Tuesday 29 June 2010

'Science Spotlight’ 6/12 Harry Grindell Matthews

Harry Grindell Matthews (1880-1941)
Studied at the Merchant Venturer's School in Bristol and became an electronic engineer. Having served in the South African Constabulary in the Second Boer War he developed an interest in the possibilities of voice communication by wireless. After returning to Britain he invented the Aerophone device, a radiotelephone that transmitted messages between a ground station and an aeroplane from a distance of two miles. In 1914, the British government offered £25,000 for an effective weapon against zeppelins. Matthews created a remote control system that used selenium cells. In 1921 he designed and built a camera that recorded an optical sound track alongside the photographed image. The device was not pursued as film producers believed that ‘talkies’ had no commercial future... In 1923 he invented the infamous 'Death Ray' a means of transmitting energy without wires capable of shooting down aeroplanes, stopping ships and incapacitating infantry from the distance of four miles. The government unconvinced and sceptical, believing the demonstration to be a hoax rejected his invention. In 1934, facing bankruptcy after the commercial failure of his ‘Sky Projector’ he relocated to South Wales where he worked on rocket travel, a submarine detection system, and an Aerial Torpedo for defending cities from airborne attacks until his death from a heart attack.
© Arfon Jones 2010. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Saturday 26 June 2010

Frank's Fantastic Funeral Fund

Still in shock after the tragic death of Chris Sievey a.k.a Frank Sidebottom.
When it was reported that he had in fact died penniless and was to suffer the indignity of a pauper's funeral provided by state grants. Friends, fans and former band members united to prevent this from happening and launched the Frank's Fantastic Funeral Fund raising £15,000 within 24 hours!

Wanting to do my bit for the great man, I painted this piece depicting him sporting his trademark pink show business tie and his ventriloquist puppet Little Frank. Created in pen and acrylic on blue card it was sold on ebay with all the proceeds going to Frank's Fantastic Funeral Fund. Thanks to everyone who placed a bid!

© Arfon Jones 2010. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Monday 21 June 2010

Frank Sidebottom (1955–2010)

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Chris Sievey a.k.a Frank Sidebottom who died today.I mentioned in a previous post how much of an influence Frank had been on me growing up the 1980’s. First seeing him on ITV’s No. 73 his puppet pal Little Frank and keyboard in tow being only 7 at the time I had no knowledge of ‘alternative comedy’ I was simply fascinated by his papier-mâché features. Frank would regularly pop up in following years either as a guest on various television shows or in Oink! Comic, the strips written and drawn by the man himself in his traditional medium of felt tip pen.

Forward to 2005, I happened to be watching Channel 4's 100 Greatest Pop Videos when suddenly there was Frank Sidebottom speaking on behalf of The Aphex Twin! All the memories came flooding back to me prompting an Internet search… I was delighted to discover that Frank was back and touring!
I attended several of Frank’s live gigs then on, ranging from lectures on pet keeping to family friendly pantomimes each one crammed with humour, music and a raffle! Always remaining in character a true professional, I fondly remember Frank setting up his equipment before a gig with a taped on moustache maintaining he was a stagehand and NOT Frank Sidebottom.

I also had the pleasure of attending the Timperley Magical Tour, a guided tour of his beloved hometown of Timperley, the tour gave a new perspective to all his songs. We saw such locations as the grounds of Altrincham FC and the famous Timperley station followed by a fish and chip supper and a ‘lock in’ at Timperley Aquatics where a snake managed to get into the lining of Frank’s jacket. We all looked on as a staff member tried to coax the snake out and Frank worried about what his mother would say about his ruined jacket! I would receive my Sidebottom fix between shows via his web site and his Frank Sidebottom's Proper Telly Show in B/W on Channel M not to mention his hilarious test cards where he would sing songs and ramble on with Little Frank.

I am so grateful for being able to add the last 5 years to my already endearing memory of Frank. I had the pleasure of meeting the great man several times, always charming and entertaining, once comparing one of my painting to one of the ‘great masters’. I have made many friends at his events who share equally fond memories of the legend that was Frank Sidebottom. Thanks Chris.
You will be missed, you know you will… you really will...Thank you.

© Arfon Jones 2010. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Friday 18 June 2010

How to Survive A Zombie Apocalypse: RELOADED

You may recall back in February I was invited to capture the likeness of leading Zombologogist and star of hit cult show ‘How To Survive A Zombie Apocalypse’, Dr Dale Seslick. Following on from the success at the Leicester Comedy Festival & Brighton Fringe I’m pleased to announce that the Zombie Apocalypse crew are returning to the Edinburgh Fringe! Armed with countless rave reviews from the likes of SFX, Fortean Times, The Argus and Threeweeks they plan to repeat last year’s sell out success with their sequel ‘How to Survive A Zombie Apocalypse: RELOADED

With the tie-in book being launched nationally on the 1st August, their weekly podcast series reaching 13the position in the iTunes comedy charts and their Facebook page accumulating over 15,000 fans I recommend that you check out what all the buzz is about – at the very least you’ll learn how to stay alive when the undead rise!

Wednesday 9 June 2010

From the Vaults: 2003 ‘A Circus Freak Accident’

Back in 2003 I was invited to take part in BBC Wales’s Capture Wales project a series of monthly workshops organised across Wales, which ran between 2001 to 2008. Each contributor was assisted by a trained individual on how to make a short film and granted access to laptops, scanners, digital cameras and editing software to create their digital story. They were then added to their exhibition site for the purposes of showcasing real-life stories made by people from across Wales. It was a fascinating process, and a marvellous project as their website blurb reads, “Films feature individuals sharing moments of their lives with the camera, and range from the humorous to the bizarre and moving.” The only requirement was that the story had to be a real life occurrence so I recounted the time I was bitten by a Circus dog and the effects that followed. I’ve always maintained that it's a personal story, one that other people couldn’t relate to and the fact that video has been online for almost 10 years and I still haven’t heard from other 'recovering' circus dog victim confirms it! 95% of the film is made up with my drawings and when it was completed it seemed well received, I was then delighted six months later when they informed me that the BBC wanted to show my story on the telly (along with an introductional mini interview). I’m not quite ready to share the video interview but you can see the story itself here and find a transcript here and because websites have a habit of fading away and some people have regional limitations when dealing with BBC sites I decided to also upload the video to my Youtube channel as well. But I recommend you visit the main site if you can and see what the project was all about.

© Arfon Jones 2010. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.


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