Wednesday, 1 June 2011
Saturday, 26 March 2011
Hawkwind are one of my favourite bands and were pioneers in the art of crazy packaging during the 1970s. Top we have 1971's 'In Search of Space' which folds out into a totem pole shape, together with its 'spaceship log-book'. Then we have the mighty Space Ritual double live LP from 1973, which folds out and folds out and folds out! One day I'll get 'Warrior on the Edge of Time' in its original packaging, too. I bought my copy as part of a spending spree as soon as I arrived in Leicester University in 1982 with my first grant cheque - imagine my horror when I discovered it had a crap single sleeve and didn't fold out into anything. I knew nothing then of reissues and the like, naive youth that I was. Bah! The annoyance lives with me still.
Thursday, 24 March 2011
A couple more albums in my collection. The top one is The Dukes of Stratosphear's second psychedelic LP, 'Psonic Psunspot' with a glorious Andy Partridge-designed gatefold sleeve. It hasn't come out too clearly in the photo but the vinyl is a deep purple colour with some swirly inclusions in a lighter tone. A gorgous thing. All the XTC and XTC-related albums appear to have been reissued on vinyl by Partridge's own Ape House label. It doesn't say, though, that Psonic Psunspot is in colured vinyl - I bet it isn't!
The other LP is by Urusei Yatsura. Again it hasn't come out too clearly in the photo but the vinyl is rather spectacular - clear but with glittery, sparkly bits in it. Very fab.
Sunday, 20 March 2011
My copy of the 12" of Mankind's 1978 hit version of the Doctor Who theme - in blue vinyl. I'm fairly sure I bought this at a litle second-hand record shop in Leicester about 200 years ago when I was at university. It's a bit tatty but the extended version is a terrible record, so I'm not worried.
Mainly to be of interest (I hope) to Jim aka Spaceships Over Deeside, here are the Spacemen 3 -related bits of vinyl in my collection. Top we have one of the last new LPs I bought, having already switched over to CD some time ago - but how could I resist it? Sonic Boom's first 'solo' album, 'Spectrum' with its fabulous gatefold packaging complete with two mindbending swirly discs. I'd already bought the last Spaceman 3 album, 'Recurring' on CD and nearly bought this on CD when I saw it on holiday somewhere. Thank God I didn't. Imagine missing out on this great production.
I'm fairly sure I bought the 'Hypnotized' 12" secondhand. Some - maybe all - copies came with a poster, I believe. If so, not mine alas. I also bought 'Playing With Fire' secondhand - you can see the £3.75 sticker on it. It's a bit grubby round the white edges but fortunately, it is the first issue, with the embossed sleeve. 'Sound of Confusion' is a Fire reissue with basic packaging. I've never seen the rare original Glass issue. It may have come with a printed inner sleeve; the Refire pressing didn't.
Finally, what has turned out to be a real gem: the Genius reisssue of 'The Perfect Prescription' in 'purple' vinyl (it's more of a lavendar colour - but with lovely swirly inclusions). I think I already had it on CD, but couldn't resist this when I saw it in a shop somewhere. I don't remember how much it cost me: considrably less than a tenner, I'm sure, or I wouldn't have bought it.
Friday, 11 February 2011
When Steve Friendship was dragged reluctantly away on a family holiday in the Norfolk Broads, the tedium was briefly enlivened when he discovered the local villages selling these incredibly drab and awful postcards, which perfectly fitted his view of the place. The fact that they are described as 'Interesting Scenes Around...' makes them all the more amusing.
It's hard to believe that Steve could buy, and then post to me, postcards like this - black-and-white and gobsmackingly grim - in 1997. Judging by the cars and the fashions, I doubt they had been printed any later than the late 70s/early 80s, and even then there would have been no excuse not to porint them in colour and make some sort of effort.
Steve was so entertained by them that he now has a growing collection of Boring Postcards from all over the place, but I don't think any out-Norfolked Norfolk.
A fascinating account of a haunted Government office building in Lincoln is the latest article to be posted under Ghosts on Uncanny UK. It has been contributed by Daniel Codd, author of Mysterious Lincolnshire, who interviewed the witness back in 2006. Since then Dan has received further spooky reports about the building, bringing the article bang up to date. Read the article at www.uncannyuk.com/2011/02/10/a-haunted-office-in-lincoln/
Friday, 4 February 2011
Rummaging about for some old documents, I found this photo of me with my book contracts. It was taken at the Evening Leader offices in Mold, where I then worked, to promote the publication of my first book, Supernatural Clwyd. As you can see the services of the Devil were called on to help with the publicity. This would have been taken just after my 25th birthday. I look almost handsome. That didn't last!
Thursday, 3 February 2011
Wednesday, 2 February 2011
Yes I know I'm a bit late, but here are stunning images by the Scandinavian artist Richard Svensson of 'The Monster of Thetis Lake' (British Columbia) and the 'Loveland (Ohio) Frogman'. They were two of several illustrations contributed by Richard to Dr Karl Shuker's article on 'Lairs of the Lizard-Men' in the August 2010 edition of Paranormal Magazine, all about reptilian humanoids some believe share our world in a Silurian-like manner.
Wednesday, 26 January 2011
Monday, 24 January 2011
A drawing illustrating the theme of 'Monsters in Your Backyard' for the June 2009 edition of Paranormal Magazine. The illustration is by Lisa Magee, who was then a student at the North East Wales Institute in Wrexham under the tutelage of Dan Berry.
Friday, 21 January 2011
Wednesday, 19 January 2011
Two illustrations by the celebrated art nouveau artist Willy Pogany from 'The Welsh Fairy Book' by W Jenkyns Thomas, first published in 1907. The top one shows the spirit of a lake near Brecon; below a shepherd boy who was forced to dance all night by the playing of a fiendish fiddler because he spied on some fairy revels. This latter story is set on the slopes of Dinas Bran at Llangollen.
Monday, 17 January 2011
A startling image of a wendigo by South Wales artist Simon Wyatt, who carried out a lot of 'monstrous' work for me in Paranormal Magazine. This bold opening spread was used to kick off an article by Richard Freeman in the May 2010 edition.
Saturday, 15 January 2011
Having watched a documentary round at Robin and Heidi's on poster artist Reynold Brown, here are a few I hadn't already saved by him which I've hunted up, including (top) the US version of Hammer's 'The Two Faces of Dr Jekyll'. I'm sure many of the poster images I've already got saved are also by Brown: he seems to have been very prolific.
Friday, 14 January 2011
Wednesday, 12 January 2011
Two peculiar images by an artist I've just stumbled across, Jean-Francois Le Saint. Le Saint mainly works in pastels, which is unusual in itself, and this lends his pictures a luminous quality which I really like. He specialises in portraits of children and scenes of Breton culture and traditional pastimes. Whether these images, two of a short series of fantasy subjects, are intended to illustrate a particular story or are simply inspired by the artist's imagination, I don't know. You can see more of Le Saint's work at: www.flickr.com/photos/lesaint/
Monday, 10 January 2011
Continuing a series of monsters from the now defunct Paranormal Magazine: a hideous entity said to have appeared in a remote country cottage and emanating pure evil. The illustration is by Shaun Histed-Todd and appeared in PM 54, accompanying an article by Richard Freeman.
Saturday, 8 January 2011
Something for the weekend, sir? Yes, thank you how about a nice educational film? This Nude World from 1933 is billed as 'the most educational film ever produced'. Billing a tittilating movie as a documentary was an old dodge to get round censorship laws. Shotgun Wedding from 1962 looks like hokey fun and was directed by one Edward D Wood Jr - it's listed as a comedy on IMDB but the poster here certainly seems to push it as a real life expose. Why and when Sweden in particular became associated with sexual licence is a mystery to me, but just adding 'Sweden' or 'Swedish' to a title or description seemed guaranteed to pull in the dirty mac brigade. I can't find this one on IMDB but guess it dates from the late sixties.
Friday, 7 January 2011
Following on from my Christmas card collection, here are a couple of old birthday cards designed by my friend Alan Daulby. The top one makes a joke about my book 'Haunted Wales', which had gone to the printers in 2005. The other, from a few years previously, refers to my Daily Post column 'Wales of the Unexpected' and the fact that I had recently been running a second-hand shop. He's done a lovely job adapting an old EC comic.
Monday, 3 January 2011
Continuing a selection of monstrous images from Paranormal Magazine, I continue with another by Anne Elizabeth Robinson, simply because it's seasonal (just). Anne's scary Santa, commissioned for the January 2010 edition (published at the end of Nov 09) accompanied an article on seasonal spooks by John Stoker. Despite being so grotesque, he manages to look quite friendly.