From the early days of Mighty Marvel Merchandising (1966).The six heroes chosen to appear in the World’s smallest (less than 1″ tall !!) comic books were Spiderman, Thor, Sgt Fury, Captain America, The Hulk and……Millie the Model !!  Mini Books were printed in six different colours making a possible total collection of 36 different items if anyone was so inclined.

Someone sent me these scans (from Italy via the USA) to add to my current collection of one Spiderman mini book. Looking for the Hulk and Millie ones now…

Thor           Sgt Fury       Capt America 

Bond Equipe 2 litre

Mar 22, 2010

Although I really should have known better, in 1989 I purchased a Bond Equipe 2 litre Mark 1. It was a 1968 model with Mark 1 Triumph Vitesse running gear (as opposed to my earlier Equipe GT4S which was Herald/Spitfire derived). I had great “fun” installing a replacement overdrive gearbox, replacement radiator and stainless exhaust system. I drove it for a few years until new toys came my way (cars that will be future classics such as a Mk11 Ford Granada, Rover SD1 3500, Opel Monza etc.) but although other cars have come and gone I have kept hold of the Bond.

Approx 600 2 litre Mk1s were assembled before Bond began using the Mk11 Triumph Vitesse chassis. The numbers of roadworthy ones (mine isn’t at the moment) must have now diminished to perhaps only a few dozen. Even Triumph classic car clubs (Triumphs were once as popular as MGs and Jaguars especially in the USA) are beginning to lose cars and members as indifference/the recession takes hold.

I keep meaning to check out someone else’s car to see if all the Mk 1 dashboards are the same. On my car the ignition and choke knobs are almost on the passenger’s side which makes for intimate moments when starting the engine. As with Triumph cars of the time operating the wipers and the water squirter is a two-handed operation. I still prefer the Mk1 wooden dashboard/steering wheel/gearknob to the black plastic/ambla as seen on the Mk11s.

Here is a pdf file of a brochure from 1968 listing the benefits (???) of being brave enough to purchase a brand new Bond Equipe 2 litre convertible. The precise number of cars that were convertibles out of the 1431 2 litres built is unknown. As they were all Mk11  versions I’m sure only a few hundred can have been built in 1968 and 1969 and there aren’t too many survivors now …..

PS: Here is a brochure from 1964 for the original 1200cc Bond GT.

PPS: Here is a brochure for the Bond Equipe GT4S which in 1200cc and 1300cc form was produced between 1964 and 1969.


Mar 20, 2010

ITEM: Something is finally happening with regards to the missing issues of “The Twelve”. Over 12 months ago I posed the question of what had happened to issues 9 onwards. This one-shot comic dated May 2010 recently appeared out of the blue. An untold story of how The Twelve first came together in WW2 it doesn’t really advance the story much but on the last page it does at least confirm that the last 4 issues of the original series will finally appear. It’s always nice to tie up loose ends.

ITEM: Something I never used to pay any attention to was the obituary columns in the newspapers. Suddenly the local paper no longer features my Grandparent’s generation with “fascinating” tales of their hobbies of doing Jigsaws, keeping Budgies and watching television but obituaries of my own contemporaries. Sometimes their demise is self-inflicted but more often it is due to natural causes. In the national newspapers obituaries of war heroes seem to have been replaced by 1960s pop singers. Scary. Alex Chilton (of Box Tops and Big Star fame) and DJ/Author Charlie Gillett (the thinking man’s John Peel) died recently. Fred Wedlock has also passed away. Surprisingly I discover he was barely 38 years old when he recorded his one novelty hit in the early 1980s. So perhaps he wasn’t “The oldest swinger in town” at the time after all.


ITEM: Also in the recent obituaries was a large article about Dorothy Calvert. The Calverts first hit the news with their involvement in Radio Sutch which metamorphed into Radio City (the original offshore one) broadcasting from the Shivering Sands forts. A number of forts were built in the Thames Estuary by the Army and the Navy circa 1942 to house anti-aircraft guns. By the mid 1960s they had been abandoned for 20 years and must have been cold and damp places for DJs to live and work. Those catwalks between the towers look particularly dangerous. Although Reg Calvert met his demise in 1966 (which I’m sure is recounted in detail elsewhere on the Interweb) in the “Pirate Wars”  Dorothy continued to run Radio City after her husband’s death. It was one of the more interesting pirate radio stations with a varied output that even stretched to the odd comedy show. Alas the original Radio City didn’t even last until August 14th (when most of the original offshore pirates closed down) but finished in February 1967. I believe the authorities had decided that Shivering Sands was within the “3 mile limit”. I’m off to “google” the Shivering Sands and all those other forts such as Sealand right now.

Hell Preachers Inc

Mar 15, 2010

I bought this record when I was in my early teens despite not having a clue who Hell Preachers Inc were. Even then the title “Supreme Psychedelic Underground” must have attracted me. The bargain price probably also helped. Marble Arch was a budget priced label (a subsidiary of Pye and a place you more usually found Kenny Ball and his Jazzmen). And yes I think I’ve got the cover the right way up………

Hell Preachers Inc excerpts from Time Race 1, Courante and Turn turn

To the best of my knowledge it has never been revealed who played on this LP from 1969. It has been suggested that perhaps members from the first line-up of Deep Purple were involved. Certainly the vocals and Hammond organ have similarities. Others suggest that session musicians from Hamburg were responsible. There were other similar records issued via a studio in Hamburg in the late 1960s featuring skilled session musicians who would be/had been in rock bands such as The Rattles.

Here in 2010 I have recently thrown away all my David Bowie and Alice Cooper LPs. I purchased them when I was a teenager and cannot imagine ever wanting to listen to them again. And yet I’ve spent the last hour transferring this budget LP recorded by unknown session men onto my mp3 player and look forward to listening to (most of) the tracks again. Funny old world isn’t it ??

Of course the best known bargain basement LPs were “Music for Pleasure”, “Contour”  and “Pickwick” so often seen on spinner racks in Woolworths. Usually these records contained Brass Bands, Childrens Nursery Rhymes or numerous LPs like “Hot Hits” with pictures of girls in bikinis on the front and session musicians making their best stab at cover versions of tunes that had just fallen out of the top 40 on the discs. Even Reg Dwight was involved at one point. Sometimes a few “Greatest Hits” LPs were mixed in from bands like “The Move” or second-tier solo artists. Sometimes there were LPs with interesting material such a “The Eternal fire of Jimi Hendrix” which was really a Curtis Knight record where Jimi had been a session player. Sometimes an LP containing original material was slipped in. Usually they were instrumentals from James Last or people pretending to be The Beatles. These LPs are still available for pennies from your local charity shop. One day they may even become collectable (especially the ones Reg Dwight was involved in). Personally I have become fascinated by these records in recent years. Sometimes the versions of Top 40 tunes are indistinguishable from the originals. Sometimes they are laugh-out-loud diabolical. Sometimes they just add a new twist to an old song you used to like.

The Fugs are off

Mar 12, 2010

I’ve just purchased the Final Fugs CD part 2. Lets hope its not though. If it’s half as good as their last “final” CD it will still be good indeed. The Final Fugs CD part 1 was released in 2003 and is a joy and a pleasure from beginning to end. As usual it mixes political comment with humour (dig Tuli’s “Why must I be a Septuagenarian in love?” which is his appropriate version of “Why must I be a teenager in love?”).

The Fugs have been performing (on and off) since 1965. The two main singers and songwriters of the Fugs are Ed Sanders and Tuli Kupferberg. Tuli is probably the last of the “Beat Poets”. He harks back to an era even pre the swinging sixties underground period of the first incarnation of The Fugs. However throughout the last 60 years he has always remained contemporary. Although now not in the best of health he has embraced the internet and even has his own spot on YouTube (Search for” Tulifuli”). There you will find a few hundred (!!!) of Tuli’s short videos with music or his unique “proverbs/quotes of the day” which he actually calls his “perverbs”. Fascinating.

Much is explained here.

PS: I found this passage in a book. I’ve no idea if its true or not but it sounds feasible….
I asked Tuli Kupferberg once, “Did you really jump off The Manhattan Bridge?” “Yeah,” he said, “I really did.” “How come?” I said. “I thought that I had lost the ability to love,” Tuli said. “So I figured I might as well be dead. So I went one night to the top of The Manhattan Bridge and, after a few minutes, I jumped off.” “That’s amazing” I said. “Yeah,” Tuli said, “but nothing happened. I landed in the water and I wasn’t dead. So I swam ashore and went home and took a bath and went to bed. Nobody even noticed!!”

Way back in April and October 2008 elsewhere on this blog I mentioned the re-discovery of my collection of Batman Bubble Gum Cards (they seem to call them “Trading Cards” nowadays). The first couple of series were painted likenesses of the Dynamic duo. Batmania swept the world in 1966 and before the year was out more sets of cards had appeared. This time the fronts consisted of photographs taken either from the TV show or the feature film. The backs contained jokes and riddles and could be put together to make simple jigsaw puzzles.

Batman Cards – Bat Laffs

Batman Cards – Riddles

Batman Cards – Red Bats

Chance in a million

Mar 5, 2010

For 3 seasons in the early 1980s this sitcom appeared on the then quite new and edgy Channel Four TV. It then disappeared for the next 25 years.

As there are so many TV shows that are endlessly repeated, I’m always puzzled as to why the ones I like the most are often shown just the once and then seem to disappear without a trace. (eg: See “Making Out”). As “Chance in a million” starred Simon Callow and Brenda Blethyn (then well-respected actors but certainly not the mega-stars they are today) I wondered if they had been responsible for stopping any repeat showings. This turns out not to have been the case. Simon Callow himself wondered what had happened to this show. He would even like to produce a follow-up of what became of the characters 25 years later.

The plot of the original sit-com revolves around Simon as the permanently-bemused Tom Chance, his girlfriend Alison and the endlesss bizarre coincidences that befall them. It’s one of the best sit-coms of the 1980s and if Amazon are as good as their word I’ll be watching Series One tomorrow. Series Two and Three are available later this year.

PS: Having now had a “chance” to view this dvd I find episode 1 falls far short of the others. The slapstick in the restaurant would have been seen in any number of Terry Scott sitcoms in the previous 20 years. Even the Director must have had his doubts as it was extensively re-written between the pilot and the version that was actually transmitted. However by episode 2 we are into the surreal britcom sitcom that I was expecting. The local womens’ cricket team are trying to beat the record for the most female cricketers in a telephone box in their nightdresses. Obviously they ask Tom if they can change clothes in his front room at the same time as Alison’s mother arrives. So obviously Alison’s mother assumes Tom is running a brothel etc etc.

PPS: In one episode a soldier parachutes onto Tom’s roof. This soldier is on a strange quest to aquire 20 unusual items from a list to win a competition. Items include strange things like a Zulu shield and a cricket bat signed by Alec Bedser. Of course, no matter how obscure the item requested, Tom can produce them. The final item needed is a nude photograph of (the then very middle-aged) former Member of Parliament/President of the SDP Shirley Williams. Tom even finds this item by the amazing co-incidence of owning a book about the life of the writer Vera Brittain (who was Shirley’s mother and had included a picture of Shirley as a baby on a bearskin rug in said book). Well it amused me anyway……………