The Last Days of Thunder Child

The Last Days of Thunder Child
War of the Worlds - spin off adaptation novel.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel "Judy Teen"

This one really takes me back to the seventies. Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel signing Judy Teen. I thought this was a great one.

Solution - Chappaqua

I first heard this album in 1979 though it was produced in the year of 1975. I found it the most wonderful chill out record I ever had. This reminds me of that great year in my life; 1979 (though the album was done in 1975) I have to emphasis this because I know some record buffs would get uptight over such claims. I've loaded some of the tracks off of Cordon Bleu. The band is called Solution and I hope you enjoy.  

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

How to Murder Your Wife (1965) Jack Lemmon and Terry Thomas

This is a great movie with Jack Lemmon and Terry Thomas at their best - a smashing retro American comedy from the sixties with Terry Thomas playing the Gentleman's Gentleman to Jack Lemmon who has the perfect bachelor lifestyle. Then with the sudden and unexpected arrival of a gorgeous Italian women, everything goes pear shaped for our devoted bachelor. This film is an absolute giggle and I've loved this charming story since the first time I saw it as a kid.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Danger Diabolik (Retro Italian Flick)

As I have said before, my mother was always taking my sister and me to the pictures when we were kids. I did not know anything about this movie when we walked into the cinema, but I remember being mesmerised by it. I was only around seven years of age, and I thought Diabolik was a good crook.

It was the first movie I remembered seeing where the bad guy was the goody. He had to be, because he had great sports cars and a fabulous girlfriend. I remember he robbed some grand jewels for her birthday present and they went to bed in thousands of dollar notes. Of course nowadays, it is a rather cheesy sixties retro Italian flick, but I still have a soft spot for this outrages and fun movie. I sucked it in completely and thought every country had a champion Diabolik in residence.

At first I thought this man was an American comic strip super hero. I had seen such a character in Marvel and his name was Sub-Mariner. I was confused by this because Diabolik had a hair style that looked similar to this American comic character and he dived into water at the beginning.

Diabolik is an Italian comic strip character that robs banks and lives the life of a charismatic gentleman adventurer. The movie is totally over the top in a wonderful sixties cheesy, sexy way. The end was good too. Encased in gold - what a diabolical and grand way for Diabolik to go, or does he? This movie takes me back to the retro sixties world with some of its more pleasant memories.

It starred John Phillip Law who was in a number of Italian B movies of the sixties. His most notable other movie was The Golden Voyage of Sinbad with Tom Baker and Caroline Munro.

The heroine of the movie is Diabolik's girlfriend played by Austrian actress Marisa Mell. Sadly, Marisa Mell and John Phillip Law are no longer with us. 

Beryl the Peril (Retro British comic character)

I remember my sister bringing this annual home one evening from our school jumble sale. It would have been in 1971 and I assume a kid had read it and gave it over as the jumble. How could he or she do such a thing? This was gold dust - kiddie treasure.

I loved the Beano and the Dandy - I read them religiously every week. Retro British comics were and still are fabulous - they take me back to my childhood and many happy occasions when I would get lost in the little worlds of our comic characters.

I knew of Beryl the Peril and the Topper, but I did not read them much because I preferred the Beano and Dandy at the time. However, upon reading the above annual, I became an avid Beryl the Peril fan. She was a female version of the Beano's Dennis the Menace and both characters were created by David Law.

My sister and I would often argue over who should read the book because we always seemed to want it at the same time. It never occurred to us to read it together.

The above Beryl the Peril annual 1971 was a collection of weekly comic strips put into one annual. This was popular during Christmas and all the regular weekly comics would have annuals. The strips would be taken from stories going back to the 1950s and 1960s. As with Beryl the Peril, some characters were popular enough to warrant a whole annual dedicated to them. 

Devious Beryl the Peril
They were great fun and Beryl was a devious and scheming tomboy character that was always getting up to mischief. Sometimes she would get her comeuppance (Usually being spanked by Dad) and sometimes she would win. Much of the stories from yesterday would be politically incorrect today. 

we later acquired this annual too.

These comics helped me with my reading development as a kid though I often remember my mother saying that she thought they spelt words wrong. Especially words like; "It's not fair," being spelt comic version with Beryl saying "Snot fair." This was in order to sound like a grotty little kid in the school playground. Of course, there were other examples like this, but we were kids and these mistakes were pointed out when we made them. These characters encouraged kids to read because we wanted to escape into these comical worlds.

Beryl was always at odds with her old fashion moralistic Father

They were smashing times with great memories. Sadly these comics are not as popular nowadays, though the Beano and Dandy are still going. The cartoonists have changed and the stories toned down too. Beryl the Peril moved from the Topper comic to the Dandy when Topper and Beezer folded. In the 1950s, 60s, and 70s we thought it would never happen.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

(Radiogram Adventures) Sam the Sham & the Pharaos

When searching through the records of my parents radiogram, this one was always a favorite. Sam the Sham was born in Dallas Texas in the year of 1937. He had a few hits in the mid sixties but Wooly Bully was his most famous.

The Holy Spitfire (Our Lady of the Skies)

Where I live, in Leigh-on-Sea, there is a small flight runway called Southend Airport. There are many planes stationed there including a Vulcan bomber. Every last Sunday and following bank holiday Monday of May month, we have a two day air display. It is a fun time and the roads along the Southend-on-Sea seafront are closed off for the visitors and various stalls concerning the air display.

Usually, a few days before hand, some of the old planes are flying over head on test flights. I always delight in this because I often see, over the years, a Hawker Hurricane, a German ME 109 and our glorious Spitfire.

The Holy Spitfire: Our Lady of the Skies
Every Brit loves the Spitfire - she is our ultimate retro dream machine. We revere this gorgeous flying babe because of the iconic legacy she has left us. Everyone looks up and smiles knowing the airshow is coming to Southend when they see the Spitfire.

My Dad told me that when he was a kid he would look up into the sky and watch the dogfights. His house, where he now lives, was bought from my Grandfather and was built in 1952 by the old gates to Hornchurch airfield. When I was a kid I played on the abandoned and overgrown area of what had once been Hornchurch airfield - a major Spitfire and Hawker Hurricane base during the Battle of Britain.

The grand aeroplane is so wonderfully retro Brit and I can't think why it has taken so long into the blog collection to finally mention this dream baby. We Brits do, after all, owe so much to the dream machine

Hawker Hurricane (Workhorse)
The Hawker Hurricane was regarded as the work horse that could take a bit of punishment in air battles, but she lacked speed and maneuverability. The Spitfire was more nimble with a sharper over all performance. However, the Hawker Hurricane's durability should also be remembered and it is generally believed that both these aircraft complimented each other in the great air duels with Hitler's Luftwaffe during the 1940 Battle of Britain.

The Battle of Britain was a very desperate time for the United Kingdom. She had seen her land forces from the UK and Commonwealth almost driven into the sea by the advancing German army. The demoralized nation had seen its major neighbouring ally, France, fall before the Nazi Blizkrieg.

Britain needed time to recoup and Germany needed to push home her advantage by destroying British air power before launching an invasion. The Royal Navy was still formidable, but there were doubts about how the air force might perform. It was generally regarded as being under strengh and under maned to take on the German Luftwaffe.

Spitfire defending the shores of the UK
During the summer of 1940, Germany launched her air campaign over Britain and came up against stubborn and formidable resistance from the British RAF. One of the major contributing factors to this air battle was the Spitfire aeroplane. This little machine was pivotal in intercepting the German air force along with the Hawker Hurricane and the radar stations, which had a highly skilled operative staff of dedicated women and men. They could direct our Spitfire and Hurricane squadrons to key intercept positions.

Intercepting the Luftwaffe during the Battle of Britain
After months of bitter fighting, the Luftwaffe had to back away from the contest and Germany abandoned the idea of invasion. This coupled with mistakes of a later invasion in the Soviet Union caused the eventual demise of Hitler's Nazi Germany. The USA entered the war and Britain had two new allies. Because of the Spitfire's brave fight during the Battle of Britain, the new alliance had a spring board platform (the United Kingdom) to mount a liberating invasion in the years to come.

RJ Mitchell left us his legacy before passing away in 1937 aged 42.
Most people in the UK look upon the Spitfire in a glorious and romantic way today. The flying machine is viewed with a wonderful celebrity and style - a beautiful lady that one must treat with devotion and respect. She was designed by a man named RJ Mitchell and he worked on the plane from 1928 until his death from cancer in 1937. He never saw the great service his elegant mechanical lady would perform for his country, but he had a firm belief in the quality of his dream machine. After his death, Mitchell's friend and colleague Joseph Smith became the Chief designer. The Spitfire plane started off with a Rolls Royce Merlin engine and then progressed to a Rolls Royce Griffon engine during her life of service. In 1935 the armament was changed from two 303 in Vickers machine guns in each wing to four. This increased the machine ladies' temper very significantly for the dreadful future that was to come.


Saturday, 25 June 2011

Hawkwind - Silver Machine

Hawkwind were a strange old band. I heard the Sci/Fi and Fantasy writer Micheal Moorcock had something to do with this rock group too. They were one of those spaced out seventies bands that immortalised themselves in the rock history books because of this single in 1972. There were a few other tracks that were good, like Brainstorm and Masters of the Universe, but most of their other material seemed a bit too spaced out and heavy for my taste. However, this particular record did capture my imagination and it does have that wonderful early retro feel about it from the early seventies. Sometimes when I look back at these sort of performances, I wonder how our social society came out of the other side as intact as we are. When people say they despair of today's youth, I'm sure many of the older people, saying such things, were going to concerts like this and buying the records. In that day of 1972, the older people would say; "I went to war for louts like this." and then perhaps wondered if it was worth it. You don't see the change on a day to day basis, but there is obvious differences since 1972 to 2011. It must have been so, to an incredible degree, from 1940 to 1972. I think as we grow older we forget that we were also young and rebellious once. 

Friday, 24 June 2011

British Gloucesters during Korean War (Len W. Frampton's Bizarre Story)

In the year of 2003, I went on a day trip to France with my mother and a few friends from the Southend-on-Sea Conservative Club.  It was a beer, wine and tobacco trip for most and a 'jolly boys' outing too. Among my mum's friends was a man called Len. I had seen him before and on this occasion we were sitting in a bar aboard a Calais to Dover ferry - making our way back to Britain. Len was about mid to late seventies at the time, but was fit and still agile for a man of his age. He was always smartly dressed in a suit and tie - fairly tall - upright and sure.

As we sat drinking, he came out with a snippit of information that took me by surprise. I do not remember how we got onto the subject but Len Frampton suddenly said he was in the Korean War. He was laughing as he told us over a beer. He said he was in the famous Gloucester regiment and had been at a major battle. He also said that he had been captured by Chinese soldiers while trying to retreat down a hill that they had been defending for a long time during the hectic battle.

I have no pictures of Len Frampton and he has since passed away in about 2008 or 2009. But this clip from a British battles documentary must be the fighting, of which, my friend Len described - of this, I'm certain. 

He spoke of the events in slightly comical terms as Len was a jovial sort of character who liked a drink and a laugh. I get the impression that he did not always take life too seriously and sort of sailed through it, enjoying himself along the way. It was in this manner that he told the story of him and his fellow soldiers of the Gloucester's retreating down a hill while Chinese soldiers were occupying their abandoned positions. He was not making the dreadful battle of his story light hearted - in fact he did not dwell on the fighting - he was talking of their attempts to escape from a hill which was all but surrounded. Some of these enemy soldiers flanked them as they descended the hill and Lenny along with many other Brit soldiers found themselves captured by the Chinese troops.

From this point, he told a bizarre story of the Chinese soldiers putting all the British prisoners, including himself, on the back of several lorries. Then in a convoy, the lorries drove off with their British POWs. Len Frampton was on the very last truck of the convoy and he said there were no Chinese guards in the back of the vehicle with the British soldiers. He said there was just two Chinese soldiers - one a driver and the other, an armed guard who sat next to this driver at the front.

As the convoy went along the winding dirt tracks, Len and one of his mates decided to take a chance and jump off the back of the truck as it turned along a bend. They did so, and according to Len the convoy just moved on and did not stop. No one, among the enemy, had noticed them do it. 

They went into the foliage and hid for some time but no one came back to search for them. After a while they started to make their way back to where they thought their lines might be. I did not ask any questions, though afterwards and now, I wished I had because I have learnt from the above documentary that the entire lines must have been swarming with Chinese soldiers. I just listened as he told the story of him and his mate feeling desperate and alone inside the North Korean and Chinese controlled land.

After a time they came upon a village and he said the Korean people of the village were rather scared of them. He suspected they were afraid of being associated with the enemy, but they did give some rice and urged them to move on after a day. Len and his friend, willingly complied because they also feared the villagers might betray them out of fear if they stayed.

He then said they came upon an American camp and were rescued. I did not ask how he got through the Chinese lines or exactly how many days he was at large, which I should have. He went on about how great the American soldiers were to them and how grateful he and his friend were to meet the 'good old Yanks,' who gave them food, drink and cigarettes before finding their regiment and handing them on.

We were all rather surprised by Len's story and I can't say for certain how true it was. I am sure he was in the Gloucester's regiment and believe he must have been at the battle for this famous hill. What he described matches much of what is said in the documentary. I have to say, I believe Len W. Frampton's remarkable story. Some people did ask certain questions when Len finished his tale, but the only other thing I remember him saying, was that he was stationed in Hong Kong and then without any warning they were flown to Korea and were caught up in this war.   

The Teardrop Explodes - When I Dream

I used to love this song and it is from about 1980 or 1981. It was my favorite track from an album called Kilimanjaro by The Teardrop Explodes. There were many other great tracks on this album and I can honestly say it was a rare LP where every song was quality. There was not a single suspect track.

Thursday, 23 June 2011


This band started in the early seventies and were instrumental in bringing about a New York scene of New Wave from which came other bands like The Ramones, Blondie, Television and Talking Heads.


Iggy Pop - I'm Bored (1979 TV show)

Iggy Pop, well before he started to sell Swiftcover car insurance. This is from 1979 when he was on the Old Grey Whistle Test. He was around a lot in the late seventies but seemed to fade. Then he popped up with the tv commercial and a puppet of himself.

Moyra Melons - my girlfriend does not do ear rings.

Moyra sat and listened to me.
The other day, I was going on a bit about ladies ear rings when I went around to see Moyra Melons and her husband. They sat down and listened to me while I had a right old beef about my latest girlfriend and her lack of showy ear rings.

"I want to walk into a room, with my lady, and see the bloke's heads turn. However, my girlfriend doesn't seem to appreciate that good ear rings stand out and get a lady noticed. After all, ladies like to be noticed don't they?" I whinged.

"Why do you want other blokes to look at her ear rings?" Moyra Melons smiled saucily.

I could not help but grin back and wickedly I replied. "Because I want them all to know that my bird has a great pair of ear rings and she is with me. However, she just will not do ear rings. What can I do?"

Moyra's husband coughed slightly and added. "Ear rings are not the be all and end all of everything."

I looked him straight in the eye and said. "That's alright for you to say mate, when your sitting next to your wife in dazzling ear rings. With all due respect - you're spoilt."

"Would you like me to have a word with her for you?" asked Moyra Melons.

"Would you?" I replied.

That was several days ago. I've just seen Moyra Melons with her husband in the supermarket and could not resist asking her if she had remembered to have a word with my girlfriend on the delicate subject of ear rings.

Moyra Melons said she could not be bothered because after seeing her, she decided I needed to go to specsavers. I'm going to take her advice and get glasses, because try as I might I can't see my girlfriend's ear rings. They must be very small.

Call me dumb if you will. But can you see my
girlfriend's ear rings?

An Inconvenient Convenience.

Caught with one's trousers down
One day, when I worked for the post office, in King Edward building London, I was having my dinner break, but needed to go to the lavatory. Nature had suddenly reared her head and was making it clear, in no uncertain terms, that her divine call should be answered. It is, of course, the sort of call that one does not trifle with.

In King Edward Building's north east side there was a rather tantalising collection of toilets on each level as one went down the staircase. One floor ladies the next gents, then ladies, then gents - all the way from the top floor to the sub-ground and lower basement.

The whole area had been closed off for several weeks while builders had renovated the entire stairwell and its many toilets. But they had finished - the north east staircase was close by and awaiting my discreet attention. So, with great aplomb, I hurried off and found the first level toilet door open. I whizzed in and noted the plush way the builders had done it out - I remember thinking, "This is bloody nice." I caught an impressive, yet fleeting glimpse of a neat line of sinks and the long open mirror where the urinals used to be.

Crash! I slammed the lavatory door and bolted it - pulled down my strides and skats then allowed my traumatised posterior to hover menacingly over the lav. I thought no more of the plush and newly renovated toilet because I was intent on my little party act in the isolation of my comfy cubicle. (Incidentally, I don't get invited to many parties.) 

Suddenly I heard a group of young ladies enter the toilet and they were talking about a number of girlie things. I froze in terror - my bowels did too - I think they quickly developed a personality of their own in that terrible and bleak moment. It was then, that it dawned upon me, and I realised why; there was a line of wash basins, plus a fine long mirror, where the bloke's urinals were supposed to be. I had just run in with the main door already open. The one that would say Ladies or Gents. I had made a dreadful mistake and all the girls were outside the cubicle chatting away.

I found it a bit difficult to continue, yet I really needed to. What could I do? I was not going to pull my strides back up, open the door and say, "Sorry, my mistake." and walk off. I wanted to scream out a choice colourful metaphor that sounded like 'cough' but my masculine pride triumphed and would not let me.

However, if the young ladies outside stayed any longer, I would not have any masculine pride left. I'm sure you, the reader, could understand the delicate nature of my predicament.  In the end, I just had to go ahead and fulfill my obligation to nature's stringent demand. As I was about this rather inconvenient task, the anonymous group of girls suddenly fell silent and I'm sure it was because of me.

I remember the patter of their feet as they scurried off amid incoherent whispers. No doubt wondering what little flower smelt so bad - probably being glad she was not in their little gang. It took me ages to pluck up the courage to open the door and bolt out. Fortunately, there was no one around and I was able to descend to the next floor and wash my hands. I certainly checked the sign on the next level, but it was a bit like closing the stable door after the horse had bolted.  

Muscles Like a Greek God

Muscles like a Greek god
When I was eleven, I was in my senior school first year. After the games lesson of football, we had just gone through the shower, which was freezing cold, before we got changed. We would run through as quick as possible and come out the other side still caked in mud.

While drying off, one of my school mates made a comment that I was skinny. I felt a little put out because I thought he was quite tubby. For a moment or two I reflected and began to grow more indignant by his comment - the way an eleven year old might.

Only a few days earlier, when at home, my mother said I was developing and growing - the way most mums like to big their sons up on occasion. Being a little naive, I took everything she said very literally. She said to my sister, "That boy is getting muscles like a Greek god." She was taking the piss, but at the time I sucked it all in.

Therefore, back in the changing room, and with ill deserved confidence, I retorted to my tubby friend, "I've got muscles like a Greek god."

"Who told you that boyo?" It was my Welsh PE teacher who over heard what was said.

"Me mum," I replied suddenly feeling a bit of a plonker.

When the PE teacher creased up holding his stomach with laughter, I knew I had dropped a bit of a clanger. Suddenly the rest of the class were laughing too. I wanted Scotty from STAR TREK to beam me up. It was at that moment, I learnt not to take everything my mum said literally - everyone thinks their own kids are marvelous - especially mums.


Giving You Mario Lanza - Drink Drink Drink (Radiogram Adventures)

Mario Lanza as been on the blog before and also this clip, but not as a Radiogram Adventures piece. I bet all those people out there think its a naff excuse to put it on again. OK - but it is Mario Lanza and it is a very jolly song. When I was a kid going through the radiogram records, this was in my Dad's collection. I used to put it on when all were out and I was alone. I would make out that I was in a bier garden in Bavaria doing a Mario Lanza. Unfortunately my voice had not broken at that age, but I still hoped that when it did; I might be the new Mario Lanza. Then I could shoot off to a real bier garden in Bavaria and do the drink, drink, drink song.

Unfortunately, when my voice did break I got a non Mario Lanza singing voice. I think I have managed the drink,drink,drink bit a few times but never quite got the singing voice part. I tended to get thrown out of the English pubs when I tried, so I gave up on being the new Mario Lanza.

However, it is still nice to play this one and imagine being nine when I mimed, with great gusto, to the song as I stood on the arms of the settee and flayed my hands about holding an invisible stein and spilling invisible beer while being Mario Lanza in all his glory.

Gor! those were the days. I was going to be a star football player for England and score the winning goal in a world cup final - I was going to do it all - even squeeze a new Mario Lanza persona into the bargain.


Monday, 20 June 2011

Moyra Melons ear rings make the party go well.

Moyra Melons' party ear rings 
As Moyra Melons walked in through the front door, all the blokes stopped what they were doing - gawped at her in open mouthed surprise and were stunned into silence. 

"I feel as though I've killed the atmosphere. Perhaps my ear rings are a little OTT," she said to her exasperated husband.

He replied. "Of course dear, I'm sure the chaps will get used to them."

"I'm getting dirty looks from their wives - I don't think they are inclined to," she added.

"They're probably jealous of your splendid taste in ear bling. I'm sure it's the first thing they account for, when losing the attentions of their men folk," answered her husband a little patronisingly.

"Fancy that and all over a set of ear rings," she scoffed tartly.

"Yes, all over a set of ear rings, among other things," he agreed.

"Other things?" Moyra Melons looked confused.

"I'll explain more when we get home darling," said her husband.

Moyra Melons asked for an explanation when they got home and got a little more then she bargained for. Though her husband did not do a great deal of talking; I think she realised what, 'among other things,' meant.