I’ve just noticed that the Olympic Games are taking place once more. You know you’re getting older when it only seems like yesterday when I was watching the extravagant opening extravaganza of the 2012 games.

A side

Although titled “The Official Munich Olympic Games Theme 1972?”, (released in the summer of 1972 by JK under the guise of “The Athletes Foot” on his own UK Records label), the question mark is obviously meant to be the disclaimer that, of course, it was in no way officially endorsed. In fact, I’m sure it was rather politically incorrect even back in 1972. The “cheerful games” are now mostly remembered for acts of violence and murder.

B side

Anyway, lets not dwell on terrorism troubles of the past. Side one steals a tune that most will recognise and accompanied by marching boots JK sings stuff like “Though our brains are small, we’re still marching tall, super-conditioned for the final fray”. As usual, I head straight for the B side where, with either an act of genius or more probably out of laziness to quickly churn out some more “product”, JK just plays the A side sdrawkcab.

Shoulda known better

August 1, 2016

I’d been putting off installing the free upgrade to Windows 10 for many months. News that if I didn’t do it by July 29th it would cost £99 forced me into action. I’ve said many times “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. I should have listened to myself. I thought it said the upgrade would take one or two hours. On my relatively new laptop it took TWELVE HOURS to slowly download the upgrade and even more slowly install it.

For a day or two everything seemed fine but then the machine slowed to a crawl. I had jumped up and down on my previous laptop in frustration that it would take 30 minutes to boot up and had to pause and think twice about every keystroke I made. Now my shiny new machine was no better showing nigh on 100% CPU or Memory or Disk usage most of the time. Various solutions were recommended such as turning off M*cr*s*ft stuff running constantly in the background. There’s masses of it in Windows 10. I don’t want to synchronise my phone, fridge or cuckoo clock with my laptop. I just want to check my Email and sometimes add comics to the Collectorz.com database. One major problem was definitely a Windows update (KB3172985) that was trying to load at least four times a day, always stalling at 54%. There is no “delete” or “refresh” button in Windows 10 for this issue. There really ought to be. The only solution is via ye olde “Command prompt”. I have spent the last 24 hours virtually learning to be a programmer, to hack into the Registry and various other arcane places deep within Windows just to get the laptop back to some speed of operation I can live with. I thought after all these years M*cr*s*ft would have got their act together by now.

Test Transmissions

August 1, 2016

A side

It’s almost a third of a century since Radio Caroline began broadcasting on 319m from the Ross Revenge. As Peter Moore wrote elsewhere on the Interweb, “So, from the best radio ship ever built, albeit painted the wrong colour, on the wrong date, wrong channel and with the wrong music policy, Radio Caroline had returned”. (Ronan had expected the new station to be transmitting on 558m and with a “Pop” format. The hippies on board had other ideas.) There was only a day or so of “test transmissions” beginning on Friday 19th August (having missed Ronan’s hoped for start date of the historically significant August 14th) before “official” programming began at noon on Saturday 20th August 1983. I couldn’t tell the difference. Most of the “tests” had consisted of near-continuous music/whole sides of live LPs along with announcements either twice or four times an hour. Normal programming was all too often the same. Three or four bland “Adult oriented Rock” tunes followed by an announcement or a tedious advert for a foreign lottery. So underwhelmed was I with this “new” Radio Caroline that I was pleased when they were joined in the north sea by the far jollier Laser 558.

B side

These Test transmissions of Caroline 319 are already available elsewhere on the Interweb (although they do suffer from the accompaniment of a most annoying mains hum) which saves me bothering to upload my recordings. But here’s a brief aircheck to add to my audio library before I chuck my tapes in the bin.

Video Home System

August 1, 2016

DVD VCR

Last week Sony manufactured their final VHS Video Recorder. Surprised they lasted this long? Well, you can still buy record players and cassette tape recorders…… Anyway, I reminded myself that I own a brand new unused VHS recorder that I purchased at least eight years ago. It is a dual machine also containing a DVD recorder. The plan was to copy some favourite tapes to disc. That never happened. Most of my tapes were happily consigned to the skip many years ago. Nevertheless, I’ve set the machine up, and very impressive it is too. With the ability to play tapes, DVDs, CDs, VCD, DVD+R/RW, DVD-R/RW, DVD+R, MP3, WMA audio formats and JPEG digital images along with a hard drive and built in Freeview I can’t believe I waited this long to use it. I’m even tempted to junk the Skybox and save £68 per month …..that’s an eye-watering £816 per year. I’ve even found a box labelled “Video Tapes”. Alas the majority are the smaller, different format Beta ones. Perhaps it’s time to get the Beta top loader out of the loft and go for the full retro experience.

Never met a Corliss

July 1, 2016

Judy

Sad to hear of the recent demise of Judy Jetson, Penelope Pitstop and Corliss Archer. Three feisty females from the 50s/60s/70s. “Jetsons” and “Wacky Races” comics are still under copyright but the three Fox “Meet Corliss Archer” comics seem to be in the Public domain, along with a number of the comedy/teen/sitcom radio shows and even the short-lived TV show. Put your brain in neutral and then visit the “Internet Archive” to sample those if you’re brave enough.

Meet Corliss Archer

PS: The name “Corliss” had a surge in popularity in the 1940s and 1950s in the States whist the Radio/TV shows were current and then faded right away. Throughout the C20th the Media and “famous” people from film and TV have influenced the names of babies. In the C21st it has got even sillier. I read recently that someone somewhere has just named their new sprog “Brexit” !?!

Swiss Family Crusoe

July 1, 2016

At first glance you’d assume that the Gold Key/Western Publishing comic “Space Family Robinson” was based on the TV show “Lost in Space”. Actually it was the other way around. The comic began in 1962. The TV show first appeared three years later in 1965, and had obviously stolen the characters and idea from the comics. (Although I guess both owed a debt to the 1812 novel and 1960 film entitled “The Swiss Family Robinson”.

1967 Annual

In the 1960s “Lady Penelope” comic in the UK featured the adventures of the Robinsons in original to the UK stories using the Gold Key Characters. There were at least two Annuals here published by World Distributors. They featured reprints of the Gold Key strips interspersed with new text and art. Dark Horse Publications have collected all the Gold Key “Space Family Robinson” comics into five (expensive) hardbacks.

1968 Annual

Innovation comics in the early 1990s also produced a couple of dozen “Lost in Space” comics including two annuals. Like the earlier Gold Key comics they sported great painted covers.

Innovation comics lost in space annual

PS: “Robinson” doesn’t sound like a Swiss surname does it? Of course the novel was originally written in German and had the title “Der Schweizerische Robinson”, referring of course to “Robinson Crusoe”. Perhaps a more accurate title for this novel would have been “The Swiss Crusoes”?

PPS: Robinson Crusoe was originally written in 1719, almost 100 years before “The Swiss Family Robinson”. I find it quite amazing that Defoe’s “Robinson Crusoe” of 1719, and “Moll Flanders” from 1722, are still so readable almost 300 years after they first appeared.

Nuff Said 58

July 1, 2016

Can't we