Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Cat Spotting Part Five: Which Is Best, East or West?

Leaping up and into the kitchen for some fish pie in Penzance.

Two more cats spotted on Street View, on opposite sides of England. The springy kitty above is arriving home in Penzance, at the south-western extremity of the country. It may be both the most westerly and the most southerly cat on Street View. Having virtually driven around all the roads in Mousehole and seen no cats whatsoever (all inside eating stargazy pie, no doubt), it is quite possible.

Great Yarmouth's daydreaming Monsterpuss.
Cat number two is pretending to be The Beast From The East, as it shuffles along a path in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. However, if this dreamy Monsterpuss wanted to be The Most Easterly Cat In England, it would have to move a few miles to the south and be louche in Lowestoft.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Cat Spotting Part Four: A V-Necked Pullover in Crawley

Fashionable puss in Crawley.
Two more Street View cats. I zoomed in on Sussex, hoping to spot a kitty creeping around Crawley. Instead, I found this fashionable specimen wearing a V-necked jumper and a single long white sock. Pussycat style icon!

Lamp post 5879. And a cat. In Hereford.
This cat in Hereford was wearing its sock on its back left leg. According to Kitty Cat Vogue magazine, it should be worn on the front left leg. Nice try, but zero fashion points!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Cat Spotting Part Three: Rompling in Ringwood

Guilty, m'lud! Up to no good in Ringwood.
More cats spotted in Street View.

The one above was in Ringwood on the western edge of the New Forest in Hampshire. It looks like it's been up to no good, nonchalantly padding away from that bowl of flowers there. But then, most cats look guilty when caught on camera, as though they've been doing something they shouldn't have.

Confused and agitated in Shrewsbury.
Either guilty or confused...

This cat, in Shrewsbury, is wondering if she's just got time to cross the road before the bin men come. As it happens, they're not due until Thursday, so she has plenty of time.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Cat Spotting Part Two: Slinking in Saffron Walden

Slinky Ginge in Saffron Walden.
Two more cats discovered on Street View! Cat one is slinking shiftily down a driveway in Saffron Walden in Essex. I would say from its body language that it has just raided a neighbouring cat's kitchen and eaten all its Iams. Bad kitty!

Alien Big Kitty in Waterlooville.
Cat number two is all fuzzy like every photo of escaped big cats I've ever seen. Could be an alien big kitten? It'll shortly be shimmying up that drain pipe hunting pigeons on the roof of that house if I'm any judge of alien big cat behaviour.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Cat Spotting in Street View

Stalking mice in Ely.
Here's an addictive new game...

It's cat spotting in Google Street View! Go to a random town, and virtually drive around its streets. If you find a cat, score a point! Play in real-time against friends and family!

Licking one's undercarriage in Ramsbottom.
Or if you prefer dogs, then play dog spotting instead! Other options include pitting cats against dogs - this could potentially be a form of solitaire if you're on your own. Or how about black cats versus white cats? Set a time limit of 15 minutes and you can expect realistic football-type scores (0-0, 1-0, 2-1, etc).

The two screengrabs were found in the suburbs of Ely in Cambridgeshire and Ramsbottom in Lancashire. Ironically, the brown cat was licking its Catsbottom...

If anyone spots some more kitties, let me know!

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Geoff Hurst Chocolate Box Surprise

World Cup hero Geoff Hurst.
Of all the strange things to find when opening a box of Milk Tray! This old Geoff Hurst bubblegum badge was discovered attached to a heart-shaped creme fondant earlier today. Whether it was a bizarre practical joke by someone at the chocolate factory, or one of my children had placed it there to tease me, I shall probably never know.

Monday, 31 October 2011

60 Squirrels!

Squirrels to the left, gift shop to the right!
Friday, last day of Autumn half-term? It must be the annual trip to Brownsea Island to go squirrel-spotting! Previous years have been variously damp, wet, drizzly, etc, but never ever gloriously sunny! Red squirrels must really love the sunshine, because they were out in force last week. They were everywhere you looked - acrobatting around in the treetops, snuffling about in the leaf litter, generally fussing like fluffy tailed fusspots collecting nuts for the winter.

Last year's 21 was the most we'd ever seen in one day, so this year's 60 was extraordinary! Such a pity they no longer live on the mainland. Grey squirrels are cute (in an aggressive kind of way), but reds are pointy-eared darlings!

Until next year...

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Got, Not Got

Big Roger relaxing with his favourite book.
It's the new thing! All about old things!

Reader's voice: "What is this new thing all about old things to which you refer?"

Got, Not Got, that's what!

Gorgeous George.
This is a call to all those men who were boys in the 1960s, '70s and '80s (and some women who were girls too!). You threw away all your old Panini sticker albums when you hit 19, didn't you? You had to make space in your leaving-home bag for your new, important adult things - Joy Division albums and Dostoyevsky novels and suchlike - you were nearly twenty and there was no more room for childhood frivolity in your life. Okay, you may not have thrown them away, but you might have sold them for 25p at a car boot sale, or given them to the PDSA charity shop. They were nothing but clutter at the time. You did the same with your collection of Shoot! magazines and league ladders; bubblegum cards and garden goals went the same way.

Now you're 43, and you're pining for these things to come back into your messy, ever more cluttered adult life, aren't you? You've just spent £65 on a complete, VG condition Football 78 sticker album on eBay, haven't you? Or your final bid of £60 with three seconds to go wasn't enough, because there's someone out there more desperate to return to their childhood than you.

Well, your childhood isn't going to return, but there are people out there who share the same memories as you, and they've written them all down for you. They've taken full-colour pictures too, and sprinkled them all over their new thing like football-shaped hundreds-and-thousands.

Leicester City fanzine writer Gary Silke and indiepop legend Derek Hammond have produced a stonking new book called Got, Not Got. It's an encyclopaedia of shared football memories, written with a little yearning and a whole lot of affection for times past.

Why am I telling you all this? Because I'm excited! Three of my pictures have been printed in the book, including the Hama Bestie that first appeared on Pleasure City Avenue last year!

What do you need to do? Start dropping hints to your loved ones straight away: "I would very much like to have a copy of Got, Not Got for Christmas, please" (don't forget the 'please'); and then put the book at the top of your prezzie list, double-underlined.

And if you can't wait that long? Trundle down to your local book shop and buy one yourself! And what if you receive another one on Christmas day? You'll need it, because the first one will be so dog-eared through love and laughter by then that you'll need a new, mint condition copy to start reading it all over again.

And if you study the book carefully, you may even spot the odd Fall song title. It's the new thing!

Monday, 10 October 2011

The Notes - Fearless

Good news for fans of The Notes! They have a new download album available for free from Bandcamp! It's a mixture of re-recorded old songs and instrumentals. Although, with the exception of Lost For Days, all these tunes were new to me.

It's not a "proper" album, but then again, it's way better than the usual collection of outtakes and oddities. Best of all, it's FREE! So, there's nothing to lose by investigating.

Have a listen to the title track, Fearless. It's the missing thirteenth song from their marvellous, swishing, swooping debut, Wishing Well - doubtless left off to increase sales amongst the triskadecophobic community.

Listen to Bourgeois. Coming straight at you from a piss-stained concrete dystopia where it rains actual excreta, circa 1980. Would have fitted perfectly in to a Peel show of the time, bookended by the likes of Young Marble Giants and The Chameleons.

Then listen to Lost For Days. Delicate and perfect, like a rusty autumn leaf in the split second before it blows to the ground, only to be spoilt in the gutter.

Come to think of it, you really should listen to the whole thing.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

C'mon Cav!

Mark Cavendish speeding along Whitehall.
Tomorrow is the last day of the road cycling world championships in Copenhagen. Team GB already have two medals won by Bradley Wiggins and Emma Pooley earlier in the week, but neither were gold. The final race is the men's road race, with the Manx Missile, Mark Cavendish, the pre-race favourite to wrest the title from Norway's God of Thunder, Thor Hushovd. We'll be cheering on Cav via the medium of BBC television at 15:10. Can he become only the second ever Briton to become world champion (Tom "Mr Tom" Simpson was the only other winner in 1965)?

Pictured is Cav following in the slipstream of one of his HTC Highroad team mates through Whitehall during the final stage of the Tour of Britain last Sunday, a race which Cav won, despite being only in fifth position as he passed us with 250m to go until the finishing line.

Come on Cav!

*Edit* Cav won! He is the new world road race champion!

Monday, 12 September 2011

The Difference Between Nob-a-Bobs and Romples

Ready for nob-a-bobs? Or romples?
When a cat has the urge to show its owner how much it loves them, it can do it in several different ways: rubbing itself around its owner's ankles, for example, or miaowing and purring into human's ears at 4am on a Tuesday morning, prior to nibbling their thumb.

Each expression of affection will be heartfelt for a few minutes, before kitty disappears to go and have a nap for the next sixteen hours, worn out by its own behaviour.

In this house, Tommy has two particular favourite methods of showing his lovableness. The first is nob-a-bobs. With nob-a-bobs, Tommy sits on a stair at the same height above the ground as his human object d'amour. When human comes close, he starts purring and bumping his head against human's head. Climbing on human's shoulders with two paws still on the stair is optional. This can go on for several minutes.

The second favourite is romples. To have a romple, the human must be laying down, or nearly horizontal whilst sitting. Tommy will then purr loudly, bump heads, turn round and round several times, tread on painful parts of human's anatomy, e.g., the collar bone, then lie down on human, with his face two inches from human's face whilst padding his paws up and down in human's neck (claws out). After five minutes, he stops purring, pretends to hear a bird on the windowsill and leaps off.

Such a sweetie!

Friday, 19 August 2011

Holiday Snaps

A 2CV parked at a crazy angle in Douarnenez.
Here's a few holiday snaps from my recent trip to France. Of mild interest to those of my friends and family who visit here. For my other visitors, I'll get back to the flights of fancy shortly.
Breakfast time in France.
Breakfast usually consisted of a croissant and a bowl of cereals. The cereals shown above were Miel Pops (France's answer to Golden Nuggets) and Smacks (they'd be Sugar Puffs).
A lizard.
Lots of lizards in France. In fact, Brittany was just like Cornwall, but with extra lizards.
Our Lady of Shipwrecked Sailors, Pointe du Raz.
Large statue at Pointe du Raz, France's equivalent of Land's End. I coloured her in so that she looks like she could join in the fun on New Order's Technique album cover.
Coming home.
Nice sunset approaching the Isle of Wight on Saturday night. You can just about see the island on the horizon if you look very carefully.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The (Reappeared) 1976 Breakfast Diaries

Here it is for the last time, the 1976 diary.
The diary turned up then. Hidden beneath a book of non-league football statistics and a large brown teddy bear. I should have known.

So, for the final time, I shall reproduce some of my 1976 diary entries. It's the final day of the school Christmas holidays, followed by a couple of football-themed entries from later in the month:

Monday 5th January 1976

Last day of freedom before going back to school. Boring day in a sort of way. Paddington Bear started today on BBC1. Helped mum de-ice the freezer.
Breakfast: Rice Krispies
Lunch: Mushrooms on toast
Dinner: Beefburgers, mash, spaghetti and roast potatoes

Saturday 24th January 1976

The tele man came today and put up a new ariel. He said "We can't get London ITV on our set". Pompey drew 1-1 in the F.A. Cup against Charlton (away).
Breakfast: Golden Nuggets
Lunch: Noodle Doodles
Dinner: Cod and chips

Tuesday 27th January 1976

Dad and I have got a bone to pick with Uncle Den. He was the one who persuaded us to go to see Pompey v Charlton replay. It was one of the most rubbishiest games I've ever seen.
Breakfast: Rice Krispies
Lunch: Toast Toppers
Dinner: Beef

Ah, the ennui of the dog days of the school holidays, post-Christmas, perfectly captured in the phrase "helped mum to de-ice the freezer". When that's the main event of the day, then it's probably time to go back to school. At least Paddington Bear had started again (on BBC1, of course).

I can really hear my dad talking in the second and third entries. It would never have occurred to me that we could get London ITV in our house in Havant, 70 miles from the capital, so asking for that would have been his idea. I presume London ITV had more sport than Southern.

As for the Charlton match, I remember an enormous crowd at Fratton Park, and I think Pompey lost 3-0. At this point, I hadn't yet seen Pompey draw 0-0 with Newport County in the Third Division. Now, that really was the most rubbishiest game ever.

And just look at all that mouth-watering food I was eating in 1976...Noodle Doodles! Toast Toppers! Beefburgers, mash, spaghetti and roast potatoes - or, in other words, leftovers. Surely?.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The (Mysteriously Disappeared) 1976 Breakfast Diaries

Oh, it's that diary again.
Sometimes, things just go missing. You put a pen down, you find you need it again five minutes later, but can you find it? Not until you've found another one. There it is, in your empty tea mug - you'd used it to fish out a crisp and left it there.

Other times, things go missing, and the only explanation is that outside forces have been at work. There's a conspiracy at play. So it is with my 1976 diary. I can't find it anywhere. As The Higsons once said in their song named Conspiracy: "Howard Hughes...did HE steal my bongos?"

Luckily, before it disappeared, I wrote down all my January 1976 breakfasts in a little chart. And here it is:

1. Rice Krispies (eaten 23 times)
2. Golden Nuggets (9)
3. Grapefruit (7)
4=. Marmite on toast and Honey on toast (2 each)

The best part of the Rice Krispies packet is the bottom, where they've gone all powdery. You can almost drink the powdered krispies when milk is added, like a cold Rice Krispie porridge. A big attraction in 1976 would have been that my sister hated the bottom of the packet, and thus I would have liked it even more. Racing to the bottom of the packet to annoy her would have been fun at that age too.

Golden Nuggets were sweeter and more expensive, and thus more of a treat. I'm sure there must have been plastic Klondike Pete figurine giveaways in the box at the time, but I don't have any now. I miss plastic toys in cereal packets. Bring them back now!

Grapefruit sprinkled with sugar (but not too much sugar) will always be delicious. Tangy and wet; half-drink, half-food. Would usually have been served at weekends and followed by cereals...

...or toast! Marmite was spread with dripping (pork fat); honey with margarine. Always on white bread. Always delicious.

Lunches and dinners had much more variety than breakfasts. The most common lunch was fried egg sandwiches (my favourite!); beefburgers and tinned spaghetti was the most often-served dinner.

That's enough 1976 diary (unless it turns up again). I'm currently noting down all my July 2011 breakfasts. I shall post the results in August! Compare and contrast, compare and contrast, that's what I shall do.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Tommy's Fur Ball Kitten

A kitten, made out of Tommy's browning fur, last week.
Whenever Tommy or Minty are combed, they produce a lot of spare fur (and dandruff, in Tommy's case). This is especially true during the warmer months. Well, last week, Tommy was lazing around doing nothing, as is his habit. It was time for him to be combed, and as usual, a large amount of spare fur was salvaged from the lazy lump.

When kitty fur is wrestled off of a cat comb, it is traditional around these parts to say "Look! Tommy's had a kitten!", to which everyone replies "Awww!" This 'kitten' is invariably just a lump of formless dandruffy fur (which gets thrown in the bushes for birds to make a nest with). However, this time, my daughter created an actual real-life kitten out of the fur. If you inspect the photo very carefully, you can just make out two ears!

All together now: "Awww!"

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

The (Not Very) Notorious 1976 Breakfast Diaries

Hey! Didn't you use the same picture last time?
Some more, ahem, "highlights" from my 1976 diary...

At the beginning of the diary were a few pages dedicated to personal statistics - a mixture of indisputable fact, e.g. name of school - and opinion. It's the lines of opinion which are most interesting now. From the School Statistics page come the following titbits:

Favourite subject: Games
Most ghastly subject: English
Proudest moment: Being in the football team for the first time
Worst disaster: Losing 6-3 at home against Cowplain*

* This is still my worst disaster, 35 years on.

Some more daily entries:

Tuesday 20th January

Queen are still number 1 after 9 weeks.We had no games today because Mr Perkins must've thought that it's too wet. I don't think so.
Brekky: Rice Krispies
Lunch: Bacon & egg sandwiches
Dinner: Lamb stew

Well, I certainly liked Games. Also a spark of rebelliousness showing in the year that punk first appeared, disagreeing with the teacher. He just didn't want us to catch a chill, I suppose.

Wednesday 21st January

Today we had Pottery for the first time this year. I made 5 little Whimsy figures - 2 snails, 1 rabbit, 1 mouse & 1 either pig or hippopotamus.
Brekky: Grapefruit & Golden Nuggets
Lunch: Marmite sandwiches
Dins: Salad & chips

Five Whimsy figures in less than an hour? That was good going, even if I wasn't sure if I'd made a pig or a hippo. These would have ended up as grandparents' Christmas or birthday presents later in the year.

Right, does anyone want to know my most popular meals from early 1976? I've made a top ten table...

Monday, 13 June 2011

The Notorious 1976 Breakfast Diaries

The breakfast diary, 1976.
We all have diaries for Christmas. Or at least, we all have done at one time or another. I've never kept one beyond January. The only exception to this was my 1976 Puffin Reader's Diary, which I wrote in every day up until, er, let me see...February 5th.

Okay, not very impressive. However, looking back on it now, the most interesting aspect is that I wrote down what I had to eat every day for a month. I feel I must share this information with the world, so here goes...

Two typical days in the life of an 11-year-old in 1976:

Thursday 15th January

Err...What happened today? Oh yes! I remember! Our class had a sudden craze for Kinger in the playground. I did some painting. A Lowry type, Mr Perkins says. 17 days since the Berge Istra sank.
Breakfast: Rice Krispies
Lunch: Salad
Dinner: Beefburgers and spaghetti.

Friday 16th January

Had a bomb scare at our school. But it turned out to be a hoax. The police came, searched all our bags and confirmed it to be a hoax.
Brekky: G.N.* & grapefruit
Lunch: Spaghetti on toast
Dinner: Chips, pork rashers, bacon, p. egg
* = Golden Nuggets

Our class had sudden crazes most days. I think Kinger was a form of British bulldog. I was never quick enough to reach the other end of the playground without being caught. We seemed to have a bomb scare most weeks as well. I suspect it was just a ruse by one of the teachers to get outside and have a break from teaching the smelly children for 20 minutes.

My next task is to gather all the meal information together and present it in the form of a pie chart.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Pop Quiz Number 6: 1988

Be careful, teddies! Tweetypie has a gun!
It's time for another Pop Quiz! Following in the footsteps of the well-received 1981 Quiz, this is another year-themed underground popathon!

Click the PLAY button on the player below. You will hear 15-30 second snatches of ten underground pop songs that were first released in 1988. There are 5 second moments of silence between each part-tune, which is your Thinking Time. You may PAUSE the player during Thinking Time if you wish to do so. Name each song and its performer to score up to 20 points!

I shall post the answers in the comments section in the near future. Good luck!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Dandelion Clock Sunshine

This is dandelion clock sunshine.
Whilst I'm getting the next Pop Quiz together - and I've had a request for songs from 1988 - I thought I'd post a few photos of plant life that I took on holiday in Wales over the Easter holidays. They just look nice, that's all.
Dandelion in foreground. Boat trailer behind.
Pretty daisies.
Beautiful primroses.
Gorgeous orchid.
Barbecued crab. Not really - it was already dead!

Saturday, 7 May 2011

A Sneak Preview of the Easter Chicks' New Project

The Easter chicks raced away into the night.
After finishing filming their adventures (and spending a little time recovering from their various addictions), the Easter Chicks left PCA House last week to begin a new project with renowned cat actor, Mr Pusskins. There is a veil of secrecy over the project at the moment, but we have been able to obtain a photo from the film set. It looks as though the Easter Chicks could be in trouble again - Mr Pusskins looks pretty hardcore in the photo. Another disaster adventure looks to be on the cards.

I'm not sure if the critics will be overjoyed with the Easter Chicks. Surely they are in danger of becoming typecast? They may have been better advised to take part in an historical romance or perhaps a screwball comedy for a change? I predict scathing reviews.
More disaster and calamity for the Easter Chicks.
Okay, that's enough Easter chicks for one year! Coming up next will be another Pop Quiz, once again based on a particular year. The only trouble is, I haven't decided which year! Any preferences? Any year from 1978 onwards is doable.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Easter Chick Adventures: Rock It To The Moon

Run, chicky, run!
The Easter chicks were in deep doo-doo. One had been eaten by a raven; the other had narrowly escaped the attentions of a mermaid when the tide rose just in time and swept chicky away to the Arctic. Landing on the desolate shores of Svalbard, the remaining chick was relieved to see a man and his team of huskies sledding over the ice towards her. "Safe at last! They will surely take pity on me and help to put me on the next boat home..."

It was not to be. The dogs were ravenously hungry. Fed up with greasy, rancid fish tails, the Easter chick looked unbelievably fresh and tasty. It was time to run again...
I'm outta here, baby!
It's a little-known fact, but there is a space station on Svalbard manned entirely by cartoon cats. Easter Chick was lucky enough to stumble into a kitty-propelled rocket just as it was about to take off for a trip to the Moon (where the cartoon kitties have set up a cheese-mining operation - another little-known fact). Upon landing, Easter Chick knew immediately that her destiny was to search for rare cheeses beneath the surface of the Moon, where her sharp and inquisitive beak would come in very handy indeed. She still lives there to this day. We have her to thank for the discovery of Roquefort and Derby Blue on our dark and lonesome space-neighbour.

Okay, name those album covers! I'll post the answers in a week or two if nobody gets 'em.

And for those of you who worry about these things, the actor who played Easter Chick One has still not reappeared. Minty is prime suspect and will be questioned by police tomorrow.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Easter Chick Adventures: Raven, I'm Raven

This cannot be happening! A tragic moment captured on film.
The Easter chicks had set fire to their own home, and had then fallen in with a pair of Hell's Angel Ducklings...

The ducklings had business to attend to, so when the chicks were far enough away from their home town, they were dropped off with a cheery wave. However, the chicks were only small, and were not terribly streetwise, so when a smarmy raven offered to put them up for the night in her mountainside nest of twigs, they stupidly accepted.

They settled down for the night. But after a short while, Easter Chick One was awoken by her brother's screams. The raven was eating him for supper, and there was nothing either of them could do about it. She ran away as fast as her little legs could carry her.
Quickly Easter Chick! Duck down into the shell - pretend you're a hermit crab!
Easter Chick One ended up on a nearby beach, finding a handy shell to hunker down in. She became aware of movement on the rocks above her. She quivered. Goodness me! It was a mermaid, and she looked hungry!

Whatever will happen next?
Oh Minty! How could you?
As before, this is a quiz, so if you know either of the two album covers, leave a comment below.

Addendum: bad news. The Easter chicks are both actors, as you are probably aware. They have been living in my house whilst the filming was going on for these blog posts. However, a couple of nights ago, Minty was seen batting one of the Easter chicks around, and it hasn't been seen since. The suspicion is that Minty may have eaten it. Oh, Minty, how could you?

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Easter Chick Adventures: Arson About

Uh-oh, we're in trouble!
The Easter chicks had been left home alone and had been told not to play with matches. But, being a bit dim, they ignored this good advice, and larked around with matches anyway. The unsurprising result can be seen above.

Quick, jump on the handlebars!
The local branch of the Hell's Angel Ducklings helped them to get away on their big chopper, in exchange for a six-pack of Creme Eggs. On the run from the law, their adventures were only just beginning...

The Easter chicks will be posing on, or in front of record covers over the next couple of weeks. If you recognise the covers, have a go at naming them! The top one is a post-punk album from the early days of Rough Trade; the bottom cover is an obscure 12" single from the late 1980s.

Yes, yes, it's a quiz! What did you expect?

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Easter Chick Adventures

Easter Chick goes skiing.

A tragic tale will unfold over the next few days. It involves a pair of Easter chicks, left home alone by their parents, whilst they go off on a skiing holiday. The last thing that Papa Easter Chick said to his children before he left was...

"...and whatever you do, DO NOT play with the matches that are carefully locked away in the kitchen drawers! Goodbye children, it is time for us to go skiing..."

Oh dear, whatever will happen next?

Thursday, 31 March 2011

The Saddest Toy

Nature tries to win again! But it's futile.
There's a footpath near where I work that some people use as a flytip - only for the first fifty yards or so - they're too lazy to walk any further. This footpath is strewn with old toys, which I find so sad. The typewriter in the photo would have been such a lovely Christmas present, boxed and wrapped in shiny paper, but I suppose its owner has grown up now and forgotten she ever played with it. When its useful life was over, it didn't get put in the bin to be thrown out with the weekly rubbish collection - it just got chucked away in some woodland to rot away - but of course, it will take many thousands of years for this toy to disappear. It will outlast the surrounding trees and houses.

So sad on so many levels.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Stop! Hama Time! Again!

Who could it be?
Another album cover made out of Hama beads. You have to guess the album and the artist.

This is difficult. And to make it even harder, there are to be no clues (at least, to start off with).

The answer will appear in a few days in the comment area.

The clue is that it is by an Australian band - it came out in the mid-1980s. Answer is now in the Comments!

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Cute Kitties on the Stairs

Enough with long posts! I've had a couple of requests recently for more cute pictures of kitties - so here's one!

It's Tommy and Minty sat on the stairs with a toy mouse. They look tired to me. They could do with a nice, long sleep. Off you go kitties, off to a comfy spot! Don't forget to wake up later for your dinner!

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Strange Fruit Peel Sessions

Various cover styles.
I've been collecting the old Strange Fruit Peel Sessions EPs for a while now. Ever since I sorted through my records and realised I already had around twenty from back in the day anyway (1986-1994), I set myself the challenge of getting the whole lot. With EBay, it's a lot easier than it would have been a few years ago, but still, some are more common than others; some go for silly it's taking a while to complete. Luckily, I'm in no hurry. It will happen eventually.

What was lacking when I started collecting these for real was a complete list of the 92 EPs, in order (or if there is one, I haven't seen it). Most are listed on Discogs, but even that isn't complete - and the order is confusing.

So, to cut a long story short, here is what I believe to be the complete list, from 1 to 92, in order. I hope anyone stumbling across this finds it useful. The majority have the matrix number SFPS0** (where ** equates to the number in the list below). However, those that only came out on CD have a different matrix number. See the Discogs list for the relevant details.

I have added the letter L, M or H after each EP. This is an indication of the price you should expect to pay on EBay:

L = £5 or less (including postage, e.g., £1.99 + £3.00 postage = £4.99)
M = £5-£10 (including postage)
H = over £10 (including postage)

This is just a rough guide. Obviously, some EPs which often go for 99p can just as easily sell for £10 if there is a bidding war. Just be patient, the common EPs with few people collecting the band themselves, e.g., the first Inspiral Carpets record, will always come up for 99p eventually; others didn't sell many originally, and now have rabid collectors, e.g., several of the hardcore bands - expect to pay relatively large amounts for the likes of Bolt Thrower! The CDs usually sell for less than the vinyl, so if you're not fussy about the format, you can save money there.

The complete list:

The first 32 came in the classic grey sleeve (see The Undertones, Twa Toots and Girls At Our Best in the picture).

01 New Order L
02 The Damned L
03 The Screaming Blue Messiahs L
04 Stiff Little Fingers L/M
05 Sudden Sway L
06 Wild Swans L/M
07 Madness M
08 Gang of Four M
09 The Wedding Present L
10 Twa Toots L/M
11 The Ruts M
12 Siouxsie & the Banshees L/M
13 Joy Division M
14 The Primevals L/M
15 June Tabor M
16 The Undertones L/M
17 X-Mal Deutchland L
18 The Specials M
19 Stump L
20 The Birthday Party M
21 The Slits L
22 Spizz Oil L/M
23 The June Brides L
24 Culture M
25 The Prefects M
26 Yeah Yeah Noh M
27 Billy Bragg L
28 The Fall M
29 Girls At Our Best! M
30 Redskins M
31 T. Rex L/M
32 Tubeway Army L

33 to 54 came in a gold sleeve (see Intense Degree, The Cure and The Very Things above)

33 Joy Division M
34 The Adverts M
35 Mighty Wah! M
36 The Triffids L
37 Robert Wyatt M/H
38 That Petrol Emotion L
39 New Order L
40 The Damned L
41 Wire M
42 Electro Hippies M
43 Syd Barrett M
44 Buzzcocks M
45 Cud L
46 The Very Things L/M
47 Ultravox L/M
48 Extreme Noise Terror M
49 Napalm Death M
50 The Cure M
51 Bonzo Dog Band M/H
52 The Nightingales M
53 Intense Degree M
54 The Stupids M

55 to 73 came in a silver sleeve (see The Room, Four Brothers and Eton Crop above)

55 The Smiths M
56 Bolt Thrower H
57 Half Man Half Biscuit L
58 The Birthday Party M
59 Lindisfarne M
60 Echo & the Bunnymen M
61 Family M
62 The Room M
63 Eton Crop M
64 Nico M/H
65 Jimi Hendrix Experience M
66 Siouxsie & the Banshees M
67 Amayenge M
68 Ivor Cutler H
69 Unseen Terror M
70 Four Brothers M
71 A Guy Called Gerald L
72 Inspiral Carpets L
73 Carcass M/H

74 to 76 came in a green cover (see The Colorblind James Experience above)

74 The Go-Betweens M/H
75 Associates M
76 The Colorblind James Experience M

From 77 onwards, the sleeves varied in style - only Bratmobile has the "classic" look. A few have graffiti-style sleeves, such as Teenage Fanclub in the photo.

77 Happy Mondays L
78 Prong M
79 Prophecy of Doom M
80 The Jam M/H
81 Teenage Fanclub L/M
82 Tim Buckley M/H
83 Levellers 5 M
84 Happy Mondays L
85 Inspiral Carpets L
86 Headcleaner M/H
87 The Fall (Kimble) M
88 Meat Beat Manifesto M
89 Bratmobile M
90 Uzeda M/H (the lowest seller in the series?)
91 Frank Black & Teenage Fanclub L/M
92 Directional Force L

88, 89 and 90 came out on CD only. The rest all have vinyl versions.

If you think I've got anything wrong, let me know!

Friday, 25 February 2011

Stop! Hama Time!

It's Hama time!
I made a picture of an album cover out of Hama beads. Instead of telling you what it is, I'm going to make you guess... It's an album that was released last year, and I think you might be able to make out the name of the artist if you squint just so. This is an easy quiz if you know the album. I'm currently making another one which is much much harder!

By the way, I'm not sure if this is an original idea. Do you know of any other album covers made from Hama beads on the 'net? I've had a look, and I haven't seen any (other than the one I made of The Wedding Present's George Best LP, which I may as well repost below). After all, I thought that holding a Bob Marley LP cover in front of my face was an original concept, but they call that Sleeveface, and it's quite popular!

George Best made from Hama beads.