Sunday, February 28, 2010

Cream Disraeli Treat: For all the 'Classic Albums' documentaries they show from time to time on TV, Cream's 'Disraeli Gears' has yet to take its turn. But even if it is shown, they won't spoil us with the extras. So, if ever you've got a few quid spare, or need a hint to drop for a birthday (or father's day) present; the DVD of the above is quite a stunner.
Cream fans will be familiar with the 'We're Going Wrong' track on the album, which, incidentally, Jack Bruce wrote after a row with his then wife, Janet Godfrey. It's a very moving and powerful song played by the 3-piece line-up, but for one of the DVD extras, Jack sings and plays it on piano. In the right frame of mind it would move most people to tears, so not only for this reason, but simply as it is such a Classic Album, it is well worth getting a copy.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

All Pens Blazing: The first volume of this great book, which interviews all of the great rock journalists from Kerrang! Sounds, NME, Melody Maker etc., has been mentioned before. Here's the link which will get you through to the website Volume II featuring the rock fanzine writers etc; is being published later in the year.
Forget About The Competition: My Mother was a competiton addict, subscribed to the 'Competitors Journal' magazine, and at times we had to eat stuff, clean our teeth or polish our shoes with different things because she was entering a competiton and needed the labels, or a coupon from the packet, to do so.
She won the odd prize or two, the largest, both in size and worth was a chopper bike; at a time my brother and I were too old for such a beast; so she sold it.
Likewise, as everyone does, our family enter competitons (mainly the Lotto) now and again, but to date with no financial or life-changing success.
And even though I have entered but never won a short story competitition, I have been drawn into entering three during the past few weeks. But why does one make the effort when the lifetime odds are so poor, I wonder? Well, it's that old favourite 'you've gotta be in it to win it' slogan which forces us from the 'oh, I can't be bothered' syndrome into a more positive 'sod it, I'll give it a try.'
Confident though I am in my stories, the judges, fickle as they often are, may not agree, so I'm not holding my breath.
But they were fun and enjoyabe to do, and that's all that matters.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Heavy Metal Britannia: traces the emergence of the genre in Britain in the late Sixties and Seventies. It will feature loads of bands including Priest, Purple, Sabbath, Zeppelin and interviews with many stars including Lemmy Kilmister.
It's on BBC 4, at 21.00, on Friday 5th March 2010.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Groundhog Week: Dug out a couple of short stories for national annual prestige writing competitions, and in doing so it comes down to one obvious thing. If you don't have an entry in there you have no chance, if you have, then perhaps; and it's always a BIG perhaps, the judge/s might like it. You never know unless you give it a try. A lot of it is pot-luck, one cost nothing to enter, the other cost a few quid. We can but try.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Either Amazon Duplicate: their listings or I could be getting big in Japan?
A pity the book is now deleted...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The House Of Cards Fell: Not that I was holding out any hope for success with the American literary agency mentioned last week, but it has just gone tits. Keen to follow it until asked for the dreaded moolah, they did so today; $70 - $90 or a critique.
£35 - £45 isn't the end of the world, but to spend it on a report by some clever-dick who thinks he can write better than you, (if that's the case, why isn't HE a published author, and if he is, why is he wasting time writing critiques when he should be writing HIS next story?), would be too annoying for words.
But the emails were fun, extremely long, and very American.
They say the copy of the (electronic) manuscript (sent as an attachment) will be deleted - or will it end up re-written using the same ideas on a bookshelves across America under another authors' name in 6 months time? That's the risk I took.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

MHB Fan Club T-shirts: Mick Stevenson is hoping to get the t-shirts in the post on or by Saturday February 13th. They should be arriving at your address (if you ordered one) week commencing February 15th.

Monday, February 08, 2010

The Green Mile: An excellent gig on Saturday evening with Voodoo Vegas and UK Guns 'n' Roses. 45 minutes of Sunday was spent writing up the gig for Kyps' website, much of the remainder, proof reading.
There was a Link on a site I can't even remember now, to an agency who, (yes, we've heard it all before), didn't ask for any money, but just make it (for the writer) by selling their story and getting it published. So I'm giving it a try out of pure cussedness to find out if they keep their word? So I brushed up a past story just in case I'm 'lucky enough' to be asked to send one. It may not get that far, the agency was in America and might not like my decidedly British characters and locations, but if so, I can't see why - we enjoy Stephen King's, John Grisham's, etc, etc stories set in the States; so why not vice-versa?
Much as I love my grandchildren, their TV programmes have become as miserable to watch as everything else. There are only so many times Mr. Tumble can raise a smile from a 58 years old despite his skills at entertaining and deaf-signing, so I tuck myself in here reading or writing. (In a few weeks, the lawnmower will take up the time!)
Evening viewing was as dire as ever, so again, out of pure cussedness, I gave 'Fat Families' a try. Much as I disagree with such programmes as I cannot see why television should show other people's abject stupidity as a way of teaching them a lesson, or pointing out that yes, they eat too much or spend too much money; but it was about all there was on offer. With 'Beat The Bailiff' and 'The Bank of Mum & Dad,' (know all about that one), highlighting the perils of the credit card, (we've all been there, too, fortuntely ours is now past tense), but is it good television?
'Fat Familes' was amusing. The 3 kids enjoyed the fast foods as much as Mum and Dad, but... After a breakfast of toast and cereals, Dad took the kids to school, and bought a McDonald's on the way home. He and the wife ate that, and it wasn't just a small portion. Can't remember what went on at lunchtime, but dinner with the 3 kids was about £40 worth of Indian takeaway. Then, when the kids were in bed, Dad drove the 1 minute journey to the petrol station, (a 10 minute walk which would have done him good), to buy crisps and chocolate bars to eat watching TV.
There was a news item about the 170kg man who ate 24 packets of crisps for elevenses, well, this chap ate 16 packets. They showed him the bottles of fat he ate in a year with that amount of crisps per day, and it shocked him / everyone. So much for the humble crisp, but they are the most expensive way of buying potatoes; bar none.
But with so many channels film makers have to make films about something, and for some strange reason, as mentioned before, Discovery Shed is kind of interesting. Shed's are great things, I have always had one, and it's far more pleasant watching a couple of blokes handy with tools repair/build a shed than someone who's eaten too much losing weight, or those who spanked the credit card get financially straight. They have themselves to blame, shed's are blameless.
So, at about 9 'o' clock I started watching The Green Mile. Why? Well, it's a damned good film, that's why. But there's a copy on the DVD shelf you could have watched. But you don't, do you. It just sits there year after year and we watch it again when it's shown on the TV.
Human beings, eh, what are we like?

Friday, February 05, 2010

The Sandstorms: Those of you who enjoyed my 'Bournemouth Rocks!' book may also like an 84 page A5 book by Roger Downton. Roger was lead guitarist with Bournemouth band The Sandstorms in the 50's and 60's, and this is a knockout memoir of those times.

'This book reveals the real buzzy life of a south coast rock band of the Duane Eddy, Chuck Berry, Rolling Stones, Beatles era. It's a brilliant study of the aspirations of a group of young, eager teenagers who, with stars in their youthful eyes, and bags of drive, for a while, succeed to bring their burning ambitions of being a working rock group to fruition. The Sandstorms' book stirs many memories of those 'fab' times, and for those who weren't around, or are simply curious, it fills in the mystery of what it was like to be in a local band back then. It had to be written, and now it has.'

There are loads of photos and press clippings, and the Foreward is by Duane Eddy. £5-95 + postage.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Head Cat: have added another date to their short run of them on February 18th at The Belly Up Tavern at Solana Beach, California.
The band are recording their 2nd album over the four days February 2nd to 5th.

The new Motorhead album hasn't been started as yet, reports say this may now happen during March or April.

There are one or two of my old crime novels, 'AfterShock' being one, on Amazon as ex-library paperbacks from a source in France. Odd or what.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Another Step Towards Stepford: Loads of figures were released yesterday detailing how many people have stopped or started smoking over the past 12 months. They even gave a (speculated?) figure for the number of youngsters who have taken it up. Where do these figures come from? School kids aren't going to fill in a survey form admitting they started smoking, so how do they know?

The cigarette vending machine has also been outlawed. They once hung proudly on the walls of every pub, working men's club, Labour club, Conservative club, Liberal club etc; and although a packet cost way over the odds; any port in a storm was better than no port at all.

They are also on about making the cigarette packets unattractive, printing them, regardless if they are B & H, Marlboro or whatever; a light blue or grey colour; which is a bit like all the girls in a Red Light district wearing black bin-bags.

The answer to the smoking problem is to bring back the packaging they outlawed 10 or 15 years ago. A black packet with an embossed skull and crossbones on it; brand name DEATH - and a similar packet in white, (the 'Lights' version), with the brand name SLOW DEATH.
Then everyone knows exactly what they are buying, and there would be no need for the silly photos of cancerous lungs because those cigarette packets don't f*** about.