Sunday, 12 August 2018

Portsmouth Naval Museum Pt 4

Hello again. 

To finish up my brief look at the Portsmouth Dockyard Naval Museum hee's a few random pictures i took in the actual museum itself. 

  The Naval Museum is spread across two different buildings, both dating from the 18th Century. Naturally the life of Admiral Nelson and the battle of Trafalgar feature heavily in the first part with subsequent  displays devoted to the Navy experience in the 19th Century through to modern times.  It really is impressive and definitely worth a look if you're in the area.. 

I think it probably says a lot about me that I only chose to snap certain things I thought were "cool".   

 Although the artist was clearly a master craftsman, my immediate reaction to this figurehead was "He's wondering how to cover his junk when he's only got a silk scarf to work with."

Figureheads really need to make a comeback.  

Meanwhile this saucy miss doesn't seem at all bothered by her wardrobe malfunction. 

Snarking aside, the carving and expressions on both of these are delightful.
It's like somebody looked at the Classical statues in the British Museum and thought "I can do that...but much less formal."

Over in the other building I was fascinated by this:

The guide says this is the gun that fired the first Royal Navy shot in WW1 when the destroyer HMS Lance
ran into the Imperial German minelayer Konigin Louise.  
After a brief scrap Lance and her consort HMS Landrall 
put the German ship down, the first of many ships to find a 
cold, lonely home on the seabed over the next five years. 

That's a sophisticated bit of technology considering that the Navy had been using cast-iron muzzle loaders only 50 years before. 

Note how little protection there is for the crew. 
They were more cold-blooded times, I feel. 

A collection of promotional posters.

Finally I took some pics of another model
This is an aircraft carrier from... somepoint in the 1950s I think. 

 Th selection of aircraft is interesting, being a mix of WW2 designs and more recent turboporops with jets yet to make their appearance. 
At the back you have Fireflies and Gannets, with AEW Skyraiders and Wyverns ranged forward and a couple of choppers standing by. 
The carrier itself - and I have no idea which one she is - is practically unchanged from WW2 with a full suite of AA guns 
and before the RN saved a lot of pilot lives by introducing the angled flight deck, among other innovations. 

The best part is, if you press a button underneath the radar starts rotating. 
I happily spent ten minutes at a time studying all the models they had here, and over at the Jutland exhibition. 
Geek that I am, that's my kind of fun day out.  

Anyway, I'll get back to posting metal and underclad women soon. 
I might even get some film reviews up. 

That's all folks. 

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Portsmouth Naval Museum Pt 3

Evening all.

This is the very much delayed third part of my photo record of a trip to Portsmouth Naval Museum. 

In this part I get to visit another of the Dockyard's attractions I've been hankering after for a long, long time. 

HMS M.33, also known later as HMS Minerva, was built as a Monitor during WW1. This was a new class of warship designed to bombard enemy shore positions from the shallows while being cheap and much more expendable than the valuable battleships and cruisers which were needed elsewhere. While some monitors were built to house spare battleship guns that happened to be lying around  M33 and her sisters were much more modest, housing a brace of 6" guns. After service at Gallipolli and during the British intervention in North Russia in the Civil War she was refitted as a minelayer before being hulked at the start of WW2.

After several years of restoration M33 was finally given a  snazzy coat of paint and a new home in a drydock next to HMS Victory. 

Now we're up to speed, time for some photos. Starting with the RN's newest and coolest ship.

 I have to admit that the Queen Elizabeth looks very striking and has the sort of presence that's rare these days. Currently top of my list of things I want to visit one day.  

Interestingly I have a book from the 1970s which talks about the new carriers which the RN was hoping to get - sadly cancelled - and the design has that same two-island layout.

By contrast with the high tech marvel over the way, the little M33 is very much a no-frills kind of ship.


The only thing remotely electronic on this whole ship is the radio

The crew quarters are minimalist as well.

This is where the ordinary matelots lived and slept.
Note that there's stuff all in the way of ventilation.
Now imagine being in this metal box on a scorching hot Turkish night with water in short supply.

This is an officers cabin. 
These days it would be considered unsuitable for a ship's brig.
What you can't really see from these pics is how crudely the whole thing was put together.  
M33 is all bolted plates and sharp corners. A cheap ship, built quickly because it was needed in a hurry. 

Here's the ships galley.
A somewhat restricted diet was on offer, I suspect. 
No wonder the matelots looked forward to their rum tot so much. 

They were a a hardy lot back in them days, weren't they? 

The M33 is well worth a look if you get chance. 
Not only is it the only remaining example of a Monitor and Gallipolli veteran 
but it's a really great example of the sort of small, utilitarian ship that 
served the RN well in both World Wars. 
Stay tuned for part 4. 

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

Portsmouth Naval Museum Pt 2

Hello again. More pictures from my visit to various parts of Portsmouth Dockyard's Naval Museum.

This is the Jutland 1916 exhibition, which was definitely something I wanted to see after everything I've read about the battle. As seems to be common these days, the core of it is an audio-visual presentation  using witness testimony from the battle spread across a series of large screens. It's very well done and is supported by artefacts and models of key ships involved.

 The Jutland Battle Honour plaque. 

There was a really good collection of models, all handmade and nice & big.
I will happily admit to geeking out over them.  

The cruiser HMS Caroline, the only British ship from the battle still in existence. 

I find it a little sad that we couldn't find time, money and space to preserve at least one battleship. 

Back to HMS Caroline and she had one very unusual feature. 
Most of her guns were 4" but there were a brace of 6" guns.
And for some bizarre reason they were mounted on the back. 

Ships' bells from the battlecruisers HMS Tiger and HMS Inflexible.  
British battlecruisers took a beating at Jutland. 3 were lost with almost their entire crews, 
most of whom were dead before they knew what hit them. 

I was impressed by Jutland 1916.
It gives a good overview of the battle and fascinating bits and pieces to look at 
but at the same time, it's made clear that there was a heavy price to pay.   

Or to put it another way, you should always come out of an exhibition like this feeling a little sad.

And that I did. 

Monday, 23 July 2018

Portsmouth Naval Museum. (Pt1)

I've been meaning to visit the naval museum at Portsmouth dockyard for ages and recently I finally got my chance. Sadly I didn't get the opportunity to do all of it but some brisk walking and careful time management gave me a good look around 1. The Jutland exhibition. 2. HMS Minerva and 3. The RN Museum.itself.

Here's some pictures I took plus a video or two. 

It was nice and quiet when I arrived. 

First port of call was to get a few shots of the HMS Warrior

I don't think that white tent thing is original...
Doesn't detract from what a handsome ship she is. 

This is an..RAF launch?..belonging to the boat restoration workshop on the other side of this pier.

The day was glorious which made the sea an uncharacteristically pretty shade of blue.

I rather like this shot. Warrior on one side, the Spinnaker Tower on the other, an old anchor in the middle.
No idea what that smudge is in the centre.  Either the spirits are trying to get my attention or I've scratched my camera lens. 

While I was there I decided to snap some local wildlife.

 This seagull looks like a right grumpy sod, doesn't he? 
There's a look in his eyes and a tilt to his beak giving off a strong aura of "Sod you."

More tomorrow. 

Monday, 16 July 2018

Heavy Metal Cover Girls...On The Road

In case you're wondering what this is all about, on HMCG  I post covers from Metal/Rock albums. The basic idea is to show how different bands and different artists can visit roughly the same theme in different ways, depending on what mood they want to create.
 Or they just wanted something "Awesome and sexy. dude" on the cover of their album. Whatever.

While I've been doing this I've noticed a few interesting things. The first  is that if one band uses a theme, no matter how niche, so will others. That's why I've been able to do entire posts about Blindfolds, Mermaids, Women with Scythes and so on.  More on that in a minute.

 The other is that you can tell a fair bit about the band depending on what their cover girl is doing.  A woman in a ballgown weeping in a fountain just doesn't suit a hair metal band ...although a close up of a woman's thong-wearing butt is a different matter entirely.

  For today's post, the theme is "Girls waiting by the roadside." Or in the middle of the road. Or in close proximity to a road. "Roads" basically.
  It took a while but eventually I ended up with enough covers that used this theme to make a post happen.
What's really interesting is that you have some covers that are very close to each other in idea and execution but the artist still put a different spin on each one.

 I like to think that album covers are a snapshot from an ongoing story.  So what stories are being told here?

 King Company - One For The Road (Finland 2016)

 A country gal with a most alarming bra heading off to make her fortune in the big city. 
She packed so light, she didn't even take a shirt with her. 

Friday, 13 July 2018

The Girl In Blue

I found this rather lovely piece of wall art on Southsea's Osborne Road, decorating the front of the defunct casino. There's a haunting quality to it, I feel, which is in stark contrast to the surreal and playful artwork either side of it.

I hope it stays up for a long time.  I also hope the artist doesn't mind me sharing his work with the wide world.
  You can maybe get a sense of the scale here. 
This would make a perfect movie poster - some sort of dark thriller maybe? 

 As I swung through the Southsea town centre I spotted something else I found interesting.   

Somebody clearly thought this was important enough that they not only spray painted it on a  window but used contrasting colours.  
Now can somebody please tell me what the hell it's all about? 
Why is the onion not in London?
Where is the onion and why is it so important? 
The answer will remain a mystery forevermore. 

That's all folks

Monday, 9 July 2018

Can This Heatwave Just Sod Off Already?

I know there's lots of people enjoying the UK's highly unusual, long spell of dry, sunny weather.

I'm not one of them.  

I'll admit that it was fun at first. After the snow,  the wind and rain, and the grey, drab, soul-witheringly bleak skies of Britain's winter, the sunshine was a blessed relief. 

That was a month and a half ago. Now I'm sat here sweltering and this isn't fun any more. 

Let me take a moment to list all the positives.

1. The sky is a nice shade of blue.
2. When I hang out my laundry it dries really quickly.
That's it. 

"But what about all the wonderful things you could be doing in the sunshine. " I hear some aggravating little twonk say. " What about sitting in the garden with a pint? What about going to the beach? What about going for a walk in the fresh air. Enjoy the summer!"

To which my reply would be "I think you've mistaken me for somebody else. Do I look like I  enjoy being out and about in bright sunshine? FFS, I'm so pale the last time I tried to give blood  the nurse offered me a couple of bags of  O Positive because I clearly needed it.  So fuck off."

You know what I do like?  I like walking to work and not arriving with my t-shirt and gusset soaked in sweat.  I like being able to sleep at night because the air in my bedroom  isn't the temperature of toast.  I like looking out of my window and seeing lovely green grass instead of the scorched straw that's out there right now. I like stepping out of doors without feeling like the sun is out to get me.  I really like being able to get on a bus without spending the entire journey soaking in the delightful scent of other people's armpits and sweaty bollocks.

So yeah. I'm not enjoying the hot weather as much as I might be. 

Make it go away.

Until then I'll be drinking a pint of water every hour and wondering how I can shave off every single hair on my body.

That's all folks. 

Sunday, 1 July 2018

The Metal Project: Happy Canada Day

Metal songs about metal

Evening all. 

 I've just found out that today is Canada Day so I thought "Why not share some Canadian music with you all. "

That's why today's edition of The Metal Project is devoted to bands from the Great White North.  Enjoy. 

Razor - Heavy Metal Attack (Demo 1984)


Mistwalker - True Newfoundland Black Metal  (2015)

Honour to: HeavyNFLD

Punky Brewster (Devin Townshend) - Metal Dilemma (1996)

Honour to:  NihilSubsole

Villainizer - God Of The Sea...Metal Tsunami (2012)

D.O.H - Metal Academy (2009)

 Honour to: D.O.H Music

Riotor - Fucking Metal (Demo 2008)

Honour to: Bruno Terrosa

A big thank you to our Canadian cousins for all the cool music over the years.

Happy Canada Day. 

Bonne FĂȘte Du Canada

Please visit the channels I linked above and give them some love and support.

That's all folks.   

Sunday, 24 June 2018

Film Review: Bigfoot's Wild Weekend (2012)

Genre: Creature Feature

A cub reporter for a sleazy tabloid is sent to the boondocks to get a story on Bigfoot. 
 While Bigfoot lurks about the woods looking for beer and nubile women, dozy rednecks hunt for him and random women provide blatant fanservice. 

  Low-budget films like to establish their tone as early as possible. In this case a brace of nubile women get topless in a river and invite a beer-swigging Bigfoot to join them. Tone established. 

 What we have here is very low budget movie making using the good old fashioned rubber suit method, no name actors - most of whom will consider this the high point of their career before they go back to local supermarket adverts -and a definite indication that the whole thing was filmed over a weekend. 
 I can't say I was really that impressed. There's some OK bits but the whole thing never really came together for me. It looked and felt like a bunch of scenes strung together on the flimsiest frame imaginable and wasn't particularly funny, either in its own right or as bad-movie cheesefest. 
I also found it telling that they seem to have put more effort into filming the bikini dance contest scene than...pretty much everything else, including the climax.  Tone confirmed. 

You might like it.  I can't honestly say that I did. 

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Book Review: Bikini Planet by David Garnett (2000)

Genre: Sci-Fi/ Humour. 

Bikini Planet book review
Las Vegas 1978: Police officer Wayne Norton stumbles into a group of  Mafiosi having a bit of a dispute and is cudgelled acros the back of the head.  

300 Years later: Norton wakes up from a cryogenic sleep to find him,self in a very, very different world. Before he has time to work out what the hell is going on, he's dragooned into the GalacticCop police force and sent on a crucial mission. 
Except nobody seems to want to tell him what the mission is. Or anything at all. That can't be good. 

I liked the title of this book. I liked the cover of this book. However I am sadly unable to say I liked the book itself.  

It starts off decently enough, with Wayne being introduced and then sent for his overlong nap. But once he arrives in the Future it all got a bit too much for me. 
  A lot of the humour relies on rapid-fire, maximum confusion dialogue and that didn't really do anything for me but get me um...confused.   The fact that most of the characters change their names the way most people change socks doesn't help.  There's also the slight problem that most of the characters are a little thin so even the ones we're supposed to care about just sort of wander past without registering. 
 There's nothing wrong with the writing and there are some nice ideas but the execution left me cold. And confused.  

 I suppose I could also take exception to the fact that the titular Bikini planet only shows up right at the end and isn't remotely what you'd expect. 

A book called "Bikini Planet" ought to have been more fun than this. 

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Film Review: Monster From Bikini Beach (2008)

Genre: Creature Feature. 

While a corrupt cop tries to track down a massive haul, a strange creature is devouring women in bikinis.  But will either of these things interfere with the big Go-Go-Dancing Contest? 

Monday, 28 May 2018

Film review: PMS Cop.

Genre: MenstruationPloitation. 

  After using excessive force on a perp, a policewoman with anger issues is recruited for a revolutionary new drug that hopes to ease the emotional toll of PMS once and for all. 

  Things go wrong. Badly wrong. 

Going by the title I was expecting something over the top in a Troma/Asylum sort of way and the opening moments where heroine Mary chases down and batters a marauding clown were fun. The events that cause Mary to snap are also neatly handled.

But once Mary is snatched by evil Pharmaceutical company BFD things go off the rails a bit.  The problem I had is that after Mary transforms into "PMS Cop" the whole thing is played straight, and unfortunately  it's way too flat. She escapes, kills a buncha people and the BFD high-ups watch and argue. 

  The titular PMS Cop, with her cap, mirror shades and scowl, is a striking,  bloodspattered figure who's basically The Terminator in short shorts so it would have been nice if she was in a better film.  As it is, there's very little tension and the direction robs her killing spree of any excitement. 

Nice idea; execution fatally flawed

Not recommended 

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Heavy Metal Cover Girls...Invite You In

A while back I did an HMCG post where the theme was "women holding out their hand to offer something."

There was more of them than you'd expect.

Anyway, I sorta promised that I'd do a second post looking at a slight variation of the theme and here it is.

What I'm looking at today is cover Girls who are holding out their hand in offering but this time, what they're asking is this "Take my hand. Come with me. Maybe I'll take you to paradise. Maybe I'll eat your spleen."

 Edge Of Paradise - Immortal Waltz (USA 2015)

 I know there are people who might jump at the chance of ballroom dancing for eternity but I'm not one of them. So I'm just gonna go, OK?

Manticora - The Black Circus pt 1. Letters (Denmark 2006) 

Is that clown in the doorway? Oh hell no. I don't care if this is just a regular circus and not a Ray-Bradbury-creepy-fucking-nightmare-hellshow. Still not going in.

SkyLark - Divine Gates Pt V Chapter 1. (Italy 2013)

 Probably the least sinister cover on this page. 
I like to think she's inviting a weary traveller to a picnic with squash and nice sandwiches. 

MactÀtus- The Complex Bewitchment (Norway 2000)

..And we're back to scary ladies again. 
Especially those eyebrows.

Helltown - Lead To Hell (Brazil 2006)

The very definition of mixed messages. 
One the one hand, sexy blonde metal chick who has a phobia of bras..
On the other hand, every single other thing on this cover..

Graveshadow -Ambition's Price (USA 2018)

metal album coves withces
"Knife? What knife? 
You mean this knife?
I'm ...making a Goulash. 
Wanna try some.
Just step in range..shit---I mean closer."

That's all folks. 

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Film Review: Three Headed Monster (1988)

Genre: Chinese Fantasy

Picture courtesy of
  A group of mutant monks are hunting the elusive Thousand Year Ginseng King - basically a giant, walking, talking Ginseng root  - and in the process accidentally create a Nazi Zombie.  When the zombie bites a young boy's mother, he must travel far, far away to the land of the Three Headed Demon King and rescue the Ginseng King because otherwise his mother is going to become either dead or a zombie and neither of these are good. 

 When I woke up this morning I wasn't expecting to have any use for the phrase "Nazi Zombie" and truth be told  I didn't know a Magic Ginseng Man might even be a thing.  Yet here we are: both of them in the same film. 

 Three Headed Giant is creatively bonkers in a good way.   This was made long before the concept of deliberately bad movies took ironic hold so the writers genuinely thought that a Nazi Zombie was the perfect addition to an otherwise traditional Chinese fantasy movie. 

 I suspect this was a family movie - sort of a Neverending Story for good Confucian children. The juvenile protagonist, the frequent references to filial worthiness and the decidedly low-budget SFX all point in that direction.  The production team used a lot of paper-mache and foam rubber to create the sets and the monsters and then glued whatever was left over to the bad guys faces. Sophisticated it isn't.

Bu then you have the scene where a Nazi Zombie goes on the rampage and you also have the lovely Cynthia Khan showing off her kung-fu and her pins in a leopardskin minidress so I wonder if the kiddies were asking awkward questions after that. 

If you like your old-school low-budget Asian fantasy, or you just want to see if the 3-headed monster looks as cool as he does on the poster (spoiler: no he doesn't) then you might want to give this a go.

Personally I thought it was very daft but also very entertaining.  Not what I was expecting to do today but life is better when you have a few surprises. 

Screenshot time.

 This makes sense in context. Honest.

So does this. 

 Cynthia Khan is a proper martial arts star so I think she did this film as a favour. 

"Have yer spear back, you putty-faced wankers."

 Ooohh! Right in the ding-ding. 
No wonder the other guy is wincing too. 

That's all folks. 

Friday, 18 May 2018

The Eurovision Metal Contest 2018 Heat 3

Metal songs about metal, the metal project.

This is the somewhat delayed third and final part of this year's Eurovision Metal Contest.  Enjoy. 

Iron Slaught - High Grade Metal (2014)

Honour to: Head Gang

Insulters - Metal Still Means Danger (2016)

Honour to: Insulters official

Hungry Wolf - Metal Bitch (2015)

Honour to: Shinjuku Mad

Axewielder-Metalhorned Stallions (2017)

Honour to: Thor Korr

And that's it for another year.

See ya soon. 
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