Sunday, 28 February 2010

The Man Who Would Be Batman

Justify FullMany men have played over the years, from the 1940s right up to the current day, and yet, to my mind, there is only one man who is truly Batman, having played him on and off over the last eighteen years. Yes, of course, that man is Kevin Conroy.

"What the huh?" I imagine you are saying at this point (or maybe something stronger, knowing that many have a tendency towards the mouth of the gutter). "Who the blinking flip* is this Kevin Conroy chappie? To be perfectly honest, I was pretty convinced you were going to say Adam West**"
Adam West is brilliant and quite the deadpan comedy genius and all that but no, he's not Batman. Kevin Conroy is. So who is he then? Well, he's the voice behind the animated version of Batman who appeared the early 90s Batman: The Animated Series as well as the continuations of that universe Batman Beyond and Justice League and also standalone features features such as Batman: Gotham Knight and Superman/Batman: Public Enemies. As such, this has made him the longest running actor to portray the role in either animated or live-action form.

Why is he so definitively Batman? I guess partly because he's played him for so long but mainly because he really seems to get the character. He uses distinctly different voices for Bruce Wayne and Batman, giving the common impression received in the comics that Bruce Wayne is the act/persona and Batman is the real personality. It's definitely his voice that I hear in my head when I imagine how Batman speaks. Certainly not Christian Bale who, much as I really do enjoy the new Batman films, takes the Batman voice a bit too far into the realms of the ridiculous.

So hats off to Mr Conroy for top Batmanning for nearly two decades now and let's give the last word to the man himself:-

* Or words to that effect.

** Star of the campy 1960s TV series version. You know, the one with the "dinner dinner dinner dinner dinner dinner dinner dinner Batman" theme tune. Yes, of course you knew.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Germ Factory On Wheels

Of all the forms of public transportation, the bus is the least favoured. Sure, the train and tube can get ridiculously cramped to the point that it's difficult to know where your face ends and someone else's armpit begins but somehow, the bus always seems to be more cramped. It feels like you're a lot closer to people, too - I always feel as if I'm just perched on the seat within a whisker of being sat in the lap of the person next to me.

It feels dirtier, too. Take the other day's journey back to the station. I make my way up to the top deck. It's crowded so I have to head towards the back and perch on an outside seat (you know, the old maneuver that involves fitting approx. one and one half buttocks on the seat whilst also attempting not to touch legs with the stranger next to you).
It's cold so everyone's wrapped up warm - however, the bus is packed so it's pretty warm. This has produced a sort of mobile greenhouse effect on the top deck and lead to condensation beginning to form on the windows.

A double seat becomes free at the next stop so I nip across and claim a seat by the window which gives the opportunity to spread my weight evenly across both buttocks. It's then that I notice that the condensation isn't just collecting on the window, it's collecting on the walls as well and running down both. That's a lot of germy breath-based water molecules collecting right there.
Fortunately, there's enough space for me to be comfortably away from the trickling windows but it's still an unpleasant thought.

It may also account for the fact that I now seem to be developing some mild lurgy which means I have to steer clear of Gorgeous Girlfriend and the boys as the youngest recently spent ten days in hospital with extremely bad pneumonia (so germs are to be avoided as much as possible while he's still recuperating).

Bloody buses.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Bombproof Your Horse

I'm a fan of the rum, the odd, the strange and the uncanny. So, I was pleased to discover, courtesy of BBC News, that there is an annual award for books which have the oddest title. Entitled The Diagram Prize and run by publishing industry magazine The Bookseller (overseen by the charmingly named Horace Bent), it asks for submissions from the public and whittles those into a shortlist which is then thrown open to the public vote.

It really does give you a lovely feeling of absurdity when you skim through the titles of some of the previous winners which include Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice, The Joy of Chickens, How to Avoid Huge Ships, American Bottom Archaeology, Living with Crazy Buttocks and, of course,The Big Book of Lesbian Horse Stories. Naturally, this is definitely one of those occasions where the amusing nature of the title is inversely proportional to the actual readability of the books - you know for a fact that they're all likely to be masterworks in tedium.

Still, it's the title that counts and, with entrants this year that include Afterthoughts of a Worm Hunter and Collectible Spoons of the Third Reich, it's still my kind of awards ceremony.

Monday, 22 February 2010

Three Oh Oh

Everyone likes a meaningless milestone. A chance for a bit of self-indulgent self-congratulation. So what better excuse than to celebrate the achieving a nicely satisfying multiple of one hundred in terms of blog postage than with this, my three hundredth blog post. Alright, so some of those blog posts have just been video links and a certain post earlier today may well have been only a couple of sentences to get me through that awkward two hundred and ninety ninth post but still. Oh, and actually, I posted a load of blogs at The Space Which Was Mine before this one so, technically, this is actually the five hundred and twentieth but I did say it was a meaningless milestone so let's stick with that.

So what to do for the Big Three Oh Oh? Well, I toyed with the idea of telling you three hundred things about myself but I really don't think that there are three hundred things about myself. Or at least, if there are, it's mostly, by the time you get to the end, going to be a list of the various types of cheeses that I enjoy (Stilton, mature Cheddar, Danish Blue, Wensleydale, Brie, Camembert... no, that way madness lies...).

I could make extremely amusing references to the slice of violent homo-erotic celluloid that is the film 300 but I'll resist the urge. Yep. Not gonna give in to that one. No siree.... Oh, alright then, just quickly:- This. Is. BLOGGER! There, that's got that out of the way.

I toyed with the idea of posting the cover of comics that have made it to the heights of issue 300 but I couldn't be bothered to do the research on that. And then, on the theme of comics, I could have talked about the only planned 300 issue storyline in comicdom - Cerebus by Dave Sim - but, frankly, for all it's great parts, it's marred by the increasingly insane worldview of it's creator (which does, unfortunately, strongly influence a lot of the work) plus I'm sure I've talked about it before.

So what does this leave us for this falsely momentous manufactured milestone? I tell you what it leaves us:- nothing. That's what it leaves. And, let's face it, the majority of these blogs tend to be about nothing much anyway so what better way to commemorate?

Nick Nack Blog Attack. The blog with nowt left in and owt taken out.

Coming next time:- More rambly nothingness. Don't miss it.

Credit Where Credit's Due Dept.

In yesterday's post entitled "Lazy Sunday Afternoon", the name "Fotherington-Hamilton-Wick" was used. It should be made clear that this name is the creation and intellectual property of Gorgeous Girlfriend and should not be used without prior verbal or written consent.

(Yes, it is a short post. That's becuase I'm using it as an opportunity to cheat slightly. More on that later...)

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Lazy Sunday Afternoon

The hour is drawing it's way towards five in the post meridian and I am still clad in pajama-style attire* and unfettered by showering. It is the last day of the week, the first one of the new week is rapidly approaching and sometimes, you need one of those Sundays where you spend pretty much the whole day lounging in bed with Gorgeous Girlfriend eating takeaway food and drinking Coke. That is what Sundays are invented for, I'm absolutely positive. I don't really have a specific point today so let's talk about some graffiti again.

Travelling via train between London Bridge and Waterloo East**, I have noticed, scrawled high on a derelict building next to a scrappy bit of land, the following legend (which has been there for some years now):-


Again, I'm not entirely sure what the author is attempting to say. Are they simply drawing attention to that that Big Dave has a gusset? Or is it a gusset of such wonderment and splendiferousness that all commuters on the South East route should have their attention drawn to it? I can just imagine the after dinner conversation:-

"I must say that I was awed by the magnificence of Lady Fotherington-Hamilton-Wick's most architecturally pleasing gussetage but it is as nothing compared to the sheer transcendent beauty of the one displayed by the man who is known simply by the appellation Big Dave."

Or maybe not...

Anyway, I mustn't keep you. I've got plenty more lounging around to get in before bedtime so must crack on. Chin chin, old sticks.

* T-shirt and tracky bottoms as opposed to actual pajamas but it's still the same overall effect.

** For those of you interested, as you travel from London Bridge to Waterloo East, look to your left. If you're heading the other way, it is, naturally, on your right.

Friday, 19 February 2010

The Imp Of The Perverse

I had that urge again this morning. No, you absolute filthbag, pick your mind up out of the gutter, not that urge. No, you know the one. It's inexplicable and only happens sometimes but you definitely know it.

I was walking along over Waterloo Bridge (not an uncommon experience as it's on my route into work and I go to work quite a bit - well, they do pay me, after all) and I looked across, out over the river. And suddenly that little voice was there, whispering away at the back of my mind. "Go on, jump in. You could just climb up and jump. Low railing, nice splashy water below. Jump."

I didn't jump obviously. The fall would probably have killed me and, if it didn't the lovely murky brown waters of the Thames would probably have finished me off. Plus who wants to turn up to the office soaking wet and stinking of the Thames? Yes, that's right, mental people who no longer enjoy regular employment and monthly payments of monies.

Why do we get these strange urges to do something potentially fatal? Gorgeous Girlfriend was telling me the other day that she gets the urge to jump from heights even though she's terrified of them. So why do we get these mad little impulses?

I decided to turn to my old friend Mr Google (I prefer to keep our relationship on formal terms) and see what I could find. A brief bit of searching turned up the fact that there is a name for this particular feeling and a rather splendid name it is, too, deriving from an Edgar Allen Poe story. It is referred to as the Imp Of The Perverse and, according to that Wiki-type place, it's "a metaphor for the common tendency, particularly among children and miscreants, to do exactly the wrong thing in a given situation. The concept is that the misbehavior is due to an imp (a small demon) leading an otherwise decent person into mischief." I'm not sure whether I fall into the child or miscreant category - probably both.

So there you have it. Whenever you get that little urge to do something you really shouldn't (jump into traffic, tear off all your clothes in that important meeting, throw hot tea into the face of your colleague), well, it's not really you, it's just the imp of the perverse. (Caution: this may not stand up in court as a legal defence.)

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

What's In A Name?

Do you ever get the feeling that sometimes a person's career path is determined by their name? For example, my surname should really lead to me being involved in the Scottish clergy in some way or maybe the rugged and intrepid captain of a 24th century starship*. I'm not either of those things, obviously, as a) I have no religious inclinations whatsoever, and b) I'm not a fictional character** but that was just to illustrate my point. For you see, there is an establishment in Twickenham whose name beggars belief.

It's a firm that seems to have have been in the area for some time and I'm sure it's a respectable firm. It just strikes me as odd that no one involved in the set-up of this company thought, "Hey, hang on, maybe this isn't the most of inviting of names for the line of business that we're in? I mean, sure, the first part is an accurate description of a part of what is involved in the process but do people really want to be reminded of the second part?"

Personally, I like it. I think I may consider their services myself as I think it would amuse me. Of course, I don't intend to need them for quite some considerable time. So what is the name of this place?


* No, not the baldy one from Yorkshire (Sir Baldy from Yorkshire now), the one before that.

** No, seriously, I am actually real. I've checked.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Ode To Nowt

I'm sad to say that it's that time
Another blog that's told in rhyme
We all know it means one thing
No subjects from his head do spring
The lights are on, there's no one home
Attentions wanders, eyeballs roam
But nothing sudden springs to light
So that's yer lot, then, for tonight

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Creative Destruction

On my journey back the other day, I spotted some graffiti which left me perplexed. It appeared to be conveying some sort of a message but said message was not clear from the phrasing. The daubings ran thusly:-

"Snifflick it to fuck"

Not the clearest set of instructions that I've ever come across. I mean, for starters, I'm not sure exactly what they mean by "snifflicking". It does, however, sound somewhat unsavoury as practices go and quite possibly on the messy side. Secondly, the instruction is rather vague as to what the "it" is that we are being requested to "snifflick". I think it's a key consideration. If you're going to do some snifflicking, the object of said practice is bound to be important in weighing up your decision as to whether you will or not. And, lastly, is that a command to convince the object being snifflicked to begin copulating or is it more a demand to do the snifflicking really, really well (as in "snifflick the fuck out of it")? I guess we'll never know...

It has, however, reminded me of my favourite piece of vandalism (if it's possible to have such a thing). In the parade of shops round the corner from Ma and Pa's, there once was a small cafe. The name of establishment was emblazoned above the door in raised letters and read like so:-


Fairly unremarkable and not overly amusing in itself, I'm sure you'll agree. However, some jolly wag decided that the sign needed some livening up and, through the stealing of a certain letter combined with the snapping of the lower frond of an "E", the following legend was revealed to all:-


Ah, the subtle genius of making shop names sweary. Our intrepid hooligan didn't stop there, however. Oh no, there was more to be done, thought he or she, and through the swapping round of a further two letters, we finally arrived at:-


OK, it may have been grammatically more satisfying if they'd stuck an extra comma in there to make it the mystifyingly vulgar and insulting answer to some unknown question ("Jean's nob, fart face") but still, kudos to them for a more inventive form of wanton destruction. Of course, the sad side of the story is the place went out of business as no one wants to eat at Jean's Nob Fart Face but it looked pretty funny so that's OK.

I'm not entirely sure that this post has a big payoff so I'll just let it peter out here...

That'll do.