Monday, December 30, 2013

In praise of the professionals

I was sad to hear about the death of Lewis Collins last month. When I was growing up I really loved the TV series: "The Professionals". Two cool guys, plenty of guns, and a harsh Scotsman boss. I loved  the car chases as well. It was always pretty dumb stuff. One episode seemed to be just Bodie and Doyle being chased around with people firing automatic weapons at them.

I remember one episode, where Doyle was searching for someone by sitting on a regular double decker bus, while it went around its regular route.

Anyway these were my role models when I was growing up.

Repo man versus Repo men

I was excited to see that Film4 was showing the film "repo man" last night. When I turned on the TV it turned the actual film was Repo Men.

I really loved the film "Repo man". I saw it on a rented video perhaps in the 90s. I was not cool enough to have seen it when it came out in the 80s. You have to love a film with a sound track which includes "when the shit hits the fan."

I did enjoy watching the first half of the film "Repo men". There was a lot of blood and even though some of the film had a bit too much family values for my taste. I wonder what happened at the end.
(I should say that the film repo men is not a remake of repo man -- just so that we are clear.)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

I feel safe at last.

While travelling I saw something I have not seen for a long time. Yes a bin in a UK train station. A long time ago, there were concerns that terrorists would plan bombs in the bins of railway stations. For over a decade, there was no place to put a coffee cup or burger wrapper at a UK train station.

This picture is from Exeter St Davids station.

We must be safer now that bins are reappearing on UK stations. Perhaps I should map out where I find bins in UK stations. I will be a new type of "train spotter."

Strontium Dog #1: Bad Timing

Ring the bells! Put out the bunting for I have read another book! While traveling back from Burnley to Plymouth, I started and finished off reading: Strontium Dog #1: Bad Timing by  Rebecca Levene.
This was a  good science fiction tale involving robots, time bombs and mutants. There were some great plot twists.

Now that I look on the web I see that Strontium dog was a character in the 2000AD comic. This story just used the characters, rather than retell a comic.

Anyway I need volume 2.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013


I have just finished reading Homunculus by James P Blaclock , The author was an important writer in the development of steam punk writing. I wanted to like the book, but it took a struggle to finish the book. The plot involved alien space ships golems and various boxes. There was a strange cast of characters.

I read the book in stages over about 6 months, so that was no ideal for a book with a complicated plot.

No nasty X-mas jumper for me

Yeah it is the end of Christmas today and I have survived the holiday. Currently the fashion is for X-mas jumpers. I was worried that I would be given one as a present, but thankfully no.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Dada art and b*shit

A couple of weeks ago I was reading the Guardian newspaper which was complaining about Damien Hurst, or some other superstar modern UK artist. The writer recommended reading the writings of the critic calledJulian Stallabrass. So I downloaded the book Art Incorporated: The Story of Contemporary Art

The book was an interesting look at the economics and politics of art. He looked at shows around the word and the influence of company sponsorship of art. I now have a better understanding of why art departments at Universities like theory and art installations, rather than actual paintings.
I was amused to see the ever rising number of art graduates.

See this essay for a short summary of his views.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

I want a swagger stick

I have just been listening to an audio book version of a Dr Who novel: The ambassadors of death.
At the end of the story, a disgraced general picks up a his swagger stick and is arrested by the military police.

I thought I have no idea what a swagger stick is for. By the magic of the Internet I know now and my life can go on. I assume it is no longer used to beat squaddies. I would rather have a sword or machete.

Captain America : The death of Captain America

There is a small collection of graphics novel in Plymouth public library. I have just read
Captain America: The Death Of Captain America. This was the first graphics novel set in the DC universe which I have read, so I didn't know all the characters. I knew a bit about shield from the recent crap TV series.

I liked the grimy feel to the book and the sense of moral greyness. To be honest I should read it again to make sure I fully understood what was going on.

sleep (or lack of)

I have been sleeping very badly since I moved to Plymouth. The new job has been very stressful and often woke up at 4:00 in the morning worrying about the things I should have done. I know that I should not have done  this, but my body refuses to listen to reason.

Last night I went to bed at 21:00, but I woke late feeling tired. (I did feel awake at 4:00, so I watched the first part of the professionals on TV).

Superman: Red Son

One thing I noticed when I came back to the UK was that there were no longer many cartoons shown on TV on Saturday morning. With the magic of "love film" I can stream as many cartoons as I want.

One film I really liked was: Superman: Red Son. The idea was that superman was actually found in Soviet Russia. He was the right hand man of Stalin until he died. After Stalin died he took over Russia. Batman was a terrorist working for freedom.

I liked this a lot more than the standard superman stories. There is more information about the original comic book.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

The world's end

Two days OK I watched the world's end via Itunes. I enjoyed the film, but the central idea of a 40 year old, harking back to his past was a similar idea to "Shaun of the dead" and "hot fuzz". The film was a lot darker then the two earlier films in the trilogy. I would have let the guy drink his pint at the end of the film.