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Dec 20

Chart – 16 December 2016

Posted on Tuesday, December 20, 2016 by Paul in Music

Well, this is interesting.  This is the chart before the Christmas number one.  In recent years it’s tended to be quiet – the regular record industry shut down for Christmas, the last-minute novelty singles and charity releases waiting for their one-week surge.  But this year we have a more normal chart, notable if anything for having a couple of high profile new releases.  Has the record industry decided that maybe, with the charity releases hobbled by the addition of streaming data to the charts, this might just be the year when a regular release gets to be Christmas number one again?  If the midweek charts are to be believed – and they’ve been notably less accurate this year – then the answer is “yes”.  (This is also likely to be the point where the general public twig to just what a difference streaming has made to the chart.)

1.  Clean Bandit – “Rockabye”

But first, Clean Bandit celebrate six weeks at number one.  That means it overtakes “7 Years” and “Cold Water” to have the second longest run this year.  (Obviously, there isn’t time for it to beat Drake’s 15-week monopoly.)  It has a perfectly realistic chance of hanging on for Christmas.

2.  Louis Tomlinson & Steve Aoki – “Just Hold On”

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Dec 14

Charts – 9 December 2016

Posted on Wednesday, December 14, 2016 by Paul in Uncategorized

Look at the date.  What do you think is going to happen?

1.  Clean Bandit – “Rockabye”

But first up, this gets a fifth week at number 1, to overtake “Rather Be” as Clean Bandit’s biggest hit. Not so unusual for this remarkably slow year on the singles chart.  It tops a completely static top 4.

5.  Neiked – “Sexual”

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Dec 11

Old Man Logan vol 3: “The Last Ronin”

Posted on Sunday, December 11, 2016 by Paul in x-axis

I’ve complained before that Old Man Logan didn’t seem to be heading anywhere – it was going round in circles with Logan learning in one arc that he needed to stop trying to change his past, and in the next arc learning the exact opposite.  And with the series scheduled to end with issue #18, if it’s going to get to the point, it needs to get moving.

So it was somewhat encouraging that this arc showed signs of a much-needed direction.  The preceding arc was a story about Logan visiting Maureen – the girl who would grow up to be his future wife – intercut with flashbacks about how they had met in his own timeline.  And “The Last Ronin” continues that parallel structure, with flashbacks to what Logan and Maureen did next, intercut with a story about Logan meeting the same villains in the present day.

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Dec 7

Charts – 2 December 2016

Posted on Wednesday, December 7, 2016 by Paul in Music

I’d planned to get another X-Axis review up by now, but it’s going to be another day or two.  Anyway, it’ll be the previous Old Man Logan arc (since the book’s already on to the next one, so…)

Meanwhile, the top 40.  Hope you like the Weeknd.

1.  Clean Bandit – “Rockabye” 

First, a fourth week for Clean Bandit, which matches the run of “Rather Be” two years ago.  (When, admittedly, four-week runs were rather less common.) The midweeks have it on course for a fifth week.

3.  The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk – “Starboy”
9.  The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk – “I Feel It Coming”
17.  The Weeknd – “Party Monster”
26.  The Weeknd – “Rockin'”
30.  The Weeknd featuring Kendrick Lamar – “Sidewalks”
39.  The Weeknd – “Reminder”

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Nov 29

Charts – 25 November 2016

Posted on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 by Paul in Music

It’s pretty much a dead week, to be honest.  Traditionally, we’d be approaching the winter shutdown around this time: unless you were trying to sneak a hit, you generally didn’t try to release or promote a regular single during the Christmas and New Year period.  In the streaming era, when records can take a month or so to slow-build anyway, this may not hold – people might figure it’s worth putting something out and seeing if it takes off at the start of January.  But it’s all  looking familiarly quiet right now.

1.  Clean Bandit – “Rockabye” 

Three weeks.  It still needs a fourth to match the run of “Rather Be” in February 2014.  But along the lines of what I’ve just said, it’ll soon be time for the papers to start filling space by blathering about the race for Christmas Number 1.

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Nov 25

Death of X

Posted on Friday, November 25, 2016 by Paul in x-axis

Death of X is pretty wretched.  But at least it has the decency to be revealingly wretched.

When the Marvel Universe picked up again after Secret Wars, we were told that during the gap, Cyclops had got himself killed doing something fairly awful involving the Inhumans.  Death of X is tasked with filling in that gap, presumably to lay the groundwork for the upcoming Inhumans vs X-Men crossover (though how much it really adds is debatable).

The oddity of this crossover is that given the raft of X-Men titles already announced for launch in the new year, it rather gives the game away that the X-Men seem to be coming out ahead.  That doesn’t necessarily make the promotion a bad idea: sometimes it’s no bad thing to send a clear message that the storyline is coming to a climax.  If people didn’t like it until now, maybe at least they’ll show up to see it end.

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Nov 23

Deadpool v Gambit: The “V” Is For “Vs.”

Posted on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 by Paul in x-axis

I’ve certainly been putting this one off.  Deadpool v Gambit finished ages ago.  The trade paperback is out by now.  But time to get back into the rhythm.  There’s something a bit odd about reading American comics right now.  Comics have a long lead-in time.  They’re slow to react to big events.  And there has been a very big event indeed, one which won’t begin to feed through into actual comics until some time next spring.  In the meantime, everything feels a bit like reading Archie.  It’s a charming world of yesteryear, when things weren’t on fire yet.

No doubt I’ll be saying a lot more about this in the coming months, both here and on the podcast, as the achingly slow turning circle of comics finally orients itself to 2017.  But Deadpool v Gambit is not really a good place to get into this: not only did it come out entirely before the election, but it’s a bouncy, shaggy-dog story caper book with no political dimensions at all.

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Nov 21

Charts – 18 November 2016

Posted on Monday, November 21, 2016 by Paul in Music

Right, then… I will get back to a regular schedule later this week, with Deadpool v Gambit finally getting that review, followed by Uncanny X-Men Annual and an Old Man Logan arc a bit later, and maybe a wrestling post (depending on whether I want to write about the show in question once I’ve, you know, actually seen it).  Meantime, let’s clear this one away: a moribund top half of the chart, but a few more surprises lower down.

1.  Clean Bandit – “Rockabye”

Second week.  It’s now number one in streaming as well as sales.

4.  Rae Sremmurd featuring Gucci Mane – “Black Beatles”

Blimey.  That’s a 28-place climb, which is quite something for a track that was propelled into the charts as a meme soundtrack (especially since it isn’t a novelty record).

23.  Nevada featuring Mark Morrison & Fetty Wap – “The Mack” (more…)

Nov 17

Charts – 11 November 2016

Posted on Thursday, November 17, 2016 by Paul in Music

Yes, I really will get to Deadpool v Gambit.  But you see, I explained last week that I was leaving it until I was in a better mood and…

So!  We’ve got a new number one!  And the next chart is out tomorrow so I’d better get this post up.

1.  Clean Bandit – “Rockabye”

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Nov 13

House to Astonish Episode 150

Posted on Sunday, November 13, 2016 by Al in Podcast

It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally here – House to Astonish episode 150, commemorating eight years of chat and waffle about comics. This time round, we’re not doing our usual news-reviews-handbook format, but instead tackling questions about what current books we’d recommend, what the most ridiculous stories are that we’ve ever read, the Transformers: Earthforce stories, our secret origin, the concept of the “Reverse OHOTOHOTMU”, our greatest hits, and how we’d remake crossover events. Plus our most punsome Amalgam characters, a spot of House to Astonish Theatre and a feature which we straight-up ripped off from another podcast. As a bonus, we’ve also got the entirety of the House to Astonish vs SILENCE! panel from Thought Bubble 2016, featuring Ryan North, Brenden Fletcher, Emi Lenox and John Allison, for anyone who missed that. All this plus Magazine and Magazine Collecting (the magazine for people who love magazines), fifth-dimensional imp Paul F Tompkins and the Super-Beard.

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 on our Facebook fan page.

Our Redbubble store (with its wonderful shirts, so cosy, such perfect Christmas presents) is here. You can find our friends from SILENCE! here, and the boys of Bit Socket here.