Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Maindee Festival Videos - Holika and Loren Balaam

I love recording stuff on my video camera, and if you asked my family they'd probably tell you I'm frequently stood two miles behind them on a walk while I'm recording material for posterity in either photographs or video!

One of the favourite things I like to capture occasionally are live bands, no, not at the paid-for gigs where you are bound to wind-up fellow punters who've spent a fortune on tickets, but festival environments where you get to see fresh up and coming talent.

One such event was Maindee Festival last year where I went along on an extremely wet July day to see some of the local-based acts I'd been writing about or communicating with for The Guide.

I didn't get to see ToyPOP! on this day as their scheduled performance had been swapped around, but I did get to see Holika, Loren Balaam, Rusty Shackle and Ragora Khort.

I've just uploaded two performances I recorded on that day from Holika and Loren Balaam. 

Holika sadly split up last September, I hope these guys continue in their individual musical paths as their Demonstrations EP is really excellent and all band members seemed extremely accomplished in their musicianship.

Loren Balaam is going from strength to strength and a regular performer at music festivals - I'm sure we will hear more from her in 2013!

Here are a few pictures I took at last years Maindee Festival

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Vintage Toys: The Saint's Volvo 1800 by Corgi

I'm not quite sure where this little gem originated from except that it arrived in a batch of hand-me-down toys from some relatives a few years ago for our children.

The Saint was a huge ratings puller on television in the 1960s when Roger Moore was at the helm of the series and obviously a few spin-offs of memorabilia such as books and toys were the order of the day.

One such toy was a Corgi replica of Simon Templar's Volvo 1800 from 1966, complete with Simon Templar figure behind the wheel and a recreation of The Saint logo on the hood.

This version is obviously a little battered but still in reasonable condition for 47 years old!

For more information on The Saint and his car check out

A new version of The Saint is currently been made in The States featuring Adam Rayner in the title role as well as Eliza Dushku! Should be interesting!

Sunday, 27 January 2013

CD Review: The Bee Gees - Mythology (Box Set)

Many legendary bands are currently celebrating five decades of success; The Bee Gees are no exception, despite the sad passing of Robin Gibb last year.

Mythology is a 4 CD collection originally issued in 2010 and featuring hand picked choices from Barry, Robin and the families of the late Maurice and Andy (who had a solo career in the late 70s).

The wealth of the Bee Gees material reflects strongly in each of the four featured discs dedicated to the four Gibb brothers. Well known hits can be found interspersed with rare B sides, solo outings and choice album tracks.

Among the highlights are the groundbreaking 60s hits New York Mining Disaster and I’ve Gotta Get A Message To You, through the 70s disco glory years of Saturday Night Fever and Tragedy to Robin Gibb’s now rarely heard 80s disco hit Juliet, previously unreleased tracks from Maurice and Andy and Barry’s surreal psychedelic offering Barker of The UFO.

Accompanied by a book featuring a wealth of fabulous photographs and tributes from stars such as Elton John, Cliff Richard and George Martin, Mythology is a timely and fitting tribute.

Jimmy Perry Warns Miranda Hart About Perils Of Making Movies

Dad's Army creator and script writer Jimmy Perry has warned TV comedienne Miranda Hart of "a bumpy ride and a long way to the Academy Awards!" if she turns her sit-com Miranda into a movie.

Jimmy and David Croft famously transferred the Dad's Army series to the big screen back in 1971 when it was voted fifth funniest film of the year.

It has been well-documented over the years that making the Dad's Army feature film was not a pleasant experience for either its writers or the cast and Jimmy described the film in yesterday's Daily Mail as : "funny in places, but couldn't capture the atmosphere of the series."

Jimmy goes on to say that the film received a cool reception from critics and for years he couldn't watch it, however having caught it more recently he has now decided its actually "not that bad!".

I have to agree, considering many other comedy adaptations of the era, the Dad's Army film stands head and shoulders above most and continues to be enjoyed because of the great performances and enjoyable script.

Saturday, 26 January 2013

On Television: Dad's Army - We Know Our Onions

Tonight's episode of Dad's Army finds the Home Guard taking an efficiency test, however things don't go all to well for Captain Mainwaring and his men, particularly with The ARP Warden and Mr Yeatman in hot pursuit.

I always find We Know Our Onions errs a little more on the slapstick than usual, but its still a fun Dad's Army episode and features a guest appearance from none other than Fulton Mackay, who the same year this episode was made also debuted as prison warden Mr Mackay in the pilot episode of Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais' Porridge starring Ronnie Barker.

Catch We Know Our Onions on BBC Two Wales at 8pm, check regional listings for alternate broadcasts.

Paul Carrack: Interviewed and Reviewed

Paul Carrack
Fans of Paul Carrack may have recently caught a documentary on the former Mike and the Mechanics front man on BBC Four entitled The Man With The Golden Voice.

Paul has over four decades of music experience to his credit, as well as been remembered for hits such as The Living Years and Over My Shoulder he also sang lead vocals on the Squeeze track Tempted and Ace's How Long?

Paul is currently touring the UK with his new solo album Good Feeling and I had the pleasure of catching him live in St David's Hall supported by the excellent folk-rock Tinlin last week (Tinlin also wrote a track on Paul's new album).

You can read my review of Paul Carrack and Tinlin over on the South Wales Argus website: Superb show is 24-Carrack gold.

You can also read my interview with Paul Carrack on the Argus website here: Paul Carrack: Happy Just To Spread The Love

Monday, 21 January 2013

Treading The Boards: Dolman Theatre's Dad's Army Cast Stand Down

Dad's Army - Newport Playgoers
I caught The Newport Playgoers excellent production of Dad's Army again for a matinee performance on the shows final day last Saturday afternoon.

Afterwards I managed to collect several autographs from the cast of the show.

It was such a delight to watch the show again, having seen other stage versions in recent years with many well-known performers I have to say this version was the most superior I've seen with comic timing and delivery close to the original TV version.

Read On: Dad's Army @ The Dolman Theatre Review

Saturday, 19 January 2013

On Television: Dad's Army - The Royal Train

Today's Dad's Army episode broadcast on BBC2 Wales at 6.30pm sees the platoon going loco in order to keep the railway line clear for The Royal Train as it passes through Walmington station.

This episode features a great action sequence on a par with the Will Hay film Oh, Mr Porter! and look out for a guest appearance by William Moore who later played Ronnie Corbett's father in Sorry!

Friday, 18 January 2013

Treading The Boards: Dad's Army @ The Dolman Theatre Reviewed

My daughter Seren at the first 
night of Dad's Army
My review for Newport Playgoers production of the Dad's Army stage interpretations of The Deadly Attachment, Mum's Army and The Godiva Affair are now online.

Check it out at The South Wales Argus Website

Seren's Snow Days

We've had lots of snow in South Wales today, as there was no school my children have kept themselves amused with a diverse range of activities, my daughter Seren particularly has produced her first YouTube video with a little help from her mum!


Thursday, 17 January 2013

Treading The Boards: Dad's Army at The Dolman Opening Night

Dad's Army poster designed by Phil Mansell

Here's a couple of pictures I took at The Dolman Theatre on the opening night of Newport Playgoers presentation of Dad's Army.

The theatre really got into the spirit of wartime with union flags draped around the foyer and a pianist playing lots of wonderful wartime tunes as well as the Dad's Army theme - Captain Mainwaring would have approved!

Keep Calm and Carry On display
Floral display complete with rifle and helmet

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

View From A Bridge

December 31 2012
The view in question is from Ebbw Bridge here in Newport.

For the past 8 years or so I've walked over this bridge every morning on my way into work at the South Wales Argus offices. Newport frequently has a bit of a negative press, not far from this rather tranquil view of a river by a church we have a graffiti strewn subway that council workers frequently have to repaint and litter strewn roadsides with MacDonalds and chip shop wrappers.

January 1, 2013
For a moment each day as i walk over the bridge I usually look down on this view which runs towards the docks road, I may see a few ducks calmly swimming or the wild torrent of water pressure breaking through higher levels, but for a few months despite life worries and pressures everything seems okay.
January 2, 2013
I'm currently snapping an image a day on my phone of the same view and have been amazed by the different scenes I've acquired since the new year... here's a few selections...
January 8, 2012
There are more selections on my Instagram account search for #ebbwbridge under @retrospaceandy

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Instagram my childhood...

It's been a while since I posted anything on this blog (September actually) so I thought I'd start 2013 with a couple of old pictures my mum posted me last week.
My mother and I around 1969 outside my first  home in
Grove Street, Stockton-On-Tees
This was me during a trip to West Witton, North Yorkshire
 circa 1969 in the field where my Grandad kept his hens

Retro Books: The Two Ronnies, But First-The News

The Two Ronnies:
But First-The News
The Two Ronnies: But First-The News
Compiled by Peter Vincent
Star Books, 1977, 60p (1978 edition)
Cover Photograph by Don Smith

One of the most memorable images of the 1970s BBC comedy series The Two Ronnies is that of both Messrs Corbett and Barker sat behind a news desk reading hilarious news items about of-the-day celebrities such as Zsa Zsa Gabor, Yul Brynner or Telly Savalas or respected UK government leaders such as Jim Callaghan or Margaret Thatcher.

In 1976, very few people owned Video Recorders and asides from a few BBC albums very little of the Two Ronnies material was readily accessible for fans to purchase. Enter some clever body at Wyndham’s imprint Star Books who decided it might be a good idea to release lots of those famous news items in a book.

Two Ronnies Writer Peter Vincent compiled a selection of The Best of The Ronnies Dialogue (as the cover puts it)  written by a vast proportion of contributors for several Two Ronnies series between 1971 and 1976 , while Messrs Barker and Corbett along with Two Ronnies producer Terry Hughes wrote a foreword, a further foreword and an indecently foreword.

But First-The News was published in 1977 and was obviously so popular it was reprinted twice in 1978.  Illustrated with cartoons the reader is treat to news items such as…
Ronnie Barker: A survey on the decline of morals in Britain reveals that in Liverpool alone on each day last week an average of 267 women made love to an unmarried man. The man is now recovering in hospital.
Ronnie Corbett: Mr Osbert Grove, Britain’s worst ever postman, who claims he was wrongly dismissed by the GPO, today delivered a petition to the Queen  - at 15 Station Street, Scunthorpe.
Many of these items still work today, although it is the more topical jokes that have now become more historical than hysterical…
Ronnie Corbett: We’ve just this moment heard that the two pandas at London Zoo have begun to mate. The winner meets Bobby Fischer in the final.
Ronnie Barker: Meanwhile British Rail announce that the price of coffee is to go up to 15p a slice.
Obviously reading such items now, you have to keep a historical approach to them, and furthermore nothing beats the delivery of the Ronnies themselves, but still this first title in Star Books Two Ronnies series does still raise giggles in places.

No-one was safe from The Two Ronnies news items including a now disgraced late TV presenter who was largely beloved by a nation back in the mid–70s:
Ronnie Corbett: We were to have had Jimmy Saville (sic) with us but we’ve just heard that his suit has been disallowed by the Noise Abatement Society.

Treading The Boards: Dad's Army at The Dolman Theatre, Newport

The South Wales Argus - Guide 11 January, 2013
I have to say I'm looking forward to Newport Playgoers presentation of Dad's Army at The Dolman Theatre this week. Having seen several of the Playgoers productions in recent years I have frequently compiled in my minds eye some of the actors I would like to see tackle the roles of Walmington-On-Sea's finest on stage.

Article from The South Wales Argus - The Guide
Here's the coverage given to this weeks production from Friday's South Wales Argus entertainment supplement The Guide.

Follow these links to further news on Newport Playgoers presentation of Dad's Army. All photos were taken by Phil Mansell.

Newport Playgoers: Dad's Army Brought To Life On Stage
South Wales Argus: "Don't Tell Him Pike!" Dad's Army Show Comes To Newport's Dolman Theatre
Newport Playgoers Pay Tribute To Dad's Army star Clive Dunn

Friday, 11 January 2013

Treading the Boards: Dad's Army preview in South Wales Argus Guide

Next weeks presentation of Dad's Army by Newport Playgoers at The Dolman Theatre, Newport previewed in today's edition of The South Wales Argus entertainment supplement The Guide.

You can read about it online here.


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