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Jan 23

The Handbook Tapes

Posted on Friday, January 23, 2015 by Al in Podcast

What the hell is this thing?

Jan 19

Charts – 18 January 2015

Posted on Monday, January 19, 2015 by Paul in Music

Since the UK music industry believes firmly in (a) promoting everything for weeks before release, and (b) not promoting anything new in the run-up to Christmas, the dead period meanders on…

28.  Echosmith – “Cool Kids”

Climbing 11 places, in one of the few notable movements in the lower half of the charts.  Otherwise, it’s most just stuff that’s been out for ages, still swilling around waiting to be displaced.

16.  Avicii – “The Nights”

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Jan 18

Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy

Posted on Sunday, January 18, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

The exigencies of event storytelling (and shared-universe storytelling more generally) can lead to some weird ways of constructing stories; a format that sees the same overall story pursued through multiple parallel narratives that aren’t even appearing in chronological sequence would normally be regarded as at least an interesting creative choice.

In this case, we have a rather odd transition going on between what are in effect two versions of the ongoing Wolverine series – the Death of Wolverine mini, and the Wolverines weekly.  Bridging the gap between those titles are two separate minis, each serving to introduce (or at least set up) half of the cast of the weekly, and to collectively establish the premise: a bunch of characters, some established and some new, have all been the victim of potentially fatal experimentation by Dr Cornelius, and must join forces to find a cure.

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Jan 13

Charts – 11 January 2015

Posted on Tuesday, January 13, 2015 by Paul in Music

We’re still in the post-Christmas dead period.  Spare a thought, if you will, for Tulisa Contostavlos, formerly of N-Dubz and X Factor, who released her comeback single “Living Without You” in this deadest of weeks and sees it limp to 44, even with a complete absence of competition.  It’s looking like the end of the road there.

39.  Echosmith – “Cool Kids”

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Jan 9

Uncanny & All New X-Men Annuals – “The Secret Life of Eva Bell”

Posted on Friday, January 9, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

Filling in what happened to her when she got separated from the trainee X-Men during their visit to Tabula Rasa, “The Secret Life of Eva Bell” is billed as comprising this year’s Uncanny X-Men and All-New X-Men annuals.  Which is interesting in itself, because while Eva is certainly part of the Uncanny cast, she emphatically isn’t part of the All-New X-Men cast – at least, not as anything more than a background character.  Nor do any of the All-New regulars crop up here.

This could of course be a symptom of Marvel’s somewhat random approach to annuals.  But in this case I’m inclined to think it’s intended to draw our attention to the bigger picture that the story implies.

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Jan 5

Charts – 4 January 2015

Posted on Monday, January 5, 2015 by Paul in Music

It’s week two of the dead period over Christmas and New Year, so once again there’s not much going on here.  Let’s bash through it quickly anyway.

Another batch of hits from earlier in the year enjoy rebounds on the strength of post-Christmas year-in-review playlists, re-entering at the bottom end of the charts.  (Specifically: “Prayer in C” by Lilly Wood at 39, “All of Me” by John Legend at 36, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams at 34, “Changing” by Sigma at 33, and “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit at 28.)  Otherwise…

35.  Kanye West featuring Paul McCartney – “Only One” 

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Jan 1

Magneto vol 2 – “Reversals”

Posted on Thursday, January 1, 2015 by Paul in x-axis

One more volume, and then we can lay Axis to rest for now.  (There’s still the All-New X-Factor tie-ins to come, as part of that book’s final collection.)

The first volume of Magneto was a strong start, setting a clear and distinctive tone.  It backed off from the familiar locations of the Marvel Universe, it steered clear of familiar superhero tropes, and it generally set about being a bleak character study of a man who had taken on many of the techniques of those he claimed to hate, and who seemed completely isolated from those he claimed to represent.

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Dec 29

Avengers vs X-Men: Axis

Posted on Monday, December 29, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

I already wrote about this series halfway through its run, and not much has changed since then (and, as previously noted, we’re behind in the reviews department) – so this is one I can probably keep short.

For the assistance of anyone stumbling upon this post years after the plot has faded from memory, Axis is the lynchpin series of a three-month crossover in which the Avengers, the X-Men and a bunch of random villains team up to fight the Red Skull, and can only defeat him by using magic to invert the morality of everyone in the area.  So the Avengers and the X-Men are both evil now and they have a big fight and the villains stop them because they’re heroes now and basically everything is back to normal at the end except for a few characters who aren’t.

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Dec 29

Charts – 28 December 2014

Posted on Monday, December 29, 2014 by Paul in Music

It’s the annual dead chart for Christmas week.  The British care about the Christmas Number One, but that means the record that’s number one on Christmas Day, i.e. the one that sold best in the week preceding Christmas.  Christmas week itself, nobody cares about in the slightest – and so nobody releases anything, except for oddballs hoping to sneak a number one hit in an easy week.  These days, it also tends to be a chart of rebounding long-running hits, presumably because of people spending their Christmas gift vouchers and buying music for their new gadgets.

For those who really care, the major rebounders this year are: “Waves” by Mr Probz (49-39), “Rude” by Magic! (54-36), “Sing” by Ed Sheeran (37-27), “Blame it on Me” by George Ezra (34-24), “Budapest” by ditto (28-21), “Don’t” by Ed Sheeran (27-18), “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift (32-15), and “Bang Bang” by Jessie J, Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj (23-11).

That leaves us with one re-entry, one new entry, and a change of number one, so this is going to be a short one…

38.  Shakin’ Stevens – “Merry Christmas Everyone”

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Dec 28

Storm vol 1 – “Make It Rain”

Posted on Sunday, December 28, 2014 by Paul in x-axis

Well, we’re miles behind with reviews, aren’t we?  Axis finished up this week, as did the Annuals story “The Secret Life of Eva Bell”, and Death of Wolverine: The Logan Legacy.  Volume 2 of Magneto actually wrapped up last month, it’s been over a week since Storm #6 came out – which wouldn’t be so bad, except the first volume collects issues #1-5.  We’ll catch up with these over the coming weeks.

Let’s start with Storm.  Unlike some of the X-books I’ve written about lately, Greg Pak and Victor Ibanez’s series has some vocal support.  That takes the form of a pre-emptive campaign to save it from cancellation, which, given that the November issue was at 122 on the Diamond charts, is hardly an unreasonable concern.

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