The Jam Sheet
16th February, 2017. 4:05 pm. Share Your World 2017 week 7
Do you sleep with your sheets tucked in or out?
Well they start tucked in but I am something of a roller so within an hour they are untucked, plus if Ben jumps on the bed he makes himself a little blanket nest at the bottom on the bed.
Have you stolen a street sign before?
Not a street sign, but when I was about 15 I accidently stolen a Steam Engine in Minehead. We got it back.
Do you cut out coupons but then never use them?
I seldom use coupons at all as they are usually for things I rarely buy, I personally tend to go for the reward cards offered by various stores.
Do you have freckles?
I don't have any on my face but I have one or two on my arms and a few on my chest.
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14th February, 2017. 3:07 pm. Happy Valentine's Day
13th February, 2017. 7:55 am. Morning Everyone
The joys of breakfast shift means I have been at work since 6:30 and have seen it get light. So on that note
10th February, 2017. 4:31 pm. A Visual Feast (of sorts)
Yup, this week hasn't been much cope for me again with very little going on worthy of note. I've sorted out the pictures in my previous post as I'd miss set the privacy settings.
So I guess I have pretty much being coasting, I've been getting through Reggie Perrin quite quickly and so far have not once though of a Hippopotamus once and reading it, it reminds me a little of HG Wells book The History of Mr Polly as both of them essentially deal with a a guy who loses his interesting the banality of ordinary life and fake their death to escape it, only Reggie Perrin is more entertaining and engaging as a character.
Well I've had bit of a spree ordering a few bits on bobs on DVD and Blu-Ray, first up was an old kids show from 1978 called The Clifton House Mystery
which while the in-house production style of the time does date it on that front (not to mention the kids' haircuts and flared trousers) I can't help but observe how much more effort was made with Children's shows back in the day, I think the secret it is that they didn't talk down to the audience. It is essentially a pretty traditional Ghost Story in which a family moves into an old Victorian House they bought at auction only discover it is haunted and there is a hidden room within which they find a skeleton. On the whole it is an enjoyable romp though I imagine children of today would probably find the pace too slow and laugh at the fairly basic Ghost Special effects which are essentially CSO or in some cases done with the Pepper's Ghost parlour trick.
The only cast members whose names cast any familiarity are the Mum who is played by the late Ingrid Hafner who played a recurring character al Ian Hendry and Patrick Macnee in the now (mostly) lost first season of The Avenge,
and the in the latter half of the serial the Spiritualist Lecturer and amateur Ghost Hunter Martin Guest played by Peter Sallis who is best known as Norman Clegg in Last of the Summer Wine
and as the voice of the human half of Wallace & Gromit
Elsewhere I have perhaps over indulged in some classic horror movies from both Universal Studios and Hammer Studios and a few other bits and pieces.
The Mummy (1932) and the Ghoul (1933) both starring Boris Karloff
The Phantom of the Opera (1943) starring Claude Rains (I also have the silent movie with Lon Chaney on order)
The Invisible Man (1933)
The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1953)
The Mummy (1959) with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee
Man of Steel, The Iron Giant, The Day the Earth Stood Still (the 1950s original), Thunderball and Goldeneye and the Iron Giant, the latter being an animated film based on one of my favourite books as a Child: the Iron Man, I'm sure huskyteer
probably remembers that book as well. A lot of these were on special offer or at reduced rates so it hasn't been quite the huge dent in my income it looks.
Recently I have been rediscovering the joys of the Dizzy Games
, which I loved as a child, thanks to the advent of the fan game, some of which lovingly recreate the feel of the old games in game play and sticking to recreating the Spectrum 8-bit graphics as well. The games are mostly in the style of the puzzle games though a few more arcade style games have been produced too, but for me the Dizzy games were always about solving problems and talking to characters. Other games have opted for the 16-bit stylings of the Amiga and more then a few have taken a more ironic tongue-in-cheek approach to the games with plenty of nods to popular culture between the late 1980s and now.
In the sense of the traditional style I would favour Swampland Dizzy and Winter World Dizzy, both of which recreate the feeling of the games hey day and yet are more then just a bit of nostalgia and have puzzles more akin to the current age of fans rather then back in the day.
For something a bit different I quite like Sunken Castle Dizzy
which feels like the sort of game that would be made now if they were making official games anymore, but I warn you it is very hard and to stir things up a bit the game play changes each time you start again which is both clever and annoying.
Then there is Knightmare Dizzy, which is based on the Kids Adventure Challenge show Knightmare and manages to get the spirit of both and even manages to recreate the dreaded passage with the Buzzsaws.
Finally, is Dizzy and Seymour: The Dark Wizard which allows you to play as either Dizzy or Seymour and who you play as affects the game play. Within the game there are minigames where you play various other characters. I warn you though the controls are a real bugger to play with so when starting off I suggest you use the Casual Mode which gives you many, many more lives.
Now there are many, many fan games on the site and that is only a snapshot of them, the site also allows you to play the original games online. So, if you want a nostalgia fix or merely just want a peek at retro gaming, you have a good place to start.
Read 2 Notes -Make Notes
9th February, 2017. 9:28 am. Share Your World 2017 Week 6
Regarding your fridge, is it organized or a mess inside?
I would say that it is reasonably organised with raw meats on the bottom shelf, cooked meats on the second, cheese and yoghurt and salad and vegetables on the top. Milk, fruit juice and eggs are kept on the shelves in the door.
Do you prefer your food separated or mixed together?
I do like to have my food not too dramatically mixed, I like to add my sauces and gravy etc to my food separately so I can add it to my preferred ratio. I've never been overly keen on Stew and Casserole but I probably couldn't tell you why.
Do you prefer reading coffee table books (picture), biographies, fiction, non-fiction, educational?
I am mostly a fiction reader, mostly science fiction or crime (or some cases both) but I have widening library. Currently I am reading The Reginald Perrin Omnibus which is a collection of the first three of David Nobb's Reginald Perrin books. The story is essentially about Reginald Perrin's slow nervous breakdown thanks to the banality of his existence. It was made into a very successful TV series starring the late great Leonard Rossiter as the titular Reginald Perrin. I do read a few biographies which I tend to keep near the bathroom as they tend to take the timeslot usually attached to the sports pages. I have recently ordered Tears of a Clown: The Biography of Ian Hendry, Ian was a good actor who could have gone on to greater things but his fondness of a drink held him back. I am hoping that the book will expand more on the basics. I don't really read that many magazines, only really Jazzwise and DWM and I think the latter is beginning to run out of stem or perhaps it is just my interest is beginning to wain.
Close your eyes. Listen to your body. What part of your body is seeking attention? What is it telling you?
My knee, it's telling me I have been sitting down for too long.
Share Your World
4th February, 2017. 7:06 pm. Share Your World 2017 week 5
What is the most incredible natural venue that you’ve ever seen in person?
Over the past 15 years I have seen some incredible places such as Monument Valley, the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and the Zion falls in the USA. On my first trip to Margarita we went over to mainland Venezuela and visted the Orinnoco Delta and later Caniema National park. Sadly cloud cover meant we missed the Angel Falls.
There I am emerging from one of the Waterfalls in CaneimaHow many siblings do you have? What’s your birth order?
One sister who is three years older then me.If you were a shoe, what kind would you be and why?
Eh what? I guess a walking boot designed for wear and tear.What is the strangest/weirdest thing you have ever eaten?
Well Pete once got me to try dried meal worms, which to be fair didn’t taste too bad. He also had some dried Caterpillars which tasted like sawdust. However everyone from the Shoe remembers this:
Read 1 Note -Make Notes
2nd February, 2017. 2:42 pm. Who's Had A Bad Week
As many of my fellow readers will know I am something of a Doctor Who fan and this week has not been a good week for us.
Firet of all there was the death of the legendary actor Sir John Hurt who played the War Doctor in the 50th Anniversary special and a couple of series of radio plays for Big Finish.
And while nowhere near as heart-breaking news I must admit that despite expecting it, I was sorely disappointed that Peter Capaldi is handing the TARDIS key to someone else. I've very much enjoyed the less user friendly and bit of an arsehole incarnation as to me, much like John Hurt, he went back to my Doctors, the ones who I watched on telly as a kid whether it be in McCoy's case original broadcast, repeats and home video for the rest. Doctors who were the anti-hero and weren't constantly flirting with their companions, elements Steven Moffatt was bringing back with Matt Smith but were established with Capaldi and I have a feeling quality will go down with Moffatt's departure.
But... I have been planning a 7 Doctors Marathon with Sian who has seen zero pre 2005 Who.
So these are my choices, one four part story for each Doctor (except for Colin Baker due to changes in format)
William Hartnell: The Aztecs
Tempted as I was to go with the very first story An Unearthly Child, I felt the Aztecs is where the series begins to get its stride and is a good example of the different direction the show was originally pitched for. True it plays more like a theatre play with the very Shakespearian way characters talk to the audience but remember TV then was still pretty much either broadcast theatre or radio with pictures
Pat Troughton: The Tomb of the Cybermen
While there maybe some difficulty in understand anything the Cyber-Controller says and there is some questionable racial profiling in this one (we have a middle eastern villain called Kaftan who has a muscular simple black servant) the story is full of memorable moments and fully show cases Troughton's cosmic hobo as the cheeky chap, the manipulative genius and his humane side.
Jon Pertwee: Spearhead from Space
Since the Pertwee era showcased a major change in format (not just the transfer to colour) I felt I should go with the first one as it sets up the scene well and again has some memorable moments such as the Mannequins coming alive and going on the rampage (funny to see how different shopping streets were on early mornings in 1969 hehe).
Tom Baker: The Deadly Assassin
Ok so it may have the stupidest title ever but it is a solid story and sets up a lot of lore about the Doctor and his homeworld and the story has a much darker reading of the Master. The whole Manchurian Candidate atmosphere is superbly complimented by the gothic tones of the story with the church like capitol and the Master haunting the corridors in a very Phantom of the Opera manner, plus we get the surreal sequences in the in a computer generated world called the Matrix. I wonder if that idea would stretch to a trilogy of high budget movies?... Oh and I am fairly sure the emaciated Master's appearance predates Skeletor from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.
Peter Davison: The Caves of Androzani
Okay so this made be the third story in a row I have selected to have been written by Robert Holmes and might give that false impression that all the colour stories were written by Bob Holmes. But I wanted to include a regeneration story which was complete and had four episodes and Caves is generally regarded as the best of the regeneration stories (and frequently tops fan polls as the best 5th Doctor story and always is in the top 5 of all ten favourites). It is a very grim story in essentially every male character dies, we have gun runners, a literal war on drugs and two of the very best cliffhangers the show has ever had. We have another Phantom of the Opera inspired villain in Sharaz Jek, who is a complex character and you could argue that he has a justifiably reason for his war against Morgus. In this world we have the affable cheerful and optimistic 5th Doctor who's gentlemanly code is taken to extremes as he is lost in this seedy world and Jek's very Phantom like desire to ravish Peri.
Colin Baker: Vengeance on Varos
A satire on the backlash about the so-called Video Nasties
and protests about TV violence led by self-appointed clean up TV campaigner Mary Whitehouse. The influence of Caves on all of the Colin Baker era is obvious in a lot of stories but this one is much more thanks to the writer Philip Martin who was know for his gritty series Gangsters. There is also a good satire on TV viewership habits in the mix too....
Slyvestor McCoy: Remembrance of the Daleks
Well I can't do Doctor Who without a Dalek story and this is perhaps one of the best McCoy stories and has a good strong plot and plenty of action. In many ways this is the first 7th Doctor story as his previous season was a bit of a false start. Gone is the OTT clowning and we have the beginning of the dark Doctor. The story itself has a nod to the racial tensions of the 1960s with two opposing Dalek factions, a neo-Nazi group and a super weapon
26th January, 2017. 11:40 am. Share Your World 2017 week 4
Do you prefer juice or fruit?
Well considering most fruit has a certain percentage of juice in it I would say they weren't mutually exclusive terms. I like a nice bit of fruit and always include at least one fruit when making my lunch for work and will consume several pieces over the course of a day off. I tend not to drink fruit juice that much as I am more of a hot drinks person, but there a few exceptions: I usually have a glass of Prune Juice a day for digestive reasons and I will often by a carton of Cranberry or Pineapple juice. I think my favourite fruit would the humble Kiwi Fruit or a Nectarine.
Did you grow up in a small or big town? Did you like it?
My hometown wasn't particular big or small, it was a typical new town designed for the population over spill. It's an oddity as it pretty much is just linking up the previously existing small villages and as such you can tell people who are really locals, Jockey Lad being a local turn of phrase. Of course over the past ten years there has been a lot of development and there has been a dramatic increase in house building and an attempt to try and big up the shopping centre.
If you were to paint a picture of your childhood, what colours would you use?
I've no idea to be honest, I think it'd have to be an abstract painting.
Ways to Relax List: Make a list of what relaxes you and helps you feel calm.
Listening to music
Tucked up in bed with a good book
Sitting in a pub with a beer and watching the world go by
Walking the dogs around the park
Playing my various musical instruments
What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?
I was grateful for being able two attend two live Jazz sessions last week including my first visit to the Shrewsbury Jazz Club for years. I'm not sure really to be honest.
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Read 1 Note -Make Notes
23rd January, 2017. 9:21 pm. Swingtime in Shrewsbury
This past week has marked the first time this year (and quite a while before that) that I have managed to get a to a live Jazz and to top it all I managed two in one week.
Sunday marked the first gig for Shrewsbury Jazz Club's first gig of 2017 which as standard was the Severnside Jazz Band at the Four Crosses in Bicton, this was also marked the first time I have seen the Severnside in probably four years due to work commitments and other salicous activities. I was at one point a regular to the gigs but as I said, things have changed and so has the band: personel have come and gone for various reasons but there it was good to see some familar faces in the line up namely Bill Basey on Clarinet and Soprano Saxophone, Malcolm Hogarth on the keys and Isabelle Toner on the double bass, they were joined by Paul "Spud" Spelling on the drums who was a guest and ably filled the shoes of the late Cliff Crocket, Ted Smith was the resident Banjo player and vocalist and there was a guy on Trombone whose name I didn't catch. Later on in the gig long term Severnside Banjo and Guitar man Chris Etherington guested on a few numbers, so despite the change it times there was still that old familar feeling about the place and a few familar faces in the crowd whom all looked at me as if they had seen a ghost. I arrived just as the band was setting up and that gave me ample time to visit the gents (the door of which is adorned by a painting of old Humpty Go-cart and acquaint myself with the options of beverages on sale. Once settled in I switched off my devices and got myself a good table at the front, the only down side being that because the band is playing in the funcation room the tables are large round ones intended for diners and on busy gigs can make for awkward seating arrangements.
The first set opened with a number not associated with Jazz history but that of the Great War and a terrible terrible joke I willnever tell again:It's A Long Way to Tiparar, after which Dave Harwood, the current band leader and Cornet player introduced Paul to the audience making me think that the trombone player is a regular fixture of the line-up. This was followed by a Lil'Hardin composition called Papa Dip which was named after her husband's enormous mouth which earned him the nickname (amongst others) Dippermouth, her husband of course being a certain Mr. Armstrong. For the next two numbers we had a double Bill Basey treat as he switched to Soprano Sax and granted us a vocal on the second number; the first number was a number not wildly played, in fact Harwood could only name Chris Barber as having had recorded it, and was called The Jamacia March, it certainly was a new one on me. The vocal number was a song which was a hit for Fats Waller but unusually not one he had written himself: I'm Going to Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Letter a nice gentle number not twee and complimented by Bill's vocal. The next number was a number which apparently was written by a banjo player who gave himselfthe easiest part and handed out a complex melodic line to the front line and was called Oriental Strutt and was another new number to me. It was now time for Malcolm's piano feature which was an 8 Bar Boogie Woogie called Joy Ride which I have heard him play several times at various gigs and he proved he is still a dab hand at the old eight-to-a-bar, after this the band reformed and were joined by old hand Chris Etherington for the spiritual Lily of the Valley with Ted leading on the vocal chorus, Chris stayed for the last number of the first set which was Everybody Loves My Baby which had been a moderate hit for 'The Temperance Seven' back in the 1960s.
The second set kicked off by delving back into the very early days of Jazz with an ODJB number called "Fidgety Feet" a name which sadly was not made official as no one got up to strutt their funky stuff, this was follwed by a traditional song called My Bucket's Got a Hole in It (not to be confused with There's a Hole in my Bucket) which I am certain was was ripped off for the theme tune for the 00s quiz show Are You Smarter then a Ten Year Old. It was time for a Bill Basey feature and he went with the old standard Exactly Like You, however I haven't noted if he played Clarinet or Sop Sax on that number. The band then took a short break as the raffle was drawn and true to form I didn't win, ah well I like having bad luck because if I didn't have bad luck I wouldn't have any luck at all. The band returned to the stage for another well worn Dixieland standard One Sweet Letter from You and this was followed by a number called If Those Lips Could Speak a number which Ted the Banjo player often plays because he was told by a woman at a gig that her late father used to play it and it was the first time she had heard anyone play it in a long time and it reminded her of fim. The band closed with a number called Hiwatha Rag, which is sometimes referred to as High Water Rag, interestingly the opening bars are supposed to represent native America before the settlers arrived, how true this is I know not but it is curious.
23rd January, 2017. 4:50 pm. Boycott Bop
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This past week has marked the first time this year (and quite a while before that) that I have managed to get a to a live Jazz and to top it all I managed two in one week.
This was on Tuesday night and was the monthly Jazz night hosted at the Boycott Arms in just outside Upper Ludstone and Claverly and is a nice little pub though it always seems a bit of a hike as it is down the rabbit run, but it isn't actually that far and doesn't take long to get to. The band was Barbara and All That Jazz who are pretty much the regular band at the Boycott Arms though I do believe that they sometimes alternate with the Chase Jazzmen though I will have to confirm that. Barbara fronts a seven piece band of Reeds, Trumpet, Guitar, Piano, Bass, Trombone and Drums and they play mostly Swing and mainstream Jazz with the odd bit of Dixieland thrown in for good measure. though on this occasion due the onslaught of the dreaded lurgy, Barbara was unable to perform so the gig was a mostly instrumental affair with a few vocal refrains provided by the trumpet player, Tony Billingsly. Billingsly is a well known face on the local jazz scene having played with many bands including the Millennium Eagle Jazz Band, the Martinique and the Apex Jazz and Swing Band, he is also familiar to me because he kind of looks a bit like the actor Barry Elliott who makes occasional guest appearances in Still Open All Hour as a guy who has trouble with his enormous dog but is better known in his guise as children's comedian Barry Chuckle.
I missed the opening number due to my pit stop for dinner overrunning slightly and low level fog en route to the Boycott Arms and I arrived just as they announced the second number which was the old standard I Can't Give You Anything But Love with a vocal from Billinglsy which sadly omitted the George Melly ad-libbed verse about his woman wearing him out but still an entertaining enough number with plenty of good solo work. This was followed by a venture into the Gershwin songbook "Lady Be Good" and after this a number called "Honeysuckle Rose" which is a composition by the cheerful little earful Thomas "Fats" Waller. The band did try to coax Barbara onto the stage at this point to do a number but she was adamant that for the time being she didn't want to strain her voice so the band went into early Duke Ellington mode and performed "Creole Love Call" and thankfully none of the band attempted to recreate the wordless vocals of Adelaine Hall which made original so captivating, this was followed by another well worn standard "Deed I Do". The band took a mini sabbatical leaving only the rhythm section and the reedsman Harry Bishop on stage for a feature piece, the name of which I missed as Billingsly was doing an 'amusing' routine of announcing the numbers as if he was from Gornal and as such I didn't click what it was and I didn't recognise the tune, good though it was. The band reformed for the first sets final number which was another standard again with a Billingsly vocal (thankfully not in Gornal tones) and was "There'll Be Some Changes Made."
I made use of the break for to attend to the usual mid-gig events and had a quick nose through the prologue of my book while warming myself my the pubs open fire and treating myself to a pint of Banks's Mild. The second set opened with the band in full swing with a rendition of the Benny Goodman associated number "Avalon" and it got things off to a flying start before they made, in my opinion, the odd move of a brace of feature numbers. The first was a feature for the drummer who was being made the butt of jokes for trimming his beard off and was "Bei Mir Bist du Schoen", a number associated with the Andrews Sisters and his drum solo was almost Buddy Rich epic, after this the Trombone player had his number which was the Tommy Dorsey signature song "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You", a number which got a second life in modern Jazz when it became a regular number for pianist Thelonious Monk. The band reassembled for "China Boy" and "When Somebody Thinks Your Wonderful" which were both well swung though the latter lacked the cheerful upbeat lyrics which is a shame but hey ho. Next up was an unusual number, one which I wasn't familiar with and was of British origin: a Wally Fawkes number called "Trogg's Blues". Trogg was a satirical cartoon by Fawkes himself and none other then the British Jazz legend and 'purveyor of Blue Chip Filth to middle England' himself Humphrey Lyttelton so I am guessing the track was named after the cartoon. As the gig drew near its end the band once again tried to coax Barbara onto the stage but it was a no-show and such the evening closed on the old Dixieland standard "(Back Home Again in) Indiana" which was followed by an encore performance of the ever-present "When the Saints Go Marching In."
Over all a good night out and a welcome bit of Jazz to liven up a dismel January.
Next: Swingtime in Shrewsbury