Aug 1, 2013

Slow day at the Office dept:    After a short break I’m giving blogging another chance. Alas, since it became “new and improved” WordPress still doesn’t work right with Internet Explorer. I used to be able to throw out some words and a picture, hit “Publish” and in less than 5 minutes the job was done. Now I can type some peerless prose, click “save” and watch everything disappear into oblivion.  Adding images is hit and miss. The “Kitchen Sink” is invisible but is still there if you rummage around with your mouse. Messages of “insecure content” keep popping up. I could go on…… They seem to want me to move to Chr*me but I dislike G$$gle even more than Micr*s*ft. However I’ve found some unused draft posts and I’ve got a free afternoon so I think I’ll faff about until I’ve added a few more posts to my digital scrapbook.

I guess eventually I’ll set the Blog to “private” when I decide my amateurish efforts have become too embarrassing to be on public show. I’m not sure how the Facebook/Twitter archives work but as far as Websites and Blogs go it is impossible to completely delete anything. That’s all thanks to the “Wayback Machine” at “The Internet Archive”. Even this humble Blog has been archived 17 times between 2008 and this year and consequently will be available in some fashion until Doomsday.

Rest in Peace dept:      Sad to hear that Deviant and writer Mick Farren passed away a few days ago, apparently whilst on stage. The obituaries pages in the press will increasingly fill up with 1960s Pop personalities over the next decade.

Big C is back dept:      Why has the UK lost the plot when it comes to “comedy” TV shows? They keep saying we make the best TV in the world but every time I turn it on there seem to be (non) “personalities” like Phillip Schofield or Ant and Dec or unfunny stand-up comics. Oh for the days when sitcoms were “filmed before a live studio audience”. I like the bitter-sweet “Big C” though, even if it isn’t home grown. We’re finally getting to see Series 3 (?) hidden somewhere in the middle of the +1/endless repeats Channels. At the end of series 2 although it is Cathy who has cancer and feels the weight of mortality upon her, it is her husband who collapses, apparently dead. He seems to have recovered for Series 3. Will the wheels of Cathy’s life continue to come off as the end approaches?


The end of the world as we know it dept:     And talking of the end, if (like me) you’ve been living in a cave recently you might not be aware that (this year’s supposed) Doomsday is only a few months away. Highlight your calendar from mid November 2013 onward.  Whatever happened to Planet X? It was predicted to have knocked Earth out of its orbit years ago. “YouTube” is full of videos claiming to show “Two Suns” (?!?). This time there is a little more science involved and we may actually see something. The “four-mile-wide” Comet ISON is supposed to slingshot around the sun between November 2013 and January 2014 before heading back into the void.  Although it’s more likely that due to heavy cloud across the western world only Rock-hopper  penguins on some remote island on the 28th of November will see an object “brighter than the full moon”. They won’t get all excited like the Beeb and Sky News and will happily continue hopping rocks.


This is my comic. That is your comic. I am. You are (or You’re). It’s not exactly rocket science. Here is a  fairly recent example from Superman 20. I expect better from DC. A constant bugbear that is beginning to drive me to distraction are the regular eMails (from two different professional people who ought to know better/how to spell-check) that begin by saying:- “Hope your well”. I’ve given up replying:- “Hope my well what?  Never runs dry?”.

DC Comics logo

Another irritant is this new DC Comics logo. Your having a laugh DC……


PS: This same comic once again features the word “ixnay”. Why would a (re-booted new 52) Kryptonian use such slang? I assumed that sort of childish parlance faded out in the 1950s along with the Three Stooges. Is it really still in common regular useage in the States???

Little Jolt

Aug 1, 2013

Regular visitors (?!?) will know that I am a sucker for odd comics. They don’t get much odderer (?!?) than this. There was only this one (August 1996) issue of “The Astonishing Moth” by Big Jolt Comics. Perhaps they fell foul of the 1990s comic implosion when from being must-have triple-bagged collectibles Independent comics (especially black and white ones) became unsellable overnight.


And according to the GCD (who should know) this comic contains the only comic artwork ever published by creator Karl Bauer and is also the only comic ever published by Big Jolt Comics. The snag is that just because something is rare and obscure it doesn’t make it valuable. Do you remember that classic Tommy Cooper joke that went something like this:-

“I was up in the attic with the wife. Dirty and filthy and covered in dust. But she’s very good with the kids. In the attic we found a violin and a painting. I took them to be valued and the man said:  What you’ve got there is a Rembrandt and a Stradivarius. The trouble is that Rembrandt was useless at making violins and Stradivari was a lousy painter.”

PS: How did the Astonishing Moth gain his powers? His TV went on the blink and zapped him with a Radioactive beam just as a moth flew by….

For much of the 1980s The Ross Revenge had three transmitters on board although all three weren’t operational all the time. Two transmitters were for the Medium wave and one was for Short wave. The logic behind this was that a second MW transmitter could be used for Dutch and/or Evangelical programming. The income from that subsidised the running of Radio Caroline. Despite Ronan’s optimism in 1983 adverts on Radio Caroline itself varied between once an hour or none for months so the income stream there wouldn’t even cover the cost of toilet rolls. In the bad old days of 1989 even the small SW transmitter had to be adapted to work on MW to (just about) keep the station on air.

Radio Caroline spent a number of years searching for the “right” spot on the Medium wave.In the 1970s they moved around from 773kHz to 1562kHz, 1187kHz, 953kHz, 962kHz and 1412kHz and probably more. In the 1980s the main frequencies used were 963kHz, 576kHz, 585kHz, 558kHz and 819kHz.


Consequently there were often days when announcements were made that they would be closing down for “maintenance” and would be back “stronger than ever” at a new spot on the dial a few days later. For a couple of days before 9th of July 1988 announcements were made that Radio Caroline would be closing for 4 weeks and during that period the english service would be replaced by a Dutch station (apparently called Radio 558). Surprisingly this period isn’t covered in AZAnorak’s extensive archive. Yours truly is always pleased to find an excuse to foist another lo-fi recording on the world at large. Here is Radio Caroline on the 8th of July 1988 and a few minutes from around 6AM on the 9th of July as Radio Caroline performs another closedown and hands over to the “new station”. I presume english programming continued in the evenings? Over the summer they were working on improving the aerial. Perhaps they needed “all hands on deck”?? Problems with the mast/aerial was something I don’t think they ever got satisfactorily sorted before the final final closedown a couple of years later

PS: And harking back to an even earlier age of Offshore Radio, I note that Wilfred Proudfoot died recently. He was a backer and later Managing Director of the Pirate Radio Station Radio 270. He was a vocal supporter of commercial radio in the early 1970s and at various times an MP, a Supermarket chain entrepreneur and a Hypnotist. You couldn’t make it up.

Atomic omics??

Aug 1, 2013


Eureka moment dept:    I was sitting beneath a tree at the bottom of the garden when a pine cone suddenly dropped into my glass of Guinness. No I didn’t discover gravity. I discovered that Guinness doesn’t half make a stain on brown leather shoes…

I was a free man at the bottom of the garden.
I felt unfettered and alive.
There was nobody calling me up for favours.
And no one’s future to decide.
You know I’d go back there tomorrow
But for the work I’ve taken on etc etc

Offline dept:    And sitting under the tree is as far away from the house and computers I can get. I’m reminded of the Phil Harris song “Woodman spare that tree”. His refuge is UP a “slippery elm”. In actual fact he could only get up the tree and to safety when his wife was chasing him. Determined to stay “offline” I resisted the temptation of Googling a few of Phil’s other classics like “Darktown Poker Club” and “The Thing”. I’ve always wondered what the Thing was that so upset everyone, even prompting St Peter at the Pearly gates to tell him to “take it down below”?!?


Heatwaving not drowning dept:       Boy, It’s hot today. Even the animals are feeling it. I’ve noticed some odd behaviour from the Blackbirds that I can’t recall happening in previous years. They sit down in the middle of the lawn and spread their wings full out across the grass, lift their heads up with beaks wide open and mad staring eyes. They probably stay like that for up to fifteen minutes at a time before flying off normally. Are they sunbathing? Or are they attempting to cool down? If so, you’d think it would be more sensible to sit in the shade.

And now the Robins have started behaving this way too. Are they just copying the Blackbirds or is there some survival technique at play here. No other types of bird behave this way. The Coal Tits carry on feeding and the Starlings continue to shout and argue amongst each other apparantly oblivious to the weather.

One of the Robins isn’t exactly tame but he certainly is curious as he follows me around the garden. He constantly sits on the mower handle the moment I switch off and seems to prefer garden furniture to sit on rather than twigs and branches. A few days ago I was putting some bird food out…one of those half coconut thingys… and the Robin actually came and perched on my shoulder. The last time I witnessed something similar was when I was 12 or 13 and a local Rook/Crow used to visit. If you called out it would come and perch on your arm. There’s even a photo somewhere. A few animals seem so intelligent it really makes you wonder if there is actually such a thing as re-incarnation. Don’t think I’d want to come back as a bird though.

Hoarding buried alive dept:     I’m not a hoarder at all. I’m a tidy person who at one time just happened to have a lot of stuff. Over the last five years I have solved that problem…I thought…. As it is far too nice to be inside I decided to wheel the Scooter out of the Summer House and perhaps get a new battery and see if it still runs. Of course I’d forgotten where the overflow “stuff” had been put over the last five years. The building is just crammed from floor to ceiling with boxes of who-knows-what. Opening the doors I got one of those “Hoarding” TV show moments where you step back in amazement. It looks like I’m going to be spending a month digging out the bike.