Monday, 22 May 2017

New Comic! Slashermania!

Remember the Freaktown Comics Kickstarter I mentioned last year? Slashermania? I am delighted to say that it's out now and it's brilliant! Celebrating the slasher movie genre this 168 page graphic novel tells of a contest featuring 10 masked maniacs battling to win the Slashermania Slasher of the Year award and I commend writer Russell Hillman and artists Ron Joseph and CJ Camba on their efforts.
The book also includes a 12-page pin-up section featuring the work of “the best artists in the world of indie and alternative comics” (their words not mine) where you will find a mock horror poster for 'Summer Camp Slaughter' featuring one of the story's 'contestants' Franklin Frost painted by yours truly. Read it? What did you think?


© Arfon Jones 2017. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Dine out before they die out: Little Chef Shrewsbury

Bayston Hill Services, Hereford Road, SY3 0DA. Here we are again, my seventh Little Chef! This time on my travels through Shrewsbury, sharing it's premises with a Burger King this one has been serving since 1994 and received a makeover in 2011 to help maintain, “a classic, retro Little Chef experience”. I was delighted to finally find a Little Chef that hasn't had its opening times restrained to 7am -3pm, seemingly keeping to the opening times stated on the official website! Thus allowing us to have dinner at 4:30!
I had the 'The Works Burger' “Our flagship burger. Two 6oz burgers on a bed of mixed salad leaves, two beer battered onion rings, tomato slice, back bacon rasher and melted mature cheddar cheese. Taste it to believe it.” I did, it was delicious! Tasty food aside, when I visited their website I was also drawn in by the promise of a singing toilet! “Our singing toilets have to be seen to be believed” I can confirm that they do indeed sing! Bird song and the sound of flowing water in fact, 'piped' into the wash-rooms as demonstrated by this short video that I recorded.

 
 
 
Little Chef Uttoxeter.

© Arfon Jones 2017. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

The Deadly Ernest Horror Show

I tried to get this painting and post out for Halloween 2016 but with October being a busy time for me I missed the deadline... No matter, better late than never! Last time I tackled horror host Dr Walpurgis (later changed to Dr. Terror) host of the Vault of Horror which ran on BBC 2 from 1992 to 1996 and I mentioned that some regard him to be Britain's’ first television horror host and that this was not in fact the case. The first British horror host was Deadly Ernest who had actually left our screens a year before the good Doctor Walpurgis made his debut having been on Sky Channel (later renamed Sky 1) since 1985 hosting a Friday night horror show entitled, The Deadly Ernest Horror Show. Ernest (not to be confused with the Australian horror host Deadly Earnest) was a vampire that introduced the Friday night horror movie and if one consults the all knowing internet about the show Jack Hardy is credited for playing Earnest however, Jack Hardy was in fact one Mr. Jim Bywater, actor of stage, screen and television roles perhaps most notably playing Wilf Starkey in Coronation Street. I “consulted” the internet about Ernest and it provides despairingly little about him and the show online, and not even Sky 1, the very channel that originally aired the series could help me in my research, a great shame because Ernest was one of Sky's regular faces back in the day. When the Sky channel celebrated its 5th Birthday in 1987 he made up the group of Sky presenters singing along on Anita Chellamah's 'Join the Family of Sky' music video promo alongside fellow presenters such Anthea Turner, Tony Blackburn, Pat Sharp and DJ Kat! Everything seemed to change when Rupert Murdoch expanded Sky's service and formed the Sky Television Network in February 1989 Ernest was 're-vamped' with a new wardrobe and sidekick, Scarlett Aorta, played by model and former Page 3 girl Jilly Johnson.
As for the movies that featured in the early days YouTube gives us some idea, 'The Late Nancy Irving’ and ‘Sweet Scent of Death’ are mentioned suggesting that they aired the feature length episodes of Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense from 1984. In my quest to find out more I turned to vintage issues of TV Guide because the main British listing magazines didn't start publishing cable and satellite listings until 1991. Here is an ongoing list of episodes that I hope to keep open and update accordingly.

Friday March 9th 1990 11:30pm Dick Barton- Special Agent (1948)

Friday May 25th 1990 11:30pm The Outer Space Connection (1975).

Friday June 29th 1990 11:30pm Sophisticated Gent (1981).

Friday July 6th 1990 11:30pm Vogues of 1938 (1937).

Friday July 20th 1990 11:30pm Bobbikins (1959).

Friday July 27th 1990 11:30pm You Only Live Once (1937).

Friday Aug 3rd 1990 11:30pm The Rollicking Adventures of Eliza Fraser (1976).

Friday Aug 10th 1990 11:30 Sleeping Dogs (1977).

Friday Aug 24th 1990 11:30 Manbeast! Myth or Monster? (1978).

Friday Aug 31st 1990 11:30 Atragon (1963).

Friday Sept 7th 1990 11:00pm Attack of the Puppet People (1958).

Friday Sept 21st 1990 11:00pm Deranged (1974).

Friday March 1st 1991 11:00pm Zontar The Thing From Venus (1966).

Friday March 8th 1991 11:00pm Vampire (1979).

Friday March 15th 1991 11:00pm Master of the World (1961).

Friday March 22nd 1991 11:00pm Dark Star (1974).

Friday March 29th 1991 11:00pm Fer-de-Lance (1974).

Friday April 4th 1991 11:00pm Killer Bees (1974).

Friday April 12th 1991 11:00pm Trilogy of Terror (1975).

Friday Night 19th 1991 11:00pm Night Drive (1977).

I didn't actually get to experience Deadly Ernest the first time round, despite constant desperate pleas to my parents our household didn't join the Sky revolution until around 1994 before that occasion it was recordings of movies, or shows such as ALF, WWF Wrestling and The Simpsons recorded by family and friends already signed up to Sky but even then it would seem that Sky had laid Ernest to rest, the Friday night film ran without him all the same but under the guise of Friday Fright Feature.
RIP Deadly Ernest, 1685- 1991
Britain's First Horror Host.




© Arfon Jones 2017. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

 

Monday, 15 May 2017

HorrorCon 2017: The day I travelled to Rotherham to meet Elvira Mistress of the Dark in a steel mill

January 1992, I walked into our local Woolworths armed with my recently acquired 13th Birthday money and made use of their '3 VHS' for 2' deal. The videos were Labyrinth, The Monster Squad and Elvira Mistress of the Dark, and I suppose that day played a part in making me the well rounded individual you know and love today. Like a great many of us in the UK at the time I didn't know who the gal that, “put the boob in boob tube” played by Cassandra Peterson was but her 1988 horror/ comedy set that right and I have a been a big fan of the Valley girl Vamp armed with cleavage and a quick wit ever since. She is and always will be my favourite horror host, because (obvious two reasons and sniggering aside) she was my first horror host, and she was the one I grew up with. She has been a familiar figure throughout my life and even though the VHS's that I bought that day have long gone my affection for the character still lives on and I continue to watch her DVD's today, often playing in the background while I paint. I have long had a list of people that I would like to meet and she was at the very top of it, and this weekend I was able to have the genuine honor of meeting Cassandra Peterson at this year's HorrorCon.

© Arfon Jones 2017. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Dine out before they die out: Little Chef Uttoxeter

A50, Ashbourne Road, Uttoxeter, Staffs, ST14 5AA. Another month and another Little Chef to add to my mission list! We have actually used this one a couple of times in the past, located on the busy commuting road between the M1 –M6 it has been serving customers on the A50 since 1995 and according to its website it's known as the “best roadside restaurant on the A50”. Manager Alison Moore has been at the helm since 2004 and she along with her trusted deputy Kate “always provide a warm welcome, great service and the best Olympic breakfast this side of the east Midlands” and I can't really argue with that, we had the 'Royal Breakfast' (the classic Olympic breakfast “crowned” with a griddled 6oz sirloin steak) cooked to our specifications it was perfect, and we enjoyed it whole heartedly. Much like all the other Little Chefs, this one is also due for closure in six weeks, with no clue as to what the future will bring as preparations are underway outside for an A50 'Growth Corridor' a multi-million pound Government investment aiming to, “cut congestion, address safety concerns, support local businesses, create more jobs and opportunities for Staffordshire people”... and bypass the Little Chef site! So if you are on the A50 and hungry don't stop at the McDonalds, cross over to the Little Chef and enjoy the before listed features.

Previous Little Chef Sites:
Little Chef Northop Hall.
Little Chef, Wrexham.
Little Chef, Bangor.
Little Chef Dolgellau.
Little Chef Builth Wells.

© Arfon Jones 2017. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Monday, 1 May 2017

'Rebeka'

Dungeons and Dragons, much like Warhammer (previous post) was something that I always wanted to be a part of yet, despite watching the cartoon series during the 1980's, playing with the action figures and reading a few Endless Quest (choose your own adventure) books I never actually played the game itself until I was in my late teens in the late 1990's. A great shame because I always felt that I would have submerged myself in it had I known someone that played D&D, I didn't so it passed me by.
So when I discovered that Mrs Jones was a keen D&D'r back in the day it pressed all the geek buttons that I required in a mate, and I fell in love with her all over again! So much so that it was commemorated in this painting (named after her character name) that I painted for her that not only marks her Dungeoneer days but also my love of Pre-Raphaelite paintings. The A3 acrylic painting contains a poem wot' I wrote and some Victorian symbolism finished off with a frame with six varieties of jewel like Dungeons and Dragon polyhedral dice embedded in it.

© Arfon Jones 2017. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Outing 'N Abouting: Warhammer World

https://www.games-workshop.com/en-GB/Home?_requestid=4839224Games Workshop, a world famous publisher of wargames and role-playing games and a brand that I have been familiar with most of my life, be it in the model shops that I frequented, seeing their product ranges in magazines and catalogues I read or their stalls at the conventions I visited. Yet, with the exception of HeroQuest and Space Crusade I had never directly supported them, but not intentionally I might add! I really wanted to as it had all the makings of something I would have been 'into' but (much like Dungeons & Dragons) I didn't know anyone else that was 'into' Warhammer and so it never happened. This didn't stop me from admiring them however, despite the stories and characters being lost on me it never stopped me from admiring the miniatures and the way they were painted and that's why I was excited to learn that there was an actual Warhammer Museum at GamesWorkshop's global visitor centre! I visited last year and deliberately left it off my '2016 New Years blog post, thingy' as I thought it was worthy of its own post. So without further ado...
The global visitor centre is located at Games Workshop's base of operations in Nottingham featuring three retail stores including the world’s only Forge World and Black Library stores selling a range of exclusive merchandise and miniatures there is even an events hall made to resemble a castle courtyard filled with gaming tables which are free to request, reserve and use where regular tournaments are held highlighting how much of a social event Warhammer is, as several tables had players setting up on them. Even eating keeps within the Warhammer theme as players can stop off for a drink and a bite to eat at Bugman’s Bar (I understand it is named after the greatest dwarven brew-master) dressed up to look like an old tavern (be sure to try the Bugman Burger) where players can discuss the franchise over a flagon of ale (or coke). After a very nice lunch we turned our attention to their terrific museum open to anyone for a very reasonable entry fee. the exhibit starts with several cabinets of classic Citadel miniatures documenting the company's humble beginnings as a bedroom mail-order company first formed in 1975 that is guaranteed to have visitors saying “I remember that one” a few times, before opening up to 4 exhibition areas packed with thousands of Citadel and Forge World miniatures.
The miniatures have been painted by the renowned ‘Eavy Metal, Army Painter and Forge World teams. It has 17 specially built display boards featuring over 20,000 miniatures that are regularly changed showing off the work of guest displays with miniatures painted by members of the painting community. All rounded off by the impressively vast 'Battle For Angelus Prime' The biggest display board Games Workshop has ever created which is impossible to not be blown away by! I had a very long wander around the exhibition, as I said the stories and characters were unknown to me, but I still derived just as much pleasure from examining the details and marvelling at the little ad ons and the artist's abilities, it really is an art exhibition worthy of a visit and I urge you to seek it out.

 
 
 
 

© Arfon Jones 2017. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

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