Thursday, 31 March 2016

An ILL Wind Blows.

Very sad to hear Ronnie Corbett passed away today. He was a very funny and very talented man who made people laugh for much of his adult life across a number of decades. Have very fond memories of watching his show with his partner Ronnie Barker in The Two Ronnies throughout the seventies and the eighties That was quite a run for any partnership and they enjoyed audience viewing figures of up to more than twenty million people on a Saturday night. Off course in these more enlightened times( Oh yes, how we like to kid ourselves) a lot of the humor would come across as crass and even offensive but this is what passed for family entertainment in those far off days. Their shows were a mixture of sketches and monologues both men would wrestle with to make us laugh the most. I particularly like the on-going mystery and adventure larks they used to indulge in. Stuff like the Worm That Turned or detective yarns like Done to Death starring the crime solving duo of Charley Farley and Piggy Malone. The Jason King spoof with Ronnie in the title role is a wonderful example of just what these two very funny men were capable of. Ronnie Corbett Jason Kinged-up and Ronnie Barker in drag. It is incredibly seventies and just as incredibly funny.
            My absolute favorite though was The Phantom Raspberry Blower Of Olde London Town written with Spike Milligan. A Jack The Ripper like toff holds all of London in a reign of terror by running up to them, flapping his opera cape and making a loud farting noise in their faces causing them to shrivel up in spasms of awkward embarrassment. Deep stuff,eh?
               I do remember laughing at every episode right up to the phantom being revealed as this ghostly pale corpse man with red smeared lips and mad eyes and almost wetting myself in shock.
               And I was twenty seven year old at the time.
              I still get a ghastly shudder when I hear distant farting noises in the night.
              R.I.P. little man and thank you for the big laughs.

Saturday, 26 March 2016

Do Not Judge Me!

My chum Joanne as her fabulous alter-ego Judge Archer with her colleague Judge Mc Bride about to lay down the law on a vagabond who is quite frankly pushing the boundaries of all that is good, decent and legal this side of Alpha Centuri (Actually I am just beyond that door behind them and what I am doing is strictly between me and The Face Of Boe.)

Friday, 25 March 2016

tom Tom Club.

Look what Titan Comics have brought out this week! Just look at those covers! Whats a chap on a limited budget supposed to do? Exercise self discipline and buy only one or throw caution to the wind and buy whichever ones one desires. What would Oscar Wilde have done? There is only one thing to do about temptation and that is yield to it. Mind you, Oscar Wilde never worked in retail. Fancy that; Meeting Oscar Wilde working on the checkout in Lidl. I suspect people would duck his til as the queue would always be longer as he waxed lyrically to all and sundry. But I digress, are they not things of beauty..
           Classic Tardis team too. The Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith. My childhood travelling chums. Tom and Elizabeth shared such a special chemistry. Watch their faces when they are in a scene together. Even when that scene does not require them to speak or do anything. Not doin' nuthin' they stand there emitting character. Oh bring it on and more please..

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Dark Matt.

Way back when it was announced that David Tennant was leaving Doctor Who( Oh the wailing and gnashing of teeth in my living room alone.) and Matt smith had been announced as his replacement/regenerative form/new incarnation /old shoes new feet..I saw this photograph knocking about on line and thought this was how he was going to play it.
           And let me tell you I would have had no problem with that.
           The whole look has an elegant understated functionality about it. A sort of Will Self-ness..
           It is probably just a bit of clever photo shop ( I say "just" but it requires a degree of talent) but it had a certain tone. One that would have projected an interesting frisson.
            Who knows..
            I do miss this interpretation of The Doctor.The sheer joy and respect Matt Smith brought to the role. I remember friends of his in the press saying that he is nothing like The Doctor in real life. That is all in his performance and as such my respect for him rocketed. My brain was already hard wired to accept his new face as The Doctor but who could fail to love that Pre Raphaelite face. The otherworldly charm of a two thousand year old alien. I mean, How does one account for that unmeasurable quantity in a bodies personal make-up?
             With no new Who on the horizon for quite some time it is comforting to have such an amazing body of recent work to fall back on.,some brilliant stuff too..
              Mind you with the great Titan comics and the always amazing Big Finish productions it is not fair nor even possible to say there is no forthcoming New Who.
              There are tons of it...

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Down In The Park.

(From my sketchbook.) was walking my dog Sasha round the park and this fellow came running up towards us in the grass verge. He seemed a very troubled individual and began waving his arms and gesturing rudely "No Surrender!" he howled, his face all red and puffy, like he was choking on the words. I looked about to see who he was trying to connect with and realised it was me. There was no one else.
              "Dont. Dont surrender. You have nothing I want." I said as politely as I could.
               Still not sure what he did not want to surrender to me and Sasha. She looked as confused as I did. She is not one one to judge. And he did not elucidate further.
                Just took off across the fields as though he had remembered he left something in the oven.
                Typical walk in the park.

Monkey Planet.

                                 (From my sketchbook.) On the voyage of The Beagle.
                                          During my travels with Darwin.
                                                      Darwin the monkey.

What A Good Idea Looks Like.

(From my sketchbook) this is what a good idea looks like. the actual chemical reaction in ones brain.  like a pin ball machine composed of fireworks. Interior fireworks. Medically proven. Probably.

Portrait Of An Artist With a Cardboard Head.

                                                            (Holding the sketch book.)

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Empire V.

First book by a Russian author I have read in some time. Some time being a euphemism for first time. Oh yes, how lazy and bizarre is that. Consider the relevance and plain existence of the massive world that is all things Russian. The three most famous Russians as far as I am concerned are Mister Chekov (of star Trek and Mop-top fame.) Rasputin the Mad Monk and Colossus the X-Man( Whose surname is also Rasputin: Pietr "Peter" Nikolaievitch Rasputin) Shameful,aint it.
             Even the Kremlin only has cultural relevance to me because it is the name of Belfast biggest Gay Bar. Not even ironic given that countries inhumane record of human rights violations with regard to Gay Men and Gay Women.
              I fully accept the limitations of my Russian cultural references, my quite severe lack of them, is entirely my own fault. Since I am thinly read and completely self regulating with regard to my reading choices who else can I point the finger at and blame? I am attempting to address this and have chosen a genre piece with which to take my first stumbling Soviet steps.
               Victor Pelevin has written a sort of very modern Screwtape Letters using vampires as opposed to devils or demons. Actually that is me being lazy again. It is so much more than than that and literally distanced by time space and the gravity of Russia's present situation.
                A book steeped in metaphor is probably not the best introduction to a new cultural experience and a genre book at that. It is however a sly witty read and I have learned a thing or two since reading it. A rewarding and entertaining method of learning something new disguised as something old.
                Please forget the timorous apologetica of the first paragraph, just trying to down play my own ignorance. This man's work deserves so much more. Victor Pelevin is a respected literary figure and the recipient of many awards including the impressive Russian Little Booker. His pop cultural references bloom within the text like the welcome buds of maybe. He pokes fun and insight at the shared cultural zeitgeist with a post modern wit and understanding of the monstrous deceptions we practice upon ourselves. Through fanged mythical teeth he whispers with conviction "Culture is not your friend."
               You ought to listen. It is not too late. we are just about nearing the end of the beginning.

Thin Air.

A ghost story set in The Himalayas during what could be considered to be the golden age of mountaineering written by the author of one of the finest modern ghost stories I have read (Dark Matter by Michelle Paver; just startlingly good.I still think about it at very odd moments.) How is one to resist such a read.?Why would one resist such a read? The year is 1935 and the Himalaya mountain is Kangchenjunga the third highest peak in the known world at this time. It may not have been the highest but until now it has proven the most difficult to climb and many have lost their lives trying to do so. Imagine the historical weight of those tragedies bearing down as you endure the many other hardships associated with such a climb.Then imagine the presence of a ghost on the trail. That prickly tingle on the tiny hairs on the back of your neck when you feel the breath of a presence standing behind you on a stretch where no one could possibly be. Where funereal stone cairns stand like full stops marking where others final steps were taken. Doting the high mountain sides like rocky tear drops.
                Michelle Paver has proved quite the discovery for myself. I enjoyed her other novel Dark Matter so much.It was a very well written ghost story with totally believable and quite complex characters. this woman understands men so well. the qualities that can make us amazing and the qualities that make us petty and tawdry. She surprises me at times and I feel moved by what lies beneath the skin of her men and sufficiently engaged to really care about them. As a writer she also understands that life rarely signposts an ending and when both these books of hers I read came to their finish I imagined the characters carrying on some where in some other reality. Lost in the mind space of authorship.
                 There is a lot of old school adventuring between this books covers. A strong sense of discovery and pushing through despite the hardships permeate her work. And always there is a cost. A price to be paid in fear and tears.
                  I loved this book. Despite the terrors and sadness endured I did not want it to end.
                  If I could speak directly to this woman I would say this;
                  Please write more.

Sunday, 6 March 2016

A Club Of My Own.

My Swim Team.My Mercurial Men's Own Meteors. Not as exclusive as it sounds. We are in fact open to all comers..
              I am the one in the top hat with the scotch tarten lining.
              We recently won the Underwater Twister Formation team Championships in the scenic city of Aqualonia. A fierce competition where we just about defeated a team of Sea-Devils who in a major huff( ironically the name of their team leader.) have since retreated to their underwater hibernation bunker to sleep until such a time as we are all dead so that they might try again.
               Silurians and Sea-Devils are notoriously huffy and will enter the Long Sleep for the silliest of reasons.
                I love my nautical chums.
                i call them my Waterbabies.That is like calling them my "homeys" only wetter.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

The Last Days Of Jack Sparks.

What a cheeky book! Honestly do you ever listen to someone telling you a story or a long yarn, One that totally sucks you in and makes you engage emotionally, to a degree, and then the person suddenly busts out laughing"hey,only Shittin' Ya,Look At The Look On Yer Face!" and you just want to smack them up the head(Or pummel their skull in with a discarded horse shoe.) Jason Arnopp did that to me as I read this book. Not going to be specific here or anything but there are twists and most unexpected revelations along the way.
           Jack Sparks is dead to begin with. There is no doubt about that.Old Jack Sparks is as dead as a door nail. Well, no spoiler there, the clue is in the title I suppose. I am surely not giving away any conclusion you may have already reached having picked this book up. Although  given the particular untrustworthy nature of the narrator of this tale as possibly one of the most unreliable I have ever read even that assumed truth is questionable.
            Jack Sparks is a pop cultural journalist who courts controversy in his professional life and who guzzles copious amounts of drugs in his personal one. This blurs the line between both and creates little but mayhem in a life already rudderless in a black moral sea. Like old Nick Kent or John Constantine or someone equally mercurial. We join him as he is attempting to research the last book he will ever try to write. One that seeks to prove or disprove the existence of paranormal forces in the same world where Facebook,Twitter and Youtube exist. A Demon can barely get a look in these days. There is a sense that the since the otherworldly is only believed if it comes to us in short Paranormal Activity filmic bursts and it is seriously impacting upon the established religions control by fear techniques. A thoroughly modern demon would appear on the Jeremy Kyle show before risking being exorcised from a helpless child. gathering a following of thumbs ups and likes whilst boiling their victims innards green along the way.
            Jack Sparks is an ardent practitioner of the manly art of moral self deception and constantly capable of lying his way into his own good books. A right bastard but just grotesquely interesting enough to want to know what depths he is prepared to dive head long into in order to satisfy himself. Yet he is also chasing evil and has a dragon by the tail, in more ways than one.
            Really enjoyed this read. It was fast and funny and full of sordid pop cultural observations that had me chuckling.
  a demon.