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Dec 16

Charts – 14 December 2014

Posted on Tuesday, December 16, 2014 by Paul in Music

It’s the week before the Christmas chart, and so effectively the last regular chart of the year – though by this time the regular music industry has already gone into its festive shutdown.  The result is, with one unusual exception, a week of comparatively niche releases that did well at the start of the week and tailed off badly, and the usual upward march of the Christmas classics.

39.  Ed Sheeran – “Sing”
37.  Ella Henderson – “Ghost”

A couple of long running records, both number 1s in June, re-entering at the bottom end due to lack of competition from new releases.  “Sing” joins “Thinking Out Loud” and “Don’t” to give Sheeran three songs in this week’s chart.  Henderson’s current single “Yours” drops to 20 this week.

35.  Wizzard – “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday”

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Dec 14

WWE TLC

Posted on Sunday, December 14, 2014 by Paul in Wrestling

If the WWE Network does indeed launch in the UK at the start of January as suggested – and reportedly that’s the date that was already agreed with Sky when the contract was renewed a few months back – then in theory this should mark the end of PPV in the UK.    Well, as long as you have decent broadband and aren’t deterred by the whole idea of internet streaming – which admittedly still leaves a significant chunk of the audience.  And oddly, TLC isn’t a PPV in the UK – it’s airing on Sky Sports.  So really, UK PPV as we know it ended in November.  Still, you get the point.

This seems to make TLC a suitable place to draw a line under these columns, since, point one, we’re now talking about network specials rather than PPVs, and point two, the current quality of WWE television is so mind-numbing that the build to these shows is more of a chore to sit through than a pleasure to write about.  I’m thinking I might do some Chikara coverage in 2015 instead – much less viewed, but vastly more interesting to write about.

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Dec 12

Amazing X-Men #14 – “The Worst Of Us”

Posted on Friday, December 12, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Oh good, another Axis tie-in.  We definitely haven’t flogged the inversion horse to death yet.  I’m so glad we’re getting it again here.

Let’s recap why these tie-ins largely don’t work.  The whole “inversion” angle is fine for a few issues of Uncanny Avengers where you camp it up to the nines and have the heroes go crazy so that other people have to step in and save the day.  But when you try to extend it beyond that, you find that it kind of works with the villains, but it’s a lost cause with the heroes.

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Dec 11

Charts – 7 December 2014

Posted on Thursday, December 11, 2014 by Paul in Music

Say, you don’t think it’s the first chart of December, do you?

39.  Wham! – “Last Christmas”

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Dec 7

Axis: Revolutions

Posted on Sunday, December 7, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Nitpickers may quibble with the idea of doing Axis: Revolutions this week, given that it still has an issue to run.  But nothing else is wrapping up this week, and Revolutions is an anthology title, and it’s clear enough by this point that it can be safely filed as one for completists only.

Also, the solicitations for issue #4 tell us that (a) there will be a She-Hulk story and (b) there will be a story written and drawn by Howard Chaykin, and I have a terrible feeling they will be one and the same, and that is something I do not want to see, because the fact that Howard Chaykin made some good comics thirty years ago doesn’t alter the fact that everything he does with female characters is abominable now.  (That said, the “next issue” box at the end of issue #4 promises Iceman and Dr Doom stories, so who the hell knows.)

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Dec 3

Charts – 30 November 2014

Posted on Wednesday, December 3, 2014 by Paul in Music

Hey, it’s one of those weeks where the record-buying public wanders off script!  Yay!

36.  Beyonce – “7/11″

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Nov 30

Wolverine and the X-Men vol 2 – “Death of Wolverine”

Posted on Sunday, November 30, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

The first volume of Jason Latour’s Wolverine and the X-Men run was pretty much an outright catastrophe.  The main problem was an excessively complicated plot, which didn’t entirely make sense to start with, and which was told in a massively confusing way.  So whatever good ideas were in there got lost in a welter of confusion.

Given such a disastrous start, it is perhaps unsurprising to see that Latour’s second volume is his last.  In fact, he doesn’t even make it to the end of the volume, with the final issue – originally solicited with his name – turning out to be written by Frank Tieri instead.

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Nov 24

Charts – 23 November 2014

Posted on Monday, November 24, 2014 by Paul in Music

It’s Christmas, apparently!  It must be, they have the red cups out, and Bob Geldof is aggrieved.

26.  Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – “In The Heat of the Moment”

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Nov 23

Axis

Posted on Sunday, November 23, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Once again, everything is in mid-storyline this week.  So instead let’s quickly check in on how the sprawling Axis crossover is doing, six issues in.

Despite being billed as Avengers vs X-Men: Axis, the core series is really just a re-labelling of twelve issues of Rick Remender’s Uncanny Avengers, which had been building to a big confrontation with the Red Skull from an early stage.  Uncanny Avengers has always been somewhat semi-detached – and indeed, while there are tons of tie-ins being published here, they don’t actually impinge on the main Avengers and X-Men titles, which are getting serenely on with business as usual.

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Nov 22

Survivor Series 2014

Posted on Saturday, November 22, 2014 by Paul in Wrestling

Survivor Series 2014 is an unusual pay-per-view, because to all intents and purposes it isn’t one.  You can order it on PPV if you really want to, but it’s being offered as the centrepiece of a free try-out month for the WWE Network, which the WWE is still bound and determined to get you to subscribe for, being pretty much committed to the idea by this point.  So it’s a freebie – no doubt explaining the ludicrously flimsy undercard.

That’s except for viewers in the UK, where the Network was announced as launching at the start of the month, only to be delayed without explanation at the last moment.  The story is apparently that they still haven’t managed to sort things out with BSkyB; the most recent contract did allow for the Network launching, but not until the originally scheduled date at the start of next year.  The WWE could have launched a UK version without the Sky-exclusive programming, but…

So here we are, with the UK being the only country in the world asked to pay full price for a free show.  Will anyone in the UK actually be watching this show legitimately?  It seems almost unimaginable.

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