Friday, 20 January 2017

BBC Radio Cymru interview with Aled Hughes, 19/01/2017

A face for radio!
It's all go here in the studio at the moment not only am I adding the finishing touches to some projects but I am also renovating the studio, that's right the studio is regenerating! (but more on that and the big reveal at a later date). Never the less I had a guest visit this week, fellow former Botwnnogschool pupil and BBC Radio Cymru (Radio Wales) presenter Aled Hughes. Radio Cymru is the BBC's Welsh-language radio station that brodacasts throughout Wales and Aled's show offers a mix of music and conversation and it was nice having him drop in for a cuppa and a chat (I've been on his show in the past discussing Doctor Who). I gave him a mini tour of the studio, showed off my projects (even the top secret ones!) and showed off parts of my collection not currently in storage and discussed classic Nintendo games, Daleks, Tiki and all manner of things nostalgic. He reported his finding to his listeners and the interview can be found on iplayer. I thought however, that seeing as the interview had been conducted in my native tongue I thought I would translate it for all of you that don't speak welsh (not to mention those of you that want to be spared listening to my nervous, nasally voice) either way this is how it went.

Introduction:We now go to Nefyn (North Wales) to meet Arfon Jones. He loves collecting all sorts of things, and is a collector of things that appeal to Arfon Jones, his collection is amazing! When he opened the door to me it was like going back to my childhood.”

Aled: “Right I am at a house in Nefyn.”
(knocks door)
Aled: “Arfon, how are you?”
Arfon: “fine thank you, how are you?”
Aled: “Fine thank you. Arfon Jones lives here and right away I can say that this is a house with a difference because I have just walked into, what can only be compared to a set in Hawaii.
Arfon: “That's it, this is my Tiki Bar!”
Aled: “The Tiki Bar. There are small mugs featuring likeliness/faces that would belong to the islands of Hawaii and the Pacific Islands. Why collect these Arfon?”
Arfon: “I've always had an interest in them and so I collect them. They built up and I needed somewhere to store them and show them off.”

Aled: “I'm not sure how to describe you
Arfon: “Careful now!”
Aled: “A collector of anything that interests Arfon Jones?”
Arfon: “Yeah, that's it! And there is no limit”
Aled: “So there is no limit, and these Tiki mugs, I'm taking a closer look and they are worth seeing. I'm a little concerned about touching them because I don't want to break them! But you say one of these is from the 1950's?”
Arfon:”Yes this one is from the Bali Hai Restaurant in California. I have some from New York... they come from all over. But most of them from Hawaii.”
Aled: “And you have created this bamboo bar that contains them, and as I said its worth seeing, its like being on the set of an Elvis movie in the 1950's, or some tropical beach and that's what you were trying to recreate?”
Arfon: “Yes, I love all things Tiki and also Elvis Presley so I merged them together here.”
(8-bit game music starts in the other room)
Aled:Right, now you are taking me into another room, and right away.... Arfon, this takes me back to my childhood. This is the first Nintendo console?”
Arfon: “This is a Nintendo Classic Mini”.
Aled: “If we just turn it down for a moment. Now, this goes back to the late 1980's but you have only just got it?”
Arfon: “ Yes, the Nintendo Classic Mini lets me play all the old vintage games.”
Aled: “I will get you to do my job for a moment and get you to hold the microphone. Donkey Kong! This was a favourite. Right, I have to be honest, I haven't played this for years... (Donkey Kong music starts) what's the appeal Arfon? Why have something from your childhood? With all these new games out now, that allow you to do anything within them why go back to something that's already been?”
Arfon: “Its the memories that it brings back for me, the games I played I also like the simplicity. It has a charm about it and that's what I like.”
Aled: “But these aren't the only things you collect?”
Arfon: “This is just a small sample of what I have... I'll show you the rest now.”
Aled: “Blimey, I'll follow you.”
Aled: “Here we are, the Tardis doors. (laughs) We start off with a door which looks like the doors of the Tardis, carefully painted. You made this?”
Arfon: “Yes, I made that.”
Aled: “ Blimey, Here we are inside a cave full of treasures, I will attempt to described what I am seeing, we have glass cabinet full of items relating to Monster Munch, there are several Daleks... I don't know where to begin. Arfon. Where do you think we should start.”
Arfon: “ Well, I can start here with the Cyberman?”
Aled: “Cyberman from the Doctor Who TV series is this a special one?
Arfon: “This one comes from the 1980's and was the version that terrified me as a child.”
Aled: “Is it an original?”
Arfon: “It's from a mould taken from one used in the show I've then added the details to make it look like an original and also rigged up the lights inside.”
Aled: “Then inside the glass cabinet underneath, Monster Munch crisps once a firm fixture in lunch boxes throughout the 1980's and 90's there are all sorts of things here, key-rings, teddies... I didn't know all this existed.”
Arfon: “Same here, I'm still discovering new things that I didn't know that had been produced. I have books relating to the fan club, items produced for bikes and all the (electronic) games I even have a story tape of Monster Munch stories for children to listen to on long car trips.”
Aled: “Did you know that these things existed or did you have to research it first?”
Arfon: “There has been a little homework involved, but I do remember most of them as a child and how one had to collect the tokens from packs to get them.”
Aled: “Right, beside this (case) is something I do remember... (taps the side) the 'Cheeky Chics' machine that would stand outside a shop, you explain it.”
Arfon: “This machine was actually outside the Nefyn beach shop/cafe for many years. Kids would put their 10p in, the chicken would cluck and drop and egg that contained a gift inside.”
Aled: “And once again I find the memories flooding back to me. Do you know anything about its history?
Arfon: “The only thing I know is that Sam Moffatt produced these machines and that they originated from Rhyl. But apart from that I know very little about them. A shame because I would love to know more about him.”
Aled: “Well, if anyone out there knows anything about this inventor from Rhyl called Sam Moffatt that made arcade machines get in touch.”

Part 2

Aled: “Now then, this looks like a dangerous chair!”
Arfon: “Yes, this is my electric chair... This is my reading chair.”
Aled: (laughs) “you read in an electric chair?!”
Arfon: “Yes. And this is the chair I will have when I'm old and retired.”
Aled: “So you found this old chair in a shop, you've put leather straps on it to make it look like an old electric chair that would have been used in the 1950's that we would have seen in many horror films, my next question is why?”
Arfon: “I remember how Grandpa Munster from the Munsters TV series had one and I've always wanted one. So I got this chair, detailed it, popped in a bulb and instead of an electric shock I have a light to read from...”
Aled: “I shan't sit in it, just in case I don't get up again! You have shelves, and I noted as I walked in that it was like walking into an old video shop from back in the day, VHS's something that people might not remember now, certainly not young people but they would once have had videos on display and that's what you have recreated here.”
Arfon: “There you go, again I havememories of being able to go into shop and pick a film to watch and so that's what we do now. Friday night we come through, pick a movie and away you go.”
Aled: ”There are Daleks galore on this top shelf, there has to be between fifteen- twenty Daleks here each one stands about a foot tall and they cover the entire span of Doctor Who?”
Arfon” Yes, these are actually fairly new, but each design is different -reflecting how they have changed over the years. Some people collect models of Minis, showing off the different versions and colour schemes over the years- well I do that with Daleks.”
Aled: “The thing about this place is that I don't know where to turn next, its a room filled with all sorts of different things. I can see Morph here, you have badges on the wall I can see a badge from Hafoc (Welsh kids series from the 80's) I see all sorts of badges, I see a Slush Puppie one with the dog on it that I remember from my childhood.
Arfon: “This is my studio, its where I work from and most of my work has an element of nostalgia about it. I'm an artist/ illustrator I draw comics and books and also some sculptures, my own figures too.”
Aled: “So your inspiration is always around you. We will now move along into this part of the room, there is a rather eye catching coat here Arfon, what's the story here?”
Arfon: “This was Screaming LordSutch's original coat, Screaming Lord Sutch was the founder of the Monster Raving Loony Party, this is from 1983.”
Aled: “Where on Earth did you get that?”
Arfon: “Someone in America had it, and now thanks to eBay I now have it...”
Aled: “Are you serious?”
Arfon: “yes.”
Aled: “Speaking of eBay, there is a box here, in my hand... can I open it? And inside is a wrestling suit of a hero of any child growing up in the 1980's and early 90's one of Big Daddy's wrestling suits (leotards)”
Arfon: “there you go, the man himself.”
Aled: “Were did you get hold of this Arfon?”
Arfon: “eBay! (laugh). I remember meeting him in Caernarfon, seeing a photo of him brought it all back to me and when I saw that... I have one of his capes as well. I'm hoping to do more with it, show it off to people such as you and me that (fondly) remember him.”
Aled: “The white suit with big black letters spelling 'Big Daddy'
Arfon: “His wife would do that, sew them on and added the sequins.”
Aled: “Isn't it amazing to think that someone's hero during their childhood was in this! This is a collection that goes in all different directions Arfon, from Daleks to Big Daddy to arcade machines what is the end goal? What do you hope to do with all this stuff?”
Arfon: “ Id like to put together a small museum, I intend to do so with my own work- but my work reflects all this so I use them for that. I'm always learning something new and I like sharing my findings with people. Sometimes one finds something that the world seems to have completely forgotten about an I rediscover it.”
Aled: “What you do , seems to almost be disappearing now, because everything is on the internet, people take photos with their phones, they upload it and its gone.”
Arfon: “I look at myself as a curator, most people would probably prefer to forget these things but I prefer to keep them and learn from them- and show them off.”
Aled:” Your rekindled many a childhood memory for me and I thank you for doing so and sharing some of this with me, it was well worth seeing. Thanks for the chat.”
Arfon:”You are welcome, thank you.”

My sincere thanks to Aled Hughes and Cadï Mai
Be sure to tune in and catch Aled's show on BBC Radio Cymru
© Arfon Jones 2017. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

New Comic! Slaughterhouse Farm #4

Following on from the successful Kickstarter campaign the fourth and final issue of Slaughterhouse Farm is out now! Just like the previous three issues this was written by AJ Ballard and Matt Warner, lettered by Nikki Foxrobot and illustrated by yours truly. After four years this grizzly tale of a trip to Snowdonia going horribly awry comes to a conclusion and as I mentioned before the campaign achieved its target goal after only a week proving how much of a hit this title has been with readers of the independent comic scene. So, don't delay order your copy today through their website or pick up an issue at one of Hellbound Media’s stalls positioned at numerous comic conventions across the country. Already read it? Let them know what you thought either on their Facebook page or Twitter or post a comment and I'll pass it on as I would love to know what you made of it.

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

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

The Tufty Club medal

This medal dates from the mid 1960's and features Tufty Fluffytail the road safety RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) squirrel created by Mrs Elsie Mills MBE in 1953. Tufty featured in a series of stories aimed at delivering clear and simple messages about safety to the children of Britain and in 1961, the Tufty Club was founded, forming a nationwide network of local groups aimed at encouraging children to take care when crossing the road and at its peak there were 24,500 registered clubs across the country. By its second year around 60,000 children had joined the club and by the 1970s it was estimated the Tufty Club had reached 2 million members. It was also around this time that the RoSPA released a series of animated PSA's narrated by Bernard Cribbins that not only raised further awareness but also assured Tufty a place in the Britain's conciseness.

Other medals to check out:
Blue Peter Medals
The I-SPY medal

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

The I-SPY medal

Time for some more medals...
The I-SPY spotters' guides were a series of books first created in 1949 and written for the children of the British Isles during 1950s and 1960s by an apparent Red Indian chief called Big Chief I-Spy. But Big Chief I-Spy was in fact one Mr. Charles Warrell (1889 -1995) a former head master who devised these books as a way of keeping children entertained and stimulated on long car journeys. It was a simple enough premise, children would spot the objects listed in the themed books, record the event (gaining points) and then once the book was completed, they would send the book to Big Chief I-SPY (witnessed by a parent or teacher) for a feather and entry to the order of merit. The children participating in the game were known as The I-SPY Tribe. The books were so well recieved that by 1953 the I-SPY Tribe had half a million members and a column in the Daily Mail where completed entries were mentioned by name. When Warrell retired in 1956, Arnold Cawthrow became the second Big Chief, and served in this role until 1978 when Big Chief, Robin Tucek stepped in for a short time before Professor David Bellamy carried the torch as Big Chief throught the 1980's (where I came in) until Michelin Travel Publications acquired and published the series itself from 1991 through 2002 before relaunching the series again in 2009. This particular medal dates from around 1961, and would have been acquired by a 'redskin' that would have decoded a special message in The Daily Mail with the aid of their membership code book.
© Arfon Jones 2017. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Blue Peter Medals

Here we are the first month of 2017, I have vowed to post more of my work on here and so I thought it was about time I shared 'my' medals with you, starting out with the Blue Peter medals.
For the benefit of anyone outside the United Kingdom it might be best I explain that the Blue Peter badge is an iconic award presented to viewers of the much-loved children’s television programme and British institution that is Blue Peter. Since 1963 the programme has been awarding these merit badges (a shield containing the Blue Peter ship logo designed by the late, great and not forgetting hero of mine Tony Hart) to anyone that took part in the programme be it winning a competition, having a letter read out or appearing as a guest on the programme. Aside from it being an accomplishment to be proud of, these badges also granted the recipient free admittance to many attractions across the British Isles for many years and this is when the corruption set in. Badges were being bought online and used as away to gain free admittance to these attractions, eventually resulting in the programme withdrawing them! Thankfully they managed to sort the problem out and restore this wonderful tradition but never the less I couldn’t help asking myself the question, “why sell them?” If I had one I would treasure it! Sadly despite several attempts I never actually achieved a Blue Peter Badge. (However my dear lady wife is a Blue Peter badge winner! achieving it for inventing no less! She is very proud of it and rightfully so! However I shan’t dwell on it as I said I NEVER got one! grumble!) So, I turned to eBay. I must stress that I am in not passing these off as my own awards, they are not for sale and I shall not be using them to gain free entry to any venues, I am simply celebrating this great institution and the accomplishments they represent. 
The Blue Peter Medal
An original 1970's badge customised and now hanging on a medal ribbon. You can be certain that this award was awarded for excellence at one time but to whom and for what we will never know.

The Blue Peter Medal: Green
The show's environmental award, Green badges are awarded for any correspondence regarding the environment, conservation or nature.
My other Blue Peter related posts can be found here:
© Arfon Jones 2017. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

2016 New Years blog post, thingy

Hello. How was your Christmas? Did you get anything nice from Santa? Jolly good! Well, as the time of celebrating long held customs and traditions draws to a close I shall end it with my own annual tradition of uploading a blog post devoted to the previous twelve months... Without a doubt 2016 has been a Knightmare year for me, partly as it was the year I met Hugo Myatt the man that played Treguard (of Dunshelm) the dungeon master on one of my all time favourite television programs Knightmare! I met him at this year’s Wales Comic Con and it was a genuine delighted to meet him and discover what a genuinely nice man he is! I told him how much of a highlight the show had been for me and how Mrs Jones had teased me on how I had found certain scenes in the programme to be quite intense at the time. Scenes such as Corridor of Blades, the sound of a Goblin horn in the distance or the series’ antagonist Lord Fear, (played by Mark Knight) realising he was being watched through the spyglass had me on the edge of my seat back in the day! Although it was the year I was able to say “hello” to childhood heroes sadly we have had to say “goodbye” to a great many others. We lost David Bowie at the start of the year and being the trend setter that he was he set the trend for heroes, legends and talented people who died one after another! Much like previous years this list reflects people that ‘inspired’ me personally in some way or their work I have enjoyed over the years (at the time of posting this post! *) RIP  Paul Daniels, Michu Meszaros, Ronnie Corbett,  Sir Terry Wogan, Prince, Frank Kelly, Pete Burns, Gene Wilder, Kenny Baker, Caroline Aherne, Victoria Wood, Alan Rickman, Muhammad Ali, Vivian Gray, Frank Sinatra Jr, Joe Alaskey, Tom Neyman, Harambe, Andrew Sachs, Don Calfa, Bruce Lacey, Van William, Robert Vaughn, Peter Vaughan, Steve Dillon, Florence Henderson, Ted V. Mikels, John Glenn, Ian McCaskill, Bernard Fox, Chyna, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Deddie Davies, Liz Smith, Richard Adams, Rick Parfitt, George Michael and Carrie Fisher.
With Treguard himself Hugo Myatt
When I wasn't shocked over the latest celebrity death I was working in the studio (or in one case in a care home) working on a woodland mural or something for the Eccentric PartyCannibal Cop, Slashermania or the final issue of Slaughterhouse Farm. I also worked on  some Badges and T-shirts, a tribute to my former school teachers, something for the Heath Robinson Museum and the InternationalCryptozoology Museum and if I wasn't doing any of those things I was out exploring....

Altar dedicated to Nemesis, Chester
The Chester amphitheatre is one of the largest known from Roman Britain. Half of the Eastern and northern sides are visible and accessible to the public and well worth a visit. Constructed at around 70AD by Legion II Adiutrix and abandoned at around 350. To the right of the northern entrance there is a small room called the 'Nemeseum' which contains an altar dedicated to Nemesis the goddess of fate, divine vengeance and retribution. The inscription reads: DEAE NEMESI SEXT - MARCI ANVS V S - EX VISV ("Dedicated to the goddess Nemesis by Sextus Marcianus, after a dream.") Discovered in the excavations in the 1960's it is believed that offerings would have been made before a performance at the amphitheatre to prevent an untimely death. This is a replica, the original is on display in the Grosvenor Museum equally worth a visit.


Jurassic Golf Bridgemere
Located at the Bridgemere Garden Centre Jurassic Golf Bridgemere is worthy of its own Prehistoric Pining post! This 6,000 square foot 12-hole adventure golf course is brilliant, because it offers fibreglass dinosaurs and a roaring animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex! Family fun assured as it offers you the chance to test you crazy golfing skills while learning about these magnificent beasts!

Creswell Crags, Holbeck
Not only was this limestone gorge on the Derbyshire/ Nottinghamshire border once inhabited by Ice Age animals such as hyenas, mammoths, woolly rhinoceros, and migrating herds of reindeer, horse and bison but humans too! The site contains several caves that were once inhabited by nomadic human groups between 55,000 and 10,000 years ago making Creswell Crags the most northerly point on earth to have been visited by our ancient ancestors. Having not only discovered tools formed from stone, bone and ivory there they also recently discovered 13000 year old engravings of deer, birds, bison, and horse there making it the oldest art gallery in Britain? At the East End of the gorge there is a museum and education centre filled with wonderful finds that I strongly suggest you look round, oh and book their tours- well worth a visit.

Ruthin Castle, Ruthin
Constructed on a former Iron age fort during the late 13th century by Dafydd ap Gruffydd brother of former Price of Wales, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd. Standing on a red sandstone ridge 100 feet above the Clwyd valley and overlooking a strategic river crossing the land was granted to Dafydd ap Gruffydd by Edward I in gratitude for his assistance during the invasion of North Wales. It was then taken over by Reginald de Grey who strengthened and extended the castle in 1295. Many years later, 1826 in fact a grand house was built over the south-eastern quarter of the castle and in 1923 the castle became Britain's first private hospital for the investigation and treatment of obscure internal diseases before closing in the 1950's. It was then transformed into a hotel in the 1960s and has remained one ever since. One notable guest who stayed there was Prince Charles who spent the night before his investiture as Prince of Wales in 1969.
Mrs Jones and I spent the night there too in 2006 having attended one of their Medieval banquets, we retuned there this year and were treated to a tour of the castle and its grounds (previously off limits to the public) by the Ruthin Castle Conservation Trust. A trust formed this year in order to raise awareness and funds needed for urgent repairs. Despite all its history the castle has not been awarded a world heritage site status, and so as a result it has been slowly crumbling away and the trust hopes to restore it and establish the site as a visitor attraction in its own right giving it the clear identity that it so richly deserves (visit this link to make a donation or become a member). Oh, the castle (the hotel) is also mentioned in my favourite travel guide 'Haunted Britain: A Guide to Supernatural Sites Frequented by Ghosts, Witches, Poltergeists and Other Mysterious Beings' written by Antony Hippisley Coxe and published in 1973 which brings us rather neatly to the subject of haunted hotels. Whenever we go travelling, Mrs Jones and I (when possible) check into reputed “haunted hotels” and this year we visited three, the first I previously mentioned the second was...

Bestwood Lodge Hotel, Arnold, Nottinghamshire
Ten miles from Sherwood Forest and reputedly haunted by orange seller, actress and long time mistress to Charles II Nell Gwynn who's spirit is said to be responsible for the mysterious smell of oranges discovered in rooms frequented by children. Staff at the hotel have also reported figures walking around the corridors and disappearing shortly after along with disembodied voices coming from the cellar, where bodies are said to be buried. In one instance a member of staff changing a barrel reported the lights going off and a voice asking, “Can I help you, Sir?” Bestwood Lodge has been a hotel since the 1970s and a very nice one it is too, a popular venue for wedding functions and as a result the lady at the front desk had no interest in answering my questions regarding the spectres at the hotel.

The Manor House, County Durham.
Once a farmers’ dwelling built between the 15th and 16th centuries this building has at some point existed as a convent, a court house and orphanage before becoming the rather nice hotel and country club it is today. Apparently room six is haunted by a young crying boy looking for this mother who may or may not be the ghost seen on the upper floor reportedly searching for her son. Random cold spots and floating objects have been reported throughout the property, although Mrs Jones and I did not stay in room 6 we did hear a strange child like sounds early in the morning... make of that what you will.

Well, I hope that was of interest, aside from doubling the work load and producing content three resolutions have been made for the new year the obvious promise to loose weight, post more of my work on here and think of a better title for these end of year blog posts! As ever a big thank you and Happy New Year to all my friends out there old and new, all that have supported my work this past year and visted the site not forgetting the special ‘shout out’ to Mim, Kid, TwoHeadedBoy, Moira and Ddraig Goch for commenting on my posts its always good to know that someone is actually reading these posts!
Ok then, Last one to 2017 is a rotten egg!

* A few hours later we lost Debbie Reynolds!

"Tradition"? Previous Years

© Arfon Jones 2016. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

The second Christmas staff party

Last year I speculated that the Christmas staff party at Hooters might well become a “thing” and by Jingle now it officially is! You will recall that having enquired why should I miss out of a staff Christmas 'do' just because I was self-employed and a work force of one? And so decided to do something about it and held the first ever Christmas staff party at Hooters, Nottingham! The party was such a hit with staff (providing all the widely regarded staff morale boosting benefits) that it seemed only natural to go back again this year, however to make it fair it was first put to a vote, Hooters won by a resounding majority!

So this lone worker returned to Hootersof Nottingham located at the Hicking Building on London Road along with my "plus one" Mrs Jones (other companies restrict their functions to the 'employees only' rule or make spouses or partners pay for their meals and drinks. But not this business!) for the second annual Christmas staff party!
Having been greeted by one of the Hooters girls, and shown to our table, drinks and food arrived shortly after and once again I had the Hooter’s speciality, the chicken wings with Cajun sauce and curly fries and Mrs Jones had the choice America steak with coleslaw. Not terribly festive I grant you but the Christmas decorations, Mrs Jones's owl themed Christmas Jumper and Christmas crackers helped set the mood. My cracker contained a wind up Christmas owl, a joke (“What kind of shoes do frogs wear? Open toad sandals!”) and a paper hat of which I wore (see photo). Then it was Secret Santa present-giving time! This year I got a '1960s Childhood Memorabilia pack' containing a replica Ellisdons catalogue, Batman, Thunderbirds, Land of the Giants, The Monkees and the Dr. Who and the Daleks trading cards and various toy flyers (how did I know that I would like that?!). Having finished up and posed for some photos I also picked up the 2017 Hooters calender (of which proceeds go to a breast cancer charity). And that was the second Christmas staff party and just like last year a good time was had by all, and I predict that also like last year morale in the studio will have been heavily boosted, guaranteeing a productive New year! My sincere thanks to everyone at Hooters of Nottingham, especially Lauren, Jade and Helen for the warm welcome and for making my second staff party a Holly Jolly one! Merry Christmas!

© Arfon Jones 2016. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.


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