Yorkshire Post alone, of course. our friends, so to speak, in France had this rather interesting picture in their newspaper on this particular date.

this image, which is claimed to be of a UFO over the skies of Nancy in France, has become rather famous over the course of the last 36 years, featuring in numerous books pertaining to visitors from other worlds and probably featuring in the background in an episode or two of The X Files.

somewhat related to the above would be this.

it is good to see that the recent revival of Doctor Who has seen the show become as popular again as it was back in the seventies. of course, nowadays marketing for it is all computer games and DVD discs. we didn't really have that sort of tie-in available to us 36 years ago, after all we didn't even have video machines at home! instead we had comic books and novels as merchandising, and this particular book, published in May 1975, was one of an incredible five produced during that year. i have one or two of them at home, although i am not sure that i have ever had the pleasure of owning or reading this particular one. i am not at all sure who The Doctor would have been played by on TV at the time this one was published, although i suspect it might have been around the start of the era of Tom Baker.

in the world of cinema, two sensational films were released on this day in 1975, and sensational for rather different reasons. first off was the fantastic Monty Python And The Holy Grail. it was the first "film proper" by the Pythons, the first cinema outing, And Now For Something Completely Different, just being a remake of highlights of their BBC TV series for the benefit of American audiences.

what could i possibly say of this film that has not been said already? it remains as ludicrous and as funny today as it was on its original release, and has little in the way of equal outside of Monty Python's other films, in particular of course Life Of Brian.

sensational would be a good way to describe the Clint Eastwood film released on this day too. The Eiger Sanction took the preposterous premise of the novel by Trevanian (Dr. Rodney William Whitaker) and did it great justice in turning it into a preposterous film. both are ludicrous and entertaining, it has to be said.

and just what would the preposterous plot involve? well, in the film, Clint Eastwood plays Dr Jonathan Hemlock, an art professor, mountaineer and, get this, a retired government assassin. for reasons that i will not clarify, perhaps because the rest of this will speak for itself, he is coerced into climbing up Mount Eiger to assassinate someone by (and this is wonderful) an albino who happens to be an "ex-Nazi" and goes by the name of "Mr Dragon". if for some reason you have never seen the film, it is well worth finding a copy of it and watching. you will be quite surprised to see the even more ridiculous parts of the film that i have not mentioned here......

well, there's a look at this day in history for you. hope there is something that you didn't know above that you were interested enough to learn of, or otherwise i trust this flashback to 36 years ago brought back some memories!

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

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

John Connolly - slow down

hi everyone

well, i am exceptionally reluctant to knock anyone who has managed to get a novel published, but it has to be said i have a strong feeling of being let down. i have become quite the fan of John Connolly over the last decade or so. his debut novel, Every Dead Thing, was an amazing novel to read, and for the most part the novels he has written since, featuring his debut novel's protagonist Charlie Parker, have been excellent.

the last three novels to feature Charlie Parker had been something of an amazing trilogy - The Unquiet, as distrubing as it is, rivals Connolly's debut novel for being declared his best (to date) work, The Reapers was a fascinating tale of two of Parker's long term (for want of a better word) companions, and The Lovers was one of those novels that truly does deserve the accolade "unputdownable". i was very keen, then, to read the next tale of Charlie Parker, The Whisperers. whether it is was because i expected too much or because there's a genuine flaw in the work i'm not sure, but this novel was a major let down.

for those who have not read the book and wish to despite that last comment, skip the rest of this as it is likely to contain spoilers, although nothing that one would not find on the jacket of the book.

a somewhat simplifed take on what the novel is about would be to suggest that it's kind of like a dark follow up to the film Three Kings. it's all very well that film, a not bad rip off of by beloved Kelly's Heroes, showing soldiers in Iraq liberating gold and treasure, but what do they do with them next? In The Whisperers you get something of a clue, as it deals with an operation involving smuggling artefacts stolen from Iraq into America for sale. newly re-licenced private detective Charlie Parker stumbles upon it whilst investigating the circumstances of a returning soldier who committed suicide, and this being a John Connolly novel you certainly get a supernatural slant to it all. it's this last bit which creates anticipation in readers but in this novel eventual disappointment.

due to the nature of the supernatural side of what is being smuggled, Charlie Parker is forced to cross paths with one of the more feared sinister figures forever lurking in his world, he who is known as The Collector. the meeting and actions of the two, however, are given scant time in the novel and feel like an afterthought rather than the great meeting of the two us fans had hoped for. there is something of a cliffhanger left by the meeting of the two; one can only hope that this will be picked up within the next couple of Charlie Parker novels.

there are many other elements in the book which seem to get the briefest of space when clearly they demand more, and that's perhaps the main problem i had with the novel. it is far, far too short. this novel should have had at least another hundred or so pages to it to deal with all the stuff the writer brings up but unusually skimps past with the minimal amount of detail. at the rate of one novel per year (at least) for the last 5 or 6 years, i am curious as to why John Connolly apparently "rushed" this one out. he may wish to take note of other big selling authors whose works are highly anticipated and forward them for publication when he is ready, really.

i am not sure if his next novel, The Burning Soul, shall pick up on elements left hanging by The Whisperers or if they will be addressed later; one can only hope so.

in the mean time, if you're a fellow fan of the tales of Charlie Parker and haven't got your hands on The Whisperers as of yet, my advice is that you should do so anyway, despite the deflated feeling it left me with. i mean, it's still a Charlie Parker thriller, and thus it still has merits. if nothing else, Connolly's dazzling use of splitting the narrative between 1st and 3rd person as the story requires it still makes you more involved with the novel than you could be.

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

Ryan Giggs "5 in a bath" picture revealed....

Hi everyone

well, this is not normally the sort of thing i would indulge in, but what with Ryan Giggs being in the news so much at the moment (despite a very good effort not to be), i thought i would chip in.

here is a picture that no doubt Ryan Giggs wished the world would not have such easy access to. i've put it up here because no doubt my Mum will quite like to see Gary Pallister in it, and i dare say it is the sort of thing my sister quite likes to look at.

there's not much i can say about that picture, really, except to ask why is Dennis Irwin both smiling and blushing?

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

camera fun

hey everyone

in showing off his unpredictable streak, the frequently camera shy James decided that he wanted us to try and take a family picture yesterday afternoon. the request was as unusual as it was welcome, and thus we decided to give it a go.

now, we don't do any sort of "fancy" things like use the timer or tripod for the camera as they do in New Zealand, instead opting for me to just hold the camera at arms' length, then click and hope for the best. i draw your attention to this so that the quality of the images below doesn't come as a complete shock to you!

here we go with one attempt, then.......

erm, yes. the reluctance of James and William to remain still and looking the same way for at least a second also does not help in our efforts to try and take pictures like this!

whereas some nice, "proper" posed family portraits of us would probably be a good idea at some point, i do really rather like these more fun ones. it kind of reflects the madcap goings on in our home a bit better!

and here's a last one of our efforts, with James showing off the gap where his big tooth should be coming through, not to forget William just popping up at the bottom of the picture!

somewhat predictably James got a touch bored of trying to get a decent-ish family pose, and wanted to rather take pictures himself. whereas i am not going to put here the 50 or so close ups of his toys that he took, here are two he took of "the rest of his family" or as he says "all of his family except me".

first off, here's William.

if you are wondering about the look on William's face, it's somewhat related to the fact that James took this whilst William was trying to watch one of his favourite shows, the magnificent Gigglebiz. i don't think he was as happy as he could be at being distracted from it!

James also took pictures of his Mummy and Daddy. here's one in which i looks just about almost half decent; my lovely wife of course looking as beautiful as ever!

and, now that i have had a look, it seems that i do not have the pics of Dad doing his sailor thing here with me at verk, so this is probably the last update for today! will try and put some more up soon!

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

influencing officials

hi everyone

well, let's start with the obligatory "sorry for the delay between updates" apology, shall we? not entirely my fault as it happens - i have been somewhat busy, but when i have tried to log on here to update over the last few days i have received a "site down" message.

as for what i have been trying to update here with over the last week or so, well, lots of pictures really. yes, nautical fans, some of my Dad doing his "hello sailors" thing, but not right now. i thought i should rather start with some more subtle ones!

like, for instance, this one of my Mum. it's rather impressive that she's trying to win favour with a well known Premier League official, but rather pointless when Middlesbrough do not look like troubling that league any time soon!

i am sure Mark Halsey wouldn't be unduly influenced anyway, he does have a reputation for being one of the best. and it's not like Middlesbrough often get into situations where a ref could give them some sort of benefit anyway.

if you are unaware of exactly how remarkable and well liked & respected Mr Halsey is in the world, then you really need to read this interview for a start.

more updates "soon"!!!

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

Sunday, May 15, 2011

the crowning moment of awesomeness for my brother-in-law Grant

hey everyone

well, whatever you did at the weekend can only be seen, much like mine, as a total and abject failure in the light of how Grant spent his in New Zealand! Grant has achieved legendary status as far as i am concerned, for he has tasted that most awesome of kfc food items, the infamous and celebrated Double Down burger.

as well as his insights into this majestic burger, he has sent along some pictures which give insights into the world of kfc in New Zealand.

here are Grant and Daniel apparently walking through the drive through section of their nearest kfc. how cool is it that in New Zealand you can walk through it?

i am not sure if Katie simply couldn't be bothered to go in to the kfc, or if New Zealand has an excellent law in place that means there's a strict quota on the number of women allowed in, but here she is outside!

ordering kfc at a New Zealand branch seems to be a bit different too. i tend to just give Trigger "x" amount of money and expect "x" amount of kfc in return. as Trigger is not in New Zealand to do this, although he is visiting that fine land soon (sooner, probably, when he sees that the Double Down is there now). in the mean time, then, it seems that you just point at a large-ish card showing what you want to eat.....

....and the next thing you know a nice chap in the uniform of The Colonel brings whatever you pointed at along for you!

Grant apparently pointed at several things, for he was given more than just a Double Down burger!

and here, my Lords, ladies and gentlemen, is the crowning moment of awesomeness for Grant!

and what is it like? well, over to Grant for a direct quote that came with these pictures :

Verdict - very good, would have it again.

so there you have it! excellent! as previously discussed it will never be sold in my part of the world due to the awesome and excellent inclusion of bacon, which is a very great shame indeed. one day, though, i shall venture to a part of the world which sells them!

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

Boro at Wembley

hi everyone

well, Mum and Dad are on their travels again. Patience, patience - i know this means the yearly instance of my Dad befriending a bunch of sailors, but i have not received any pictures of that leg of their tour. yet.

in the mean time, they have taken one of those rather rare trips for us lot from Middlesbrough, that daunting and inspiring journey that is the home of football, Wembley!

they went just before a certain tournament was about to conclude, so for those with an interest in it here is the trophy!

i am not sure that Dad should have been allowed to get that close to it, but never mind he got the picture and much more on that later!

visiting the dressing room is allowed on the tour, i am sure, so long as John Terry isn't busy [text removed to avoid a super injunction thing] or for that matter [name removed], [name removed], Wayne Rooney or even [name removed]. and yes, possibly all at the same time too.

there is at least, thankfully, no chance of my Mum getting up to any sort of the things not mentioned above - certainly not whilst Gary Pallister no longer plays for England, at the least!

moving on very swiftly as i have no wish to hear from lawyers, here's Dad showing off the kind of hat you wound imagine Big Mal would wear for such an occasion, although i suspect he would not have been wearing shorts.

now then, i would be pretty sure in thinking that sitting down at the official press conference table and pretending to be the England manager is not a usual part of the Wembley tour, but off my Dad went to do it anyway. he's not the easiest chap to stop when he has a bee in his bonnet, you know.

anyone wishing to know what press conferences would have been like if Cloughie had (rightly) ever been given the top job, well, look no further than the picture above.

whether Cloughie, Big Mal or any manager who has graced Wembley would have worn the same shoes as my Dad insists on wearing all the time, however, is debatable.

nice one Mum and Dad, many thanks for the pictures!

regular readers of this blog shall be all too aware that, sure as sunlight follows night, there will be several thousand more pictures from Dad. the best of them will no doubt feature here (yes, including any and all of my Dad embracing gentlemen who prefer the sailors' life) just as soon as i have them!

in the mean time, then,

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

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

the joys of trying to support Liam continue....

hey everyone

well, as previous posts surely testify, i really rather like Beady Eye, and indeed i prefer to purchase music rather than "obtain" it. these two, it seems, are destined not to go together.

Beady Eye have released a third single, Millionaire. this comes on the back of poor debut Bring The Light which (and it's important to remember this bit) got to 61 in the sales chart despite also being given away as a free download, and the much better single The Roller which charted at 31.

Liam said that the "poor" chart position of the second single was a "wake up call". well, as i and several others pointed out, it might have charted higher if you could actually have bought it. Liam and the band, in their infinite wisdom, decided to make it a very, very limited edition physical release single, and thus it was all but impossible for it to have got higher in the chart than it did.

you would have thought, then, that for the next single that they would have clocked that having an actual product to sell would make sales better. alas, such wisdom did not descend on the band, and this is what you got on the Beady Eye website, the only place you can / could purchase the single from, on the day of release

wow, sold out on day of release! must have got quite high in the chart, then? no. according to the official sales chart, it has reached 71 and is not likely to get any higher by the full chart proper coming out this Sunday.

brilliant work, lads. if they or the record label thought that "legal download sales" would help it out, well, no it seems not. the fanbase for Beady Eye are the last of us that like having an actual proper record in our hands and on our stereo, not some compressed data file on a memory stick.

Beady Eye are a good band, and certainly better than anyone expected them to turn out. there's a fan base willing to get them in the charts and spread their sound further, but alas the band and the record label seem to be rather stubborn in their stand against this.

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

where is the man you respect?

hey everyone

so, Morrissey returns once more. after three "comeback" albums of arguably dimishing returns, he seems to be once again in a "reflective" mood to put it kindly; which is to say we're back to re-issuing former glories.

a little while ago the excellent Every Day Is Like Sunday was re-released, but alas i missed out on buying that one, probably down to a lack of funds. this month has seen Morrissey re-release Glamorous Glue, a song that is slightly less excellent than Sunday but ace all the same.

and, as i had the funds for it (and a more favourable exchange rate than usual) i purchased the bundle of two 7" singles and the CD single!

i was as delighted as usual when the contents all arrived in one piece, but somewhat annoyed that it did not include the signed print promised by the site Record Store. this isn't the first time they have neglected to include a signed item for me, i lost out on a Manics one a few years ago. never mind, as nice as it would be it was the music that i really wanted.

Glamorous Glue is a slice of The Moz in all out glam rock mode, as underlined by the reference to a poster of his beloved NY Dolls poster on the back of the single. it's a highlight off an album full of highlights, Your Arsenal, an album which perhaps ranks third only to Vauxhall & I and You Are The Quarry in terms of laying claim to his best album. this song, and indeed the album it heralds from, are worthy of any collection.

the same cannot, however, be said of the meagre two b-sides on the set. both are "previously unreleased demo" recordings, and as is so often the case with previously unreleased material, the songs never got released with good reason. Safe, Warm Lancashire Home and Treat Me Like A Human Being meander on to nowhere in particular for around two minutes each, noticeable only for the shockingly poor quality of the recordings. shocking as in sound like a tape off a tape off a tape copy poor, for those of you of my generation.

Morrissey is normally rather good with giving fans a decent deal for what they buy, but other than sheer curiosity to hear songs that he didn't particularly feel good enough to work on and release, this package is something of a let down.

it would seem that Glamorous Glue has been issued as a single now to promote yet another "best of Morrissey" set. out now is The Very Best Of Morrissey, which is the 10th (yes, tenth) compilation he has issued, excluding 2 live albums, repackaged versions of the compilations and a few DVD and video releases here and there. not bad off nine studio albums, and an interesting approach from a gent who recently declared the British Royal Family to be "benefit scroungers". ahem, methinks, as much as i love Morrissey, someone is getting to be more than a little guilty of being a "royalty scrounger". hope the glass house is comfortable, Mr Morrissey.

of course, i have ordered this most recent "very best of" set. whatever frustration there is about his very best apparently not stretching to cover material from his last three albums, it has the added bonus of a DVD with it, containing "most" of his ace promo videos all in one spot for a change.

a major plus in regards of this single bundle is the amazing quality of the 7". audio fanatics may be interested to hear that whereas i do not have an exact weight, the 7" single is really heavy. as in it weighs more than the average 12" single or album. quality buffs with an excellent stag to play it upon are thus encouraged to buy this; everyone else would be directed towards just getting the "best of" CD & DVD set.

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

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Dark Knight Rises (in India)

hey everyone

a site which has a good track record of getting the proverbial "scoop" on the more comic book related films has run some pictures which seem to have been confirmed as being of the set for The Dark Knight Rises. this would of course be the third "Batman" film to be made by Christopher Nolan.

and just how revealing or interesting are the pictures? well, to me not really, but to the "fanboy" brigade apparently they are rather revealing. here's the main one which seems to have everyone all excited.

erm, yes. to me that's not much of anything. the "pool", apparently covered with a "special effects to be added later" green screen, has caused some excitement. apparently, and i have no idea if this is a spoiler or not, this is evidence that something called 'The Lazarus Pit', a body of water (presumably) with regenerative powers, shall feature in the film.

hmn. i'm not convinced that, after two films in which gritty realism rather than fan or comic wishes have taken the centre stage, Christopher Nolan is all of a sudden going to introduce supernatural / super power phenomena into his take on the whole Batman concept, but you never know.

as for the people next to this unspecified pool / land mass, well, your guess is as good as mine as to who they are or what they are doing. the picture isn't of a quality that i can enlarge it much, but here is that part of it on its own if you think you can detect anything.

well, there you go. i trust that the above has not sounded too negative. i mean, believe me, i am just as keen to see this film as the rest of the world who were rather impressed with both Batman Begins and of course The Dark Knight. it's just that, well, how excited can you get about pictures like this?

meanwhile, there are various places all over the internet which claim to have the plot details and what have you for the film. these reports are, in the words of the director himself, nonsense. whereas some people get all excited about revealing details "first", Mr Nolan has wisely thrown a great deal of secrecy around the project. to this end, the third act of The Dark Knight Rises does not actually exist in a physical form as such, with the director instead opting to give script and acting details verbally to those invovled as and when the time comes.

in Nolan, as the film fans say, we trust.

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

double down reaches New Zealand

hey everyone

well, it's not that often that my dear brother-in-law sends me a mail or message, but on those instances when he does you can usually expect it to be something of exceptional importance and significance. the mail i received from him tody certainly meets that criteria.

New Zealand, that place of forward thinking and quality people, have apparently been protesting and complaining that the KFC stores in their fair and fine land have not sold The Colonel's latest invetion, the most excellent looking Double Down burger. their voices have been heard, and thus it has come to pass that the people of New Zealand can now purchase what is possibly the greatest burger in history.

i say possibly only as, alas, i have not been able to have one, and it looks increasingly ulikely that i shall. the KFC stores here are determined to be halaal, and thus we get absolutely zero items from them (or the inferior McDonalds) that feature bacon. ho hum, at least New Zealand is a place where KFC addresses the tastes and wishes of all their clients!

Grant is going to try one this weekend, and i certainly hope he takes some photographs. and then remembers to send them on. his view at the moment is that it's highly unlikely that he shall be able to manage eating more than one, but i bet that view changes very quickly!

the more regular readers of my blog will recall that i celebrated the dawn of the era of this burger last year. i really do think i need to get to a country where one can purchase this magnificent beast freely!

i will keep you as updated as Grant keeps me updated in respect of his progress!

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

Monday, May 09, 2011

a classy bit of rivalry

hi everyone

well, when you think about great, legendary and certainly infamous rivalries in the world of football, it's rare that Blackpool and Preston North End feature on the top ten list. that might well be about to change as a group of cheeky Blackpool fans let it be known that they were aware of their rivals Preston getting relegated :

quite a nice touch, having a plane fly that over Preston's ground on their last home game of the season!

Preston manager Phil Brown appears to be somewhat upset about it, which is understandable. i'm not likely to give him too much sympathy, however, after his ridiculous, unfounded statements about the state of affairs of Middlesbrough's finances earlier this season.

a nice, cheeky statement, Blackpool fans!

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