Friday 31 January 2020


Here's what I consider an interesting thought which occurred to me while re-reading the post about my Casio calculator.  I posited a similar scenario a while back, but this one's slightly different, though worthy of contemplation.  Ready?  What if scientists could transfer someone's life-force into someone else?  For example, someone has just died, but their body is kept alive on life-support, and someone else is physically injured to such an extent that their days are numbered.  Got that?

So here's the scenario.  Let's say it's the love of your life who's just died, but their body is kept functioning, though it can only be for a short while.  Another person has been terribly injured and is about to die, but the 'energy' within them is strong.  If it were suggested to you that the second person's life-force could be transferred into the body of your beloved (by some kind of advanced, life-essence transferral technology), would you be up for it?

They'd have the same personality and everything, it'd just be like they'd been given a new power-pack.  Would it bother you that another 'source of energy' now inhabited them and kept them going, or is it a price you'd be willing to pay for your loved one's continuance?  Or wouldn't you countenance such a proposition even for a second?

And if certain personality aspects of the deceased person occasionally seemed to manifest themselves, would you regard it as coincidence, or fear that the life-force's original owner was trying to reassert themselves?

If you can get your head around the concept (emotionally-speaking), feel free to share your thoughts on the matter.    


If there's one thing (actually there's more than one, but I'll save the others for a rainy day) that bugs me about eBay, it's when sellers describe an item as being in 'excellent condition for age', as if that's in any way helpful.  Surely 'excellent condition' should be an objective definition regardless of age, especially when it comes to comics or books?  It shouldn't matter whether the object was made in 1940 or 1980, 'excellent condition' should be the same in either case.

I've just noticed it's raining, so here's one of the other things that annoys me.  I recently saw a book being described as 'mint condition'.  However, the seller then added something like 'except for some writing inside, a small tear on a page, and a scuff on the back cover'.  Pillock!  Then it's not 'mint condition, is it?  Where the hell do these people come from?  It's like saying someone is incredibly handsome, except for a big wart on their nose, no teeth, and there being a 6 inch gap between their eyes - which have a bit of a squint.

Anything about eBay sellers that particularly annoys you, fellow Crivs?  Feel free to rend your soul about it in the comments section.  What's that?  Why the pic of CLAUDIA?  Well, I couldn't think of anything else to illustrate the post with, so you'll just have to be satisfied with her, I'm afraid.  No hardship, eh?  After all, she's in excellent condition (for her age).


Back in the '70s, various IPC comic weeklies were giving away sets of football cards for a few weeks, designed to be slotted into 'My Favourite Soccer Stars' booklets presented free at the start of the promotion.  (Each comic had its own booklet into which its own set of cards were to be inserted.)  The GORDON BANKS card was the only one I kept, due mainly to him having the same first name as me.  (Vanity, thy name is Robson.)

Of course, I never kept it for long and couldn't tell you what happened to it, but around 6 years ago, I bought a replacement on eBay.  I put it inside a book for safe keeping, but not only do I not remember where I put the book, I've now forgotten which book it actually was.  Anyway, I don't like not knowing where things are, so I bought a replacement for the first replacement, which I've stored inside my LION & THUNDER Favourite Soccer Stars booklet, kept amongst my back issues of the aforementioned comic.

However, being a lazy person, I couldn't be bothered scanning the card to show here, so I've used scans I made earlier from the first replacement.  Betcha you'd never be able to tell the difference!


Want to know something?  (Nah, don't bother answering, I'll pretend you do.)  I get attached to things - just can't help myself.  I'll find myself looking at something and suddenly remember that I've had it for 'x' number of years, and then my memory will return to where and when I acquired it, and I'll realise that I wouldn't want to be without it and am glad it's there.  I bet it's sometimes the same for you too, though perhaps not to the degree it is with me, which is off-the-scale.

However, before I go on, let's take a slight detour back to 2013 when I first published the following post, then I'll return to the here and now.  Go on, indulge me.  And besides, if you had anything better to do, you'd be doing it, so bite the bullet and cast your eyes below.



Take a look at the above SHARP Scientific calculator, bought from W.H. SMITH's (or was it WOOLWORTH's?) in Portsmouth Shopping Centre (or was it Southsea?) in February or March of 1985.  (The ol' memory is beginning to fail me, I'm afraid. Let's just go with my first impressions - there must be some good reason why they were at the front of the queue.) Amazingly, the original batteries lasted for about 23 years before needing to be replaced, which surely must be some kind of a record. (Much like the 12 inch black plastic disc with a hole in the middle up in my attic.)

I've addressed this subject before, but it always amazes me how having a tangible reminder from a particular point in time brings home one's recollections of the period in much sharper focus than would otherwise be the case.  Memories somehow seem dimmer and more distant without a physical manifestation to accompany them.  When I look at the above calculator, it's almost as if I'm back in my bedsit room in Fratton, using my newly-acquired SHARP EL-508A to add up my weekly earnings from my freelance work for IPC MAGAZINES in London.

Just think - I've now had that calculator for more than half my life, although sometimes, when I'm lost in dreams of days gone by, it seems as if it's still a fairly recent acquisition.  Then it's as if someone's suddenly hit the fast-forward button, and the movie-clip playing in my head of that particular time accelerates to the present day - making me realize, with a start, just how much water has gone under the bridge since those days back in the mid-'80s actually took place.

I'll bet the following has happened to you.  You've sat down to watch a movie on TV which you remember seeing being reviewed a couple or so years back when it was doing the rounds in cinemas.  "Wanted to see that at the time," thinks you, "so I'll watch it now!"  After it finishes, you see the copyright date in the credits and nearly fall off your chair.  "1995?  No way!  It only came out about 2 or 3 years ago!"  Go on, admit it - it's happened a few times I'll bet.  And you know you're getting older the more often it occurs because, as we all know, time seems to pass much faster the older we get.

Anyway, now that I've suitably depressed you with thoughts of how brief life is, wouldn't it be great if you could punch in a figure on a calculator, hit the subtract button, and somehow suddenly find yourself magically younger by that very number of years?  Why aren't scientists working on such a device as I type this fanciful nonsense?  If they're not, they should be.  I'd be first in the queue to buy one.


Go on, be honest - it's not a bad little post, is it?  I managed to make it at least vaguely interesting, which is no mean feat when you consider how inconsequential the subject matter is.  However, that's not the point of my present ponderings.  No, what I wanted to say is that, a few years back, I had to pack all my stuff away (took months) and store it in the loft in order to enable workmen to put in new radiators and pipes.  They required unrestricted access, which they wouldn't have had if I hadn't cleared all the rooms in my house of what was, essentially, mere frivolous ornamentation.  The calculator was wrapped up along with everything else, placed in one of numerous boxes, then stored in the attic until all the work was completed.

And most of it stayed up there for months.  When I brought some of it down and unpacked it, I discovered that the calculator's digital display screen was no longer working properly.  Perhaps something else in the box had been pressing on the pads, b*ggering it up, or perhaps it was the less-than-ideal climactic conditions, but whatever, it just wasn't calculating.  And so it remained for - what, 4 or 5 years? - until I decided to do something about it.  I'd taken the batteries out to prevent leakage, but it bothered me that something I'd owned for so long was no longer operational.

Of course, I could've just left it and accepted that its span had ended, and contented myself with the fact that, though lifeless, its continued presence was still capable of maintaining my memories of the time it represented.  That wasn't enough for me though - I wanted to see it resuscitated to its former fully-functioning glory.  So earlier this week I bought another, worn-but-working model of the same calculator from eBay, with the express purpose of doing some transplant surgery.  I could've bought one in better cosmetic condition, but I was reluctant to sacrifice an almost pristine item in pursuit of repairing one which displayed signs of age, as that was akin to cutting up a new jacket to repair an old one.  I therefore bought one that, visually, looked worse than the one I already had.  (Best of all, it was inexpensive.)

I only used what was necessary to repair my own calculator, wanting to preserve as much of it as I could, otherwise there wouldn't be much point in going through with the process.  It bothered me slightly that some of the 'internals' would no longer be the actual components the calculator had started out with, but I consoled myself with the thought that the sacrifice was necessary if I wanted it to once again fulfil the function for which it was intended.  And besides, the 'new' parts were clones, created at the same time and in the same place as the original elements, so I suppose it really isn't any different to replacing the batteries.

Anyway, my calculator is now restored to full working order and I'm a happy chappie.  I press the buttons, and the numbers appear on the screen as in days of old.  It now means that - oh, wait a second while I see what this fellow with the concerned look wants.  "What's that you say, doctor? It's time to come with you now?  Who are these two men in white coats and what's that strange-looking jacket for?  Yes, of course I'll come quietly, but I don't really understand what's going on.  What have I done?  I only fixed a calculator, what's so wrong with that?"

H'mm, I'd better attend to this, Crivs.  Hopefully I'll have things sorted out before the next post.         

Thursday 30 January 2020


A woman I know who often has her nephew in tow often refers to him as "a right little monkey".  There's no insult intended, and when I run into her on her own, I'll ask her where the 'little monkey' is today.  It's a term of affection on the aunt's part, and a sign of ignorance on mine because I don't know the kid's name, and if she's ever told me, I've forgotten.  I've heard lots of parents refer to their children in the same way, probably because monkeys (especially baby chimpanzees) are cute and elicit a warm response.  Incidentally, did you know that if you shave an ape, its skin is white?  (I use the word white in the same way as I would if I were describing myself, which really means 'pink' I suppose.)

Anyway, given the recent news that broadcaster ALASTAIR STEWART has 'resigned' after quoting SHAKESPEARE in what was obviously not intended in a racist way, it made me wonder if anyone would be in trouble for referring to a black toddler as 'a little monkey' in exactly the same sort of innocent way as they would a white one.  Is the onus on us to be aware of every instance in which we might inadvertently cause offence by the use of a particular word or phrase, or is it on those who are prepared to take offence at the drop of a hat to view things in their proper context and not see everything as an insult directed exclusively at them?  Is a black man entitled to feel automatically offended at the use of the word 'ape', when organic evolutionists regard the whole of humanity (regardless of colour) as being descended from apes?  

What are your views on the matter, Crivs?  Have things now got out of hand when it comes to what we can and cannot say?  Do you think Alastair Stewart was right to resign, or did he get the sh*tty end of the stick in this instance?  The comment section awaits - if you dare.


No takers so far.  Is this an indication that people are wary about commenting on controversial issues for fear of being branded racist or bigoted, or are all my regular readers far too busy out enjoying themselves to comment?  I await with interest.

Wednesday 29 January 2020


The curvaceous CAROLINE MUNRO graces
our babe spot today, Crivs, so try not to get too excited
in the face of such ravishing beauty.  After all, she only
has eyes for me!  (Why's everyone laughing?)

Incidentally, this is (technically) Crivens' 5,000th post.  I say 'technically', 'cos over the years, I've returned 30 of them to my 'draft' file (like my 14 chapter story, The JANUS DILEMMA), so only 4,970 are currently available to read.  But hey - 5,000 posts!  Didn't I do well?!

Tuesday 28 January 2020



Copyright MARVEL COMICS.  Published by PANINI

More Mighty Marvel action than you can shake a stick at!  Earth is invaded by the armies of the Norse realms, but the Avengers have unexpected allies: The Squadron Supreme of America!  By Jason Aaron & Ed McGuinness!

Also: FREE AVENGERS POSTER!  Now you can cover that damp patch on your wall without having to redecorate the whole room.  No, don't thank us, it's what we're here for.

Featuring material first printed in Avengers #18-19.

On sale Now!



76 pages of Marvel’s toughest heroes!  Three great stories!  ‘The Long Night’ reaches an explosive finale as the dark truth behind the Alaskan murders is revealed! By Benjamin Percy & Marico Takara!

Plus: Gabby and her new 'sister' race into action – but will they be in time to save X-23?  By Mariko Tamaki & Diego Olortegui!

Also: ‘Night of the Living Deadpool’ reaches a bone-chilling climax!  By Cullen Bunn & Ramon Rosanas!

Featuring material first printed in Wolverine: The Long Night #5, X-23 #9-10, and Night of the Living Deadpool #4.

On sale Now!



Here's a photograph I 'borrowed' from eBay, simply because I'd have killed for a THUNDERBIRDS outfit like this when I was a kid.  Only thing that lets him down is his gun, which looks like a LONE STAR cowboy pistol, instead of the official INTERNATIONAL RESCUE sidearm that the TRACY brothers were issued with. I've got the hat and water pistol version of the gun from the '60s, all I need now is the rest of the cozzie.  (Adult size, of course.)

Going from the house seen across the road, the photo looks as if it could've been taken in a new development (well, it was new in the '60s) on the other side of a field at the bottom of the street from where I lived at the time.  (I'm not suggesting it was, merely that there's a similarity.)  It would be great if the adult version of the kid in the pic got to see this and left a comment - or even someone who knows him.

Did any of you have a Thunderbirds outfit, Crivs, and what are your memories of gadding about as one of the Tracys back in the swinging '60s?  And below, just for you, are the replacements for my original hat and gun, which I've had for far longer than their predecessors.  It would be great if I could acquire a life-size TB2 to go with them, but I suppose that's too much to hope for.

Talking of GERRY ANDERSON outfits, a girl who once lived next door to me (in a previous house) in 1965 told me one day that her mother was making a STEVE ZODIAC outfit for me - and I believed her.  Turned out it was merely a product of her imagination, as I found to my great disappointment when, after about a week, I chapped their front door and asked the mother how it was coming along.  Of course, she hadn't a clue what I was on about, much to my embarrassment.  Bah!  Females - never trusted one since!  (Sexist?  Never!)

Sunday 26 January 2020


Copyright relevant owner

Okay, who remembers the MARVEL UK weekly comic The ORIGINAL X-MEN from back in the early '80s?  If you're a longterm reader, you should at least be familiar with it, as I did a cover gallery of the title on the blog only a few short years ago.  Back then (in the '80s I mean), most British Marvel comics usually contained half-page strips by TIM QUINN & DICKY HOWETT, which were invariably hilarious (I thought) and added something extra to what were mainly reprint comics.

Anyway, I was poring through some back issues of The Original X-Men earlier and re-reading some of the Quinn & Howett lunacy, and thought I'd share a couple of them here.  Hope you enjoy them, and I'd say it's well-past time PANINI (if they own the copyright and haven't done so already) considered colouring the strips by the pair and releasing them in a nice Special Collected Edition.  What say you all?


Copyright relevant owner

Just over 6 years ago, I decided to feature the late DENIS GIFFORD's 4-issue monthly ALLY SLOPER magazine, but I've just noticed that it seems I only ever showcased the first 3.  So back into the cupboard for me it was, to dig out #4, acquired way back in 1976/'77 when the title was new.  There was a 5th issue intended, but low sales meant the title was cancelled before #5 ever saw print.  Given how long a mag is prepared in advance, it's likely that the 5th ish was completed even if it was never published, so it would be nice if the contents were to turn up somewhere and finally see print 40-plus years after the fact.

Anyway, enjoy a peek at some of the pages from #4, including JACK KIRBY's take on Ally Sloper - SLOPERMAN!  The 'King' himself even makes an appearance, drawn by HUNT EMERSON, in the form of CAPTAIN KIRBY.  Jack made Ally a superhero and Hunt did the same in Jack's case.  Great stuff!

(There's always a slim possibility that I did actually feature this ish in a blog post before, but, if so, I can't find it, so perhaps I inadvertently deleted it without realising it.  Anyway, never mind, it's here now and that's what counts.  If you remember buying this short-lived 'series' back in the day, feel entirely free to reminisce about it to your heart's content in our far-out and groovy comments section - it needs YOU!

Friday 24 January 2020


Between frequent bouts of sleeping ('cos I kept dozing off about every 10 minutes) I finally managed to get through my CALLAN DVDs, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  (Don't want you thinking they're boring, it's just that I have a slight medical condition which fatigues me.)  The last one I watched was WET JOB, a Special first screened in 1981, but which I didn't see until 1984 or thereabouts.  I wasn't too impressed by it back then, but it's actually better than I remembered, though the awful pieces of incidental music that punctuate the soundtrack from time-to-time are intrusive and ill-suited. I'd suggest that if it's ever re-shown on TV, then the music should be omitted or something more appropriate substituted in its place.

It's a shame that LISA LANGDON didn't reprise her role of HUNTER's secretary, LIZ, but she wasn't in the 1974 movie either, nor was ANTHONY VALENTINE, his role of TOBY MERES being played by PETER EGAN.  In Wet Job, we learn (in passing) that Meres is now dead, killed by the irate husband of one of Mere's conquests apparently, but it would've been nice to hear he was yet alive and simply retired.  In the final TV series' last episode, LONELY, played by RUSSELL HUNTER, was shot and wounded, and Callan walks into the distance with his back to the camera, similar to JOHN WAYNE at the end of The SEARCHERS.

EDWARD WOODWARD turns in a fine performance in Wet Job, but isn't quite as intense in the role as he was in the TV series, though perhaps that's deliberate in order to suggest that the fire in his soul has slightly abated now that he's older, wearier, and retired.  (Well, he thinks he's retired.)  After the uncertain and downbeat way the TV show ended in 1972, it's good to see that the characters of Callan and Lonely didn't fall foul of the S.I.S., as Hunter (played by WILLIAM SQUIRE) threatened to 'break' Callan, making it easy for viewers, in the absence of a fifth series, to imagine that both Callan and Lonely might be terminated to clean up loose ends.

As I said in a previous post, when I first saw this feature-length Special, I was living in another house and neighbourhood, and was unaware that the show was a repeat.  Until watching the DVD, I hadn't seen it in 35-36 years, so it felt 'right' to finally see it again, in the house I stayed when it was originally broadcast ('81), having returned in 1987, four years after having flitted in 1983.  However, the 'ghost' of my room in that other house was present as I re-watched the Special, and that's where I'll probably always associate it with.

Anyway, if you're a Callan fan, you'll likely enjoy Wet Job, but do your best to ignore the bloody awful incidental music, which is like something more suited to TV Soap CROSSROADS.  Oh, one last thing: The synopsis on the back of the DVD cover says that Callan meets "the fourth 'Hunter' of his career", but it's actually the fifth, and Callan confirms that he worked under four previous Hunters in response to a question by the new one.  Whoever wrote the spiel wasn't paying attention.  (I'm not counting ERIC PORTER as a sixth Hunter in the '74 movie as that was only an expanded remake of 'A MAGNUM For SCHNEIDER'.)         

Thursday 23 January 2020



Remember this poster, peeps?  It was given away in return for 8 (I think) cut-out coupons from The MIGHTY WORLD Of MARVEL way back in 1972.  The one you see here is a scan of a preview in one of the weekly issues and is nowhere near as impressive-looking as the actual 'bigger than a breadbox' item itself.  I showed this in a post back in 2015 (how time flies) and was unsure whether this (and its subsequent SPIDER-MAN COMICS WEEKLY counterpart poster) was produced for the States and then pressed into service in Britain, or vice versa, as I seemed to recall them being advertised in US mags at some point.

Well, I've just seen the one above in an ad (below) in my facsimile edition of The INCREDIBLE HULK #180, the original of which came out in 1974, so it seems it was produced for the UK first, and then made available in the US. (Unless it had previously appeared in an earlier American issue.)  I still have the impression that I saw the Spidey one in a US mag as well, but so far haven't been able to confirm whether my seeming memory of it is accurate or not.  Still, it seems I've solved the mystery in regard to the above one.  (I have a replacement of the actual full-size poster, but it's never been up on the wall, though my original was back in 1972.)

Anyway, here's a question for all of our Stateside readers: Did any of you ever have this poster back in the day - or the Spidey one - and if so, just how did you acquire them?  (Reader Phil S probably had them when he stayed in Britain back then, but I'm thinking of those who lived in America at the time.)    

Update: I've just noticed that the ad also appears in F.O.O.M. #5, which I've owned for many years, so I must've seen it at some stage and simply forgotten about it.  And in case you've forgotten what the Spidey poster looked like (or have never seen it before), that's it below.  The colour error on the costume wasn't on the actual poster - only on this preview in an issue of SMCW.  I can't quite remember now, but they may have shown it again in another issue, as I remember seeing it without the colour error.  Either that, or it was spotted and corrected during the print-run, though that would probably have been expensive to do. 



Being someone given to periods of self-indulgent introspection from time-to-time, I've realised that I'm a creature of habit - a reveller in repetition.  I seem to derive some sense of satisfaction in re-creating moments from my past, though it's probably more accurate to say I feel compelled to rather than because I actually want to.  In the last few years, what with all the many TRUE BELIEVERS and FACSIMILE EDITIONS that have been released, I've been able to repeat moods and moments that I first experienced decades ago.

Take True Believers comics like the reprint of OMEGA The UNKNOWN #1, or JOHN BYRNE's first issue as regular writer and artist of The FANTASTIC FOUR (#232) for example.  I first bought the originals back in the '70s and '80s while living in the very house where I now reside.  To receive and re-read their reprints in the very same room of the very same house I stayed in back then has some kind of immense significance to me, and the period between the old and the new is reduced in the process.  A step back in time, as it were.

Same with MARVEL PRESENTS #3 (GUARDIANS Of The GALAXY). When the facsimile of that arrived, I was whisked back to the sizzlin' '70s (spoiler alert: Kid's favourite and oft-repeated catchphrase ahead) faster than a fart from The FLASH!  (Hey, you gotta admit - it's a classic!)  Am I the only one who reacts in such a way?  One glance at a new edition of an old comic and I'm reminded of when I first saw the original (even if I've still got it) and, for a brief moment at least, it's like my life's reset button has been pressed and everything old is new again.  (Or should that be everything new is old again?  See?  Philosophy - and for free, too.)

If you can relate to anything of what I'm trying to say (or even if you can understand it), feel free to expand and expound, and add your own thoughts, theories, and observations to the subject in our cataclysmic (hey, I gotta give it the hard-sell with you guys) comments section.

Wednesday 22 January 2020



Just arrived this morning, MARVEL's facsimile edition of The INCREDIBLE HULK #180, featuring WOLVERINE's first (cameo) appearance.  Number 182 is due out in March, meaning that there'll be no excuse for anyone not having all three issues reprinting Wolvie's initial adventure, and at a fraction of the cost of the original '70s comics.  I've already ordered and paid for 182, and March will roll around in no time.

As usual with these handsome reprints, all the original ads and letter pages are included and 180 (above) has the COMICS CODE box and also the lower page captions and numbers that were a feature of the time, as well as the 'CONTINUED ON NEXT PAGE' alerts that were missing from previous facsimiles.  I tell ya, someone at Marvel must be reading this blog of mine!  Now if only they'd send me some freebies.

Tuesday 21 January 2020


Racism.  It's a big and ugly subject, but I have a few thoughts on it (surprise) which some people may find interesting.  Or insulting, or repellent, or unacceptable, depending on your personal point of view.  Hell, some of you may even agree with me.   So let's start with an easy one, shall we?  I see IDRIS ELBA is still being touted as a possible contender for the role of JAMES BOND.  We all know James Bond, don't we?  The white, male, British, 6 foot tall (according to author and creator IAN FLEMING) (not so) secret agent who works for MI6.

Which, I'd say, rules out Bond being played by an actor of either Negro, mixed-race, Pakistani, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, female, handicapped, hunchback, or dwarf status - purely on the grounds that none of the above are how Bond's creator envisioned him.  "You're a racist and a bigot!" you say.  Nonsense!  Were it to be announced that DANIEL CRAIG (or any white actor) was being signed up to play LUKE CAGE (POWER MAN), T'CHALLA (The BLACK PANTHER) or WYATT WINGFOOT (JOHNNY STORM's Red Indian - or Native American if you prefer - pal), I'd be equally perturbed.  You can bet your booties that if it were ever suggested, accusations of racism would be flying around all over the place.

So why is it any different in the case of Bond?  I'll go one further and say that it's racist (and sexist) to suggest that 007 (as we presently know him) should ever be played by anyone who isn't white and male, because such a proposition springs from the belief that there are far too many white male actors who get plum parts in movies.  That's surely racism, isn't it?  If I attended a performance of PORGY & BESS and stood up halfway through, saying "Why aren't there more white actors on stage?" I'd probably be booed out of the theatre - and rightly so.  Therefore, why is it deemed acceptable for people to say "Why aren't there more black actors (and actresses) nominated for Oscars?" when the awards ceremony rolls around every year?

In the case of Bond, we're told that we should be 'colour-blind' and not consider the colour or ethnicity (or even gender nowadays) of the actor as important.  (Which, I'd say, doesn't mean it should be ignored in regard to the character.)  Shouldn't that work both ways though?  There seems to be a double-standard at play when we're told we shouldn't see colour when it comes to apportioning roles, but we should see it when it comes to handing out awards.  It cuts both ways. Black actors should only see fellow actors receiving recognition for their performance, not white people.  Are they so desperate for an Oscar or a Bafta, that they don't mind being in the running solely to meet some politically correct requirement of 'inclusivity'?  Isn't that tokenism?  I think it's fairly safe to say that no black actor would ever say "Why's there no white guys this year?" if all the Oscar nominations were black (or whatever).  In fact, I'd be surprised if any white actors expressed such a sentiment.

I'll go further.  I think it highly likely that at least some actors of colour are only concerned with getting an award in order to improve their career and financial prospects, and try and increase their chances by playing the 'race card'.  Regardless of their colour, actors in the main are self-obsessed and have a sense of entitlement, believing that opportunities are their due which shouldn't be denied them.  For example: Are you black?  Then why aren't there more roles for black actors?  Are you handicapped?  Then why aren't there more roles for handicapped actors? Are you gay or transgendered?  Then why aren't there more roles for gay and transgendered actors?  Are you female?  Then why aren't there more (good) roles for actresses?  And I'll bet even many white male actors wonder why there aren't more roles for white male actors cast in their mould.

It's a bit like traditional signwriters bemoaning the fact that they don't get so much work in today's world of computer-generated signs, which are quicker and less expensive to produce. Adapt or die.  Neither the world or your profession owes you a living.  That's something actors should remember as well.  Writers shouldn't be required to cater to the needs or wants of actors, or indulge high-handed demands for 'diversity' in order to meet quotas.  They should be able to tell their story without having to worry about whether there are enough female, gay, black, transgendered characters to appease the politically-correct minority who are on a mission to portray society as they'd prefer it to be, rather than as it is.   

I've noticed that there seems to be an increasing vocal opposition in some quarters these days to gay or transgendered roles being played by anyone who isn't gay or transgendered, but curiously no one seems to object to a gay actor playing a heterosexual character.  Double-standards again. (And able-bodied actors in handicapped roles also come in for criticism.  Hey, newsflash - it's called acting!)   Is anyone else as fed up of this nonsense as I am?  Let me tell you something - there probably isn't a race of people anywhere in the world who isn't racist or bigoted to some degree.  A lot of black people still view 'whitey' as the enemy, and regard us as their oppressors - even though slavery was abolished centuries ago, and many white people voted against it, even fighting and dying in the process.

Any country you go to, there's a large percentage of the populace who look down on another (sometimes neighbouring) country and consider them inferior.  Many Jews look down on Arabs and many Arabs look down on Jews.  Pakistanis look down on Indians and Indians look down on Pakistanis.  Any country you care to name harbours a certain antipathy towards another - or even towards minority groups within their own boundaries.  Just about all of them seem to despise the West, but that's something we're expected to ignore in our one-sided quest to appease those who seem to hate us.  It appears that the only group of people who aren't permitted to express any reservations about any other group are White, Anglo-Saxon Protestants who are male and of a heterosexual persuasion, which seems kind of bigoted to me - even racist in fact.

Race is important to those who tell you that race isn't important when it comes to casting Bond, so don't be deceived by their duplicity.  If it wasn't important to them, they wouldn't be trying to oust a white actor from playing a white character who's been white since he first appeared in novels back in the '50s.  Why not give Idris Elba the opportunity to play a different secret agent in a big-budget movie if there's a demand for such a thing, and make his own stamp in the cinematic world of espionage?  Have him play a colleague of Bond's in a future film, and then spin him off into his own series of blockbusters.  That way, everyone will be happy.  Bond will still be the Bond he's always been, and Idris can have the exact same kind of role without indulging in a form of racism against white people.

Because that's exactly what it would be if ever Bond's ethnicity was changed from what it is now.

Agree?  Disagree?  Want to punch my face in?  Why not start by discussing where you think I err in my opinion, and we'll see where that gets us.  Besides, I don't care how big and tough you are, you couldn't fight sleep - and I was trained by James Bond and DAVID CALLAN themselves, so you've got no chance!  (When I say 'trained', I mean I've watched how they do it and I'm a quick study.)  Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for my reality pill.


And talking of Bond, commenter BARRY PEARL sent me a snap of some of his collection, below.

Monday 20 January 2020


Images from

Years ago, I remember reading - as part of ACTION MAN's official history - that when he first appeared in the UK in 1966, he was merely a renamed and repackaged GI JOE - until PALITOY acquired their own moulds and started manufacturing him in Britain.  Now it seems that the story isn't quite accurate, and that Palitoy produced him from the start, but at some stage had to supplement their stock with Canadian GI Joe figures to meet orders from shops around the British Isles.

The fact remains though, that some Action Man boxes contained figures with GI Joe stamped on their bums.  As to whether they're regarded as being more collectable or not, I couldn't say, but there were some interesting variations in the Palitoy Action Man within a very short time.  The first figure had a hard head and his rivets were painted flesh.  His feet were longer too, but soon his head was of softer plastic, his rivets remained unpainted, and his calves were shortened slightly, as were his feet.

Interestingly, it was Palitoy who came up with the idea for gripping hands and flocked hair, though it was Hasbro who introduced the 'eagle-eyes' and talking figures.  GI Joe sort of disappeared in the States around 1977 or so, leaving Palitoy's Action Man as the more successful and longer-running toy of the two.  Hasbro stands for HASSENFELD BROTHERS, who introduced GI Joe in 1964, and it's Hasbro who now own the Action Man copyright. In 2006, they licensed the name to MODELLERS LOFT for a 40th Anniversary facsimile edition of Action Man, and ART & SCIENCE currently have permission to produce the toy.

Did you have an Action Man (or GI Joe) when you were a boy?  Then regale your fellow Crivs with your fond memories of this toy from childhood.

Saturday 18 January 2020



Another trio of TRUE BELIEVERS, effendis, for you to feast your awestruck orbs upon.  I scanned these issues in their poly bags so there's some dust and hairs on view if you look closely enough, but I trust you won't hold that against me.  Have you got them yet?  No?  Then get around to your nearest comicbook shop as soon as you can and snap 'em up!  And remember to pay for them - there's no need to be criminally insane.  (In case you get annihilated.)

Friday 17 January 2020


Cover art copyright MARVEL COMICS

A couple or so years ago, someone gave me a presumably unwanted CD called The MARVEL WORLD Of ICARUS.  I only got around to listening to it a few weeks back and, surprisingly, quite liked it.  It appears for all the world like a professionally produced CD, not a bootleg, but apparently it may not be 'official'.  You see, I recently saw another version of it on eBay with 5 extra tracks, so bought it immediately for the additional songs.

The extensive liner notes in the sleeve/booklet claim that it's the only authorised version (from the original masters) since its original 1972 release, so if true, I'm not sure about the status of the other CD.  I note that it's also been reissued on vinyl, so if you'd like to own a little-known slice of the '70s, this one's for you!


Copyright DC COMICS

Just arrived, my DC COMICS facsimile edition of DETECTIVE COMICS #359 - "The MILLION DOLLAR DEBUT Of BATGIRL!".  I wonder if anyone at DC reads this site, because this time around they've left the date on the cover, as per my suggestion in response to their previous facsimiles.  Even the ads (with one or two exceptions) don't look quite so faded as in preceding mags in this series, so not much to complain about with this one.

I bought the original issue way back in the '60s, but never kept it.  However, I purchased a replacement for it many moons ago*, and there's a scan of it alongside the new version below.  As you can see, the lettering in the lower left-hand corner of the facsimile has been moved slightly to accommodate the bar-code box, but I can live with it if you can.  (There are a few other minor differences as well - can you spot them?)  Still, great stuff, eh?  Now run out and buy your own!

(*And I also have a DOUBLE DOUBLE COMIC containing the issue.)


Because of chronic fatigue, I find it nigh impossible nowadays to watch anything on TV and give it my full attention, as my mind soon drifts off or goes into shutdown mode.  Often, within 5 or 10 minutes, I've fallen asleep and only wake up once it's all over.  However, with these limitations, I've been watching CALLAN and BUDGIE (in 10 minute segments) and finally managed to cover all 12 surviving monochrome episodes of the former show.  The DVD collection of Callan was issued in 2010, and the programmes contained therein hadn't been seen in 40-odd years, which means it's been over 50 years since I first and last saw them on their initial broadcast between 1967 and '69*.

(*Except for the ARMCHAIR THEATRE pilot, A MAGNUM For SCHNEIDER, which was repeated as part of the TV HEAVEN series in 1992.) 

I last saw Budgie back in 1985 when it was repeated on Channel 4 (I think), which was 35 years ago.  As mentioned in a previous post, when they were first broadcast (in two series) back in 1971 and '72, I saw the last 5 episodes of the 2nd series over the first month in the new house we'd moved to, and in which I again live today.  Last night, I persevered and managed (between sleeps) to watch the first of those last 5 shows, so in 4 episodes' time, I'll have reached the end of my quest to re-experience that particular aspect of my past, before moving on to another with the colour episodes of Callan.

Here's the thing though.  Back in 1991, I bought the house number-plate from the then-current (and now sadly-deceased) tenant of my former abode, and affixed it to the door of the room in which I now type this.  That means I've now passed the number-plate many more times in my present domicile than in my former one, as I only stayed there for 6 years and 7 months (which was around half my life at the time).  I therefore had a decision to make in regard to those last 5 Budgie episodes, which was this:  Should I watch them in the living-room where I first saw them back in '72, or should I watch them in the room above which sports the number-plate of my former house where I viewed all the preceding ones?

You see, while I find it alluring to re-create a 'moment' in the same room it first occurred 48 years before, I find it just as alluring to imagine the past as it could've happened had we never flitted from our former home in '72.  After all, I'd still be watching those last 5 episodes in the same house I first saw them, but in a room bearing the actual number of the previous house in which I'd viewed the preceding 21 - the best of both worlds, as it were.  That may not mean anything to you, but I find it appealing in some way to indulge in a game of 'what if...?', as opposed to what did.  (Try it, it's fun.)

True, a large dollop of imagination is required in the process, but I've got that in spades.  Feel free to tell me how mad I am in the comments section.

Tuesday 14 January 2020


In the previous post, I made passing reference to a pharmacy colleague of the lovely ELIZABETH, said workmate being the one who wagered (with the full involvement and approval of the others) that I wouldn't be able to find out two specific items of information about Liz.  Now, truth be told, this colleague was a bit snooty and up herself, and always presented herself as being a bit prim and proper and above mere ordinary mortals like myself, a lowly warehouse worker.  Here's a little tale of how, based on my daring detective work related earlier, she sh*t a brick, thinking I had access to all sorts of secrets best kept hidden.

One of my occasional duties in BOOTS warehouse was operating the 'baler', a huge machine for compressing wastepaper and cardboard boxes into large compact cubes.  There was a part-time worker assigned to this task, but when he wasn't in, it fell to me or another of the warehouse staff to do it.  Anyway, one day, I was busily feeding all sorts of paper waste from an oblong trolley into the machine, including 'wallets' of photographs which had remained uncollected by customers for months.  It was the company's policy, due to limited storage space, to dispose of all abandoned photos after a certain period.

In a moment of idle curiosity, I picked up one of the thin cardboard wallets at random, and took a casual look through it - and was surprised to see a few pics of the snooty pharmacy worker, completely rat-@rsed at a party.  Gone was her reserved and 'dignified' demeanour - she looked completely blotto and uninhibited, and totally different from the image of herself she presented at work.  (Which is fair enough I suppose - after all, it was a party.)  Anyway, I thought she'd like to have them, so took them around to the pharmacy and gave them to her, freely telling her I'd found them in a trolley of waste earmarked for disposal.  She took one look at them and quickly thrust them into the pocket of her white coat, looking a bit flushed and flustered.

I returned to the baler, but a little while later, she came into the warehouse and quizzed me on where I'd obtained the photos, trying to inject a tone of stern authority into her voice.  Obviously, because of my dazzling detective work in the case of Elizabeth, her imagination had been working overtime, causing her to wonder if I had specifically 'targetted' her, and whether my discovery of the photos had been as a result of me deliberately digging into her life.  Nope, pure random chance and sheer coincidence!  Anyway, I was a bit surprised, to say nothing of annoyed, at her obvious insinuation and told her it was exactly as I'd first said when I gave them to her - I'd found them in the waste trolley.

She appeared satisfied, albeit reluctantly, perhaps sensing that I was affronted by her unspoken-but-obvious suspicion, and pushed off back to the pharmacy.  Maybe I should've been more annoyed than I was (after all, I'd being doing her a favour), but I couldn't help but be enormously amused at her paranoia, and even pleased to a degree that I'd gotten under her skin (purely metaphorically you understand) and caused her a moment's perturbation.  Snooty people like her deserve to be toppled from their high horse in my view - and that's exactly what I did.

Any youthful tales of a similar nature, fellow Crivs?  Reveal all in the comments section - if you dare!

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