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

Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (The Black Album, 1980)
So at one of the many Damned concerts I’ve attended they began playing his song and a group of largered up toss-pots began heckling and chanting for ‘punk rock’ and not ‘this goth shit’ – it’s one of the few times I’ve moved away from the front of the crowd during a headlining act (the other was during a Pogues performance of Body of American, I’m enthusiastic not suicidal), I didn’t want to be associated with that shit. “What a posse of wankers” thought I “how can you fail to appreciate that there is a man up there doing a duet with himself about The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde – that is the perfect execution of the concept ‘Jekyll & Hyde sing a song’ – just because the music’s slower and creepier? Fuck off to an Exploited gig =- anyway it’s The Damned what did you fucking expect?”

Fan Club (Damned Damned Damned, 1977)
As you will no doubt see in this post, I generally prefer the Damned’s creepier songs to their wackier numbers; this is my attempt at compromise. It’s not the creepiest track on the Damned’s debut (that’s Feel the Pain) and is a hard punk number from the mind of Brian James who plays for lack of better terminology ‘proper guitar music for headbanging bastards’ but there’s a slower, creepier, black and white horror vibe going on with the arrangement (especially in the instrumental breaks following ‘for my fan club’), I have an idea the Misfits really like this song, and Vanian’s vocals have that similar b-movie vibe going on (are they treated? Or is it just Dave’s natural talent at sounding a bit odd?). The song’s about the self-loathing that comes with being in a band and a star, the lack of real emotional connections you make, the peculiarities of fans, the booze, all that shit, but The Damned make it sound like its being performed by The Crawling Eye.

I Need A Life (I’m Alright Jack & The Beanstalk, 19951)
Right, this, I like this album but you won’t hear it played live by the Damned and won’t even see it mentioned very often, it’s the cause2 of the rift between Vanian and Scabies and I do feel a little like I’m being a bit…traitorous including tracks from the album but it is an official Damned album, does feature Dave Vanian (and Rat Scabies) and if anything is suited for this sort of post then it’s I’m Alright Jack & The Beanstalk, an album many don’t know even exist. And it’s not creepy! What it is a straight up rockin’ love song about knowing full well you care about the other person way more than they care about you, not very deep or original but bloody fun and a good rockin’ sing-a-long and more so it’s chorus has that ditty quality to it that makes it perfect to sing when you’re doing something that means you clearly need a life, like say cleaning unidentifiable powder off the backside of a Spider-Man toy or sorting your porn out or whatever.

Would You Be So Hot (If You Weren’t Dead) (Grave Disorder, 2001)
It’s time for one from the Captain! Of course Vanian’s still on vocals because I want his babies and his baritone makes me swoon but Sensible wrote the song and if you ever wanted to know what the Damned would sound like if they were The Monkees then this is the track you need to hear, of course it still has gothic and psychedelic sounds going on, it’s by the Damned, but there is a very Monkees jangle going on in places too that both disturbs and delights me (I like the Monkees alright? Sue me) and of course it turns into a technical guitar wank off at the end because the guitarist wrote it. Anyway the song is based around a sentiment (that I happen to share) – that being dead has a nasty habit of making people think a lot more of people than their actual talent and achievements support, I’m particularly bitter about this because a lot of dead people I like somehow haven’t benefitted from the ‘dead rule’ – amongst them Ian Dury, Wendy O’ Williams, Joe Meek, Vampira, Malcolm Owens and Thuy Trang – but Jade Goody is now somehow a saint, and I make no excuses or apologies for this, it bugs me. So you should like this song because I agree with, because it sounds a little bit like The Monkees and because it gives Dave Vanian a lot of chances to draw out words in a deep voice, am I doing this ‘recommending shit’ thing right?

Obligatory Cover Version: Help! (B-Side w/ New Rose, 1976)
I tried, I tried to make it White Rabbit or Alone Again Or and they’re so good but I can’t do it, I can’t not recommend a punk band jamming The Beatles’ Help into 1 minute 44 seconds like some mad, yelping B-movie version of The Ramones. It helps that the song is genuinely a good little expression of what it’s like to suffer from depression and to ask for help (for me it’s the first John Lennon song that lives up to his reputation, would you be so hot if you weren’t dead john? Oh wait, yeah you would, you were in the Beatles, shit). As this is probably the only chance I’ll get and because this section is so short: Brian James was a bloody good guitarist, from crunching to roaring all with this little bit of fuzz, the man turns a light, fairly minimal Beatles arrangement into a ripping, full-bodied punk tune and does it at breakneck speed, talented bloke the Brian. 

Grimley Fiendish (Phantasmagoria, 1985)
Back to creepy. A nicely gothic piano led affair (or is it an organ? Or Is It A Dream? Ha, see what I did there? Is It A Dream is a song on the same album as this song and…moving on) about… my favourite character in British comic books:  Grimly Feendish - The Rottenest Crook in the World. The song puts Grimly on trial, as the judge and lawyers boom down at him, painting him as a corruptor of youth or a child that never grew up and the jury taunt him with ‘bad lad, bad boy, bad lad, bad boy’ Grimly gets to snap and shout about how he never got the breaks Dennis the Menace or Roger the Dodger got to be sympathetic3 and basically, there’s no one to blame for him but his publisher IPC for not treating him right. It’s pretty much the exact thing I’d expect Grimley to say if he really was on trial. But what if you’re not a fan of Grimley Feendish? Well then it’s still a creepy trial of someone who needs to be put ‘where the children can’t be found’ with a nice ‘dom dom dom’ piano figure, in fact I grew to like it before I knew who I was about (my dad once told me it was about the Child Catcher from Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang, which it totally could be) and it’s still really catchy.
But you SHOULD become a fan of Grimly Feendish because he was great - imagine Gru from Despicable Me (who looks suspiciously like Mr Feendish) but very British and more absurd. He once used once used giant Gummy Bears as minions for fuckssake. He appeared in Wham! (as the villain of the strip Eagle Eye – Junior Spy) and in his own strip in Smash! and Shiver & Shake, do yourself a favour and Google yourself some strips of his.

Generals (Strawberries, 1982)
While we’re on the subject of piano-led numbers meet Generals, the only reason this isn’t my favourite Damned song is because my next choice exists. The Damned made a big fuss about how they didn’t want to write songs about politics, current affairs or sociological issues like The Clash or The Sex Pistols (their two contemporaries early on in the Punk scene) and it made them seem shallow, the zenith of this was ‘Politics’ on 2nd album Music For Pleasure which made them sound like ignorant wankers, the band had come a long way in 5 years and Strawberries, an album with a song aimed directly at President Ronald Regan (it’s called Bad Time For Bonzo and is great) and Generals. Generals takes on those higher up in the chain command, the men who talk of valour and honour and sacrifice and greatship, the men who lead and let everyone know they lead, the men who have historically done this far from harm in nice comfortable lodgings.
The reason the song is so good is that it’s just fanatically well explained, so much so that I’m just going to recite the chorus for the rest of this paragraph: only the wounded remain /  the generals have all left the game / with no will to fight / they fade with the light / there’s nobody left they can blame.
This from the band that once had a song that pretty  much came down to ‘politics are stupid, you’re stupid, you shouldn’t talk because you have managers (even though we do too), politics are stinky’, it’s amazing what a change in lyricist and a couple of years of Thatcher will do.  

These Hands (Machine Gun Etiquette, 1979)
It’s about a killer circus clown, from the point of view of a killer circus clown, set to goth-punk calliope music, as he kills someone. I think that’s all I need to say for this one, next! 

Plan 9 Channel 7 (Machine Gun Etiquette, 1979)
So you may have gathered by now that I think Dave Vanian is god. I don’t think this, I know it. Vanain has composed a few epics during his time with the Damned, his masterpiece is generally considered to be Curtain Call on The Black Album – but it’s bloody long and it’s not about Vampira so I prefer this one, in fact this is my favourite Damned song and one my favourite songs period. It’s a roaring good arrangement with a gothic undertone to it, it has Dave Vanian doing his best style of vocals (‘booming’ pretty much covers it), it’s completely evocative of its subject (black and white Hollywood and black and white horror) and that subject is something I’m a big fan of: the original horror hostess Vampira. It deals with her…odd relationship with James Dean, Hollywood’s embracing and rejection of her and it’s general clucking, tongue wagging ‘ooh she’s a bit odd she is’ bullshit and basically how Vampira was just different and that she is wonderful and hypnotic and worthy of your love and a five minute song and you will bow to the queen and codifier and trend setter of horror hosts, bow you unworthy fuckers, bow!…it got away from me there a bit. If I must do ‘that thing’ imagine Nirvana’s Frances Farmer Will Have her Revenge on Seattle but sung by a vampire and played by an undead punk rock group and you should be there. Incidentally Frances Farmer’ is my favourite Nirvana song. Channel 7 was the channel that Vampira’s ‘Dig Me Later, Vampira’ show used to be broadcast on by the way.

Nasty (B-side w/ Thanks for the Night, 1984)
It’s the song they performed on The Young Ones, it has to be included. A straight up rocker about the Video Nasty scandal and the movies that inspired it, I’m never quite sure if it’s for or against the films: lines like ‘crash the horror taxi’ would imply to me that it’s against, that the Video Nasties are the ruination of the genre and given Dave Vanian’s love of the moodier black and white era of horror films I can see him thinking just that about these gory, exploitative, violent pictures like I Spit On Your Grave and The Last House on the Left; but at the same time it sound so joyous and celebratory and I can’t imagine the Damned having an issue with something that got up the arses of the establishment, the censors and that old cow Mary Whitehouse in such a delicious fashion so I dunno, maybe it’s just the way Vanian sings everything, he always sounds like he’s into it. Of course it could just be about the whole thing, whatever. Regardless it amounts to a rock song about watching a horror film and if it IS against the Video Nasties it’s sadly ironic as it pretty much has the exact same appeal – joyfully violent thrills. 

And with that I ha ha don’t have any more to ha ha say for this article. I’m not ha ha ha putting YouTube links up for these articles because a ha ha ha those sort of videos tend to get taken down and ha ha ha ha I hate finding a blog post with broken links so a ha ha ha ha ha A ha ha ha ha ha ho ho ho a ha ha ha ha ha A ha ha ha ha ha ho ho ho a ha ha ha ha ha A ha ha ha ha ha ho ho h -- STOP LAUGHING!

1 called Not of This Earth in some territories including its original Japanese release but apparently I’m Alright Jack & The Beanstalk, which was used in the UK, was the intended name for the album (but was considered too much of a mouthful for the Japanese, what with their native language being Japanese an’ all) so it’s the name I’m using.
2 my VERY basic understanding of the problem is that when Vanian was called in do vocals for the album’s worth of material (Scabies and a previously non-Damned guitarist Alan Lee Shaw wrote all but Prokofiev on their own) he was under the impression that it would be released only in Japan (under a different band name – I think) and would only be used to fund the next Damned album (presumably with more previous Damned members?) but Scabies then released it under The Damned named and in all territories and Vanian thought he’d been used
3 this is my interpretation of the line ‘you never made me good’ with ‘good’ meaning ‘heroic’ because Grimely Feendish WAS a good strip, it was popular and well received at the time and retains critical praise to this day. 

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:

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Super Quick Crappy Review: Eliminator Super Hero*

Just a quick one, but we need to talk about this knock-off figure.



B&M Bargains are a chain of large discount stores from Lancashire whose logo looks like a brand of 1970s washing powder. They sell a wide variety of crap from mainstream American food brands to home furnishings to crap knock-off action figures. Chelmsford has a B&M the size of a warehouse (it used to be a Tesco), into which we popped and I bought today’s study, meet the Eliminator Super Hero!


I’m a fairly large fan of Toy Biz’s Marvel figures from the 1990s, especially their 10” lines, Eliminator Super Hero has almost certainly been manufactured to cash in on the sales success of the 12” Titan Heroes line (y’know, the really cheap 12” figures Spider-Man and Star Wars have?) but his stance, proportions and just overall width make ESH feel far closer to those old Toy Biz behemoths than any current product. He’d deliciously retro; though I think it’s more a case of being behind the times. Anyway according to his box he was made for B&M though it doesn’t say who buy, which I believe is a clever ploy to avoid the inevitable summons. Speaking of the box, I don’t normally do packaging but with knock-off toys they’re often one of the best parts and this one’s surprisingly professional, it features two images of our Eliminator Super Hero in two poses traced from stock images of Iron Man taken from Google Image search and while the colouring is completely different (it’s the colours scheme for the Iron Patriot, who appeared in Iron Man 3 - that is not a coincidence) the actual armour is spot is on to the figure. Given the usual quality of bootleg packaging it’s surprising it’s not a picture of Batman, getting pieces of accurate commissioned artwork (I’m guessing they also sell this in the Iron Patriot colours scheme) you might as well consider this a Marvel Legends release.


The figure itself is wonderful, when knock-off toys get to this size they feel like humanoid Easter eggs and I love that shit, this is especially true on ESH’s hips, you can’t stroke an Easter egg for too long, it’ll melt, but I can stroke fake iron man’s thighs all day. He is exceptionally metallic too and very shiny, in fact he look and feels like Christmas and I may even use him as a decoration, of course paint has worn off just through the non-contact sport of being in a box but then what’d you expect? I’m just pleased he has paint-apps, let alone this many and this many that stay (roughly) in the lines – he’s painted back and front too, this is truly an elite knock-off. Design wise he’s there to do the job – look like Iron Man but not enough like Iron Man to incur lawsuits, I’d truly like to meet the man who looked at the Iron Man suit and thought ‘what that really needs is an Iron Vagina’ – the man needs me to buy him a beer. Also if he’s not a robot – and honestly I want him to be – his helmet is impossible, the wearer would have to have no nose, or chin, or skull. Articulation wise he’s really vey functional, he has swivels at the neck, shoulders and wrists and hinges at the thighs, that’s not only a lot for the type of toy he is but more than the Titan Heroes line has. Really there’s very little to complain about, his hands are huge but they’re also far more robot-y than Iron Man’s so it kind of evens out, also his shoulder armour is supposed to look hi-tech but it really just looks like something from Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Shall we go onto accessories?


Oh yes, a £2.50 Iron Man knock-off has accessories, in fact he has three and they’re all huge (and undoubtedly reused). What I’m assuming to be his primary weapon, as it was packaged next to the c-grip hand and I used to play Iron Man and War Machine a lot on Capcom’s fighting games and they produced some big-ass weaponry, is a gun so huge it’d even give Cable penis envy; he can hold it but he really can’t stand while doing so unless you point it down and use it to balance him, so unless EHS spends all his career hunting down rouge DIglett gangs it’s not that functional. His other gun can only be described as a deluxe Super Soaker -  after the brand was absorbed into Nerf, this one our hero can stand up and hold but the handle’s too small for his gargantuan robot mitts so it just swings ‘round and either hits him I the face or shoots him in the chest. I do like it though and I like the idea of Iron Man going into battle with a Super Soaker even more so I may resort to Blu-Tac. His final weapon, the one that’s both functional, practical and cool looking is a melee weapon I’m going to describe a space wizard’s swordspear. It looks a bit like an ostentatious light sabre and I have absolutely no doubt that Mystery Company X has cast it in c-thru plastic and used it for exactly that. Iron Man’s not known for using melee weapons, mostly known for blasting the fuck out of things, which is absolutely why I enjoy it’s inclusion so much, I expect knock-offs like this to obey the following line of thought ‘kids will think it’s cool, it doesn’t matter how utterly incorrect, nonsensical or inappropriate it is to the source material’ and the more it does this the more I’ll like it, and that is why there should be knock-offs of King Kong riding cheap rubber dinosaurs and wielding space wizard swordspears.

A conclusion for such a rambling, ridiculous review of an Iron Man toy with the serial numbers filed off? If you like this sort of toy, you have no reason not to buy it, it’s currently £2.50 and for that you get a 12” shiny metallic figure with three accessories and an Iron Vagina. If you think knock-off toys are the disgusting you will hate this, should probably burn B&M and possibly me also. Or you could just not buy it and use that £2.50 for a large box of Cheerios or something like that.    

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Kiddicraft Webster - Webster's Sports!*


Welcome sports fan to Webster’s Sports!
I know I used sports twice in once sentence, shut up.
Webster’s Spots is one of two playsets for the small but awesome Webster line from Kiddicraft, the other was the bigger but actually less awesome Webster’s Playhouse, which looked a bit like the Nerfuls’ playset but with angles, I respect that you may have no idea what I just meant.  Here it is and here are its two exclusive pack-in spiders:


Sunday, 21 May 2017

Six Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: Bootsale Report 13!*

This morning wasn’t that great. I know I usually open these this year with amusing but ultimately insignificant woes attached to bootsailing but y’know, they’re not THAT bad, it’s mostly just comic exaggeration to get a laugh out at you at my expense (except Collier Row bootsale, that really is that shitty), being dusty or temporarily bored can be funny but it’s not a terrible situation. This bootsale sucked though, not because of the bootsale itself (though it was somewhat unproductive) but because I ended it by having an hour long panic attack, now I did have a surfing shark to cuddle so it wasn’t the worst panic attack I’ve ever had but it really does put a damper on an outing, it’s also pretty hard to concentrate on, or care about, stalls full of other people’s old crap, it’s hard to concentrate on to care about anything actually. You’d think that, as I have them once a week at least, I’d be able to recognise panic attacks coming on way in advance, but it still takes me a good five minutes of thinking ‘I feel really weird’ before I cotton on because sometimes I’m fucking daft, anyway I’m very used to having panic attacks and can suffer them well but that doesn’t mean I like having them and I like having them in public places even less and in public places I visit regularly even less than that, I feel very self-conscious next time I go even though I know, rationally, no fucker noticed in the slightest because they were all too busy looking at old crockery and second hand handbags but y’know if the rational part of me was in charge I wouldn’t have random panic attacks in fields. Today’s take-home was also fairly middling, not terrible and certainly not un-exciting, just meh. Maybe it’s the lead-up-to and after effects of panicking for an hour, it’s hard to really enthuse about Flintstones candy containers when you’re acutely aware of how terrible and worthless your life is and that most people think you’re a loser. I will try though, and also to those people: I’m a loser with a surfing shark to cuddle actually, bitches. I took a photo anyway, not because  it was an impressive haul worth commemorating but more because I just wanted to see a group shot that included Master Splinter, Will Smith, Bart Simpson, an evil clown and the happiest Venom ever:


I was right wasn’t it? It’s delightful. Venom agrees with me, but then he thinks EVERYTHING is delightful. So are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin:  

Thursday, 18 May 2017

AFB's Top 13 Favourite Wrestlers in American Professional Wrestling


While ill I watched a lot of YouTube, and it left me in the mood to write a bunch of indulgent top 10s – which lead me to dust this off. I did a bunch of work on a Top 30 Wrestlers list as one of last year’s 30th Birthday Top 30s but it never got finished, no real reason, it just didn’t. But I looked about the messy teenager’s bedroom that is my documents folder and had enough material and enough inclination to turn it into a top 13 and so I did but… it still felt a little too indulgent so I’ve decided to recommend four matches of each entry on the list, that way if reading some bald bloke you’ve never met enthusing doesn’t float your boat you’ll still have 52 wrestling matches to look up on DailyMotion.
Anyway criteria was simple: the wrestler had to have had a career in America but didn’t have to be American (Canadians are coming). The reasons for this? Simply I know very little about Mexican or Japanese Wrestling so I felt if I was excluding them I should also exclude British Wrestlers too. Backstage bullshit and out-of-the-ring behaviour isn’t being taken into account when it comes to numbering, I’ll bring some of it up but it wasn’t used to judge the wrestlers for this list, I’m just referring to it for some other bullshit reason, probably attempts at humour or because it’s relevant to something other than the numbering. Wrestling for the WWF/E wasn’t a necessity but as so many American Pro Wrestlers do over their careers it shouldn’t be surprising that all but one on this list have done just that.  So anyway, ready for some barely clothed sweaty mean and poor and vague reasoning why I like them? Great!  Then are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin like a thorn in your eye: 

13. Bayley / Becky Lynch
Who? Two femael wrestlers who came up through and out of WWF's NXT division (and show) together 
Why? So why are they tied? Well for the really silly reason that I figured out that I like them equal, I like them both for the same set of reasons: they’re great wrestlers, they’re attractive and I want to hang out with them, can you imagine going shopping with Bayley? It would be immense, I imagine she’d just run from store to store and buy an armful of awesome t-shirts, funky stationary and soft toys and I Lynch is just cool, I think it was Paige who asked what her purpose was as WWE Diva? My answer: to be the really undeniably likable one you want to chat with before and after you see them beat the piss out someone. The difference really is that (and sorry to both girls in advance) I find Lynch more attractive (and more… my sort of person) while I think Bayley is a better wrestler, to me those things even them out (shallow I know).
Sasha Banks vs Bayley - NXT Takeover: Brooklyn (WWE NXT)
Charlotte vs Bayley vs Sasha Banks vs Becky Lynch – NXT Takeover: Rival (WWENXT)
Alexa Bliss vs Becky Lynch – TLC 2016 (WWE)1
Asuka vs Bayley – NXT Takeover: Dallas (WWE NXT)1

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: Bootsale Report 12!*

Today I went to a bootsale in the rain. If you can’t see the problem with going to an entirely outdoor market with absolutely no cover when its pissing out let me enlighten you: you get wet, and everything you might want to buy either gets wet or gets covered up so it doesn’t get wet so you spend a lot of time walking around, getting wet, looking at nothing. It’s not exactly harrowing but it is fucking boring. “Oh we’re up now” the rest of the people I was going with said “we might as well go, it’s only supposed to be showers” it was showers, about three altogether that lasted for about half the time we was there, in-between it was very sunny, turning the field – and the inside of my coat – into a tropical climate… but I’m glad I listened to them:

It’s not a great haul, but given that it was the exact opposite of bootsale weather, coming home with anything at all is worth being chuffed about, let alone coming home with Mr Pricklepants! And of this meagre selection six of them (the dinosaur, the white guy, the van, the police bike and the robot respectively) are top buys, items that I’ve been looking for for a while and genuinely collectible with a notable resale value, or tl;dr they cost a lot at conventions. Also Wolfcop on DVD. So are you sitting com…oh, no hang on, I totally have to show you these:


I didn’t buy them because even I have limits but I had to take a picture, they’re not quite on par with the Anti-Terrorism Super Gun in terms of sheer shameless cluelessness but I think we can all enjoy the Samurai Gun Special, y’know a firearm for those warriors who didn’t use firearms and the brutal simplicity of FIGHT GUN. Now with that shared, are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin.   

 
Reader’s Digest Gets Morbid!
50p (64¢)
A child bullied me into buying this.
She caught me flicking through it and just kept telling me it was 50p, moving closer with each announcement, I thought she was going to square up to me. Her mum was on the phone meeting my eyes with a look of ‘I dunno, I can’t control the creature, just give her money and maybe she’ll back off, it works 7 out of 10 times with us’. So to avoid getting into a fight with (and almost certainly loosing too) a four year old (she was little but wiry, like a mongoose with a ponytail) I just gave her the 50p and scampered away, hoping she wouldn’t follow and duff be up ‘round the back of the chemical khazis. Thankfully she stayed to extort money from more unwary buyers and I was able to regain my composure and work on convincing myself that I am, in fact, an alpha male.  The book’s actually quite good, ranging from the generic (famine in Africa) to specific catastrophes (the Titanic) all in that Reader’s Digest style of writing and even as dirty as it was (this is after a few wet wipes and some Fairy Liquid) it was well worth 50p of protection money. 

Enemy!
£3 ($3.87)
This alone was worth getting wet for, to pay less than a fiver for a Robo Force figure I’d let it bloody hail on me. This big house clearance stall had three Robo Force figures, three, but only Enemy was in good enough condition for me to buy (they had Hun-Dred, the Skeletor of Robo Force and easily one of my top 100 action figures but his arm was broken, it made me sad, I lovingly touched his angry beetle head in tribute, then washed my hand). This was not a clean toy, in fact it was a dirty week in general, the mixture of rain and accumulated dirt from various attics and sheds is not a pleasant one but even as mucky as he was, and with a peeling sticker (I’ve since stuck it) Enemy was a fucking steal and he is my new best friend. If you’ve never owned a Robo Force toy and can’t see the appeal I would like to tell you that they are big, angry, chunky, give hugs and those suckers they stand on are like fucking super glue, they can and will stick to anything: Enemy stuck fast to an old trunk when all I did was put him down to give the stallholder (who was wearing a bowler hat and shorts - good man) the money, these are the all-terrain vehicles of action figures.  

Stone Cold Steve Austin!
70p (90¢)
If y’wanna see dwitefry spend a whole paragraph doin’ a bad Stone Cold impression gimme a hell yeah! Have you seen this figure? Je-sus Christ son get serious, they made ol’ Stone Cold look like a confused Simon Pegg and then had him write his name across his jeans because apparently Austin 3:16 says “I sign mah own crotch”. The whole thing’s so goddamn ridiculous and yet so goddamn awesome there weren’t no way we was leaving without it an’ anyway even when he’s comically out of proportion the Rattlesnake’s still the meanest son of a bitch that ever lived and that’s the bottom line, cos Stone Cold said so.

Joker Van!
£4 ($5.16)
While certainly in ‘played with’ condition I’ve wanted one of these for years and having one in my hand that was an affordable price I just couldn’t put it down. It’s more of my ‘so ridiculous it’s awesome’ thing, it really does look like for all the world that The Joker has given up being the Clown Prince of Crime and become the Crown Prince of Furniture Removals or possibly just taken to transporting the forty cakes Lex Luthor steals. It’s just so silly but then it’s The Joker, if any villain was going to steal a bakery van, paint it bright purple then slap giant stickers of their face on it and then actually use it for larceny then the Joker’s than villain. Hell he probably has a fleet of them and made sure to use actual baked goods in the crimes he uses them for, just for the sake for theming. This is why The Joker is better than most other supervillains, yes purple vans make you superior to robots who’ve killed countries and alien robots that have bottled cities, I don’t make the rules, I just live by ‘em.

Odds & Sods!
Approx. £2.20 ($2.84) the lot
The thinness of this week’s haul allows me to spotlight a constant in all my bootsale shopping, The Odds & Sods. If you look through all of the haul photos in the Bootsale Reports on this site you’ll see that they’re all padded out with a number of random, worthless and often small toys that are sometimes Pokémon. They rarely-to-never get spotlighted and you might not even consciously notice them (if you existed) but they make each Bootsale special, you never know what they’ll be and they never disappoint. How they get bought ranges from me actually going to the stall purposefully to purchase them to thinking ‘well I’m already buying five things from this box, I might as well make it six’ they’re not stuff I actually ‘collect’ or things that I’d ever buy new or search for on eBay but they do usually tie into some obsession I have. Like the Pokémon, I only really ‘collect’ the Gen 1 & 2 toys but I’ll buy any Pokémon that I half-way like if it’s cheap, the little hollow Pokémon (represented in this photo by a super deformed Zekrom, the black lizard thing in the bottom right corner) are always cheap so it’s common for me to come home with one. Bootsales are generally a lot more productive if you’re easily pleased, I think that’s why children like them so much, I am very easy to please FOR EXAMPLE: that Playmobil skeleton is, to me, perfect - it’s the reanimated skeleton of a Playmobil figure, think about that for a minute - and the lady gave it to me for free (I bought some other stuff from her). That genuinely cheered me up and made the rain feel a little warmer during the next shower, sure I was wet, cold and muddy but I got a free Playmobil skeleton, man. FOR EXAMPLE: I will buy any gorilla that looks remotely King Kong-esque but as for the shark, I was chatting with another bloke looking through the Dirty Stall (that was something this week, the rain had turned the inexplicable dirt to inky ecto-plasm, but apparently I’m happy to dig through black slime if there’s the off chance there might be Ninja Turtles there and so was this bloke) and I said to him “if that shark squeaks I’m buying it” “squeeze it” says the other nerd - now invested, the shark squeaks, we were both genuinely happy, I bought him, god he was filthy but now he’s clean and I have a small squeaky shark in my life, I think I’ll call him Shawn. It pays to find joy in little small things, especially squeaky rubber sharks.

 
Space Precinct Police Bike!
£5 ($6.44)
Man I wish this bloke had had all of his stall out, he had this and rows of carded Legends of the Dark Knight and Phantom Menace stuff, if that was the shit he was willing to let get wet I’d’ve loved to have seen what else he had. Anyway I used to have a complete set of Space Precinct figures and vehicles but they all disappeared, perhaps victims of the Great Crush Dummies Box Disaster, so now I’m gradually reacquiring the set. It’s not too difficult because it seems nobody but me likes or even remembers the show (which I consider to be Gerry Anderson’s Babylon 5) or their toys so there’s not really any competition and sellers have no respect for them thus you can, for instance, get a carded vehicle for a fiver off some bloke at a bootsale, or pay 50p for a figure off another bloke from a bootsale. You can’t do that with Masters of the Universe, or even the other Gerry Anderson toylines of the 90’s like Thunderbirds of Captain Scarlet (which I’m also having to rebuy, having lost nearly all of them too). So what I’m saying is, learn to respect Space Precinct but not before I buy a boxed Police Cruiser.

Two Foot of Dinosaur Magazines!
£5 ($6.44)
So these were those scam magazines you see advertised every January: “buy a magazine for a fiver reach month and build a scale model of the Titanic, first issue only 50p” those things. I totally bought into that as a kid and between Dinosaurs! and How My Body Works my mum was putting our newsagents kids through college. Each issue of Dinosaurs! was focussed on a specific dinosaur and was filled with a bunch of stuff like 3D double page spreads, ‘Ask the Expert’ pages full of facts and even little comics (the one in the first issue was the discovery of the Iguanodon) and yes this is all from memory.  These 9 binders contain nearly 100 issues of Dinosaurs! and all but 1 of the trading cards that came with them, I don’t know how two 14 year old girls came to have these (or why 14 year old girls feel the need to wear nothing but strappy tops and short shorts in a downpour) but in terms of buying back my youth this is the fucking motherload. Of course once you’ve bought 9 binders full of magazines you now have to figure out what to do with them and how, luckily the uncomfortably scantily clad jailbait had many a Tesco’s Bag for Life but we were miles from the car and the rain was starting and they were heavy and you fuck around for five minutes getting rained on before just deciding to take them back to the vehicle and get wet. It was so worth it, this is a better collection than I ever had a child and I am going to savour pouring over them, living on Toffee Crisps and Fanta I will not being leaving my room until Thursday, I will once again know everything that there was to know (in 1993) about Pachyrhinosaurus.     

In fact I’m starting right now, thanks for reading another one of these, see yourself out. 

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Marvel Comics 1972-1978: The Editor-Go-Round Period*

So I've been ill in bed for over a week and this has apparently put my muse into a coma that it still hasn't woken from, but this is why you plan ahead - or more accurately, write something then leave it for ages because you can't be arsed to make the images for it. 
So I noticed that all the comic book stuff I’ve posted on this blog, with the exception of the odd entry in the Top X-Men Comic Stories list, are all relatively recent, 1990s and upwards, and I felt that this could give the wrong impression of me, I like comics from all eras, to prove this, here’s a long-ass article about a far earlier time in comics: the Editor-Go-Round period of Marvel Comic.

Ok, here’s how it worked – Stan Lee was editor-in-chief at Marvel Comics from 1945 until 1972 (when he became Publisher) that is 27 years, damn. In 1978 Jim Shooter took the EIC position and held it until 1987, a respectable 10 years, between these two holding the position there  was a period of Marvel comics I like to call the Editor-Go-Round period. From 1972 to 1978 there were five editor-in-chiefs, none lasting more than three years, they were (in order): Roy Thomas, Len Wein, Marv Wolfman, Gerry Conway and Archie Goodwin, all with different ideas about how staff and characters should be treated, all with different ideas about what stories and topics Marvel and comic books should cover and all with Stan Lee and Cadence Industries sticking their ore in at a time when the comics industry was in a massive slump and Marvel had grown into a large business with several licencing deals that affected comic content (not least toy companies Azrak-Hamway International and Mego). Behind the scenes it was a nightmare, everything from divorce to kidney trouble, but the Marvel Zombies out there might be looking at that timeframe and thinking “hang on, that’s when some of Marvel’s most acclaimed books/my favourite stories came out, that’s when Chris Claremont started on X-Men, that’s when Jim Stalin was on Warlock, that’s when they killed Gwen Stacy, that’s when Star Wars came out dammit” and you’re absolutely right, despite the company being in chaos – and sometimes because of it – the Editor-Go-Round period produced a lot of great work, a lot of cult favourites and a good deal of big stars for Marvel (which now, thanks to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, are one and the same thing – everyone knows who Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon is now, it is very strange) and this is going to be my long tribute to that time-period by going through it chronologically and talking about key books, stories and runs by one or more creators, consider it a guide on how to read Marvel Comics from 1972 to 1978. So are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin:  

Stan Lee is made Publisher at Marvel Comics, his old job as Editor-in-Chief goes to Roy Thomas, who has been employed at Marvel since the 60’s and is the first person Lee truly trusted to take over scripting the comics he began.

Marv Wolfman on Dracula!
(Tomb of Dracula #7-#70, Dracula Lives! #1-5 plus annuals)
Tomb of Dracula started before the E-G-R period when Stan Lee was still in the chair, but for the first six issues it was passed through a selection of writers (the first issue alone had three of them) before ending up in the hands of Wolfman, though this was long before he would go to DC and turn out his best work on New Teen Titans and Crisis on Infinite Earths he crafted a consistently high quality gothic horror series, effectively Marvel meets Hammer Horror, with a cast of great characters, a fantastic version of the titular vampire and introduced Blade the Vampire Hunter. Usually he was complimented by Gene Colan, who turned in shadowy plus sexy artwork to make the whole package that much better.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Just who WERE Sylvester Stallone's old team?*

So who was those people who were going to ‘go steal some shit’ with Stallone at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2?
Just a quick one, I’ve just got back from seeing Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. I enjoyed it very much thank you, I’m not sure if I prefer it to the original but it was very funny, very awesome and we got to see a lot of character development. There were times when I would have liked a little bit of a better balance between comedy and action in one or two scenes but the balance wasn’t THAT far off. What I enjoyed as much as the film was sitting in a full cinema, packed with as many teenagers on their days off and Essex scum as it was with fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and nerds and they all cared about Nebula and Yondu, they all cheered on Star-Lord and Rocket Raccoon, they all loved Groot, they all treated Ego the Living Planet as a genuine threat. Having grown up in and been a tragically hardcore fanboy during the nineties and early-to-mid noughties when not only mainstream acceptance but fandom acceptance of these character was considered a ludicrous impossibility, when you’d get laughed at in comic shops for liking the Rocket Racoon mini-series, when no-one but the most die-hard Kirby fans knew who the fuck Groot was. but being the guy who did, who adored Jim Stalin’s run on Warlock, who read Guardians of the Galaxy and Infinity Watch (no matter how shit they could be), who preferred Gamora to Wonder Woman, who preferred Rocket Racoon to Wonder Woman (my dad will agree with this by the way, he’s loved Rocket nearly as long as I have), who had complete runs of industry and fandom punch-lines like Howard the Duck, this was so gratifying, because this shit was always good and always filled with so much promise and now everyone’s caught up, I felt like crying - and GOD that was a run-on sentence.     

Anyway I’m sure this has been covered by some clickbait site or YouTube channel but I thought I’d do it just in case: one of the FIVE after credits scenes in the film shows Silver Stallone’s character delighted that his old team, made up of various Ravagers captains, has been brought back together by the events of the film and they should go steal some shit. The gag is that all of them are present day Marvel Cinematic Universe versions of the original Guardians of the Galaxy, this makes complete sense as Yondu (who has a much bigger role in this film) is a Ravager who’s a modern day Marvel Cinematic Universe version of Yondu Udonta, the archer from the original Guardians. For the confused there are two teams called the Guardians of the Galaxy, the second is active in the present day and debuted in 2008 in Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 issue 1 following the event Annihilation: Conquest; this is the team made up of Star-Lord, Rocket Racoon, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Groot, Adam Warlock and so on - the one the film team is based on. The first team, now sometimes know as Guardians 3000 or Guardians of Infinity, is from an alternate future, the same one Killraven’s from and debuted all the way back in 1969 in Marvel Super-Heroes issue 18 (so the second one comes first chronologically, comics are complicated) and is the one that includes Major Victory, Yondu, Starhawk, Charlie-27 and Martinex. Hopefully this'll be useful to someone, so are you sitting comfortably: then do you have any tape?

Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: Bootsale Report 11

I wasn’t planning to go bootsailing this week despite being a bank holiday (meaning Dunton and many other bootsales are on both the Sunday and Monday), we had rubbish weather predicted and I had no one to go with BUT I couldn’t sleep Saturday night, my sleep pattern is very often atrocious, so as I was still awake at 6am I decided to wander down to Collier Row bootsale. I’m sure I’ve gone into this before but just in case I haven’t: Collier Row Bootsale is my local bootsale that’s about a four or five minute walk out of town, the reason I very rarely go to it and instead drive half an hour to Dunton is because Collier Row bootsale is an utter shithole. Amongst its various problems is 90% of the buyers and about 75% of the sellers are curmudgeonly arseholes and so after about five lines of dirty stalls and rude bastards so was I. The benefits of the place come down to it being nearby, it being small enough to do in an hour and there being a good chance you’ll see a fight, because of all the curmudgeonly arseholes. I didn’t see a fight this week – sadness.
How well did I do in terms of purchases? Terrible. I didn’t even take a haul photo. Buuuut Given that it only took roughly 75 minutes out of my day and there was little else to do at 6am on a Sunday you could argue that it was in fact worth going - I got some stuff after all, and what I did get was all pretty decent but yeah, not a great ‘haul’. Still if I do these every time I have great success it only seems fair to do it when I have little, plus I want to vent.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: Bootsale Report 10!*

This week’s wander through waves of other people’s unwanted consumer goods was slightly marred by me having another fucking cold, old lawn ornaments and dusty porcelain loses some of their sheen when you’re feeling like utter crap - but it was self-inflicted suffering so I expect no sympathy, I wouldn’t give it if it was you. Anyway the big news was…The Dirty Stall was back! And this time I remembered to take a picture of (some of) it:

This is most of the action figure section (there’s one more row or so), the rest of the stall stretches to the right, a van’s worth and then at least this again but filled with video games, including a box of Japanese SNES carts, bit weird. I would have taken a lovely dramatic shot of the whole thing but I felt really self-conscious and this was the amount of stall I could fit in while hiding behind the stallholder’s van. I’m really behind this stall, for the third week in a row it’s turned a good bootsale into a great one and every week he’s had new stock, where does he get it from and more importantly, how does he get it so dirty in the small amount of days he has it? Does he just live in a place where it does nothing but rain topsoil and catshit? And if so (and in certain parts of Wales that’s entirely possible) why does he leave his stock out in the open? Anyway (again) here’s the haul:


Not especially impressive, though this does cut out the four books and two bags filled with Crazy Bones because I got indecisive about framing and shit, I get very uncertain when ill, Still the Edgar!Bug, She-Spawn and DragonFlyz figure (Fryte) made the trip worthwhile, throw in a bunch of possibly racially offensive sharks, Bam Bam Bigelow AND a Clefairy and it’s hard to grumble. If I always seem too happy and pathetically chuffed in these posts, it’s cos I am – getting Corps figures for 50p each genuinely makes me pleased with life.

Friday, 21 April 2017

The Long and Winding Five Nights At Freddy's 2.0*


It’s really time to update my Long and Winding Five Nights at Freddy’s post. Five Nights at Freddy’s: Sister Location and its DLC has…added and changed the way we see the implied story-line in the FNAF games, to say the least. So once again I’ve spent a lot of time on YouTube, Steam, the Five Nights at Freddy’s wikis and now, TV Tropes – which is surprisingly helpful. There will be many unmarked spoilers ahead, you have been warned, I am wearing pants though, so that’s good.


Five Nights At Freddy’s is a franchise based around a chain of family restaurants – Pizzerias to be precise – that use animatronic anthropomorphic animals heavily reminiscent of Nolan Bushnell’s Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre and it’s old rival (and current owner) ShowBiz Pizza Place. The first and second games take place at two separate Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza locations, the third a theme park attraction based on those restaurants, the fifth the storage and showrooms for Circus Baby’s Entertainment and Rental and the fourth in a house of a child who was injured at a restaurant. Each game is a point-and-click indie survival horror game and although the exact methods differ between the four games they all share the same simple gameplay and goal – use what you have to keep yourself from being killed by the animatronics, though from Five Nights at Freddy’s 2 (FNAF2) small bonus mini-games in the style of the Atari 2600 home video game console were added to give more of the backstory of the franchise (and further scare players). All five games were created and developed by Scott Cawthon and are available for PC (via things like Steam) and iOS.