Something for the Weakened

Archive for March, 2006

Scrofula

March 31st, 2006 by

I meant to take a wry look at the world today, but people just thought I was squinting.

Late Post

March 29th, 2006 by

Sorry for my silence over the past few days. A cold has left me bereft of inspiration and reacquainted me with the laxative powers of lozenges. Whatever could be construed as a normal service shall resume shortly. In the meantime, return to your seats.

Shampoo

March 26th, 2006 by

Fake excrement?

I AM Barry Cryer.

The Walker Report (Update)

March 24th, 2006 by

Apparently young Scottie’s appearing on next Thursday’s edition of The Culture Show on BBC2. I should have predicted that one really. Oh well, let’s see how much further awry the rest of them go now . . .

Peacock Enquiries

March 23rd, 2006 by

I think that Daniel Peacock was one of the first supporting actors I knew by name. He never really got many lead roles, which is a shame as he always seemed like a fine comic actor to me. He was always cropping up in stuff in the late eighties, early nineties, which is when I first happened upon him. And that’s where my enquiry comes in. The first thing I seem to remember seeing him in was a CBBC comedy drama thing, the lead actor of which was the singer out of Manfred Mann. No, not him, the other one who went into acting. Can’t remember his name. I have vague recollections of at least one episode being set on an unconvincing looking desert island, but don’t think that the whole series was based there. Anyone got any ideas what it was called? I’ve checked IMDB, but to no avail. Possibly ‘Uncle’ something. Anyone writing in with the correct answer will receive the customary thirty seven pence prize I give out for services rendered. Will you take a cheque?

Observations

March 22nd, 2006 by

My socks have become so uniformly threadbare that they appear to be see through.

My hair is starting to look like Mulligan’s (or is it O’Hare’s?).

I ought to dust my hat.

I really shouldn’t drink strong lager any more.

A History of Collecting – Part Twenty Six – Pressed (a diversion on the road to maturity)

March 19th, 2006 by

Oh you must know by now. Really you must.

I forget how it was that I first came across ‘Fantasia’. The first issue that I happened upon was during one of my excursions to Toon Town, but whether I had heard of it before then is lost in the shoddy passages of my memory. So whether it was prior knowledge or the photo of a Teenage Mutant Ninja (Hero) Turtle on the cover that first drew me in, I could not say. I had had a dalliance with the Turtles at the height of their fame, getting the first few issues of the newsstand edition of the comic, regularly watching the cartoon, learning the lyrics to ‘Turtle Power’ after taping it off the telly (at a push I could probably still recite half of them) and so forth, but the bug never bit into me very hard. Certainly by the time of the films, I had at best a passing interest and as it was a still from one of these that adorned the magazine’s cover, it must have been something else that drew me to pick up a copy. Probably the subheading beneath the title that read along the lines of ‘The magazine for Science Fiction, Comics and Superheroes’, though probably actually said something completely different. Comics were definitely mentioned and prominently at that.

At the time I hadn’t purchased a magazine that wasn’t almost entirely made up by graphic narratives for an awfully long time. A brief bout with Look In had probably been the last time, and that would have been more for the comics than the features even then. My times with White Dwarf were still some time ahead of me (to be recounted in a later episode, to be entitled The Shame Part Two – I do not look forward to that one) as was Video World (that one is a long way off and possibly to graphic to ever be committed to keyboard, what with my sensitive disposition and all). The issue I happened upon was the ninth I believe, but being an actual magazine was filed away from the comics themselves, hence my not spotting it before. At the time it was almost the only mag of it’s kind on the shelves. This was long before the explosion of things like Dreamwatch, SFX and the like that seem to litter newsagents these days. There were other publications covering the fantastical bask then; Starburst doing sci-fi, Fear relating horror news and the like, but to my knowledge Fantasia was the only one that covered comics in any depth.

And what depth! Almost ten pages of news on new publications or publishers emerging over the next couple of months on both sides of the Atlantic! Interviews with writers, artists, even editors at times spattered throughout! A selection of reviews of all manner of comics that hadn’t even grazed my radar! It really was a wonder to behold the breadth of material that was apparently available to me that I hadn’t even realized existed. Only about a third of the content was devoted to comics, but even the non-comic sections threw up the occasional gem after I had started buying it regularly – which of course I started doing. It was my inauguration into the subculture of the fan press – something which had been in existence over here for well over a decade, but following the late eighties boom had only just begun arriving anywhere outside of speciality shops.

But, as with almost everything that came from that ‘Hey, comics aren’t just for kids anymore’ explosion, Fantasia’s days were numbered right from the start. Around ten months down the line from my discovery of it, the publication was bought out by (I think) Futura – who I had only known prior to that as publishers of magazines about computer games. Obviously seeing an exploitable market and an already established monthly about it, they took over, but with some hefty editorial changes. The major one of these was a decreased comic section – to the extent of excising any material about comics from the magazine and concentrating solely on film, television and the occasional novel. I managed one issue of this before giving up in disgust. I can’t have been the only one as Fantasia vanished from the newsagents altogether shortly afterwards. Again, I was annoyed, but not for long as that boom still had a couple of years left in it and I was soon to have an increased personal income.

Today’s Big Idea

March 17th, 2006 by

‘Jesus, P. I.’ Former maverick cop, Jesus Christ, sets himself up as a private investigator in turn of the first century Nazareth. Much time spent busting dodgy tax collectors and helping out fallen women. Can we get Tom Selleck to grow a beard?

Americans Overheard Seconds Ago

March 16th, 2006 by

“Hey look. There’s a photo of Michael Caine when he was young.”

“Who’s Michael Caine?”

“You know. The actor. He was in Batman.”

Exuent Tervit, stifling a look of disgust.

Pottered Plant

March 15th, 2006 by

Why can’t the world be like a Dennis Potter play? I don’t mean the scabby, unpleasant bits – the world has too much of that as it is already. But what would be so wrong with everyone putting everything down for a second and start lip syncing along too a song while engaged in rigorous gyrations? I find myself miming silently along with songs on a daily basis. Only some sense of decorum stops me from dancing too, whereas a voice like the strangling of cats stops me from actually singing. But you must admit that it would be joyous to break into a routine half way through a walk to the pub. No? Does that make me gay?