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Archive for April, 2009

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Simon

Posted by Big Boo on April 21st, 2009

simon gameSimon was an incredibly simple yet incredibly popular electronic game that was launched by Milton Bradley in 1978 but was a mainstay of the early 1980’s.  It was based on the childrens game Simon Says, where a player is nominated leader and tells everyone else to perform different actions, but only when they say “Simon says“.

The electronic version of Simon went a little further than this simple playground game however, as it added an additional demand on the players memory.  The game consisted of four big illuminated buttons in red, green, yellow and blue.  Simon would flash the buttons in a randomised sequence, with each coloured button playing a different tone as they flashed.  The player then had to repeat this sequence by pressing the buttons in the same order.

If the player got it right, the same sequence would be played back again but with an extra random colour tacked on the end.  So the game continued until the player got the sequence wrong, which ended the game.

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Morris Minor and the Majors – Stutter Rap

Posted by Big Boo on April 20th, 2009

stutter rapStutter Rap was the only hit for comedy rap group Morris Minor and the Majors, a British parody of the Beastie Boys.  Where the Beastie Boys were famous for wearing the Volkswagen logo, unsurprising the singers of Stutter Rap favoured the rather more old fashioned (but quintisentially British) Morris Minor.

The song lyrics play heavily on the idea of trying to rap when you’re cursed with a stutter, and how difficult this is, and cleverly work in some well known lines from other songs in a twisted way, including the songs subtitle No Sleep Til Bedtime, which borrowed from the Beastie Boys, and the groan worthy line “he was going to chuck a bottle, he was going to chuck a can, chuck-a-can,chuck-a-chuck-a-chuck-a“.

The band members were Morris Minor, Rusty Wing and Phil Errup, better known as comedian Tony Hawks (no not the skateboarder – that’s Tony Hawk), Paul Boross and Phil Judge.  Tony Hawks wrote the song, and it’s B side track “Another Boring B Side“.  Ironically Tony started off as a song writer but didn’t do so well, so became a comedian and then struck gold with this song, which climbed the charts to number 4 in the UK and number 2 in Australia.

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The Best Tea-V Adverts

Posted by Big Boo on April 18th, 2009

The British like nothing more than a refreshing cup of tea (well, most of them do, personally I’m not a big fan of tea or coffee) and in a crowded market the tea manufacturers need to advertise in order to stand out. Two of the best loved and longest running TV ad campaigns are for teabags, and both ran throughout the 1980’s, though both also started life way earlier.

I am of course referring to the PG Tips adverts featuring chimpanzee actors, and the Tetley adverts featuring the animated Tea Folk, but the question is, which did you like most?

Which was the best teabag ad campaign?
View Results

Oh, and apologies for the truly appalling pun in the title to this post… 😉

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The Big Yellow Teapot

Posted by Big Boo on April 17th, 2009

big yellow teapotApparently, there’s lots of fun for everyone in the Big Yellow Teapot, or at least so the television advert for this toy would have us believe.  I would probably say that not everyone would find it that much fun, but certainly most toddlers would have a ball.

Unsurprisingly the Big Yellow Teapot was a teapot that was big and coloured yellow, but this wasn’t for sticking your Tetley or PG Tips in for a bit of a brew.  Nope, the Big Yellow Teapot can only be described as a teapot shaped dolls house.  Quite why a teapot would be a good place for little plastic people to live in I’m not sure, but as houses go it was pretty well equipped.

Like most houses it had windows and a front door, but it also had a giant handle on one side and a spout on the other, which doubled as a slide.  You could poke the little people in the spout and they’d shoot out into the main body of the teapot, knocking the little plastic chairs and tables flying.  Sticking with playground fun, the lid of the teapot lifted up to reveal a little merry go round for the tiny occupants of the house to spin round on.

Just imagine if we did actually live in houses shaped like this?  It would make estate agent house descriptions quite entertaining…

For sale.  Charming two storey family home, delightfully decorated.  A must see!  Front door unusually hinged at bottom rather than side leads to front room area consisting of oversized chairs.  Entire front wall also opens to provide access to top floors.  No staircase.  Would suit those with high jumping experience.  Complete with chimney/slide and roof mounted rotating seating.

Stocking Fillers - Suppliers to Father Christmas
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Supergran

Posted by Big Boo on April 16th, 2009

supergranSupergran started as a series of childrens books written by Forrest Wilson.  Unsurprisingly they were about Granny Smith, a grandmother who had super powers from the town of Chiselton.  Her arch-enemy was the villainous Scunner Campbell, who ironically gave her the powers in the first place when she got hit by a beam from one of his strange contraptions.

It is the TV adaptation that I remember best however.  Supergran herself was played by Gudrun Ure, a Scottish actress who looked fairly ridiculous in her tartan scarf and floppy hat, complete with bobble.  She looked every inch the sterotypical granny, except for when she was running, jumping or skateboarding down the road.

Each episode of the series revolved around the same basic storyline.  The Scunner Campbell would be up to some kind of mischief, and Supergran would stop him in his tracks, which always looked ridiculous as a little old lady in fingerless gloves and old fashioned boots wrestled a helicopter to the ground or scaled a massive wall.  Sometimes she would employ a daft invention to help save the day, such as a flying bicycle or an anti-gravity belt.

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The Breakfast Club

Posted by Big Boo on April 15th, 2009

the breakfast clubI noticed John Hughes’ The Breakfast Club on Sky Movies the other day so thought I would watch it again to refresh my memory.  I had forgotten just how good this film is, but one new thing I noticed this time round is that this film must be one of The Simpsons creator Matt Groening’s favourite films.  Not only is one of the characters named Bender (as in the robot from Futurama) but he also utters the phrase “Eat my shorts“, a phrase popular with a young yellow skinned fellow named Bart…

Anyway, what’s the film about?  It’s set in a school on a Saturday morning.  Five of the pupils have been given detention and they have to sit it out in the school library writing an essay that describes who they think they are, a task set for them by teacher Richard Vernon, who is a bit dysfunctional himself it has to be said.

The five teenagers each fit neatly into a different stereotypical variety of High School student.  There’s the aforementioned John Bender (an off the rails lout), Andrew Clark (the sporty one), Claire Standish (one of the “popular” girls), Brian Johnson (the bookworm) and Allison Reynolds (the freakish one).

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11 Eighties Slang Words

Posted by Big Boo on April 14th, 2009

cowabungaThe 1980’s was certainly a bumper time for the introduction of new slang words into the English language.  Of course every decade before and since has added its own new words, but having grown up in the eighties hearing some of these terms uttered today takes me back to my childhood, but also makes me realise how ridiculous we must have all sounded at the time!  Here is a list of some of my favourite terms.

Bad – Meaning Good or Great, as popularised by Michael Jackson.  Nice one for confusing your parents.  I suspect this is where the more modern term Wicked originated from.

Brill – Short for brilliant (fairly obviously).  Seems terribly dated now.  Try saying it in conversation and you’ll immediately feel silly!

Chinny Reckon – Also Jimmy Hill, Itch My Chin and many more variants.  Such a great insult phrase I devoted an entire post to it.

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Happy Easter

Posted by Big Boo on April 9th, 2009

Easter is almost upon us so I’m going to be taking a long weekend off, so no posts for the next few days I’m sorry to say.

In the meantime, I just thought I’d take the opportunity to remind the sci-fi fans out there that we’ve got a new Doctor Who special this weekend on BBC1, satellite channel Dave is showing new Red Dwarf over the course of the weekend starting Good Friday, and Sci-Fi channel have their Supermarionation weekend, which means wall to wall Thunderbirds, Stingray and Joe 90!  I remember loving watching these Gerry Anderson classics when they were repeated during the school holidays.

Have a great Easter, and don’t eat too much chocolate!