Tuesday 30 October 2012

It's a little early for April Fool jokes, isn't it?

According to SFX, the House Of The Mouse is buying out Lucasfilm to the tune of $4 billion and will release a new Star Wars movie in 2015. Really?

I've got a bad feeling about this...

Ahhh, that's better...

Monday 29 October 2012

I was a teenage Death Planet Commando

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the first Death Planet Commandos gig, The Glass Walking-Stick proudly presents:
Part One of The Secret History Of The DPC...

Long before I joined the Punk band previously known as Primitive and embarked on a two-year mission of maximum rock 'n' roll I was also in a succession of almost bands, bedroom bands, made up bands. They went by such cringe-making names as Magus, Heretic, Vicious Bastard ( lovely! ), Perverse Society and Sons Of Evil. I also hit on the name Primal Scream which I thought sounded pretty cool ( I'd read about John Lennon going through primal scream therapy and thought it sounded Punk ) but I discovered some band from Glasgow already had the same moniker. Whatever happened to them? The name that hung around the longest was Sons Of Evil and my concerted graffiti campaign around my sixth form managed to convince people that we actually existed. Well, we did... sort of...

Alongside various fly-by-night band members such as Martin "Trev" Trevitt, Mark "Casey" McAsey and someone called "Spaz" ( according to my old diary, but I really can't remember him ) the Sons Of Evil were basically me and my mate Paul  -  pictured above on the drums.

And here we are again, propping up the bar in a Blackpool B&B. Paul and I were thick as thieves for many years and had various adventures, mostly involving alcohol and chasing after girls  -  although, in my case, too much of the former and too few of the latter :-)

Inspired by a thriving local gig scene ( bands such as The Lemons, Final Verdict, Major Detail, The Patrol, Ronald Rim Ram and Primitive themselves ) as well as by seeing bigger bands passing through ( Crass, Tenpole Tudor, Omega Tribe, Poison Girls, Newtown Neurotics ) we thought we'd give this Punk Rock thing a go. Paul tried guitar and bass before settling on drums, while I had always wanted to be a guitarist... well, ever since seeing old footage of Hendrix on the Old Grey Whistle Test, anyway. Unfortunately, I was never going to be the next Hendrix or even the next Joe Strummer, or even a competent guitarist for that matter. But we were young and had the old "three chords is all you need" Punk spirit on our side. We practiced in an old cow shed which had been converted into a snooker room, so we always had beer and peanuts to hand, and could always play a couple of frames of snooker when the musical inspiration was lacking. Which was quite often...

We never managed to break out of the cow shed and achieve international fame, but we did have a laugh and I started to write dodgy lyrics which got better as time went by and which I began to stockpile for future reference. Time passed and the Sons Of Evil retreated into the mists of obscurity. I gave up thoughts of being the next Joe Strummer, while nightclubs and horrible '80s suits began to replace Punk gigs and leather jackets. Until I found myself working with this young man...

In 1987 I was packing greeting cards for local card company, Paper House, when I met Ade, Primitive's frontman. I remembered Primitive from various gigs around Stroud and especially from the one above, a Battle Of The Bands at Stroud's Marshall Rooms which they really should have won, being the audience's favourites but, unfortunately, not the judges'. Primitive claimed to be "Gloucester's fastest band", being inspired by American Hardcore Punk, not the more stodgy UK Street Punk that had been so prevalent in the  previous few years. Ade invited me along to one of their practices at Time Out Studios in Gloucester Docks and I was impressed by their sound and their songs. It turned out their excellent Malaysian drummer, Lee, was going back home, leaving the drum stool vacant. It also turned out I happened to know a drummer by the name of Paul. A devious plan began to form in my mind. With all the arrogance of youth I proposed that Paul joined Primitive... as long as they took me on too as rhythm guitarist...
Cocky bugger wasn't I?

To be continued...

( Thanks to Mark B for this post's title )

Tuesday 16 October 2012

TeeFury T's

Check out TeeFury for tons of terrific torso trappings...

...and no, they're not paying me to say that.

Sunday 7 October 2012


is coming to get you...

...and has even crawled his way across to the lovely Joanne's ever-cool blog
I Have Seen The Whole Of The Internet. There's no stopping the potato peril!

Saturday 6 October 2012

Doctor Who: Angels, Slow Invasions, Cowboys and Dinosaurs

Due to the wibbly-wobbly nature of spacetime, I'm having to write my thoughts on the last 4 (!) Doctor Who episodes after last Saturday's season break... and in reverse order. And all this without the aid of a vortex manipulator...
The Angels Take Manhattan is the Doctor's latest encounter with the scary statuary as well as the much-hyped end of the line for the Ponds. As with the majority of Steven Moffatt's episodes this story boasts some twisty-turny storytelling, a ton of great dialogue and a plot that doesn't stand up to much scrutiny. It is, however, very spooky in a Raymond-Chandler-meets-MR- James kind of way ( those cherubs! ), with some lovely location work in the Big Apple and a creepy new twist to the Angels' modus operandi. The regular cast all give fine, committed performances ( especially Arthur Darvill who is vastly underrated in my opinion ) as the characters struggle to keep their quirky family unit together, only to fail at the last hurdle. The Ponds may have outstayed their welcome but I'm still going to miss them, and the final scene, returning to young Amelia sitting on her suitcase in her garden, waiting for the Doctor, is a lovely touch.

Four Out Of Five Bow Ties ( or authentic New York pretzels )

Further back in time, The Power Of Three also focuses on Amy and Rory and their house guest, a certain Time Lord. The world awakes one day to find countless millions of seemingly-harmless small black cubes dotting the landscapes and doing... nothing. The Doctor and UNIT ( represented by Jemma Redgrave ) are convinced that these cubes are part of an alien invasion but they'll have to wait a whole year to find out what's really going on. This is a low-key episode, in the vein of the two "Lodger" episodes, which wrings much humour out of the Doctor's awkwardness and frustration as he has to deal with domestic situations and an unusually ( for him ) linear procession of time. When the plot finally kicks in the episode loses its appeal as Steven Berkoff overacts as the personification of the alien threat, too many loose ends are left dangling and the hasty solution to the invasion is disappointing. But a beautiful little scene between Matt Smith and Karen Gillan makes it all worthwhile as the Doctor tries to tell Amy how he feels about her, all the while knowing that they are drifting apart. Sob!

Three Out Of Five Bow Ties ( or Rubik's Cubes )

A Town Called Mercy is Doctor Who's first attempt at a Western since The Gunfighters, the infamously feeble, studio-bound retelling of the gunfight at the OK Corral from way back in 1966. This is a very different kettle of fish ( or fistful of dollars ) even though plenty of iconic Western tropes are present and correct: there's a shootout at High Noon, all heads turn and the piano goes silent as the Doctor strides into the Saloon etc. etc.
Script writer Toby Whithouse imbues this potentially simplistic story ( alien cyborg terrorises small Western town ) with a streak of darkness and an investigation of the Doctor's morality. Upon learning that the town's doctor ( the excellent Adrian Scarborough ) is actually an alien war criminal, "our" Doctor effectively throws him to the wolves by hauling him  past the town's boundary to leave him at the mercy of the avenging cyborg. On this occasion it's Amy who is the voice of conscience ( but... anyone remember Madam Kovarian...? ) who has to reign in the Doctor's anger. While I enjoy seeing Matt Smith's Doctor cutting loose now and then, it has all been done before.
I must confess this is the only episode of this half-series that I've only watched the once. I'll have to watch it again and revisit that town called Mercy with its beautiful
( Spanish ) landscapes and its horse called Susan...

Three Out Of Five Bow Ties ( or Stetsons )

And as we finish our journey back in time, towards the Dalek Asylum, we materialise in a spaceship containing dinosaurs... and robots... and Queen Nefertiti of Egypt... and a lot of innuendo. Yep, it's Motherfudgin' Dinosaurs On A Motherfudgin' Spaceship.
The title alone clued me in that this one would be Fun with a capital F, and it definitely is. While I can appreciate the grim and gritty side of Who, I'm also a sucker for the lighter, camper stories  -  I'm a big fan of the much-derided Love & Monsters for instance  -  and this one ticks all the boxes, with its action, daft humour, cool spaceships... and did I mention motherfudgin' dinosaurs?
The Doctor assembles a gang to help him stop the titular spacecraft plummeting to Earth, including the Ponds, the previously-mentioned African Queen ( no, not the boat ), big-game hunter Riddell and Rory's dad, Brian, played by the wonderful Mark Williams.
The only seemingly sour note in the episode was the Doctor's decision to leave the excellent-as-ever David Bradley's villain, Solomon, in a doomed spaceship, with no escape. He had been built up as a cold -hearted, mass-murdering bastard, but the Doctor's actions seemed jarring in such a "romp" of a story. And have been hotly debated amongst the blogging classes. However, on thinking about it... the Doctor's killed with impunity many, many times in the past, hasn't he? Countless "monsters" and aliens have been dispatched with no public outcry because, well, they're monsters and aliens, aren't they? No harm done there. The 7th Doc tricked Davros into blowing up a whole planet once, after all. Even in recent years the Doctor calmly watched Cassandra die ( twice ) and dropped the Sycorax leader on to London from a great height. So, he's not always cute and fluffy, is he? And, he's not always necessarily in the right...

Phew! Heavy, maaaan! Anyway, I'm giving this:

Four Out Of Five Bow Ties ( or dinosaur eggs )


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