Sunday, May 29, 2016

Enough To Make Your Eyes Water

The cover has been released for the five hundredth issue of Doctor Who Magazine. The first issue of,what was then, Doctor Who Weekly was published on 11 October 1979, when The Doctor was still being played by yer actual Tom Baker and fans were currently enjoying Douglas Adams's series seventeen story City Of Death. The magazine began life as a weekly publication with a cover price of twelve pee. Featuring exclusive interviews with Doctors, companions and even some monsters, the magazine included comic strips, features, news and interviews. Among the buyers of issue one were an eight-year-old David Tennant, sixteen-year-old Russell Davies and seventeen-year-old Steven Moffat (OBE). Plus, yer actual Keith Telly Topping (a few weeks shy of his fifteenth birthday, who got his copy at WH Smiths in Eldon Square if you're taking notes, dear blog reader). All of them - including this blogger - have been fans of the magazine ever since. Doctor Who Magazine celebrates its five hundredth issue with an exclusive interview with yer actual Peter Capaldi, as well as a specially commissioned front cover where Peter recreates the first ever cover of the magazine. Commenting on the magazine's success, Peter said: 'The magazine was enormously helpful to me. When I started playing The Doctor I was able to get piles of them and dive in. I went out and bought lots of Doctor Who Magazines, because I deliberately wanted to steep myself in Doctor Who and reconnect to it in a very kind of visceral way, to the affection and the heartbeat of it.' The Magazine also talks to Tom Baker in what he calls is his last ever interview with the magazine: 'Fie hundred is a big milestone and I'm sure you're right to want to mark it BIG. Your magazine has been extremely good to me and has helped to create a warm and faithful fanbase for the programme. I am still signing first editions after all these years.' The five hundredth issue comes in a card envelope and is a bumper one hundred and sixteen pages, priced at nine knicker and ninety nine pennies of yer English coin. Other highlights include an interview with The Lord Thy God Steven Moffat and a special treat for fans also in the form of an exclusive letter to Doctor Who Magazine readers from new companion Pearl Mackie. Also featured is an interview with the late William Hartnell, dating from 1965 and written by an eleven year old fan.
In celebration of the five hundredth issue, the following terrific little video feature was created, whilst a celebration event was held midweek attended by the great and the good. Including this chap (thou shalt worship no other gods before he) ...
... and four - count 'em - current or former editors of the mag, Alan Barnes Gary Gillett, Tom Spilsbury and Dez Skinn who accepted an official Guinness World Record award for the longest running TV tie-in magazine in the world (thirty six years, two hundred and twelve days and counting).
An exotic new filming location has been rumoured for Sherlock series four (well, a bit more exotic than Bristol and Cardiff anyway). The production team is claimed to be heading to Marrakesh in Morocco to film scenes for the fourth series, according to this website. And, the Metro.
TV comedy line of the week came, as usual, from Friday night's Have I Got News For You, and guest host the delightful Katherine Ryan's comments regarding her home country: 'Please don't come to Canada. With Trump, we already have Americans threatening to come. We've got to, now, build a wall. Americans are not as physically fit as Mexicans, so it won't have to be a high wall! In fact, a speed-bump should do it!'
Second best comedy line of the week was from the latest episode of Would I Lie To You? and good old reliable Bob Mortimer's completely mental - and, apparently, true - story about he and his gang of friends (who included a chap nicknamed Cheesy, not because his surname was Cheeseman but rather because his mother gave him cheese slices to eat to help clear up his acne). And the game they used to play in other people's gardens on the Hellforsaken Teeside estate where they grew up, called, improbably, 'theft and shrubbery.'
Cillian Murphy will return as mob boss Tommy Shelby in two further series of Peaky Blinders as part of a new season of BBC dramas including a Barbara Windsor biopic and an adaptation of One Day writer David Nicholls' Us. The acclaimed and award-winning Peaky Blinders, currently in its third series on BBC2 and about to return on Netflix in the US, has been commissioned for a fourth and a fifth series. The epic 1920s Birmingham-based gangster series, created and written by Steven Knight, began on BBC2 in 2013 and has now become a global hit after Netflix bought it two years ago. Murphy described Shelby as 'one of the most intense, challenging characters I've had the opportunity to play.' The Barbara Windsor biopic, Babs, will be written by Tony Jordan, the former EastEnders and Life On Mars writer who was responsible for BBC1's recent Dickensian. The ninety-minute drama will be set in the 1990s and depict the former Carry On actress, who recently bowed out of EastEnders, looking back on her life. Windsor will not play herself but she will have a cameo in the drama. Windsor said: 'Although it's been spoken about in the past to do my life story, it wasn't until two years ago I was approached by the brilliant writer Tony Jordan and the BBC that I knew this was the right time and undoubtedly the only person I felt knew me well enough to tell my story.' David Nicholls' Us, about a couple whose marriage is on the rocks and go on a grand tour of European cities, will be turned into a series for BBC1. It will be adapted by Nick Payne. Nicholls said that Payne has written 'a wonderful script that is both funny and touching.' The BBC also announced that Peter Bowker's autism drama, The A Word, will return for a second six-part series. Bowker said that he was 'delighted the show has resonated with a wide audience. If the first series was about diagnosis and denial then the second series is about the journey that is undertaken when you "go public" about the fact that your child is different.' The BBC's acting director of television, Charlotte Moore said that BBC drama had 'a tremendous start to the year [and] it is clear audiences are looking for even greater ambition and high quality.' She said that she wanted to 'expand our range even further' and promised 'a mix of contemporary, provocative pieces and surprising stories.' The BBC has pumped more money into drama, including a large proportion of the savings that it made when it closed the BBC3 TV channel, taking it online only earlier this year. Its drama chief position is currently vacant following Polly Hill's decision last month to change channels from the BBC to ITV. The BBC also announced a further BBC2 drama, a ninety-minute adaptation of journalist Sathnam Sanghera's memoirs, The Boy With The Topknot. Born to Punjabi parents in the West Midlands it is an account of his childhood in 1980s Wolverhampton. Sanghera said that he was 'delighted and a little trepidatious' that the story was being adapted for TV.

There's a very good interview with yer actual Russell Davies his very self in the Gruniad this week promoting his forthcoming BBC adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
The Top Gear presenter Chris Evans has said he had to endure 'a perfect storm' of ignorant and wanky criticism from the scum tabloid press in the run-up to the top-rating BBC2 show's return on Sunday. Evans, who was given the job of reinventing the motoring series following the departure of Jezza Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May hit back at claims - mainly made in the Sun and so, therefore, about as reliable as a four pence piece - that he was unhappy with the signing of co-presenter Matt LeBlanc, that he had forced out a senior executive from the show and was 'out of control.' 'I thought it was ultimately funny,' Evans claimed - rather unconvincingly - to the Gruniad Morning Star of the criticism that mounted since he was given the Top Gear job nearly a year ago. 'Some of - almost all of - the observations from certain aspects of the press have been so nonsensical and so facile and fictitious. All the people they were talking about in lots of the stories know the truth.' A combative Evans – who was speaking at the new series' press launch, to which the Sun and its Murdoch stablemate The Times were, pointedly, excluded – said that he would be 'disappointed' if the new show is not watched by more than five million viewers. Asked whether the press hostility was because of him, the BBC, or the fact he was replacing Clarkson, Evans said it was likely to have been all of those reasons. 'I think it's the perfect storm. If that's your business to write these stories, this has got to be juicy. I think they had to go for it; in a way that's their job. Do I respect them for it? Do I like them for it? That's sort of not an issue.' When the allegations first surfaced, Evans said that he told his team: 'This is how it is, don't worry, this has happened to me in the past. It's only going to get worse, we are a big target so we are easy to hit. But it's our job to step out of the way, so you don't throw a punch and they fall over. I think they were looking for a bite and the one thing you do is don't bite. You never defend yourself because that's always going to be misconstrued. You hope maybe that other people defend you perhaps but the best way to respond to it all is to know you've done nothing wrong.' Last month the BBC took the unusual step of accusing the Sun of printing 'unfounded nonsense about Chris on a weekly, sometimes daily basis.' Asked about comparisons that would inevitably be drawn with the old Top Gear – and Clarkson, Hammond and May's new show on Amazon Prime, The Grand Tour – Evans said: 'I am a different person to Jeremy. I think Jeremy's hilarious, I am not like that. It's the old phrase, you have to be yourself, everyone else is taken. If you don't, you’re dead in the water. I think we've produced the best show we can produce, that's all we can do. It's out there, if people like us great, if people don't, we need to sneak off into the shadows. If we had to guess about the number of viewers we are going to get on Sunday night, you have got to say you would be disappointed if it was under five million. Five million-plus would be great, after that it doesn't matter.' The global launch of the new show, at its Surrey studios on Wednesday, was without the former Friends star LeBlanc, who programme-makers said was filming the BBC2 sitcom Episodes. He appeared in a video message instead. LeBlanc said: 'It's great that the show continues to prompt so much global interest, even before we have shown the first episode. I've had an amazing and crazy few months since joining Top Gear. We've accomplished a lot and I'm extremely proud of it.' He added earlier this week that suggestions of a feud with Evans were 'a big load of bullshit.' The success of the new line-up is crucial to the BBC and its commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, and worth around fifty million smackers per year. Along with its return on BBC2 on Sunday, it will be broadcast in eighty three countries on six continents within three hours of its UK debut. 'It's a pretty big audition for us,' said Evans. 'We hope it's going to be popular across the territories; we will know within seventy two hours of the show being broadcast,' he said. The first episode features supercars covered in laser guns, a race across the Moroccan wilds and a UK versus USA challenge in which Evans and LeBlanc race in two roofless Reliant Rialtos from London to Blackpool. The two presenters are part of a new line-up which also includes German racing driver Sabine Schmitz, former Formula 1 boss Eddie Jordan, The Stig and ... some other blokes you've never heard of. Guest celebrities no longer drive a reasonably priced car but a specially modified Mini Cooper around a track which includes a rally section and a jump. A BBC3 spin-off programme, Extra Gear, will be fronted by the blokes you've never heard of and will go live on the BBC iPlayer at the end of the BBC2 show. Jordan, the racing boss turned F1 pundit, predicted the new series would 'eclipse' the viewing figures for the old Top Gear, which was usually watched by a consolidated audience of between five million and six million viewers for its last series in 2015. 'I know Jeremy particularly well and I'm a huge fan,' said Jordan. 'That doesn't mean I don't want to be absolutely so much better. I think this will be a very different show. They had a very successful past and I think you will find this show will be more successful to a wider audience.' Evans said that the new show would focus on the cars which, he said, had become less important in recent series of Top Gear. He added that the main appeal of the show would be the films. 'The films are about capers, a gang show, having a right laugh,' he said. 'Hopefully it will be a hit worldwide but we've got to wait and see.'
Jack Dee and The Good Wife's Archie Panjabi will star in the Brexit spoof Power Monkeys. The Channel Four comedy - which comes from the team behind last year's Ballot Monkeys - is described as 'a six-part satire' poking fun at the upcoming EU referendum as well as Donald Trump's US presidential campaign. Dee and Claire Skinner will play Oliver and Sarah, colleagues in the pro-Europe 'Unity Unit', while Andy Nyman and Kevin McNally have been cast as characters on the 'Brexit Roadshow' bus. Panjabi is starring as Preeya, a careerist Tory who flits between being pro- and anti-Brexit, depending on who she wants to impress within the party.

BBC accused of racism over documentary, said a headline over a short 'news' article on page seventeen of The Times on Thursday. Criticism of the BBC from a newspaper owned by billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch? How very unusual. However, a read of the first paragraph the the article gave a somewhat different impression: 'The BBC has faced a backlash on social media over its documentary Last Whites Of The East End, about ethnicity in London,' it claimed. Now, 'backlash' is, of course, a particular favourite tabloid word, and it is almost always misused. For context, here is the dictionary definition: 'A strong negative reaction by a large number of people, especially to a social or political development.' But, surely The Times would have good reason to use the word here? No, it most definitely did not. After a couple of paragraphs describing the programme, which was screened on BBC1 last Tuesday, came the following sentences: 'Some viewers praised the show for giving an honest glimpse of life in areas that have experienced huge demographic changes, but Stephen Timms, the Labour MP for East Ham, said that the portrayal was one-sided. One Twitter user said that the title "suggests there's only a handful left [and] plays into racist lies."' It went on to quote a BBC 'source' noting that there had been only seven complaints. 'The film features a wide range of people voicing their personal opinions and shows many different facets of life in Newham, exploring both positive and negative views.' So, this 'backlash', seemingly, amounts to one gobshite rent-a-quote MP, a single - anonymous (and, therefore, probably fictitious) - Twitter user and seven complaints to the BBC. A commenter to the story's online version on The Times website, one Nicholas Watson, seemingly spoke for many when he wrote: 'I don't understand [the] Times's presentation of this "story" - if it is even one. There were only seven complaints, meaning it's not really a story. And if anything, it should be: The BBC only received seven complaints about a documentary that the MP for the area said gave a one-sided portrayal about the changing ethnic mix.' Testify, Brother Nicholas. There was, actually no story here at all. Quite apart from the hyping of 'backlash,' the headline relied on one - anonymous - tweet, which is the sole mention of 'racism' (since we, and the paper itself for that matter, have no clue whatsoever about the nature of the seven complaints direct to the corporation). So, why publish this piece of nonsense in the first place? Another chance to knock the BBC from inside Castle Murdoch, possibly? Sorry, not possibly, definitely. Whatever the reason, it's a pretty pathetic piece of slovenly none-journalism from a newspaper that used to be trusted and respected before billionaire tyrant Rupert Murdoch got his grubby hands on it.

Army bandsman and magician Richard Jones has won the final of this year's Britain's Got Toilets, apparently. The lance corporal of The Household Cavalry impressed the judges and the public with his military-themed act. 'I can't believe it, thank you so much to everyone that voted - it's been an incredible experience, it means the world to me,' the twenty five-year-old said. Jones wins a two hundred and fifty thousand smackers prize and the opportunity to appear at The Royal Variety Performance. He is the first magician to win the toilets show in its ten-year history. The final drew the lowest overnight audience in the show's history. An average of eight million people tuned in to watch the finale as it was broadcast live. Viewing peaked at 9.7 million as Jones was announced the winner. The previous overnight low was in 2014, when 10.7 million saw the singing act Collabro win.
Tony Hall has said 'far-reaching powers' given to parliamentary auditors to examine the BBC's finances must not undermine the corporation's editorial freedom or ability to take creative risks. The BBC Director General told a public accounts committee session in Salford that while he welcomed the National Audit Office's role in 'making sure we are spending money appropriately,' he wanted 'greater clarity' over how the corporation's creative freedom would be 'exempted' from the auditing process, and what protections would be given to commercial arm BBC Worldwide. The NAO currently carries out about two investigations a year into the BBC's finances, but under plans in the White Paper published earlier this month it will no longer have to ask for permission to launch an audit. 'There is broad agreement, and I can't speak for all of us but I think also from the NAO, that we need to make sure that beyond all doubt the editorial and creative independence is maintained,' said Hall. 'How we work out that is clear in the editorial work the NAO do with us is really important. I think the White Paper rightly has a chapter on the distinctiveness of the BBC defined as taking risks, pushing boundaries, doing things that we hope will work but may not creatively work.' He added that the government had 'considered' the corporation's arguments about ensuring the audit process did not 'negatively affect' BBC Worldwide's commercial performance and would consider them in negotiations ahead of the publication of its new royal charter. Committee member Richard Bacon, the MP for South Norfolk, said that the wording of the NAO's role as BBC auditor in the white paper 'seemed clear' and further questioned Hall as to what 'issues' he had with the arrangement. 'The words in the White Paper are absolutely fine,' said Hall. 'I am worried about the details of how it applies when it comes to an audit. When that is worked through we need to be consistent between ourselves and the NAO what editorial judgment and independence and creative independence means. Nobody wants the BBC to feel in some ways inhibited in the editorial judgments it takes, or indeed creatively inhibited if people are worried of taking a risk on a drama or whatever that they will get some spotlight put on me. I just want to make sure when it comes down to the fine print we all know what we are dealing with.' Hall also said that he 'welcomed' plans to replace the BBC Trust with a unitary board but 'had concerns' about the how such a board would be appointed and what mix of skills would be prioritised. 'My concerns actually are two-fold. One is how a board can work effectively and skills you need around the table,' he said. 'The executive board at the moment has mix of non-execs and skilled people from outside. It feels like both are trying to do the right thing by the BBC. I'd prefer to start from the assumption of what skills you need to run an organisation like the BBC. I'd like to spend time between now and charter trying to work that through. The second point is around appointments. It goes to the BBC's independence. The BBC is valued enormously in this country and abroad. And how we demonstrate the BBC board is independent; things will be discussed at unitary board that not just matters of how to spend money but editorially and creatively. Independence matters a lot. It is more subtle than I think we have got to at the moment in the White Paper.' The PAC was holding a 'special session' to review the NAO's report into BBC handling of large-scale projects – three of which - including the construction of a new set for EastEnders – were criticised for delays. However, BBC finance and operations boss Anne Bulford said that delays were 'sometimes necessary. I think if you find that there are opportunities to do better with a project you are dealing with, you need to take those,' she said. 'Delivering the wrong thing at the right time or carrying unnecessary risk or missing opportunities to get better value for money out as a whole, I think, would be a mistake. Trying to encourage early, frank, honest reporting both of forecasting boulders in the road and opportunity. Very often the delay is improving the delivery or competitive advantage.'

A reality show about Caitlyn Jenner becoming a transgender woman will no longer be shown in Africa following complaints from viewers, its South African broadcaster said. Multichoice - oh, the irony of that name - said I Am Cait would be dropped 'out of respect for customers' views' and Africa's diverse regulatory environments. And, because they're sick homophobic twat bastards, basically. The move came after a request from Nigerian authorities, reports said. Caitlyn Jenner was the gold medal-winning Olympic athlete as Bruce Jenner before announcing her decision to become a woman in April 2015. It is the second time the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission has asked pan-African broadcasters to stop showing transgender-related material, South African media said. Last October, the NBC asked Multichoice to stop broadcasting I Am Jazz, a show about a transgender woman. Critics say the decisions 'risk setting a precedent' where a single country - of homophobic scum - can effectively decide what TV viewers across the whole continent can watch.

Wor Geet Canny Mark Gatiss will play Dracula in a new and faithful adaptation of the greatest horror story of them all. Dracula – a full-cast audio play from Big Finish – is released on 26 May, one hundred and nineteen years to the day of the novel's first publication. 'It's a part I've always wanted to play - and I've been rehearsing for forty eight years,' said Mark. 'You may be able to tell that in the relish and bloodied glee in which I approach this role!' Director Scott Handcock added: 'I always knew I wanted Mark to be my Count. Thankfully, he didn't disappoint. From the instant the project was mooted, through to recording and beyond, he's been nothing short of incredibly enthusiastic. He has such a distinctive voice, and brings a real sense of dread and brooding menace to proceedings.' Dracula has been adapted for audio by the novelist Jonathan Barnes, following his 2014 adaptation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, starring Arthur Darvill his very self. It will be released as a four-disc set, available exclusively from the Big Finish website until 30 June, when it will be released to all retailers.
A historic machine used to swap top secret messages between Hitler (who only had one) and his generals has been found languishing in a shed in Essex. Volunteers from The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park used eBay to track down the keyboard of the Lorenz machine. It was advertised as a vintage 'telegram machine' and was for sale for £9.50. The museum, in Buckinghamshire, is now asking people to search for the motor, another key piece of the equipment. 'My colleague was scanning eBay and he saw a photograph of what seemed to be the teleprinter,' said John Wetter, a volunteer at the museum. He then went to Southend to investigate further where he found the keyboard being kept, in its original case, on the floor of a shed 'with rubbish all over it. We said "Thank you very much, how much was it again?" She said "£9.50," so we said "Here's a ten pound note - keep the change!"' The teleprinter, which resembles a typewriter, would have been used to enter plain messages in German. These were then encrypted by a linked cipher machine, using twelve individual wheels with multiple settings on each, to make up the code. Andy Clark, chairman of the trustees at The National Museum of Computing, said that the Lorenz was stationed in secure locations as 'it was far bigger than the famous portable Enigma machine. Everybody knows about Enigma, but the Lorenz machine was used for strategic communications,' said Clark. 'It is so much more complicated than the Enigma machine and, after the war, machines of the same style remained in use.' The museum has just received one on loan from Norway's Armed Forces Museum and has a video of how top secret transmissions might have sounded. Volunteers are hoping to recreate the whole process on Friday 3 June, from typing a message in German to cracking the code using wartime equipment. 'This gives us the chance to show the breaking of the Lorenz cipher code from start to finish,' said Clark. 'We can show every single point in the process.' When volunteers took the teleprinter back from Essex to the museum, they found it was stamped with the official wartime number from the German army that matches the one on the machine from Norway. But one key part is still missing and volunteers are still searching for it. 'It looks like an electric motor in black casing with two shafts on each side, which drive the gears of the Lorenz machine,' explained Wetter. Volunteers hope the public will look out for it and if all else fails are hoping someone might want to build them a new one until they find it.

The Monkees' first studio CD in twenty years was released this week. And, it's really very good indeed. Good Times! celebrates the band's fiftieth anniversary and features new contributions from the three surviving members, Michael Nesmith, Micky Dolenz and Peter Tork. It also includes tunes written especially for the project by a variety of respected modern-rock artists. Nesmith told ABC News that he was 'pleasantly surprised' with Good Times! 'I thought it came out great, and the songs that people have been writing for it I thought were great,' noted Nesmith. 'It just came together like an ordinary record, but because it was our fiftieth [anniversary], we knew it was gonna be kind of a touchstone, so everybody had high hopes for it,' he continued. 'And then, when it came out like it did, it was "Holy smokes, this actually sounds good!" And so, we were thrilled.' The CD includes tunes written by Weezer's Rivers Cuomo, Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller, XTC's Andy Partridge and Death Cab For Cutie's Ben Gibbard. Nesmith said that he especially liked Gibbard's contribution, 'Me & Magdelana', as well as a song that Weller and Gallagher co-wrote, 'Birth Of An Accidental Hipster' which, genuinely, to this blogger sounds like a lost outtake from the band's 1967 masterpiece, Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn, Jones Ltd. On 'Me & Magdelana', Nesmith trades lead vocals with Dolenz. He said that working with his old bandmate on the parts for that song was one of the things he most enjoyed about making the CD. 'It was very easy 'cause we worked together for so long,' he said, adding that 'having the different writers gave us so many more things to say and so many more opportunities at a good time. No pun intended.' Good Times! certainly shares many elements with The Monkees' classic 1960s material, including infectious melodies and jangly guitars. But, Nesmith feels that the new CD is more than a trip down memory lane. 'The thing that I think works so good about the new record is that it really is in the moment,' he insisted. 'It's happening right now. These are real people, right now, singing it in this real time.' Good Times! also features the late Davy Jones on an unfinished demo of Neil Diamond's 'Love To Love' (recorded in 1967) and new songs by both Tork and Nesmith. The title song was written by Harry Nilsson with Nesmith on guitar. Dolenz, who was a close friend of Nilsson's, added a vocal turning it into a virtual duet between the two. 'It was unfinished, but there was a killer vocal by Harry, who was a very, very dear friend of mine,' Dolenz said recently. 'I just said, "Oh my God, I can do a duet with Harry Nilsson." Everybody got really fired up about that.' As with their earliest recordings, Dolenz, Tork and Nesmith were not at most of the sessions. There was little need as the writers and musicians were already devoted to The Monkees sound. Emo superstar Gibbard said 'with zero hyperbole' that having Dolenz and Nesmith duet on 'Me & Magdalena' was, 'the greatest honour of my career.' 'I'm not a big music listener outside of Frank Sinatra during Martini hour,' Dolenz explained. 'But I began doing research and I realised that the whole indie rock scene is all about recapturing that 1960s jangly guitar sound of The Monkees, amongst other groups, of course. They're all keeping with our sensibility. I just keep calling it "that jangly guitar pop sound," though I used to call it "progressive bubblegum."' 'Noel Gallagher and Paul Weller wrote a song together, which is just kind of bizarre,' notes The Monkees' manager Andrew Sandoval. That song, 'Birth Of An Accidental Hipster', is a mad, modular, psychedelic epic. 'They’re fans, they wanted to make something like 'Randy Scouse Git'. I think it's the best thing either of them have done for ten years. And it's for The Monkees!'
A set of stamps celebrating fifty years of British rock group The Pink Floyd have been unveiled by Royal Mail. Ten stamps will be on sale from Thursday, marking five decades since the band turned professional. The collection include the band's most famous LP covers as well as live performance shots. The Pink Floyd became known for its innovative LP covers, which were made in collaboration with leading graphic designers and photographers. The covers that have been made into stamps include The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn, Atom Heart Mother, The Dark Side Of The Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals and The Endless River. A further four stamps show the band performing live, including one photograph from a concert at London's UFO Club in 1966.
Pop band McFly have been forced to postpone their UK tour after drummer Harry Judd suffered a herniated disc in his neck. Which is spooky, frankly, as just about every time this blogger hears one of McFly's records, one of the first things he usually thinks is, 'oh, pain in the neck.' Next ...
Bruce Springsteen started his UK Tour on Wednesday night of this week and, for fans in Manchester, Christmas came early. Quite literally. Seven songs into his set, The Boss spotted a man in the crowd holding a sign reading 'Santa Claus Is Coming to Manchester' and dressed in full Santa gear. Bruce asked him if it was, seriously, a song request and, when assured that it was, told Santa to 'get up here.' The E Street Band then burst into a full adaptation of their 1985 Christmas single, with Springsteen and Santa sharing the vocals. It was one of over thirty songs in a set that lasted three hours and ten minutes. Oddly for a tour billed as focusing on The River, the band only played about half of the songs from the 1980 double LP during the show. Mind you, that's probably just as well. If they had done The River in full, by the time the gig finished, it really would have almost been Christmas.
A man has spent his hard-earned cash getting two operations in order to make his penis 'monster' size. That, one would hope for the sake of his partner, not monster shaped. Leon, a twenty five-year-old married dad, spent over fifteen grand to increase the size of his manhood and is the subject of new BBC3 documentary The Penis Extension Clinic. One trusts that all of those who people whinged loudly about BBC3 being closed as a TV channel - particularly stupid-haired, full-of-their-own-importance alleged comedians - will be watching this, no doubt brilliant, example of classy info-mation TV. The documentary follows the booming business in the UK, and will see Leon getting a second operation, despite his girlfriend saying it is 'unnecessary.' Leon told the Mirra: 'In my eyes every man wants to be bigger and stronger, if you can have it done have it done. Most women don't need to have boob jobs but they do. Bigger is better, every person is like that, when you look at weapons and missiles and things like that. I had the lengthening and the girth done and the results were brilliant, amazing, I had a very good result out of it and I'm glad I got it done. It's porno size. I told them I want a monster, they've given me a monster.' He added: 'Everyone wants to be one step better and one step faster. In a way it's what's destroying the planet, well that's what I think, you know greed. But don't go and against them, join them, go and get a willy op done.' Leon said it was 'like getting a new car,' and revealed that he sent his friends pictures of the result (which one is sure they would have really appreciated). However, the truck driver revealed that he would not be getting a third enlargement, as it would be crossing 'the abnormal line.' The Penis Extension Clinic will be available on BBC3, BBC iPlayer and YouTube from 4pm on 2 June. You have been warned.
A Thai man's routine visit to the bathroom turned into a terrifying fight with a giant snake according to media reports this week. Atthaporn Boonmakchuay (don't snigger, please, it's the chap's name) was about his business on a lavatory in his home East of Bangkok when a sodding great python emerged through the bowl and, ahem, bit his penis. (Bangkok, incidentally, is a large city in Thailand, not what the chap did to try and get the python off his person. Just in case you were wondering.) The python would not let go, so Atthaporn screamed (presumably, in a rather high-pitched manner) for his wife to get a rope, the Thai English-language news site Khaosod English reported. He managed to tie the snake's head to the bathroom door and, then, 'extricate himself before he passed out from loss of blood,' the site wrote. I don't know about you, dear blog reader, but this blogger's eyes are watering at the very thought. According to the Mirra, the man has 'been hospitalised' in a stable condition. The massive python, still alive, was taken from the home still stuck in the lavatory pipe and the bathroom fixture. Workers eventually smashed it to free and the python was expected to be released back into the wild. Let this story be a lesson to all dear blog readers, always she to see if there's a snake in your netty before sitting down a good hard crap. This blogger certainly will.
An 'outrageous' video is claimed shows the moment that a man was caught on camera apparently 'pleasuring himself with an aubergine', according to the Daily Mirra. The clip, which has been shared on social media has now 'gone viral,' with 'many viewers admitting they were disgusted by what the saw,' the Mirra fume. That didn't stop the Mirra from running the story, of course. In the footage - which the Mirra rather proudly states it 'has chosen to censor' - a passenger on a minibus appears to take off his trousers before sitting on a seat in his underwear. He then brazenly stands up and moves to the front of the bus. And, this constitutes 'news', apparently. Although, to be completely fair to the Mirra, at least they didn't appear to get this story through the use of phone-hacking. So one might regard this as 'progress'.
A man broke his arm diving out a coffee shop's first floor window after mistaking schoolchildren shouting and banging trays for 'a terror attack' according to the Manchester Evening News. The man was said to be 'among many customers thrown into panic' at Costa Coffee in Didsbury village during the 'disturbance' on Wednesday afternoon. People sitting on the first floor of the cafe are reported to have 'freaked out' when they heard shouting and several 'gunshot-like' bangs. Eye-witnesses said that the man, believing the premises to be 'under siege,' clambered out of one the front windows head-first before running to a nearby bank to call for help. Other customers upstairs claimed that they, too, thought they were under attack. One woman, who asked not to be named by the paper, said: 'I was sitting having a coffee when there was a really loud shout. At first I thought it was just someone messing about, but then I heard some massive bangs. It sounded like shots were being fired. It was not just me who thought that. Other people were running around trying to get out on to the balcony but the door was locked. I think that's why the man went for one of the front windows. When I looked round I could only see his feet hanging from the window. He was climbing out head first. To be honest I wasn't surprised by his reaction because we all thought an attack was happening. It sounded like there was a shooting downstairs. I was expecting people wearing balaclavas and carrying guns to come upstairs. Afterwards one woman said the first thing she thought about was the Paris attacks.' It was only when a friend of a customer came upstairs that the group realised it was not an attack or shooting. It turned out the banging had been caused by 'a group of young people' throwing the trays on the floor. 'Someone came up and said it had been a group of students messing about,' the woman added. Police confirmed that they had been called to 'reports of a disturbance.' A Greater Manchester Police spokesman said a man was taken to hospital with a suspected broken arm via ambulance. And, that there would be no further police action. A group of school children were seen running from Costa around the same time of the incident, a worker at a nearby business said. Costa Coffee said in a statement: 'Our store team worked closely with the Greater Manchester Police regarding this unfortunate incident. We wish the gentleman involved a speedy recovery.'
Arbroath FC's world record thirty six-nil win is still safe despite an Ecuadorian third division team recording a forty four-one victory. Pelileo Sporting Club beat Indi Native in front of two hundred supporters recently, with striker Ronny Medina scoring eighteen goals. But, this will not be ratified as a Guinness World Record as it did not occur at a high enough sporting level. Arbroath FC chairman John Christison said that he was 'absolutely delighted' his team's record 1885 defeat of Bon Accord still stood. Christison told BBC Scotland: 'Obviously it's a record we're very proud of. Our thanks to Guinness for clearing that up, that's tremendous news. We would probably have had to rebrand a lot of our stuff because it has "world record holders" on it. A Guinness World Record spokeswoman said that while Pelileo's result was 'an amazing achievement,' it would not be ratified. The spokeswoman said: 'For records directly involving performance in sports, we must only accept those which occur at a top-level professional, international, or pre-eminent amateur (i.e. Olympics). So unfortunately we won't be able to ratify the result as a Guinness World Record.' The official Guinness World Record reads: 'The highest score recorded in a first-class football match is thirty six. This first occurred in the Scottish Cup match between Arbroath and Bon Accord when Arbroath won thirty six-nil on their home ground on 12 September 1885.' The score was equalled in an Estonian Cup match between Infonet FC and Virtsu Jalgpalliklubi on 13 June 2015. On the same day as Arbroath's win, Dundee Harp beat Aberdeen Rovers thirty five-nil. Although the referee recorded thirty seven goals, Dundee Harp's secretary said he had only noted thirty five, which the match official ultimately accepted. English football journalist Tim Vickery, who has lived in Brazil for more than twenty years, said: 'Bon Accord have never been so discussed in the Ecuadorian press as they have been over the last few days. Certainly the Ecuadorian press are claiming it as a world record but Indi Native would rather keep quiet about the whole thing.' Indi Native president Diego Culequi said that the result was 'unexpected' and the players being unaccustomed to the hot weather 'may have contributed to the heavy defeat.' Vickery said the level of football in the Ecuador Third Division was 'not entirely a joke.' He added: 'There's a side that have just qualified for the last four of South America's equivalent of the Champions League and nine years ago they won the Ecuadorian Third Division. I don't know if Pelileo will have the same dramatic rise.' The highest ever score in a World Cup qualifier was Australia thirty one, American Samoa nil in 2001. And the Aussies still didn't qualify for the finals!
Rafael Benitez is staying as yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Newcastle United manager after signing a new three-year contract following The Magpies calamitous relegation from the Premier League earlier this month. The fifty six-year-old Spaniard was appointed in March following that clown Steve McClaren's sacking but failed to keep The Magpies in the top flight, despite his best efforts. Though not, necessarily, the best efforts of the bunch of overpaid, work-shy, incompetent cowards he found himself in charge of. The overwhelming majority of whom, this blogger fully expects, Rafa to ship out at the earliest opportunity and use the money he gets from selling them to buy some players who actually appear to give a shit about the club and its supporters. Which will be novel. Rafa The Gaffer had a - widely-reported - break clause in his contract if Newcastle were relegated and was expected by just about everybody to leave the club once the season ended. 'The love I could feel from the fans was a big influence for me,' he said. Former Liverpool Alabama Yee-Haws, Moscow Chelski FC, and Real Madrid boss Rafa will, reportedly, have complete control over 'all football-related matters' at the club, Newcastle claimed. Though, if he does, he'll be the first manager in about a decade who will. Benitez's decision also hinged on the amount of funds he will be given to strengthen the squad following their demotion to the Championship. 'This is a huge club and I wanted to be part of the great future I can see for Newcastle United,' added Rafa. 'The main thing for me is that I have assurances that we will have a strong team - a winning team.' Benitez, who was sacked by Real in January and has also managed Valencia, Inter Milan and Napoli, took over with Newcastle one point adrift of safety. Despite losing only three of his ten matches in charge, the Magpies were relegated with one game of the season remaining. Home supporters used their final match - a bizarre five-one thrashing of Stottingtot Hotshots - to try to convince Benitez to stay at St James' Park, chanting his name non-stop throughout the game. Newcastle managing director Lee Charnley described Benitez as 'phenomenal' and 'world-class,' saying that he had 'captured the hearts and minds' of fans and the club as a whole. 'I believe with Rafa as manager it gives us the best possible chance of returning to the Premier League at the first time of asking and delivering success for this football club beyond that,' added Charnley. 'It is clear that Rafa has connected deeply with the club's supporters and we do not underestimate the role they have played in his decision to stay.'
Gabby Logan will be fronting a new BBC football show. The Premier League Show will begin in August, in time for the new season. It is being co-produced by Gary Lineker's production company Goalhanger Films. Broadcast weekly, the 'magazine-style' programme will feature interviews and analysis ahead of the next round of fixtures. But, since yer actual Keith Telly Topping's beloved (though unsellable) Magpies aren't in the Premier League next season, this blogger will not be watching and will, instead, defect - hopefully for just one season - to Channel Five. That is all.

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