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Boxing Day

Hello all.

Been a bit quiet of late here, apologies. I’ve been hard at work on Vworp Vworp!, the fanzine of Doctor Who comics and things that we’re waiting for the printers to get round to. Here are the two covers:

Vworp Vworp!

More to follow when the zine hits the stands in January.

Vague review of The End of Time Part One:
I found yesterday’s Doctor Who the predicted mixture of the exhilarating and the irritating, and am putting off watching it again until I see Part Two. Didn’t much like the sub-Matrix Reloaded ending, but look forward to seeing some hard-ass Time Lord action next week… but what’s the betting that instead we’ll have another hour of faffing around, plot holes, annoying music that either drowns out important dialogue or signifies comedy, then, hopefully, a truly exciting and moving regeneration. Loving John Simms and Bernard Cribbens, and can’t wait to see more of Timothy Dalton.

Thanks to Alex Wilcock for sending me this. Apparently Russell said it was “really rather good”. Hurrah!


Anyway, turkey sandwiches beckon. I hope you’re all having a marvellous Christmas!

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Nothing whatsoever to report so I thought I’d share some more Dagenham philosophy. Appearing on a 1965 New London Palladium Show, Messrs Cook and Moore discuss Kirk Douglas’s dimple, Jane Russell’s busty substances and the meaning of life…

Thanks to the excellent chap who originally uploaded this. I hope he doesn’t mind me airing it here.


Hello all, sorry I’ve not added any content in a while – been in a bit of a funk, so creativity’s shot to hell. I thought I’d introduce you to three fantastic little films you may not have seen before.

The Wolfman (dir. Tim Hope, 1999)

“I was sitting in my leather arm chair watching telly, thinking how marvellous it would be to be a werewolf. How fantastic and different my life would be…” You may have seen the brutally edited version used as Playstation2 advert, but this is the original six-minute mini epic, a masterful aural and visual trip into what I can only assume is the very weird mind of animator Tim Hope. Apparently it was created in Hope’s bedroom without any funding, using 2D cutouts and a basic 3D animation program. Wait until you get to the transformation into a “hairy person… a huge rancid dog”: it really is a rich, stunning rush. Here’s a link to the PS2 ad but I urge you to experience the full version, preferably with the lights down and the sound up. It’s amazing.


Barcelona, 1908 (dir. Ricardo Baños, 1908)

Simply put, this is a record of a tram ride through Barcelona, filmed by a pioneer of Spanish cinema over a hundred years ago. Why does it evoke a deeper response than the simple joy of watching bystanders play up to the camera, cyclists and cars crossing the tracks with apparently inches to spare? It’s hypnotic and fascinating, uniquely bringing to life an era now lost for ever. Gorgeous.


Manifestations (dir. Giles Timms, 2009)

Another animation coupled with a perfect soundtrack by Ceri Front. Not sure what it’s all about, apart from a cute four-legged chap called Mr Chip who finds love, but I’m in awe of the pretty pictures, how it all restlessly whips about and blurs and shakes, mixing computer animation with (apparently) hand drawn elements and grungy textures and dreamy palettes.


And here are some random funny bits…

There’s nothing funnier than seeing a merciless Peter Cook reduce Dudley Moore to helpless giggles, so here’s Pete and Dud visiting an art gallery.

Even more surprising than Stephen Fry’s hair is the realisation that it all actually makes complete sense.

There are people far richer than I who are a bit touchy about this being online, so I’ll say nothing about it. I expect you’ll have seen it before anyway, but it’ll still make you laugh all the way down to your gold-plated diapers. Nappies, I mean.

If I felt motivated enough, I’d spend my Sundays raging against the pointlessness of Sundays. Maybe if I wasn’t such a frightful heathen the day would mean something to me, or it might offer respite if I had much going on during the rest of the week, but to me Sundays have always been terribly, crushingly dreary. So, to give some purpose to this most maddening of days, I shall be posting random stuff; basically, whatever takes my fancy. And yes, I know it’s Monday now but today felt like yesterday all over again. Well, more like Sunday²… oh, don’t get me started on Bank Holidays…

Today, as the populace is gripped and confused by the threat of another terribly scary pandemic, this time “swine flu”, I was looking at some of the old “coughs and sneezes spread diseases” posters that inspired the Hancock clip above. Check out some awesome design work among the selection I’ve gathered together below – even the grimmest of them are inventive and aesthetically pleasing. I particularly love the Chinese propaganda poster from the 50s, “Are You a Fifth Columnist?” and the first two “Trap the germs in your handkerchief” designs from WWII. Those that graphically display spittle spraying from mouths are particularly disgusting but undeniably effective, although I can’t help but think of the Brundlefly when I look at “Cover coughs, cover sneezes”. The final two are very recent: love the humour of the cartoon and the photography on the last poster turns sneezing into something almost beautiful. Get the sniffles just looking at it, don’t you?

Oh, just realised it’s now Tuesday. The whole thing’s become a farce already…

UPDATE @ 8.35am : Nooo! Click here:
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Portrait coughs55.jpg coughs61.jpg coughs57.jpg coughs53.jpg  
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And just for a laugh, here are a couple of information films from the 1940s:

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On not meeting Michael Kitchen

I watched some of the filming of the new series of Foyle’s War today. The driving rain and the card some cruel swine put under my windscreen wiper ( “Free scrap car collection” ) had conspired to depress the hell out of me, but I thought Michael Kitchen might cheer me up. Perhaps I might swap witty banter with Michael Kitchen, probe him about playing the Devil, the King of England and a rather dull policeman in wartime Hastings, maybe give him a few tips on how to improve his acting. I’d even decided on my opening gambit: “Hello Michael Kitchen,” I’d say. ”Aren’t you Michael Kitchen?” Really, I couldn’t fail to become Michael Kitchen’s new best friend.


Knockhundred Row in Midhurst, West Sussex, still looks much the same as it did a hundred years ago, when a youthful H G Wells worked there. By applying black grit to the road, dotting some lovely old vehicles about and sticking a few bits of paper over the signs, it’s easily transformed into postwar Hastings (because for DCS Foyle the war is now over – but will the series, recently rescued from cancellation, remain Foyle’s War?). I was particularly taken with the following sodden bit of set dressing. I should very much like a butterfly bomb:

Butterfly bombs sign

I’m not a fan of Foyle’s War, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever watched a full episode, but I’d never seen anything being filmed before and felt sure it would be terribly interesting. (Actually, that’s a lie – I was in the audience of an edition of It’s A Knockout in Arundel when I was little, but can’t remember a thing about it. Don’t even have nightmares.) But what struck me was how dreary and lengthy the whole process of getting a single scene in the can was. I stood for about two hours watching a young girl push a pram past a church, to be confronted and intimidated by a gruff American military policeman. I must have heard the line “If you think it’s bad here just wait till you get to the States” a dozen times. Here’s the start of the scene:

People were stomping around looking pissed off and soaked to the skin. The director, who looked like a thin Penfold from Dangermouse, was getting stressed because the rain wouldn’t let up. Batteries kept dying, planes and helicopters went over, lunchbreak was hours overdue. Michael Kitchen was due to film his scenes that afternoon but they just couldn’t get past that pivotal “If you think it’s bad here just wait till you get to the States” scene. Dozens of bored-senseless crewmembers stood around idly like the cluster of prideful extras, before springing into their few precious seconds of activity. Then it was back to the waiting. And the waiting.

In short, the whole thing was deathly dull. But I’d still give anything to work in telly, even if I’m the guy who kicks lumps of coal about to mark where the US army jeep has to stop, or the bloke with the tape measure, or that fella over there holding John the MP’s umbrella. Anyone got any advice? Seriously… (Although, as I write this, it’s just hit home how desperate we’ve become financially since I was made redundant in January, so maybe it’s time to give up the idea of doing something I actually enjoy, like graphic design or making Doctor Who artwork or kicking bits of coal around. Fuck.)

“If you think it’s bad here just wait till you get to the States”

I didn’t meet Michael Kitchen today: I got too hungry and wet and achy from all the endless standing around. When the battery ran out on my camera, that was the last straw – I left.  Michael Kitchen’s a rubbish, utterly immobile actor anyway, all he does is “smug and pompous”. Look, here’s Michael Kitchen’s range:

The many moods of Michael

I’d like to think it was Michael Kitchen’s loss, not mine. And while I would’ve liked to have seen his expression change when he realised he’d missed me, I imagine that particular feat would have involved a very long wait indeed.

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“Hello, I’m a scary fruit fly!”

“You’ve evolved to keep the head of a fly, the ugly hands of a fly, but not the actual, useful wings?”

“No. Nobody said that evolution was infallible.”

This is wonderful. Please take a look.

(Original link to the silly people at the Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre.)

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Fanzines for sale (UPDATED!)

circus 2In case anyone’s interested, I’m selling the last remaining copies of the second issue of my fanzine, Circus, on eBay for three quid - the auction’s here. It’s a whopping 72 pages and includes stuff from Paul Farnsworth, Keith Topping, Daniel O’Mahony, Dave Rolinson and an extract from an unpublished New Adventure by Kate Orman.

I’ve also listed a lot of 15 fanzines from the 1980s and 90s, including Queen Bats and Skaros. Here’s the link.

Sorry to pedal my wares here, won’t happen again…

UPDATE (20/4) - OK, so I lied. Here are 16 more A5 fanzines from the 80s and 90s.

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Circus 1 now online

circus1You know those beastly fellows at The Ninth Circle of Hell and their repository of old Doctor Who fanzines? Well, they’ve taken it upon themselves to upload the first issue of Circus, my old fanzine, just so you modern kids, with your fancy iPoops and your indoor toilets, can cruelly mock its simple innocence and poke it with sticks. Have a look, it’s got words in it and everything, contributed by John Connors, Paul Farnsworth, Daniel O’Mahony, Keith Topping and more, but I beg you to be gentle.

Circus 1 (published December 1993)  is available here. More will follow. Curse you, Ninth Circle of Hell!

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60s Planet of the DeadSo… I was wondering what you all thought of the latest episode of Doctor Who?

Bloody good fun, I thought. Punch-the-air fantastic in places. Not convinced it had an original bone in its fluffy body (I expected it to riff on Pitch Black, Flight of the Phoenix, Indiana Jones, but Back to the Future Part 3??) but who cares when so many disparate elements were slotted together with such aplomb. Some lovely turns from the guest stars too. I hope we’ll see more of the adventures of Lady Christina and Lee Evans’s Malcolm was fun – could have been a nightmare, but somehow he fitted the story perfectly. The other guest was the gorgeous desert setting – I’m not 100% convinced they couldn’t have made do with a Welsh beach and The Mill, but as the episode went on we were treated to some stunning widescreen vistas quite unlike anything seen on Doctor Who before. Bet it looked amazing in HD. (By coincidence I watched the desert-set first episode of ‘The Chase’ last night. Although I’d argue that ‘The Chase’ is funnier…)

Anyway, I’ll write more after I’ve watched it again. For now, leave a comment and let me know if you enjoyed it as much as I did.

WALLPAPER: Due to overwhelming pressure (well, two of you, but I’m easily overwhelmed) here’s a wallpaper-sized version of the John Cura telesnap above. Click for 1280×960.

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oh, hello!

He had a way with words, that Charles Hawtrey.

There’s not a great deal to see on here so far. But now I’ve got the design sorted (bar a few rough edges) I can concentrate on the content, so please check back regularly. Anyway, I hope you like what you see. Let me know!

Thank you and goodnight,