Knight and Squire

Sep 30, 2010

I like to think that I’m an easy-going person. I can laugh at life’s numerous absurdities, or smile inwardly at the nonsense I face daily, say nothing and move on. I’ve grown to expect the Country/Planet to continue to go to hell in a handcart. But sometimes it’s the little things that drive me to despair. Have you looked at the Subtitles on TV recently ?? They are supposed to help the hard-of-hearing. They seem to be produced by people who are short-on-braincells. What is going on ?? Are they produced by robots who can’t decypher anyone’s accent. If they are written by real people then those real people must be locked in a room without a TV. One glance at the screen would give them a clue that “No is time for the whether four cash” isn’t right. News and Sport are incomprehensible gibberish and if I thought I’d get through I’d ring up and complain…..

Then later I’m reading the back page editorial in a recent DC comic about the upcoming “Knight and Squire” miniseries written by Paul Cornell. Having re-invented just about every “hero” ever featured in their comics since WW2 I suppose it was their turn. Briefly featured in an early Batman comic (No 62) as an armour-clad UK version of the dynamic duo I presume they’ve now been updated to the modern day. But my blood boiled when Janelle Siegel, Assistant Editor (whoever he/she is ) said:-

I received the first script only to have to respond “Could you please translate some of this slang for me?”……so you’ll be seeing an additional text page at the end of every issue explaining certain ….Britishisms……we wanted to make sure the issues were fun and approachable for fans anywhere.

I have read umpteen DC etc comics from the age of 6 upwards and have managed quite well without a page explaining “Americanisms” !! Does the whole world have to continue dumbing down ?

PS: As usual the villains look the most interesting characters…..

Nuff Said 23

Sep 23, 2010

If you click on the picture once or twice it might enlarge enough for you to make out the names. How many do you recognise?

Cops and Robbers

Sep 20, 2010

Help !  I’m still trapped in a room full of T.V. Boardman Annuals. They’re stacked on my desk at work (because that’s where my scanner lives). For a brief moment I considered scanning every page, but common sense prevailed…that way madness lies. I even considered asking Dawn to scan every page..but she’d only get mad with me too. So I just picked out one text story from the 1957 Okay Annual.  By Jack Trevor Story’s standards it’s rather mundane. It even contains a spelling mistake on line 18. Vandalising vehicles was evidentally not just the modern pastime I thought it to be…..

Cops and Robbers by Jack Trevor Story



Sep 17, 2010

In the 15 minutes free time I’ve had today I’ve acquired some more 1960s “ye-ye” girl music. And very fab it is too. France Gall and Sylvie Vartan are the ones everyone has heard of but there were 100s of others such as this cute chanson that I just can’t get out of my head. It almost makes you want to jump up and dance like Adam West.

State of the Ark

Sep 15, 2010

Despite all the stuff I’ve managed to dispose of in the last few years I’ve still kept three Reel to Reel tape recorders…even though one of them (an Akai 4000DB) doesn’t work. I thought that perhaps I ought to have another try at repairing it. In theory it shouldn’t have failed as it is the newest (from circa 1977), least used and most expensive (dolby noise reduction and stereo) tape recorder I’ve ever owned. Amazingly, updated versions of this machine were still available until as recently as 1984. The early 1960s Cossor machine in its cream “suitcase” case (which may even be valve-powered as it takes so long to “warm up” !!) still never misses a beat. It has that wonderful “warm” sound which you don’t seem to get any more. Perhaps something to do with the sheer weight of the chassis or its limited frequency response ?? But it doesn’t appear to have any meaningful way of me connecting it to an amp or speakers let alone my computer. So transferring old recordings to mp3 is left to my (t)rusty Philips 4302. But this small tape recorder, although reliable is merely a 2 track machine that won’t accept reels bigger than 5 3/4″ in size. Hence my need to restore the Akai 4000DB to health. I’ve a stack of 4 track 7″ reels I’d like to play for one final time just to see what treasure/rubbish they contain….

So I was pleasantly surprised to find someone selling not just the appropriate replacement belts but also detailed instructions on how to fit them. Once the mechanics are removed from the cabinet It’s not all that easy to even see the drive belt let alone remove and replace it. I won’t mention how I put it all back together and then found a ball bearing on my tool tray…assumed the worst….thought I’d missed refitting a ball bearing on the end of the flywheel….took the whole thing apart again…. found that I had refitted the ball bearing after all…and had to put it back together once more. Such fun. Anyway the important thing is that the Akai now plays tapes once more. I quite enjoy the sensation of threading a tape around the head and onto a spool. But it’s difficult fast-forwarding to find anything in particular. You just have to let the tapes play through in real time. Hard to imagine that once upon a time this equipment was state-of-the-art. Now it’s state-of-the-Ark. But at least it was designed to be repairable. You couldn’t dismantle and repair an mp3 player…….

More Okay

Sep 14, 2010

One last note about the T.V. Boardman Annuals. I understand that they originally came with paper slip-covers. Can’t say I’ve ever seen one still intact though. And also that they were pretty much available exclusively through Woolworths stores.

As these Annuals were undated there seems to be some discussion about which ones were published when. Elsewhere on the Internet this seems to be the accepted order:-

1952 AJAX ADVENTURE ANNUAL (Elephant cover)
1953 ADVENTURE ANNUAL (The Robot Empire)
1955 OKAY ADVENTURE ANNUAL (Saurian Expedition)
1956 OKAY ADVENTURE ANNUAL (Last stand of Major Wilson)

The only slight problem I find is with the 1956 Okay Adventure Annual. It is full of very early (1940 ?) Quality Comics comic strips like Clip Chance, Rusty Ryan and Hugh Hazzard. It is probably correct that the book was available Xmas 1956 but even then it must have looked incredibly old-fashioned. It does however contain a rare text story called “Wulfric of the Fens” written by the legendary Jack Trevor Story (see elsewhere on this blog for more on this under-appreciated writer).

PS: Now I’ve had a chance to flick through the 1957/1958/1959 Annuals I find that they too dredge the bottom of the barrel with mostly early 1940s Quality Comics strips mixed amongst the UK-sourced text stories.


Sep 13, 2010

What’s in a name ?? T.V. Boardman’s “Ajax Adventure Annual” of 1952 was re-named “Adventure Annual” for 1953 and then became “Okay Adventure Annual” for 1955 to 1957 and finally “Okay Annual of Adventure Stories” for 1958 and 1959. Yeah, I know……. who cares ??….