“SWEET JUMPING CHRISTMAS!”: It’s The Bradtastic Festive Post

‘Tis The Season To Be Groovy

“Hey, Santa… You’re just the man I need. You see a cat in funky vines waltz by here?” – Luke Cage. 

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and the writer lay slumped in his armchair in the Study @ Brad Manor. The latest addition to his SF Library gradually slipped off his lap as he dozed off into a dreamscape blessed with marshmallow trees and golden honey seas; gateau mountains and caramel fountains… 

Suddenly! He jolted awake as the astounding realization struck him – it does not seem a YEAR since yesteryule… 

This year, dear friends, I thought it best to make an effort and produce a special Festive Post just for you. In keeping with the nostalgic tone of my blog, let’s begin with reminiscences of Christmas Past. 

Every morning during school assembly, especially in the run-up to Christmas, we had to sing hymns. To get us in festive mood – ho ho, and if you will, ho. It’s not that none of us munchkins believed any of this religious gubbins, but, strangely enough, none of the teachers ever – as far as one can recall made attempts to explain what any of the words meant. 

Remember one pleasant tune: 

“Good King Wenceslas last looked out on the feast of Stephen,”

So far, so groovy. 

But WHO was this King Wenceslas fella? What did he he become famous for? Incidentally, who the chestnuts-roasting-on-an-open-fire blazes was Stephen?! What fab finger-licking-good grub did they have at this feast?  

Was there – ever – an(y) explanation for all this? 

Was there fairy cakes…

Ho ho, and if you will, ARSE…

Never mind. No scrooge in this gaff. 

‘Tis the season to be merry!

To spread joy. 

To sing: 

“May the longest night and the shortest day, 

Bring rest to your mind and soul, I pray.

May you find guidance and may you find peace,

As the cycle of light will slowly increase” – Pagan Prayer. 

The Pagan custom of Winter Solstice (also known as Yule, or Yuletide, from the Olde English: “geol,”) is a festival historically observed by the Germanic peoples, and long predates the Jesus story. 

Beginning on 21 December, this original celebration honoured the Return of the Sun: the days start to get longer! Warmer weather is on the way! To ensure that new harvests would be plentiful, offerings were made to the pagan gods. In Roman times, the festival of Saturnalia, held in honour of Saturn, father of the gods became very popular. 

Meanwhile, in Scandinavia – more pertinent to the modern manifestation of what we celebrate – Baldur, the Norse god of the sun, was honoured. The evergreen tree became his symbol – this is where we get the tradition of putting a tree in our living rooms every December. Just like Halloween, the Christians felt disgruntled enough to try and quash these Yuletide traditions. And yet they held a soft spot for the gift-giving and tree-decorating, mixing them into the jolly jamboree we all recognise today as “Christmas.”

Thankfully, my childhood turned out to be the happiest, and most productive, chapter in my life, with just about every Christmas (just me and my parents) being exceedingly enjoyable, with many magnificent and memorable presents most heartily received.

But…

Having grown up, and dear ol’ Dad becoming one with the Force over a decade ago, it is difficult to feel much festive cheer these days… 

Hey!

Hold the sleigh – gotta keep that melancholia at bay. 

How does Brad spend his Christmas Day?

Apart from watching classic epic movies in the comfort of my own Disney Plus, Netflix, Amazon AND the BBC iPlayer, ’tis tne season to get stuck into some top nosh: 

Behold! The feast of Brad: 

Pigs in blankets! Turkey sarnies, mince pies, smoked ham an’ cheese, mince pies, yule logs, angel slices. And mince pies.

And Peanuts: 

“Look, Charlie, let’s face it. We all know that Christmas is a big commercial racket. It’s run by a big eastern syndicate, you know” – Lucy Van Pelt.

You know, A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) is probably the best Yule-themed animation ever created. It is scandalous how it is NEVER shown on the telly on this side of the Pond; thankfully, it can be enjoyed online. 

Listening to the OST by The Vince Guaraldi Trio – Schroeder on piano; Pigpen on bass; and (of course) Snoopy on guitar 😉 – helped me compile this Post. 

Had the option of loading either the Charlie Brown Christmas Dance or the 1st part of this CBS classic, but – yay! – it’s the time of giving, so more prezzies the better! 😉

“The best way to spread Christmas cheer 

is singing loud for all to hear” – Buddy The Elf. 

Come December, The Nativity is a constant part of junior schools up and down the country, so it became an inevitable event at my school. Yep, just like those hymns, we were NEVER taught the significance of it. To this day, one cannot fathom how/why they selected ME to “play” one of the Three Wise Men. Kept badgering Miss Crummy to explain:

Just who were Melchior, Balthazar and Gaspar?

From whence did they hail?

And WHY did they travel goodness knows how far to present gifts to a baby not directly related to them? 

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Cobblers…

But the teacher’s response did little to appease my tiny mind. Outrage, frustration and sheer bewilderment – she simply could not believe how this achingly-adorable blond moppet, as sweet as a ray of sunshine (and yet as cocky as a Tatooine farmboy) had NOT heard of this particular episode of the Wholly Fable. 

I was only 8, fer cake’s sake…

Of course, upon remarking something to the effect that it was “her job” to educate me on such matters, well – Blimey Charley! – she launched into a vociferous fit of seething and snarling – caterwauling against my perceived “impudence.”

Or something like that. 

‘Cos by that point, I had given up listening, becoming, instead, bewitched by the peculiar colour her face was rapidly turning. 

Before you could say: 

“We three kings of Orient are, 

Two in a bus and one in a car” 

she had confiscated my paper crown and gold foil-wrapped tissue box and banished me to the choir… 

Well, honestly! An innocent, curious juve, asking QUESTIONS?! AT SCHOOL?!?!  

Jumping Jakoombas!! What is the (western) world coming to…? 

 

Well, ding-dong-merrily-on-high, this is really groovy:

“Jump back and do the boogaloo. Go on, do your thang. HIT IT”

 

“Be a jolly, happy soul. Spend time outdoors. Avoid meltdowns. Be well-rounded. Live well. Life is short!” – Advice From a Snowman. 

 

“Three caskets they bore on their saddle-bows,

Three caskets of gold with golden keys;

Their robes were of crimson silk with rows

Of bells and pomegranates and furbelows,

Their turbans like blossoming almond-trees…”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

And lo, he cried, if ya wanna learn something yerself, go research it yerself! Thus, my quest to discover more about those Three Wise Men set me on my fascinating life-long pursuit of Near (and Far) Eastern history.

“People think they were magi,” wrote John of Hildesheim in his mid-14th century compendium: “Historia Trium Regum.” 

The original premise cited them as Persian – more specifically: Zoroastrian – scholars, keepers of the holy fire of  Ormuzd, and skilled in astronomy, medicine, magic and astrology. The sixth-century mosaic at Ravenna (above) is the last artistic evidence to emphasize their Persian heritage – gotta dig those snazzy pants and Phrygian caps.  However, the term: “magi,” held too many pagan connotations for the early Christian church to tolerate. This mysterious trio “followed the teachings of Balaam, and dealt in demons,” ran the common belief of those times.  

“It was not good to introduce devilry into the Christmas scene,” wrote one modern commentator, “even if the Christ-child could defeat it with one wave of his tiny hand.”

Thus, they became rebranded as Oriental kings, respectively of Arabia and Nubia, Godolia and Tarsus. Of their gifts – significantly more symbolic than practical –  medieval travellers wrote: 

“Gold lay so thick in Arabia’s red earth that you kicked it up as you walked, incense dripped from the trees of  Godolia, and you could not wander in parts of Tarsus without myrrh, “moist as wax”, clinging to your clothes.”

Most importantly, they represented the main areas of Christendom, with Balthazar’s dark features, in particular, depicting that rarest of artistic treasures: an African face in Medieval Europe. 

Gaspar, Balthazar and Melchior also signified all the ages of man: 20, 40 and 60. And yet, even when I was only that high, I knew that real kings would never ponse about all by their lonesome, or, in this case, as The Three Amigos. No, a single king would have to be accompanied by a considerable entourage. Three kings together? Each sizable retinue would amount to an enormous army traipsing across the desert! So their royal  credentials also languish on flimsy grounds. 

Nice story, but too far-fetched. 

Jesus’ mum, Mary, summed up the absurdity of the whole bally thing: 

“Uff, three “wise” men, and no one brought chocolate?!”

 

Let me close by wishing you all 

A Very Merry Gingerbread Latte

and 

A Happy New Cranberry Muffin

xxx

 

“Once more the ancient feast returns,
And the bright hearth domestic burns
With Yuletide’s added blaze;
So, too, may all your joys increase
Midst floods of mem’ry, love, and peace,
And dreams of Halcyon days” – H.P. Lovecraft.

 

“We’re Gonna Need More Holy Water!”: The Bradscribe Spooktacular Halloween Horrorthon

Not For The Nervous

“That thing in the cellar is NOT my mother!”

Welcome, fellow chill-seekers! 

‘Tis the night of All Hallows Eve once again(!) Blimey, it keeps swingin’ a-round with ever-more-frightening-regularity doesn’t it?! 

The origins of Halloween can be traced back 2,000 years to the Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celtic New Year fell on the first day of  November – a day marking the end of summer and the harvest, and the beginning of winter: a season most associated with death. The Celts believed that on the night before their new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. Thus, on the night of October 31 they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead were more likely to return to the mortal plain. This festival involved huge bonfires on which crops and animals were burned as sacrifices to the Celtic gods. People wore costumes – more specifically, animal heads and skins.

With Celtic territory subjugated by the Roman Empire during the first four centuries CE, two Roman festivals gradually became incorporated into the traditions of Samhain: Feralia, a day in late October on which the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead; and Pomona, a day reserved to honour the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. Her symbol was the apple – hey! That’s where we get apple-bobbing from!

In 609 CE, the Catholic feast of All Martyrs Day was established in the Western church. Later, the festival was expanded to include all saints, and moved from May 13 to November 1. In 1000 CE., the church made November 2 All Souls’ Day: a day to honour the dead – a deliberate attempt to replace the CelticHEATHEN!! – festival of the dead with a “church-sanctioned holiday.”

Remarkably, though, All Souls’ Day bore all the hallmarks of Samhain, with big bonfires, parades and dressing up in costumes (especially saints, angels and devils). It also came to be known as All-hallowmas (from the Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day) and the night before it, the traditional night of Samhain began to be called All-Hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween.

But you didn’t turn up here to be bludgeoned to boredom by Professor Brad, did you?! NAY! 

In a packed goody-bag of tantalizing TRICKS tonight, expect to be TREATED to some of the most groovy sights and sounds of horror! 

Speaking of groovy sights, the cobwebs of my Attila The Nun costume have been brushed ON, so expect this evening’s party to become particularly frightful. 

How about some music? Might cover the noise we make…

“Watches! Watches! Ooh, ooh, lighter fluid! And chocolate. Chocolate! Hey, how about a mink coat?” – Roger DeMarco.

Why – when yours truly doesn’t even dig zombie movies, fer cake’s sake! – does George A. Romero’s Dawn Of The Dead hold a reserved spot in my all-time Horror Top 10? 

Why, when there’s no more room in hell, the dead will walk the mall?

Why did so many decent, seemingly placid, Pennsylvanians volunteer to “play” all those zombie extras?!

Why did Roger, (one of the most badass protagonists in horror movie history) have to get bitten – and come back like that?

Why does such a gonzo film that so radically tonal-shifts from flesh-eating to pie fights (and back again) make for compelling viewing no matter how many times you watch it?! 

“Right, and we’re up here doing traffic reports! Wake up, sucker! We’re thieves and we’re bad guys. That’s exactly what we are. We gotta find our own way” – Peter Washington.

Perfect, baby, perfect.

 

“When the music stops, you’ll see him in the mirror standing behind you” – April Perron.

Hey, if you’re surfing through your streaming services hunting for a really scary movie to watch tonight, you might like to try Session 9 (2001). An obscure, totally under-rated chiller, even yer own buddy Brad had not heard of it until only three months ago. 

A group of guys are assigned a 2-week job to remove asbestos from an old abandoned asylum, but pretty soon they realise that the building’s dark history – especially a demonic entity known only as “Simon” – is catching up with them.  

There is such a constant, creepy feel throughout – some may find Session 9’s slow-burn atmosphere quite unsettling, yet to me, it’s a most-welcome alternative to all those wretched slasher flicks that have spoilt the horror genre. 

Disappointingly, the denouement had to be branded with that ever-so-tiresome trope of pools of blood, but the violence is, thankfully, minimal and the fear factor throughout is more psychological. 

DARE YOU to watch this shocker…

Alone. 

In the dark. 

During the witching hour…

Doctor: “And where do you live, Simon?”

Mary Hobbes: “I live in the weak… and the wounded… Doc…”

 

YOU are the caretaker. You’ve ALWAYS been the caretaker…

Wendy Torrance: “Oh, Jack. Thank God you’re here! There… Jack, there’s someone else in the hotel with us. There’s a crazy woman in one of the rooms! She tried to strangle Danny!” 

Jack Torrance: “Which room was it…?”

All twerk and no cake makes Brad a dull boy.

All twerk and no cake makes Brad a dull boy.

All twerk and no cake makes Brad a dull boy.

All twerk and no cake makes Brad a dull boy.

All twerk and no cake makes Brad a dull boy.

All twerk and no cake makes Brad a dull boy.

All twerk and no cake makes Brad a dull boy.

All twerk and no cake makes Brad a dull boy.

All twerk and no cake makes Brad a dull boy.

All twerk and no cake makes Brad a dull boy.

All twerk and no cake makes Brad a dull boy.

All twerk and no cake makes Brad a dull boy.

All twerk and no cake makes Brad a dull boy.

“There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpkin” – Linus van Pelt.

Jumpin’ jolly jack-o’lanterns! 

You’re still here?! My MY! You are a bold bunch! Let me remind you: it gets truly horrific from here until the end of this Post. 

You have been warned! 0 _ 0

Here’s hoping you have a fearsomely-fun evening. 

Tonight, as with EVERY Hallowe’en, you can find me wrapped up cosy and snug with me hot cuppa and a tub of Terrifying Toffee Twirls™ engrossed in my all-time favourite horror movie. (You can read a celebration of it right here

Which scary movie will YOU be watching tonight? 

Not sure if my viewing experience will go as peacefully as planned…

Rumours have been circulating through our village today that the more… disreputable younglings in the community have hatched a plot to raid Brad Manor, particularly its legendary pantry of the sweetest delicacies. Have posted several of my minions on sentry duty at the North and South gates. 

Uff, naturally they are somewhat dischuffed by this – they’d much rather be out Trick-or-Treating! (bless ’em) 

No worries.

Should any of those bally miscreants manage to break in, one butcher’s at Attila in all “her” (ahem) glory and, no doubt, they will make themselves scarce pretty sharpish. Heh heh heh…. 😉 

“It was a dark and stormy night…”

Happy  Halloween!

“You have a lot of spirits in here, but there is one I’m most worried about because it is so hateful” – Lorraine Warren.

 

“WE WILL TEAR YOUR SOUL APART!” – Pinhead.

 

“On My Command – Fire In A Series Of Rapid Proton Pulsations!”: More Mega Mags From Mighty Marvel

A Cool, Candy-Coated Cavalcade Of Classic Corking Comics

Dr. Rachel Sweet: “The humans will be here any second, ROM!”

ROM: “They will find only an empty laboratory, wraith, for Firefall and I will have long since gone… And you shall be drifting in the shadow realm of limbo!”

Dr. Sweet: “Will I, ROM?! To banish me you must first recover your neutralizer, and not even you can free it! You couldn’t penetrate that force-sphere without expending all of your armor’s energy!” 

ROM: “For a Spaceknight to do so would mean death!” 

Welcome back, True Believers!

In an attempt tp slink back into a more regular blogging groove, yours truly thought it best to compile another batch of titles acquired during my Bronze Age expeditions. However, this just happens to be the one series in this blog that has, curiously, become quite a laborious chore to compile; thus a whole backlog of Reviews remain unfinished!

So how can one remedy this?

Rather than utilizing a fancy gimmick, or theme, for this Post, as per usual, ishs were selected entirely at random. By reducing the number of ishs featured per post to just FOUR, hopefully the output of these comic book reviews should increase. Also, note to self: try not to be so meticulous when discussing plot-points, especially with the more awesome ishs.

Okey-dokey, ready for some rapid proton pulsations?

Let’s get stuck in, starting with a true classic:

 

Dr. Daedalus: “See the genius of Galadorian cyber-surgery! Human organs and cells genetically grafted to spaceknight steel! We are looking at a suit of living armor!” 

The Most High One: “What we are looking at, Dr. Daedalus, is an enemy who has pursued us across the cosmos for 200 Earth years!” 

“By the Golden Gates of Galador!”

Wow, ROM, WOW! 

What a rip-roaring – and strangely moving – ish ROM #11 (October 1980) is.

The Greatest of the Spaceknights has discovered that Project Safeguard – the US government initiative set up to protect Earth from extraterrestrial threats – just happened to be established by none other than the Dire Wraiths: the most malevolent extraterrestrial threat Earth could ever face.

In this chapter, entitled: “Standoff!” ROM – held prisoner within a stasis-field in the top secret depths of Ultralab – must free himself and defeat a wraith in the guise of scientist Dr. Rachel Sweet. She is seriously dischuffed at being ordered to exterminate ROM – she would have preferred to keep him alive and learn the secrets of Galadorian cyber-surgery, thus advancing wraith-science. 

ROM wins this round, but only through the unexpected sacrifice of Archie Stryker, a petty (human) criminal who had sworn to destroy the Spaceknight (before being tricked by the wraiths and grafted into the late Firefall’s armour).

Those proton pulsations did the trick: in the climactic panel (below) the Ultralab guards burst in to confront the “evil robot from outer space.” 

Those top co-imagineers: Bill Mantlo (script) and Sal Buscema (art) have excelled themselves – this is one brilliant ish, absolutely BRILLIANT.

“She’s stallin’ — up to something! Wait! That instrument panel she’s leanin’ against… Of course! It’s gotta be tied into the intercom system! She’s been screamin’ stuff about us killin’ her for the benefit of the security forces upstairs!” – Firefall.

 

Mr. Gyrich: “As the authorized agent of the National Security Council, I hereby revoke your Avengers’ priority status! From this moment on, your ties with the federal government are severed…!”

Iron Man: “Gyrich, wait! You can’t! That affects almost everything we do…! Great! Just great! Now we can’t fly our aircraft, we can’t use our monitors, our security clearance and priority status are gone–! Now what?” 

“ANYBODY HOME?! Hey,  Avengers! Where’s the cake and the brass band, huh? HAWKEYE’S BACK!” 

Searching for pre-1981 ishs of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes – especially at affordable rates! – has been one of the toughest objectives encountered during my Bronze Age expeditions. So imagine my surprise, but sheer delight, upon stumbling across The Avengers #172 (June 1978) “Holocaust In New York Harbor!”

Clint Barton returns, but to an abandoned Avengers Mansion. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, meanwhile, are uptown, having defeated Ultron in the previous ish. Upon their return, ever-dependable butler: Jarvis runs in to inform them that Atlantean rapscallion: Tyrak (Tie Rack?! arf, arf, arf) is running amok around NY harbour. Vision, Scarlet Witch, Hawkeye, Wonder Man, and Ms. Marvel head for the waterfront to confront their fishy foe, while Iron Man stays behind to try and solve the mystery of the vanishing Avengers.

So, was this ish worth the bother?

Despite Hawkeye’s prominence on the cover, we barely get to see him. Considering how this team “were born – to fight the foes no single superhero could withstand,” this particularly ineffectual nerk could easily be sorted out by, say, Shellhead, or even the Cap – or, more appropriately, Namor The Sub-Mariner – in any of their solo adventures.

Come ON: apart from a big mouth and some right hooks, what threat does he seriously pose? Get a load of that orange vest, and those yellow fish-scale tights, especially against his sky-blue skin. But the REAL “danger” lies in those PINK BOOTS. Obviously, this ish’s colorist had been itchin’ to try out his new box of crayons…

The final panel reveals those missing Avengers encased in cryo-tubes and only the hands of a mysterious supervillain operating a snazzy console hint at a more dangerous threat to come in the subsequent ish.

But come ON!

Yer ol’ buddy Brad strode all the way across ol’ London town to track down this precious ish – only to find a noisome nautical nincompoop with a bad attitude, appalling dress sense and those blamed PINK BOOTS?!

No reward is worth this…

“Did you think that anything short of total disintegration could stop me? YOU WILL NOT TOUCH MY WIFE! You HATE the sun’s burning rays — I trust that my thermo-optic beams are equally loathsome!” – Vision.

 

Dr. Strange: “Good morrow, milord. This lady and I be weary travelers, who have journeyed far to speak with thee. Might we have a moment of thy time?” 

Sir Francis Bacon: “Indeed, sir! Sit, I prithee. I warn ye, however, that I am yet new to my governmental duties, so any pleas–!”

Dr. Strange: “No, milord. ‘Tis Bacon the philosopher and author we seek.” 

Sir Francis Bacon: “What? Not more allegations that I wrote the works of William Shakespeare, surely? I deny it absolutely!”

“By the Crimson Crystals of Cyttorak!”

Every once in a while, ’tis a joy to return to the Master of Mystic Arts!

This title radiated awesomeness whenever co-imagineers: “Smashin'” Steve Engelhart and “Genial” Gene Colan were at the helm, so the reputation of Dr. Strange #17  (August 1976) deservedly precedes it. Honouring that year’s bicentennial celebrations, this chapter: “Utopia Rising!” explored the origins of America. 

That desperate ne’er-do-well: James Mandarin has committed the ultimate crime: stolen a selection of antiquarian books from Dr. Strange’s Sanctum Sanctorum. One of the recovered books: “New Atlantis,” in which Sir Francis Bacon outlined the “dream of a new form of society… of free men, where neither princes nor pontiffs shall hold sway, and the governors shall be the governed,” piques the interest of Stephen’s apprentice, Clea. So he takes her back in time to Stuart London, 1618, “to plunge into the mad babble of the rabble in the tavern” to meet Sir Francis. 

After Stephen and Clea leave, they are attacked in the street by a gang of bawdy blackguard bounders, who turn out to be minor magicians…

They’d been dispatched to steal the manuscript of New Atlantis, but by whom?! 

Later, in a hastily-procured hotel room – Dormammu’s Demons! – the Sorcerer Supreme of the 20th century is ambushed by Stygro, the Sorcerer Supreme of the 17th century. Here, Colan is at his expressive best: the unusual, magik-tinged combat is accentuated through his distinctively giddy, mad swirls of flying furniture and twirling tomes.

The finale is marked by Sir Francis’ confession that he never intends to publish New Atlantis in its entirety:

“Let everyone believe it lost, to fan interest in its unanswered mysteries!”

And his revelation that King James had recently appointed him to direct “our colonization effort” in the New World. 

“Need I add that only those who who seek true freedom shall I send?”

Thus, Dr. Strange communicates with Clea telepathically:

“And that, Clea, is why “New Atlantis” marks the REAL beginning of America!”

A veritable Bronze Age masterpiece, brimming with class, maturity and sophistication.

“Next: Ben Franklin struts his stuff!”

Whoa, can’t wait… 

“Thou dost speak like a wine-besotted fool, Mister Strange. The drift of thy speech, therefore, eludeth me entire” – Sir Francis Bacon.

 

(Hey! Coulda swore I saw somethin’ move up there! You’re actin’ like a scared kid, Lucas – jumpin’ at shadows! But shadows don’t make noise… It sounded like it came— from behind me!) 

“SWEET JUMPING CHRISTMAS!” – Luke Cage. 

“You cooked him, Mistah Fish! Fried ‘im like a flounder!”  

Last – and probably least? – in this round-up comes Luke Cage, Power Man #29 (Feoruary 1976). It’s an odd lil curio, but with such a badass (lameass…?) title as: “No One Laughs at Mr. Fish!” how could Brad – nay, anyone! – refuse?!

Imagineered by those ever-trusty stalwarts of awesomeness, “Boisterous” Bill Mantlo (Blimey! Him again!) and “Gorgeous” George Tuska, this, unfortunately, has all the hallmarks of a last-minute filler job – desperate for ideas with a deadline fast approaching…

Therefore, in addition to being a far-fetched creation, “Mr. Fish” cannot be considered to be anything other than irrelevant and disposable. Moreover, by today’s standards, Mr. Fish’s henchmen could easily be deemed racist caricatures.

Luke, of course, is cool and tough as always, but deserved much better material than this. 

You can read this ish…and still not believe it. It’s okay, but nothing special. And probably may not stay in my collection for much longer… 

But hey!!

At least Mr. Fish didn’t have to rely on pink boots to intimidate his enemies!

Cheers!

“The others fled as I – glowing from the contaminating isotope – dove into the filthy waters of the East River! And though I stayed beneath the water for what seemed like hoursstill I burned from within! My entire being aflame as I… changed! …I knew instinctively that I would never be the same again!” – Mr. Fish.

 

The Kinks – Supersonic Rocket Ship: MARVEL Music Monday

Welcome To New Asgard!

Move aside, there, Lebowski!” – Tony Stark

Thor: “Do you know what is coursing through my veins right now?”

James Rhodes: “Cheez Whiz?”

 

“I Wouldn’t Say No To A Tuna Melt”: What Can We Expect From Avengers: Endgame?!

Eyes Up. Stay Sharp.

 

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE MAY CONTAIN POTENTIAL SPOILERS

“The world has changed, and none of us can go back. All we can do is our best, and sometimes the best that we can do is to start over” – Peggy Carter. 

“This is the Asgardian refugee vessel Statesman. We are under assault! I repeat, we are under assault. The engines are dead, life support failing. Requesting aid from any vessel within range. We are 22 jump points out of Asgard. Our crew is made up of Asgardian families. We have very few soldiers here. This is not a warcraft. I repeat, this is not a warcraft!” 

Accompanied by such a moody score from Alan Silvestri, wow, methinks, this IS already turning out to be a masterpiece. And we haven’t even got past the MARVEL STUD10S logo yet(!)

After 59 viewings of this movie, it’s still unbelievable as to how all narrative threads of Avengers: Infinity War link up so effectively. 

So it was MARVELous news to learn that Avengers: Endgame will once again be written by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and directed by those groovy fellas: the Russo Brothers – arguably the ideal creative team for such a Mad Titan-sized project.  

Naturally, the chances of the Russo Brothers revealing ANY plot-point is – as you would expect – as unlikely as Brad having any chance of ever managing to lift Mjolnir.

That’s fine. Chris Evans summed it up perfectly: “Marvel really wants to make sure that their stuff is the way movies used to be,” he said, when interviewed on the Infinity War set. “It used to be that the first you heard of a movie was the trailer. You know what I mean…? It was all discovery and mystery and reveals. That was the fun of movies for me, at least as a kid. So I think Marvel does a good job of prioritising that.”

Such was the almost-insane level of security, Chris was one of the few members of the gargantuan cast to receive a COMPLETE script. Printouts of each day’s dialogue had to be shredded straight after use; fake scenes were even written just to bamboozle potential party-poopers; and when it came to the Big Twist (i.e. half of the cast being written out) those closing moments were NEVER written anyway.

The production team had to go break it, verbally, to that unlucky 50%, that the big purple guy had WON…

“You could not live with your own failure, and where did that bring you? Back to me” – Thanos. 

“Chin there, done that…” 

Rocket Raccoon: “This is Thanos we’re talking aboutHe’s the toughest there is.”

Thor: “Well, he’s never fought me.”

Rocket Raccoon: “Yeah, he has.”

Thor: “He’s never fought me twice.”

“It was very flattering,” Anthony Russo explained, reacting to news that the once-in-a-generation stunning climax to Infinity War has been described as the 21st century’s equivalent of The Empire Strikes Back’s cliffhanger. “We were diehard fans of Empire Strikes Back. It’s our favourite Star Wars movie.”

You see?! TOLD YOU they were groovy fellas 😉

Empire’s iconic twist had a profound effect on them – especially the moment in which Lord Vader lops Luke’s hand off. In every MCU instalment, at least one character is guaranteed to lose a hand; a macabre bunch of Marvel fans have tried to predict who will be the next unfortunate victim of this grisly regularity in Endgame. 

“Agan, one of the great licences that you have with serialised storytelling in cinema is that you can take the narrative to places that an individual, standalone film can’t,” Anthony Russo continued. “That’s one thing we always committed to in Infinity War: telling a story that was not going to go to a conventional place, and it was going to go to a difficult place. And trusting that the audience was ready for that kind of experience with those characters.” 

Speaking of taking the narrative to other places, as a quantum weirdness buff, the prospect of the remaining Avengers utilizing quantum gubbins to somehow undo the Snaptastrophe could not make me squeal with delight any louder. 

Watch this multidimensional space…

“Even if there’s a small chance. We owe this, to everyone who’s not in this room, to try” – Natasha Romanoff.

“It’s not about how much we lost. It’s about how much we have left. We’re the Avengers. We gotta finish this. You trust me?” – Tony Stark.

“The fact that they could break these two stories and make them as different as they are – to me, in the history of all the writing I’ve ever seen, it’s the single greatest story-breaking achievement,” Robert Downey Jr. remarked on the Infinity War set.

There is something about the original Iron Man movie that has been bugging me forever. And it wsn’t until a recent rewatch that it suddenly struck me – as decisive as any of Shellhead’s repulsor rayblasts.

Consider the very first glimpse we get of Tony. No, it’s not a view of Tony’s mug, but a close-up of his hand holding a drink glass.

Look at the way he’s holding it. Photoshop the glass out and it looks like he is… ready to snap his fingers…

The oldest Easter Egg in the MCU and nobody noticed. Maybe it’s Stark’s destiny to wield the gauntlet in the Last Roundand snap Thanos out of existence…? 

But hey! 

Don’t listen to me.

Tried to predict the contents of Peter’s Awesome Mixtape Vol.2 and only got 1.5 out of 14 right. Perhaps that is the reason why most of my Followers have now drifted away… (Better not brood over this or Brad will start to look as miserable as Thor in the Endgame trailer – oh Lord (of Thunder), hope he gets a chance to shine in this movie. Still reckon that he and Rocket should get their own groovy movie together. “Cool? Cool.” “So cool!”).

No matter how adamantly the writers and directors stipulate that these are two very separate films, Infinity War and Endgame were conceived and written concurrently, with the story framework set out during the last quarter of 2015, and the scripts developed during the first five months of 2016. 

“Without being able to reveal anything about Endgame,” Markus explains, “They’re very different movies structurally and tonally.” 

One has mainly stayed away from the ever-trundling rumour-mill, but it would be amazing to see the likes of the Ancient One, or Hela – and Loki, of course! 😉 – make dramatic returns to the MCU.

One amusing story in paticular caught my attention: In the last few weeks, a growing number of fans have been speculating – all over again – that the golden boy himself: Adam Warlock will be The One to save Tony and Nebula! With uncertainty surrounding the prospects of a Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 3, stories of Adam’s cinematic debut being pushed discretely forward naturally gained pace. As integral to the Infinity saga (in the comics) as Thanos he may be, even this fanboy readily accepts that no matter how groovy this prospect sounds, Adam’s appearance in this movie remains, alas, highly unlikely. 

Even with the characters-who-survived-the-Snap, chances for the already-dense 181-minute running time being staggered further by any new faces popping up also seem remote.

Or are they…? 

Peter Quill: “The Avengers?”

Thor: “The Earth’s mightiest heroes.”

Mantis: “Like Kevin Bacon?”

Thor: “He may be on the team. I don’t know, I haven’t been there in a while.”

“There will be great stakes for the characters,” Joe Russo warns.

There will be consequences, both brothers have advised.

Whilst it his been said that Infinity War was the brawn, Endgame will be the brains.

Oh, and the heart. A heckuva lotta heart.

If you thought last year’s epic brought on more emotional intensity than you thought mentally and physically possible, expect this year’s jawdropper to crank up the feels even further. So make sure to bring lots an’ lotsa tissues…

God, it seems like a thousand years ago since that playboy-billionaire-philanthropist-quip-dispenser fought his way out of that cave…

The most persistent speculation concerning Endgame plot-points involves Steve Rogers making the ultimate sacrifice. Indeed, Chris Evans’ emotional last-day-on-set tweet implied his departure from the franchise here.

But does it have to mean the death of Steve?  

The trailer indicated that these two valiant characters will, at last, reconcile after the almost-calamitous fallout from Civil War; personally, that would be one of my top moments to expect.

And it will come just in time. 

My instincts regrettably inform me that we will have to bid, instead, a heartrending farewell to Tony Stark. 

Throwing in my ten-satangs-worth – ’tis, after all, MY blog, by Jove! – during the inevitably edge-of-yer-seat finale, it looks like Steve is a goner, but Tony will step in – at the last minute – and pay the ultimate price. Wracked by post-Snap torment, this demise in particular sends Steve over the edge, and makes him secretly commandeer the time-bending technology (that everybody saus will feature prominently in this movie) so he can “escape” back to the ’40s.

And get to have that date – and a life! – with Peggy. A less morbid, more tender, denouement to the Cap’s story-arc – still going to play havoc on everybody’s tear-ducts though! 

That is how this ol’ sentimental boobie would have written it…

Let’s hope we can still expect some mirthful moments amidst these seemingly morose proceedings. Heck, if we can hear rib-ticklers as classic as: “Dude, you’re embarrassing me in front of the wizards” then it should be mighty fine and dandy! Expect Markus and McFeely to supply an engrossing narrative and deft dialogue; expect the Russo Brothers at the helm to tighten the pace and proceedings by smacking our gobs (and not numbing our bums).

But most of all, dear friends: 

expect the unexpected from this Endgame(-changer). 

Allfather, let the Marvel Magic flow through us one last time…

ASSEMBLE all these elements in the right, awesome order and Brad will certainly be ONE VERY HAPPY BUNNY!!

“The rabbit is correct and clearly the smartest among you” – Thor.

 

“I know I said no more surprises, but I was really hoping to pull off one last one…” – Tony Stark.

 

UVB76 – SG1: Manic Music Monday

Part Of The Journey Is The End.

When I drift off, I will dream about you. It’s always you” – Tony Stark. 

 

Some people in this galaxy DON’T dig Marvel movies. 0_0

But not us…

Not us! 

Before unleashing my Review next week, this chattering animal will be posting – midweek – a few thoughts on the soon-to-be-revealed Avengers: Endgame, so hope you can join me for that!

Ha ha! We all wondered how we would manage to wait a whole year to find out how this monumental story arc could come to a satisfying MARVELous denouement – now we are only DAYS away.

So this is it? It’s all been leading to this…

 

“Oh My God! I should’ve stayed on the bus…” – Peter Parker.

 

Magic Sword – In The Face Of Evil: MARVEL Music Monday

Here We Go!

“So much has happened since I last saw you! I lost my hammer, like yesterday, so that’s still fresh. Then I went on a journey of self-discovery. Then I met you” – Thor. 

 

This live set by Brad’s new fav band: Magic Sword was performed in Phoenix, Arizona on 19 October 2016, about a few months before this track appeared on the trailer for

Thor: Ragnarok. 

Enjoy! 

 

“Mmm mmm mmm, he’s wonderful. It is a he…?” – The Grandmaster.  

 

Harry James And His Orchestra – It’s Been A Long, Long Time: MARVEL Music Monday

SHIELD COMPROMISED… 

Steve Rogers: “I don’t remember giving you a key.”

Nick Fury: “You really think I’d need one? My wife kicked me out.”

Steve Rogers: “Didn’t know you were married.”

Nick Fury: “There are a lot of things you don’t know about me.”

 

Written by Jule Styne;

Lyrics by Sammy Cahn;

Vocals by Kitty Kallen;

Performed by Harry James & His Orchestra (1945)

Natasha Romanoff: “Hey, fellas. Either one of you know where the Smithsonian is? I’m here to pick up a fossil.”

Steve Rogers: “That’s hilarious.”

 

The Queen Of Madeira: The Spy Who Loved Me Cake

A dot.com Rom Com About A Hip Hop Chip Shop

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“It’s all so boring here, Margo – there’s nothing but playboys and tennis pros. If only I could find a real man” – Playgirl.

 

Topsy-Turvy Lvey-Dvey

Rumours are rife around the Rebellion that 

Queen Cherisasara of Madeira, in the Whoopeedoo System, is an Imperial spy.

Having just narrowly escaped the Ruckus in Star-Field Zigma 12,

Brad Burrito Fartlighter, the Rebellion’s most fecklessfearless man-of-action, 

has opted to investigate the matter, especially as

that pleasure planet is renowned throughout the galaxy for its

delectable sweet fancies.

So whilst waiting for the ravishing ruler to show up,

your hero is entertaining the pretty Princess Gamelan at the Royal Court…

 

“Y’see, lov. it wuz like this,” Brad gesticulated. “I just manoeuvred straight down this trench and skimmed the surface to this point. The target area was only two meters wide. It was a small thermal exhaust port, right below the main port… but enough of this technical gubbins! ‘Ow ya bin doin’, Gammy?”

“Awesome as always, Mr. B, but enough about me – I take it the shaft was ray-shielded, so you had to use proton torpedoes?”

“You’re tellin’ me! It- say! You’re wasted at this royal court, lov. Ya could-“

At that moment, the heavy gilded double-doors of the Throne Room flung open, and in marched an official magisterial entourage.

“BEHOLT!” cried a whining and insubordinate voice. “Mek ware fer Hair Illuztriouz Majezty: Queen Cherizazara!”

The princess bolted straight to her feet; Brad stayed sprawled across his glitzy beanbag.

An elegant and deliriously beautiful verdant-skinned young woman swayed majestically across the gleaming marble floor. A trio of Diluvian dwarf-girls carried the extensive chiffon train of her elaborate silk costume.

“Remove the harlot from my sight, immediately!” she snapped, but with such a rich and mellifluous voice. “Leave us, Chamberlain!”

“Vhot?! Year Majezty! Leaf yo ELLURN wiv ze alien?!”

The Queen of Madeira shot one disdainful glance at your hero and snarled: “This… Earthling… should not give me any… trouble… Now, Chamberlain, be GONE!”

But Year Majezty, Ay muzt protezt-!”

“I’m the QUEEN! TRY ME!”

“But yo muzt moof-!”

“I DON’T MOVE when you want me to move! And I don’t groove when you tell me to groove! ‘Cos I’m the QUEEN! And I always will be! Now… pathetic. Little… man. Get OUT, before I throw you out…!”

The Queen gnashed her teeth, observing venomously as her officials, the princess and servant-girls all scurried out; the Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger watched in fascination.

“Impressive. Most impressive…” he muttered, clambering to his feet.

The emerald enchantress rotated impatiently on her formidable stilettos and marched menacingly towards your calm and collected hero; her lustrous, but intimidatng, hazel eyes seared into his cute blues. 

“SO…!” the Queen of Madeira snarled. “What’s your story? It had better be good or I’ll-I’ll… …!”

Unexpectedly, she fell silent, looking around anxiously to check if her minions had all gone.

“Oh, what the heck, they have all gone, haven’t they…? Good. Come here, baby…

In that instant, all her rage dissipated, and she hurled her lithe figure into the Earthman’s arms.

“Hiya, Hotshot! How you doing?!”

“Sound as a pound, lov.”

“Ha ha, HA, that’s my Brad!”

She stepped back, taking in a thorough butcher’s at him, then shook his hunky torso playfully.

“Whoo, lookachu!!”

“Uh-huh, look at me…”

“Gawd, yer even MORE ridiculously good-lookin’ than ever! How do ya do it, baby?!”

“‘Ow much time ya got, Yer Maj…?”

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“Does my sexiness upset you? Does it come as a surprise that I dance like I’ve got diamonds at the meeting of my thighs?” – Maya Angelou.

The Queen of Madeira led Brad to her Royal Lounge, a sumptuous chamber strewn with even larger glitzy beanbags; intricate mosaics decorated the floor while sumptuous murals adorned the ceiling; an open, ornate balcony overlooked the main foyer. She guided him over to a large, opulent couch-for-two; she reclined, slowly and sensuously, enticing him to repose beside her. 

“Tell me, Brad, what… …” she exclaimed softly, then tugged at his jacket to catch his attention. “Hello, handsome… are you receiving me, over… …?!” 

He could not speak (yet), otherwise entranced by the winsome smile radiating from her glistening fuchsia lips, the billowing violet, candy floss “hair” and the divine caress of her intoxicating vanilla perfume. 

“Ah, Cherry, I’ve missed you…” he eventually sighed, savouring the velvety mattress beneath him.

“As always, I am transfixed by the exquisite lustre in yer eyes, 

A glow that shines like the sunrise. 

When first we met, me heart flew high, 

On gleaming wings through a cloudless sky.  

You ta me are ev’rythin’, 

The sweetest song that I can sing…” 

“Whoo, really…? Say, Hotshot, all that cake has certainly given you a sweet mouth, hasn’t it…?!” she sniggered bashfully.

“Okay… There is a very special man, 

Who came from far, far away. 

He visits me but only once in a crimson moon, 

But not a day later can he stay. 

Our song of love is pure and fair 

All hurt the music can repair. 

How cute and extraordinary this dude from “Earth,”

All those fleeting moments when he excites my heart, I love a lifetime’s worth.”

“Nice… but then again, ya can’t beat a good slice o’ Madeira Cake. Or three…”

“Thank you! So tell me, Brad, were you and… that lil cupcakeexchanging equally heartfelt lines when I came in? You know she’s bad news in cheap make-up…”

“What, Gammy? Aww, she’s a good girl, causin’ no-“

“No trouble? Uff, she’s a constant pain – always poking her snooty lil nose in my affairs. She’s untrustworthy – she’ll betray us both one day…” 

“By Holdo’s Beard! Tha’s nah way ta talk abaht yer own sister! Look, she only requested some cake recipes, an’ I obliged, like…”

A lengthy disbelieving pause, until the Queen of Madeira slapped her mouth to stifle shrieks of laughter. 

“Oh, YOU! That’s the lamest fib I’ve ever heard. Ha! For once, your wicked way with words FAILS you, Brad. That’s the most-” 

“‘Onest statement. She fancied some’t other than Madeira Cake fer a change…” 

Cherry leant forward, placing the flexed fingers of her right, bejewelled hand to the side of his head, then darted back in astonishment. 

“By the crystal foxes of Crait…” she gasped. “You’re… telling the truth…?!” 

“I got no reason ta lie ta you, Cherry… an’ you KNOW that, too… Speaking of truth…” 

“Yes, yes, I picked it up in the mind-meld as well – it dominates your thoughts. Rajendra and your rebel-buddies all believe that I’m an Imperial spy… Those… rumours have gotten out of control… They’re sooo… ridiculous…!” She skimmed his luscious lips with one of her extended, extensively-painted fingernails. “…An’ you KNOW that!”

“Yyyyyeah, I guess so…”

“You KNOW so! Look, every time you’re here, Brad, it’s such a thrill… Just how long have you been fighting with the Rebellion? Are you closer now to defeating the Empire than you were… Dyzan knows how many years ago…?! Walk away from it all, baby…”

“Come again, lov…?!” 

“Leave the war behindStay here, in my palace, and we can enjoy the myriad delights of Madeira together…

Can you stay…?

Can you be mine…?

Can you… be… my love forever more… …?”

“Yes, I can be… but part o’ me is always gonna be itchin’ ta get aht an’ thwart the Empire as much as poss… Aww, ‘eck... I’ll STAY! Oh yes, Cherry. A thousand times, yes, I’ll be YOURS. Throughaht the galaxy there’s NAHbody:

as beautiful,

as dazzlin’,

as intelligent,

as charmin’-“

“As groovy…?!”

“Not ‘arf, lov! Yeah, there’s nahbody as groovy as you… Fer you, Yer Maj, I can be anythin’ you wan’ me to be… Anythin’, lov… … as long as it’s not an Admiral wiv pink ‘air… …” 

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“It’s my secret pleasure moon. I have a little palace there built just for two” – Princess Aura. 

“There’s something I’ve simply got to tell you, baby…” the Queen announced.

“Mmm, okey-dokey, lov – I’m all ears-“

A sensor on her bracelet bleeped manically. “Oh, fudge!” she cursed.

“Oh, I’ve ‘eard that many times before…”

“What? No, not that. Please excuse me, Brad, I’ve got to take this call… Um, I’ll see that my royal chefs prepare you the finest spicy meal – the way you like it!” 

“Ooh, goody gumdrops! Bless yer heart, Cherry…”

“Ha ha! Thought you’d dig that! Won’t be a minute, baby…” 

She swanned over to her office chamber and activated her vid-conf system; a familiar Dark Lord appeared onscreen, beaming devilishly.

“Hello, preetty! ‘Tiz done?”

“Yes, yes, Zeg, the Earthling is here with me…”

“Goot! Ay shell dizpetch may fainezt deeveejun uv Shokk Troopairz to appreehent heem! Heh heh… Yo hef done well, Yair Majezty!”

“No, not at all… Now you listen here, Lord Tosspot: I only agreed to this rotten plan to prevent you from foisting one of your blasted garrisons on my territory! But to betray this hero? Nuh-uh, I’m not going to comply any more-“

“A footile murve. HA, yo kennot deny eet: Madeira belurngz to Zan Doka! End ze Urfzcurm eez main! Main, Ay tell yo, main main MAIN!”

“NEVER… We will never see that-“

“Urv course… Ay ken mek eet eeziair fer yo – jurrrrroin weev me! End togezzair ve shell rule ze galaxy ez huzzbend end WAIFE!”

“I’ll never join you! Demented little Zandokan cu-“

“ZYLENZ! Knur yer plazz, woman!”

“Uff, I know it all too well, Crotchstain. Always – ALWAYS! – parsecs ahead of the likes of you. Doing EVERYTHING in my POWER to deny you and your despicable Imperial hordes whatever you crave! For the pride of my people. And then some…”

“Heh, yo try ta fool Zegreatme?! Yo VEEL be main, darleenk! Dyzan decreez eet! Ve vill BREEEED weev yo, end our Empeerial prurgeny-“

Ugh, hush up, NO! By the crimson moon, a thousand times no!! I’d rather kiss a skunk-“

“Hmm, zpeakeenk urv zkurnkz… vot do yo zee in zat Urfmairn?! Hee’z recklezz! Pennilezz! Hopelezz! AY em Zegreatme, Dark Lord uv Zan Doka! Ve ken leef een ENNY WUN urv may DOZAIN palazzez! VOT do yo ZEE een a BURM like ZAT?!”

“That’s something a chauvinist like you will NEVER understand…”  

“Grrr, but vhy HEEM? Vhy, vhy?! Tell me VHY!”

“Can you keep a secret?”

YEZ!”

“Good boy. Over and out.”

Princess Leia: “You make it so difficult sometimes.”

Han Solo: “I do, I really do. You could be a little nicer, though. Come on, admit it. Sometimes you think I’m alright.”

Princess Leia: “Occasionally, maybe… when you aren’t acting like a scoundrel.”

Han Solo: “Scoundrel? Scoundrel? I like the sound of that…”

“Confound it,” the Queen growled as she returned to her special guest. “CONFOUND it!” 

“Whassup? Run ahtta salad?”

“What? Oh… no, it’s- Like I said, I’ve really got something to tell you, baby…”

“‘Ey, wotcha frettin’ abaht…? Y’know, Yer Maj, I’ve never seen ya lose yer cool-

“Yeah, yeah, baby, but please listen-“

Suddenly, the double-doors downstairs swung violently open.

“I got THAT awright!” 

“No! It’s- aow, HELL – it’s too late… …”

Brad peered over the balcony and yelped as a division of Shokk Troopers burst in: “‘ULK IN AN ‘OT TUB! Zandokans!! ‘Ow the blazes did THEY get in ‘ere?!” 

“THAT is what I’ve… been trying to tell you… Forgive me, Brad, I-I… granted them permission to come here… to capture you…”

“Cherry, no… Say it ain’t so…” his lip quivered as he drew his blaster.

The Queen of Madeira could not bear to gaze into his crestfallen face. “Please, Commander, try to understand – with the Empire vying to wrest my sovereignty away from me on one side, and my beleaguered council trying to retain social order on the other, I had to… play along…”

“Aow… maybe yer… playin’ along wiv me now…” Brad sulked, desperately trying to quash a wodge of mistrust swelling in his heart. “This ‘ole charade wuz a TRAP… an’ – jeez – fer once I fell fer it..?! Not me, not now! No way, no ‘ow!”

“Oh no, my sweet! I would NEVER- You must NOT think like tha- WATCH OUT!” 

The Troopers hurtled into view, and the queen grabbed your hero, and away they fled down the marble-floored corridor. They could hear these one-dimensional extras clanking right after them in hot pursuit.

Along the way, Cherry activated an emergency panel in the wall and, brandishing a phase-plasma rifle, fired warning shots at the approaching Imperial troopers, who – upon running into range – immediately ducked for cover:

“Do you think you can trust me, now, handsome…?!”

“‘Whoo, outta sight. Long Live The Queen ‘Ere, ‘ang on…” Brad protested, gawping in amazement. “Tha’s not in the script…! “I’m the ‘ero! ‘Ow come yer gun’s bigger than mine?!”

“That’s life, honeybunch…”

“Ha! Funny girl- ‘Ey, this auto-door! In ‘ere, quick!” 

“No, Brad, that’s my-!” 

He burst into a small, but refined room, where dozens of ornate, shimmering garments bedecked glittering racks along both walls.

“Dear Barbara… Gedda loada’ the fancy clobber in ‘ere…”

“-My walk-in-wardrobe, sir.”

“Groovy. We can disguise ourselves as a coupla’ Jawas an’ split while the Shokkers are still scopin’…”

“Bra-ha-had, no-ho-ho! Funny boy!” the queen cried hysterically, trying to stifle a fit of royal giggles. She frantically closed and locked the auto-door behind them, hoping that any Zandokans hadn’t heard her outburst.

They gazed at each other amorously in the half-light, listening to their biochemech pursuers lurking stealthily just outside… 

“We ought to be “in danger”…” she whispered ever so demurely. “But- but why oh why do I… feel so… absolutely safe with you…?”

“‘Cos I’m the ‘ero?” he muttered ever so charmingly. “‘Cos I’m the one ‘oo – despite gettin’ constantly shot at – nevah gets ‘it…? Stay outta sight, lov…”

He gently prised the rifle from the Queen’s clutches and reached for the auto-door, intending to charge out blasting. “Bring ’em on, I’d prefer a straight fight ta all this sn-“

Suddenly, behind him, Cherry pressed against his back, wrapping her arms around his abs, holding him against her pounding chest.

“No, hotshot…” she insisted, almost breathlessly. “I’m NOT going to let you go… a-again. So many… MANY times I’ve let you fly off and do your… “hero-thing” all over the galaxy, but not… not this time, baby. Come on, let’s escape… together, far beyond these Troopers… the Empire… And everything…”

“Aww, Cherry, where could we go? Where CAN we go…? I’m a Wanted man in 12 systems, me!”

“Uh-huh, but nobody wants you more than the Queen of Madeira…” 

She began to fondle Brad’s hand.

“Stop that,” he requested.

Stop what?” she replied.

Stop that. Me mitts are dir’y.”

My hands are dirty too. What are you afraid of… …?”

Maude Lebowski: “Lord. You can imagine where it goes from here.”

The Dude: “He fixes the cable?”

Maude Lebowski: “Don’t be fatuous, Jeffrey.”

“In ‘ere… wiv you…” Brad exclaimed softly, “There’s no uvva place in the galaxy I’d rather be right now…” 

“Nice. How long have we been locked in this hug, baby…?”

“Dunno, lov. But definitely not as long as I’d like…”

“Aww, bless your heart, Brad. I thought we could get out of here now, but I can still hear them creeping around outside.”

“Nah, tha’s me stomach…” 

“Oh no! You still haven’t had that meal I promised you! So sorry, babe-” 

“No worries, Cherry. We’ve… ‘ad a busy day… It‘s been… dramatic-” 

“It’s been… unforgettable… I think we… especially youyou dashing thing, have waited long enough…” the Queen of Madeira panted tenderly in his ear, stepping back to unfasten her dress…

“…Strippin’ yer togs orf at a time like this?! Can ya do that?!”

“Try me, baby. I can do anything – ‘cos I’m the Queen!”

“An’ always will be…”

At that very moment, Brad squinted, and flung his hand up over his face as a piercing white light engulfed him. All Cherry could do was stand there, and watch, aghast and agitated, as all Brad could do was abruptly vanish amidst a portal of pulsating particles… …

 

“B-Baby… … …?”

 

 

When his sight had readjusted, your hero found himself standing on the teleporter of his own crate: the Calista Blockhead. His Second Officer: Lexi Wahldorf stood at the console, arms folded in a highly agitated manner…

“An’ jus’ what the blazes am I doin’ back ‘ere so soon?!” the Battleforce Commander-turned-blogger growled incredulously.

“I- WE, had to get you away from the spy, pronto!” Lexi roared.

“Look, fer the umpteenth time, The Queen of Madeira AIN’T a spy!” 

“No, not the queen – the princess…” 

“Oh, come orf it! Gammy’s not in league wiv da Zandokans…”

“Course not, she’s OUR spy. General Rajendra himself requested that she report any shady shenanigans at the Madeiran Royal Court; several Imperial agents have infiltrated the queen’s staff already-“

“Blimey! Now that explains ‘er exceptionally avid interest in me adventures in Star-Field Zigma 12-“

“GAWD, you-! You make it SO difficult sometimes.”

“I do, I really- eh?! ‘Oo me? Nevah!” 

“Shoosh, Commander! YOU “great hero,” uff! – were interfering with her mission! You couldn’t stop pestering her-”

“I Wuzn’t!”

“Wuz so! You w-“

“Wuz. NOT. “Interferin’.” Lex. She only requested some cake recipes, an’ I obliged, like…” 

Lexi shook her head in appalled disbelief. “That’s the lamest fib I’ve ever heard… Ha! That’s the most-” 

“Look, Lex, ‘Er Majesty can verify that! She even put ‘er ‘and on my-“

“BRA-AD, be extra careful what you spout in front of your Second Officer, Commander!”

Hmm… an’ you be extra careful wotcha doin’ wiv yer Commander, Officer! You send me back right this instant, an’-“

“And just WHY did you pay a visit to Her Majesty, the Queen of Madeira…?”

“I’ll ‘ave ya know that I wuz… operatin’ as close advisor to ‘Er Maj-“

“Oho, TOO close, Commander. Your smug chops are splattered with HER blamed lipstick!!” 

“Ooh, Blimey Charley, are they really…?! Anyways, why did ya ‘ave ta get me aht then, jus’ as I wuz abaht ta-“

“I KNOW what you were about to do, Commander! That’s why I got you out then…”

“Yeah, but why, Lex? Why? Tell me WHY?!”

She stared intensely at him until her lips trembled:

“Do you not know… …?”

 

Prince Vultan: “That must be one hell of a planet you men come from!”

Flash Gordon: “Not too bad…”

 

“He Was A Navigator On A Spice Freighter”: My Father’s Top 10 Movie Moments

I Am Groovy, Like My Father Before Me! 

I am Auda abu Tayi! Does Auda serve?  Does Auda abu Tayi serve? I carry 23 great wounds, all got in battle. 75 men have I killed with my own hands in battle. I scatter, I burn my enemies’ tents! I take away their flocks and herds. The Turks pay me a golden treasure, yet I am poor! Because I am A RIVER TO MY PEOPLE!!” – Auda abu Tayi.

Hard to believe that my father – former globe-trotting RAF sergeant and Jedi Knight – passed away on this day 10 years ago.  

Considering how difficult it has been trying to concentrate on writing anything else this week, this Post seemed like an ideal celebration to compile. 

Having had absolutely no paternal guidance himself, he sometimes found it difficult to be Dad – “I’m just making it up as I go along, man” 🙂 Whatever problems or disagreements we had, it would only take one of us to suggest: “Let’s watch a movie” and everything would revert to being as right as rain again.

He really digged a smart script – he constantly criticised my short stories, complaining about the drab dialogue, constantly advising me to listen –always listen – to the way people talked. Thus, he picked up some iconic one-liners along the way, many of which are included here. 

He appreciated some really fine performances, most notably: Eli Wallach (as Tuco) in The Good, The Bad And the Ugly (1967); Robert Lacey (as Toht) in Raiders Of The Lost Ark (1981); and Robert De Niro in practically everything he did! But mainly the Godfather Part II (1974), Midnight Run (1988) and Heat (1995).

Possibly the most impressive performance he ever watched came from Anthony Quinn as Arabian tribal chief: Auda abu Tayi in Lawrence Of Arabia (1962). To us, that will stand forever as the Greatest Movie Ever Made – Quinn alone could easily have filled this Top 10 list (but of those few good clips, none of them stay online for long)

Today, you could have been treated to: the Top 10 Planes That Dad Loved To Fly. However, guessing that you probably wouldn’t recognise most of them anyway (for those of you taking notes, No.1 happened to be the de Havilland DH 98 Mosquito 😉 ) instead, this list will just have to suffice.

 

 

10. “Don’t sweat it!”

Southern Comfort (1981)

Paris Texas (1984) was one of those great Americana movies we enjoyed together, mainly because of that haunting soundtrack by Ry Cooder. 

My father had been THAT CLOSE to getting a job Stateside, but after that fell through, he “disappeared,” trying to travel as much overland as possible. So when we found Ry Cooder attached to the soundtrack of this thriller set in the Louisana bayou, we thot we’d give it a go.

Mostly, a mean, moody and magnificent work, but the last ten minutes was a revelation. For the next few months, my quest for Cajun LPs stretched far and wide…

Allons dancé!

Cajun Trapper: “I ain’t gonna kill y’all if I don’t gotta… you got a bayou over dere… take it… stay to the west side… you’re gonna find a road about a mile up dere.”

Hardin: “Do you mind tellin’ us what the Hell this is all about?”

Cajun Trapper: “It real simple… we live back in here… dis is our home, and nobody don’t fuck with us…  Now, if I was you all, I’d quit askin’ questions and haul ass… ’cause my buddies… dey not nice like me.”

Hardin: “Are we supposed to say thanks?”

Cajun Trapper: “You not supposed to say nuttin’… soldier.”

 

9. “War changes men’s natures…” 

Breaker Morant (1979)

An anti-war war movie set during the Boer War (1899-1902) based on a true story. 

Dad stayed up well after his bedtime, completely absorbed in this courtroom drama (and he detested courtroom dramas!) that featured one of the most notorious cases of military injustice.

And at breakfast the next morning, he couldn’t help but go on and on about it. Would have bunked off school that morning, just to listen to his enthusiasm all the way until lunchtime, if Mum hadn’t told me to skedaddle. 

We regarded this as the greatest Australian movie ever made. Yes, that’s right, we thought it’s even better than Mad Max!

Strewth!

It really ain’t the place nor time to reel off rhyming diction,

But yet we’ll write a final rhyme while awaiting crucifixion.

For we bequeath a parting tip of sound advice for such men

Who come in transport ships to polish off the Dutchmen.

If you encounter any Boers, you really must not loot ’em,

And if you wish to leave these shores, for pity’s sake, don’t shoot ’em.

Let’s toss a bumper down our throat before we pass to Heaven,

And toast a trim-set petticoat we leave behind in Devon” – Lt. Harry Morant.  

 

8. Litmus Configuration 

Midnight Run (1988)

A cool, entertaining and highly recommended buddy comedy – how many times did this grace our VCR?! It got to the stage where we could hurl whole sections of dialogue at each other, and still never get tired of watching the actual movie. 

The amazing – yet under-rated – Charles Grodin only had to walk through the door into this scene and Dad was already in stitches. 

1:24 always cracked him up even more: 

“YOU GUYS ARE THE DUMBEST BOUNTY HUNTERS I’VE EVER SEEN! YOU COULDN’T EVEN DELIVER A BOTTLE OF MILK!” – Jonathan “The Duke” Mardukas. 

 

 

7. “Wake up, time to die!” 

Blade Runner (1982) 

My father loved to read Philip K Dick’s novels, so couldn’t wait to watch the TV premiere of Blade Runner. 

So much has been written about its influential visual futurism, but it was one of the replicants: not the obvious choice: Roy Batty, but Leon, played by the crazy-eyed Brion James who Dad paid particular attention to. His role as the one-armed Cajun trapper in Southern Comfort was the other reason why we watched that movie!

Always dig that mo @ 0:35 – when Dekard draws his gun and Leon immediately bats it away.

As Dad so eloquently put it: “Way too cool, man!”

Leon: “What do you mean, I’m not helping?”

Holden: “I mean: you’re not helping! Why is that, Leon?”

 

 

6. La Golondrina 

The Wild Bunch (1969) 

Yeah, this is the typical “Dad Movie” alright.

Expect nothing less than one long gore-fest cram-packed with incredibly stylised bloody action sequences in Sam Peckinpah’s infamous masterpiece: The Wild Bunch.

And yet its most peaceful moment, when the bunch are riding off to certain death, that really struck a chord with Dad. He instantly fell in love with La Golondrina (The Swallow); it’s a Mexican tune written in the 19th century.

Had to take note of its time on our tape whenever he often requested just “THAT MOMENT from The Wild Bunch.”

“Very smart. That’s very smart for you damn gringos…”

Dutch Engstrom: “They’ll be waitin’ for us.”

Pike Bishop: “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

 

 

5. The Imperial March

The Empire Strikes Back (1980) 

You may already know how this blogger was blessed to have gawped at the original Star Wars trilogy in the cinemas on their respective original releases.

Even more exuberant to have a father who – for the next three decades – never failed to admit how glad he was to have taken me (and several excitable chums from school on numerous occasions!) and share the joy to be had from that galaxy far far away. 

(For the record, his fav “character” – you’d never guess! – turned out to be Salacious B. Crumb – HA!)

So many thrilling individual moments to choose from… 

He loved that now-legendary shot of Luke gazing into the twin suns and EVERY SINGLE TIME it came on, he’d whistle along to the Tatooine Theme, but the Imperial March provoked a more striking action: EVERY SINGLE TIME we reached 1:27, Dad would start slamming his heel into the floor in time to the Imperial beat. Hannibal (our tabby cat) could sense that particular disturbance in the Force comin’ – honestly, he never fled THAT FAST in sheer terror from any other movie…

“You found something?” 😉

Darth Vader: “The Rebels are alerted to our presence. Admiral Ozzel came out of lightspeed too close to the system.”

General Veers: “He… he felt surprise was wiser…”

Darth Vader: “He is as clumsy as he is stupid! General… prepare your troops for a surface attack.”

General Veers: “Yes, my Lord.”

 

 

4. The Smoker

For A Few Dollars More (1965) 

Arguably, the coolest western ever made. 

Dad taped this for me during my last year at junior school; he’d enjoyed watching this in an open-air screening in Yemen back in ’68. Gian Maria Volonte as El Indio, was one of Dad’s fav villains. Which of his scenes to select?

But then memories of how Dad laughed every time Klaus Kinski appeared, especially here @ 0:10.

This scene is probably the most TENSE confrontation in movie history.

Saw a lot of my father in Colonel Douglas Mortimer (Lee van Cleef): true gentleman; expert marksman; absolute BADASS!

Wild, The Hunchback: “Well well, if it isn’t the smoker. Well… Remember me, amigo? ‘Course you do. El Paso.”

Col. Douglas Mortimer: “It’s a small world.”

Wild, The Hunchback: “Yes, and very, very bad. Now come on, you light another match.”

Col. Douglas Mortimer: “I generally smoke just after I eat. Why don’t you come back in about ten minutes?”

Wild, The Hunchback: “Ten minutes you’ll be smoking in hell. GET UP!”

 

3. “When you cast it in, what did you see?”

Excalibur (1981)

Not only were we entranced by this stupendous and spellbinding retelling of the legend of King Arthur, but we were gobsmacked by the music of Richard Wagner. Siegfied’s Funeral March, especially, had quite an inspirational and spiritual hold over both of us. 

With its almost ethereal imagery, and powerful performances, this was John Boorman’s masterpiece.

Studying ancient British history – and the legends/mythology stemming from these isles – became our joint mission; and Excalibur brought the two of us even closer together.

Now you know why this movie is played in Brad Manor every year on the fifth night of the second month…  

Uther: “The sword. You promised me the sword!”

Merlin: “And you shall have it; but to heal, not to hack. Tomorrow, a truce; we meet at the river.”

Uther: “Talk. Talk is for lovers, Merlin. I need the sword to be king!”

 

 

2. “Bet you were thinking: now why don’t he write?” 

Dances With Wolves (1990)

Aow, it really is getting more emotional now…

My father’s final trip to the cinema came in January 1991. Dances With Wolves satisfied his fascination for American Civil War history, and marked the directorial debut of Kevin Costner, whose The Untouchables (1987) we had enjoyed immensely.

Dad always remarked out loud at the superb training of Two Socks. Except for our last viewing together @ Christmas 2008 – it would mark the final viewing session we shared together, but by that time, he was too weak to keep awake through most of it…

Oh, THAT music: 

“There’s a wolf who seems intent on the goings-on here. It does not seem inclined to be a nuisance however, and aside from Cisco has been my only company. He’s appeared each afternoon for the past two days. He has two milky-white paws. If he comes calling tomorrow, I will name him Two Socks” – John Dunbar.  

 

 

1. Bad To The Bone 

Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) 

His favourite movie star.

His favorite rock song.

So when these two most formidable entities in the universe collided in our living room back in ’91, it became one of those life-affirming moments. Heck, with Arnie’s shot-gun twirl, the big rig carnage on the LA freeway and many more energetic sequences, will never forget how Dad kept jumping out of his armchair.

The Original Brad To The Bone 🙂

As that other “great old man” once said: “he was the best pilot in the galaxy and a good friend.”

He always told me: NEVER GIVE UP, and yet he gave up a career in the RAF to become a full-time Dad. 

In an insane world, it was the sanest choice.

“No, no, no, no. You gotta listen to the way people talk. You don’t say “affirmative,” or some shit like that. You say “no problemo.” And if someone comes on to you with an attitude you say “eat me.” And if you want to shine them on it’s “hasta la vista, baby” 

Gordon Bradford (4 December 1925 – 6 February 2009).