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Archive for February, 2011

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Mute – Lost in the 80s

Posted by Big Boo on February 9th, 2011

Ghostbusters by MuteI was contacted the other day by an artist going under the name of Mute, who wanted to let me know about their recent first solo exhibition which was entitled “Lost in the 80s”. Sounds interesting, thought I, so I hopped on over to Mute’s website to take a peek.

I have to say I was very excited about what I saw, especially when I scrolled right to the bottom of the gallery page and found the image that is adorning this very post. I know I keep droning on about how much I love Ghostbusters (indeed I’m wearing the T-shirt as I write this) so this image was perfect for me, and I hope Mute doesn’t mind me pinching it to use as an example, especially since it wasn’t actually part of the Lost in the 80s exhibition.

I urge you to head over to Mute’s Gallery to take a look at the great pieces of artwork that made up the Lost in the 80s exhibition. They are all styled in a similar manner, with a very accurate portrait of an Eighties movie star, overlaid with another related image drawn as a piece of glowing line art and some other relevant imagery.

I think my favourite images are the ones of Chunk and Sloth from The Goonies and the Flash Gordon one. Oh, and the one of Vigo the Carpathian of course…

It’s also nice that, for the most part, Mute has gone with well known films but perhaps chosen the less obvious route for the subject matter. For example, it would have been easy to go with Marty McFly and Doc Brown for the Back to the Future 2 piece, but instead we’re given the old and young Biff Tannen, which I think makes the piece even more appealing to a fan of that particular movie, since arguably it is Biff’s actions that make up most of the story of that film.

The original images were all 30″ x 40″ acrylic paintings on canvas, but there are also a limited number of signed prints available, which you can purchase from Mute’s online shop. Keep up the good work Mute, I look forward to seeing some more Eighties inspired work in the near future…

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The Really Wild Show

Posted by Big Boo on February 7th, 2011

The Really Wild ShowTV programmes about wildlife have that unique ability to capture the imagination of just about anyone of any age. How many times have you flicked idly through the TV channels and then found yourself hooked, if only for ten minutes, on a documentary about migrating wildebeest?

If you are of a certain age, then you will remember that the BBC had a long running kids show about wildlife called Animal Magic, hosted by the inimitable Johnny Morris and Terry Nutkins. That show sadly came to an end in 1983 when the BBC thought it was no longer relevant to kids, but it took them three years to come up with a suitable animal related replacement programme.

In 1986 the first series of The Really Wild Show was launched. Featuring Animal Magic’s Terry Nutkins, Chris Packham (now a fairly key part of the BBC’s Natural History unit, although sadly now minus the amazing spikey hair do) and Nicola Davies as presenters, it has to be said that the wait was probably worth it, as the new show certainly felt a lot more modern and in tune with what kids now expected to see on TV.

The Really Wild Show was filmed in a studio, with an audience of kids visible on camera behind the presenters. Animals would be brought in and the presenters would first let you know a bit about the creatures in question, before, in most cases, letting some lucky members of the audience come and have a closer look.

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Text Adventure Games

Posted by Big Boo on February 4th, 2011

Text Adventure GameNow here is a style of video game that has really gone out of fashion. Though new examples of the genre do exist, they are generally now relegated to the darkest corners of the Internet rather than being available to buy from shops or online retailers. I am of course talking about the humble text adventure.

Text Adventures (also often referred to as Adventure Games in the past, or as the rather grandiose sounding Interactive Fiction nowadays) were one of the first forms of video games to be created, which is hardly surprising given that they only required to be able to display text which was all a lot of early computers could do.

Despite having no graphics, many text adventures would actually be surprisingly absorbing, sucking you into their depicted world by having your imagination fill in what the locations actually looked like. The text was often written in the second person, which is probably best illustrated by a typical example.

You are stood in a dark room. You can see a table with food and drink set upon it. On the wall there is a heavy shield and a sword. There are exits to the north and east.

What do you want to do?

That last part was a prompt for you to enter some sort of command into the game, which was normally in the form of a verb followed by a noun, although later adventure games let you enter complete sentences to describe the things you wanted to do.

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Basil Brush

Posted by Big Boo on February 2nd, 2011

Basil BrushBasil Brush, the fox puppet with the incredibly bushy tail, rather posh sounding accent and Boom Boom! catchphrase, has been on our screens since the early 1960’s. Originally created by Peter Firmin, who was also half of the brains behind such classic shows as Bagpuss and The Clangers, Basil first appeared on a children’s show called The Three Scampies, but found popularity when he appeared on magician David Nixon’s show.

This led to Basil getting his own show in 1968, unsurprisingly titled The Basil Brush Show, which ran for 12 years until 1980. This show saw Basil joined by a number of different actors who played the straight role, and who Basil always referred to by putting Mister before their first name. The first of these was Mr. Rodney, who was Rodney Bewes, one of the Likely Lads from the BBC sitcom. He was followed by Derek Fowlds (more recently to be seen in Heartbeat) then Roy North, Howard Williams and finally Billy Boyle.

Personally I only have vague memories of the Basil Brush show now, though I definitely remember watching it and trying to impersonate his incredibly long laughs, which usually followed Basil saying something derogatory to his human stooge.

The first part of the Eighties saw Basil Brush become teacher, when he appeared on the ITV schools programme Let’s Read with Basil Brush. If I was ever off ill from school I would tend to lie on the sofa watching these programmes, and used to particularly enjoy watching Basil, even though I had already got passed the reading level that the programme was aimed at.

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