Thursday, 22 May 2014

It's my time. I can waste it if I want to.

 There were things I wanted to do this week.

I had this plan, you see. I was going to use this week off work to catch up on a few things, sort out some others and generally use my time productively. 

 It didn't really work out like that.

Let me demonstrate with the aid of a couple of lists. The first is entitled:

What I Was Going To Do This Week
Spring Clean
Clean the oven
Do some scanning for the blog.
Try and finish some of the stories I've had lying around for a while.
Spend 30 minutes each day on the exercise bike I've never used. 
Go for long walks
Defrost my fridge.
Reorganise my wardrobe.
Get up early enough to see the sunrise.

Now here's the second list.

What I Actually did. 
Browsed Youtube looking for NWOBHM songs.
Browsed Reddit for way, way too long.
Worked on the model Lancaster I got for my birthday...
...While listening to Prog Rock
Invented an interpretive dance for the Alan Parsons Project track "Eye in the Sky"
(Only hand movements so far but I think I'm onto something.)
Ate an unhealthy amount of ice-cream
Browsed Youtube some more, looking for Russian dashcam vids..
Stayed up until stupid o'clock trying to find a song I knew I had, but couldn't remember the artist.
Popped onto Reddit (again) then looked up and realised it was 1am. 
Cooked as little as possible.
Wore socks only when absolutely necessary. 
Hoovered. But only until I got bored.  

  It's only Thursday so in theory I still have to time to squeeze in some serious dusting and if I really force myself I might be able to finish a story or so.
  It's not very likely though, is it? 

  I think I made a massive tactical error when I was coming up ways to keep myself occupied during the week. I think what I did was this: Instead of things I wanted to do, I lumbered myself with a bunch of things I felt I ought to be doing. 
 And when it came right down to it, I didn't want to do them. 

 I already spend a big chunk of my life doing being somewhere I don't want to be, doing things I don't especially want to do.
 Better known as "Work"
  Is it just me that wonders why we have to fit our lives around the massive part of the week that somebody else dictates? 
 Is it any wonder that once I got home and dropped my work clothes in the laundry pile, my little list of "productive" activities got stuffed into the nearest mental cupboard and I sat back for a week of surfing, napping and dedicated vegetating.

 Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to Google "Dance of the Flaming Arseholes" to see if it means what I think it does, then I'm going to spend the rest of my week off doing whatever the hell I like. 

And definitely not dusting. 

 That's all folks. 

Monday, 19 May 2014

Heavy Metal Cover Girls: Girls with Guns pt 2

 Back in the 1980s Tommy Shaw did an album called "Girls With Guns" but then messed up big time by utterly failing to have a girl with a gun on the cover. Tommy, I am disappointed in you.
  To make up for it, as promised, here's a second installment of Rock/Metal covers on the theme "Woman + Gun = Coolness"

  Dave Evans And Nitzinger - Revenge

femme fatale with gun
As a general rule of thumb, if somebody wears a skull ring, do not piss them off. 

 The next two eschew the traditional pistol in favour of more firepower.

M-16 - Locked and Reloaded 

Woman with m-16
Paying tribute to the classic 80s action movie posters, I see. 
That explains the hair. 

Nuclear Strikes - Megastorm Eye

Woman destroys city
Ok, I think you can stop killing people now. 
You've made your point.

Murder Bay - Never Was An Angel

 Woman lingerie handgun
This would be romantic if it wasn't for the frigging gun. 
Kinkiness levels approaching "Worrying", methinks.

 Shotgun Wedding - If You Only Knew (USA 1998)

woman bridal lingerie shotgun
Getting some real mixed messages here. So I'm just going to back away slowly.

Tango Down - Identity Crisis (USA 2012)

Sexy woman with gun
You know US schools are getting messed up when teachers resort to an extreme
 version of "The Carrot And The Stick" to get the little sods to pay attention. 

LA Guns - Golden Bullets (USA 2003)

CD Cover girl with pistol art
Isn't there supposed to be a skirt with that outfit? 

The Vibes - 45 Minutes To Go (Switzerland 2011)

Rock album cover woman holding man at gunpoint
One of these people has trouble taking a hint. Can you guess which one?  

That's all folks

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Heavy Metal Cover Girls: Girls With Guns

  Although Heavy Metal album art is best know for its images of monsters, mayhem and muscular blokes with no shirts, there's more than a few that opt instead for gorgeous young women.

  And while there's no shortage of art that has women in nice dresses hanging decoratively around forests, there's a definite tendency towards minimal clothing and maximum capacity for violence.

 This time around, we're asking the question: Do ya feel lucky?

.44 Magnum - Danger (Japan 1983)

metal album cover woman with gun
The FBI's world-renowned LBD team in action. 
Guaranteed to be both deadly and fit smoothly into any social situation. 

HMR - Контрольный Выстрел (Russia 2012)

Heavy metal album girl with revolver
I count 5 cartridge cases on the ground. 
So if we all rush her, she can only get one of us.
No..wait...better idea...we send the intern in first.
C'mon man, it'll look great on your resume.

Blood Stain Child - Epsilon (Japan 2011)

Anime woman with laser pistol
 The Japanese Trance-Metal crew with a very Anime-esque take on the concept.
"But where's the gun?" you ask.
Well, let's open up the wraparound cover, shall we? 
Happy now?

Sticking with blaster pistols...

Nemesis - Hot On Your Tracks (USA 1986)

If she doesn't start looking where she's going, I foresee a bit of an accident.  
The next couple aren't Heavy Metal, unless you think any band with long hair and Marshalls counts, but I like them so much, I'm putting them up anyway.

REO Speedwagon - This Time We Mean It (USA 1975)

She may be sophisticated but mock her canapes at your peril. 

The Colts - Hard To Handle  (Germany 2013)

 album cover sexy cowgirl
Despite being good at it,  in the end, "Colt" Cassidy had to give up the Sheriff's job. 
It wasn't the endless parade of cattle-rustlers, bandits and gunsels that got her down.
It wasn't even the way drunken cowhands kept trying to stuff dollar bills in her gunbelt.
Our gal quit because she got sick of stabbing herself in the boob every time she put the official star on in a hurry.   

And finally, an album cover I like so much, I own two copies of the t-shirt.

Within Temptation - The Unforgiving (NLD 2011) 

 I don't think that's actually a word. 

Since I have quite a few covers on the same lines, I think I'll post the rest of them tomorrow.

That's all folks. 

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Book Review: Mark Gregory - No Sleep Till Saltburn

Stockton 1982
 Mark Gregory has just lost his job as a milkman. But that's OK because Mark has a plan to produce his very own Rock magazine.
 Over the next 18 months or so, young Mr Gregory will try his hand at radio presenting, accidentally double-book two heavy metal bands with a girl's 18th birthday party, become manager to the Northeast's unruly answer to Journey, write for Kerrang and yes, put together his very own rock magazine.
 If he could just work out how to get people to buy it...

  During the early 80s the industrial towns of the Northeast pumped out a small horde of loud, lairy and enthusiastic Heavy Metal bands  - the rather cumbersomely titled North East New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NENWOBHM) - and this book is from somebody who was there when it was all kicking off.

 Rock and Roll memoirs can have the unfortunate effect of making the writer look like an utter wanker. I lost all respect for a certain ex-Kerrang writer when he admitted faking it just to earn some heroin money. And did anybody come away from "The Dirt" thinking that Motley Crue were people you'd want next door? I doubt it.

  Luckily Mark Gregory comes across as likeable throughout. I don't know if he's deliberately downplaying his talents but there's a definite sense that in true British fashion, he's getting by on luck and enthusiasm.
  There's also something very Northern and British about a heavy metal band being announced with a reminder that there's pie and peas on sale at the back of the venue.

 Not to say that there isn't Rock n Roll behaviour happening but it tends to be fuelled by Bitter rather than Peruvian marching Powder. 
 Strippers and Groupies? Not happening either. 
 You do get some trout-poaching though. 
 There's plenty of entertaining moments scattered throughout. The one that immediately springs to mind is a Dutch promoter playing Mark a tape from a new US band called Metallica...

 I've been a big fan of the NWOBHM for years and I've always enjoyed books from the underbelly of the music industry. The whole thing is told with warm humour, charm and a cast of fascinating characters. So I enjoyed this one a lot. I read the whole thing in pretty much one hit, which happens rarely these days. 

  If I have a criticism, it might be that "No Sleep Till Saltburn" doesn't end with a bang. It's more of a snapshot of a period in a young man's life that closes with the hero in a better place than he was and hopefully going towards somewhere better still.

 If any of the following mean something to you - Battleaxe, Geddes Axe, Satan, Black Rose, Arizona - or if you just fancy a trip back to a long-gone era, then I think you might enjoy this book.

Screw it. I feel like listening to some Battleaxe
UPDATE: Mark Gregory is hoping to bring out a sequel sometime next year.
Pop over to his site for details and sundry NWOBHM goings-on. 

 That's all folks. 

Sunday, 11 May 2014

The Metal Project: The Eurovision Metal Contest Pt 2

The Metal Project: An ongoing quest to find Metal Songs with "Metal" in the title. 

 Well, another Eurovision has been and gone, leaving British fans feeling more than a little let down.  17th?  Really? How the fuck did the UK entry get fewer votes than that godawful Armenian thing? And another thing... 
I had to stop there. I was beginning to foam at the mouth. Anyway, how about we conclude our Pan-European round up? Every song here is from the last decade or so, features the word "Metal" in the title (naturally) and I reckon there's some stuff  that you'll like. Enjoy.

BattleAxe - Heavy Metal Sanctuary (2013)

Honour to: SPV

Lost Society - Braindead Metalhead (2013)

Perversifier - Evil Thrashing Speed Metal (2013)

Honour to: MaxAbominator

Rocka Rollas - Heavy Metal Strikes Back (2013)

Honour to: ildur

Battle Ram - I Am HM (2013)

(Abbreviations count. I've just decided.)
Honour to: TheSteel91

Enthroned - Satanic Metal Kult (2004)

Honour to: eindhovengorecity

And finally 

Pero Defformero  - Metal Sviracu (2014)

(Out of everything on this page, this is the song that would fit
into Eurovision the best. Have a listen and you'll see what I mean)
Honour to: PeroDefformero

Let me know what you think and if your country wasn't represented - sorry. 
Maybe next year. 

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

The Metal Project: Eurovision Metal Contest 2014

 The Metal Project: An attempt to create an online resource for every single Heavy Metal Song with "Metal" in the title. 

 So the Eurovision Song Contest is upon us once again. Peculiar outfits, baffling props, cringeworthy dance routines and some of the dodgiest voting you will ever see outside of Zimbabwe.
 Some of the music is OK, I suppose, but it's not the most exciting set of tunes, is it.?

 Time to change all that. 

Ladies and Gents, welcome to the Eurovision Metal Contest 2014. 

 Over the next couple of posts these bands will act as standard bearers for their nation. I'm going to restrict myself to songs from the 21st Century and of course, every single one will have "Metal" in the title. Enjoy.

   Stos - Heavy Metal (2012)

Honour to: la kampa

Inquisitor - Speed Metal Legions (2010)

Honour to: ThrashMetalPT

Winterstorm - Metalavial (2014)

Honour to: Winterstormarea

Inferno - Thrash Metal Dogs Of Hell (2004)

Honour to: Meyallelethful

Sabatan - Metal Comes Back (2013)

Honour to: SabatanMetal

(Yes, I know Israel is in another continent entirely.
However, they are part of the European Broadcasting Union.
Therefore eligible. So bollocks.) 

 Switchblade - Metalista (2012)

Honour to: Sascha Latman

That's it for Part one.
Part two will be up in a day or so. 

 That's all folks. 

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Cheapo DVD Review : Huntress ..Her Name Is Cat (1998)

When a mysterious, beautiful woman intervenes in a  gunfight between Hong Kong police and Triad gangsters, policeman John Cannon suspects that she may be the assassin who's been knocking off mobsters lately.

He begins trailing her, hoping to discover her secrets.

What he doesn't know is that the lethal "Cat" Yin Ying has become interested in his life too.

My expectations were low for "Huntress". To begin with, the cover has gun-toting star Almen Wong in a leather bikini.

As a general rule of thumb, this is producer shorthand for "We know this film is crap, so we hope you'll buy it for the boobs."

Secondly, I never really got on with Category III films. For a while they were the hot property on the video scene:  lot's of sex, lots of violence, lots of gorgeous women and foreign therefore exotic and cool. I tried watching a couple and wasn't impressed. Yes, the fights were pretty cool, but the storylines always seemed to have gaps in narrative and there was some decidedly dodgy shit going on. The one where two women are forced at gunpoint to rape one another with a baseball bat sticks in my mind. I'm pretty certain that's the point where I lost interest.

  I must confess that I came very close to giving up on this particular film during the delightful scene when Cat tells lover Na Chuen she's carrying his child...
And he proceeds to punch her repeatedly in the stomach until blood starts trickling down her leg. He's kissing her while he does it, just to really push home how utterly fucked-up this is.

  Let's quickly change the subject.

Let's talk about the noodles. Lots of noodles.

 Cat has a definite thing about noodles. During the aforementioned opening gunfight Cat casually ignores the lead flying all about her until she's finished her bowl of noodles. She breaks out the noodles at several points during the movie and, in fact, her secret Assassin's lair has several catering sized crates of noodles stacked up alongside the obligatory hardware and personal gym.
 As personal quirks go, it's ...curiously mundane.

  Thing is,  "Huntress..." can't quite work out what it wants to be. Is it a film about an assassin? Is it a film about two people on different sides of the law getting inside each other's heads? Is it a love story?

 The end result tries to be all of the above and while I'm sure there are some film-makers who could pull it off , the result here is somewhat uneven. Some scenes are desperately trying to be cool and fall flat, especially the bit where Cat sticks a handcuffed John in the shower, rips off his trollies and gets a good grope on. I think that was supposed to be erotic. Nope.

  There are things I can wave a positive finger at. The action is decent -  a short, vicious scrap in a burning building being something of a highlight -  and the climactic gun/kung-fu fight might be fun for those of you who fancy a game of "Spot the John Woo ripoff."   Plus Almen Wong (Cat) and Michael Wong (John Cannon) do manage to make their characters sympathetic. Or as sympathetic as the writing will allow, at any rate

How much did this cost: £1.50
Was it worth it: I'm not entirely sure. Some bits were OK but could have been done better. At least one scene made me slightly queasy and the sequence with the gimp, the sprinklers, the coke-snorting mobster and Cat eating ****ing noodles (again) was a bit peculiar and nowhere near as cool as it sounds.
 I kept finding myself zoning out and flipping through a book about Hurricanes instead.  That probably does not constitute a positive opinion, does it?

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Cheapo DVD Review: Loch Ness Terror (2008)

AKA: "Beyond Loch Ness"
Loch Ness 1976.
  A group of Nessie-hunters were unfortunate enough to find her. 12 year old James Murphy was the only survivor.

 Years later, and on the other side of the Atlantic, something begins picking off the inhabitants of a peaceful Lake Superior community.

It turns out that Lake Monsters can emigrate too. 

"Loch Ness Terror" is a better than average Creature-Feature. 

 The effects, both CGI and RubberPuppetamatronic, are nothing to write home about and the story is the usual formula - something 'orrible chows down on anybody daft enough to be out on their own before the good guys track it down for the big finale - but thanks to a decent cast and a bit of effort, "Loch Ness Terror" manages to remain watchable as a movie rather than an exercise in snarking. 

 If you've seen "Lake Placid" and "Piranha 3D" then a lot of this will seem awfully familiar to you. Having said that, if you like your low-budget beasties without too much silliness, "Loch Ness Terror" might be worth a bob or two.

How much did I pay for this?  £1.50 
Was it worth it?    Yes. It even made me jump in a couple of places. 

 And now for some screenshots. Just to make this challenging, I won't post any of the monster or chomped victims. 
Monster movie egg
"Hey fellas. Look at the cool giant egg I found. What do you think laid it?"

Monster movie bloke looks worried
Mommy just arrived to reclaim her egg. 
This man has just realised how utterly screwed he is. 

Audience surrogate Josh chats to the lovely Zoe.
Since this is a movie set in Minnesota, everybody dresses for comfort and warmth.

Josh wonders wistfully what Zoe would be wearing if this film was based in Florida. 

Hey, it's Brian Krause - from TV's "Charmed" - in a really cool hat. 

Brian takes it up a notch with the shades and a small cigar. 
This scene really needed some slide-guitar soloing. 

Four teenagers - including a black guy and and a pretty girl who was only introduced in the last scene - sit around a campfire.
At night.
On a secluded island. 
There's no way this could end badly, is there? 

Here's the trailer.

 That's all folks.  
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