Monday, 31 August 2009

Sally Cinnamon.

sallyhead, originally uploaded by mithering.

Given the obsessive, list-making, desire for clarity and rediscovery that drives so many comics fans it's amazing how little information about or passion for 'girls' comics there is. Granted, the fare served up in many of them was pretty weak - Bunty and Tammy in particular - but some of the more war-centred boys comics suffered from a similar lack of tone.

There are exceptions to this. Girls' horror comic Misty has managed to maintain a high profile based on the back of how many boys read their sister's copy during it's two year run between February 78 and January 1980. I know, I was one of them. That said, I had been reading girls' comics since the early 70s due to being at the end of a long chain of handed-down titles which because it had both boys and girls contributing meant I got my hands on Bunty, Valentine and June as well as The Beano, The Valiant and Scorcher, amongst others.

A couple of summers back I picked up a couple of hundred comics from a car boot sale in North Wales to get my hands on a few copies of The Valiant. I intended to sell on the rest at some point, mainly a large number of Tammy comics, and a handful of other girls' titles. One of which was Sally, 'The Paper for Adventure-Loving Girls'.

On further inspection, Sally, which was published by Fleetway, and ran for 94 issues between June '69 and March '71, was pretty interesting. The subject matter of the strips was similar to that in many girls' comics of the period - misery, subjugation and dealing with your mischevious younger brother or unsympathetic stepmother - but the settings were different. Instead of the usual public school or domestic worlds, the characters in Sally operate in something closer to that favoured in non-war, non-comedy, boys' comics. So we have The Cat Girl, the acrobatic, agile daughter of a private detective dad, Legion of Super Slaves, a group of girls enslaved by evil genius 'The Grand Termite' to help him take over the world, Tiny Tania in Space (the title speaks for itself), The Justice of Justine, in which the title character gains super powers from a mysterious cloak and The Girl From Tomorrow which features a girl from the future who gets into various scrapes.

It's not all space and ray guns - Farm Boss Fanny is traditional and class-obsessed, The Castle Kids and The Very Important Cow is as dull as it sounds, and Daddy Come Home! brilliantly plays on youngsters' fears of parental abandonment in a World War Two setting.

Sally cover.

Anyhow, have a look for yourselves. I've uploaded a complete scan of this issue in CBR format, which is a full-screen image reader usually used for reading comics and magazines on computer screens. CDisplay Comic Reader can be downloaded, for free, here: CDisplay details and download. An issue of Sally from August 1969 can be downloaded by clicking

Let me know what you think.

The Gories - Boogie Chillun - Paris, July 2009.

On my top ten list of bands I wish I'd seen in their pomp, along with The Fingers, The Go-Nuts and The Untamed Youth, The Gories reformed to perform a couple of US dates and a month's worth of European engagements alongside the also-reformed Oblivians (who I put on at The Britons Protection a few years back). For various reasons, including it was in Nottingham, tickets were expensive, and I'd made a promise to myself after Magazine that I wouldn't do any more reunion gigs, I didn't go.

Anyhow, this clip from rapido1 on YouTube (Merci, fella) shows that they're still in pretty fine fettle, although Mick is packing on the pounds and Dan is looking creepily like Mr. RHJ of Chorltonville.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Up Against The Wall XI: You Human Vermin

Human Vermin, originally uploaded by mithering.

Over the past two days I've seen two things lying helpless in the road. Yesterday, as I was walking to work up New Bailey Street, outside Salford Central Station, a pigeon fell from the railway bridge that shrouds the vicinity. It fell as if it had been pushed, stone-like, into a gap in the morning rush hour traffic. On its back, weakly-flapping, helpless to get up. I felt I should do something but knew there was no point. It was dying in some way and that had now been accelerated. I watched as I walked, the traffic just missing the bird, until it became impractical on a busy pavement to keep looking back. Later, I had a lift home and we drove down that way and all that remained of it was a millimetre thin, great coat grey, smudge on the road.

The day before I had been on Deansgate, heading off for some dinner when I heard a cry of pain some way behind me. I'm nosey by nature, so I stopped and looked back to see what it was. Over the road a man had fallen into the road, on his back. People hurried past him. Fortunately, traffic was at a minimum due to the ongoing road works. I headed over to see if I could help. Some more people hurried past, but by the time I got to him somebody else had stopped. The man was having a fit of some sort. He looked lived-in, with scruffy grey hair and could have been homeless or drunk, but how can you tell when somebody is floundering just short of the pavement, eyes rolling back?

"You have to let it pass," my kerbside companion said. I acknowledged this but went into a shop and got them to call an ambulance. Just in case. We weren't doctors.

When I came out a number of people had gathered to help. Somebody was administering basic first aid, so I headed off. What could I do? Thankfully, I didn't feel the need to keep looking back. And when I'd bought what I wanted for dinner and was heading back to work I saw the whole scene had cleared and the usual Deansgate promenade had been restored. No grey smear apparent.

Image for this post was supplied by Renaissance Man and Fall Fan, David Gaffney.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Up Against The Wall X: Merseybeat Special.

Numbnuts, originally uploaded by mithering.


Like one of those Ishihara Colour Test plates used to diagnose colour blindness (or Daltonism as we like to call it in Manchester), this one can be difficult to decipher.

Taken somewhere in Liverpool.

Monday, 24 August 2009

Something I Learned Today.

Observations made on holiday:

1. Walking distance from nearest shop is much more important than actual distance from nearest beach.
2. Rock pools > Sand.
3. There are loads of dolphins in Cardigan Bay.
4. Every other pub in Mid Wales is called The Ship Inn.
5. Birdwatching is much harder in the countryside. There are too many trees and bushes for your quarry to lose itself in, particularly if they use that pesky camouflage developed through millions of years of evolution.
6. People go shopping in cities for a reason.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Happy Mondays - Performance - The Other Side of Midnight. UK TV late 1980s.

What's a Manchester-based blog without even a token nod in the direction of 'Madchester'? Incomplete, that's what. So, from that weird period when a Manchester postcode or 061 STD code had A&R men swarming round dull, talentless copycat bands like flies buzzing round Asia Fields, here are the only truly great band to emerge from that period.

This performance of Performance is from an episode of The Other Side of Midnight, at the point when Tony Wilson morphed into Anthony H. Wilson. An arts and culture programme which featured local and international musicians and artists; can you imagine Granada TV commissioning something like that these days?

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Up Against The Wall IX: International Special.

Photo-0027, originally uploaded by mithering.

Spotted yesterday, outside Greggs in Carmarthen, Matin Lewis is a tramp 4 eva. A little bit of Wales which will be forever Salford.

Last night a three down saved my life.

A good, brisk walk between Tresaith and some other identically apportioned beach shook the cobwebs out of my head today. Right up high there were loads of butterfiles - peanutbutterflies the youngest called them - mainly painted ladies, a few red admirals, lots of those white ones with the wing-trim and a single spot, and enough others to be intriguing.

The calming influence of The Guardian Cryptic Crossword enabled me to fight my deeply-engrained anti-beach instincts for a couple of hours, but in the end I had to pull the plug on it all. No toilet, no pub, no shelter from the sun, no papershop, no benches, not even a bin to put rubbish in.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

I Love Living In The City.

I Love Living In The City., originally uploaded by mithering.

Sorry to moan but it's what I do best.

We're just into day four of our annual summer holiday to the usual place you can only really drive to. In this case, Tresaith in Mid Wales. It's a nice enough place but I wouldn't want to live here. I wouldn't even want to be here for more than a day if I was being honest. The things I need around me are not easily found in a place like this, but are often the things taken for granted and often ignored on a daily basis. Like a newspaper. My heart sang like a lovelorn lark yesterday when we deviated (in the car - always in the car) far enough from our new routine of cottage - path - beach - path - cottage - path - beach to pass a Spar from which I was able to buy a copy of The Guardian. The Monday Guardian too; Media Guardian, round-ups of the weekend's 'football action' and, usually, the most-straightforward Cryptic Crossword of the week. And that's sad. I don't even buy the paper everyday when I'm back in Manchester, but there's the requisite amount of stimulation there. And if there isn't I can always walk to the papershop at the top of the street and buy myself a newspaper. And The Beano, if I'm so inclined.

Friday, 7 August 2009

News of the World

Photo-0008, originally uploaded by mithering.
"(esp. in contemporary writing) a manner of organizing a work so as to give full expression to contradictory or complementary impulses, attitudes, etc., esp. as a means of indicating detachment from a subject, theme, or emotion."