Piangi con me

Jul 1, 2015

Cry with me. Catchy tune. Sounds familiar. This sixties UK pop group found fame and chart success by re-locating to Italy. A change of lyrics and an English version followed. The resulting fab song was also covered by another UK band, but still it didn’t chart here. Eventually the tune was picked up by an American pop group. Their version shot up the charts and that is the version that continues to appear regularly on oldies stations to this day. The creators of this classic song must be frustrated that the hit version is assumed to be the original version by the majority of listeners.

The Rokes

Today versions

Lone Star Annual

Jul 1, 2015

Lone Star

Like Alan Class comics, comics produced by the Atlas Publishing and Distributing Company (no relation to Marvel/Timely/Atlas, or even the short-lived mid 1970s Atlas/Seaboard who both operated on the other side of the atlantic ocean) were sure to NOT date their range to maximise the chance for the newsagents to sell their monthly sixpenny black and white comics. I think the Annuals sold quite well however. The most popular ones were Superman, Superboy, Superadventure, (and later Batman) which were usually released around August/September time and bore two dates such as 1957/1958. The Lone Star Annuals (of which there were at least six..possibly ten) published between 1953 and 1963 seem to have dispensed with a date on the cover. They were numbered (usually inside) instead. As I only own two Lone Star Annuals I can merely assume the others in the series would have had similar contents. These two mostly contain the expected Lone Star rider western strips but are livened up by the inclusion of some cartoons along with Captain Cutlass and Space Ace.

Lone Star Annual No 4

Lone Star Annual No 6

Miller comics produced dozens of cowboy comics, usually re-printing stuff from the states. Atlas too had their share of western reprint comics. However Atlas’ Lone Star contained all-British material. Atlas took over in 1956 and the comic lasted until issue number 99 in 1963. Lone Star magazine had originally begun in 1953 as a tie-in promotional tool for Die Cast Machine Tools Ltd range of toys. Toy handguns with holsters and toy rifles were massively popular with children of the 1950s brought up on a diet of Cowboy TV shows. Usually they were “capguns” that made a “loud” bang when paper gunpowder capsules were inserted. These days toy weapons of any type are frowned on, although I see that there are still replicas around.

Lons Star advert

Wikipedia has this to say:-
Today, cap guns and other toy guns in the United States must be manufactured with a bright orange, red, or yellow tip placed over the “muzzle” of the cap gun, or with the entire gun made in these or other bright colours. Laws requiring these markings were made because of incidents where civilians – usually children or teenagers – were killed by police officers when the officers thought they saw real guns. While these incidents were rare, lawmakers decided that toy guns must be marked so they cannot be mistaken for real guns.It is also possible to commit acts of robbery with a replica gun, since no shots need to be fired from a gun that looks real.

Roy Rogers cap gun

There are many collectors throughout the world who collect all types of cap guns, even though restrictive laws in some areas may make it difficult. Whereas the toy guns brought small prices originally, they now command significant prices for many models, with some of the most famous sets of holsters, guns and original boxes selling for high prices at auctions and toy gun shows. Some collectors will collect all types of cap guns, but many collectors specialize in either guns named after a famous western hero or a particular company’s set, like the Nichols Industries or Hubley cap guns.

Interpol cap gun

PS: Die Cast Machine Tools didn’t just make toy guns. They produced a range of toy cars similar (though not quite as good quality) to the Dinky/Corgi models.

D.C.M.T. advert

More Laser 558

Jul 1, 2015

What was happening 31 years ago today? It was a Sunday. From the looks of this tape I found recently in the shed (?!?) nothing very exciting was happening for me as I had resorted to listening to Laser 558. They don’t appear to have (m)any jingles yet. I believe they pretty much always played oldies on Sundays and chart stuff the rest of the week.

The offshore radio station Laser 558 officially began broadcasting from the Communicator (not the ship’s original name) in May 1984 after a few months of tests. It didn’t take too long before they had generated a far larger audience than Radio Caroline due to their very deliberate policy of heavy heavy rotation of the pop hits of the day.

Laser 558 cassette side 1

The inevitable decline began within months. By January 1985 they were experiencing generator and aerial problems. By August 1985 the government had begun a blockade trying to stop supplies reaching them (and Radio Caroline). Laser 558 went off air for good in the middle of a show on the morning of 5th November 1985.

Laser 558 cassette side 2

Laser 558 1st July 1984 5pm-5.30pm

PS: Only listen to this if you’re a fan of hissy medium wave static with some music in the distant background. I believe their output at the time was less than 16kw and my portable radio was a few hundred miles away from their transmitter. The only slightly interesting aspect for anoraks is that this was Charlie Wolf’s second show on the station. He had first appeared on air 30th June.

PPS: For the sake of accuracy I should mention that there was a short-lived return as Laser Hot Hits for 3 months in 1986 and then the ship passed through a few different owners before it was finally scrapped a few years ago.

The best left?

Jul 1, 2015

Last year this pristine 1968 Triumph Herald surfaced with the speedo showing less than 100 miles from new. It was for sale for £16000. I hope it found a good home.

Triumph Herald as new

Pristine Herald 1200



Polyvinyl Chloride

Jul 1, 2015


Invisible man

Jul 1, 2015


A thousand years ago (back in 2009 actually) I briefly mentioned the launch of BBC Radio One in September 1967. I found the above image in an old magazine from the time. I recently bumped into the image below which at first glance is identical apart from the odd addition of a middle-aged guy on the back row. Who was he and why did he duck down out of sight? If he moved away from the group photo he sure moved quickly as everyone else appears to be in exactly the same poses/positions in both pictures. How odd! Or are they both the same photo and perhaps for reasons unknown (maybe because he wasn’t actually a DJ?) he was airbrushed out of the image I found?


I believe the “missing” man must be Light Programme/Radio One/Radio Two Controller Robin (Scutt) Scott, who can be heard counting down to the start of the first Tony Blackburn Breakfast show on the opening day of Radio One.


Jul 1, 2015

own devices