Monday, January 31, 2011

Album Cover: Revolver

I've been enjoying the re-souling of Micheal Jackson's Off The Wall album that's been taking place on the Craig Charles Funk and Soul show on Radio Six. In brief, each week he gets guest soul bands to cover a track off the album.

I don't have a radio show, or any musical ability, or lots of bands clamouring for the chance to cover classic albums. I do have access to Youtube. Plans I dismissed:

- Covers that are better than the original
- Covers that are truely terrible

So here's the plan: interesting, or at least not unpleasant covers of every track of a classic album. The Album is Revolver by The Beatles. Here's the track listing:

Side One
1. "Taxman"
2. "Eleanor Rigby"
3. "I'm Only Sleeping"
4. "Love You To"
5. "Here, There and Everywhere"
6. "Yellow Submarine"
7. "She Said She Said"

Side two
1. "Good Day Sunshine"
2. "And Your Bird Can Sing"
3. "For No One"
4. "Doctor Robert"
5. "I Want to Tell You"
6. "Got to Get You into My Life"
7. "Tomorrow Never Knows"

Here's Stevie Ray Vaughn playing Taxman.

(The Beatles play it here)

More Beatles covers tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

SGR: Scary Go Round Re-read

(Link to all Scary Go Round Posts)

I'm going to be re-reading the webcomic Scary Go Round and posting my thoughts and responses here. My plan is to go through one chapter a week and put posts up on Tuesday mornings. If you feel like joining in, my post on the first chapter, The Gas, should appear here on Tuesday 1st February where the comments will be open. For more information on Scary Go Round, keep reading here.

Scary Go Round was a webcomic by John Allison that ran from 2002 to 2009. Like it's predecessor, Bobbins, and it's Successor, Bad Machinery, Scary Go Round is set in the fictional Yorkshire town/city of Tackleford. Bobbins mostly involved the staff of the Tackleford magazine City Limits*. Scary Go Round originally featured new characters and background characters from Bobbins, but several cast members from Bobbins thrust themselves forward as it progressed. The SF/Horror/Thriller elements that appeared towards the end of Bobbins are the driving force of the Scary Go Round plots. With the jokes and cartoony style, it sometimes seems like an episode of Scooby Doo, until you realise that there's quite a body count. Tackleford is quite a dark and, well, scary place behind all the laughter.

Allison has quite an eye for clothes and hair and I really like his dialogue. His art is usually pretty clear, and when it isn't it often turns out to be deliberately confusing.

So my plan is to re-read, post it all up and at the end see if I have any conclusions. To maintain discipline in this, I'm posting it up for all to see. Join me as we ride the Scary Go Round!

That sounded rubbish, didn't it.

* It was a 3-4 panel strip like a newspaper comic, and began very joke oriented, became a bit more character centred as the regular cast came into focus and then became wackier as various genre elements entered the story. Allison changed drawing styles several times throughout it's run. I'm not re-reading Bobbins as, and I say this in the most complimentary way possible, it's journeyman work. Allison is finding his style and voice. It's interesting and it's good, but it's uneven. In Scary Go Round Allison has chosen his work and themes and gets on with it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Fictional People Review Real Books

At 6.00 he took a shower. He boiled some potatoes and had open sandwiches of pickled herring in mustard sauce with chives and egg on a rickety table outside the cottage, facing the bridge. He poured himself a shot of aquavit and drank a toast to himself. After that he opened a crime novel by Val McDermid entitled The Mermaids Singing.

... He waited until 10.00 p.m. before he gave up and drove back to Norsjö, where he had a late dinner and then went to bed to read the denouement of Val McDermid's novel.

It was grisly.

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson.

The reader is Mikael Blomqvist, and he is correct about the end of The Mermaids Singing.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Carstairs and Topper: The Mystery of the Missing Port

He's a fine chap about town; his partner is his rather spiffing top hat. Together they fight crime!

"I say! What happened to the port?"

"I passed it to Smithers a moment ago. What the devil did you do with it?"

"I only had the one glass. I've been waiting forever for it."

Shocking, thought Hubert Carstairs. The port going missing in broad daylight from the gift wrapping room of the Rascals' Club? Whatever next! Clearly this would have to be resolved before the scandal spread.

"Gentlemen!" he called, standing up, "And you Duff-Johnson. The mystery of the missing port must be solved. And I am the man to do it."

"You Carstairs?" said Winstanley. "How do you expect to do that?"

"Not alone, I assure you. My faithful companion Topper will assist." With that Carstairs produced his spiffing new top hat.

"You're... surely not going to wear that inside," said Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. "The port going missing is one thing, but wearing a hat indoors... well, that would be very rum indeed."

"Not to worry Brigadier," said Carstairs. "Only a bounder, a cad, a lady, Duff-Johnson or some combination of those categories would even consider wearing a hat anywhere other than outdoors. I have a subtler trap in mind." So saying, he placed the top hat on the bookcase by the door. Then he rang the bell for service.

Johnson the footman appeared. "Sir?" he murmured.

"We seem to be out of port Johnson. Could you send down the whisky?"

"Sir," murmured Johnson, as he vanished.

"Well done Carstairs! Problem solved! Whisky and soda all round!" The other gentlemen showed their appreciation by hoisting Carstairs on their shoulders and marching him around the room.

"No you fools! Put me down! This is only the start of the plan. Now watch the door."

As they watched the door opened, and a dark clad figure holding a tray of decanters entered. Then Topper toppled onto his head. Swifter than the eye, Carstairs took the tray and placed it on the spirits sideboard. "Now let us see who we have!"

With Topper out of the way the figure was revealed to be... Nestor the butler. A wave of gasps spread across the room.

"Nestor!" said Smithers "How could you? And where is the port?"

"Port sir? But Johnson said the Whisky was required," said Nestor with considerable aplomb.

"I can locate the port," said Carstairs, "with a little help from Topper." And lifting his faithful companion he revealed the port decanter. "I declare it snifter time! Carry on Nestor."

Yes the butler did it. I suspect this may be the result of every Carstairs and Topper enquiry.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Allegorical Friends

From my Facebook Status:

When I was younger I had imaginary friends. Now I have an allegorical friend!

My allegorical friend is Avarice. She's a bit funny about money, but has a heart of gold.

As might be imagined Avarice keeps her heart locked in a box, which is locked inside six other boxes, and hidden in her dragon-hoard in a secret mountain. The keys she left in seven different lock boxes, each inside a bank more suave and discreet than the last.

If you do as Avarice wishes, she will repay you exactly as you deserve.