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Sep 26

Charts – 23 September 2016

Posted on Monday, September 26, 2016 by Paul in Music

We’ve had a sudden spate of completed stories, so plenty of reviews coming up in the next couple of weeks.  But first up…

1.  The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey – “Closer”

That’s four weeks, and it’s the fourth number one single in a row to manage that.  Apparently this has never happened before; but streaming moves a lot slower than sales did, and there’s a strong argument that this makes it a better measure of popularity, even if a less interesting one.  That said, fast climbs up the chart are still possible…

2.  James Arthur – “Say You Won’t Let Go”


Sep 21

All-New X-Men #13

Posted on Wednesday, September 21, 2016 by Paul in x-axis

All-New X-Men is doing a series of single issue character spotlights, from the look of it.  That’s a nice change from the prevailing fashion of working in story arcs the length of a trade paperback.  This issue is Bobby’s turn, as Idie and Evan take him clubbing in Miami in the hope of getting him to talk to boys.

Much of the issue is, if we’re being honest, a fairly routine and straightforward piece of observational comedy-drama.  So Bobby is hopelessly nervous trying to flirt, Idie and Evan’s advice doesn’t really help a great deal (not because it’s bad advice but because confidence can’t be taught), and he does a bit better when he’s trying to be himself.


Sep 19

Charts – 16 September 2016

Posted on Monday, September 19, 2016 by Paul in Music

Here’s a nice change – a couple of relatively high new entries by big names.  See, it still happens.

1.  The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey – “Closer”

That’s three weeks at number 1, and it heads a static top four.  But moving on…

5.  Sia featuring Kendrick Lamar – “The Greatest”


Sep 17

King of Trios 2016

Posted on Saturday, September 17, 2016 by Paul in Wrestling

Okay.  So.  That idea of rewatching the whole Chikara 2015 season turns out to run into a fairly obvious problem: it means finding time to watch both the new shows and the old shows on top of finding the time to, you know, do anything else, and it should be pretty obvious from the rate of progress that this isn’t going to work.  Let’s acknowledge reality on that one.  And instead, let’s do the just-completed 2016 King of Trios tournament.

King of Trios is a 16-team elimination tournament run over three nights (and I originally intended to spread it over three posts, but then figured that I’d just do a huge one).  It’s Chikara’s biggest weekend of the year, at least in terms of attendance, guest stars, and interest from outside the normal fanbase.  For much the same reasons, it’s not necessarily built around Chikara storylines, although there are usually a few turning points for ongoing plots.  The tournament winner is frequently an outsider team that plays no further part in storylines (as with last year’s winners, who were visiting from the Mexican promotion AAA).


Sep 12

Charts – 9 September 2016

Posted on Monday, September 12, 2016 by Paul in Music

Why, this is almost like old times.  Six new entries!  We haven’t had that in ages.  The chart compilers will be relieved about that.  It’s something to talk about in the press release.

1.  Chainsmokers featuring Halsey – “Closer”

But it’s not all good news for them.  “Closer” gets a second week at number 1.  That’s not the problem.  Two weeks is fine, especially since it’s still growing.  The problem is that it heads a completely static top 7, and this is no longer all that unusual – in muting the impact of first-week fan sales, the streaming era seems to be illustrating that commercial radio was right all along about just how long it takes for the public to lose interest in a hit.

10.  Martin Garrix & Bebe Rexha – “In The Name of Love” (more…)

Sep 10

House to Astonish Episode 148

Posted on Saturday, September 10, 2016 by Al in Podcast

Because we finally remembered that we actually do a podcast, here’s a podcast! Paul and I take a canter through the comics news of the past week or so, including the renaming of Death of Hawkman; the announcement of the Justice League/Suicide Squad event and Steve Orlando as Justice League of America writer; the suggested new optimistic direction for the DC Cinematic Universe; Marvel’s teases for Ressurexion and Monsters Unleashed; the mooted New Warriors sitcom; Alan Moore’s retirement from comics; Image’s cross-country move; and Warren Ellis and Coleen Doran’s forthcoming webcoming Finality.

We’ve also got reviews of Night’s Dominion and Supergirl, and the Official Handbook of the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe means Brexit. All this plus the Bottled City of Candor, Stonehenge with a false beard and glasses and Tillicoultry, near Stirling.

The podcast is here, or here on Mixcloud, or available through the embedded player below. Let us know what you think, in the comments, on Twitter, via email or on our Facebook fan page.

(If your comment is along the lines of “Hey, wow, I can’t believe House to Astonish has been going for nearly nine years!” then yes, you’re right, I got it wrong on the podcast – we launched in 2008, so we’ll be eight in November.)

And hey, the nights may be drawing in, but just think how much warmer you’d be if you were wearing one of our super-awesome t-shirts!

Sep 4

All-New Wolverine Annual #1

Posted on Sunday, September 4, 2016 by Paul in x-axis

Well, this is fun.  Annuals have long been a bit of a sidebar to Marvel’s ongoing titles, even when the regular writer is on board.  And this is no different.  Instead, Tom Taylor has taken it as an opportunity to do an endearingly random team-up story, on similar lines to the team-up with Squirrel Girl that appeared in the main title.

This time, it’s Spider-Woman – that is, the Gwen Stacy version of Spider-Woman from Spider-Gwen – with the added gimmick of doing a body swap.  And that’s pretty much the entire concept: Laura and Gwen swap bodies and team up.  It’s a nice, fun little idea: Gwen finds Laura’s powers pretty much horrifying except for the enhanced senses, and Laura is utterly lost trying to make sense of Gwen’s supporting cast, completely lacking the social skills to bluff her way through it.


Sep 3

Charts – 2 September 2016

Posted on Saturday, September 3, 2016 by Paul in Music

This week offers a new low for uneventfulness in the streaming-era top 40: a chart with sixteen non-movers (including everything from number 4 down to number 14) and no new entries.  Staggeringly dull would be a kind way to describe it.  It’s the sort of chart that delivers on the top 40’s official function of providing a historical record, while utterly failing on its underlying mission to provide a promotional storyline for the music industry.  But there is at least one thing of note:

1.  The Chainsmokers featuring Halsey – “Closer”


Aug 29

Charts – 26 August 2016

Posted on Monday, August 29, 2016 by Paul in Music

Four new entries this week!  Positively hyperactive!  Which means we can skip quickly over the climbers to get to them…

1.  Major Lazer featuring Justin Bieber & MØ – “Cold Water”

That’s five weeks.  But it only had a 2% lead over DJ Snake, so it’s not likely to last that much longer. (more…)

Aug 26

Watch With Father #12: Paw Patrol

Posted on Friday, August 26, 2016 by Paul in Watch With Father

I said I’d do a post on remakes.  We’ll get to that.  But the Boy is obsessed with Paw Patrol right now, so it seems a good time to write about it.  I’ve been seeing enough of it.

Paw Patrol is a hit pre-school franchise.  And it takes us for the first time outside the sheltering arms of CBeebies, into the world of Nickelodeon.  This is what happens when you take the kid on holiday and expose him to the Danish version of Nick Jr, which shows Paw Patrol incessantly.  (In the UK, you can get it on Nick Jr or Channel 5.)  The show’s appeal turns out to survive dubbing remarkably well.