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Aug 31

Watch With Father, Prologue: Camberwick Green

Posted on Monday, August 31, 2015 by Paul in Watch With Father

On Monday 3 April 1978, when I was three, the BBC began once again to repeat Camberwick Green, the everyday tale of stop-motion folk.  The chances are good that I was watching.

For one thing, if you wanted to watch pre-school TV in Britain in the late 70s – or, for that matter, if you wanted to put your child in front it – then your options were pretty limited.  There were only three channels. And there were no video recorders. (Well, there were, but you probably didn’t have one.) So if you wanted to watch it, you had to watch it live.


Aug 30

House to Astonish Episode 136

Posted on Sunday, August 30, 2015 by Al in Podcast

Something of a scattershot selection of news for you this time out, with discussion of Secret Wars being extended to nine issues; the Scarlet Witch artist announcement; Mads Mikkelsen’s negotiations to bring villainy to the Doctor Strange movie; the newly-announced Guardians of Infinity series; casting news for the Flash and Agents of SHIELD shows; and Superman’s career as a watch thief. We’ve also got reviews of Last Days of Ant-Man and Over the Garden Wall, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe is a sustainable source of amusement. All this plus photographs of gravel, the World Arson Championships and a tiny vole wearing a full tuxedo.

The podcast is here, or here on Mixcloud, or available via the embedded player below. Let us know what you think, in the comments, on Twitter, via email or at our Facebook fan page. And don’t forget that you can get our super-chic t-shirts at our Redbubble store – it’s still summer, you know.

Aug 24


Posted on Monday, August 24, 2015 by Paul in Uncategorized

Various things have kept me from doing any full length posts over the last week (and probably will for the next few days too).  At least two of those things involve plans for things that are coming up in the future, though, so stick with us.  In the meantime, here’s where we stand on blog content:

The X-Axis remains effectively on hiatus, due to everything being in mid-arc until Secret Wars ends.  The exception to that is Magneto, which ought to be wrapping up sooner or later.  And since Jeff Lemire is coming aboard, I thought I might do the first arc of Descender, if time permits.

The Chikara posts remain on their as-and-when non-schedule.

The chart posts are going down to a once-a-month-or-thereabouts roundup of number ones and other particularly notable stuff, because there’s really not enough going on on the singles chart these days to make a weekly post worth the time it takes.

And, because a surprisingly large number of people said they’d read it, a series of posts on British pre-school children’s TV is coming.  Look for a prologue post in the next week or so.

Aug 17

Chikara 15.6: “Let ’em Eat Cake”

Posted on Monday, August 17, 2015 by Paul in Wrestling

Preamble: This is the second show in the UK tour, and see the previous post in this series for some comments on the practical issues of writing four shows on consecutive days – principally, that nothing can happen on this show that would be essential knowledge for the next two shows of the tour, since those audiences won’t have seen this one.  This particular show is the high water mark of that issue; it consists almost entirely of Challenge of the Immortals tournament matches, in the early stages of a round robin that runs through to the rest of the year.  So while it’s certainly useful to burn through some of these early matches and get the scoreboard looking a bit more meaningful, very little of immediate consequence actually happens on this show.

When and where: It’s Saturday 4 April 2015, and we’re… still in Wolverhampton.  Yes, that’s right, they did a four-date UK tour and half of it was in Wolverhampton.  We’re moving on to Cardiff and London next.  The show is sold out.

1.  Challenge of the Immortals: Crown & Court v Dasher’s Dugout, Match 1 (more…)

Aug 16

Charts – 14 August 2015

Posted on Sunday, August 16, 2015 by Paul in Music

Some housekeeping to start.   2015 is continuing to be a remarkably lethargic year for the singles chart – which seems to be in part a consequence of adding streaming data, which (mildly) favours records with enduring appeal and squeezes out what would otherwise have been one-week entries at the lower end of the top 40.  That also means that the records that are making the top 40 are tending to be less interesting on the whole.  That being the case, I’m thinking of putting this feature on hiatus for a bit, or perhaps converting it to a monthly round-up or something.  Instead, I thought I might do some posts on CBeebies, the BBC’s channel for young children.  Because I see a lot of CBeebies these days.  And several people have actually said they’d read it…


39.  Tough Love featuring Ginuwine – “Pony (Jump On It)”


Aug 10

Chikara 15.5 – “For British Eyes Only”

Posted on Monday, August 10, 2015 by Paul in Wrestling

Preamble: This is the first of four shows taped in the UK over the spring bank holiday weekend.  Although Chikara has occasionally ventured outside North America before, it’s the first time they’ve run a UK tour.

There are some obvious practical difficulties in writing for a four-show weekend.  You can’t really do stories that develop over the course of the four shows, because the audience on night four won’t actually have seen the earlier shows.  (They might have read the results on line, but that’s it.)  And all four shows need to have cards announced in advance.  And of course you’re limited to pretty much the same roster members for all four shows.


Aug 9

Charts – 7 August 2015

Posted on Sunday, August 9, 2015 by Paul in Music

If you were expecting Cilla Black to show up in this week’s singles chart, then let’s get your disappointment out of the way now.  “Anyone Who Had A Heart” did sell for a few days following her death at the start of the week, but it lands at 41, just outside our remit here.  Instead…

36.  Shaggy featuring Mohombi, Faydee & Costi – “I Need Your Love”


Aug 3

Charts – 31 July 2015

Posted on Monday, August 3, 2015 by Paul in Music

It’s a podcast weekend, so check one post down for the latest episode (or, if you prefer, two posts down for another Chikara show).  Meanwhile, the singles chart remains pretty quiet, though this looks to be the latest week in that vein.

29.  Disclosure featuring Sam Smith – “Omen”


Aug 2

House to Astonish Episode 135

Posted on Sunday, August 2, 2015 by Al in Podcast

The world turns, a new day dawns, and there’s a new episode of House to Astonish for you. We’re talking about Channing Tatum’s trials and tribulations signing on the line for the Gambit film, Bluewater’s ill-advised name change, Chris Pine joining the Wonder Woman movie, Marvel’s newly-announced titles and the upcoming Civil War box set. We’ve also got reviews of Power Up and Transformers: More Than Meets The Eye, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe faces an awful inevitability. All this plus Spider-Man 209099, the Kennedy Nasal Variation Test and Spider-Man’s Face-Sense.

The podcast is here, or here on Mixcloud, or available via the embedded player below. Let us know what you think, either in the comments below, on Twitter, via email or on our Facebook fan page. You can also pick up one of our shirts at our Redbubble store – fashions so sharp you’ll have to watch you don’t cut yourself.

Jul 31

Chikara 15.4 – “Altar Egos”

Posted on Friday, July 31, 2015 by Paul in Wrestling

Preamble: Hey, there’s a pre-credits skit on this one.  The Bloc Party attempt to re-enact DX’s invasion of WCW, but they can’t get into the arena, so they give up.  Okay then.

Where and when?  It’s Sunday 8 March 2015, the day after the previous show.  We’re in the Norfolk Masonic Temple in Norfolk, Virginia.  It’s an actual theatre with proper lighting and sound, though it’s not ideally laid out for wrestling, since most of the audience is on one side of the ring, and so is the camera.  It’s some way from being full.  It may have been an overambitious choice of venue.  This happens sometimes when they go to new towns and take a guess.