Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Excelsior





“With great power comes great responsibility.”

“Some people will say, 'Why read a comic book? It stifles the imagination. If you read a novel you imagine what people are like. If you read a comic, it's showing you.' The only answer I can give is: 'You can read a Shakespeare play, but does that mean you wouldn't want to see it on the stage?'”

"I'm very proud of being a hack. It's why I've lived as long as I have, I think."

"You know, my motto is 'Excelsior.' That's an old word that means 'upward and onward to greater glory.' Keep moving forward, and if it's time to go, it's time. Nothing lasts forever."


The man whose extensive and fertile imagination changed the way comics were perceived, and indeed made as huge a contribution to society's need for escapism and fantasy as many academically analysed novelists or playwrights, Stan Lee is dead.

Never mind the all-consuming "Marvel Cinema Universe" - impressive though its impact has been over the past few years on box-office sales, despite never being taken seriously by the likes of the Oscars - Mr Lee's creations have been household names for more than fifty years, and the often complicated situations and sometimes very human dilemmas in which they became involved have brightened the lives of generation after generation of children and budding adults (me included).

The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, the Hulk, Doctor Strange, Daredevil, Iron Man, Captain Marvel, Thor, Wolverine, Vision, Nick Fury, Scarlet Witch, the Skrulls, Loki, Doctor Doom, Magneto, Black Panther, Thanos, Ant-Man, the Wasp, Ultron, Hydra, Galactus, the Silver Surfer, Deadpool, Black Widow, Grandmaster, Hawkeye, Luke Cage, the Red Skull, Adam Warlock, Ghost Rider, Venom, Green Goblin, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Inhumans, the Avengers and the X-Men - he created them all...

“Nuff said!”

RIP, Stan Lee (born Stanley Martin Lieber, 28th December 1922 – 1`2th November 2018)

Monday, 12 November 2018

Bigger than life, I reckon



Monday again, dammit. The weather is all over the place (one minute sunny, the next it's apocalyptic rain), and the very last place I want to be is in the office.

Hey ho.

There's an old saying: "All good things must come to an end." Equally, some truly cheesy things also grind to a close eventually.

To prove that point, and to cheer us all up on this Tacky Music Monday - here is the very last television appearance of the eternally tacky Pan's People on Top of the Pops. Watch with amazement as the girls manage to keep that vacant gaze going one last time, as they flap about a bit to The Four Seasons...


In my dream I'm a western hero
Riding my Palomino
Silver Star, there you are, Silver Star

Got my gun and my white ten gallon
Bigger than life , I reckon
Silver Star, there you are, Silver Star

Silver Star, Silver Star
In my dream I make much dinero
Chasin' the Bandelleros
Silver Star, there you are, Silver Star

But he, he gave me a nine to five, honey
Ain't livin' but I'm alive
Sure cut me down to size
He gave me the second prize

I'm layin' it on the line, honey
I'll let it go by this time
Next time around, I'll swear
Gonna get me somewhere, somewhere

In my dream I'm a desert hero
Bigger than Valentino
Silver Star, there you are, Silver Star

Leading ladies in warm embraces
Ecstasy on their faces
Silver Star, there you are, Silver Star


It is amazing what you can do with some net, tinfoil and some pipe cleaners...

Have a good week, dear reader.

Sunday, 11 November 2018

The best years of our lives - the hope of it survives



Three birthdays of note today - and an excuse (as if I ever I needed such a reason) to play some retro music from the 80s and early 90s.

First up, Mr Derry Brownson of the band whose full name was "Epsom Mad Funkers" (which was apparently the name of a New Order fan club):


Next, Mr Andy Partridge, lead vocalist and guitarist in XTC (which I don't think is an acronym of anything):


And, finally, Ian Craig Marsh, founder member of both the Human League and Heaven 17 (both band names taken from sci-fi/futuristic novels, of course)...


Ah, memories...

Saturday, 10 November 2018

Where do I begin?





We bade a sad adieu to another of the all-time great composers this week - M Francis Lai, the man who composed hits for (among many others) Edith Piaf, Engelbert Humperdinck, Perry Como, Petula Clark, Yves Montand, Johnny Hallyday, Françoise Hardy, Charles Aznavour and Nana Mouskouri; wrote scores for blockbuster moves and also for soft porn (notably Emmanuelle); and worked with an esoteric mix of the great and the good, including Roger Vadim, Elton John, Michael Winner, Bryan Forbes, Peter Hall and Alan Delon.

And here, for your delectation, is a soupçon of his prodigious output...







RIP Francis Albert Lai (26th April 1932 - 7th November 2018)

Friday, 9 November 2018

Turned cartwheels 'cross the floor



And so another excruciatingly busy week slumps to its close - and all our thoughts turn to partying!

To help us on our way, I have dug up a most - ahem - unusual number. One would hardly associate the esoteric ramblings of Procul Harum's A Whiter Shade of Pale with "partying" [well, not our kind of partying, anyhow]...

In the hands of the uber-talented Munich Machine [aka the team behind the success of Donna Summer: Giorgio Moroder and Pete Bellotte], it is transformed, however - so Thank Disco It's Friday!


Fabulous.

Have a good weekend, folks!

Thursday, 8 November 2018

A shithead in America


I could sit and watch it all day.
"For a rambling, bigoted shithead, I have done surprisingly well in the midterm elections.

"I lack any qualities traditionally considered presidential, but have held control of the Senate and only lost the House of Representatives which I don’t even care about.

"This would be a decent midterm result for a decent president. But it’s a major-league win for a jerkwad like me.

"I’ve proven that it doesn’t matter how racist, corrupt, petty or just plain dumbfuck stupid I am, about half the country will vote for me regardless. That’s a hell of a building block for 2020.

"All the Democrats need to do is run the wrong candidate, like a woman or a boring guy or a guy who’s annoyingly smart, and I will steamroller them.

"In fact I might just claim I’m running against Hillary, ignoring whoever it actually is, and shout ‘lock her up’ and that’s probably enough for a win.

"It’s great being a shithead in America."

Donald Trump
The Daily Mash

Of course.

Sad, but obviously true.

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Camera, lights, action, and more lights



Happy Diwali!

The Hindu festival of lights is a joyful occasion that sees people attend feasts, set off fireworks, exchange gifts, and decorate their homes with beautiful lamps, bells and flowers. The festival symbolises the spiritual "victory of light over darkness, good over evil and knowledge over ignorance." Many regard Diwali as a new beginning, or the start of a new year. It is celebrated by millions of people across the globe.

Just today, the northern Indian city of Ayodhya has made it into the Guinness World Records when more than 300,000 diya oil lamps were simultaneously lit, and giant puppets portraying the battle between Hanuman the monkey god and the demon king Ravana were displayed in Leicester, UK.

Let the party begin - in the company of the gorgeous Shahid Kapoor and a few (ahem) thousand chums...


I'm exhausted now.