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29 December 2010


I'm absolutely fuming!

I recently sent my pride and joy... my ipod... to to be fixed. I was having difficulty switching it on and off, and I figured the click wheel was faulty. I stumped up the £29.99 for the replacement click wheel and the £5 or so that was needed to get it there by registered delivery. All good.

27 December 2010

Savage Season (1989)

Savage Season is Joe Lansdale's first book in what has turned into a series of stories based upon unlikely heroes Hap Collins and Leonard Pine. I can't remember what switched me on to Lansdale, but here I am right at the beginning... Let's see how it pans out...

21 December 2010

Cell (2006)

According to Cell, it's the humble mobile phone that brings civilisation to its knees. Imagine everyone getting a phone call that literally drives them mad... all at the same time. How do the 'normies' - the guys and gals who don't have mobile phones - cope with the mess that ensues? Well, this book gives you some ideas.

18 December 2010

Zombieland (2009)

Woody gets funky with a banjo
Zombieland, Columbia 2009

The guy who served me in the shop said I was 'in for a treat' when I bought the Zombieland DVD. So it was with high hopes that I sat down to watch last year's blockbuster 'zom-com'... or is it 'zomedy'? Either way we're talking about a zombie comedy. Yep, you heard me right... But comedy is perhaps putting it a bit strong. For me Zombieland is a light-hearted road movie... with zombies. Its quirky plot is amusing, but not much more than that.

14 December 2010

The Road (2009)

The Road is one of the greatest books I've never read. I've listened to the audiobook maybe six times and each time I've enjoyed it as much as the first. When I heard that they were turning it into a film I must admit that I was a little sceptical that it would be any good; I couldn't see how they were going to do it justice. Even so, I've finally forked out for the DVD and here you go... a few thoughts...

12 December 2010

Constantine (2005)

Since I started writing this damn blog, it has become apparent to me how little I understand of the films I watch. At first I thought it was me. But now I'm not so sure. Today I talk about Constantine...

Right. Here's the plot. And remember - I've watched the film...

1 December 2010

Pies and Prejudice (2007)

I don't know what possessed me to buy this book. I didn't want to read it. But you know what... I'm really glad I did.

Pies and Prejudice is a travel book cum history lesson where we travel with Stuart Maconie as he journeys back up North to his roots from the hustle and bustle of the Big Smoke.

28 November 2010

Jodix Free iPod Video Converter (v1.32)

Jodix Homepage

Video conversion is typically a real pain in the arse. Here's a very quick recommendation for some free software that will convert your videos to MP4.

25 November 2010

The Invasion (2007)

Invasion is the latest film version of Jack Finney's Invasion of The Body Snatchers. By my count, that makes it the fourth attempt. The main twist with this version is that we're talking about an alien infection rather than full-on body snatching. And this isn't 'bad' infection of the rotting zombie kind. Oh no! This is 'good' infection; The sort that will have you drinking tea and watching Songs of Praise. Whilst not my first choice, I could think of worse ways to go.

18 November 2010

Identity (2003)

This DVD has been taking up space on my shelf for a long, long time. Finally got round to watching it this week and it wasn't at all what I was expecting. I had it in my head that this was going to be a horror extravaganza. "It will haunt you for days," says the cover. Not at all! This film is more art-house than horror, and it exudes a certain comic-book charm.

16 November 2010

Not Abba (2005)

I really wanted to enjoy this book. It claims to be 'the real story of 1970s'. And for God's sake, the front cover has a photo of a young man with a safety pin through his nose! How could it possibly fail to thrill and excite?

Don't ask...

14 November 2010

How to Rip Vinyl

It's taken me a long time to dust off my old record collection and start ripping them to mp3. This post is a collection of gotchas and general lessons that I've learnt along the way. Yeah... I'm just using that old trial and error again! I'll update if I learn anything new.

9 November 2010

Dawn of the Dead (2004)

I don't know what I was doing in 2004, but I certainly wasn't watching the remake of Dawn of the Dead. And what a remake it is!

I'm going to come clean and tell you that I was scared right from the opening scenes. Laugh all you want! I don't care! When that little zombie girl jumped up like a demented cat and sprinted after the woman I just knew that I was in for a brown-trouser ride! Oh dear... what a mess!

4 November 2010

Starship Troopers

I can't remember where I watched the first Starship Troopers film. I must be getting old. It might have been at the Pictures. I've got in my head that I wasn't really that impressed with the film at the time. Not sure why. Fast forward to about a year ago and by chance I found myself watching the film again, only this time I might have even enjoyed it! No, I think I might have! So much so in fact, that after I'd discovered that they'd made a couple of sequels, I was inspired enough to hunt down the DVDs.

20 October 2010

Lanzarote (2000)

Lanzarote by Michel Houellebecq was an impulse buy from Oxfam. Yup, doing a little bit of work for charidy. The quote on the front talks about 'high comedy' so I was expecting a bit of a laugh. I think I must have missed something along the way.

I know that I can be a bit of a Heathen at times (no, I can!), but this is one of those books that I'm obviously too stupid to understand. Or perhaps it's just crap!

19 October 2010

Les Dawson's Secret Notebooks (2007)

I've just finished Les Dawson's Secret Notebooks. This book is a collection of extracts from Les's notebooks compiled after his death in 1993. Everything you might expect is featured: from classic Cissie and Ada sketches right through to a selection of Les's trademark 'I wouldn't say my wife's fat, but...' type jokes. You get some mementoes of his Blankety Blank days, and who can forget the magnificent Cosmo Smallpiece!

16 October 2010

Colin (2009)

Colin is the zombie film that caused a bit of a stir about a year ago. I'd been holding out to see it and finally the time was right: The wife was out at her Bomb-making Classes and the kids were in bed. Let the good times roll!

First impressions mean a lot and unfortunately, my first impressions were bad. The sinking feeling started when I realised that it wasn't widescreen. I know it was a big deal that this film was made for about 4 pence, but come on! It didn't get much better. The whole thing had a 'straight to YouTube' feeling as if it was put together by a University Art Group.

14 October 2010

Elixir Electric Guitar Strings

I've been trialling a set of Elixir strings on my Strat for about 2 months now and I can honestly say that they're as good to play today as they were when I first put them on. I'm using a set of 10s with... and I'm reading from the packet here... a patented NANOWEB(r) Coating. Hell yeah! It's worth it for the the name alone! Don't you just love anything Nano!

11 October 2010


I didn't realise you could do this. Isn't technology wonderful! Here are a few songs from my sometimes disco/funk band, magic44. Let me know what you think.

9 October 2010

The Spy Who Loved Me (1962)

Bloody Hell, this book was hard work! It's Bond in the style of Mills and Boon. Yes, you heard me... Mills and bloody Boon! Aaaagh!

3 October 2010

Dead Beyond The Fence (2010)

I'm getting through books like nobody's business at the moment. Maybe it's my new glasses. Dead Beyond the Fence by Brian Kaufman has just taken me two days to polish off. Granted, it's not the thickest of reads, but credit to Brian, I couldn't put the damn thing down!

1 October 2010

Blood Meridian (1985)

I just finished reading Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy and have been feeling pretty stupid. Most of the time I didn't have a clue what it was going on about.

So I had a quick scan on the internet and cheered myself up... nobody else understands it either! What surprised me though was finding out that this book is considered to be one of the American masterpieces of the 20th Century.

28 September 2010

Chopper (2000)

"Chopper" is a story based upon the folklaw that has grown up surrounding the notorious Australian ex-criminal Mark "Chopper" Read. Right from the opening time-lapse shots of Pentridge prison, you sense that you're in for something special.

From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

Life's too short to waste reading bad books. Likewise it is definitely too short to waste watching bad films. After watching this film, I want some of my life back...

From Dusk Till Dawn is out of the Tarantino stable. He wrote the screenplay and acts out one the major parts, but what a mess!

21 September 2010

I am Legend (1954)

Here's a recommendation for an old story that's been dusted off more times than I care to remember. "I am Legend" by Richard Matheson is one of those inspirational books that defines a genre. But what genre is it?

We'll, it's not zombies, but don't let that put you off.

Google Picasa (v3)

Today I talk about a piece of software I discovered at the weekend.

My father-in-law has been forced to move to Windows 7 and now his Canon software won't allow him to print to his Canon printer. Go figure! Having failed to get it working, I searched for something else. My remit was for some software to allow him to easily print a number of pictures on a single sheet of paper and the ability to email smaller versions of pictures.

14 September 2010

Day by Day Armageddon (2004)

Today I review J L Bourne's debut book: Day by Day Armageddon.

I bought this book straight off the back of recommendations that I'd seen on various forums dedicated to all things Zombie...

12 September 2010

On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)

Today we talk about On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the sixth film in the James Bond series. This film is special for all sorts of reasons. First up, it is based upon one of the stongest of the Fleming Novels. Secondly, it has the best of all the soundtracks. The weakest musical link is the christmas carol number at the ice rink and even this works in a Hammer Horror sort of way.

19 August 2010

15 August 2010


Take a look at this monster that flew into my garage last weekend. I was quick to get out of the way.

It looks like an oversized wasp. Huge! I've never seen anything like it.

80s Arbor Series Hohner Strat

I dug my first ever electric guitar out the other day - an all black 80s Arbor Series Hohner Strat. Everything had rusted. It didn't have strings. The knobs were broken off. It was in dire need of an overhaul.

10 July 2010

Unknown Banjo Ukulele

I haven't got a clue what brand this Banjo Ukulele is. Please let me know if you have any ideas. It had obviously been dropped before I got it; The base had a couple of sizeable cracks. I decided just to glue them and sand it flat.

John Grey & Sons - A Few Useful Hints

The following is transcribed from a sticker fitted inside cases supplied with John Grey Dulcetta banjo ukuleles:

30 June 2010

Reliance Banjo Ukulele

Just finished rebuilding my Reliance banjo ukulele. It was in a right state when I got it. The tone ring had obviously been repaired sometime in the past, but really it was never ever going to hold a skin. Here's a photo of it before I took it to bits. I didn't really know what I was going to do with it.

11 June 2010