Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Quick Crappy Review: Neca Superman vs Muhammad Ali


This review has taken me weeks to post, I got this set at the May MCM convention, that’s over a month ago. Why has it taken so long? Well the last picture in this review came out blurry (all of them I took, around 15) so I had to retake it – yes this took me a month to do. I lost the figures, I couldn’t get to the loft, I had a birthday, I had various small bouts of depression, I’m a lazy fuck, all kinds of shit. Now I have the pictures and with very little other content to post because I’m super busy with other stuff (including replacing all the pictures in over half of the posts on here) so I’m finally posting this bloody thing. SO… I went to MCM’s May convention, in was quite frankly better than it’s been in years, two rooms of dealers, a much bigger list of guests (doubly impressive as another convention was happening the same weekend) and just overall a better experience. Sadly my cosplay fell apart before I got in the damn place but that meant I got to walk around the whole thing in ratty clothes and socks, treating the place like it was happening in my living room, it was very satisfying. I came home with two sacks of stuff, some for my birthday (paid for by others), some for myself to enjoy at the time, such as this: Neca’s Superman vs Muhammad Ali two-pack.


It dawns on me that if you don’t know about this then you’re likely confused as to why anyone would make a two pack of figures featuring a boxer and a superhero. Well once upon a time, roughly 1976, DC Editor Julie Swartz came up with the idea of having the most famous person in the world team up with Superman. Celebrities have crossed over with superheroes more than you might think, even by this point, sometimes because they had their own books (like Bob Hope and Jerry Lee Lewis), sometimes because the celebrity wants it and is big enough to get it (like Eminem) and sometimes just because DC/Marvel thought it would sell or be cool (like this), Kiss and the Saturday Night Live crew have appeared in comics so Muhammad Ali shouldn’t be too ridiculous to comprehend. It took a lot of negotiations and behind the screens fiddling (rumour has it that Ali wrote his own dialogue) but the book finally came out as a huge coffee table sized $2 comic in 1978: All New Collector’s Edition C-56, complete with a tag-line to get some sales off the back of Star Wars (I kid you not: the ridiculously clunky phrase ‘Star Warriors’ is nearly as big as the two leads’ logos). The cover has become somewhat iconic in comic book circles and the book is one of my favourite Superman tales of all time; produced by one of comics’ best duos – Denny O’Neil and Neal Adams – it delivers on its concept and the hype that surrounded it, helped by the fact that Ali is one of the few real-world people who I believe could and would have done something like, oh, say, boxed an alien and won if given the chance. Usually the celebrities in these things feel out of place, or worse the book feels like double-sized issue long blowjob for them (read the Punisher/Eminem special for such things) but Ali was so big and so good and known for being so good that his involvement as Earth’s Champion in an alien pissing contest feels as normal as Superman’s, in 1977 they’re easily the first two people the world would have chosen, with Luke Skywalker being number 3.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Ten OTHER Great Songs By... The Damned

No Bootsale Report, because I honestly can’t muster enough enthusiasm, instead have an article on a punk band.
Ladies and Gentlemen – how do.
Welcome to the fourth instalment of Ten Other Great Songs By… where I gush about the songs you’ve never heard of by bands you don’t know the name of but would recognise if you heard them, eschewing the one or two hits the act has to tell you about 10 other great songs they recorded. We also ignore what I’ve taken to calling a band’s Teenage Kicks – songs that weren’t successful (or even singles sometimes) but are now as well known, if not more well known, than those top selling singles - just like The Undertones’ song Teenage Kicks, which far more people know than their highest charting single My Perfect Cousin. Because I just watched their excellent documentary Don’t You Wish That We Were Dead, today it’s time for The Damned.
God just explaining the Damned’s line-up changes is going to take a paragraph. Ok the Damned were one of the first wave of British Punk bands who formed out of the atrociously named rehearsal group the London SS (along with The Clash, Generation X and The Pretenders). They eschewed the more socio-political focus The Clash and the Sex Pistols had to sing songs about, well, just about anything they felt like and were formed by Brian James (Guitar) and Rat Scabies (Drums). The band have a habit of breaking up and reforming with the same regularity that most people change cars, even their most iconic member Captain Sensible (Guitar) was out of the band for a few years in the 1980s  after his solo success as a novelty act made it genuinely difficult to sell the band (no, really). The only member of the group who’s been in every line-up is front man Dave Vanian (vocals) as such, no matter what Scabies and James say, I consider wherever Vanian is to be the Damned (except when he was performing with the Phantom Chords obviously, they’re not The Dammed, they have their own name). The bass player was originally Sensible but after he switched it’s been a revolving door of various people that are sometimes people who got cancer, sometimes Dave Vanian’s wife and sometimes Lemmy; Paul Gray and Algy Ward are probably the two most noteworthy. Vanian and Sensible have both had bitter fallings out with Scabies so Scabies hasn’t been with the band since their last reformation, however Pinch (Drums) and the utterly wonderful Monty Oxymoron (Keyboard) have. Got all that? Right, the band were the first British punk group to have a single (New Rose), album (Damned Damned Damned) and American tour (all courtesy of Stiff Records because they’re the best record label ever) and have actually had a few hits – Love Song, Smash it Up and Eloise, so we’ll be ignoring them and their two punk anthems New Rose and Neat Neat Neat which is fine by me as I’ve never really liked Neat Neat Neat as much as I think I’m supposed to.
On a personal note I’m a pretty intense Damned fan, for me they form a kind of unholy trinity of British Punk with The Jam and The Clash and I’ve seen them more times live than any other act bar Alice Cooper, even more than Billy Bragg – who I would happily take a bullet for. I’m happy to see them finally getting the same sort of recognition as The Clash, the Buzzcocks and even the Sex Pistols because while The Clash just beat ‘em for me they’re as good as all three. So are you sitting comfortably? Then mine’s a large one landlord

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Pictures

Photobucket won't let me us them as a 3rd Party Hosting site anymore, apparently it's not allowed 'oh my plan'. This is probably my fault for always being 10 years out of date with everything.
This blog currently has over 200 posts with over 2000 images, how I DO have all of these backed up on my harddrive but it's sill gonna take me some time to replace all the images. I could pay Photobucket but they want over $300 dollars. I feel a bit like I'm being held to ransom and even if I had $300 to spend on a file hosting site I wouldn't give it to Photobucket.
SO. If you see a page title with an asterisk that means I've replaced the images, if a page title has no asterisk, the images aren't back yet. I'm sorry all my imaginary chums,
I have a mega busy week coming up too with some windows being put in so images won't be replaced as quickly as I'd like but after this time next week images'll be back much faster. Thanks all.   

Friday, 16 June 2017

Examples of Crap I Waste Other People's Money On: Birthday 2017 Edition*

It was my birthday this week! And as I’ve not gone to a bootsale this weekend nor will I be going to one next weekend I thought “oh no, my imaginary readers might not be able to survive without a post about the random shit I now possess” so I’m writing a birthday special of Examples’, yay right? Yay? Please?
I had a really nice birthday by the way; I suppose ‘effortlessly enjoyable’ sums it up. Everyone came over for a barbeque – two of my mates did the cooking (one for meat, one for vegan) and no-one fell in the pond (sadly) – then on the day I went to my beloved Southend-on-Sea and to their Sea-Life Centre Sea-Life Adventure which now has that well known aquatic species: the meerkat (I’m not joking, they genuinely have meerkats) but also mega adorable otters and FUCKING PENGUINS, the best of animals and my nan bought me a penguin that plays the Venga Boys and is wearing deely boppers. The girl who served us was utterly adorable – so of course I was with my nan buying a penguin that plays the Venga Boys and was wearing deely boppers, if you’re reading girl who served me at Sea Life Adventure, I’m not that sad it was just my birthday! Honestly! Of course if you are reading this then you will know how exactly how sad I am and in what ways. Oh well, at least I’ll be single with a musical penguin, I find most things are more palatable with musical penguins.
Present wise I fucking made out, which means that this post will probably be less amusing than it could be because I’m a bit short on random silliness this year, I’d feel bad but I really, really don’t, sorry.

Convention Fund!
Ok I do have a couple of random things. I probably should be highlighting the awesome Rocky Horror Picture Show script the couple (not the two pictured, only Lady Deadpool is part of the couple who gave me this) also gave me but I figure a picture of two girls in cosplay kissing might get me more hits than me going on about how much I love Tim Curry – again. The girl who made this is the one dressed as Lady Deadpool, the one dressed as All New Wolverine is my unofficial little sister, the latter relationship really ruins the titillation for me a bit. Apparently there is another picture taken a second after this where the fellow standing between their heads noticed what was going on at his right, the decision was made to use the shot that didn’t feature a turned on Black man. This is just ingenious - it’s a picture but it’s also a money box and it’s a money box for something that’s related to the picture – sorted. I’m sure they’re all over Facebook or whatever but I’ve never seen one before so I think it’s neat.  

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Gulliver's Alive!: A Sentimental Ramble About the Large Fiberglas Gulliver currently in Southend-On-Sea's Adventure Island*

Gulliver’s back!

 A quick and, perhaps, an odd little post but I needed to put this is on the internet.
Never Never Land used to be a small tourist attraction at Southend-on-Sea; it was built into the Shrubbery, a sloping hillside that’s the other side of the road to the beach. It’s worth noting here that there were in fact two Never Never Lands, the first that operated from the 1950s until 1972 and the second that operated from 1987 until 2000, they were both on the same land and the same sort of attraction but with virtually completely different content - what I’m about to say only pertains to the ’87-’00 version which is the one I went to, the one with castle full of He-Man figures and the creepy always-shocked fibreglass mice everywhere.

These things.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Trio, Kinder Egg, Pokemon and Centre Parcs present: A Chocolate Extravaganza!*

I had a review written but I need to do some shit for it and don’t have time, so instead: here’s some chocolate
And so I realised that I’ve got a shitload of noteworthy chocolate hanging around my house, mostly in my extension. Do I usually keep chocolate in my extension? Yeah, actually. Isn’t this titillating? By ‘noteworthy’ I mean chocolate you can’t just walk into a paper shop and buy all year ‘round, stuff that’s limited to a specific place or time of year or stuff that’s just unusual, special chocolate. Some of it I’d been meaning to talk about on here, some of it is getting featured to pad out the post – so yes that’s what we’re doing today, talking about some assorted nummy treats, so are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin:

Centre Parcs Chocolate Bars!
These have been sitting in an alcove waiting for their AFB Tribute since I got back from Centre Parcs this year, but depression was there and when I my mood was a little bit better I still couldn’t think of a way to stretch my love for these out into more than a paragraph or two, oh well, they can shine here. Centre Parcs has been having exclusive chocolate bars made for them since I’ve been born and although the packaging has changed - when I was wee they came dressed like a Kit-Kat used to, foil covered with a paper wrapper worn like colourful pull-over now they come in these very upmarket art-deco boxes with a sealed-for-freshness wrapper because fun is now allowed when you want to appeal to adults -  but the bar inside has remained mostly the same, eating one in the little kitchen area of a Centre Parcs villa is a straight passport back to childhood. No, wait, can I just rant for a moment about changing the Kit-Kat packaging? Because I’m not over it, I know that it keeps them fresher; I know that they’ve been like in America for years, I also don’t care because 1) I don’t like change 2) replacing something iconic with something practical is never satisfying 3) they’re less satisfying to open and harder to share/break, two things that Kit-Kat had going for it and the latter being a major factor in the bar’s concept and advertising 4) Kit-Kats that aren’t slightly stale and chewy taste weird 4) I don’t like change.  
Back to these holiday camp bars then: The best way to describe these is if a Yorkie and a Toblerone had a baby but the offspring was creamier than both, Centre Parcs is very much a European holiday resort and their chocolate bars are very much European chocolate, a little bit more cocoa, a fresh feeling in your mouth afterwards even from the ones that aren’t mint, they somehow manage to taste like walking in Centre Parcs. I actually bought four bars to bring home with me for me (I bought bars for my family too, I’m not a bastard, just a pig) but I couldn’t hold out until after I wrote the article and one of the standard milk chocolate ones disappeared. I’d like to say it was because my willpower was lowered by heavy depression but we all know that’s bullshit so I’ll tell the truth – I just couldn’t wait any longer, I needed to taste Centre Parcs. I made that sound way dirtier than I wanted it too.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: Bootsale Report 14!*

It’s that time again!

Didn’t do a bootsale last week because I went to a convention, the reason you didn’t get one of these for that convention is because a lot of what I bought is for my birthday so I in fact don’t yet have it to photograph and waffle on about while you all pretend to look interested (thanks for that by the way). As a nice change of pace, this weekend’s bootsale was lovely, Saturday had been beautiful weather to Dunton was big and busy but Sunday itself was, while warm and sunny, warm and sunny with a cool breeze and the occasional cloud to provide respite. A shocking thunderstorm Friday kept the dust down, coming at the end of the half term school holidays kept the number of regular families selling up (rather than market stall like sellers who do this for a living/second income), I’d had a good amount of sleep and felt fine, so happily wandered through isle after isle of stalls buying a surprisingly large amount of small toys:

click to enlarge, it's quite fun to stare at
So it’s a very vertically challenged ‘haul’ this time but a very full and pleasant one, the ratio of genuine collectibles to utter rubbish that only I would be this enthusiastic about isn’t any different of course but what do you expect? I worry these articles may be getting redundant but goddammit they help justify my expenditure on other people’s old junk and I need that, I think I’m gonna go question my life for a minute.
Right, yes, how about some enthusing about toys ‘n stuff? As always these are just the items that I can squeeze a paragraph out of and I’m not necessarily saying they’re the best things in that photo, except when i explicitly say they’re some of the best things in the photo. So are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll being: