Advent 2007: Window 9

Putting Up The Tree!

Advent 2008: Window 8

Dude. It’s Die Hard.

Advent 2008: Window 7

A Christmas Kiss from Charlie's Angels - sadly forgotten pop groups a-go-go!

Window 7

Now Do The Same With Airwolf!

Page 80. Panel 1. “Miss Night” is better known as Emma Peel, the best of John Steed’s partners on The Avengers. Although in The Avengers she is Mrs. Peel, her birth name is Emma Knight, as her father is Sir John Knight, which explains the “John Night’s daughter” reference on Page 78. Peter Sanderson adds "Mrs. Emma Peel's maiden name and the name of her father were established in the 1966 "Avengers" episode "The House That Jack Built" (The fake newspaper from the episode should interest you). If we presume that Mrs. Peel is the same age as Diana Rigg, who played her, she would have been 20 years old in 1958." Philip & Emily Graves write, "Ms Knight was 21 when her father died, so we can reasonably assume that she is about a year older than Dame Diana Rigg." Andrew Teheran writes, "Might be out on a limb here but... John Night is continuously referred to as an industrialist. What keeps popping into my head is Knight Industries as in "Knight Industries Two Thousand", our favorite American Trans Am. Is Chitty Chitty Bang Bang a KITT prototype? There is a British connection with the Devon Miles character." Andrew Bonia echoes this: "The Night Foundation - mentioned throughout as designing hi-tech equipment for both the UK and US could be a double reference to the Knight Foundation, the organization responsible for building the supercar K.I.T.T . in the television series Knight Rider."

Alan Moore is geekier than all of us. Put together.

currently playing: New Buffalo – Versary

2007 Round Up: Kate Nash — Foundations

Those pitchforks. You can put them down. Honest.

Having said that, I’ve been trying to get my head around this song all year. Nash herself comes across as a hideous creation by a music industry eager to replicate Lily Allen’s success in 2006, softening the hard ‘street’ edges by mixing in a dollop of stage school, a touch of Tori Amos kookiness, and strapping on Audrey Hepburn’s accent at the start of My Fair Lady.

“Man,” I cried, “how ignorant art thou in thy pride of wisdom!

It doesn’t work. For example, while LDN offsets the rather bleak picture of London by having Lily seeing the optimistic side of things until they’re brutally disabused (although the denouement is only really clear if you watch the video), Foundations features a hateful couple that you’d rather set on fire than listen to Kate whine on about their troubles for another three minutes.

Your face is pasty ‘cause you’ve gone and got so wasted, what a surprise. Don’t want to look at your face ‘cause it’s makin’ me sick. You’ve gone and got sick on my trainers, I only got these yesterday.

Never has You are the generation that bought more shoes and you get what you deserve made more sense. Especially since it’s all delivered in an accent that makes you want to stick knitting needles into your eardrums to make the pain stop. The ‘bitter / fitter’ rhyme in itself makes me want to smash the radio in.

And yet.

The chorus. My fingertips are holding onto the cracks in our foundation / and I know that I should let go but I can’t. There’s something about this, something wonderful and tragic about desperately holding on, because what if this is all there is? Is this the best I can do? Is this the best any of us can do? And you kind of fall for her a bit here. Happily, that’s resolved by the lingering hard t on the end of ‘can’t’ which makes you head for the hammers again. But for that brief moment, it’s a wonderful song.

Being a bit slack this year, it seems. Hopefully the pace will pick up next week…

Advent 2008: Window 6

I am not a shrimp, I am a King Prawn!

Advent 2008: Window 5

DESTROY! DESTROY! BRING DOWN CAPITALIST BANKING SYSTEM! DIGITAL ANARCHY HARDCORE GO! REPENT, RECAST, RECANT! ATARI TEENAGE RIOT!

Window 5

Why not just cut out the middleman?

Replace the cast of Grange Hill will finger puppets!

We didn't want to move too far from the programme's intentions and will still cover things like teenage pregnancy and losing your virginity, but these will have to be told through the eyes of younger characters and usually within a comic framework."

You'll laugh! You'll cry! You'll kick the baby all across the gym with hilarious results!

I have enough bile to vent on this subject for hours, but it'll undercut the Christmas cheer, so I'll seethe quietly in the corner...

currently playing: Radiohead – Go Slowly

Advent 2008: Window 4

I am be-fogging your mind! This is The Brain, and I bear a message for all you simple-minded fools during this time. Yes!

2007 Round Up: Johnny Boy

And I just can't help believing though believing sees me cursed

My music journalist dalliance came to an end this year, but before it did, I received a tip from Simon Sweeping The Nation about an advert in The Word. Getting hold of a copy, I rifled through the magazine, and there, just below Kieron's quote, was a line taken from my review of Johnny Boy's album. Yeah! Yeah! There was no better way to end my short stint as a music hack.

It's now almost two years since the album came out, nearly four since You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes And You Get What You Deserve was released. And it still sounds like Tomorrow; Phil Spector stretched out to Infinity and shackled to a anti-capitalist polemic; Karl Marx to the beat. Stars shooting off overhead as Lolly and Davo, our two heroes, make their hopeless final stand. Who are these guys?

Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

It's still my favourite song of the decade. And one of my favourites of all time. The subtle pans in stereo as the fireworks shoot through your headphones, the romantic cynicism, the moments between the verses and chorus where the Wall of Sound is twisted and bounced beyond all recognition. This frequency's my universe indeed.

The album was never going to be able to live up to the promise of that one song, so what did the band do? Stick it on as the first track. That's balls-to-the-walls gutsiness. Shoot straight, you bastards! Following that, you're immediately thrown into Wall Street, a Bond soundtrack where Gordon Gekko is caught in a three-way with Saint Etienne and Godspeed You! Black Emperor. There's 15 Minutes which is (Love Is Like A) Heatwave chopped into pieces and served with Ecstasy, and then there's Livin' In The City, a celebration of the two industrial powerhouses of the North, Sheffield and Manchester, Factory and the British Electric Foundation. They may not reach the incredible heights of the beginning, but they get damn close.

They have a tendency to be a little too serious, though the Rockabilly/Hip-Hop melding of Bonnie Parker's 115th Dream never fails to raise a smile. And then, finally, as if there could be an end, the band returns to Spector, to Be My Baby, to Mean Streets, to Johnny Boy. His theme, his story, the only way it could end.We're your friends, Johnny, what's got into you? Blasted into the black, bodies littering the street as a taxi sounds in the distance.

The Poptimist within me wanted them emblazoned over the world, playing Top of The Pops with glitter falling from the ceiling as You Are The Generation... reaches Christmas #1, 15 Minutes soundtracking The Doctor as he rushes through to save the Universe, yeah! yeah!. But it was not to be. Yet every few months, I get a request from somebody on the Internet, somebody new who wants to find out more about the band. On those occasions, I feel like King Mob. So I still win. Learn To Be Invisible.

Is it my album of the year? Probably. But I now own three copies of it spread over two years (the original Swedish version, the Japanese digi-pak, and yes, the UK release), so I'm taking it out of the running this year. To give everybody else a chance.