Thursday, 25 July 2013

Up Against The Wall XXVIII: Southern Softies

We've not had an Up Against The Wall, our highlighting of angry, frustrated and just plain rude graffiti for a while. Here's a slightly different one found on the Central Line in that there London instead. Kissy kissy.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Bad Habits.

So I'll start actually writing about the damned things soon. I've been reading. On the bus, in the garden, at home, in work. I've been carrying comics about. I've been humping books around. I've been toting my tablet. I was going to write about Smell of Steve, but I can't find a decent enough image online. And I'm nowhere near a scanner. So I've stolen this scan from the internet (relax, I do have this postcard at home and could have scanned it in if I'd been somewhere near a scanner). It's advertising Josh Simmons' Habit #1. I took the image form Josh Simmons' tumblr. I hope he doesn't mind.

Habit #1 is one of the comics I will be writing about. It's a new comic. I will mainly be writing about old comics. I'm hoping to be able to pick up on new stuff as a consequence of writing this stuff and doing the consequent digging. Yesterday, for example, I found out that Dark Horse published a Smell of Steve anthology entitled Planet of Beer. When I find it cheap enough I will buy it.

A partial list of comics I've read since June 26th, or plan to read in the next six months includes Habit #1 (see above), It Was The War of the Trenches, Plastic Man, Love and Rockets, Neat Stuff, The Terrible Tales of the Teenytinysaurs, Smell of Steve, Pogo, TV Century 21, Marshall Law, The Comics Journal, Playing Out, Building Stories, The Hive, The Horror! The Horror!, A Handful of Groats, Beer Nutz, Flesh and Bone, Valiant and a fistful of Oily releases.

Watch this space. I'll soon be open to suggestions.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Blah Blah Blah.

I'll be reading this sort of thing. Sorta.
So, over a year since the last post. Apologies. I was going to delete this blog. Then I was going to leave it, but start a new one about the thing that I'm going to go on to write about. But I took a sniff of Wordpress and decided I didn't want to be constantly mithered to update for cash. So, then I thought, well, why not go back to the old place and do some of the new stuff and some of the old stuff and push the other stuff you've been doing in the meanwhile. It's not like I've been living in a cave for the past year (and the year before that to be frank - 14 posts in a year does not qualify one for a Red Hot Lover badge).

So, I've just embarked on a plan to read nothing but comics and comics-related criticism for six months. Hard-reading, not taking my news from Ain't It Cool or listening only to the Ink-Studs podcast. I'll still be operating in The Real World, except that when I read for pleasure it will be words and pictures only. I feel a need to catch-up and mine backwards. It's an art form I've not exactly neglected - I still buy comics on occasion (usually in book form these days, unless they're small press) - but I do feel like I have lost the overview I used to have. In addition, I'm interested in revisiting and revising ways of looking at and writing about comics.

I've also just got a new phone. And a tablet (on which I've been reading lots of comics I couldn't otherwise afford, such as Jack Cole's Plastic Man comics). So, I'm feeling more techno-enabled. And I will be writing about other stuff than comics. You know, the usual stupid observations and self-righteous football postings.

I started the comics thing on June 26th. I'll finish it on Boxing Day, unless I'm having such a whale of a time that I decide to continue. Let's see... And watch this space.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

No Monarchy.

Possibly the only good thing about the recent royalist vomit-fest was Kellogg's decision to release these 'heritage' boxes. They made a pretty decent end of aisle display in my local Sainsburys. Not sure of their historic accuracy, but the Frosties box in particular is lovely.

Oh, and hello again to you, too.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Meat Is Murder. Track One. Stafford Rangers.

As an attempt to revive my interest in this blog I'm going to do a little food writing. Not a lot, but enough to get things ticking over, I hope. The plan is a simple one. As often as possible - sometimes real life and 'politics' get in the way - my eldest and I go to the Saturday away games of FC United of Manchester on the 'Boogie Bus'. A chaotic, fan-run enterprise which has developed a reputation for never getting to a game before kick off (not true - we got there twenty minutes early yesterday - but the margin for error is often five or ten minutes either side of the whistle). The reason for the late arrivals is that the bus always takes us to a 'pre-match venue' (i.e. a pub) for a drink, to watch MUFC if they are the early kick-off on TV and, crucially, for free food. Every Boogie Bus, every venue, puts some kind of spread on. It's something that the Brains Trust who run the bus have negotiated with the venues since the earliest days. It's obvious really, we bring you fifty-odd thirsty football supporters, you bring us some food.

For the first couple of seasons me and Sonny Jim went, there was sometimes something which could be considered suitable for vegetarians - chips, cheese and tomato butties, side salad, that kind of thing - but the emphasis was most definitely on meat. In the end we would take along 'emergency vegetarian options', usually some kind of sandwich for 'just in case'. Fellow traveller, vegetarian and bon viveur, Sam operated a similar system, and had been doing so since travelling away with MUFC in the seventies. All of this changed the night of the Rochdale FA Cup game - OH HAPPY DAY! - where a vegetarian chilli was available alongside its beefy brother. The next time we travelled away we went all the way down to Brighton where, again, there was a vegetarian chilli. Since then, every time we have travelled with the Boogie Bus there has been meat-free food available for the very small number of us who lean in that direction. And so it came that yesterday I had the lightbulb moment. From now on, I'll review the 'vegetarian option' and post it on here. I'll even include a few notes about the venues.

So, yesterday and, as you've no doubt deduced from the picture above, the offering was (surprise, surprise) Chilli and Chips. The meat one looked grey and a bit gravy-heavy - a fellow diner commented that some bread to mop up the gravy would have been a useful addition. The meat-free version didn't need it; it had a good texture, with a sensible amount of red lentils absorbing any excessive liquid, soft and tasty kidney beans and a fresh combination of chilli and cumin providing a backdrop. It looked and tasted like it was its own dish rather than a by-product of the meaty version. The chips were catering fries, and some were a little anaemic. They didn't detract from the chilli, but home-cut chips or boiled rice would have pushed this food towards the top of the 'all-time greats' list. Overall rating - delicious - and the tin-trays the food was served in kept it warm to the last mouthful.

The pub itself, which cannot be directly named due to the confidentiality clause signed by all Boogie Bussers, was situated in the village of Weston. Famous, as I'm sure you all know, for coming second in the Best Kept Village Competition. The other place must be gorgeous. Outside the front of the pub was some kind of village green on which somebody had very kindly erected temporary goal posts. Once a decent football had been passed over the bar of the pub, several overweight, balding men had the opportunity to imagine themselves filling the boots of Paul Scholes, George Best, Rory Patterson ...even Barrie George.

The match was against Stafford Rangers - a ten minute drive down the road, and a good, friendly club - and ended with a first game of the season two-nil win for FCUM.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Up Against The Wall XXVII - Rats Tits!

This was meant to be the Up Against The Wall before last as the one before that reffed the bizarre media this drivel was created in. So, Rats Tits! in tape. Crap, thin tape.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Blue Spotted Tail.

There was an item on Springwatch last night with lots of unusual nesting sites. The one above is the pole of a sign on the way into Heaton Park where blue tits were nesting. We passed it a couple of weeks back and could hear the chicks twittering inside.  On passing earlier this week, The Youngest was hoyed up for a look see and reported back that it smelled disgusting but there was nothing in there. I hope they survived the relentless torrential rain we've been lucky enough to endure here since Easter.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Up Against The Wall XXVI - Your Mum Smok's Dimps / You Smoke Dimps Stop Playing.

From just inside the football/basketball cage in St Mary's Park, Prestwich where I was idling the hot days of April away with The Kids. Dimps, what a beautifully northern word. And for the record, my mum did smoke dimps. Usually on a Thursday when all funds had been exhausted and with Friday's pay day in sight. As it's Prestwich I'm making the logical leap that it was Mark E. Smith who had popped into the park with a sharpie in order to test out some new Fall lyrics.