Thursday, 18 August 2016

A Nice Cup Of Tea.

Look what I found at Atomic Collectables. A wee gem from the tail end of the seventies when men were men and so were monkeys. It probably seems bizarre to modern minds that dressing our evolutionary cousins up as cliched characters from the British class system should have produced such a hugely popular and funny series of advertisements for a beloved brand of tea. Like the saucy sea-side postcard it is a type of humour which has fallen from grace and taste. Indeed the very cliched British working class characters the monkeys riff on no longer exist.A ting of the past. Like Spangles or Curly Wurleys.
               I wonder what these monkeys did next. Were they even aware of their fame?
               Did it change their lives to the degree that Cheeta's was changed by his appearance in the Tarzan movies with Johnny Weismuller? I know the American film industry had very different levels of fame to that of the British advertising industry but the down side of fame can be blisteringly painful and unforgiving.
                As the Chinese military strategist once said "Monkey Business Is War."


From A Whisper To A ...

There was a British comic in the mid eighties, around nineteen eighty four I believe, and although it only ran for around fifteen weeks it is still very fondly remembered by those of us who remember buying great comics on a weekly basis in corner news agents. Sounds almost Edwardian,eh? Imagine that; a choice of British comics. Not as many as during the medium's heyday but a whole lot better than the choices one is presented with(or not presented with as the case may be.) these days.
              "What is the terrible secret of the locked room?"
             I mention it because 2000AD have brought out a collection of a serial from that title; Monster. One that was never completed in its day but is here and now. Monster is the story of a boy and his hideously deformed uncle who has spent too many years secreted away in a locked room. It was not uncommon in the seventies and eighties to have an uncle who the family rolled the eyes at the very mention off. I was surprised to discover that the story had been co-created by Alan Moore and then carried on with the combined talent of Alan Grant and John Wagner.
              "One turn of a key would take Kenny Corman into the room of terror.."
               Remote spooky old houses, haunted looking wind ravaged fields and moors, Policemen who do not look like anti-terror shock troops. A story where the monstrous figure off is off course revealed to be the truly heroic figure next to his equally heroic nephew. This wee collection ticks all the enjoyable boxes and holds up remarkably well after literally decades.
               Unlike my knees.


I recently completed a bit of work with the Animator, artist and film maker Mark Mc Keown. A comic strip about an invasion. Well, sort of about an invasion. We are not talking Invasion Of The Body Snatchers here or even Mars Attacks. I think the most successful invasions, i.e. the most disastrous for a population , are the ones that you do not even notice having happened. The quiet and totally insidious assimilation by an idea or a philosophy or in this case a piece of tech wedded to social media that passes by unnoticed, one that the supplants the system in which it was sired. One that succeeds not only in making a population strangers to their fellow travellers but ultimately to themselves.
            It is also a true story by the way. It did happen. And it is still happening.
            What are you reading this on?

Hello I Must Be Going.

                                             "Well, Art is Art, is'nt it/ Still, water is
                                             water. And east is east and west is west
                                                and if you take cranberries and stew
                                             them like applesauce they taste much
                                                    more like prunes than rhubarb.
                                                 Now you tell me what you know."
                                                             Groucho Marx.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Baker's End.

My heart skipped a beat when I read the title but it turned out to be something else entirely. An audio adventure featuring my favourite actor playing the character he was intended to play (himself)next to the one he was born to play (The Doctor.). I have not explained that as clearly as I intended. It is Tom Baker playing Tom Baker in a trio of scripts by the immensely talented Paul Magrs and also starring the wonderful Katy Manning. Oh bloody hell this has best Christmas present ever written all over it.
          It is coming in September from Bafflegab productions and details can be found at their website.
If you have managed to find as obscure and unread a blog as mine finding their home should be no problem. It also features Susan Jameson and David Benson who have served honourably on past productions from The Nest Cottage Chronicles to Iris Wildthyme.
           I had been over to their home earlier and saw a few other bits and pieces I have got to try. There was even a lovely looking Peter Cushing memoir reading which is sadly no longer available from them.How sweet would that have been.I visited Hastings once and got to take a seat on Cushing's view and got to see his lovely hometown as he would have.
            Its a lovely word when used with good intent.
            Oh flip me, look at Katy Manning and Tom Baker together.
            How can you not smile.

A Bridge Too Far?

Back in the day in a wee mini plane flying over Alcatraz Island and round the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco with John McCrea and Garth Ennis. The two boys are obviously terrified while I maintain a steadfast certainty and belief in the power of aerodynamics. The science that lies behind the flight of bumblebees. And the implausibility thereof.

Catholic Daleks.

Was very taken by this cover for one of the Big Finish audios Order Of The Daleks by Mike Tucker. Especially the beautiful design for the stain glass Dalek. Just as every planet has a north perhaps every planet has a Vatican. I believe this glorious and chilling object is the work of a concept design by artist/writer Chris Thompson.
               Way back in the previous century during the decade we who survived it called The Eighties I can remember(From original transmission!) Revelation Of The Daleks. A great story that showed a transparent Dalek which displayed its interior Kaled/Mutant/human/Hybrid/victim in terrible agony.
                The Daleks are a bad lot and this was a horrible example of them at their must cruel and unusual and truly grotesque. Yet in the right hands the Daleks were always capable of being fantastically innovative.
                 In the worst possible ways.