Click on the above pic to visit our sister site Bear Alley Books

Friday, December 04, 2015

Comic Cuts - 4 December 2015

Went to see Mitch Benn on Sunday. Storm Clodagh had caused the heavens to open and rain was hammering down as we drove to the venue. We arrived to find our friend John, who always turns up early, at the front of a small queue huddling in the doorway of the Colchester Arts Centre. "Doors open" time came and went, the queue grew longer and wetter. Someone ran out to say "He's only just turned up, so we'll let you in as soon as he's done his sound check."

Much muttering about the fact that we'd be happy to hear the sound check as long as it meant we could get out of the rain. The photo above doesn't do the saturation levels any justice.

We went from streaming to gently steaming by the time Mitch came on. This is his Don't Believe A Word tour where he's discussing his personal beliefs and what he finds frustrating in the beliefs of others. So he dips into astrology, homeopathy and religion and tries to disentangle some of the facts from the often fact-free zone that often surrounds these topics. It isn't just a swipe at them: it's well thought out and well argued and handled with a lot more politeness than these kinds of topic usually engender. The songs are sharp, satirical, technically excellent (he's a good musician), catchy and musically varied from Rock to Rumba.

I think the show would make an excellent DVD. Go Faster Stripe have recently released stand up shows by Susan Calman and Miles Jupp as downloads so we know it can be done... why not Mitch Benn? Somebody make this happen!

Continuing the saga of my incredibly dull life, we seem to be in the process of technological revolution here at chez Holland. Following the purchase of a new razor (exciting stuff!) we've lashed out on a hand-held water vac in the hope that we can make some impact on the condensation problem this house has. The porch has suffered from mold ever since we moved in despite attempts to curb the problem—although I now believe I know what the problem is. The bathroom and bedrooms have suffered from condensation on the windows and that has led to a minor but annoying mold problem in the bathroom. Hopefully removing some of the wet from the environment will reduce the mold problem... and give us an excuse to clean the windows more often.

I'm also about to enter the 20th century and become the possessor of a mobile telephone. It's for work. I can't say I'm too happy with the idea—I like the fact that I can be incommunicado for a couple of hours if I want—but I also know it will be useful for work and handy for Mel. As work is paying for it, it's not a top of the range smartphone; in fact, it's just about the cheapest model on the market. The one slightly annoying aspect is that it won't replace my camera, so I'll have to carry both around with me. (Update: In fact, it's an even older, cheaper version of the one I asked for!)

Unfortunately, I spent too much time researching the quality of the camera and then sidelined myself into looking at the quality of my camera and found it wanting. So I bought myself a new camera. I'm still waiting for it to arrive, but if the weather's nice over the weekend I'll give it a test run and post some results next week. Mind you, by the time I've shrunk the picture down so that it's a reasonable size to post in a blog, you're probably not going to notice the difference!

Commando releases fall foul of Facebook security
For those of you who get their notification of new posts to Bear Alley from Facebook, you'll have noticed that I had some problems earlier in the week. I used a service called Networkedblogs to notify Facebook every time a new post was added. Unfortunately, they seem to have switched to a new system called Symphony and from Tuesday my updates were blocked by Facebook. When I tried to send the notifications manually, I received the following: "This message contains content that has been blocked by our security systems".

At first I thought it was something Facebook had done, so I only resolved the problem this morning (Thursday); I managed to post a notification that was previously blocked, so hopefully that's the problem fixed. I'll know more tomorrow morning, although that will be after this blog is posted. (Update: Yes, it works.)

I only have three people following the feed on Networkedblogs, but I thought I should mention the problem. I'll leave the feed up for now, but I might eventually close it down.

Random scans this week are a small selection from the career of Carl Wilton, who was one of Pan's most prolific cover artists for a while. Energetic and versatile, Wilton produced covers for every genre, although nowadays is probably best known among collectors for his covers for Agatha Christie and Leslie Charteris.

Next week, we'll be continuing with the adventures of Ace O'Hara. Plus whatever else I can find the time for. I'm very tempted to see what I can find out about Carl Wilton!

No comments: