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December 2006
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February 2007

You Wouldn't Think That I Was 43: Pick Of The Year 2006

Still Only 85p? STILL? God, I must be getting old.You'll be pleased to hear that despite last year's move to Spank 2.0 (as nobody appears to be calling it), some of the traditions of the old version 1.0 site steadfastly remain. Including this one: that even though my Pick Of The Year compilation CD is invariably ready before Christmas so that I can hand it out as a cheapskate present, it still takes me till late January of the following year to write it up for this site. And so, one month into 2007, when everyone's forgotten what the hell 2006 was like, here are my favourite 18 songs of the old year gathered for your listening pleasure.

As a concession to modernity, this year I'm replacing the traditional crappily encoded Real Player samples with crappily encoded MP3 samples. The embedded player links that used to be here seemed to be causing grief in some browsers (yes, Internet Explorer, I'm looking at you), so I've replaced them with ordinary links which will open up in a new window. Three other ways are available to sample the songs for yourselves. 1: visit Spank's Audio Lair and wait for them to come around in the 100 song rotation. 2: watch the video album, available here now. 3: enter the competition at the end of this page before March 14th, and you could win a copy of the CD for yourself.

Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll continue.

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The New Adventures Of Hitler

A somewhat tati pun from the cover of Crisis issue 48, art by Steve YeowellThe other day, we were reading about Cafe Sperl in Vienna, because... well, you'll find out why soon enough. The Lonely Planet review of the cafe has a curiously vague final sentence: "We know it's had some horrible customers in the past, but even that can't ruin Sperl's charm." There's a limited number of horrible Austrians they could be referring to, and a wee bit of investigation proved our suspicions to be correct: Adolf Hitler used to go there. But it reminded me of another appearance of Hitler in a cafe: in a 1989 British comic strip, which depicted him in his twenties plotting world domination from a Liverpool teashop.

Grant Morrison and Steve Yeowell's The New Adventures Of Hitler has been out of print ever since its initial publication. Because of its unavailability, and out of disrespect for the reasons why it's unavailable, I have no alternative but to recommend that you commit Internet Piracy by using the following links to read chapters 1-6 and chapters 7-12. Note that each of those links will pull up a page with about 3Mb of images on it, so be sure you want to do that before you click. And if you're not sure whether you want to click or not, here's why you should.

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VidBinge 2006

If you've been paying attention to the Video section of this site, you'll know that we've been holding VidBinges at Spank Towers since 1999. Here's the news from the 2006 one, featuring five of the top films of the year as chosen by Spank's Pals. And look over there! A new toy to play with! Oooh!

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Hotel Una, Brighton

Hotel Una I could make this a follow-up to my earlier piece about The Belated Birthday Girl and me spending Xmas 2005 in New York, and tell you all about what it was like to spend Xmas 2006 in Brighton. I could tell you about the terrific meal we had at the restaurant in Hotel du Vin, which was unfortunately outclassed by the stunning meals we had at Due South and Terre a Terre. I could tell you how Komedia is now my new favourite cabaret venue, with a large and excellently laid out hall, great food, and (on the night we went) local legend Tina C giving her own take on the Middle East crisis: "the Road Map To Peace was always a bad idea. How many Jews do you know who don't have satellite navigation?" I could tell you how on the same street as Komedia, you could lay your hands on both cruelty-free shoes and a very tasty meat pie. I could tell you about our surprise at how many restaurants and shops were open on Christmas Day morning, and our concern over whether the Volks Electric Railway will ever open again (they say it's just closed for the winter, but it all looks a bit permanent). I could tell you about the simple pleasures of spending Boxing Day at the Sea Life Centre, which is all very informative and educational but also lets you watch turtles fuck. I could tell you about our excursion to Hove, actually, where we saw the decrepit leisure centre that's soon to be the subject of an aggressive makeover by Frank Gehry (and maybe Brad Pitt, or maybe not). I could tell you how everyone in town was getting excited about the prospect of Fatboy Slim's upcoming New Year gig, though the closest we got to it ourselves was seeing the planning permission notices. I could tell you about the moment The Belated Birthday Girl fell completely in love with Brighton, when she heard a passing small child say "Mum, can we go to Carluccio's now?"

I could tell you about all that. But I won't. Because what I need to tell you about is how great our hotel was.

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Simian Substitute Site for January 2007: Meter Monkey

Meter MonkeyHappy New Year, everyone. Last night, in case you're interested, we spent New Year's Eve at the Red Rose Comedy Club in not-as-fashionable-as-it-used-to-be North London, where we drank, danced and giggled till about two in the morning. Finally got to bed around three after a blackcurrant Lemsip nightcap and playing the Flying Lizards' version of Sex Machine far too loudly as some sort of misguided tribute to James Brown. And now it's a little after six hours later, and I'm up talking to you lot. I just hope you appreciate it.

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