Flowers

Julian Barratt plays Maurice (author of twisted children?s books The Grubbs) and Olivia Colman plays Deborah (music teacher); a husband and wife who are barely together but yet to divorce. They live with Maurice's fruitcake mother, Hattie, (Leila Hoffman) and their maladjusted twenty five year old twins Amy (Sophie di Martino) and Donald (Daniel Rigby) in a creaky, messy, crumbling old house.
Julian Barratt plays Maurice (author of twisted children?s books The Grubbs) and Olivia Colman plays Deborah (music teacher); a husband and wife who are barely together but yet to divorce. They live with Maurice’s fruitcake mother, Hattie, (Leila Hoffman) and their maladjusted twenty five year old twins Amy (Sophie di Martino) and Donald (Daniel Rigby) in a creaky, messy, crumbling old house.

I just watched all 6 episodes of this in a day, utterly brilliant, Olivia Coleman and Julian Barratt are perfect as is the casting, score, script, pacing and whole tone of this dark tale of a dysfunctional family and the events that unfold and effect them. Someone said it’s like the spirit of Roald Dahl meeting Butterflies (70s Brit sitcom) and they’re not far off. If you can watch 4OD media where you are then definitely try and catch this over the next month while it’s still available to view.

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Cyborg, Muton & Android from Deny’s Fisher

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OK – massive nostalgia-fest post – who remembers these? You’d have to be well into your 40s and even though my brother and I had a couple of these figures, I had forgotten about them totally. But as soon as I saw a photo of one everything came rushing back, the weapons and attachments, the comic story on the box and the extra outfits to change Muton into different guises.
Made by toy company Deny’s Fisher in the mid 70s and apparently riffing off a Japanese toy design-wise, these were pre-Star Wars and 2000AD and the closest thing to a space toy I can remember outside of miniature scale models of Space 1999, Thunderbirds or Captain Scarlet vehicles. I had Cyborg with his water-squirting laser cannon and missile firing arm attachments. He was like a bigger version of the Time Traveller from Micronauts, all see-through body, robotic parts and ambiguous features. In reality it looked like someone had taken the standard Action Man body mold and cast it in transparent plastic, forgotten to give him any clothes and added robotic parts.

One of the ways the company got you to buy more products was to sell extra sets of attachments, namely feet or arm pieces, so that you could customise him for different play scenarios (remember them?). His enemy, Muton (my brother’s figure), had a similar set and their back story was rendered on the back of their respective boxes to give you a jumping off point to start play from.

My friend Jason Atomic put a photo of his Muton accessories on his Instagram recently and it triggered some long-buried memory in me that sent me off on a Google search to find how I knew these toys. I’ve cribbed several images from the excellent Plaid Stallions site which has more info about these figures so go and take a look if you want more. It seems there was a third figure which I never knew about, another villain named Android who could be transformed with similar extra sets of limbs and, right at the bottom, there’s what appears to be some sort of Argos-type catalogue featuring the toys plus the Six Million Dollar Man which puts it all into some sort of historical context.

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Secret 7″ 2016

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Bit late on posting these as it’s been on for a few weeks but I thought I’d let RSD die down a bit and there’s still time to view the Secret 7″ entries before buying day. As every year, I went along to see what was being cooked up on the custom 45 front. This year they reside in the Sonos building in Shoreditch and the sleeves are displayed until May 1st. On May 2nd they are all up for grabs at £50 each which, this year, goes to Amnesty International UK. There are 700 this year and, if you go, make sure you check upstairs as I nearly missed that half.

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John Vernon Lord

JVL Beneath The Tree

This is ‘Beneath The Tree’ by John Vernon Lord, a British artist probably best know for illustrating the children’s classic ‘The Giant Jam Sandwich’ or Deep Purple‘s ‘The Book of Taliesyn’ album cover. The image is huge, 122 x 244 cm, and was drawn in 1966. Nobrow have published a book of his work entitled ‘Drawn To Drawing’ which is well worth a look with over 300 illustrations.

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2000AD Free Comic Book Day issue

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As is usual each May, in the same way as Record Store Day, we have Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) upon us soon – May 7th to be precise. 2000AD has its own issue again with a mixture of new and reprint material. Henry Flint, who has provided covers for the last 3 years, has a strip inside and it’s Mike Allred who graces this year’s issue. As far as I’m aware this is his first work for the comic and he pays more than a tip of the hat to Brian Bolland with his Dredd pose here. Trying to break into the American market the comic has commissioned another American artist, Eric Powell of ‘The Goon’ fame, to provide interior art too.

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Cavern of Anti-Matter Solid Steel mix

I totally forgot to post this last weekend as I was away. After their storming gig in London in February I asked Tim Gane from COAM if he’d be up for a Solid Steel mix for us. Not only did he say yes but he delivered two exclusive hour long mixes titled ‘Whiteout Mix’ and ‘Blackout mix’ that parallel each other with some of the same artists appearing on both hours. As a result we gave the whole of last week’s show over to him.

“An abstracted trawl through some prized recordings. Music can be like a fever dream with no rational interpretations possible and all these tracks have given me that rush. Over the years they have shown me the door and window to another kind of sound and new forms of composition and an endless collage of possibility.Totally shocking listening to these tracks again and putting the mix together. I have included one of my own mess about loops from about 8 or 9 years ago.”

Ambigraph commission

FullSizeRenderI did a gig with Ameet Hindocha, aka Ambigraph, last summer and we ended up collaborating on an audio visual alt. soundtrack to Dune. I was so impressed with his geometric designs I asked him to do me a commission based on a complex pattern we both chose. Here are some work-in-progress shots and the final thing, all hand drawn, no computer was used, just pen, pencil and ruler. See more of his work here

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1200 x 2000AD

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Here we have a large portion of my 2000AD collection, a comic I’ve read since I was 8 years old, fast approaching issue 2000 itself. It’s time for these issues to go to another place, to people who will read them rather than being tucked away in my studio as some of them have for decades now. I’ve kept the first 600 issues (another 3 boxes) for purely nostalgic reasons plus the last 18 months worth but these approx 1200 issues will be going to Orbital Comics next week to do with what they will. Just in time for Free Comic Book Day and only a few months short of the comic’s 2000th issue in September.

2000ADs to go

The excellent documentary about the comic’s history – ‘Future Shock’ – was just shown on TV and is currently available to view online for the next month in the UK via Channel 4. I also found about 25 doubles of very early issues including no.20, issue 100 and more, they’ll be going with these too.

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Here’s a few scans of images that caught my eye as I went through them: Brendan McCarthy masquerading at ‘Loaf’, a couple of Dredds by the incomparible John Hicklenton (RIP) and some pages from a beautiful Ace Trucking Co. story. No one draws the cosmos quite like Massimo Belardinelli.

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Tharg’s Future Shocks

2000ADFS pg1Whilst recently going through many boxes of old 2000AD comics, before I send them off to a better home, I ran across this little Future Shock story in Prog 672 – Mar 31, 1990 – which did something a little different with the comic medium. Written by Paul Carstairs (not a name I’m familiar with) and drawn by old hand Massimo Belardinelli, it starts out as you would expect but quickly takes a new turn. All copyright is 2000AD/Rebellion
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