Sunday, 12 March 2017

The Last Wave - Lobby Cards (1978)

Another odd film from childhood, discovered on late night TV.  There were a lot of good Australian films around at that time that made quite an impression.


Jon and the Whomobile (1974)

You should know I like a picture or two of Jon Pertwee by now; He's so iconically the 70s
Here he is showing off his new custom built futuristic car which would go on to feature in a couple Doctor Who stories

I "met" this car some years later at the Stoneleigh Town and Country Show and have to say it was just as wonderful in reality.  Looking back I can't help feeling the vehicle should have generated a diecast toy or plastic model kit at the very least.  I would have been so up for one of those.  Still would if anyone wanted to play catch-up

These are some of the nicest pictures I've ever seen of Whomobile and they are certainly clearer than any images captured from the TV episodes.

And there you have it, not the first flying car I fell in love with as a kid but certainly the best looking
....and no, the other one wasn't Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.


Thursday, 9 March 2017

0004 Never Mind the Quality, Feel the Width!

I've been reading a lot more over recent months on the back of a New Year's promise to myself not to buy any more books until I've read more of the ones I already own.  And its got me thinking about things

At the time of writing this I've just finished my 18th novel of the year and for the most part I've enjoyed nearly all of them.  That is probably about the same number of books as I've read in the last five years combined.  More important than that is that I can once again genuinely confess to a love of reading in a way that I've failed to feel for over a decade.

I thought it was me.  I thought my life had become too busy for more than three or four books a year, I thought I now preferred the short story, I thought perhaps I had already read my fair share of novels or that there wasn't really anything new out there worth the time and effort.  I'm not entirely convinced the last reason isn't partially true.  Not the nothing new bit, but rather the time and effort.

You see, books got fat and books got flabby.  Books became great big slabs of word count, thick bricks of paper, visually large enough to justify the big fat price on the back cover or appear so much more of a bargain for the discounted price as stickered on the front.

Now I'm neither a curmudgeonly old miser or a hater of all large books but once upon a time there were some fat books and there were a lot of thin books and they were genuinely the right size they needed to be tell the story inside.  Sometimes, if you had a particularly large story to tell, it even took more than one book but these were very wonderful and rare beasts indeed.

But somewhere around about 1990 books became just products, subject to discounts and BOGOF deals.  Supermarkets and foreign investors got involved and slowly, so very, very slowly, the book publishing industry flipped its thinking about how it would make its money.

Working for a high-street book chain at the time the Net Book Agreement was torn up, I'll admit that some books got a bit cheaper and a select few had their prices slashed.  Although you didn't half have to shift a lot of units to make it worth while.  Those selected titles dominated store windows, display tables and stole whole shelves all to themselves.  But for the vast majority of the other new books, all the publishers could do was bulk the buggers up and make them look like you were getting more for your money.  The common or garden paperback grew taller and wider and broader and so much more like those big water injected plum chickens or that one big type of bright red strawberry that travels well down the motorway from the airport.  And the back stock of perennial classics, the much loved old favourites either got a magic make-over or just fell out of print.

It took me a while to realise how forced-fed and fatty the vast majority of what I was reading had become.  In fact I didn't. I just slowly went off it, thinking my tastes had changed or a much enjoyed pass time had simply fallen out of favour with the passage of  years.

Oddly I still bought a lot of books but mostly 2nd hand and as much for the pleasure of beach combing charity shops for lost artifacts and half forgotten treasures as for the promise of one day reading something I had missed reading the first time around.

So with my shelves reaching critical mass, I have embarked upon this 2017 read-a-thon in order to divide my collection into either; Keep or Pass On, by the end of which the shelves will have been at least partially cleared.
February purchases.
Or at least that was the initial plan!  You see I have enjoyed some amazing old books by some amazing old authors over the last few weeks and not least because I haven't had to wade through 500 pages to get to a 150 page story.  I've read more,  I've bought more and I've enjoyed more. And that's the point of all of this really.


Thursday, 16 February 2017

Birthday Action!

Action was a weekly comic book, first published in the UK on the 14th of February 1976.  Its graphic and violent content upset a lot of establishment do-gooders who made a target of it but for those of us that were actually reading it at the time, the kids of 76, it left a lot of happy memories in its passing.

Happy birthday, you wonderful, glorious, big, bad, crazy, comic book.  Sorry my mum made me give you away to the jumble sale.


Monday, 13 February 2017

Killer Crabs and School Kids (1980)

Night of the Crabs (1976)
Killer Crabs (1978)
The Origin of the Crabs (1979)

Crabs on the Rampage (1981)
Crabs' Moon (1984)

....and Crabs: The Human Sacrifice (1988) and Killer Crabs: The Return (2012) but the 1970's were over by 1985 so who cares about those two!

My introduction to the works of Guy N Smith was in the summer of 1980, when one of the first three books - I'm not sure which one - was passed around the boys dormitory of the residential outdoor education centre in Wales for five days of the summer holidays.  We were twelve at the time and overly keen to educate ourselves of the adult pleasures of sex and horror.  We didn't know that to begin with but when one of our number produced the lurid novel, "borrowed" from an older brother, the keenness with which we all demanded a read of certain pages, would have staggered our English teachers beyond belief.  Not being adverse to regular reading myself, I think I managed to read the whole thing, sexy bits and all, in one torch illuminated session.  Although, apart from the general memory of consuming the forbidden fruit and the "bloody stumps" of  hands being snipped off by giant pincers, I actually remember very little of the story itself.

I stumbled over the 3rd book in a charity shop a couple of days ago and at two quid for a near perfect copy, I snapped it up.  I found the 1st book, in similarly excellent condition, about a year before and for only half that price.  I'm going to read them over the next few months to see if and what memories they might shake free.  Could be interesting.  I might also have to invest in book 2

On reflection, that week away in North Wales turned out to be quite an education that I only came to recognised as such many years later.  I'll almost definitely write more about it here.  There were dead sheep discovered on the hillside.  A jukebox battle between Bowie and the theme from MASH, probably any number of ghosts lurking in the corridors and toilets and  kids being mean and horrible to each other almost every hour of the day.  Oh! and.I also proved that Déjà vu was a real thing, by blurting out the impending sequence of events just ahead of them actually happening.  Only my friend Mark heard me though so the rest of the world remains sceptical to this day.

But who cares what other people think!


Saturday, 11 February 2017

Doctor Who Weetabix Advert (1977)

Don't want to go all Doctor Who on you, every post, but that show is writ through my childhood like a stick of Blackpool rock and I've just found this cleaned up version of the Weetabix/Doctor Who advert with the big red Dalek never looking better

Either that kid is breakfasting in a Dalek base or the hallway of his house has very questionable décor that is going to attract passing space invaders.  Either way, I think he needs to take some responsibility for what happens next!

Monday, 30 January 2017

Who and the Wizzard (1973)

Roy Wood, the Wizzard of 70's glam rock meets the Time Lord.  So 70's it hurts!