Monday, 31 January 2011

John Barry OBE 1933-2011

Goldfinger Soundtrack LP
The passing of musician and composer John Barry was announced today.

Largely remembered for his musical scores contribution to British Cinema including the James Bond films Goldfinger and On Her Majesty's Secret Service, John also recorded several other memorable themes including Born Free, The Ipcress File and the theme to the 70s TV series The Persuaders.

He also had his fair share of pop hits in the early 1960s fronting his group The John Barry Seven (who provided Hit and Miss - the theme for Juke Box Jury) and accompanied Adam Faith on many of his early hits including What Do You Want and Poor Me, both Number Ones in 1959 and 1960 respectively. That's quite a legacy!

No doubt, generations will continue to enjoy John's work for many years to come!

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Retrospace Top Ten Sundays: Classic Comedy

Retrospace: Retrospace Top Ten Sundays: Classic Comedy: " I love comedy on both radio and television and there are several I have enjoyed in recent years that I've come to enjoy..."

I'm looking for your Top Tens! - if you have a top ten you can contribute, e-mail it to me and I'll feature it on a future Sunday on Retrospace.

As well as featuring your top ten - I will give you a full credit as a guest blogger and a link to your relevant blog or website. Furthermore - you will also get an exclusive Retrospace Top Ten Sunday cut out and keep badge for taking part!

Retrospace Top Ten Sundays: Classic Comedy

Arthur Lowe In Dad's Army
I love comedy on both radio and television and there are several I have enjoyed in recent years that I've come to appreciate again for the first time in decades.

Morecambe and Wise
For me if something can make all members of the family laugh on different levels it works. I have little time unfortunately for genre or alternative which I find self indulgent and winds down very quickly!

Anyway lecture over! -  Here it is pop pickers! My Classic Comedy Top Ten from TV and Radio  inclusive of sitcoms and sketch shows!

Classic Comedy Top Ten:
  1. Dad's Army
  2. The Two Ronnies
  3. Morecambe and Wise Show
  4. Porridge
  5. Monty Python's Flying Circus
  6. Hancock's Half Hour
  7. Parsley Sidings
  8. The Goodies
  9. Doctor In The House
  10. Fawlty Towers
Further Reading on Classic Comedy: 
If you like Dad's Army check out my Dad's Army tribute site 
Here are some of my further articles and reviews on classic comedy: 

Dad's Army:
Morecambe and Wise:

Doctor In The House:

I'm looking for your Top Tens! - if you have a top ten you can contribute, e-mail it to me and I'll feature it on a future Sunday on Retrospace

As well as featuring your top ten - I will give you a full credit as a guest blogger and a link to your relevant blog or website. Furthermore - you will also get an exclusive Retrospace Top Ten Sunday cut out and keep badge for taking part!

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Retrospace: Saturday Superstore: Nimble Bread

Retrospace: Saturday Superstore: Nimble Bread: "Nimble Diet Advert - Radio Times, 1974 Perhaps one of the most iconic adverts of the early 1970s was Nimble girl Emily Jones ..."

Check Out this and other new fun retro features on my Retrospace blog!

Saturday Superstore: Nimble Bread

Nimble Diet Advert - Radio Times, 1974
Perhaps one of the most iconic adverts of the early 1970s was Nimble girl Emily Jones precariously balanced on a balloon, flying over ludicrously high landscapes promoting Nimble Bread to the strains of Honeybus' 1968 hit - "I Can't Let Maggie Go".

Emily became known as the Nimble Girl as this advert from 1974 Radio Times illustrates.

Here, the ever careful housewife could send off for a leaflet on The Nimble Diet - the most exciting diet ever! - so says the advert...

Did that mean you had to dangle from a balloon to partake in it?

Friday, 28 January 2011

Retrospace: Badge Friday: Shell Tractor Lubrication

Retrospace: Badge Friday: Shell Tractor Lubrication: "Shell Tractor Lubrication Badge - 1960s Here's a bit of an odd one from my badge collection...."

Check out this, and other great features on my Retrospace blog!

Badge Friday: Shell Tractor Lubrication

Shell Tractor Lubrication Badge - 1960s
Here's a bit of an odd one from my badge collection.

This one I believe was left behind in my Grandfather's Yorkshire Dales shop many years ago by a customer, the badge was then passed on to me by my Grandad.

I think it may originate from the 1960s and has a vintage Shell Oil logo on it. The badge is made of plastic and has a great Tractor Wheel shape to it!

Any further information about the badge would be greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Newport Panoramic Pictures


It had been a stressful morning in the office, so I nipped out  for a while this lunchtime and brrrrrrrrr it was cold - but I needed the air!


Had a brief walk up to Tredegar Park Roundabout (on the edge of Cardiff Road) and thought I'd play with the panoramic settings on my mobile phone camera taking an image from the other side of the bridge for a change and the roundabout!

Amazing how much depth these wider shots can add to a scene!

Retrospace: Wordless Wednesday: Early 1900s (2)

Retrospace: Wordless Wednesday: Early 1900s (2): "Wordless Wednesday Website"

Check out this, and other great features on my Retrospace blog!

Wordless Wednesday: Early 1900s (2)


Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Featured Blog: Random Radio Jottings and Other Gubbins


Being a child of the 60s and growing up in the 70s I was fortunate enough to grow up in an era where I could appreciate great radio.

Broadcasters such as Alan Freeman, Tony Blackburn, Johnnie Walker, Emperor Rosko, Stuart Henry, Terry Wogan, Pete Murray, Kenny Everett, Ray Moore, Noel Edmonds and David Hamilton (excuse the many I've missed out) became on air companions during daily activities around the home and travelling!

Some of these times are recalled in Andy Walmsley's excellent new blog  Random Radio Jottings and Other Gubbins.

So far, Andy's compiled a great collection of posts recalling the much missed broadcaster Ray Moore, Jimmy Young, Bob Monkhouse and reminiscences of the day the world lost John Lennon. There are some fine sound bytes accompanying these posts too - so well worth a check out!

Featured Blog: Random Radio Jottings and Other Gubbins



Being a child of the 60s and growing up in the 70s I was fortunate enough to grow up in an era where I could appreciate great radio.

Broadcasters such as Alan Freeman, Tony Blackburn, Johnnie Walker, Emperor Rosko, Stuart Henry, Terry Wogan, Pete Murray, Kenny Everett, Ray Moore, Noel Edmonds and David Hamilton (excuse the many I've missed out) became on air companions during daily activities around the home and travelling!

Some of these times are recalled in Andy Walmsley's excellent new blog  Random Radio Jottings and Other Gubbins.

So far, Andy's compiled a great collection of posts recalling the much missed broadcaster Ray Moore, Jimmy Young, Bob Monkhouse and reminiscences of the day the world lost John Lennon. There are some fine sound bytes accompanying these posts too - so well worth a check out!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Retrospace Top Ten Sundays: Doctor Who Adventures Starring Tom Baker

Dr Who Trump Card Game
Retrospace: Retrospace Top Ten Sundays: Doctor Who Adventures : "Ten Of The Best Doctor Who Adventures Starring Tom Baker"

I'm looking for your Top Tens! - if you have a top ten you can contribute, e-mail it to me and I'll feature it on a future Sunday on Retrospace

As well as featuring your top ten - I will give you a full credit as a guest blogger and a link to your relevant blog or website. Furthermore - you will also get an exclusive Retrospace Top Ten Sunday cut out and keep badge for taking part!

Retrospace Top Ten Sundays: Doctor Who Adventures Starring Tom Baker

Dr Who Trump Cards Circa 1970s
I'm turning to the world of Doctor Who today for my top ten. I consider myself very fortunate to have grown up in the 70's for the reason that Doctor Who was played by two great actors in that era - namely Jon Pertwee and Tom Baker - I had the privilege to meet both at varying points and I'll share more about those moments on the blog another day!


As much as I enjoy the revival of the new series, Tom Baker is still the best Doctor for me - he was so unique in the role, a bohemian looking eccentric who never knew any fear.

Happy Birthday Tom Baker!

Unbeknown to me Tom also celebrated his 77th birthday this week - so what better time to look back on some of his best Doctor moments...


If you still haven't checked out any Doctor Who adventures featuring Tom check out the following Top Ten - they're amongst the best in the history of the show!


Top Ten Doctor Who Adventures Starring Tom Baker
  1. Genesis Of The Daleks
  2. The Pyramids Of Mars
  3. The Robots Of Death
  4. Logopolis
  5. State of Decay
  6. City Of Death
  7. The Pirate Planet
  8. The Seeds Of Doom
  9. Talons Of Weng Chiang
  10. The Deadly Assassin

Retrospace Top Ten Sunday Needs You!

I'm looking for your top tens! - if you have a top ten you can contribute, e-mail it to me and I'll feature it on a future Sunday on Retrospace.

As well as featuring your top ten - I will give you a full credit as a guest blogger and a link to your relevant blog or website. Furthermore - you will also get an exclusive Retrospace Top Ten Sunday cut out and keep badge for taking part!



Visit Tom Baker's Official Website!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Retrospace: Saturday Superstore: Ardmona Bartlett Pears

Retrospace: Saturday Superstore: Ardmona Bartlett Pears: 1972: When a tin of pears came in handy for Sunday teatime and Rolf Harris offered a stringless apron in Radio Times...

Saturday Superstore: Ardmona Bartlett Pears

Ardmona Advert
- Radio Times 1972
No doubt, Mum and Gran's shopping lists for the week back in 1972 included that essential tin of Ardmona's Bartlett Pears shipped all the way from Australia.

Tinned Pears were an integral part of  Sunday Tea Time, generally washed down with a generous dollop of Rowntree's Strawberry Jelly and tinned Carnation Milk.

Interesting to find in this rare advert from April 1972, that TV entertainer Rolf Harris (obviously on a break between selling British Paints and Stylophones) was also promoting the benefits of buying Ardmona's Australian Bartlett Pears to Radio Times readers.

Readers could claim a self supporting free apron, no strings attached (literally) if they filled out the coupon and included three labels from 29oz tins of peaches and pears, plus 3p to cover postage and sent them to the Rolf Harris Apron Offer.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Retrospace: Badge Friday: Matey Bubble Bath

Retrospace: Badge Friday: Matey Bubble Bath: "Matey Bubble Bath has been around since the 1950s. So, it was a well established product when it regularly turned up in my Christmas stocking..."

Badge Friday: Matey Bubble Bath

Matey Bubble Bath has been around since the 1950s. So, it was a well established product when it regularly turned up in my Christmas Stocking over several Christmas's in the 1970s (and what better way than to give your kids a present that also cleans the bath!).

Clean Fun, Clean Kids, Clean Bath

The slogan Matey regularly used in their adverts was Clean Fun, Clean Kids, Clean Bath, and it was! - Ah! Simpler times!

This Matey Badge is one of my originals and I'm sure dates from the mid 70s and came with a bottle of the bubbly stuff, taped inside the skittle shaped bottle cap. In fact I'm sure I played with the bottle for ages afterwards too - you had to be creative with whatever you could lay your hands on back then!

There were several variations of the Matey badge - I recall my sister having one with a different boat and I recently uncovered another in my wife's childhood badge collection!

There's some brief  history about Matey Bubble bath at the official website!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

On A Cold and Frosty Morning

Frost on the Subway Entrance, Cardiff Road
After a few warm days, the weather seems to have gone a bit colder again today. Here's a few pictures I took on my way in to work this morning.
View from Cardiff Road Bridge
Although the sky was quite pretty, (especially the bridge view on Cardiff Road), you can see the hard frost on the ground and that was still in evidence when I left work in the evening.
More Frost on Cardiff Road

Read My TV Review For Hattie - Online Now!

Ruth Jones as Hattie Jacques
Just caught an excellent evening of viewing on BBC Four with programmes featuring the late, great Carry On film actress, Hattie Jacques including the real-life drama about Hattie starring Ruth Jones.

Read my Television Review: Hattie on Suite101!

TV Review: Hattie

Ruth Jones as Hattie Jacques
Just caught an excellent evening of viewing on BBC Four with programmes featuring the late, great Carry On film actress, Hattie Jacques including the real-life drama about Hattie starring Ruth Jones.

Read my Television Review: Hattie on Suite101!

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Retrospace Top Ten Sundays Launched Today

Today I'm launching a new feature on Retrospace - The Retrospace Top 10 Sunday - The Top Ten Can be about anything from the bygone years of music, film, radio and television and can range from completely absurd and fun to serious or inspirational.

This week's top ten features ten quotes from Groucho Marx.

Retrospace Top Ten Sunday Needs You!

I'm looking for your top tens! - if you have a top ten you can contribute, e-mail it to me and I'll feature it on a future Sunday on Retrospace.

As well as featuring your top ten - I will give you a full credit as a guest blogger and a link to your relevant blog or website. Furthermore - you will also get an exclusive Retrospace Top Ten Sunday cut out and keep badge for taking part!

So get blogging!

Retrospace Top Ten Sundays Launched Today

Retrospace: Retrospace Top Ten Sundays: Groucho Marx Quotes:

Today I'm launching a new feature on Retrospace - The Retrospace Top 10 Sunday - The Top Ten Can be about anything from the bygone years of music, film, radio and television and can range from completely absurd and fun to serious or inspirational.

This week's top ten features ten quotes from Groucho Marx.

Retrospace Top Ten Sunday Needs You!

I'm looking for your top tens! - if you have a top ten you can contribute, e-mail it to me and I'll feature it on a future Sunday on Retrospace.

As well as featuring your top ten - I will give you a full credit as a guest blogger and a link to your relevant blog or website. Furthermore - you will also get an exclusive Retrospace Top Ten Sunday cut out and keep badge for taking part!

So get blogging!

Retrospace Top Ten Sundays: Groucho Marx Quotes

Here's a new section which I aim to feature on Retrospace every Sunday - a top ten!

I thought I'd kick off this weeks first edition with ten quotes from classic comedian and film star Groucho Marx (1895-1977) as Groucho and The Marx Brothers have provided me with quite a few laughs this week while watching Duck Soup and Monkey Business on Sky Classic Movies.

Groucho's sharp witted humour throughout those movies never fails to raise a laugh and these further quotes will hopefully  tickle your funnybone!


Retrospace Top Ten Sundays: Groucho Marx Quotes
  1. I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. 
  2. I intend to live forever, or die trying. 
  3. Before I speak, I have something important to say. 
  4. Either he's dead or my watch has stopped. 
  5. A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. 
  6. I've got the brain of a four year old. I'll bet he was glad to be rid of it. 
  7. Why should I care about posterity? What's posterity ever done for me? 
  8. Those are my principles, and if you don't like them... well, I have others. 
  9. Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution? 
  10. I never forget a face, but in your case I'll be glad to make an exception. 
Source: Brainy Quote.com


Amaze Your Friends - Submit a Top Ten To Retrospace!

Have you got a top ten you'd like to submit to Retrospace? The Top Ten can take on any retro theme you like, from favourite records, TV shows, personalities, quotes - anything (as long as its clean!).

You'll get a full credit for compiling the top ten and a link to your blog (or website if you have one), as well as  a special  Retrospace Cut Out and Keep Badge, which you can post on your blog or print out and wear!

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Playtime Fun at Dad's Breakfast Club

Paper Snakes Made by Seren, Jon & Tom
The children always enjoy getting along to the Dad's Breakfast Club when they can getting time to eat lots of pancakes with butter and sugar, get creative and generally play!

Jon Tasting His Plastic Lettuce Sandwich
Today Seren, Jon and Tom made these wonderful paper snakes and had fun in the kitchen where they entertained some of their guests - Jon's plastic lettuce sandwich wasn't necessary healthy eating!

Seren Busy at Work in The kitchen

Retrospace: Saturday Superstore: Black and White Television

Retrospace: Saturday Superstore: Black and White Television: "Memories of Black & White Television"

Saturday Superstore: Black and White Television

Black and White TV Advert - Radio Times, 1969
I'm old enough to remember still having a Black and White Television in my parents home.

As late as 1973, my parents rented a set from Granada TV Rentals before making the switch to Visionhire and plummeting for a Colour TV.

The Emergence Of Colour Television

Colour Television had initially kicked off in Great Britain in late 1966 with regular TV broadcasts commencing on BBC2 from 1967. BBC1 and ITV started broadcasting in colour regularly from 1969, although it was 1971 before the majority of the United Kingdom could begin enjoying Colour Television.

Memories of Black and White Television

For families on a tighter budget, Black and White TV was still the only option well into the 1970s. My Grandfather didn't see a Colour TV until the Pope's 1982 visit. His immediate response to colour TV was utter disbelief : "They aren't the proper colours!," he exclaimed.

When working as a trainee TV engineer for Visionhire on the Youth Training Scheme in 1984,  it was interesting to note how many old age pensioners still treasured their trusty Black and White TV sets and how some were visibly upset when we had to remove some of them because the valves that ran them could no longer be replaced.

The other day, a young work colleague, referred to the era of Black and White TV as "The days of Uncoloured TV". I interjected, "You know, The Black and White Minstrel Show wasn't the only show to be broadcast back in those days". Perhaps political correctness has gone a step further now than we realise?

Further Reading: 

Friday, 14 January 2011

What I did on my Lieu day

Boswell's Cafe, Newport
One of the pluses of my job is that I do get occasional lieu days although in recent times I've generally been too tired to enjoy them, however this particular one was jam packed.

I've prepared four new features for my Retrospace Blog these include:

Badge Friday - A weekly feature which looks at badges I've had in my collection over the years - these may include brief histories, memories or reminiscences.

Saturday Superstore - No, not the BBC1 kids show from the 80s that featured Mike Read and Sarah Greene, this looks at adverts from decades gone by of various products that were once familiar to many of us.

Retrospace Top Ten Sundays - A new feature featuring Top Tens of yesteryear, these could be songs, films, quotes, in fact anything. Checkout My first Retrospace top Ten Sunday and join in if you have a suggestion or a top ten - I can then promote your blog!
Lasagne From Boswell's

Wordless Wednesday - Many blogger's are already doing this and Rachel told me about this one - I have a variety of old pictures in my collection which I'll be kicking off this feature with!


Lunch at Boswell's

After a productive morning Rachel and I had lunch at a cafe in Newport City Centre. Boswell's do some smashing food and the kid's enjoyed their Gingerbread Men the other week!

Today we had lasagna which I have to say was one of the finest I've tasted in many years!

Bargain!: The Rat Pack CD
Charity Shop Bargains

Also had chance to look around a few charity shops today too. I found two excellent CD's reflecting my current tastes in music featuring The Rat Pack and Rosemary Clooney and at a pound each too - bargain!

The contents of both these CD's have since found their way on to my iPod!

Music Finds: Rat Pack and Rosemary Clooney

Here's two items I found in a charity shop in Newport City Centre Today at £1.00 each.

CD: Rosemary Clooney - The Definitive Collection
Rosemary Clooney : The Definitive Collection
2006 14-track compilation from Marks & Spencer  featuring This Ole House, Come On A-My-House, Mangos, Sway and Tenderly. 

Verdict: A very good compilation!

CD: The Rat Pack 
The Rat Pack: 18 Tracks from The Legendary Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin & Sammy Davis Jr
2002 18-track compilation including The Coffee Song, This Guy's In Love With You, Aw C'Mon, Blue Skies, and I've Got A Crush On You. 

Verdict: Enjoyable Compilation with a mixture of studio and live recordings.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Online Sketchbook: Groucho Marx and Charlie Chaplin

Taking some inspiration from some of those golden oldie comedy movies featuring the likes of Charlie Chaplin and Groucho Marx, I thought I'd use the pair as subject matter for some sketch designs in Adobe Illustrator...
Groucho Marx - Posterity
I tackled Groucho first, this ones in colour, though I have created a mono version too.
The speech balloon is an addition as I thought it would be fun to add one of his famous quotes!
Charlie Chaplin
Charlie is in black and white - probably truer to his screen image!

All good fun nonetheless.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Sunday Afternoon at Tredegar House

Seren and Tom in the grounds of Tredegar House
The weather has been less than brilliant lately, so its good to get out for a stroll if we can, even if it's just for an hour or so.

We are fortunate enough to have Tredegar House on our doorstep which is a pretty place and has a few playground facilities to keep the children amused!

 Here's a few pics I took there today!
Seren and Tom play on the swings while Jon waits patiently for his turn!
Jonathan contemplating a slide
Seren and Tom having fun.
The pond was unusually quiet today

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Dancing at the Dolman Theatre

Seren outside The Dolman Theatre
It's Saturday and an early start for us today, because Seren had a special Dance Masterclass at The Dolman Theatre with one of the lead performers of the recent stage production of Mamma Mia.

The boys posing with Iggle Piggle In Newport Shopping Centre
While Seren undertook a busy but enjoyable day Rachel, Tom, Jon and myself had a walk around Newport Shopping Centre . To the boys delight, there were some new slot toys to play on, including this Iggle Piggle  boat from In The Night Garden.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Retrospace: Oooh Matron! Ruth Jones Plays Hattie Jacques

Retrospace: Oooh Matron! Ruth Jones Plays Hattie Jacques: "BBC Four will shortly be showing a new BBC Drama about Carry On Star Hattie Jacques entitled Hattie and starring actress Ruth Jones. "

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Oooh Matron! Ruth Jones Plays Hattie Jacques In New Drama


BBC Four will shortly be showing a new BBC Drama about Carry OnStar Hattie Jacques entitled Hattie and starring actress Ruth Jones.

The drama is based on a recent biography of the star and will focus on the breakdown of Hattie's marriage to Dad's Army actor John Le Mesurier, following her infidelity with her chauffeur.

From clips already shown on BBC Four this looks to be a promising programme and surely must have been a challenge for Ruth Jones to portray the iconic comedy actress.

Ruth, of course is known to many comedy fans as Nessa in
Gavin and Stacey - a fine comic creation if ever one was occurring (!)

Ruth has also turned out great performances in other TV series including Torchwood, The Great Outdoors, Tess of The D'Urbervilles and A Child's Christmas In Wales.

I'm certainly looking forward to Ruth's portrayal of Hattie - In the meantime here's a cover of Barry Island's local newspaper which I designed and which Ruth kindly signed for me a few years back! It features Nessa, her most famous comic creation!

Check Out My further articles on Hattie Jacques and a recent biography on John Le Mesurier by Graham McCann

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