Wednesday 30 November 2016


Tomorrow's the first day of December and the
CHRISTMAS Season really begins in earnest.  So,
as you'll all no doubt be counting down the minutes
until SANTA's arrival, here's a cracking little JIM
REEVES Yuletide number to set the mood.

Tuesday 29 November 2016


Tell you what, Crivvies - TIA CARRERE may
be a 'looker', but she's not much of a dancer, is she?
My parrot can dance better than that - and I don't
 even have a parrot!  (????????????????)


Image copyright DC COMICS

Above is the cover to a comic which reminds me of three other comics at the same time.  "How is such a feat of mighty memory-mastery possible?" you may be asking.  So, let us now, by the power of our imaginations, return to October 7th 1972 and the Old Village quarter of my hometown, where I, resplendent in my brother's cast-off cord jacket - slightly too big for me and worn for the first time that Saturday morning - was attending a jumble sale held in aid of the 8th Scout Troop in the 'old hall' in the grounds of the Old Parish Church.

This and subsequent images copyright MARVEL COMICS

I'd previously purchased The MIGHTY WORLD Of MARVEL #2 earlier that morning, and, later, SUPERMAN #251 en route to the village.  Now, in the kind of hall that spoke of a long-vanished age - anything from the '20s to the '50s - I was to add MARVEL SUPER-HEROES #1 and TERRIFIC #1 to my awesome acquisitions.  The previous owner seemed to have used the issue of MSH as a dartboard at some point, but it was still readable, and I think it was the first time I'd owned a complete copy of that particular Terrific, a U.K. weekly launched five years earlier which had graced the shelves for a mere 43 issues.

Looking for a place to pore over my comics as I left the jumble sale, I wandered around to the back of an adjacent, nigh-derelict building (a dentist worked from a room or two on the upper floor) which adjoined the local, centuries old public house next to the church (and overlooked the graveyard).  It was an inquisitive boy's delight, and a week or so later, under the dark velvet canvas of the star-kissed heavens, yours truly and a friend were crawling across the roof of the pub, and even using the exterior, cast-iron fire-escape staircase to gain access to the back 'courtyard' below.  This location became the source of surreptitious exploration every so often over a period of two or three years and holds many happy memories for me.

So, I can't look at any one cover without also thinking of the other three - or of that jumble sale, my cord jacket, and an old pub next to the final resting place of long-gone local 'worthies', who had doubtless quaffed many a flagon of ale centuries before in the very building over whose slates two teenage boys daringly defied death in the airy Autumn moonlight.


The building at the back of the pub

Interestingly, I occasionally visit the upstairs lounge bar for a soft drink and a bag of crisps, and have done for many a year now.  It's an odd sensation to think, while sitting there, that I'm under the very roof I once crawled over as a 14-year-old lad so very long ago. I sometimes wonder if any modern-day counterparts of me and my pals have ever retraced our footsteps (and handprints) in the years since we first braved the slates, but it's unlikely.  The building at the back of the pub is now residential and access to the roof can no longer be obtained through its grounds.


 For an earlier mention of my rooftop adventures, click here.

Monday 28 November 2016


Continuing the theme of the previous two posts, here's another earlier one which might add some clarity to the topic.  (Then again, it might not - so no promises.)


Returning to an oft-repeated theme on this blog which I've probably battered to death - that of memories and associations.  Take the above EP record as an example. ("Don't want it!" you contemptuously reply.)  I got it at an Autumn or Christmas Fayre in 1981/'82, held by the church at the top of the street and across the road from the house I'd lived in from 1965-'72.  Note that I said by and not in.  That's because the fayre (let's call a spade a spade - jumble sale) was held in my old primary school at the foot of the street, primarily (no pun intended) because it had more space to accommodate the aspirations of the event's organisers.

So, to hopefully helpfully reiterate:  I obtained the record while living in my current home, from my old primary school in the same street as my former house.  That would explain why, whenever I look at it, I associate it with the area where I acquired it, but - so strong is the link, that I also associate it with my old room and can actually 'see' it there in my mind's eye as plain as day, in some kind of 'false memory'.  Weird, eh?

"Ah, that's easy to explain!" you proclaim.  "You associate the record with your old school and you associate your old school with your old house, so it's only natural that you'd connect the record to the house, too!"  And doubtless you're right. However, it's still an odd feeling to have what appears to be a memory of something that was never actually so.  Anyone have any similar instances they'd care to share?

Go on - we won't laugh.  Promise.


On the same theme as the previous post, here's an earlier one which perhaps better conveys what I was trying to say.  As always, comments welcome.


One tends to think of memory's magical kingdom as having fixed boundaries.  Only shadows of the past are allowed residence and interlopers are strictly forbidden.  However, the sentries can be fooled and intruders may sometimes sneak in under the cloak of familiarity if they bear a close enough resemblance to a recognised inhabitant.

"Okay, Gordie, you've lost the plot.  What are you blathering on about now?" you may well be thinking.  Simply this.  If you're around the same age as me, you may well remember the CAPTAIN SCARLET merchandise that was available back in the 1960s, particularly the DINKY diecast vehicles like the SPVMSV, and SPC.  (Though nowadays it's usually referred to as the SSC.  Perhaps it was only Dinky who called it an SPC?)

I had all of them - and still retain the set I acquired many years ago as replacements for my originals.  I've had them for far longer than I ever owned their predecessors, although it doesn't actually feel like it.  It's almost as if there's never been a period in my life when I was without them, and that the ones I have today are the very ones I had as a kid; hidden in a cupboard somewhere for all those years until I rediscovered them after a long period of neglect.  That's not the case of course, it just seems that way.

However, there are other ways to fool the mind, and here's what I hope is an interesting example of just such an instance.  Back in the very early '90s, THUNDERBIRDS enjoyed a huge resurgence in popularity when the BBC broadcast all 32 episodes on network TV for the very first time.  Previously, back in the '60s (and with most subsequent repeats), they were shown in various TV regions on different days and times.  Amazingly, the '90s screenings were a huge success, spawning a level of merchandise to rival that which was available during the show's heyday. 

The BBC tried again with STINGRAY and CAPTAIN SCARLET, but met with a more muted response from viewers.  However, having anticipated the same kind of enthusiastic reaction that INTERNATIONAL RESCUE had enjoyed, toy manufacturers launched all sorts of items to tie-in with the expected demand for all things GERRY ANDERSON.

Such an item was the SPV 'play set' by VIVID IMAGINATIONS, pictured in this post.  Now, here's the thing: I obviously bought this as a collector's piece, not to play with - and I purchased it while living in my present abode, with where one would naturally assume I would associate it.  But no, whenever I cast eyes on it, I seem to see myself, as a kid, sitting on the doorstep in the back garden of my old house, playing with this exact same vehicle - even though this specific toy didn't exist at the time and wasn't made until around a quarter of a century later.

So vivid is the image that it does indeed seem like an actual memory - as opposed to what is obviously merely my imagination (see what I did there?), facilitated by the fact that I associate the familiar design of the vehicle with a particular period from my past.  In short, it's a perfect fit - and seems more at home in my memories of 1968 than of when I actually obtained it.

Funny how the mind can play such tricks, isn't it?  I believe it's called 'false memory syndrome', which is perhaps where 'Deja vu'-type feelings spring from.  Anyone got any similar experiences they'd care to share?  Feel free to let loose in the comments section.


As someone who's all too aware of the seeming immutability of memory and association, I'm often surprised when I experience instances that fly in the face of the principle.  What do I mean?  Well, if I got an item in, say, the '60s, I'm usually always reminded of the period and place in which I lived when I purchased it whenever I look at the thing, be it comic or toy.

But, sometimes, there are exceptions.  A case in point is this set of WADE porcelain figures, which I've shown on the blog before.  The YOGI BEAR figure was bought in 1970 or '71 and, naturally enough, I associate it in memory with where I was then living, which was the previous house to the one I now reside in.

Around 40 years passed before I decided to track down and acquire the remaining two HANNA-BARBERA figures in the set, HUCKLEBERRY HOUND and Mr. JINKS.  Having bought them only in relatively recent years, you'd think I'd asso-ciate them with now, rather than the '70s, but surprisingly, such is not the case.

When I look at Huck and Jinks, I can't help but 'see' them in my old room of my former house, sitting alongside Yogi as if I owned all three pieces back then.  They fit so well into that period that it's hard to separate them from it, and link them to the contemporary times in which they were purchased.

Another of life's little mysteries which I thought I'd share with you all here.  After all, why should I be the only person who has to ponder such perplexities?  Now you can all wrestle with it - and if you feel like commenting on the matter, be my guest. 

Sunday 27 November 2016


The DALEKS copyright BBC TV and the Estate of TERRY NATION

Most people who bought TV CENTURY 21 in 1965 will recall the back page DALEKS strip and, in particular, the golden globe-headed Emperor and the hoverbouts.  However, that's not where they first appeared!  The Emperor and the Daleks' mode of sky transportation made their debut in the 1964 (for '65) DALEK BOOK, today a rare collectors' item.  So, for all you panting Criv-ites, I now present the first-ever comic strip to feature the metal-clad scions of SKARO, as illustrated by RICHARD JENNINGS.  Enjoy!

Saturday 26 November 2016


Sultry DANA GILLESPIE has long legs,
sure enough.  However, her right leg looks a bit
like a left leg to me - which probably means she
can't dance 'cos she has two left feet.

Friday 25 November 2016


Look at the LONE STAR (I think) MAN From U.N.C.L.E. attache case I had as a kid, given to me by a paternal aunt and uncle for Christmas in the late '60s.  There were at least a couple of versions, of which this one was the cheapest as the case was only cardboard.  Not that I cared one whit about that, 'cos, to me, it was brilliant.
The case and contents eventually faded into the limbo that claims most childhood toys, but I still possess one of the bullets from the gun.  At least, it's a bullet I associate with the gun, which, in my memory, didn't fire caps as one would expect, but actual plastic bullets.  Perhaps my recollection is confused, not that it matters much, as whenever I look at that bullet, the above case is what comes to mind.

Ah, happy days.  What fun it was to be an agent of U.N.C.L.E. back in the '60s.  Do kids today have anything similar to such a great toy, or is it all computer games, mobiles, and iPads they go for now?

Their loss.


Images copyright DC COMICS

Let's now travel back in time and space to a dark winter's eve in Glasgow in 1967 or '68.  The precise location is under a bridge (now gone) in Stockwell Street, where I'm gazing through a shop window at the cover of a BATMAN colouring book (above) which was simply crying out to be mine.  The shop was shut, so my mother promised to buy the book at a later date for my fast-approaching birthday.  And she did, though I've no idea whether she purchased it from another source or had to return to that particular shop to obtain it.

I recall once taking it to school and colouring various bits in during the break, and letting ROSS CAMPBELL colour-in one of the pages in return for allowing me to do the same in his different Batman colouring book.  His book may well have been the other one featured here - but then again, may well not have been - so don't go betting your house on it.  You wouldn't want to have to live in a cave, would you?  (Unless it was the BATCAVE of course.)

Ah, many happy hours of innocent fun, to be had from the mere application of some coloured pencils or wax crayons - why aren't kids today so easily pleased?

Wednesday 23 November 2016


Okay, JANE... I can take a hint.  I'll give you some money for
new clothes.  After all, we can't have you gadding about in your
underwear.  (H'mm, though now that I think about it...)

Tuesday 22 November 2016



While my computer's in for repair (I'm using someone's spare one at the moment) I'm rather limited in my choice of images for use on the blog, but I figure you can stand a little repetition for a couple or so days 'til things are back to normal.  So until then, here are the front and back covers of the first two BATMAN! World Adventure Libraries from the swinging '60s.  Bring back any memories at all?


As it's getting near to Christmas, here's a nice relaxing
Yuletide-themed song to start the ball rolling.  This'll take you
back to your old school hall when you and all your classmates
sang such yuletide hymns at Christmas.

Monday 21 November 2016


Brrrrrrr!  It's freezing today, so here's
a pic of ravishing RAQUEL WELCH to warm
the cockles of your heart.  Any other body parts
affected are purely a pleasant bonus.  Aren't I
good to you, Crivvies?  (O yes I am!)

Saturday 19 November 2016


Images copyright MARVEL COMICS

Not long now 'til Christmas, so if you're looking for an idea for a prezzie for a loved one (in my case that's me), you could always buy this zing-zang-zowie AVENGERS EPIC COLLECTION Volume Two.  Who cares if your girlfriend or wife doesn't read comics - it kills two birds with the one stone by fulfilling your spousal duty to give a gift, while at the same time providing you with something to read.  Result!  So rush around to your local comicbook store and buy your very own copy today.  (No reading it 'til Christmas Day mind - when she flings it back at you 'cos it isn't chocolates or jewellery.)

Friday 18 November 2016


Images copyright D.C. THOMSON & Co., Ltd

By all rights I shouldn't have bought WARLORD.  I wasn't into war stories, and it must purely have been the fact that it was a new comic I could collect from number one which appealed to me, rather than the theme of the comic itself.  (It was the same with football: I was never into it, yet I bought SHOOT, SCORCHER, and SCORE when they first came out as well.)  Launched in September 1974, it survived until 1986, and inspired IPC to publish their own version, called BATTLE PICTURE WEEKLY.

Warlord was first though, so for all of you who bought it at the time, here's a little pictorial reminder of the debut ish to whisk you back to the days of your childhood faster than you can say "Hey, where did my life go?"  Feel free to share any reminiscences in our ever-lovin' comments section.  After all, it's what it's there for.

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