Friday, 31 August 2012

Doctor Who: No Spoilers Here!

Asylum Of The Daleks - Can't Wait!
As I write we are counting down the hours to the first of five new Doctor Who episodes. I haven’t read any spoilers on the new Doctor Who series except that Asylum of The Daleks sees the return of the Doctors greatest foes (obviously) and that in five weeks we will bid farewell to two of The Doctor’s closest friends.

Do I want to know? Not really. I have a spoiler mad friend at work who quietly respected my wishes not to be privy to a spoiler leaked by the BBC yesterday about the new series.

My insistence of avoiding spoilers goes back as far as part 3 of Arc Of Infinity in 1983 when I stumbled across a test transmission of subtitles on Ceefax around 4 O Clock in the afternoon for that nights Doctor Who episode. I was reading the script as it rambled off on the TV screen and found to my horror that the big bad was revealed at the end of the episode!

Audiences don’t get that now; even new viewers to the classic Doctor Who series know which classic villains return in Earthshock from an artwork sleeve cover or a careless description – even though I was totally oblivious of theeir presence until the climax of the first episode back in 1982.

I know there’s some people who love spoilers… but let me keep enjoying my Doctor Who spoiler free existence and thank you producer Steven Moffat for been a keen supporter of this too!

Doctor Who: Asylum of the Daleks? I can’t wait!

I haven’t been this excited since Destiny of The Daleks part 1 was due to be broadcast on this very same date... September 1st, 1979… what a great feeling!

Read my review and recollections of Destiny of The Daleks from September 1, 1979

Badge Friday: Magpie - 7 For A Secret Never To Be Told

This week I'm profiling one of Rachel's badges.

This one originates from the 1970s and a lyric from the children's magazine programme Magpie.

The lyric is 7 For a Secret Never To Be Told. Can you remember the rest of the song (as performed by The Murgatroyd Band - a Pseudonym for The Spencer Davis Group).

Here's the main Magpie lyric:
One for sorrow
Two for joy
Three for a girl
Four for a boy
Five for silver
Six for gold
Seven for a secret never to be told
Eight for Heaven
Nine for Hell
Ten for the Devil himself

We weren't really allowed to watch Magpie in my house though I do remember the odd show. My mother always used to show utter disgust when the show used to ask for money for charities . "...At least Blue Peter only ask for milk bottle tops" she'd say.

I'm wondering if this badge had other versions featuring other lyrics from the Magpie song - if you have one please let me know!

Thursday, 30 August 2012

CD Review: Beautiful Friction By The Fixx (Kirtland)

If something isn’t broken, don’t Fixx it.

Beautiful Friction is The Fixx’ 10th studio album in 30 years which as some statistics go isn’t bad for an early 80s new wave band whose biggest chart successes One Thing Or Another and Stand Or Fall were outside their UK homeland.

Not needing to live up to anything and by doing so succeeding,  The Fixx’ sound is so retro it’s in again. Imagine an 80s approach with 2012 production values and you have something here which rivals today’s bands.

Anyone Else, The Girl with No Ceiling and Small Thoughts all have a tongue in cheek irony of a band who have been around the block a few times, although the raw energy and sound displayed contradicts this making them sound remarkably fresh.

The Fixx? The 80s have never sounded so good!

On Radio: Dad's Army - A Jumbo Sized Problem

The Walmington-On-Sea platoon are to pave the way for a convoy, but as usual things are never straightforward, and a circus happens to get in the way.

The radio episode A Jumbo Sized Problem is Harold Snoad and Michael Knowles rewrite of Jimmy Perry and David Croft’s Dad’s Army television episode Everybody’s Truckin’ was originally broadcast on BBC Radio in July 1976.

Dad’s Army is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra at 08:30 Hrs, 12:30 Hrs and 19:30 Hrs and available to listen again on the BBC iPlayer for a week after broadcast.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

CD Review: Men Opening Umbrella's Ahead by Viv Stanshall (Poppydisc)

“Don’t fade me out you beast” protests the late Vivian Stanshall at one point on this surreal collection of  1974 prog rock comedy that has been lost to the record buying public for nigh on three decades.

Men Opening Umbrella’s Ahead was Stanshall’s first solo venture on vinyl following his departure from The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band.

No doubt a then-recent collaboration with Mike Oldfield on Tubular Bells inspired the comedian to produce an album with equally impressive production kudos including Neil Innes, Steve Winwood and Jim Capaldi among the session musicians.

It's not easy listening by any means but it will no doubt have appeal to any fan who loved the Bonzo's and their surreal style of humour. So for those who want it, every, burp, belch and double entendre is re-committed for a deluxe CD release along with the single Lakonga and Baba Tunde O.

You have been warned!

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

CD Review: Vangelis - The Collection (Rhino)

There’s no doubt Vangelis has created some of the most memorable electronic and progressive music over the last few decades. His theme to the film Chariots of Fire has barely dated since it was released back in 1982 and its use in the opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics accompanied by a parody from Rowan Atkinson has no doubt assured the music’s longevity for a further 30 years.

This long overdue compilation demonstrates Vangelis' Olympian status as a musician, composer and even pop performer.

Classics like Blade Runner’s end titles, L’enfant, Missing and Rachel’s Song sit neatly alongside early 80s chart-friendly collaborations with Yes vocalist Jon Anderson including I’ll Find My Way Home, I Hear You Now and State Of Independence.

An essential collection for lovers of electronic music.

TARDIS Tuesday: Doctor Who's Forecast Of Moon Landing

Doctor Who - Moon Landing
With the recent passing of Neil Armstrong - the first man to walk on the moon,  I thought I'd take a trip back to the 1960s when the Doctor Who comic strip forecasted the moon-landing some four years before it happened and how remarkably close it was to the eventual touchdown date!

We all know The Doctor is capable of travelling in time but occasionally Doctor Who does predict events in the future.

Neville Main who drew the Doctor Who cartoon strip for TV Comic in 1965 put together a three-part comic strip which saw The Doctor arrive on the Moon on July 20, 1970, which coinciding with the first moon landing.

Now this is pretty spectacular because when history eventually unfolded, Apollo 11 touched down on the moon on July 20, 1969, exactly a year before TV Comic's very own forecast.

Above is a representation of the original strip featuring the moon landing and the astronauts apparent discovery of The TARDIS on the lunar surface. It was reprinted by Doctor Who Classic comics in 1994 in colour however I've reverted the strip to Black and White to be in-keeping with the William Hartnell era!

Monday, 27 August 2012

CD Review: 30 Years of Bananarama (Rhino)

I have to admit, the title of Bananarama's latest CD release: 30 Years Of Bananarama brought me out in a cold sweat. I recall seeing Bananarama for the first time on Top of the Pops with the Fun Boy Three back in 1982 performing It Ain't What You Do It's The Way That You Do It and it still only seems like... well ...yesterday!

30 years later and listening to Rhino’s digital re-masters of Bananarama’s  finest chart outings, the years are simply rolled away and it is just possible to experience 80s pop once again with the energy such tracks as Shy Boy, Cruel Summer and Love In The First Degree were originally intended.

30 years of Bananarama stretches from the groups punk-pop beginnings as a trio via Stock, Aitken and Waterman’s chart glories to losing one third of the band to Shakepeares Sister and ultimately redefining themselves as a disco diva duo.

Not every hit is featured on the CD but the comprehensive DVD accompanying the release pretty much does. It features no less than 33 of the bands promo videos including rarities such as Rough Justice (featuring a guest appearance from 70s BBC Newscaster Peter Woods) and the girls U.S. only single The Wild Life – so ultimately this is a real treat for 80s enthusiasts!

Mono Monday: San Francisco by Scott McKenzie (CBS, 1967)

"If you're going to San Francisco... be sure to wear some flowers in your hair..." so goes the anthemic 1967 Number One hit from Scott McKenzie who last Monday it was announced had passed away.

I resisted the temptation to post anything on Retrospace about McKenzie straight away as I knew very little about the American singer except his marvellous 1967 single which I recall first hearing as a toddler from my parents record collection.

The 45 RPM single itself was distinctive in appearance, an orange CBS label with a flower drawn around the hole in the centre of the record.

When you placed the needle on the record itself the sound was pure magic. Bells matched with McKenzie's soft and gentle vocals describing a rose tinted view of the summer of love with a powerful chorus: "...All across the nation...such a strange vibration ... people in motion...".

I may never get to McKenzie's San Francisco but he certainly brought it home to me, indeed the world... thank you Scott!


Sunday, 26 August 2012

I Always Believed In The Man On The Moon - Neil Armstrong Remembered

Neil Armstrong - Wikimedia Commons
I was sad to hear of the news of the passing of astronaut Neil Armstrong at the age of 82 last night.

I tweeted at the time: "Sad news about Neil Armstrong - a legend a year and two days after my birth and never bettered over 40 years on - RIP"

Indeed, Armstrong has always been pretty awesome in my estimation since I remember seeing TV programmes about the then current moon missions as a child. That excitement returned a few years ago along with my two young sons when we watched several documentaries about the Apollo moon landings and how they weren't as easy or as straightforward as we all might have imagined.

I was too young to remember Armstrong's historic feat, I was a year and two days old when he took that "giant leap" on July 20, 1969. But I actually feel like I was there and am pleased such a historic event happened in MY lifetime.

The ultimate tribute has come from Armstrong's own family who have said on his passing: 'Next time you walk outside on clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil and give him a wink.'

A real life trailblazer indeed and what an incredible life!

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Favourite Elvis Presley Number One Results

Well the voting has closed!

Retrospace asked you out of the first six Elvis Presley UK Number Ones what was your favourite?

In the end it was down to two choices All Shook Up and Jailhouse Rock.

Jailhouse Rock won with 60% votes while All Shook Up scored 40% - thanks to all who voted!

On Television: Dad's Army - Uninvited Guests

When the wardens’ HQ is bombed Mainwaring finds he has to share his outpost with Hodges men. 

Chaos follows, particularly when an emergency close to home breaks out…

Uninvited Guests  will be broadcast at 19:30 hrs on BBC2 Wales – please check listings for regional variations.

Friday, 24 August 2012

Badge Friday: Greenmeadow Community Farm

Not one, but three different badges from Carl Difford's collection this week, all originating from Greenmeadow Community Farm in Cwmbran, South Wales.

Carl recalls: "Three badges from Greenmeadow Community Farm, Cwmbran. It was a good place to take my daughter nearly 20 years ago and is still popular with the kids."

All three badges are quite different in style and interesting that oe features a cheeky looking pig.

Thursday, 23 August 2012

On Radio: Dad's Army - The Recruit

With Captain Mainwaring in hospital SergeantWilsonoversees the enrolment of two new recruits in the platoon, The Vicar and The Verger!

This radio adaptation based on the television episode The Recruit was originally broadcast on BBC Radio in July 1976.

Dad’s Army is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra at 08:30Hrs, 12:30Hrs and 19:30Hrs and available to listen again on the BBC iPlayer for a week after broadcast.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

TARDIS Tuesday: Girl Pin-Up - Peter Davison

Proving that decades before David Tennant and Matt Smith won over girl fans hearts as The Doctor, televisions youngest Doctor Who in the early 80s Peter Davison also had his own unique female following.

This 1982 colour pin-up from Girl also gives a brief profile on Peter and states how Peter as a 12 year old watched Doctor Who when William Hartnell played the role: "...loving every minute of the series. He never dreamt that one day, he would play the part!".

I'm sure David Tennant felt the same way when he watched Peter Davison!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Mono Mondays: Elvis Presley - One Night / I Got Stung

Never has a song been sung with such passion and angst as Elvis' 1958 classic One Night. 

The song, originally titled One Night of Sin was recorded by Smiley Lewis in 1956 and in fact Elvis laid down a version of Smiley's original version in 1957. This version, a repenting rendition of a sinful act would not be released until the 1980s, because following the recording Elvis went away and recorded the song with new lyrics premeditating the fantasy he would spend for One Night with the love of his life.

The single was released in the US in 1958 and again in the UK in 1959 where it reached No.1, the single was reissued in 2005 to commemorate Elvis' 70th birthday and reached number 1 again.

Having recently heard both One Night and the original version One Night of Sin its interesting that both versions work well as a set with a before and after event scenario taking place as if a story takes place where the subject is lead off a spiritual path by lust. Even more interesting is Elvis allegedly recorded them in reverse order but both remain great records and heartfelt performances only equalled by a live TV version a decade later in 1968.


Visiting Comics Fayre at Newport Indoor Market

Earlier on Saturday prior to our visit to the Wetlands I walked the boys over to the Newport Comics Fayre at the indoor market after swimming. I'm never quite sure what I'll find there from one trip to the next although I have had a passion for old comics reawakened in recent times.

I did find a couple of interesting reads however, including a comic strip adaptation of Sherlock Holmes stories, two US editions of the alternative 90s comic DeadLine and 3 editions of a mini-series called Hotspur. As well as theseI purchased a comic each for Jon and Tom (Spiderman and Batman respectively) for been so good!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Retro Book Cover: Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote

I love old books, not only to read but in many cases for their covers as well.

Here's a real treasure from the 1960s, I found on a trip to my favourite bookshop in Tenby the other week!  A Penguin edition of Breakfast At Tiffany's by Truman Capote.

Not only does the book design feature the iconic orange synonymous with Penguin at the time but also a  photograph of the wonderful Audrey Hepburn as she appeared in the film of the same name.

This particular edition was printed in 1963 and was available for the price of 2/6 (two shillings and sixpence).

Cooling down in Bridgend

Cooling down with a shaved-ice snow-cone
Seren made her way back home today after a few days in Carmarthen. We travelled over to MacArthur Glen shopping centre in Bridgend to pick her up..

As the afternoon was quite warm, Rachel got the children a snow-cone (like they have in Hawaii Five-O). Needless to say it was demolished in ten minute's and was quite refreshing before they went to get fitted with school shoes for next term.

A Summer Afternoon Visit To Newport Wetlands

Greeted by a feathered friend
Rachel was keen to make the most of the nice weather yesterday afternoon so we all went over to the Newport Wetlands for a few hours. Here's some of the photos I took in the afternoon and imported into Instagram.
Tom poses with a big smile (probably because
he just saw his school-friend Ben)

More feathered friends and breathtaking scene
We walked over to East Usk lighthouse where an
amateur radio group had gathered
More wonderful scenery
A wild plant appeared to be attracting lots of Bumble Bees
A bizarre discovery on our way back - Ben's mum
discovered a denture on the footpath .
For the record it was bagged and handed into lost property!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Vote for your favourite Elvis Presley Number One!

It's 35 years since the King of Rock n Roll passed away but his music still lives on!

I thought it would be great to commemorate Elvis legacy by having a poll to vote for his best number one - an impossible task! However, I figured if I picked his first 6 UK number ones from his career these would surely best represent Elvis at his absolute peak!

So here you are All Shook Up, Jailhouse Rock, A Fool Such as I, One Night, It's Now Or Never or His Latest Flame (a double A Side with Little Sister).

Sorry if your Elvis fave isn't in this set but I'm sure you'll love at least one of these selections - all million-sellers at the time of release!

You can vote for your favourite Elvis Number One on the Sidebar on the left!

Voting closes on Saturday 25th August!

Favourite James Bond Poll Results

The favourite actor to portray James Bond amongst Retrospace readers is… Daniel Craig, the current actor to play the role in the film series 50 year history!

Daniel gained double the votes of his nearest competitor original Bond Sean Connery closely followed by Roger Moore. Here are the votes in full!
  1. Daniel Craig 40% 
  2. Sean Connery 20% 
  3. Roger Moore  15% 
  4. Timothy Dalton 10% 
  5. Piers Brosnan 10% 
  6. George Lazenby 5%

On Television: Dad's Army - A.Wilson (Manager?)

Captain Mainwaring has to look for another Sergeant when he discovers Wilsonplans to leave Walmington-On-Sea for promotion in another bank and another platoon.

This classic Dad’s Army episode was originally broadcast in 1970.

A.Wilson (Manager?)  will be broadcast at 19:30 hrs on BBC2 Wales – please check listings for regional variations.

Friday, 17 August 2012

Badge Friday: Japanese National Rugby Team Badge

JRFU Badge
This weeks Badge Friday features a special sporting memory from Carl Difford:

"On October 8, 1983, Abertillery RFC hosted the touring Japanese national rugby team as part of the club’s centenary season celebrations.  It was a close game, which Japan won 17-13. The Japanese team manager gave me the badge after the game over a pint in the clubhouse." 

Thursday, 16 August 2012

35 Years Later - Elvis' Music Lives On

It's 35 years since the news broke that Elvis Presley died.

In some respects it seems almost absurd. One of the few lingering memories of my father showing me some consideration was him breaking the news to me that the King of Rock 'n' Roll had died.

"I don't want you to be upset..." he informed me "...but Elvis has died".

The news bounced off my 9-year-old brain and I was remarkably unmoved by it.

I didn't really connect the white-suited Vegas mega-star with the cool young rock'n'roller I'd watched on television in films such as Jailhouse Rock or G.I. Blues.

I knew who Elvis was but at that point the Elvis the world was mourning seemed disconnected to the image I was familiar with.

John Lennon allegedly said on hearing the news that "... Elvis died when he joined the army" To a degree Lennon was right.

Perhaps my appreciation of Elvis didn't really kick off until the 10th anniversary of his death in 1987. A TV special in which several then current artists such as The Pet Shop Boys and Kim Wilde performed their favourite Elvis hits and more importantly the Elvis '68 Comeback Special got a well-deserved repeat on television. There's something really special about that show, yes Elvis performs some really inspirational material on it but he also gets really rocky too, paying homage to the  music that made him great as well as the music he was performing at the time. Perhaps my favourite bit is when Elvis sits in a circle with his fellow musicians belting out a version of One Night - a truly great rock'n'roll moment.

Thankfully we still have these great performances and the music!

Retro Books: Doctor Who - The Scales Of Injustice By Gary Russell

Doctor Who - The Missing Adventures: The Scales of Injustice (Virgin Publishing, 1996) is a bit of a record-breaker for me. Having read the first two chapters when I was regularly commuting on a train some 12 years ago I put it on ice with the intention of one day picking it up again and finishing it.

That one day came again the other week when selecting some holiday reading. Having recently enjoyed re-watching The Silurians, The Sea Devils and Warriors Of The Deep and listening to Geoffrey Beever's reading of Malcolm Hulke's novelisation of The Sea Devils, I thought I'd give The Scales of Injustice another spin as it features The Doctor's underwater foes and is set at the end of the first Jon Pertwee series.

The Return of The Silurians

Reading this book is a bit of a slow burner for me (despite a 12 year hiatus). Author Gary Russell evidently had fun cramming a lot of elements into the mix which is set at the end of Jon Pertwee's first earth-bound season as The Doctor.  A season that brought us Autons, Silurians, Ambassadors of Death, Project Inferno, UNIT and Liz Shaw. Here Russell extends many of the components of that series and adds political intrigue, kidnappings, assassinations, The Brigadier's marriage break-down, Liz Shaw's departure, Mike Yates arrival and ultimately the return of The Silurians.

Plenty to keep a reader amused you may think, perhaps, however I found the tale a little cluttered. The Doctor's second encounter with The Silurians is not too different from his televised encounter. They still seem bent on wiping out the humans who have invaded their planet while The Doctor still seems insistent the aliens can co-exist on the same planet. After spending half the book in captivity The Doctor decides a couple of instances of Venusian karate will get him and his fellow captor out of a fix.

The Scales Of Injustice - A Tribute To Classic Doctor Who

More interesting is the back story that C19 have a conspiracy to bring down UNIT and that a pale faced government official with cybernetic strength is in the process of collating as much information about previous earth invasions and The Doctor's adventures as possible.  Russell pulls the master-stroke here of referring to future adventures that haven’t occurred in The Doctor's time-line yet (even though they have occurred in earth's past). He also takes liberties of introducing The Sea Devils and The Myrka, admittedly giving the latter a much more ferocious presence than in Warriors of The Deep.

The author also has fun writing dialogue for UNIT characters particularly exchanges between Yates and Bentonand giving a bit more profile to the third nameless soldier on the left who usually gets bumped off in a UNIT episode without further consideration.

In conclusion The Scales of Injustice doesn’t really offer anything new to fans of The Silurians but is a fun tribute to classic Doctor Who as well as the classic series continuity as a whole.

On Radio: Dad's Army - High Finance

Captain Mainwaring frequently finds his role as a Home Guard Captain cross over with his occupation as a Bank Manager. In today’s Dad’s Army he finds that Lance-Corporal Jones’ financial problems are more entwined with the Platoon as he realises. 

The radio adaptation based on the television episode High Finance was originally broadcast on BBC Radio in July 1976.

Dad’s Army is broadcast on BBC Radio 4 Extra at 08:30Hrs, 12:30Hrs and 19:30Hrs and available to listen again on the BBC iPlayer for a week after broadcast.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Film Review: The Dark Knight Rises

Ann Hathaway restores some
original style to Catwoman
I've watched Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy with fascination.

While Christian Bale's whispered voice may have rankled with some cinema-goers I have found his portrayal of the Dark Knight much more credible and believable than some previous screen presentations. Bale never falters in the 2 hour plus epic The Dark Knight Rises, even making the most of the moments when he doesn’t have a lot to do.

Following on from the events of The Dark Knight, Bruce Wayne and The Batman have gone into recluse since the latter taking the rap for Harvey Dent's crimes. Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman) and Gotham City have prided itself in clearing up crime and getting rid of the notorious Batman. However, Gotham has got too complacent and Bain has been plotting the City's downfall in a spectacular and terrifying ordeal.

The choice of drug addled adversary Bane (Tom Hardy) seems curious from the wonderful world of Batman baddies to feature in this film, although the presence of the Anne Hathaway's fabulous Catwoman (Anne Hathaway) more than restores the balance. Less cookie and complicated than Michelle Pfieiifer and more combining the sexiness of Lee Merriwether and Julie Newmar with a subtle amount of kickass, Hathaway more than makes Catwoman her own while restoring her closer to the original comic book version.

The supporting cast is also strong, Matthew Modine, Burn Gorman (yes, he formerly of Torchwood) and Tom Conteh all turn out splendid performances, while Michael Caine turns out an emotively moving performance as Alfred.

Marion Cottilard dazzles as Bruce Wayne's prospective new love interest Miranda while it is undoubtedly Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Batman's unofficial trainee Blake who steals the show. Blake's role increases as the film goes on to a point his own life draws similar comparisons to that of Bruce Wayne's. Trained as a Gotham law-enforcer he soon finds himself single-handedly breaking the bad guys, his only advice imparted from Batman to wear a mask if he intends to fight in the streets.

However; it will undoubtedly be the multi-layered action sequences and the terrifying devastation of Banes conquest of Gotham that will remain in the memory. A frightening fine line of real life news events merged with comic strip tyranny The Dark Knight Rises is a splendid conclusion to The Dark KnightSeries.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

TARDIS Tuesday: Davison and the Daleks

It's generally a right of passage that most Doctor Who incumbent's get to encounter The Daleks. Yet Peter Davison's one and only tv encounter with the metal meanies came very late in the day during his tenure as The Doctor in 1984.

A Dalek story had originally been scheduled for the end of Davison's second series but that didn't happen, thankfully the story was remounted for Davison's final series, seeing the departure of long standing companion Tegan (Janet Fielding).

The Daleks return to Doctor Who was big news. Their appearances had become rarer in the series since the mid-70s, and this new story would be the first in five years.

As usual, The Daleks were on hand to announce their presence to the world as this photo-call featuring Peter Davison and Janet Fielding displays.


Monday, 13 August 2012

Vote For Your Favourite James Bond!

As the release of the new James Bond film Skyfall approaches, Retrospace wants to know who you favourite actor in the role is.

Are you a die-hard Sean Connery or Roger Moore fan?

Or do you prefer Timothy Dalton or Pierce Brosnan with a licence to kill?

Don't forget George Lazenby's one and only but brilliant outing as Bond or does Daniel Craig sum up the best of Bond?

To place your vote, visit the left hand bar of this blog and simply cast your vote - results will take place next weekend!

Mono Monday: Waterloo Sunset - The Kinks

How cool to see Ray Davies of The Kinks performing Waterloo Sunset at the Olympics London 2012 closing ceremony last night.

As the concert was a celebration of the Olympic winners and British music Waterloo Sunset was indeed a good choice for the concert defining Britain's love affair with landmarks and the good old fashioned way of life.

Describing Waterloo with words such as "dirty old river" and "chilly" Waterloo Sunset  also documents the love affair of Terry and Julie and a description of Davies own personal paradise.

A different stance to The Kinks usual mod-rock pop ditties of the era Waterloo Sunset helped keep the listeners focused on the band as they entered the late 60s...

The record reached number 2 in the British charts in 1967, while Terry and Julie's love story was revisited by Bob Geldof two decades later in his record Love Like a Rocket.

Visiting Mickey's Magic Show

Last Wednesday, We took the children to see Mickey's Magic Show at the Wales Millennium Centre. I was reviewing the show for The South Wales Argus Guide supplement so it was good to see a show we knew we'd enjoy!

There's nothing quite exciting as a magic show unless you throw in Disney characters to the equation. Here's a couple of pictures I took of Seren, Jon and Tom before and after the show.

Note the magician cloaks and Mickey model which brought some smiles to the children's faces!

Sunday, 12 August 2012

As It Was: Dad's Army Film Review From 1971

The Dad's Army Film was released in 1971 and received a bit of a mixed reception from some critics at the time.

Here's a snippet from Eric Braun's review from Films and Filming published in May of that year:
...Director Norman Cohen has put his recruits through a series of situations which allows them to display their various idiosyncrasies as a splendidly integrated team, and achieves touches of visual poetry, as in the scene where Private Jones, obeys the general's (Bernard Archard) order to salute when helping him over a pontoon bridge. He releases his saluting hand and the section with the general mad the horse aboard is swept away by the current - at one blow a belly laugh, the deflation of pomposity (a recurring theme) and a moment of sheer beauty, thanks to Terry Maker's imaginative camerawork and the nobility of the stunning white charger who shows up the ineffectiveness of the human beings around him...
Catch the Dad's Army Movie on GOLD today.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Audio Review: Honey West - Murder On Mars

I have to say I'm totally unfamiliar with Glory and Forest Fickling's  creation of sexy private detective Honey West who graced a popular book series and a television series during the 1960s.

However the AudioComics Company's audio presentation of Honey West: Murder on Mars, a recent comic-strip reboot featuring the legendary character jumped out at me as it seemed to encapsulate all that is marvellous about pulp drama and classic comic-strips.

Honey West Goes Undercover As A Film Extra

Private Detective Honey West  finds herself investigating the murder of a screen-starlet on the set of a Sci-Fi B movie. As each suspect on the film studio lot is well-versed in corruption, deceit or acting West's detection skills at discovering the murderer or indeed the anonymous person who has asked her to investigate the murder are ultimately put to the test. 

As the drama unfolds Honey narrates the tale in true Mike Hammer style giving entertaining and caricatured descriptions of those she meets. As she goes undercover as an extra, Honey soon finds it difficult not to go unnoticed even on a film lot and finds she is gaining her own cluster of male admirers not necessarily with good intentions.

Carrington MacDuffie Is Honey West

Carrington MacDuffie's portrayal of Honey West draws the listener into Elaine Lee's fabulous 3-act script, conjuring up comic-strip images embellished with Roy Lichtenstein's Benday Dot's in the listener's mind's eye. Incidental music stylised in the roots of the early 1960s and a strong supporting cast of character actors give this audio drama a definitive old-time-radio feel.

With hindsight it seems a coincidence that the 1962 events of this story almost run parallel with the mysterious circumstances of the death of a real-life Hollywood starlet - Marilyn Monroe, whose own look seems to have inspired Honey's visual style. As with Marilyn Monroe, I now find myself smitten with Honey West and look forward to further audio adaptations of her adventures.

On Television: Dad's Army - The Test

The game is far from cricket when Chief Warden Hodges (Bill Pertwee) challenges Captain Mainwaring’s (Arthur Lowe) platoon to a match in today’s Dad’s Army.

The wardens secret weapon is E.C. Egan who would be bowling for England if it wasn’t for the war. However the platoons success depends on an unlikely comrade.

Cricket Legend Freddie Trueman makes a special appearance in today’s Dad’s Army episode as E.C. Egan. 

Dad’s Army was not the only comedy show Fiery Fred guest-starred in having putting in an appearance as himself in the Sid James/Victor Spinetti sit-com Two In Clover earlier in 1970. Look out also for a guest appearance from Don Estelle who later found greater fame as Gunner Lofty Sugden in It Ain't Half Hot Mum!

The Test itself was later adapted for radio as The Cricket Match.

The Test will be broadcast at 19:30 hrs on BBC2 Wales – please check listings for regional variations.

On Television: Dad's Army - The Movie

Catch the Dad’s Army movie on GOLD today between 21:00 hrs to 23:00 hrs and between 16:15 hrs to 18:10 hrs tomorrow.

Local Bank Manager George Mainwaring (Arthur Lowe) responds to his country’s call and forms the Local Defence Volunteers in Walmington-On-Sea against would be Nazi invaders.

The Dad’s Army film was directed by Norman Cohen and remains one of the finest television comedy adaptations to the big screen.

Friday, 10 August 2012

10 Things: 10 Newport SuperDragons

The children and I have had a popular pastime over the last few months getting photographed with as many Superdragons dotted around Newport Centre as possible - here are ten examples taken at various points...


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