03/05/2021

Dark Nature - new children's novel available now!

Dark Nature - The fifth Heart of the World novel

Deep inside the mountain known as Devil’s Peak, a group of misfit scientists’ amazing plan to solve ecological problems is threatened by an elemental menace with dangerously different ideas. As Tom Allenby tries to stop this new threat to mankind, he faces the most serious peril of his fifteen year old life. Things will never be the same again. In his toughest, most personal adventure yet can Tom save the world and those closest to him? Or will humanity fall to the storm of the century?

Dark Nature in paperback format

Dark Nature in Kindle ebook format

 


02/05/2021

Top of the Pops 17 April 1986

Presented by Chris Arnsby. [10] Big Country: Look Away. Gary Davies. “Welcome to Top of the Pops and here to start us off Big Country and Look Away.” A nice enough song, and a good performance, but it leaves me with very little to say. I'm not mad keen on Stuart Adamson's carpet remnant coat. Gary Davies. “What a great way to start. Big Country and Look Away. So, all on my own in the studio tonight, well not exactly on my own, also in the studio we have George Michael, we have A-ha, and It's Immaterial but first here's this week's Top 40 over this video from Falco and Rock Me Amadeus.”

 


28/04/2021

School's Out Forever


If I’d seen this film a year ago, I might have freaked out! Remember that time when there was enormous uncertainty about the nature and scope of the Covid pandemic and nobody knew quite what to expect? That it could even be the end of the world..? It is that unsettling unknown that is evoked in this lively and frequently thrilling adaptation of Scott K Andrews’ book.  Writer and and also director Oliver Milburn homes in on the fear and chaos that could easily have become reality in 2020 though this film was made back in 2019 when no-one had heard of Covid. Thankfully such prescience only adds to the sense of tension running through this movie which explodes in a series of incidents.

 


25/04/2021

Top of the Pops 10 April 1986

 Introduced by Chris Arnsby. [25] Bronski Beat: C’mon C’mon. Mike Smith. “Good evening and welcome to Top of the Pops. We start this week with Bronski Beat, C'mon C'mon.” 
Bronski Beat have invoked the spirit of Fiesta. The stage is filled with balloons; tinsel has been nailed to every surface which doesn't already glow, spin, or rotate; and every pot plant from the production office has been dragged on stage to stuff the background with greenery. And, what is lurking at the front of the stage? We never really get a proper look but it appears to be a weird cairn of potted fern, balloons, and a stuffed snake posed in mid-strike. It's all very odd. Is it is an anthropomorphic representation of the Top of the Pops Animus of Fun? Fortunately we're a couple of months away from Midsummer so I think we can rule out human sacrifice.

 


22/04/2021

Last Days of Debenhams

 “Do a bit of Debenhams” was one of the more recent slogans used by the ailing high street chain in an attempt to relaunch itself a couple of years back. Now Debenhams is nearly done, the brand bought by online retailer BooHoo for £55m, the physical shops due to all be closed by mid - May. About 12,000 people are being made redundant. On 21 January a court issued a winding up order against Debenhams and appointed the Official Receiver as liquidator. On 25 January the name and website only were snapped up by BooHoo but the shops were not part of the deal. After so called non- essential retail shops were allowed to open last week Debenhams stores started a closing down sale with some items being offered for as much as 70% off.

 


19/04/2021

ESL- Football's Worst Own Goal?

 Anyone who has watched the evolution of our national game should not be too surprised at the latest development. Our so called Big Six clubs are joining a European Super League (ESL) to play the cream of the continent’s teams in mid-week matches. As well as appointing themselves to this elite they have declared somewhat unilaterally that they will continue to participate in existing domestic and national competition. The move has resulted in a barrage of criticism from fans, senior figures, celebrities and politicians suggesting that, despite its distinctly pro-European approach, this is nothing less than Football’s Brexit. The idea has been swirling around for years though and simply confirms what even the most ardent supporter really knew- that those who run big football clubs are more interested in money than sport.

 


18/04/2021

Midsomer Murders- Dance with the Dead

This episode seems to turn up a lot on repeat channels and is well worth a look or even another look if you’ve seen it. By 2006 Midsomer Murders had reached its tenth series, an achievement only a handful of non -soap dramas ever get to mark but was it still as bizarre as it had started out? This series started with a typical PJ Hammond mystery centred around the charms of a wayward girl in a story that mixes wartime nostalgia with modern day concerns and throws in some ballroom dancing as well. Hammond’s characters this time round are a strange lot but all are in different ways dancing to the tune set by Laura who we only see fleetingly at the start in a midnight liaison with a local boy Simon Bright. Next morning his body is found in a fuel filled vintage car at a disused airfield. Though this is initially believed to be suicide it soon becomes apparent it is not.



16/04/2021

Top of the Pops 27 March & 7 April 1986

 Presented by Chris Arnsby. 27 March 1986

[4] Samantha Fox: Touch Me (I Want Your Body). “It's the show that brings you Britain's biggest hits. Here's Samantha Fox,” Mike Smith. The off-air copy of Top of the Pops I'm viewing (downloaded from the very heart of Silbury Hill https://mega.nz/folder/h0snQACa#uiNNqosfbdrfzODHsE1clw ) begins excitingly with a glimpse of the old BBC1 computer generated globe. Nostalgia eases the pain.

Less excitingly, Top of the Pops starts with Samantha Fox's hit song which is drearier than I remember. It's... `Kids In America` at the wrong speed, isn't it? The synths, the electric guitars, the bit where the guitarists sing/chant “this is the night” is like the call and response “woh-oh” from Kids In America. This is Kim Wilde's better song fed through a system of filters designed to really maximise the mediocrity.

1986 was a good year for Samantha Fox. The end of her Page 3 modelling career was followed by four singles (although released to diminishing returns the last, I'm All You Need, didn't make the Top 40), and software house Martech released the “erotic” (yuk) video game Samantha Fox Strip Poker for anyone desperate to gawp at her grainy pixels. One of the charming qualities of VHS is the way the picture quality degrades as the tape is rewound, paused, watched, rewound, and watched again. There are a lot of tracking errors as Sam Fox starts singing, suggesting our mystery home taper watched this section a lot to ensure it had recorded properly.