Thursday, 29 October 2009

Podrophenia - Show 5... Halloween Special!

Why not celebrate Halloween in style with the official Piley and Mondo Podrophenia podcast??!

For this show only we've suspended the usual features and 'ol nonsense to bring you some scary tales and creepy anecdotes from both the recent and distant past, a number of which are local tales..... like this one for example:
and just what went on at this place in the 1300's??

and what self respecting kid of the 70's could resist collecting these??!

All this plus 10 super spooky toons that'll take you to hell and back....

This podcast is now only available as an iTunes download. You can grab this and every other Podrophenia show for free here:  Podrophenia on iTunes



Saturday, 24 October 2009

If I Knew You Were Coming I'da Baked a Tape...

Some of you may remember this post back in July... My dads sister-in-law had been clearing out her loft ready to move house and unearthed two old reel-to-reel tapes marked 'Mick and Don', which had been up there for over 40 years . Mick and Don were my dads youngest brothers (twins), who in the 50's were a duo who used to perform as The Essex Brothers. Well I did a bit of research after that, and found out that due to the age of these tapes, they would need 'baking' before they could be played. The tapes deteriorate over the years because of a breakdown in the glue that holds the oxide particles on to the actual tape itself. Attempting to play the tapes without this could result in the oxide falling off as the tape is played, and your recordings will be lost forever. Baking the tape temporarily restores the tape so that it can be safely copied to another source.

I spoke to a company in East Acton called FX Rentals who specialise in this sort of work (they were recently given the task of transferring a newly discovered Beatles acetate). They told me they would bake the tapes for a day or two, and then play them to see what (if anything) was on them. Retrieval of any music would be £50 per hour (per hour of music, not per hour of work... it could take them many hours to restore an hours worth of music, but it will still only cost £50).

On Tuesday this week I finally managed to take that hike over to East Acton to deliver the tapes and chat to the guys there about the process. They said they would ring me as soon as they had prepared and played the tapes. Well, yesterday afternoon I got a call saying that everything had gone well and they had found two and a half hours of recordings across the two tapes!!! I've asked them to go ahead and retrieve it all, and they should be ready next week.

I'm dead chuffed that there were some recordings of my late uncles on these tapes after all those years, and I can't wait to hear them. My dad sounded really excited when I told him too. I'll keep you posted.


Monday, 19 October 2009

TRUEly BLOODy Brilliant!!

Over the years I've been a sucker for many of those American big budget, slick multi-part continuing series... 24, The Wire, Heroes, Dexter, The Mentalist and Prison Break are just some of the titles that have come and gone at Piley Towers over the years. However these days I'm reluctant to get drawn in, with the addition of Piley Jr, there just doesn't seem to be the time anymore, and I struggle to commit myself to 24 or 26 hour long episodes season after season. I'm still saddled with LOST which is absolute pants now. The trouble is, having invested so much time into it (to date, 103 hours that I'll not be getting back), that I've got to see it through now to the conclusion... just to find out if there really is an ending or it was just 6 series of absolute bollocks. LOST has become a real millstone, and with that in mind I kinda promised myself that I wouldn't get involved anymore. But back in the summer I picked up on all the buzz going around about the HBO vampire series True Blood, and rather reluctantly gave it a go. After a slow start (which to be fair was just some great scene setting and character building) this series exploded into without doubt the most enjoyable debut series I've ever seen.... and as an extra bonus it was only 12 episodes long!

I have to say I was a bit sceptical about the whole vampire thing at first, visions of Buffy and countless other 'camp vamps' sprang to mind. But True Blood has adopted a really cool angle... It's set in the fictional town of Bon Temps in Louisiana, where two years ago, thanks to the invention of synthetic blood (called 'Tru Blood' which is sold in all the local bars and convenience stores and comes in delicious 'A', 'B', 'AB' and 'O' flavours!), vampires 'came out of the coffin' and are now trying to integrate in the community alongside the living residents! Some locals have welcomed the vampires, whilst others are very hostile, and want to rid the town of their newly acquired neighbours.

The central vamp is Bill Compton... about as un-vampire a name as you could get!! But I think that's the idea, as apart from the fact he's dead, Bill is a pretty regular guy! As the series goes on you get an insight into his life when he was alive. Born in the early 1800's, he was a citizen of Bon Temps, and fought in the Civil War. You also get to find out how he became a vampire. Bill seems to have an affinity with the humans, and much of the series focuses on his 'on-off' relationship with the leading lady of the show - the telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse. However there are a number of story lines all going on, the most sinister of which is a mysterious trail of murders, which one by one are getting nearer and nearer to Sookie.

There is some lovely attention to detail in the series - one that particularly impressed me was that despite hailing from the same town, vampire Bill's accent is slightly different to the Southern drawl of the humans (as is his vocabulary). Bill is more 'Gone with the Wind' Rhett Butler than anything else... it's never mentioned during the series, but it's a nice touch, and as he hails from the 1800's it's probably spot on too.

It's a really quirky show (and I've intentionally not given away any of the main plots, twists and turns), and is complimented by a great supporting cast. It's got everything to keep you hooked and can switch from dark humour to horror to kinky sex in the flash of a fang!

The oddest thing for me though is the fact that the lead character is an Essex boy! Yup, vampire Bill, or rather Stephen Moyer, hails from Brentwood in Essex, just 20 odd miles from Piley Towers! "gor blimey it's bleedin' taters in them fackin graveyards today init".... well maybe.

I intended getting this post up a couple of week back before Channel 4 started to show the series (Wednesdays at 10pm, repeated on Fridays around 11pm). But as it turned out I've been feeling rather under the weather the last couple of weeks (hence the lack of posts), and didn't quite make it. Still, if you're not already hooked and you have access to all that 'on demand' malarkey, I'm sure you can catch up if you want to!


Sunday, 11 October 2009

Podrophenia - Show 4... with Special Guests!

Well, once again those good people over at Planet Mondo and I have got together to bring you a new edition of Podrophenia. Our theme for this show is 'Animals' and includes another hour of music and our usual unscripted ramblings.... But this time there is even more! Not one, but TWO special musical guests:

Martin Gordon (Sparks, Jet, Radio Stars, now solo artist); and

Chris Constantinou (Adam and the Ants, now lead singer and bass player in The Wolfmen)

who are both introducing their own animal related songs. Musicwise you'll hear tracks about cats, bunnies, horses, monkeys, birds, elephants and frogs!

Oh and did I mention TWO special guests??!


This podcast is now only available as an iTunes download. You can grab this and every other Podrophenia show for free here:  Podrophenia on iTunes



The Official Martin Gordon website

Martin Gordon on MySpace

Buy Martin Gordon CDs at Amazon!

My interview with Martin Gordon can be found here and here

Official Wolfmen Website

Wolfmen on MySpace

The Wolfmen Blog!

Buy Wolfmen CDs at Amazon!

Oh and if you've stumbled onto this podcast for the first time, it's not too late to catch up with our previous shows, all still downloadable from the archives here: