29 January 2010

Ban the Bomb.

I recently sat through the excellent BBC 1985 TV show Edge of Darkness, yep, if it sounds familiar it's because it's the one which Hollywood has just remade as a feature film with Mel Gibson and Ray Winstone in, albeit by the original Director Martin Campbell.
The original was a six parter and being just five when it was first aired, my interests lied solely with the Rancor monster and He Man, it passed me by.
I got the dvd for a fiver and watched them back to back each night, I have to say this highly acclaimed Eco paranoid espionage drama was right up there, thought provoking they say, well that explains why it's been on my mind since watching. They don't really make 'em like they used to eh?
Directed by Martin Campbell and written by Troy Kennedy Martin, EoD is based around disturbed detective Ronnie Craven played superbly by the former Shakespearean actor, the late Bob Peck trying to find the real reason behind his environmentalist daughter's (Joanne Whalley) apparent 'accidental' murder the assailant was aiming for father not daughter. Or was he?

His investigations unravel onto a dodgy path of corrupt government and coincidental corporate cover-ups via the CIA and MI5 leading to a personal investigation of a top secret nuclear plant. Exposing secret after secret and a potentially earth threatening fat cat Nuclear industry. With a great cast of characters including Joe Don Baker as the cowboy golf loving CIA agent Jedburgh.

This remains a highly thought out and great bit of telly, and one which would be too easy to give away if you hadn't yet seen. Award winning at the time, this very influential drama is from a time when Blighty was very concerned with the worlds infatuation with all things nuclear, a genuine dodgy ground the overwhelming majority of us wished we would not go there.

Being the fucking geek that I am, I also noticed a bit of 'gear' in there too, including an original Fjällräven coat many moons before it 'exploded' around this neck of the woods as a 'new' thing.

aside from the famous signature checks of Burberry and Aquascutum sported by those protectors of the realm, I also noticed a Benetton Rugby shirt, I admit I'm clutching at straws now, but it's too late I've already uploaded it.

During the height of the Second Cold War with the second wave of The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) we could be forgiven for going a little bit potty.
Around the same time we had the equally hard hitting TV drama Threads - written by 'Kes' scribe Barry Hines, and filmed in and around Sheffield, this was a grim account of the effects of nuclear war on a city before during and after and the personal crisis from a family's perspective.
Reece Dinsdale of Shadwell Town 'top table' fame led the way in that one.

"In a few years I'll over come this terror and be a shagging Gail Platt."

We also were presented with the most bleak and depressing cartoon you could ever cast your eyes one, forget Watership Down or Waltz with Bashir, Raymond Briggs' Where the Wind Blows was both brilliant and chilling, nay quite upsetting. A potential reality, the total opposite of his lovely fantasy film The Snowman.

And let's not forget those eerily creepy advertising campaigns from Protect and Survive, even hardore hippy Neil from The Young One's got in on the act of that one and painted himself white.
Looking at the adverts now, I'm shitting myself, I cannot imagine my state of fear had I been this age now, I do dwell on things though, but dwell I would have, if my telly's telling me to hide under a table to avoid the on-coming blast, or if I was caught short whilst out, a bloody bridge. Not to mention shitting in a home made commode.

Seriously, if the best piece of advice my government could give me during the aftermath of a nuclear blast,is to hide under a bridge, I might aswell slit my wrists right now.
You can YouTube these horrendous pieces of propaganda but don't watch them before bed or they will put the willies up you.

So, yeah. Watch Edge of Darkness if you're not already familiar with it.
I'm sure it's miles better than the Hollywood remake.

28 January 2010


Every one's probably seen it by now, but this made me chuckle.
You can also make your own David Cameron posters here.

26 January 2010

Recent pick-ups.

Stretching my shoestring as far as I can, here's a few buys over the last month. There's an unintentional nineties - early noughties vibe about some of this stuff which was not deliberate.

Garbstore CPW Country shirt, a heavyweight over-shirt with a great mottled wool texture, and as always nice little details, including an optional 'Ranger' patch which I probably wouldn't add, but like
the fact it's there if I wanted to.

F-Troupe's 'The Rambler' boot, I liked these when they were first released, I liked them even more with 75 boff off the retail price.

Another couple of imported Ralph Madras bright check shirts, I'm loving these at the moment, even if it is more geared towards summer wear.

I also picked up an old Paul Smith 'Super Chino' shirt, I bought a navy one from the same range with massive pockets from Aspecto in Nottingham what seems like a decade ago now, still going strong though. This has an ace treble pocket detail, with a removable pocket bag too, which I don't really understand, but like anyway.

And an old (new) Melka long sleeved pure wool tobacco polo shirt not unlike those of the more well known John Smedley. Scandinavian brand Melka's a bit under the radar, but I've a few bits and bobs, they did a cool pipe based advertising campaign around 2002 aswell...

And finally two pairs of The Duffer of St George Yogi shoes, in chocolate and tan. Kind of a hybrid of Clarks D Trek and Padmore wallabees on a massive chunky sole, ugly cool.
These were originally launched in 1999.

24 January 2010

Casketeers, Manchester.

Yesterday I was meant to go and watch the new French crime caper A Prophet, me being late instead of the train - for a change (Pph) scuppered those plans, so if in doubt get the ale out.
I make no apologies for being a real ale geek, and it's been a while since I last mentioned it.
Manchester was foggy and there was a nip in the air. My Stansfield car coat kept me nice and toasty. Post match on a Man United home game everywhere seemed slightly busier than normal, a couple of usual haunts were forcibly swerved due to the volume of footballing tourists and the first port of call was the Knott, where a couple of very quaffable Manchester Bitter's 4.2%. From the outstanding Marble Brewery. Along with a pint of Salamander Cockfighter 3.8%.

Manchester's tallest building the Beetham Tower disappeared into a foggy skyline.

Next up I lost three consecutive games of pool as three pints of old fave Copper Dragon's Golden Pippin 4.2% gave me a rather hazy glow. Two quid went in the jukebox and an eclectic mix of The Style Council, Smiths, Van Morrison, Fleetwood Mac, Derek and the Domino's and the King himself provided the soundtrack. Finding a reliable place where I could belatedly check what score my team's game finished was the next task, a pint of Wild Hop O.P.A 3.8% was slowly guzzled as a goalless draw at Carlisle flashed up on the screen. Perhaps that isn't the best of results, but it's pretty welcoming when you've had fourteen points since what seems like the beginning of time and thankfully halts a God awful albatross of a losing streak, twelve in a row if you must insist.
The last pint before a hectic scramble for drunken hungry tit bits in Sainsburys and a pathetic jog for the late train home, was another of Marble's offerings a pint of Pint 4.3%, a lovely pale bitter.
The perfect antidote to the wet and miserable piss fest that is late January.

20 January 2010

Old's Cool.

Another glance at retrospective casual days of yore, coming via Brighton's West St Firm in various dates from the 80's. Shopping on the continent, England abroad, passing old German stereotypes in the street, red strides in Cambridge, Head bag hols.

18 January 2010

Two thumbs up.

As I mentioned before it was common knowledge The forthcoming Clarks Oberon get two thumbs up from me.

16 January 2010

Berghaus Tornado.

Another addition to the 'drobe, and yes it's to do with foul weather and mountaineering. I'm a fan of the old Berghaus goretex jackets and this is probably the tenth one I've had now, they released a hand picked selection of old jackets for the recent Heritage collection. But to me you can't beat the originals. This model is the Tornado, and in colours I've never seen before. Two colours that really sit well alongside one another, mid grey and vibrant yellow.
These date from the mid to late eighties I believe, and after a good spin this one's in great condition. Although the previous owner seems to have worn it out on the hills for some daft reason, it was pretty mucky - that was a stab at sarcasm by the way.
I'd say Berghaus jackets are an acquired taste, and there's plenty who won't see the fuss, to me they look good and they're proper functional. I'm easily pleased, the originals are made in Great Britain too, I'd guess the reproduced one's are not.

13 January 2010

A Continuous Lean.

A quick glance to the left of the screen to my blogroll reveals a real mix of ace blogs and sites for your perusal, one which probably needs little introduction is A Continuous Lean.
One of the first blogs I put in my favourites a while back, this is a fine site from across the pond blogging American things, good looking things, well designed things and all sorts of other things. Well, I'm more than pleased to say that as of now Oneupmanship features as the top post on there.
Featuring my flickr page and some of the admittedly too many jackets I own. I did wonder why my inbox was suddenly full of new contacts on flickr.
I'm not a collector, all the stuff I have is to be worn, had I not sold as many as I've bought then there'd be far too many to mention. I think I need a pro account on there just to add all my hats next.

12 January 2010

The Road.

On Saturday just gone, I watched the recently released The Road, directed by John Hillcoat based on the popular 2006 novel by Cormac McCarthy, which I admittedly haven't read myself.
Note: this may contain certain spoilers. I got out fairly early to a local art house cinema, it was over half full, more so than the last few times I'd been there. I guess this was going to be the fairly 'big' film I thought it would be.
Going to the cinny I like to get in early, get a good seat usually at the back, and hey, even watch the 'coming soons' as I always have done. These little things are important for my viewing pleasure.
Without sounding like a good old misery guts, a real bug bear of mine is when someone comes in dead late, as many people kept on doing, so you can imagine my secret inner animosity bubbling right over when a couple came in right as it was getting started and the lady was wearing the biggest, stupidest pointy fucking hat I have ever seen. Yeah, you guessed it, they only went and sat directly in front of me despite being plenty of other seats littered around. For a moment, I thought I was the unfortunate and unlikely participant on some secret Trigger Happy TV style show her hat was that ridiculous.
Anyway, enough of that. Over to the film. I hadn't actually heard too much about this one until my copy of Little White Lies mag slipped through the letter box, with a great in depth write up and review in the magazine of which it was the featured film - including the cover. I was now looking forward to this one. The film follows father Viggo Mortensen and son Kodi Smit-McPhee in a post apocalyptic world ravaged by earthquakes, storms and blazing fires.

A true wasteland, the unnamed Father and Son struggle from day to day to survive the unspecified devastation which has ravaged the world as we know it, together they have strived for a number of years to find shelter and stave off starvation.
Their quest is simple to head towards the coast on a hunt for civilisation, food, water and a search for any remaining decent people to bring hope. Keeping their fire inside burning throughout is the only thing which keeps them sane on their journey. 'Papa' carries a pistol with just two bullets left, with the clear and obvious intention they would not hesitate to put those last two pieces of lead into their own brains, there's a harrowing scene where he even shows his child what to do with the gun and where to point it. Showing just how bleak and terrifying this world has become.
Despite his ill health and awareness of his impending doom in this catastrophic world, the father still tries to instill values and teach the way of the world into his naive young son whom he must protect as he has to grow up fast.
The film plays out like a roller coaster of events, at times incredibly grim and desperate as the lack of life is visible for all to see, there's a suggestive dream sequence which shows the mans wife played by Charlize Theron fighting off any persuasion not to walk off into the night and her own fate, having lost all hope having brought a child into this God forsaken world.
This is at times genuinely frightening as renegades and cannibals in search of prey roam about at the least likely of times. Finding old disused cars and houses unearth the odd treat and treasure, but by and large they unearth even more threats, there's a chilling scene where they explore what seems to be an abandoned country house only to unearth a horrendous situation which they do incredibly well to dodge. Even then, there's one or two moments of humour and joy, unearthing a secret bunker full of food and drink must have been like a temporary paradise but there's always the ongoing, overhanging threat of intrusion from the unknown which lingers on like the stink of a freshly skinned cadaver.
The film features two or three cameos, one from a pretty unrecognisable Robert Duvall as the old man on his own endeavour of emptiness, and Michael K Williams (Omar from The Wire) as a night stalking thief who is taught a valuable lesson.
A buck toothed Guy Pearce also features as hopefully, one of the good guys.
The father who has shown signs of illness throughout, is shot by an arrow as they reach the coast.
His demise is not far off and it's now up to his son to try and go it alone, taking the gun and it's two bullets, he is stopped and befriended by a family, is this the good people they've been hoping to discover, it is probably the only happy ending there could possibly be in this forgotten wasteland.

As far as films about the end of the world go, they're never going to be a joyous affair, there's plenty of crap films depicting the end of time, or nearing the end of time albeit being saved in the dying moments by someone like Will Smith and full of CGI. This though, I'd imagine is as close as can be, as you'd expect it's visually bleak, yet somehow stunning, the cinematography doesn't let this down, nor do the lead roles. Collectively this was spot on, a terrifying yet enjoyable experience.
A very good film, and although it's only January one of the best of the year I'd say. 4/5.