The Inspiral Carpets feat. Mark E Smith ‘I Want You’ (1994)

There was oceans of dross, lots of great performances, and sometimes Top of the Pops produced something else, something to treasure. This, Mark E Smith’s one and only appearance on the UK primetime pop vessel, is a great garage rock performance from The Inspiral’s (who did some other great garage rock in their early years – check out ‘Seeds of Doubt’). But what takes this performance to stellar heights is the presence of Smith, who is a) (probably) pissed, b) clearly reading the lyrics from a piece of paper and c) (if memory servers correct)  is completely out of sync with the song The Inspiral Carpets are thrashing out.

And there’s even a bonus bit of Michael Bolton in the desert at the start of this clip, proving that those charged with sequencing the music at TOTP had a truly great sense of humour as well.

And Simon Mayo can only be described as ‘bemused’ after ‘I Want You’ collapses into itself, the air vibrating with the raw visceral performance (maybe).

On the subject of TOTP, please allow me to point you in the direction of a fantastic single purpose blog I chanced upon today. It’s all about TOTP, primarily TOTP in the 70s. It is enormous fun and written with warmth and humour and I like it very much;

http://yesitsnumberone.blogspot.fr/

Jet Set Radio – Dreamcast game covers & the review from DC-UK (2000)

Some excellent news this week, that the EU PSN store now has Jet Set Radio available for download. A unique and ground breaking game (in terms of its cel-shaded graphics), it is regarded as one of the most important games on the short-lived Dreamcast console.. There is a great review from IGN here;

http://www.ign.com/articles/2012/09/17/jet-set-radio-review

But how was it received during its initial release, for the Dreamcast, back in 2000? Funny you should ask, as here are the magazine scans of the review from DC-UK issue #16;

http://www.outofprintarchive.com/articles/reviews/Dreamcast/JetSetRadio-DC-UK16-2.html

and here is the cover of that magazine;

Jet Set RadioJet Set Radio

here is the PAL cover & back of the game;

and this is the (superior and stranger IMO) Japanese cover art;

and while we are on the subject, here are 5 things you probably did not know about JSR;

http://segabits.com/blog/2012/03/02/five-things-you-may-not-have-known-about-jet-set-radio/

And by the way, ‘Jet Set Radio’ sounds do much better than ‘Jet Grind Radio’ (which was what it was named in the USA, though I prefer the cover art to the PAL version);

Review – The Walking Dead #102 (Image / Skybound, 2012)

For a final arc episode, #102 is low-key, with much of the pages taken up with Kirkman manoeuvring plot pieces into place (something I feel he is pretty good at. He sows the seeds and then walks away for a few issues before returning on some occasions. It shows he has a regard for his audience, that they can pick up plot points from weeks before). This time, we have the return of Eugene and his bullet manufacturing proposition, the sense of guilt felt by Rick & Michonne, Andrea’s anger at Ricks current position regarding Negan, the role of ‘Jesus’ in Ricks planning for the future.

And Carl. Carl, the product of the apocalypse. Carl, who now swears in front of his Father, who actively discusses planning and strategy. Whose answer to any threat is simple. He wants to shoot at it until it goes away. I get the feeling that Kirkman is moving Carl further forward, right to the forefront. Carl is decisive, Rick is hesitant. Carl wants to kill, Rick wants to bide his time. Already we have seen the divide between Father & Son, and Kirkman keeps opening it up a little more.

What feels like a mid-Trade issue actually says a lot more about the current direction of The Walking Dead. It is open to all possibilities, and in the meantime we get a closer examination of some of our favourite characters, that feels fresh and purposeful (I really liked the piece about Michonne and her image of herself as a ‘weapon’ for the group). And Negan fans – hate to have to disappoint you, but there is no sign of the Big Man. Which means that Negan is probably going to be around for a while, as Rick plans for the long haul. Biding his time. But is Jesus really such a good ally to have? I guess that is going to be answered one way or another in the next few issues.

Issue #102. Solid entertainment, without being spectacular. The Walking Dead is in fine form without being amazing, but that’s okay. The title is in much better shape than this time last year, or 6 months ago. I am a happy reader.

My Gaming Timeline Part 8 – Football Champ (Taito 1990)

Italia 90 – a great World Cup if you were English (well, up til the end of the Semi Final). Probably released to cash in on the Greatest Football Tournament on Earth, ‘Football Champ’ was Taito’s quirky and immensely playable Football arcade game. The Greatest Football Arcade Game on Earth. according to me.

This was another Summer ’90 / ’91 Drayton Manor Arcade experience, and this one was jostling with Operation Wolf & Final Fight for my meagre earnings (believe it or not, but students working part time seasonal jobs at Theme Parks are not paid huge amounts of money. FACT.)

There was a luxury version of this game, with a little bench, and a huge (well, 40 inches or so) screen positioned roughly 2 or 3 metres away from you. If memory serves correct. And it doesn’t always.

The football was based around an International Competition (ie The World Cup in all but name). You could play as most of the major teams (including England), and matches lasted around 2 minutes. Control was fairly   basic – it was short pass / long pass / shoot at goal. But there was the added joy of violence when you were not on the ball. Yes, you could pile in with a vicious slide tackle, you could attempt a Harald Schumacher type foul where you lead with your knee, or you could just punch the opposition in the face;

if you got caught by the referee, you could get a yellow or red. The idea was to floor him from behind first, then go on your merry way, crippling the opponents. It just wasn’t sporting. But it was funny.

The action was fast, frenetic, and there were sweet spots on the pitch that, if you timed it right, you could lob the ball over the goalie as he grasps at thin air. Getting the time and space to perform this move was not always possible though, as opponents always seemed to be harrying and hassling, which made the goals,when they did go in, even sweeter.

Playing it laughs, Taito appear to have gone for comedy and caricature for their characters in the game. Check out those curtains (ie the haircut) on the Dutch Manager (he looks a bit like Steve Buscemi);

It was a wonderful, fun game. Loads of re-playability. And the reward for winning the Tournament was the magnificent “All your base are belong to us’ lite;

and you can play it on MAME. You should try it.

If you want the definitive account of Football Champ, then I would like to direct you to this fantastic piece;
http://retrovania-vgjunk.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/football-champ-arcade.html
there is a little bit about ‘Super Shots’, something I never heard of before. They even have some footage on youtube of someone doing these hallowed moves, for goodness sake.

‘You Are Hero’ and various other screenshots are courtesy of
http://vgjunk.tumblr.com/post/25866957714/its-always-nice-to-get-some-recognition-from
and
http://retrovania-vgjunk.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/football-champ-arcade.html

The Football Champ flyer is courtesy of;
http://flyers.arcade-museum.com/?page=flyer&db=videodb&id=2365&image=2

Goodbye Summer – Tonibell, Regan from Sweeney and lots of Walls Ice Cream Nostalgia (the 70s and 80s)

A goodbye to Summer 2012, partly because it feels colder over here in The Netherlands this week, but mainly so that I can use a lovely pick of John Shaw as Regan in The Sweeney, waiting patiently for his 99 at the Tonibell Van.

Ah, Tonibell Van. How I miss your tinkly twinkly lament of ‘Greensleeves’, and your side window festooned with stickers displaying your wares.

While we are at it, lets post up a nice Walls advert from superior Girls comic ‘Misty’, from back in the 70s;

and for those of us who spent a lot of time getting excited about ice cream and lollies in the mid to late 70s, early 80s, take a look at these;

Please note that all of the images (apart from John Thaw at the Tonibell Van) are courtesy of the following thread – start at page 1 and work your way through, its a treat for ice cream nostalgists;

http://forums.doyouremember.co.uk/threads/2990-Names-of-Ice-Lollies/page1