Computer Dreams
Aug18

Computer Dreams

A VHS recording transferred to digital (as they all should be) highlighting the state of the art in computer graphics from the dim and distant past of 1988. Hosted by Amanda Pays this hour-long showcase is a visual treat and a great trip down memory lane for those of us who lived through this exciting period of shiny surfaces rendered over the course of days in ray tracing...

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Sex In Space
Feb24

Sex In Space

From the November 1959 edition of Adam magazine comes this article titled Sex in Space, written by Ronald Sturgeon. Firstly, the artwork is excellent. The image has great attention to detail and one look at it could instantly date the picture to the time period; right at the start of the space race. I love the aerial coming into the front of the rocket as well as the handles, pedals, levers, and switches for both the female astronaut pilot’s spaceship seating location and her male colleague’s too, who’s possibly performing the role of communications officer onboard the snug vessel. The shielding in front of the rocket engines is a good touch, showing a lot of thought and love has gone into the diagram. Sadly, there are a couple of disturbing elements to the illustration too. There’s the jug of alcohol, clearly of the illegal variety, and then there’s the action and look on the male astronaut’s face (which may have come from indulging of the alcohol); we can see that he’s got a can opener and the implication is that he’s going to open up the ship from the outside and then open up his colleague sexually, whether she likes it or not. Back in the late 50s or early 60s (possibly even later too) this type of dominating man seeking what was deemed rightfully his was considered par for the course and the picture was funny. Of course, the imagery was in a magazine for men so it’s not that surprising either. Still, the idea that what’s illustrated more-or-less amounts to a diagram just before space rape doesn’t sit quite so well these days. And there’s the stupidity angle that’s hard to get over too: why not just walk through the ship and not damage the craft? Alcohol again? Some quotes from the article itself: This business of women and sex in space has long been something of a problem for conscientious science fiction writers. While accustomed to taking the problems of time-travel and interstellar flight in their stride the iminence [sic] of actual space flight has given them pause where putting a broad into orbit is concerned. Usually, they solve the problem by making her a stowaway – or by preceding the U.S. Government by omitting the girls altogether until the intrepid spacemen get to Venus or Mars or Mercury or wherever they are going. Note the use of the word “broad” there. So how are the boys (and girls) going to get their sex in space in the coming age or [sic] planetary travel? Somebody is going to have to come up with a power system...

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Angelfire 0001
Feb14

Angelfire 0001

I’ve taken a look at Angelfire before but today I decided to just hunt for pictures from the old domain and, because there are a lot of them, I narrowed the search to just those pictures containing “0001” in the filename. Obviously, these aren’t all of...

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An Amateur Movie Adventure
Feb01

An Amateur Movie Adventure

I don’t know why I started on the voyage of discovery that took me on an adventure through movies made on VHS tape and Video8 and Super 8 film recorders of the 1980s and 1990s, I only know that I enjoyed the trip. Professor Pompanickel Goes Terminal – 1992 I first found this short movie on the Internet Archive where I learnt that “Professor Pompanickel calls Gareth over to view his latest invention – a method to traverse the Universal Data Sphere allowing Specialised Security to access data from anywhere, simply and easily.” In some ways this film made me think of that classic work of Canadian film production, Overdrawn at the Memory Bank; computers, virtual interfacing doohickeys, etc. Note the opening part of this film also features a walk through Portsmouth’s Guildhall Square. Beat The System – 1993 The writer, producer, and director of the previous movie led me to this more-polished production made by members of Bournemouth University in 1993. The theme of computers and people interfacing with them – hacking, if you will – carries through but now there’s an Orwellian gameshow element to the film too. Looking for similarities in the big world of big budget productions there’s a hint of The Running Man in this one. Die 6 Astronauten (a Super 8 film by Dagie Brundert, 1992) Every adventure needs a moment of excitement and that comes in this one courtesy of a complete change of pace and something completely unrelated to the first two amateur films. Die 6 Astronauten is a short, stop-motion, art movie featuring six astronauts (you probably guessed) and (you probably guessed this part too) it was filmed on Super 8 stock in 1992 by Dagie Brundert. It’s a wonderful little movie which follows the tiny characters of Hili, Pävonen, Ngoum, Pirx, Nelson, and Dupont as they explore our world and the treasures that can be found within its open refrigerators. 23 Barbiepuppen kippen um / 23 Barbie Dolls Collapse (1988) From the same art movie maker although a lot earlier in her chosen profession is this oddly mesmerising movie with a series of dolls falling over in different ways. That’s all there is to it. And yet you’ll want to watch it. You’ll want to guess how the next doll will tumble. Fall to the side? Fall on her face? Land on another doll? Compelling stuff. The Afterlife (1984) Something else shot on Super 8, but this time it’s from Ohio native actor and director Damon Packard who produced this short film – not of great quality but that’s half the appeal with these amateur movies – called The...

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Rutland High School Yearbook 1971
Jan15

Rutland High School Yearbook 1971

The Internet Archive is always a great place to have a virtual wander through if you’re forever finding yourself stuck in a timewarp of nostalgia like me. It doesn’t help you escape the timewarp of nostalgia – not that you’d ever want to because it’s nice there – but it does make it even more enjoyable. So, today’s discovery has been the the publications of the Rutland Historical Society and, in particular, the Rutland High School Yearbooks. You might have been able to work that out from the title of this post because I can see you and you look smart. It’s quite possible that some schools in the UK do yearbooks and possibly have for some some time but in my experience they’re a purely American phenomenon that I’ve heard about, seen glimpses of in films and on TV, and know next-to-nothing else about. This makes discovering scanned American high school yearbooks very interesting and for no other reason than it’s the year I was born in I’ve decided to take a nose through the Rutland High School Yearbook of 1971. The inside cover and evidence that before there were fonts there were still fonts. And what beautiful fonts they were! Look at that “70-71” and picture any other decade in which a more suitable font wrote something appropriate to the era. You can’t! Mostly because you’re not sure what I’m saying. I’m not sure what I’m saying and I just wrote it. I think I’m saying it’s quite seventiesish. A message from the superintendent Dr James Tinney. He knew that the students of Rutland High School were going to accomplish great things. But did he know know? Or did he get some kind of guidance through… … astrology!? No. It was neither of those things. He was just being polite. He couldn’t wait to see the back of them. But who is them? I’m glad you asked. David Cook. CRASH! Jan Eastman. D.A.R. girl. I dont know what a D.A.R. girl is. I think it’s probably got something to do with her hair. It’s quite impressive hair. Judy Godnick. Teensy-weensy bikinis and BIG MOUTH. Judy sounds like the sort of person I’d have liked. And she had a dune buggy. You never know when those will come in useful. You suspect it’s around dunes but you never know for sure. David Alberico. One of the Fantastic Four. I’ve ruled out Invisible Woman but he could be any of the other three. Richard Savage. Good head. Well, that’s nice to know. High schools were very progressive back in the early seventies. Barbara McKirryher. Which boy this week? The...

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Japanese TV Adverts
Jan11

Japanese TV Adverts

I don’t speak Japanese. I think that will become very obvious very quickly as I try to work out what these old TV adverts from Japan, home of bewildering imagery, are actually for. Let’s see. There are giant, flying insects, a man in a baseball uniform, crabs holding yellow boxes with chicken symbols on them, and a wind-up power cord winding in. This is probably an advert for Click Clack Cluck, a natural compound made from crab claws and cockerels that both repels insects and acts as a dampening field for electrical signals. Of course, it doesn’t work because if it did you wouldn’t be able to film the advert because of all the interference. That’s probably why the product ultimately failed in the market if I had to guess. That and the smell. I’m guessing Japanese people sometimes just fork up the money to brag about things. Take this woman who is both proud of her cleavage and her arm wrestling prowess. Watch as she defeats the latest challenger to her crown, an advanced robot killing machine from the Sony Corporation. “There can be only one,” she says with a mixture of pride and derision directed at the nation of Japan at the end. A pretty straightforward public service announcement here. If you’re not a sexual deviant then you can sit down without problems but if you feel the urge to stick things up your back passage then, well, you get what you deserve. In summary: things come out; things don’t go in. A lot is often said about the Japanese attitude towards family, especially elder members of the family, but this advert seems to show that the familial concern goes both ways as a doting grandfather happily shows that where his granddaughter is concerned he’s prepared to give up his arms to manufacture top quality soap for her flawless skin. Some products are so uniquely Japanese – Whale Hunting for Science Diplomas and Godzilla Deterrent Spray are frequently cited in lists like this – and this is another example. Arm Foam now comes in a canister. No more mixing it in a cauldron like your ancestors. If you’ve ever wondered why Japanese people don’t seem to spend much time at the beach – it’s the thought that’s kept me awake at night more often than any other – then the answer may just come from this old commercial which claims to have a juice drink guaranteed to appease the terrifying Bee People, mutant hybrids that inhabit the shorelines of Japan’s islands tormenting anyone foolhardy enough to risk a quick dip in the ocean. Like many adverts I...

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