Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Steve Gerber 1947-2008

Now this is a damn shame. On a day when it looks like the Writer's Strike is over, a man who spent much of his career fighting for the rights of writers whilst redefining what comics could be has lost his battle with pneumonia. I'm indescribably gutted.

"I wouldn't describe myself as fearless, but I think you have to accept the possibility of failure if you want to achieve anything, in any field." - Steve Gerber, 1985

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Just Say No

After 30 years, the BBC has finally decided to put Grange Hill out of its misery and has cancelled it, snapping it off like so much useless necrotic flesh. Many column inches have been filled with paeans to the golden years of this once-great British institution to mourn its passing. Lucy Mangan has a decent article up at The Guardian which reminded me of episodes lost to my memory years ago.

I don’t want to add to or compete with the glut of “Wasn’t Grange Hill great?” articles. (Largely written, I suspect, by people who haven’t watched it in 20 years. I reckon it hasn’t been worth watching for about that long anyway…)

No, I’m more interested in reminiscing about the day when I was in an episode of Grange Hill. Around 1985, I think. My school was approached by the makers of the show, and my entire school year was drafted in as extras with the odd line of dialogue. Cheap labour, I suppose. After all, we all had school uniforms. All we had to do was put on a Grange Hill school tie and, bam, we’re in costume.

My memories of that day are cloudy at best. But I do remember my class and the cast of the show interacting. They came across as a shower of drama-school shitheads, over-excited, cocky and interested only in showing off, flexing their pre-pubescent muscles, picking fights with us and driving the director insane by fucking about whenever the camera was rolling.

In the actual episode itself, I can be seen in the corner of the frame every now and then. I caught a rerun a couple of years ago. It was like a school photo with moving pictures. I wish I had a copy of it on VHS.

Oh well. Bye bye, weird little Danny Kendall and scary Mr. Bronson. Bye, Zammo, Tucker, Gonch and RowLand. And, as part of my Ongoing Lament that Opening Titles Used To Be Better, here is how I really remember Grange Hill. Badap bow bowwwww:

Friday, February 08, 2008

Sucker MCs should call them Sire

Wow. I saw this photo for the first time yesterday, and I love it:

Taken in 2005 by Jonas Karlsson, it's the Reverend Joseph "Run" Simmons and Darryl 'DMC' McDaniel, the Kings of Rock that we know and love as Run DMC, floating in a car.

The photo is currently appearing as part of the Vanity Fair Portraits - Photographs 1913-2008 exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery. I'm gonna have to head over and see this bad boy full-size and hanging from a wall.

And there was a nice article about the making and taking of the photo in yesterday's Guardian which you can read online here.

Roll to the rock, rock to the roll
DMC stands for devastating mic control...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Sure Plays A Mean Pinball

I still manage to uncover fragments of my youth from the mystical picture box that we call YouTube. Up in the mornin' and out to school, the teacher is teachin' the Golden Rule.

You want entertainment? Education? A clip as enjoyable for my three-year old daughter as it is for me? Psychedelic animation? The Funk? Flutes? The number twelve? Oh yes. This one has it all. From the golden days of Sesame Street:

Monday, February 04, 2008


Excitement runs high in my home, my head and my pants at the moment because Lost is back!

I always approach a new season of Lost with trepidation. What if it is rubbish? What if it no longer works? I needn't have worried. I'm as hooked as I ever was.

People who know me will attest to the fact that I will become an obsessive lunatic fanboy for the next couple of months. I might need to get the words "Not Pennys Boat" on a t-shirt...