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Monday, 26 December 2016

Music Round up of the year.

It's been quite a year for music, largely because everyone keeps dying and that.  It started off this time last year with Guru Josh, Lemmy and David Bowie and progressed through the year with Andreas Gehm and Spanky finallly killing off Greg Lake, Rick Parfitt and George Michael.  Which means its finally safe enough to walk by Snappy Snaps again. 

Its also been the year popular music has rediscovered the vocal breakdown from Old Chicago House.  From Calvin Harris to Rihanna to a thousand sound a likes everyone is screwing with the pitch and making what was once cool, shite.

On with the good bits of the year. First up Commercial junk.

Sigala Sweet Lovin' 

A nice mid 90's throw back house and piano break make this bearable much more so than a lot of stuff this year, which has gone out of the way to make things bastard annoying.

Neiked Sexual.

This isn't that bad, rather spicy lyrics and the sort of R+B throwback that you can easily get behind.  Plus if you managed to grab the homemade acapellla from youtube you can drop it with Renegade Soundwaves the Phantom for an excellent mash up.

Beyonce. Sorry.

One of those half tracks that really should have the vocals splinter into a million pieces to match the juke / footwork track this lumbered with, but its alright I suppose.

Calvin Harris. My Way
You are the best thing in my life, you are the best thing in my life.  Is adequate. That is all.

Drake, 3 Tracks.
I like Drake even though he's A. Canadian and B. a rapper.  You know the tracks by now.  Too Pure Kontrolla and One Dance they aren't bad but at the same time could be improved.  Heavily inspired by funky music and by that a rip off of Krazy Kousinz, but still not bad.
Now the bad.

Martin Gollocks In the name of love.
 Big room music where you pitch shift everything to fuck and then some.  Annoying and shit can really hope someone bootlegs a really good happy hardcore version of this.

Beyonce Hold up
 If you have to have one shit reggae track its this.  I really don't love you like I love you.

Calvin Harris. This is what you came for
No it isn't. Now fuck off.

Little Tits Shout out to my Ex
They still sound like a demented kids party coupled with the fact that none of them are all that.  Shout out to my ass its really poisonous.

Arse Bandit Rockabye.  Fucking clean bandit and another thing I hate this year, the rise of dance hall again.  Never liked patois, never liked Sean Paul and think they are a bunch of fucking chancers.  Its this year's Christmas Number one no Lewisham Choir this year to keep the wolf from the door.  Even the Jo Cox single is better than that.

Non commercial tracks.

A few good things from the underground not all released this year but still a good amount of stuff.

Roachford I Know You Don't Love Me Steelie and Cleevie mixes. This is cool and really good dub reggae, the original is deep and moody and well worth tracking down.  I suspect a really good re edit would catapult this into the stratosphere but for now this rocks.

Greg Beato Who's the Licho in charge ovaa here?
Some boss acid here that is all you need to know.

Boston 168 Terror Acid.
See above but in an even more similar vein.

Identified Patient Female medical college of Pennsylvania
Dark techno with just a hint of acid.  These last three tracks are a tribute to us losing Andreas Gehm and Spanky, I can think of no finer tribute to two acid masters.

Apart from that not such a good year, but I suspect there is more I've forgotten about.

Sunday, 25 December 2016

Its the most wonderful time of the year.

Welcome to what is now our well trodden xmas review of the year.  Today we'll be looking at television and our annual Miranda awards for TV trash.  But first we have to big something up.

The Durrells ITV

This could have sucked hard, but for some reason this Sunday evening drama of Gerald Durrell's like in Corfu, was the best thing actually.  Mainly because of Keeley Hawes as his mum, but also a sex mad Laurence Durrell, and his useless friends, including captain Creech a pissed up version of the Simpsons Sea Captain.  Also quite accurate to the original Birds Beasts and Relatives, although with sadly less beasts in it.

Dara O Brien goes 8 Bit.

I only really saw this on Xmas eve but its everything a show about video games should be, funny, heartwarming and above all about beating your mates senseless in video challenges.  Josie Long played Sega's Frogger and there were challenges for Pac Man and Pong and they even had an outing from the old Namco Arcade Font. Got a lot of old GamesMaster in this, which is no bad thing.

The Undiscovered Peter Cook.

Didn't realise how strange this was until I saw his wife's obituary in Private Eye.  She kept his house like a time capsule and allowed no one to enter at all after his death.  Victor Lewis Smith presents this look back through the incredible archive of unseen Pete and Dud sketches and material.  I've still got a way to go through this but trust me its gold.

Harry Hill's Teatime.

A joy and the only good reason to watch Sky One in absolutely ages. Like a cooking based TV Burp, its a wonderful mix of the insane, the crazy and Joey Essex being bemused by things which is why its on the list.  Release the Sausage its teatime.

The X Files Season 10.

So a bit hit and miss and its only a short run but the episode with the lizard man is the only reason to watch.  i know I'm biased but I can't put the X files into the Miranda awards as even at its worst its still watchable.

Britain's Treasure Islands.

Three part series about whats left of the empire.  Various bits and pieces of the Caribbean and the South Atlantic along with Pitcairn Island in the Pacific and a few Strategic bits and pieces of the Med.  Including Gibraltar and Cyprus these are the only bits of the British Overseas Territories that I've visited.  Reading through the link above, the guy who did it seems a really interesting chap and an expert on Carnivorous Plants to boot.  I'll put up some shots of  photos from my trips to the British Overseas Territories below.  I will add it was a fucker to leave Gibraltar due to Spanish Practices.

Cyprus. A church at Oroklimi.
Old digital shot of Gibraltar. Appalling quality sadly.
Miranda Awards for Televisual Garbage.

Avoiding the usual reality show suspects which would take the crown every year
 its mainly two things that make this a shock fest and sadly its the BBC who takes the crown for this.

Remakes of old sitcoms.

We did a whole take down of the Keeping up Appearances which was truly a vile, vile piece of television,  and this comes from some one who didn't care for the original.  Porridge wasn't bad per se but Are You Being Served was fuck awful.  Sherrie Lewis as Mrs Slocombe just no, please back away. 


Is still awful only this time its on a different level than last year.  They have a new Michelle Fowler who looks like Sharon Marsh from South Park, and Phil Mitchell has become Uncle Phil from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air thanks to liver poisoning due to alcoholism.  I wish I had the fortitude to drink so this whole thing becomes comprehensible. 

Walliams and Friend.

A really bad idea featuring the camp one from Little Britain which has none of the class of the latter.
Its not funny and the episode I saw wasted Harry Enfield in a series of unfunny sketches.

Have I got News For You.

Sad this is on here but its largely unfunny now.  A news quiz satire that gets deader by the year.  Maybe its the Post Truth era but all these left wing comics are appalling grouches and grumps when the right are in ascendant. Salt merchants and whingers the lot of 'em.  You have cheap shots at Brexit and Donald Trump and none really on deathly dull old socialists such as The Corbs and Diane James Brown Abbott, the result is its unbalanced, unfunny junk.  They had a parody of this on  Harry Enfield (see above) where it completely smashed it.  In short not even a dolphin in a bath tub could save this now.

Saturday, 24 December 2016


Here starts 3 days of posting for me. Includes the round up of the year (always hotly awaited), Miranda awards and the ever growing music round up of the year.

But first its gaming and a few bits and pieces on the NES mini. before game of the year.

Looks like the NES has finally gotten popular here as the £50 mini console can be had for up to £150 second hand.  That's £5 per game, and you had better really like either the small form fitting or a good two thirds of the games on here to get it for that price.  Granted it has NES Bubble Bobble which is worth the price alone, and a few Mario games which are also worth it.  But to be honest there was never the nostalgia value here for the original NES,  and I'll explain why.

UK wise there was never a video game crash so there's no UK equivalent of Atari landfill full of ET carts, though thanks to Guru Larry uncovering it there's a clone for Spectrum. Which brings us neatly to the UK scene then.  Largely dominated by Clive Sinclair's ZX Spectrum and its main rival, the Commodore 64, latterly joined by Amstrad's CPC 464 and rich kids / school computer the BBC Model B, this was the entire computer scene here in the UK.  Games retailed around the £3 mark for budget releases and £10 for a full price game back then.  16 bit computers such as the ST and Amiga cost a bit more as  their games cost around £25 for a full price game but nowhere near as pricey as the NES as most full priced games clocked in at £40, I know as I had one back then.  Forget £50 for every game back then as lazy reviewers would say,  only Star Wars and Maniac Mansion ever retailed for that back then.

Maybe its a London thing but I did know a few people who had one, but it sure was lonely then as budget games were around £20 -30 depending on where you shopped.  There was nowhere official such as Game back then so Dixons, Boots the Chemist and WH Smiths would sell games.  Hell Boots would set up a Sega Megadrive back then so you could play a bit of Sonic over the Xmas period.  But apart from that it was the big electronic retailers and little indie shops that sold NES games as well as dubious mail order places.  I always wanted to send off for the American version of Rainbow Islands before Ocean did their version, but dad always stopped me, good thing too as the US version is shite.

Apart from that everyone I knew had some sort of 8 bit computer and you could get stuff on tapes in fact I spent most of the mid 90's just grabbing C64 tapes and any weird import NES games that came up.  This and the fact that the Sega Master System totally dominated here with euro releases coming out well into 1993 to take advantage of the installed user base.

Also anyone who ever had a yearning for an actual NES back then in the UK would have downloaded enough emulators to PC / Android / Smart TV to play them and relive their youth that way, and that discounts Nintendo's own E shop virtual console re releases of classic titles.

Game of the year is the excellent Dragon Quest 7 Fragments Of The Forgotten.  Even though its has bastard accents in it, (L'arqa is a real chore thanks to this) its dominated what I've played on 3DS this year.  One final thing the old hermit guy in Estard's funbag obsession has been cut along with his porn stash in the bookshelf.  I also don't know if the line he'll sell you his own piss in a bottle has survived but (probably not as its a retranslation) but those were stand out moments for me in the PS1 original, (as were the bastard constantly crashing in PSeven what I used to emulate back then).  That's it back tomorrow for an Xmas TV round up.

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Marè Video

Here is a odd thing we've had this video in our collection for absolutely ages, and possibly longer as it came from my Grandad's place, who had it originally. 

Fuchsia's to give it its full title is a VHS tape with a selection of 300 or so Fuchsia varieties set to classical music.  That's it, no cheesy presenter, or over the top graphics, just the familiar video title font and various clips of Fuchsia.

I know full well why we have it as my Grandad grew them as well as Pelargonium's and some cacti left over from an old aunt's collection, which is how I got my bug for them.

Apart from that Google has drawn a blank special e included.  Here's a few shots of the outer sleeve and video, if anyone knows who they were or if they are still going please comment. 

I think they are Dutch.

I'll get a proper scan of this after xmas if I remember.
As per the caption they're Dutch from the town of Ede and that's it as far as I can tell.  If you have an interest in Fuchsia's and the like there is a massive database here.  Its the sort of thing Grandad would have loved.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Back to Hackney.

At a loss to do with myself and thanks to wireless am now getting some pretty hefty drop outs due to speed and connectivity, web mail is hit and miss, though Gmail works for the time being.

Anyway none of that is as grim as Hackney, and looking through I haven't been back in nine months or so, time was ripe enough to go for a return visit.  The good news is that I have a Mormon card which is like my official good luck charm and rather set the tone for the whole day.

First of all got quite a good deal from the coinstar machine cashing out my old change and further luck came from a dropped oyster card that basically bank rolled me through the entire day😊.

The Crash converters had a few good things in stock such as Up Bustle & Out for 20p but no Somali Reggae this time.  The other good thing was that they had a few Scientist Dub albums on CD in the Sense shop.  Even though they were in a terrible state, I found that they go for insane amounts online.  This was Scientist and Jammy Strike Back and Scientist Fights The Vampires, both excellent albums.

The Salvation's Barmy shop had a lot for sale that I probably have but Gentle People, Super_Collider and a weird thing that is supposed to be part of an installation, part noise and part spoken word thing not really sure how it ended up in Hackney but there you go.  Its not in Discogs yet but will have to add it when I have more time.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Debunking The Mail's Christmas Cactus Tree

Its this bastard article here if you are interested and as its the Fail there is so much wrong with the whole thing its unbelievable.   Its bad enough the weekend magazine had a pre Linnaean name added (horror of horrors) to an excellent 17th C print of what looks like a Selenicereus in all its glory.  In the Fail on Sunday we have this horror of churnalism.

Forget that elegant Norway spruce – a cactus grown in Africa is set to become the latest must-have Christmas tree.
With their long, spiky stems, they may look more at home in the Wild West than a British sitting room.
But their fork-like branches are ideal for decorating with baubles and tinsel, and they don't drop their needles like traditional festive trees.

First of all cacti do not come from Africa, they are new world species which means the Americas and Caribbean (but especially Mexico).  I'm going to have to explain Convergent Evolution to you in simple terms.  
There are a times in evolution where you get different species coming up with the same ways to combat problems in their environments.  In this case harsh desert sun and combating water loss, means reducing leaves down to spines and having a water storing trunk with many ribs to see you through the harsh times.

A cactus, this is Acanthocalycium.
Some Euphorbias

Pro Tip: if you want to know the difference between a cactus and a Euphorbia and its not in flower, look at the spines, the cactus will have a cushion like arrangement called an areole that the spines arise out of whereas the Euphorbia will just send them straight out the stem.

In flower its pretty much obvious. 

Red bit Leaves Yellow bit Flowers.
Actual flower, This.

The photo in this is horrible, it looks like they've had some idiot assault a Euphorbia with load of paint and cover it in baubles, its bastard awful.  Tree Euphorbia's  never look good and worst of all they have poisonous latex like sap so any cuts to the stem will have it bleed toxic milk around. Hardly elegant and potentially hazardous not if you've got kids around.

Oh and looking on the site there is no mention of a cactus christmas tree, though they do sell Euphorbia Ingens for a price.