Wednesday, 20 June 2018

A Chirpy Post


As we come to terms with our recent loss I’m going to try and lighten things up a little around here by posting a cheerier post...
Five years ago Mrs. Jones gave me a Wired Bird Box Camera System for Christmas comprising of a pine nesting box with inbuilt colour night vision camera that one hooked up to the TV allowing us to watch nesting birds in the comfort of our own living room! As we approached the nesting season I decided to not bother with the battery system and so acquired great length of cable and attached it to a power supply and attached the box to the side of our home following all of the RSPB’s guidelinestwo to four metres up a tree or a wall” “face the box between north and east, avoiding strong sunlight and the wettest winds” clear flight paths and not too close to feeding spots.... nothing, each time we tuned into our nest cam channel we would just see the occasional spider (if we were lucky!) and this was how it was for two years. 
On the third year I decided to have the bird box face north directly... nothing. We had effectively given up on it, occasionally toying with the idea of unhooking it and relocating it to another part of the house. We have an abundance of bird life here, House Sparrows, Chaffinches, Green Finches, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Gold Finches, Robins and Siskins. They clearly appreciated the food we provided but didn’t seem to want to live here! 

Last December I attached a RSPB Window Bird Feeder to the studio window and before long I had pair of Blue Tits visit daily. An all too familiar “foomp” and I would look up from painting to see one (or both) in the window eating the peanuts or meal-worms provided, and their visits were always a welcome sight.
Then in May they seem to be visiting more often and on the 22nd of May I noticed that they seemed to be ‘hanging around’ a lot and so following a hunch I tuned in our bird-cam and to our absolute surprise and delight there was a nest with seven chicks in it! And for two joyful weeks Mrs Jones and I watched our family of Blue Tits thrive, we would sit in the living room cup of tea in hand and watch these small birds whoosh past the window before appearing like eagles on a large 28” screen feeding their chicks the live mealworms we provided them, both parents did us proud in the number of feeds and the way they maintained the nest. We learned a lot about this species as we watched them get bigger and fluffier and their eyes open and then on the 5th of June we thought they were going to fledge!
False alarm! We left them to it, but when we got up the next day they were gone! We must have missed them by an hour or so! We went outside to look out for them, nothing BUT on the 12th of this month I heard several chirps coming from the tree and there they were! Still being fed by the parents (who still made full use of our bird tables!) and I can report that as I write this I can still hear them out there! They really have been a joy to us and we hope they will stick around for years to come!         

© Arfon Jones 2018. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

RIP Wil 'Wil-Em' Roberts 1934 -2018


Another sad post I am afraid, as if losing my grandmother back in March wasn’t enough I lost my grandfather this weekend and as you can imagine losing two such important people to me in the same year (what would have been their 60th year of marriage) within a few months of each other to the same horrible condition has been heartbreaking. Although I mentioned how it was my grandmother that inspired me to become an artist, my grandfather played an equal part because my grandparents were very much a team, a veritable “dynamic duo” if you will, we would joke about how my grandmother was the captain and my grandfather was the helmsman and so I devote this post to taid* 


My grandfather driving the service bus circa. 1989
Role models are important for children and I always looked up to my grandfather. I admired both his sense of style, wit and humor. He loved a laugh and I owe my penchant for risqué jokes to him. Having driven haulage trucks and public transport buses for most of his life and toured the country in a caravan on days off it seemed like he had the entire A-Z Great Britain Road Atlas committed to memory and seemed to know every turning, point of interest and back road and was mildly disapproving of our use of sat navs when we embarked on our own travels. He was also a walking Good Pub Guide always keen to recommend a good chip shop, cafe or restaurant he had come across on his travels (no one could exaggerate the size of a steak like him!) what was particularly inspiring about him was the enjoyment he took from simple pleasures in life such as stopping at a chip shop and eating them in the car (my grandparents always kept salt and vinegar and cutlery in the glove box for just such an occasion.) Through the 80’s and 90’s he was a bus driver, a title he took seriously wearing the company tie with pride and  drove the public bus route and the school bus run and so he had my back at least 3 out of 5 days of the week. 
He would also be the driver on various private trips and outings and this is where he became the coolest grandfather ever, he would sometimes take us to these places! 

Because the bus drivers were responsible for bringing large groups of people to the theme parks and tourist attractions they were often treated like VIP’s being offered free lunches and free access to attractions (something he relished) and back in 1991 I was granted a day off school and was allowed to accompany him to Alton Towers where I learned that my granddad didn’t take himself seriously and was game for anything, riding on his first ever roller coaster The Alton Mouse he was terrified and he turned the air blue with profanity but he went on every single one with me (photo on the left was taken on the Black Hole) and I have never laughed so much in my life. 
When he retired he continued to enjoy life touring all over the country in their trusty caravan (sometimes pitching a caravan a mere 40 miles away) or pottering around in his tool shed trying out the latest power tool he had or growing tomatoes in his makeshift greenhouse. He had his own room in their house that we would joke was where he ‘hid’ from my grandmother, a ‘man cave’ before its time, equipped with a reclining easy chair and flat screen TV with full access to all the Sky Sports Channels. Living next door to my grandparents I would see him every day and I was always popping in for a chat, help him with the latest gadget that he couldn’t figure out or just put the world to rights. Although he didn’t always understand my work he was still supportive of it and when I became self employed he helped me set up my studio, constructed worktops and shelving and wired up all the sockets in a way that I seriously doubt UK Electrical Industry British Standards would approve! Although his final years were spent in a care home and it broke my heart not having him next door to us anymore I will always be grateful that although he wasn’t sure what was going on anymore he seemed, in his own way to be happy and laughing. To say I will miss him is an absolute understatement, he will always be in my heart and the next trip we take I will take the most secluded back road I can find, stop at the first restaurant and order the largest steak in him memory. I will miss you taid x

* Welsh word for grandfather

© Arfon Jones 2018. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.


Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Monster Memories: The Hebden Crypt Myth Legends & Horror


Here is a clipping from Look-In Magazine dates 4th of August 1990 encouraging readers to visit The Hebden Crypt Myth Legends & Horror an attraction which I must confess I have never heard of before! “If you’re one of those people who like having the pants scared off you, then you’ll love The Hebden Crypt, because its jam-packed with some of the creepiest things you’re ever likely to see” This museum of myths, legends and horror purported to have the sights sounds (and smells) of Victorian London as it tells the story of Jack the Ripper! It had a recreation of Vlad the Impaler’s Castle and offered the chance to “travel to the ancient Valley of the Kings in Egypt”  all that and a snack bar that offered the opportunity to “tuck in while you’re scared stiff!” and all for £1.80! I did a quick Google search and found some photos but very little information and so contacted the very helpful Hebden Tourist information who said it closed down 30 years ago, apparently someone had the best of intentions but it was, by all accounts “awful” a great shame, as I love stuff like this but it would seem that I was 30 years too late! Did you go? Were you involved? Can you shed some more light on this defunct tourist attraction?

© Arfon Jones 2018. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Monday, 14 May 2018

Arfon's 24 hour Shark A-thon makes the radio!


Like a Great White heading for the beaches of Amity Island my 24 hour Shark A-thon gathers momentum! This time I was on Aled Hughes's BBCRadio Cymru (Radio Wales) show to discuss shark movies and the challenge itself! I’ve been on the show a few times now and it’s always nice to chat with Aled and I thank all involved for allowing me the opportunity to tell everyone about my charity shark movie challenge. As ever our conversation has been posted on the BBC website (our conversation starts at 12:27) and as always I have transcribed/translated it for the benefit of all you non-welsh speakers!

Aled: “Now there are films about sharks... (Jaws theme plays) That’s the most famous one without a doubt, its great film, quite possibly one of the greatest movies ever but there are also some terrible ones and I am now going to say good morning to Arfon Jones. Arfon welcome”
Arfon: Good morning Aled how are you?”
Aled: “Very well thank you, why are you going to watch 17 of the worst shark movies in 24hours? Are you not going to bed?
Arfon: “No! I’m going to stay in my chair!
Aled: “Are you sure this is a good idea?!”
Arfon: “Errr, I’m beginning to wonder....But no! I’m going to try and break my own record by having 24hours-an entire day devoted to these films in the hope of raising as much money as possible for the Alzheimer’s Society”.
Aled: “hmmmmmm...yeah, Ok. It’s a good cause but how are you going to prove that you’ve done this?
Arfon: “Well, I will be on Facebook and I will keep a log if you will, adding  updates as the films start and there will be a clock next to the TV so everyone check the times, so they can be certain that the movie is running.”
Aled: “It’s for a good cause, have you done this before?”
Arfon: “I did one for Children in Need about two years back, where I watched all 12 Friday the 13th movies in one sitting and that took around twenty and a half hours to complete.”
Aled: “I’ve only read some of the titles and I don’t know how you’re going to stay awake! Mega Shark vs. Crockasaurus.
Arfon: “That one doesn’t sound so bad; I think that might be one of the better ones...”
Aled: “Raider of the Lost Shark"
Arfon: “There you go!”
Aled:House Shark
Arfon: “yup”
Aled: “Snow Shark....Where do you get these?!”
Arfon: “well, for some reason there seems to be a lot of them being released at the moment...But the list you have there now has been scaled down somewhat...”
Aled: (surprised) You have 17 movies on your list how many did you have originally?”
Arfon: “Originally I had over 20”
Aled: “So are these fairly new movies?”
Arfon:“Oh yes, I’d say that the oldest was released round fifteen years ago?  They have been slow, but I would say that that there has been a lot more of them in the last five years or so...”
Aled:” These must be awful Arfon?!”
Arfon: (chuckle) seems like it doesn’t it?!”
Aled: “Have you seen any of them?”
Arfon: “No not all of them, I’ve seen Shark Exorcist and er... Sharknado... Have you seen that that one?
Aled: “No, I haven’t if I’m honest.”
Arfon:” Imagine if you will eight or so tornadoes going on, hitting a city and they are all filled with sharks... So you’re not only dealing with the tornadoes your also dealing with sharks falling from the sky!
Aled:” I’ve never heard of such a thing!...”
Arfon: “There are four of them... “
Aled:” Four?”
Arfon:“Four movies in that series”.
Aled:” Is there?! What with the same premise?!”
Arfon: “Yes. Oh, my apologies there are five of them! Another was recently released!”
Aled: “I can’t believe it! I wish you all the very best with it, if you can stay awake it will be a challenge! And people can sponsor you? Can they do that through Facebook?
Arfon: “If they find me on facebook they will find the relevant links there. I’m doing this through Justgiving but they will find the link on Facebook and if everyone can give something that would be great!”
Aled: “Wouldn’t be easier to watch Jaws back to back for 24hours? You know... a good film?”
Arfon: “Well yes, I was going to include Jaws in the line-up but then I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to watch a film featuring a three headed shark...”
Aled:” Now I’m glad you didn’t include Jaws in the line-up! Arfon, thanks for the chat”
Arfon:” Thank you Aled. Take care!”

To sponsor me during my 24 hour Shark A-thon please follow this link and tell your friends!

© Arfon Jones 2018. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Saturday, 12 May 2018

Outing 'N Abouting: The Heath Robinson Museum


Last week I finally had the opportunity to visit the Heath Robinson Museum in Pinner. A museum dedicated to the work of one of my favourite artist/illustrators (you guessed it) Heath Robinson (1872–1944). When I first heard of plans to create this permanent exhibition of his work I was all for it! After all how many other artists can claim that their name is used to describe the appearance of something? After many years of hearing people describing something as “A bit Heath Robinson” I looked him up in the library and adored his work from then on. After following progress online about the proposed museum various events, donations from fans and residents, local businesses and the Heritage Lottery Fund helped make the museum a reality and it was opened by local author and children's writer Michael Rosen on 15 October 2016 and apparently it was the first London museum in over 40 years to be purpose-built in Greater London. I’ve mentioned the museum before, when they opened the museum a secret art sale was held offering 170 6”x 6” canvases for sale with all proceeds going towards the museum and I was artist number 58 donating a glow in the dark portrait of man himself. Sadly I wasn’t able to attend the opening ceremony so my visit last week was doubly special to me. So there you go, I’ve enclosed a small sample of photos please be sure to call in on them and see it for yourselves and show your support!



‘The one-piece chromium steel dining room suite’ (1936)  
‘Communal piano practice’ (1943)   
‘Consequences –How the thoughtfulness of a butterfly 
seriously affected the Bishop’s corn’ (1924)   

© Arfon Jones 2018. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Arfon's 24 hour Shark A-thon makes the front page!

Well, it's in the paper so it must be true! It's official, this July during Discovery Channel's Shark Week I Arfon Jones will be watching 17 shark movies in one-24 hour sitting for the Alzheimer's Society. The Cambrian news ran the story, here is the article written by Alex Jones.

MARATHON SHARK FILM CHALLENGE FOR CHARITY 
A SCI-FI fanatic cannot wait to get his teeth into a bizarre 24-hour challenge of watching 17 of the worst shark films his friends could think of back to back.
Arfon Jones, 39, an illustrator from Nefyn, has set himself the ‘sharkathon’ to raise money for a charity close to his heart.
All sponsorships and donations raised by Arfon’s challenge – which includes titles such as Mega Shark Versus Crocosaurus, Raiders of the Lost Shark and Shark Exorcist – will go to the Alzheimer’s Society, an organisation which has supported his family in recent months. “On 25 July, during this year’s Shark Week, I will watch the worst shark movies ever made in one 24-hour sitting,” said Arfon, who created comic strip Vincent the Vulture for the Cambrian News 20 years ago. “So why am I doing this? Alzheimer’s is a terrible condition that affected both my grandparents and so I am doing this for my grandmother Marie Julia Roberts who died this year. “Both my grandparents had to go into homes. Had they still been together this would have been their 60th year of marriage.
“I wanted to support the charity because they are not only trying to find a cure but also work with people and family affected by the condition.”
For more information, or to donate, please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/arfons24hoursharkmoviemarathon.

So there you go, please consider sponsoring me and supporting this worthy cause. Thanks to all that have and that have helped spread the word!

© Arfon Jones 2018. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Outing 'N Abouting: Geeks of Watford


Back from my travels, I was staying in Watford this weekend and was delighted to finally have a chance to visit Geeks on Queens Road! They have a vast array of toys both vintage and new and of course comics! 
Amongst all the back issues they had issues of Slaughterhouse Farm! 
I picked up a Tingha & Tucker TV annual and some A-Team and Knightrider stickers! Be sure to pop in and see them, its well worth a visit, tell them Arfon sent you!




© Arfon Jones 2018. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Thursday, 3 May 2018

New Book: Age of Savagery

Deadstar Publishing's Age of Savagery is available now for pre-order (for release on Monday 13th May). So what's it about? “The world of Genodd is a placed filled with mystery. The Eldar races have gone, leaving behind feuding barbarian tribes. Loosely affiliated into clans, they wander a world filled with Monuments – remnants of a time gone by. A place where Magic – if it ever existed – is lost.” Based on an original concept by David Powell, this is a collection of 10 stories told over 80 pages of comics and prose pieces. Over 20 creators have work featured including Josh Somerville, Chrissey Harrison, Dave Charlton-Whitaker, AtlantisVampir and many others including 'liddle old me! Look out for two stories featuring my artwork, 'Epsis' Test' by Lewis James and 'Out of the Pit' by Matt Warner. Follow the link find out more and then pre-order your own copy!


© Arfon Jones 2018. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

The Mystery Tortoise Photo

Our recent loss in the family finds us now knee deep into the dreaded “sorting out affairs” process and amongst all the paperwork I chance discovered this photo which appeals to me as both a history buff and tortoise owner! I don't know who exactly these people are or when exactly the photo was taken but I do know precisely where it was taken, Boduan in North Wales (a mile or so from the AA Sentry Box that I mentioned last year) outside the former Post Office that once resided there in fact (which we have loose family connection with). So taken was I with this photo that I visited the site to try and locate the exact spot this Herman Tortoise once attracted half the population of the village! What was the story I wonder? I guess we will never know...

Then and now The former Post Office, Boduan
situated on the A497 between Boduan and Nefyn
(Grid Reference SH3116138626)
© Arfon Jones 2018. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Friday, 30 March 2018

From the Vaults: December 2012 'Franktastic Christmas party balloon'

I found this in the Vault today, a promotional balloon from the 2012 Franktastic Christmas party event featuring an image by me, commissioned by the Frank Sidebottom Statue Fund the image was originally used for the event's poster (based on artwork that Frank himself created for his Christmas is really Fantastic LP) but I was tickled pink so see it also feature on the events balloons! You will recall this event played a major part in raising funds for the statue of Frank which now stands proudly in his home town of Timperley.

© Arfon Jones 2018. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

RIP Marie Julia Roberts 1938-2018

With my grandmother in 1998
holding a portrait of her dogs that she commissioned.
It's been a rather emotional time, my grandmother Marie Julia Roberts was laid to rest this week after a long battle with Alzheimer's aged 79. Although I try to keep these posts 'relativity' light and on topic it's actually seems only right that I devote this post to nain* because when I was aged three I believe she steered my life in this direction. It is very likely that I would not have been an artist and so this very website might not have ever existed had it not been for my grandmother and something that happened when I was three years of age. As I amused myself with a box of felt-tip pens and some sheets of paper I drew some clowns, why clowns I can't remember, but I drew a happy one (the one featured on this post), a sad one, a fat one and a thin one and when I was done I showed them to my grandmother who not only praised them but also showed them to everyone and told me that I had talent, I was told that I could actually draw and from that day on I was the kid that drew cartoons that aspired to someday becoming an artist.
Although we didn't always see eye-to-eye at times she was always the one Id go to during a 'crisis' and she was always supportive of my craft and when there was an artist or cartoonist on the TV my grandmother would inform me of it and if there was an article in the paper she would save it for me. As I grew older and my style developed I would still be summoned to gran's house to show off my portfolio to a distant relative or friend of the family that had stopped by that day and the first art sale I made was a cartoon I sold to her when I was trying to get some money to buy a comic and I guess you could say that my first solo art exhibition was the time she pinned my drawings up in her porch. She encouraged me to go to art collage, attended end of year shows and was there for my graduation. Since her illness worsened six years ago not a day has gone by that I haven't missed being able to go over to see her, tell her for the millionth time that I didn't like tomato sandwiches before tucking into a plate of cheese on toast with Branston pickle and tell her about my latest projects and ideas. I have no idea what direction my life would have taken had it not been for her support and the thought of pursuing this course without her makes me incredibly sad but onwards I go. I intend to see it through as I firmly believe its what she would have wanted.
I miss you nain x

* Welsh word for grandmother

© Arfon Jones 2018. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Prehistoric Pinning: Drayton Manor Dino Land

As addressed in my previous Prehistoric Pinning devoted to (former) Dinosaur World Colwyn Bay I do love me a fibreglass dinosaur! Another park which catered to this love of model dinos was Drayton Manor which I visited back in 1995. A relaxing walk leading up to the Zoo it also had some handy placards providing information about dinosaurs and yes being an excitable, hormonal teenager I hammed it up for the camera... Drayton Manor Theme Park near Tamworth first opened to the public in 1950 after the Bryan family converted 80 acres of derelict land into this tourist attraction which now sees more than one million visitors each year. Always wanting to give the public something new and exciting they introduced Dinosaur Land to the park in 1975 before opening a phase 2 the following year that adjoined the park’s zoo and this was filled with life-size models of dinosaurs (as Wikipia put it, “to intrigue and enthrall the kids”) sadly I have been unable to find a list of all the dinosaurs that featured however when ‘Dino Land’ closed in 2009 the attraction had featured the following exhibits,

Dienosuchus
Tricertops
Spinosaurus
Iguanadon
Brontosaurus (Brachiosaurus)
Mammoth
Smiledon
Cavemen
Cave Bear
Baby T-Rex
Titanis
Pterodactyl
Pleisiosaurus
Egg Nests

I say “closed” it was actually re-located and re-named ‘Dino Trail’ in 2010 and I am pleased to report that some of the original dinosaurs feature in it, namely the T-Rex, Baby T-Rex, Euoplocephalus, Iguanadon, Dimetrodon, Titanis, Pachycephalosaurus, Ornithomimus, Styracosaurus, Protoceratops, Placodus, Tanystropheus, Tylosaurus, Elasmosaurus and the Nothosaurus.
Back in 2016 it was revealed that the old section, despite being closed for several years was still standing and offered some amazingly beautiful sights of derelict dinosaurs and cobwebbed cavemen! Seeing as the previous post featured some postcards from the attraction I thought I would also include the ones I have from Drayton Manor (referred to as 'Lost World') If I manage to track down others I will update accordingly.
My sincere thanks to Drayton Manor’s Education Officer Lee Green for his time and kindness.

Drayton manor 'Lost World' Postcards Iguanadon, Phororachos, Cave Bears and Sabre Tooth Tigers
© Arfon Jones 2018. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

"Well Hello Mr. Fancy Pants!"

Remember the 2008 writers strike? When 12,000 screenwriters and TV writers armed with placards demanding compensation from the large studios for all the DVD's and online download sales they were excluded from? As the US television industry ground to a halt most actors found themselves cooling their heels waiting for it to pass and one of them was one of my favourite actors, the King of the 'B-movies', Bruce Campbell star of The Evil Dead, Maniac Cop and Bubba Ho-Tep who used the strike as an opportunity to come over the UK to meet fans and promote his latest movie My Name is Bruce and I.. had appendicitis...

Robbed of the opportunity to meet one of my all time favourite actors I spent the next ten years monitoring the UK convention circuit hoping that he would come over and see us again and sure enough this month he embarked on a UK and Ireland tour promoting his latest book 'Hail to the Chin'. Confident that my appendix would not spoil my plans again Mrs Jones and I set off for London to attend Walker Stalker Con a convention devoted to The Walking Dead (a show that Bruce Campbell hasn't been in and I haven't watched) to meet one of my idols. Since my good friend David Lynch introduced me to the Evil Dead trilogy twenty years ago in art collage Bruce Campbell has been a constant part of my life. I've based a lot of my own style and my attitude towards life, my keenness to discuss his work played a small part in the courting of Mrs Jones, I've read his books, played his computer games and even dressed as his most famous role for Halloween (see previous post) and so to finally have the opportunity to meet the man himself, shake his hand and thank him for the happiness his work has given me was a genuine delight, he even complimented my shirt!
Hail to the King Baby!


© Arfon Jones 2018. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Thursday, 8 March 2018

International Women’s Day: Milicent Patrick “The Beauty Who Created the Beast”

Today is International Women’s Day and we celebrate women that have inspired us, so I thought I would celebrate one of my favourite female artist Milicent Patrick. Regrettably not many of us recognise the name but we certainly know her work and that's it really, very little information about her and her life exists! We think her real name was Mildred Elizabeth Fulvia di Rossi and that she was the daughter of Italian baroness Baronesa di Polombara and architect Camille Charles Rossi and that she worked both in front and behind the camera but received very little onscreen credit for her work and that's about it, nobody really knows what became of her after the 1980s and even the Screen Actors Guild simply lists her as ‘missing’. But if we accept what we (sort of) know it makes her an amazing woman worthy of celebration as she would have not only been the first female animator hired by Disney but also the designer of the Xenomorph in It Came from Outer Space and the Metaluna mutant from This Island Earth. We know she worked as a mask maker on Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and The Mole People and we know that she created one the most famous, iconic creature designs for Universal, the Gill Man from The Creature from the Black Lagoon because during Universal’s marketing campaign for Creature from the Black Lagoon they billed her, “The Beauty Who Created the Beast” along with photos of her sketching the Gill Man and posing with the mask. Unfortunately this was to be her undoing however when make-up artist Bud Westmore took umbrage with her not crediting the entire team involved in its creation (she had in fact credited the staff on numerous occasions ironically a trait Westmore himself did not share) and he vowed never to never hire her as an artist again thus killing off a promising artistic career. This sad factor aside she was clearly a tremendously accomplished artist and responsible for one of the most iconic screen monsters ever created and I salute you Milicent Patrick, wherever you are!

© Arfon Jones 2018. All images are copyrighted throughout the world. I do not own nor do I claim ownership of the photographs featured in this article.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

"Shop smart- shop S mart!" My Ash Williams Chainsaw hand is up for sale!


If you go over to my eBay page you will find my trusty old chainsaw hand up for sale! Some of you might recall that back in in 2011 I was I found myself with only 24 hours to make a costume for a Halloween fancy dress party. Having opted to go as Ash Williams in Evil Dead 2 and armed with an empty economy size rice jar, red car paint, piece of wood, silver paint, bike chain, old screwdriver, some coke cans, unused brackets and screws, old wooden curtain pole, plastic lids, two plug hole covers some gaffer tape and glue I created this chainsaw hand measuring just over 2ft long.
It worked out well (the photo on the right was taken at the party) and seemed well received and after the party I had big plans to improve on it but unfortunately never got round to it and so its been underfoot in the studio ever since so I thought it was time I offered it up for sale if only to serve as the ‘bare bones’ for someone else’s Ash Williams cosplay? Interested? Follow the link and nab it!
 
© Arfon Jones 2018. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Friday, 2 February 2018

Halloween at Woolworths (1988)


Ordinarily the pages of this blog are devoted to items that I have in my collection and usually accompanied by detailed, relevant information about said item, well I thought I would try something different this time round! This post is devoted to things that I use to have, that I would like again... that I’ve tried to obtain for some time but to no avail so I thought I would leave it open to the world wide web! This is an advertisement from issue #20 of The Real Ghostbusters comic dated October 9th 1988. Woolworth in conjunction with Barratts in the build -up to Halloween inform us of this, “sweet way to spend Halloween” in the form of Barretts Halloween Party Packs! Their classic in store Pic ‘n Mix range offered everything from “Vampire Bats and Spooky Spiders to Toads and Silly Slugs” but they also offered two Alma Sweetie Sticks featuring a Witch and skeleton and three Alma Sweet Filled Hand Puppets of a Witch, Ghost and Slimer! I had the Slimer one back in the day, along with a Skull Sweetie Stick and although the glove puppet didn't last long (the ink would come off the plastic during play) I wish I had hung on to them! So I leave this open to you citizens of the internet, do you have anything relating to this offer? Don’t bother with eBay, I’ll save you a listing fee e-mail at arfon@arfon.net or simply comment below!

© Arfon Jones 2018. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

The 300th blog entry Doctor Who special: A 6th Doctor Who-down!

When I started this blog back in September of 2009 I never imagined I would write 300 posts but here we are! Well then, I used the 100th post as a way to go back in time and document an event that had happened before I had a blog recounting my trip to New York in November 2009 to visit Ghostbusters filming locations and then for the 200th I went back to October 2005 and shared my experiences of attending the Doctor Who Galactic Dinner event in Cardiff where I meet David Tennant and Billie Piper. Well this time we are sticking with the Doctor Who theme but going back just a little further, August 16th 2003. Location: The BBC Doctor Who Experience, Llangollen, North-East Wales the day I met the 6th Doctor, Colin Baker! Welsh model railway manufacturer Dapol (play on its founder’s David and Pauline Boyle's names) was first established in 1983 and they soon became a leading force in the production of model railway products and in 1988 they were granted a license by the BBC to produce a range of Doctor Who figures at their premises in Llangollen and this would later lead to the opening the 'BBC Doctor Who Experience' exhibition on their premises on the 17th of June 1995 an amazing collection of original props and costumes from the show’s twenty six year run (the largest permanent sci-fi exhibition of its kind at that time).   
It was open throughout the year and received an excess of 50,000 visitors a year but sadly by 2003 visitor numbers had dropped to around 15,000 and when the BBC decided to not renew their license with Dapol the decision was made to permanently close the exhibition. So on Saturday August 16th 2003 Colin Baker was invited to the site for what was to be the exhibition’s last big event to meet fans on what was Doctor Who’s 40th anniversary year.
I had been to the exhibition in the past but never met any of the Doctors and as I’ve mentioned countless times before the Colin Baker/ Sylvester McCoy years was when I first became a fan of the show seeing Colin fighting Cybermen made a life long fan of me so he is effectively my first Doctor and I was eager to meet him. Now equipped with my own transport I was able to embark on a 70mile drive to Llangollen my 1 year old daughter Catrin in tow to meet the 6th Doctor! Having followed the convenient Dalek signs posted around the village, crossing over the River Dee and taking a right at the foot of the bridge I parked outside the attraction just as some members of the Hyde Fundraisers, a group of Who enthusiasts that create replica props and costumes to help raise funds for all manner of good causes, began assembling their Daleks and this allowed me the opportunity to snap a photo of my daughter with her first Dalek!
We were at the very front of the queue and as we made our way past the Cyberman costume we stepped through the large Tardis door, only to see another Tardis in the corner and beside it was a novel part of the attraction a replica 1960’s living room with a family sitting on a sofa (Yes, you guessed it! With a child hiding behind the sofa!) with the first ever episode ‘An Unearthly Child' playing on the television. Inevitably a Dalek could then be seen behind the next corner and I remember how the strobe lighting, mirrored walls made it quite exciting.
  
Clips from various episodes would play on various monitors spotlighting each incarnation of the Doctor before eruptions of the theme, Daleks shouting “exterminate” or the Tardis dematerialisation sound effect would echo through the air and then we would see the familiar Tardis console room roundels on the walls and a replica console and there next to it sitting behind a table was Colin Baker the Sixth incarnation of the Doctor! He was very warm and friendly and seemed genuinely pleased to meet fans and I was able to tell him how he was my first Doctor before introducing him to Catrin who he really got on with, so much so that we had our photo taken together. Being so busy at this point we thanked him again and moved on to allow the incredible line up their chance to meet him and so we carried on with the rest of the tour costumes worn by the Doctor!

4th Doctor coat, waistcoat along with costumes of both fifth, sixth and seventh!

In the first window was an original cane used by William Hartnell the first Doctor, a pair of trousers worn by second Doctor Patrick Troughton on the ‘Two Doctors’ and coat worn by Jon Pertwee the third Doctor! The next window coat, waistcoat and famous scarf worn by Tom Baker the forth Doctor! The next window along had both Peter Davison and Colin Baker’s costumes as fifth and sixth Doctor along with a waistcoat worn by Colin in the 'Two Doctors' and at the very end of course was Sylvester McCoy’s getup as the seventh! These were still the early days of digital photography and I was still using film at this time so I would often find camera glare or hand prints on display glass would scupper my photographic skills! After seeing some of the clothes that once belonged to some of the companions were also on display, we got to my favourites the Cybermen! I was always impressed with this case as it displayed the development of the Doctor's second most popular villain via a collection of heads something that has remained with me ever since (something for a future post). Then it was onward to see the rest of his villains in the hall of monsters! Yeti, Ice Warriors, Silurians and Sea Devils were there (Not Morbius though, I don’t know where he was... I had to go to Blackpool to see him!) and sadly at this point some of the lights and animatronics didn't work but they were still impressive!
Vervoids, Fenric and Cheetah People and the giant brain from 'Time and the Rani' later we were outside standing next to Bessie, the third Doctor's faithful car, before going around the front to have numerous photographs taken with some more Hyde Fundraisers dressed as Sontarans and Cybermen and then that was it that was the last time I visited the BBC Doctor Who Experience the centre was permanently closed on the 30th December 2003 before being cleared out the following month relocating seven miles away over the English border, near Oswestry, the props and costumes were moved on to Blackpool before eventually being sold at auction to private owners. I would see Colin Baker countless times after that but this one will always be precious to me. So did you visit? Share your memories! And thanks to you all for reading the last 300 posts!  

© Arfon Jones 2018. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

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