Sunday, March 3, 2013

All the days and nights that we know will be, I will stay with you will you stay with me, just one single tear in each passing year

I have the misfortune to be following  “The Following” on TV. I really should stop watching but I feel a bit like Magnus Magnusson..I’ve started so I’ll finish.
It started off OK and seemed to have a fair amount of promise with a clever storyline and some decent main characters but it has quickly descended into farce. When you sit down to watch it you have to leave all reason and logic in another room

I present here a viewer’s aid to getting through ‘The Following’. If you are still watching it, I feel your pain. If you are not watching it ‘The Following’ list (sorry) will mean nothing to you and you have really dodged a bullet, or at least are wearing an FBI bullet-proof vest (see point 4)

  1. Anyone who remotely looks as if they could be a baddie…is a baddie… nanny in the world, gay guys next door, security guard, rural policewoman with too big a part, David Cameron, woman behind you in the supermarket queue….they are all baddies
  2. The Law Enforcement Services are all totally incompetent….surround a house with a SWAT team but still allow the nanny to sneak out the back with kidnapped child, lose evil psychopath’s wife when she goes to the toilet, rescue same wife from basement with large assault force but allow ‘follower’ to escape up a back stair…I could go on and on
  3. Psychotic serial killer Joe Carroll orchestrates all the mayhem from his prison cell but no-one seems to bother noticing how many people come to see him or what evil plans they may be discussing. I mean to say, he has more visitors than Madame Tussuad's
  4. Not all bullet-proof vests are created equal. If you are one of the lead characters wearing an FBI vest then you will be shot in the chest not in the head and will be OK when somebody gives you a shake. If you are a random SWAT guy then you might as well not wear a vest. It is not going to save you from being killed by ‘baddies’ dressed as other SWAT guys
  5. Carroll is obsessed with the works of Edgar Allan Poe, so a bit like a Superbowl appearance, expect an upsurge in the sales of Edgar Allan Poe’s Greatest Hits and a new TV Game Show based on The Pit and the Pendulum
  6. Lead good guy played by Kevin Bacon has Gerry Marsden’s backing band fitted to his heart so in virtually every episode he will suffer excruciating pain when this is interfered with by magnets, taser gun, digital radio, toaster, Buzz Lightyear…basically whatever is handy
  7. Kevin Bacon’s FBI sidekick is played by Shawn Ashmore. I thought he was also Jimmy Olsen in Smallville but discovered that part was played by his twin Aaron who strangely looks a bit like him. Lucky escape Aaron
  8. The three characters (Emma, Paul and Jacob) who kidnap Carroll’s son Joey have a strange relationship. Paul and Jacob pretended to be gay next door neighbours to Joey’s mum and Emma was Joey’s nanny. Once they are all together we discover that Paul fancies Jacob but also has a bit of a thing for Emma, Jacob fancies Emma but also has a bit of a thing for Jacob and Emma fancies anyone but her real passion is stabbing people
  9. The aforementioned Joey is the 10 year old son of a genius serial killer but is himself thick as mince. His nanny whisks him off to a secret hideaway and won’t let him phone his mum and her pals like shooting Law Enforcement Officers but hey she reads him a nice story at bedtime and she is fairly cute with the whole short hair thing going on so let’s just stick with her. 
  10. There is an episode where the poem ‘The Raven’ is referenced. Remember this is a high brow show so this is purely referring to the Edgar Allan Poe poem and has nothing to do with The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episode. As yet neither Bart nor Homer have appeared in ‘The Following’ but if they do, remember, they will be baddies
  11. The lead FBI agent who is a tough talking female and involves Kevin Bacon in the pilot episode is played by Jeananne Goosen. By the time episode 2 comes around she has been binned and her place has been taken by a new tough talking female FBI agent
  12. The new tough talking female lead FBI agent is played by Annie Parisse. It transpires that she was raised in a cult. It’s always good to have a cult involved somewhere. They bring so much variety to the table
  13. If for some reason you do not have Sky+ and have to sit though a commercial break while watching the show and you come across Kevin Bacon in an advert for 4G remember this is just a clever marketing ploy and has nothing to do with the show, although the guy who sells him a hot dog is probably a baddie
  14. If you are not a fan of ‘flashbacks’ this show is definitely not going to work for you. They absolutely love a flashback. If your character is not involved in a flashback at some point in the show then you have a very small part and should talk to your agent
  15. Carroll’s wife is played by the delightful Natalie Zea. Now Natalie is a very attractive lady but her track record is not good. She has been involved with Nick in ‘Dirty Sexy Money’, Raylan in ‘Justified’ and Hank in ‘Californication’ so she does seem to have a problem in picking a dependable guy. I am sure it will end well for her and Kevin in this show though
  16. If you are a ‘follower’ you are almost certain to die at some point during the series. You may even resort to taking your own life by chewing bandages. New one on me that one I have to say
  17. If you are one of the main good guys you will be nearly killed each week. Unless of course that is unless you are the token black FBI agent in which case you will die when you are left to look after the wife of a ‘follower’ on your own and she turns out to be a ‘follower’ too. I believe he and his FBI chums were the only ones who did not see that one coming
  18. If you are kidnapped by one of the trio in point 8 and held hostage in the basement of a remote farmhouse, just keep quiet, don’t eat and don’t go to the toilet, they will forget about you for long periods of time and eventually Kevin Bacon will rescue you
  19. If at any point in your life you have to hire a lawyer, check first that they have all their fingers. If not then they have probably been involved with a psychotic serial killer and should certainly be avoided
  20. In this week’s episode there is talk of moving Joe Carroll to an alternative secure unit. Now surely nothing could go wrong during his transportation. It’s not as if he has ‘Followers’ in every walk of life out there. Oh well, I suppose I will just have to watch it and see!

I have the feeling that ‘The Following’ may not make it to a second series so today I leave you with 5 series I wasted my life watching only to see them ‘binned’ after one series

  1. Criminal Minds Suspect Behaviour…….should never have been made in the first place. I love Criminal Minds but this spin-off was truly awful
  2. The Nine….series about the lives of people caught up in a bank raid. I think that The Nine may have been the number of people watching it
  3. Pushing Daisies….quirky comedy with the delightful Anna Friel…deserved a better fate
  4. Journeyman..Kevin McKidd involved in random bouts of time travelling. Even being set in San Francisco did not save it
  5. Vanished…..very aptly named series about the disappearance of a senator’s wife…did not even make it to the end of the first series…it just…well..vanished

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore,
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
`'Tis some visitor,' I muttered, `tapping at my chamber door -
Only this, and nothing more.'

Oh it’s OK it’s only the postman. I think it could be that FBI bullet-proof vest I was waiting for. Wait a minute he’s not my usual postman. He looks like he could be a ‘follower’ and what’s that large black bird perched on his shoulder?

See you next week…..hopefully!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

See a girl, you can go and get her, all your troubles will be out of reach

Young Ben and I went to the seaside last week in search of adventure and crabs.

I took him to the beach at Prestwick where I spent most of my free time in the 60s. We parked about the midway point next to what was the sailing club and a now derelict building which has been many things over the years

We headed south towards Ayr in search of rocks and hopefully crustaceans. I remembered coming to this spot with my dad and our dog when I was young and collecting driftwood to take back for our fire.

Perhaps it was still too cold for crabs, I am not familiar with their lifestyle, but the only ones we discovered were similar to the parrot in the Monty Python sketch. Fortunately Ben did not notice this so we picked up one of the stiff fellows and gently lobbed him back into the sea. Both the crab and Ben seemed happy with that
 We headed back along the prom heading north now and passed a group of young ladies who seemed as if they were looking for Seven Brothers.

As we reached the other end of the prom we arrived at what is now a play area but when I was young was an open air swimming pool and this is where I spent most of my summer days in the 60s

My mum and dad would buy me a season ticket for the pool so to make full use of it my friends and I would be there every day after school before the summer holidays and virtually every day thereafter when the holidays arrived.

Regardless of the weather we would be on our bikes and cycling down to the pool.
Some days the pool was mobbed, other days not so but it was always a great place to meet friends and see girls that you would seriously consider talking to (maybe on the next visit)

I never could dive properly but I remember jumping off the top 'dale', probably to impress some girl I was considering talking to. I jumped off that spot quite a few times but I don't think she was ever looking. I think eventually they took that top platform down because it was too high

Although I lived in Ayr my house in Moore Place was literally a stones throw from the boundary with Prestwick and my Primary School Heathfield had a front entrance in Ayr and a rear entrance in Prestwick. This meant that when it was time for Secondary School I went to Ayr Academy and many of my Primary School friends went to Prestwick Academy

Just at the top of Moor Place there was a field situated in Prestwick which back in the 60s was home to a collection of derelict air-raid shelters, including one which was known as the 'threepenny bit' because it was shaped like a threepenny bit. That was how it worked back then. Say what you see! We used to get up to all sorts of not very crazy things in those air-raid shelters. They have long since been knocked down and replaced with a large housing estate

 Heading north along Adamton Road you would come to The Oval where we used to play football and tennis and one year we even signed up for practice at Prestwick Cricket Club but being Scottish we soon realised we were not meant to be playing cricket and went back to football and thinking about talking to girls

I drive past The Oval when I head down from Glasgow to watch Ayr United these days and every time I pass Crandleyhill Road just off Adamton Road I remember meeting Susan Waddell there in the 60s after her music lesson so that we could go to a party. I may not have taken up cricket but I knew with Susan I was batting way out of my league and it was a fairly brief innings

When we were slightly older one of the highlights of the week was going to Prestwick Airport to hang out and watch planes and think about talking to girls. Back then there was an outside Observation Deck and in the 70s Concorde could be seen at Prestwick
It was much earlier however when Prestwick Airport had it's most famous visitor. In 1960 Elvis Presley made, reputedly, his only ever visit to the UK when he touched down at Prestwick en route home to the USA from army service in Germany

Many locals believe even such a short stay in Prestwick inspired the later Elvis hit 'Viva Las Vegas'

Before we left for the day I felt it was my duty to bore Young Ben with a bit of historical culture so we visited Bruce's Well which is fairly close to the seafront

I told him the story of Bruce and the spider but he only wanted to know if it was the same spider that climbed up the water spout. We may need to revisit that one in a few years

Hopefully if we go back in the warmer weather there will be better crab activity to keep him amused and I will have remembered a few more boyhood haunts where I thought about talking to girls. There are still a great number of places like that....

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Like a lazy flowing river surrounding castles in the sky and the crowd is growing bigger list'nin' for the happy sounds and I got to let them fly

 I noticed there was a TV programme on the other night titled 'When Albums Ruled The World' and it led me to think about how I have listened to music throughout my life and how the 'carrier' for that music has changed over the years

When my dad died he left behind a vast collection of books he had acquired (and read) during his lifetime and because they meant so much to him I have had severe difficulty letting go of them myself. When my time comes my sons will have to deal with my vinyl record collection and I only hope it receives the due deference it deserves

There were also a few old records in my dad's belongings. Most of these were Al Jolson 78s and they currently sit alongside my own collection

When I first started buying records in the 60s I could only afford 45s rather than LPs and much as I would like to say the first single I ever bought was The Beatles or The Stones, I have a nagging recollection that it was 'Come Outside' by Mike Sarne featuring the dulcet tones of Wendy Richards

Fortunately I had two older brothers that were record buying teenagers at the time so I could work out who I liked listening to their music choices. I also recall my oldest brother owned a tape recorder back then and would tape music from the radio

By the time the 70s came along I was building up my own record collection and would have favourite artists like Dylan, Cat Stevens and Stevie Wonder and would buy any new album by them whenever it came out

I always felt with vinyl albums there was much more to them than CDs or tapes. To me the covers were an art form in their own right and often found a place on my bedroom wall (inside a plastic record sleeve of could not use tape or drawing pins directly on your album cover)

By the mid 70s I was driving and in order to listen to my own music in cars I had to start buying albums on cassette as well as vinyl. I remember when I worked as a trainee surveyor for a building company at this time and on occasions was given the task of delivering tenders. I was given the use of a senior surveyor's company car and installed in this was an 8-track cartridge player. I felt on top of the world, driving a company car, listening to music on that very strange contraption and best of all, being paid (very little) for doing it.

One of the advantages of the cassette system was that you could record your own cassettes and have your own 'Greatest Hits' albums of your artists of choice and the introduction of the 'Walkman' meant you could take your music with you wherever you went.

I never had the same affinity for cassettes as I had for vinyl and when CDs arrived in the 80s cassettes were sent to that Great Car Boot Sale in the Sky

I , along with most of the music buying world, embraced CDs with open arms and for years my vinyl album collection was consigned to the downstairs cupboard, although somewhat ironically it was around this time that 12" singles were all the rage for a while and I remember buying the likes of Gorgio Moroder's The Chase from 'Midnight Express' , 'Guilty' by Mike Oldfield, 'West End Girls' by Pet Shop Boys and the wonderful extended remix of 'Say Hello, Wave Goodbye' by Soft Cell.

However most favourite vinyl albums were re bought on Cd and listened to in-house or in the car. I even discovered through a friend that you could download music onto your computer and transfer it on to a blank CD. This rocked my music world. It meant you could find an old obscure single from the 60s and put it on a CD on it's own or in the company of other equally obscure old singles. You could also make 'mood' or 'Themed' CDs. I spent way too much time on these compiling 'The Greatest Hits of my Life' and 'Happy' CDs and 'Sad' CDs (strangely mostly 'Sad' ones)

Nowadays even the CD is becoming obsolete with i pods and their successors and currently everyone seems to listen to music on their phones

I have resurrected my vinyl albums in an effort to restore my faith in music and just to annoy my sons. My record collection and I will not go quietly

I leave you this week with the Favourite 20 Vinyl Albums I have in my possession (limited to one per artist)

1. Blonde on Blonde..........Bob Dylan...............probably my favourite album of all time
2. Born to Run...................Springsteen.............tough choice but it does have Born to Run, Thunder Road and Jungleland
3. Rubber Soul..................Beatles..................for some reason I do not have A Hard Day's Night on vinyl
4. Tea For The Tillerman....Cat Stevens.........for a hapless and hopeless romantic guy in the 70s Cat was my go-to guy
5. Blue...............................Joni Mitchell...........and Joni was my go-to girl
6. Songs of Leonard Cohen...Lenny................just in case you needed cheering up
7. After The Goldrush........Neil Young...........Wow I must have been a real fun guy to know back then
8. Innervisions...................Stevie Wonder......wonderful
9. Hunky Dory.....................Bowie..............loved Ziggy and Aladdin Sane but this one has Life On Mars
10. Transformer.................Lou Reed..........Perfect Day, Satellite of Love and the perfect Walk on the Wildside
11. For Your Pleasure........Roxy Music....great music, great cover
12. St Dominic's Preview....Van Morrison...if you have never heard 'Listen To The Lion' then make the effort to do so. You will not be disappointed
13. What's Going On ...Marvin Gaye   when Marvin became more than just a pop singer
14. Hotel would have been One of these Nights but I recall lending that album to a girlfriend in the 70s and losing it in the subsequent break-up. I really miss that LP
15. Tapestry......Carole King......when Carole decided to sing her own songs and it was worth the wait
16. Rumours......Fleetwood Mac...I imagine everyone of a certain vintage would have this on their list and in their collection
17. A Trick of the Tail..........Genesis...could have been Wind and Wuthering or And Then There Were Three but this one has the wonderful Ripples
18. There Goes Rhymin' Simon...Paul Simon...Something So Right....yes it was
19. The Kick Inside.....Kate Bush......simply stunning
20. Tubular Bells......Mike was different and a treat for stereo headphones

As you may notice I bought most of my vinyl albums in the 70s but there are not many albums in the last 30/40 years that I may have on CD that would find a place on this list with perhaps the exceptions being Damien Rice and The Blue Nile

Now, I wonder if it would be too late to ask for my Eagles album back

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I load up my revolver, sharpen up my knife, some redneck messin' with me man, I'm bound to have his life

It was sad to read about the death of Larry Hagman last week, an actor who will always be remembered as J.R, Ewing the larger than life likable rogue from the 80s TV series Dallas

Dallas was huge back then and the hype and excitement that surrounded the "Who Shot J.R?" episode gripped a whole nation and was even covered on National news bulletins

At the time Hagman was negotiating a new contract so for a while it was touch and go whether J.R. would pull through or not but the makers realised that Dallas without J.R. would be like Taggart without Taggart, so he pulled through to fight dirty another day

I remember that time very well. My wife was eight months pregnant with our first child and we were living in a one bedroom flat in Cathcart. Blondie were at number 1 in the charts with "The Tide Is High", soon to be displaced by Abba with "Super Trouper" which was number 1 when my first son was born. Ayr United had narrowly missed out on reaching the Scottish League Cup Final as a result of some extremely dubious decisions which went in favour of Dundee in the Semi-Final, a pint of beer cost 35p and John Lennon was still alive. Good times. (Oh, Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister and Ronald Reagan had just become president of the U.S.A...make up your own mind about those ones)

I do not watch Eastenders or Coronation Street or the likes so in my lifetime the only other TV episode which seemed to cause such widespread excitement was when Richard Kimble finally caught up with the one-armed man in the last ever episode of "The Fugitive" in 1967

Dallas was full of excellent characters although even J.R. didn't seem to notice when his mum changed from Barbara Bel Geddes to Donna Reed for a while and then back to Barbara Bel Geddes again

At least when actor Jim Davis died they had the good grace not to replace him as Jock Ewing but instead to introduce Howard Keel as Miss Ellie's new beau. I always half-expected him to burst into "Bless your beautiful hide"

His loving wife Sue Ellen suffered much at the hands of J.R. but at least he did give her a reference as "a drunk, a tramp and an unfit mother"

His brother Bobby's wife played by Victoria Principal (most of the time) had the unfortunate distinction to be involved in probably the worst plot line ever when she awoke to find her husband in the shower at the start of Season 10. This came as a shock to most of us who had seen Bobby die at the end of season 8. This was explained away as just a dream by Pamela which left the whole of Season 9 as never having happened. I believe I gave up at that point or I may have just dreamt that I gave up. Who Knows? Who cares?

They even made a Dallas spin-off series called Knots Landing which I managed to avoid and I could not bring myself to watch the recent revamped production of Dallas currently showing on TV

Hagman also starred in the 1960s comedy series 'I Dream of Jeannie' which was remarkably similar to the 1960s comedy series 'Bewitched' but 'Bewitched' had Elizabeth Montgomery and her twitchy nose which always won me over

His fellow Dallas stars Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray were both apparently with him and his family when he died and spoke very highly of him. It seems in real life he was nothing like the scheming character he played so well on screen and he will be sadly missed

Wherever he is now he should take note of one of his own quotes as J.R.:
"Like my daddy always said: if you can't get in the front door, just go around the back"

Monday, November 19, 2012

You messed about, I caught you out

Last week Chris Gayle of the West Indies hit a six from the first ball of their Test Match against Bangladesh.

The first Cricket Test Match was in 1877 and since then there have been over 2,000 more and yet this is the first time this has ever been done in a Test Match

It comes as no surprise that it is Chris Gayle who has created this record. I watched him recently as he set about destroying teams in the T20 World Cup in Sri Lanka and he does hit a cricket ball an incredibly long way. He played a major part as West Indies went on to win the competition beating hosts Sri Lanka in the final. My dad had an expression he used to use when he watched cricket, "Hit out or get out!". I think he would have approved of Chris Gayle.

I am not a huge cricket fan but I started watching it on TV in the late 60s and early 70s when I should have been studying for exams. Some of the greatest players I remember were part of the West Indies team over the years. The one and only Sir Garfield Sobers who famously hit 6 sixes from one over in 1968 whilst playing for Nottinghamshire. Sir Viv Richards, Gordon Greenidge, Clive Lloyd and Brian Lara all produced great batting performances over the years. Lara scored 400 and 375 against England and also managed to score 501 for Warwickshire in 1994

West Indian fast bowlers have a history of terrorising the opposition and I well recall the likes of Malcolm Marshall,Curtly Ambrose, Joel Garner and Michael Holding doing just that on a regular basis. Micheal Holding now commentates on the cricket on TV and has one of those voices you could listen to all day

The West Indian Cricket Team is made up of a Sporting Confederation of 15 countries, British dependencies and non-British dependencies which probably explains why there so often appears to be a lack of team harmony but on their day they are probably the most entertaining cricket team in the world

It has always surprised me that our friends from across the pond have never taken to cricket. It is a game full of statistics which American sports fans just love and if they can get excited about really tall men running up and down a court and throwing a ball through a hoop and also have a 'World Seies' for 'Rounders' why can't they also embrace this riveting sport. Just think of all the advertising revenue from TV adverts over a five day Test Match.

....and then there are the fielding positions in cricket....backward short leg, deep cover point, silly mid-off, long off, long on, gully...and we are merely scratching the surface here. Surely that has more appeal than pitcher, catcher, shortstop, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, left fielder, centre (sorry, center) fielder and right fielder. I mean come on guys let's use a little imagination here. Couldn't you find room for a deep square leg somewhere in there?

I leave you this week with my Top 10 Cricket Related Songs

1. It's Over.............................................Roy Orbison
2. Bat Out Of Hell..................................Meatloaf
3. Run, Run, Run....................................The Velvet Underground
4. Cover Me...........................................Bruce Springsteen
5. Catch Us If You Can..........................The Dave Clarke Five
6. Long Leg(ged) Woman Dressed In Black....Mungo Jerry
7. Slip Sliding Away........................................Paul Simon
8. The Point Of No Return...........................Jeff Lynne
9. Silly (mid-on) Love Songs........................Wings
10. Theme From 'The Third Man'.................Anton Karas

I am going to declare at this point. See you next week! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

........Just for one day

So, in the course of a week Young Ben's obsession has moved from Fireman Sam to Spider-man.

His mum bought him a Spider-man Comic with a free Spider Gun and that was that. Inside the comic were mini-posters of Spidey and other Superheroes and I remembered that years ago I used to cut out figures from comics (probably footballers) and paste them on to card so that they could stand up. Well with the help of an empty Coco Pops box and using my best Blue Peter skills Spider-man, Captain America, the Torch, the Thing and Wolverine were suddenly displayed in their 2D prime

Being made from paper and card they are not going to last long in Ben's World but he appreciated the effort just the same

During lunch with my brother this week we were discussing Superhero Comics and growing up you tended either to be a DC Comics fan or a Marvel Comics one. He is a bit older than me and was always a DC man but I embraced the brave new world of Marvel Comics with open arms

In the interests of fairness I will give you my Top 5 Superheroes from both camps and you can make up your own mind


1. Superman........the Man of Steel who wore his underpants outside his trousers and hid his real identity with a pair of glasses is probably still the most famous Superhero of them all. Christopher Reeve famously played Superman in four movies in the 70s and 80s and Brandon Routh played him in 2006. There was also the long running TV series Smallville in which Tom Welling starred as the young Clark Kent. My favourite Superman adversary was Mr Mxyzptlk from the Fifth Dimension (the place not the 60s pop group). He could only be stopped by tricking him into saying or spelling his own name backwards. This always intrigued me as most of us could not even say his name forwards never mind backwards

2. Batman..............The Caped Crusader is currently having a massive resurgence as The Dark Knight played in the cinema by Christian Bale but I best remember him from the 60s TV series starring Adam West and Burt Ward and featuring wonderful villains like The Joker, The Riddler, Penguin, Catwoman and Mr Freeze

3. Only at Number 3 and already I am struggling....The Flash....he could run very fast. I guess that makes Usain Bolt a modern day Superhero

4. Aquaman......if any wrongdoings were happening at sea then he was your (Aqua)man but as brilliantly portrayed in Family Guy any misdeed on dry land would result in him being only a water treading spectator

5. Green Arrow/Green Lantern.....really scraping the barrel now. Take your had a bow and arrow, the other had a lantern but they were both green


1. Spider-man......."with great power there must also come great responsibility"...after Peter Parker was bitten by that radio-active spider things were never quite the same again. Tobey Maguire played the webslinger in three Spiderman movies and Spidey is played by Andrew Garfield in 'The Amazing Spider-Man" released earlier this year. My own favourite villains in Spider-Man were Doctor Octopus, The Green Goblin and Sandman

2. The Fantastic Four.....the Beatles of the Superhero world consisted of The Human Torch (a flying fireball), the Invisible Woman (I am not sure what she could do), her husband Mr Fantastic who could stretch all parts of his body into incredible lengths and shapes which was a huge bonus for Mrs Fantastic and my personal favourite The Thing, a sort of grumpy Mr T with stone-like flesh

The Thing never lost a game of Rock/Paper/Scissors with his friend Edward Scissorhands

3. Iron Man....he has been brilliantly brought to the big screen by the excellent Robert Downey Jr who has almost single handed managed to turn this somewhat run of the mill Superhero into a major player

4. The X-Men....the X-Men have had more changes to their line-up than Fleetwood Mac but the ones I remember from my early comic buying days were Cyclops/Iceman/Arch-Angel/Beast and Marvel Girl (obviously less PC back then or they should have been called the X-People)
The X-Men have now become a major movie franchise and the 2000 movie starred Halle Berry as Storm, so nothing bad to say about that one whatsoever

5. The Hulk....."Don't make me angry.You wouldn't like me when I'm angry"....the not so jolly green giant with the heart of gold was supposedly inspired by the story 'Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde" and somehow Bruce Banner's trousers always seemed to still fit the mighty torso of the Hulk. The TV series always seemed to end each episode with Bruce Bannerwalking along some country road with suitably depressing accompanying music. On the big screen he has been portrayed in recent years by both Eric Bana and Edward Norton

Captain America, Thor and The Silver Surfer don't even make the Top 5 so I do believe the strength in depth shown by Marvel outweighs the contribution of the undoubted talents of Superman and Batman

As Robin would have put it..."Holy Superheroes Batman! I think we have a winner!"

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I met you in a cave, you were painting buffalo, I said I'd be your slave, follow wherever you go

The silhouettes of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and a Stegosaurus loom menacingly against a dark November morning sky.

Where else would you be but Glasgow? Last Saturday morning Young Ben and I dropped his dad off in Anniesland to play football and carried on out Great Western Road to Jurassic Parr in search of Golf and Dinosaurs

Armed only with an apple and a banana we entered the enclosure, protected on all sides by high fences and barbed wire.

We followed the dinosaur footprints and were soon in the company of giants from another age

A Triceratops mocked my feeble attempt at a four footer as we halved the first hole

Young Ben's concentration was broken by grunting noises from the bushes. He told me to stop trying to put him off

A helicopter in the middle of the 6th green made judging the line of your putt somewhat difficult

Despite having several T. Rex figures at home Ben was rather unsure of the main attraction at Jurassic Parr. He was OK when it was still and silent but as you pass it you set off a sensor and the T. Rex moves and roars. Ben was not altogether happy with this

Given that I was two holes down I had to resort to setting off the T. Rex sensor just as Ben was taking his shot. All is fair in love and mini-golf.

Not exactly Jack Nicklaus on the Swilcan Bridge at St Andrew's but Ben was in no mood to pose as he had fallen behind by this time

Ben informed me that if my ball was in the nice friendly Dragon Serpent's mouth I could get it back myself and that it would cost me a penalty shot

A passing Brachiosaurus proved an unnecessary distraction as I dropped yet another shot and Ben drew level once again

Ben strides down the 18th in victorious style as a collapse of Adam Scott proportions allows Grandpa to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory

Ben thoroughly enjoyed his time at Jurassic Parr and although I would have liked to have seen a life size model of Raquel Welch in her fur bikini amongst the prehistoric creatures I also thought it was excellent

By the time we left the sun was shining and in the afternoon I saw  my team Ayr United crush the mighty Inverness Clachnacuddin 2-1 in the Scottish Cup so all in all a more than satisfactory day all round.