Thursday, 31 October 2013

Happy Hallowe'en

In anticipation of the Mounds and Circles America Month starting tomorrow, we give you a seasonal taster courtesy of the master of the American pin-up, Vargas. Okay he was from Peru, but that's South America, isn't it?

Happy Hallowe'en folks!

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The Stereotypes Of Death

In the ongoing maelstrom of jingoism that is the world of British War Comics, a man's character and nationality can be judged by how he dies, particularly with regard to how he screams. A British soldier is stoic, brave, so invariably breathes his last with a relatively dignified ‘UGH!’ or, if surprised, an 'AAGH!'. Often, the shot British soldier has the time and presence of mind to say 'I'm hit!' or 'They've got me!', practical and informative to the end. This also applies to our heroic ANZAC forces.

As valued allies, the Americans are afforded a similar dignity, but cultural difference and the natural flamboyance of the Yanks is reflected by adding a few more a's or g's.

Germans die harder, especially proper Nazis. Their customary ‘AARRGH!’ or 'UURRGH!' indicates three things: firstly, the guttural nature of their language, secondly, that their death is more painful and, thirdly that even as they die, the Germans are still inherently arrogant – the ‘AARGH!’ is an indignant shout of surprise, of outrage. This is particularly useful for really bad Germans: it gives the reader immense satisfaction to know that, for this enemy, the end is nasty and unexpected and runs very much contrary to their plans.

The Italians usually surrender before they get anywhere near being killed, but invariably whimper ‘Mamma Mia!’ at the first sign of trouble. 

The Japanese soldier is always treated as almost sub-human, a fanatic, either a mindless kill-bot determined to die for the Emperor or a cruel, sword wielding torturer. These ‘men’ die like animals, and their last noises are high pitched, slightly incomprehensible screams of terror like 'AAEEIII!' or ‘AIEEEE!’. This also applies to Arabs and Turks, and anyone falling to their death.

Fearlono, who has killed men of every creed, colour and country of origin says that all of the above is a load of rubbish. In his extensive experience, dying men simply shit themselves and fall over, and no-one around here dares to contradict him. 

Monday, 28 October 2013

The Best Dreams

Ask anyone what's the first thing that springs to mind when they hear the word "disco" and they'll all say "The Burnley Building Society". With lyrics by disco-godfather Salman Rushdie, this track came to define the dancefloor craze that still holds Unman-Wittering in it's spell.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Friday, 25 October 2013

Old School

Schools Prints, published in the 1940s, were the first example of the new post-war spirit in British art and design. As the name suggests, these were made to be circulated in schools and were the first experience of modern art for many schoolchildren and a splash of vibrant colour in the drab days of rationing.

Barbara Jones, Fairground, 1945

John Nash, Harvesting, 1947

John Nash, Window Plants, 1945

John Tunnard, Holiday, 1947

Kenneth Rowntree, Tractor, 1945
Unfortunately the costs of producing prints for 4000 schools became unmanageable, and a final series including European giants Picasso and Matisse caused the project to fatally founder. Shame.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Stone Me!

The marvellous Ms Marianne Stone appears briefly in Children's Film Foundation classic 'Sammy's Super T-Shirt' (1978). She makes the most of her screen time, and pulls as many faces as she can. 

The film is one of the more watchable CFF efforts, and is genuinely funny in places. By today's standards, however, the idea of two boiler suit clad men (Julian Holloway and Richard Vernon, also pictured) kidnapping young boys and keeping them captive in an abandoned house is a little worrying, as is this shot of Vernon a split second after he has received his just desserts. 

The camera lingers on his recumbent form for far too long, and you end up looking at his splayed ball bag in spite of yourself.   

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

HowTo Speak Cock (and a Poem)

I met a bird one evening
As I walked down the fog
I'd just come out the battle
And was looking for a dog

She said her name was Julie
(A single girl please note)
Her barnet, all unruly
Hung down across her boat

Her bristols pointed at me
Through a dicky crisp and white
Just like a pair of boxing gloves
Out looking for a fight

Her scotches, long and slender
Reached to her kingdom come
Her hobsons, low and husky
Made my newingtons go numb

I took her for some Lillian Gish
Down at the chippy caff
We squeezed into my jam-jar
And drove back to me gaff

She then began removing
Her full-length almond rock
Revealing size nine how-de-do's
Which gave me quite a shock

And with a sexy butchers
She murmured 'I'm all yours'
She then took off her fly-be's
And dropped her early doors

Please note: I don't get paid to post this shite you know. I do it for free.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Our Day Out

I've been away on a work trip to 1971. We stayed at the Albany Inn, Wakefield. It's great. This is me in the reception. Nice bit of skirt that receptionist. No joy there. Must be frigid.

This was my room. Not bad, all mod cons.

This was where I called reception for a drink. No one came. Dunno why.

So I went down to the bar for a few pints of Best.

This is me chatting up a real Bobby Dazzler I spied in the coffee shop. No joy there, too stuck up.

This is the corridor where I threw up in the plant pot.

This is me and my mates chatting up a couple more dolly birds. No joy there either, so we went for something to eat.

A nice spread and eight pints of Best. Each.

This is the staircase where I threw up. Must've been something I ate.

After being asked to leave we moved on the the Albany Inn, Rugby. These places all sound the same. Top nosh in the swanky restaurant and another 10 pints of Best.

We made it to the meeting eventually. This is the conference room before I was sick on the table.

I had a little wander round the reception

That carpet was very confusing.

Followed by another few pints in the bar.

We thought about sobering up in the coffee shop but no one really fancied it.

The next few hours were a bit of a blur. We picked up a Party Seven and somehow we all piled into my mate's Triumph Stag and bombed down the M1 for breakfast at the Yankee Doodle Resaurant, Knightsbridge, in 1972. Knockout!