Tuesday, 27 October 2020

The big giveaway at 9... Don't miss it...

Halloween is almost upon us folks! So why not try your luck and win this very print!

Just simply watch the Halloween III YouTube video and click 'subscribe' and write 'SILVER SHAMROCK' in the comments! A name will be picked at random and announced at 9pm on Halloween! Good luck!

©Arfon Jones 2020. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Friday, 2 October 2020

CRIMEWATCH UK: Video Shopped

Over the past few months we have been watching vintage episodes of Crimewatch UK. For those of you not up on such things, Crimewatch (titled Crimewatch UK) was a British television programme produced by the BBC, that worked with the Police and reconstructed unsolved cases in an attempt to gain new information from members of the public and hopefully solve crimes. The show aired from 1984 to 2017 and each month (minus July to August) Nick Ross would make us have nightmares, while telling us not to... at its peak it drew in audiences of 17 million and apparently during its 25 years it helped catch 57 murderers, 53 rapists/ sex offenders and 18 paedophiles. Watching these shows has been interesting, the nostalgic memories of the exciting times I was allowed to sit up later than usual to watch them aside, they really are time capsules, not only in the how police tackled crime and how television was presented but also in regards to what Britain was doing back then. So many shops and retail chains mentioned on the show are now long gone, as are the 24 hour photo processing and of course the video hire shops, so I thought I would compile a list of crimes that featured a video shop. Now, I must stress I am in no way making light of this subject, and urge you, if you can help with any of the unsolved cases then contact your local police. I am just presenting these as a look back on video shops and how much a part of life the were.

The Murder of Lorna Hayles, 1986

13th of November 1986 Crimewatch appealed for information regarding the tragic murder of Lorna Hayles, which sadly remains unsolved to this day. 
During the reconstruction we learn that she visited a Mr Video located at 7 Clapham Common South Side - the hire shop is long gone now, these days its known as the South Side Cafe.

The Video Conmen, 1987

On the 16th of July 1987 as part of Crimewatch's Photocall feature Supt. David Hatcher and W.P.C Helen Phelps requested further information regarding a team dubbed, 'Video Conmen' operating in the North and East of England. Both men reportedly would visit various video hire shops and obtain memberships with either forged or stolen documents and then each man would hire out a number of video tapes, mostly new releases and not return them. It was believed that they had obtained over £25,000 worth of tapes. Ironically, as pointed out by Nick Ross they had been caught on video themselves by a security camera and when the show returned on October 13th viewers were informed that nine viewers had independently rung the show and provided information which had lead to arrest of three men before reporting that the three “Manchester men” had been imprisoned by the time of their January 12th 1988 episode.

Redditch Video Salesman, 1988

The 9th of June, 1988 and Supt. David Hatcher this time alone at the incident desk showed a man caught on the surveillance camera at a Video Shop in Reddich. The man, apparently calling himself “Roy Marsh” offered to sell the proprietor £1300 of discounted video equipment but when they met to close the deal Marsh took the money and ran to a waiting car which sped away. Described as being around 50 and standing at around 5'7 tall he spoke with a Northern accent and apparently was a very convincing con man and likely to have been working as part of a team operating throughout the Midlands. On Crimewatch Update David Hatcher informed us that they had received calls offering possible names along with other victims coming forward alleging that they too had been coned. However, we never found out if they caught him.

Polaroid Man, 1990

On the 6th of December 1990 as part of Photocall Supt. David Hatcher (now accompanied by DS Jacqui Hames) asked the public on behalf of Merseyside police to name a “cheerful amateur film maker” dubbed 'Polaroid Man' who had hired a video camera but failed to return it, but it seemed that this wasn't the first time he had hired expensive video equipment and failed to return it - he was photographed several times wearing the same suit as part of the hire agreement in various video hire shops in North Wales, Merseyside and Cheshire between September and October that year, using stolen cheque books and driving licenses as proof of identity. He was reported to have borrowed and not returned over £10,000 worth of video cameras and accessories. During the Crimewatch Update it seemed that the show had received 40 calls from the public, giving sightings in Twyford and Preston with more victims coming forward believing that they too had been duped by the same man- adding that a former acquaintance had also called in to say that Polaroid Man had moved to the North Midlands area. Presumably this was lead that would result in Nick Ross informing us on the 14th of February that a man had since been arrested and charged with deception and for handling stolen goods after a viewer had recognised him and telephoned in with a name and address.

Video Store Robbery, 1999

12th October 1999 sadly the episodes available online had started to dwindle at around the mid 1990's and so huge gaps can occur, But in October's episode Jacqui Hames asked for information regarding a robbery at a video store in Norwich. Having brandished a knife at the shop assistant he robbed the till. Described as late 20's early 30's of medium height and build with a “thin gaunt face” and dark brown hair brushed forward to cover where he was going bald. The following episode is yet to turn up- and there was no mention of an arrest in December's episode so I have no idea if they caught him. Do you?

Be sure to check out the episodes to be found on YouTube- or better yet, if you have one that hasn't been uploaded yet put that right and transfer it to your computer now! I will keep this thread open and update it accordingly if another episode featuring a video shop related crime should turn up. Until then, please don't have nightmares, do sleep well.

Don't forget to check out my monthly YouTube painting videos devoted to the glory days of Video rentals and the movies we rented from them back in the day at www.vid-o-rama.com

©Arfon Jones 2020. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Sunday, 26 July 2020

Omnibot’s Robot Root-Out: The Time Professor Heinz Wolff appeared in Loaded Magazine

Back in 2015 I uploaded a post entitled Page 3 Escapes Extermination? in which I speculated if The Sun newspaper had in fact dropped it's page 3 feature after 44 years (it had) and I briefly touched on the subject of "lads' mags" and general 'lad culture' which seemed to be at its height when I was an art student during the mid to late 1990's during this 'movement' there was one magazine that seemed to rule over them all, Loaded a men's lifestyle magazine first launched in 1994. Back in the day the magazine saw monthly sales of 457,318 and won PPA Magazine Of The Year in both 1995 and 1996 and was seen as the leading force of lad culture. Just for the record I've never regarded myself as 'one of the lads', I have no interest in football, I didn't drink lager- preferring cocktails. Never had a hangover but I was partial to an end of the night kebab and my 'clubbing' days were brief, effectively ending when I graduated from college. I rarely visited pubs, and if I did it was either a meeting point or they had a quiz that night and I certainly never used the term, “bird”. Never the less I would (occasionally) read Loaded and it certainly seems to be one of the many (albeit small) fragments that made up a time in my life called 'my art college days' a time made up of student grants, New Labour, Spice Girls, Play Station and Alcopops! Truthfully a lot, if not most of Loaded's content was lost on me, However, in what seemed prominently full page adverts for trainers, watches and aftershave and interviews with sports personalities, I did find amusement in its articles either devoted to amusing place names and signs submitted by its readers (we no longer had BBC's That's Life at this point) and porn lookalikes (photos from pornography that seemingly featured famous people) and not forgetting Now You're Stalking a collection of readers chance taken photographs with random 'celebs' which had me harking back to the days of Look-In magazine. But let's be honest here, as amusing as they were it was the ladies that featured within that was the main appeal here. They weren't naked so it wasn't pornography and so the magazine could be read on the train but the models didn't exactly wear long baggy jumpers either.

Anyway, moving on... as the countdown to the year 2000 drew ever closer the magazine seemed more like an auctioneers catalogue for wife seeking footballers (to me) and so my interest waned somewhat and with me now being a monthly reader of Bizarre magazine my limited student funds could not stretch to both publications.
The magazine's success continued without my casual support, but it would seem that the magazine's circulation had started to decline around the same time as the drop in my clubbing and late night kebab consumption. But it did hang in there, and for some time despite the changes in attitude and continued attacks from various feminist campaigners and groups sparking such moves as the one carried out by the Co-operative chain in 2013 who declared that they would only sell magazines such as Loaded if they were sealed in a plastic "modesty bag" prompting then Loaded editor James Wallis to describe the move by the Co-Op as “A very real threat to the free press and freedom of speech in the UK”, while the campaign group Lose the Lads’ Mags (who also advocated a boycott of Tesco for the same reason) accused the Co-op of not going far enough and called for the banning of the magazines from supermarkets altogether! It certainly seemed as if its' days were slowly coming to an end despite yielding to the modesty bags, dropping its photographs of partially dressed women from its covers and introducing its first female editor in 2014.
In 2015 the magazine reported a steep decline in sales mostly attributed to the decline of a specific form of 'lad culture' and the easy availability of nudity and pornography on the Internet and so (along with fellow lads mags FHM, Maxim, Nuts and Zoo) they announced that they would cease publication (the very same year Page 3 ended ) only to be relaunched as an online publication a few months later dropping the scantily-clad girl image in favour of breaking entertainment news stories and having, “strong, punchy news lines” while seeking to, “update the original edginess of the original 1990s editorial voice offering a sharp wit in amongst the informative tone of stories, whether it be on human interest news stories or entertainment news and reviews” putting itself forward as a “halfway house between the disposable clickbait of some sites and the more pretentious, unrealistically aspirational lifestyle choices of others”, far removed from its days of winning a VIP ticket to Wembley by sending in that photo of yourself with Paul Chuckle in the pub...

Anyway, I went off on somewhat on a tangent there! My loyal robotic assistant Omnibot while digging through my vast collection of items I have accumulated over the years (which he then lists on our eBay shop to raise funds for projects) found this! A single issue of Loaded magazine from May 1997 which not only features former page 3 , FHM, Playboy, Escort, Mayfair, Men Only, Men's World, Razzle and Whitehouse model whom would then go on to feature on Blur's Country House music video and become a television host for the Men and Motors channel- Joanne Guest 'Jo Guest' but also Professor Heinz Siegfried Wolff BSc. FIEE. FIBES FRCP (hon) FRSA!
Many of you will recall that Heinz was the world's first bio-engineer, director of the Division of Biological Engineering at the National Institute for Medical Research and Clinical Research Centre of the Medical Research Council. He founded the Institute of Bio-engineering at Brunel University for over 30 years naming only a few of his accomplishments but perhaps he was better known to us in Britain as the face of The Great Egg Race, but he was also a friend and helped/supported a few of my projects over the years. I would meet Heinz twelve years after reading this article which recounts the time “the scientist met the showgirl” in which they discussed all manner of things from aliens to cave paintings. I thought I would upload it on here for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!

Joanne: Do you just sit at home and invent things or do you ever just have sex and beer?
Heinz: [smiles]: On the whole, I never stop working, but that doesn't mean I don't enjoy myself. Drinking beer doesn't happen to be one of my hobbies, watching telly I quite like. Most of the things I do at work I enjoy sufficiently enough to carry them on home. Do you enjoy your work?
Joanne: Well, if it's like this sort of job all I do is get dolled up and drink beer, and I do that in my spare time as well.
Heinz: Yes but is it your ultimate ambition? When I used to be on television for what, about 30 years, I was on most weeks and had a a few series, and so a generation grew up with me and my face. And then it suddenly stopped in 1986 and I wasn't on any more. And I found it very, very hard to suddenly abandoned by the media. I would have thought this would be the same with a model, when people don't want to take your photograph any more.
Joanne: I know that's gonna happen. But with the money I've made I would want to be just as well appropriated but maybe in a business form rather than physical one.
Heinz: So what you are saying is that you want to make your pile and then you can choose? I wonder, what was it like when you were 15? How did your future look then?
Joanne: I wanted to be a hairdresser. I went to college for a year and then didn't want to be one after that. What about you?
Heinz: I don't think I ever had any doubts since I was a conscious human being that I would have to do something with science and engineering. I always had engineering in my blood, I was always making things. I knew it so well that I took a biological degree at university because I felt I knew engineering. Later on I went back to it and invented a new discipline called bio- engineering, when I was 23 or 24.
Joanne: Chemistry was my favourite subject at school.
Heinz: Oh really?
Joanne: Yes. Well not the amount you love it but I did understand it. This was at GCSE level, mind you. I had a chemistry set and messed around with the test tubes. I bet you didn't bother reading from the text books in your chemistry class, you probably did your own thing.
Heinz: Well yes, this is true.

Heinz: If I may ask, and this away from chemistry, when did you realise that you were prettier than most?
Joanne: It wasn't at school, I was really quiet then. I think it was when the boys started fancying me, I thought there must be something right with me. Then I got offered work as a model.
Heinz: I used the word pretty in perhaps a way which is socially incorrect, one is not supposed to distinguish people by their looks. I have never consciously seen you before, but if you are asking me whether I'm interested in good looking girls and fashions then I would have to say yes. I am in fact extremely visual and I have no inhibitions about telling women or girls that I like the look of them. I mean, what is your job Joanne?
Joanne: Well, I would class it more glamour than fashion.
Heinz: For me, when looking at a well dressed, beautiful woman, for this to give me real pleasure, without giving any sexual overtones to it, it's like looking at a good meal, something which is well done, it;s the well done-ness of it which gives the pleasure.
Joanne: What about an undressed beautiful woman?
Heinz: Erm, haha, well... haha... huruumpph.
Joanne: Like in The Sun.
Heinz: I am aware of the Sun. They printed my obituary three years ago, which caused me a certain amount of embarrassment. In Sun language, it was perfectly correct. It would have been even better had I not had to take extreme measures to convince the world that I wasn't actually dead.

Joanne: I've got something else I want to ask you. Is there such a thing as aliens and other stuff like that?
Heinz: Well what do you think?
Joanne: Well I rely on people like you to tell me. 
Heinz: Now that's a cop out.
Joanne: Well alright, I believe in a spiritual world. I don't believe this is all there can be. But when you start thinking about the unknown and nothing's been proven, then it becomes belief. Like whether God created the Earth or whether there were dinosaurs.
Heinz: Well, God could have created the dinosaurs as well.
Joanne: But all the timing's wrong isn't it?
Heinz: But that's only if you believe what the Bible says. But then scientists are always asked, 'how is it possible for scientist to believe in God?' but the answer is simple. Somebody must have made the rules. Straight from the big bang to now, the rules were made up.
Joanne:What about aliens?
Heinz: Well my standard answer for this, because I lecture about this, life elsewhere itself may be dead common. (They drink their tea out of saucers then? - ed) Unambitious life like bacteria and amoeba. When you come to intelligent life like you and I. It's probably much, much rarer. I'll ask you this, imagine you open a newspaper tomorrow morning, a newspaper you trust, you open page three...
Joanne: And it's me.
Heinz: Oh OK, a proper newspaper. And it says for the last three years people have been receiving signals from space which proves without any doubt that there's a civilisation which is at least as intelligent as we are. Now how would this effect you?
Joanne: Well, er, I wouldn't immediately believe that they were aliens. Id believe more that it was coming from a spiritual world. And that's another debatable problem, whether there is a spiritual world. We've picked up vibrations that could be ghosts or could be radio waves coming from a cab.

Joanne: Do you ever get drunk?
Heinz: If I drink lots of alcohol the only thing which happens is that my upper lip goes stiff. It doesn't uninhibit me because I don't actually need uninhibiting. But the main thing is that I don't think alcohol tastes very nice. Out of a choice between apple juice and beer I would choose apple juice.
Joanne: But if I took you for a drink you would have some alcohol. So which would you have?
Heinz: Well, so not to upset you I would choose champagne or a glass of whit whine.
Joanne: I love beer too much. If I drink too much my legs just go.
Heinz: You see, I don't like to loose control. I couldn't do that. I only end up with indigestion with alcohol. I seem to be able to drink quantities of it that other aren't able to cope with. I have often been to parties where I have been responsible for everybody else going home.
Joanne: You should give your brain cells a rest for a little while. Have you ever tried any drugs from experimenting? Because I've only ever had a spliff and I didn't like it.
Heinz: No, never. I haven't even smoked too much either. I've no hang up about pills though. I've taken sleeping pills for the last 30 or 40 years.
Joanne: But they just make you unconscious don't they?
Heinz: No, no, I sleep well and wake up as fresh as a daisy. If I don't take them, I'm tired the next day.
Joanne: I've smoked a joint, I've not done any of the pills, Es, acid or whatever. Joints didn't work with the alcohol. I tried it once and it just didn't mix. It's just that my body starts shaking and muscles start twitching. I felt ill and I just didn't like it.
Heinz: So you don't like loosing control?
Joanne: No.

Heinz: There's something that not a lot of people know about me but I'm actually bionic. I have a large lump of electronics in my chest. Because I was dead about three years ago, not for very long, but I was resuscitated and ever since then I've got a defibrillator in my chest. So if my heart misbehaves it gives me a huge electric shock to get it started again. Rather like hitting a television set.
Joanne: So is there anything you can't do?
Heinz: I don't know. It's never gone off yet.
Joanne: Do you peep when you go through customs?
Heinz: Well, they allow me to walk around.
Joanne: I had to go through the law courts one time after there was a story that Wonderbras make their detectors go off. Mine didn't go off though.
Heinz: Curiously enough, the metal which is used in Wonderbras we do quite a lot of work with for medical purposes. You see some bras have their support made of something called 'Shape Memory Alloy'. And this has an interesting property which enables it to memorise shapes. Is this interesting?
Joanne: Oh yes I'm interested in bras. 
Heinz: Well, I have no views on bras.

Loaded: Would you say both your jobs are important to life?
Joanne: [to Heinz] Mine's probably less important than yours. You're doing things for children, for the future. I'm just doing things for the moment.
Heinz: It isn't an open or shut question. If people open your magazine, or the kinds of things you do, and they're grants a moment of pleasure or happiness, I wouldn't have said that's an insignificant contribution to human existence. [All laugh, then Heinz to Loaded] That's an endorsement for you.
Loaded: What would you have been if you hadn't been a professor?
Heinz: I became a professor quite late in life, because I would quite have likes to have worked in an advertising agency.
Loaded: What would you have done Jo?

Joanne: Well, I tried my modelling while I was at college doing hotel management so it would have been ideal to have gone into that. If it hadn't worked out in the summer and I wasn't getting anywhere, I would probably have gone back to hotel management. In the first year I was cleaning the toilet and changing the beds and I thought 'I want to be a manager', but I would have been – I know.

Loaded [To Heinz]: As regards to fashion, does fashion bother you at all? I mean you've always gone for the dicky bow...
Heinz: You mean my own personal fashion? Or men's fashion?
Loaded: Do you take an interest in it or does your wife...?
Heinz: Yes, well my wife, I've been married for 43 years ad never did a moment, an occasion, pass without saying that I couldn't have done without my wife's support. And she's looked after me very well. She on the whole buys my clothes. I'm a stock size so it's not difficult. Men my age wear suits or they wear corduroy and sports jackets.
Loaded: How many bow ties have you got?
Heinz: About 100 I should think.
Loaded: 100?
Heinz: Yes, but they wear out you see, because my beard goes from above the top edge and I throw them away after a time.
Loaded: Do you have a lucky one?
Heinz: I suppose in the morning I go and say 'Well what sort of tie should I wear today/'
Loaded: Does it reflect you?
Heinz: Up to a point it reflects my mood. I suppose, also the colour of my shirt.
Joanne: Mine match my knickers, ha ha. To be honest I wear the underwear for work. I don't usually wear any the rest of the time.
Heinz: I don't believe you.
Joanne: No I don't, cos I think I might need it again for work the next day and I have to wash it again. I don't usually wear any.

Loaded: Who do you most admire in life? We'll start with you Jo, you were saying Kathy Lloyd.
Joanne: Yes, I really like Kathy actually.
Loaded [To Heinz] Kathy Lloyd is another glamour model, she's a few years older. She's one of the most famous glamour models we've had in Britain.
Joanne: I don't think it's hard when you admire the work somebody's done and you meet them and become their friend. It's like... you share things...
Loaded [To Heinz] What about you?
Heinz: Obviously I met thousands of people in a year and there are great scientists I've met that I admire- particularly when they come to a lecture of mine. I was very chuffed when an 83- year-old molecular biologist, a man who's won the Nobel prize, a fellow of the Royal Society, came to one of my lectures.
Joanne: I think you admire people for different reasons. I admire Madonna for her boldness and her ability to express herself. I admire David Seaman for saving goals and for being the gentleman that he is. I admire Mother Theresa. You admire different people for different reasons. I admire Kathy for keeping with it all the time.

Loaded [To Heinz]: The other thing I was going to ask was about love and when you first met your wife, what wooing was involved then?
Heinz: Remember this was 40 years ago things were a lot more sedate in those days.
Loaded: There was lots more wooing I'd imagine as well.
Heinz: Yes, oh yes. My wife and I met...
Loaded: What attracted you to her?
Heinz: That she was a beautiful woman. In those days, nurse's uniforms were exceedingly flattering...
Joanne: They still are today!
Heinz: With a bow under the chin and a starched caps and those lovely cloaks which were red on the inside and blue on the outside. That I suppose drew my attention in the first instance. We went out together and in a good old- fashioned way got to love one another. It all happened in Wales, at this particular hospital in Wales where she was working. Courting habits then were quite different. Loaded: Do you remember where you were for the first kiss?
Heinz: Yes, I remember. I could take you to the spot. It was in a town called Caernarfon, and there's a park. I think we'd been to a dance hall or a restaurant and that day in the park I plucked up the courage for the first time.
Joanne: It sounds so much more romantic. I mean, it wouldn't even be a kiss now, it'd be a snog and a one night stand. It's so unromantic.  

Loaded: What are the next jobs that you're doing? The reason I ask is that Joanne's got an interesting job to do this week. Tell us what it is.
Joanne: I'm speaking at the Oxford Union...
Loaded [To Heinz]: Have you got any advice fr her?
Joanne: scary.
Heinz: What is the motion? What are you speaking about?
Joanne: They've invited me to speak about myself...
Heinz: I see, so it's not a debate.
Joanne: I imagine the ladies there are going to make it quite difficult... they'll all go 'model' and...
Loaded: It's the subject of Jo's life.
Heinz: That's right. Because what normally happens at Oxford Union is that there a motion that 'This house deplores beautiful women getting more money than ugly women' or something like that- you could have been speaking on that. It's very unusual I would have thought, I mean it's quite an honour to be doing it.
Joanne: That's why I'm doing it. I'm excited but I'm really nervous because I've got to do a 15 minute speech and then question and answers after that because I'm on there for an hour.
Heinz: Really! Have you made up your mind what you're going to say?
Joanne: I don't want to cover all the answers to their questions in the first 15 minutes, so it's just 'Hello, thank you for inviting me' and do the history of the pin-up, which is something like 'The pin-up has been around since man began...'
Heinz: Yes, I suppose pornographic pictures are a form of pin-up. I think the pin-up is really a product of the First World War. I think before that because of the effect religion on population, it would have been very naughty.
Joanne: Cavemen, they had naked drawings of women on their walls...
Heinz: They were probably not pin-ups. They were for fertility.

Loaded: The last question I was going to ask and then you can escape back to your laboratory- is if the pair of you were stuck on a desert island- it's a hypothetical question- and you've got meals and all that, who would do what to survive?
Heinz: To whom are you putting this question?
Loaded: To both of you, you've got to fend for yourself, you've got to survive...
Heinz: I would kid myself that because, I've read books about it I would probably be better at making myself a flint axe or finding a sharp edged sea-shell or something like that than Joanne would.
Joanne: If I was going on a bat or a plane I'd have a pair of white knickers in me bag case. I'd tie them to the top of a stick and wave it. Just sit there and wave me knickers!
Loaded: Thank you both.

Story by Pete Stanton and story photos by Derek Ridgers

© Arfon Jones 2020. All images are copyrighted throughout the world. 

Thursday, 2 July 2020

From the Scrapbook: June, 1990 and June 2020

Thirty years last month I had an article devoted to me in our local welsh paper, the Llanw Llŷn which was terribly exciting! Tudalen Y Plant ('Children's Page') not only featured an article devoted to yours truly and my cartoons but also a colouring in picture created by my 12 year old self! A great deal has happened in thirty years and the Llanw Llŷn followed up my progress! What with everything going on in the world at the moment, the Llanw wasn't published but instead made available online – here is that article written by Mared Llywelyn and as always I have translated the article for the benefit of all you non Welsh speakers out there! Enjoy!

Ym mis Mehefin 1990 y cyhoeddwyd yr erthygl gyntaf erioed am Arfon Jones o Nefyn a’i gartŵns – a hynny ar Dudalen y Plant Llanw Llŷn! Dri deg o flynyddoedd union i’r mis hwnnw, dyma ailymweld ag Arfon i weld sut y mae o a’i waith wedi datblygu erbyn hyn. Mared Llywelyn fu’n sgwrsio efo fo ar ran Llanw Llŷn. Dyma Dudalen y Plant Llanw Llŷn mis Mehefin 1990, sy’n cynnwys yr erthygl am Arfon ynghyd â llun ohono ac un o’i gartŵns cynnar. I gyd-fynd â’r cartŵn mae stori fach wedi iddo’i sgwennu: ‘Ers talwm, llwyd oedd pob pry. Ond un dydd gwelodd y fuwch goch gota enfys, ac aeth drwy’r enfys. Daeth allan yn dlws ac yn lliwgar. Penderfynodd y lleill fynd ar ei hôl a daethant hwythau allan yn lliwgar.’ Mae’r erthygl yn sôn bod Arfon, yn ddeuddeg oed, wedi creu hanner cant o gymeriadau mewn gwlad ddychmygol lle roedd Llywelyn Llew yn frenin. Ymysg y cymeriadau eraill roedd Lari Lama, a Plastig Pît oedd yn gallu troi ei gorff i unrhyw siâp ar ôl iddo syrthio i ryw hylif. Efallai bod rhai ohonoch eisoes yn gyfarwydd â gwaith Arfon? Fe lwyddodd i ddilyn ei ddiddordeb o’r cyfnod hwnnw a heddiw mae’n gweithio fel cartwnydd a dylunydd ac yn gwneud gwaith llawrydd. Pan oedd yn blentyn ysgol, byddai’n gweithio mewn warws gomics yn Edern ac yn mynd yno ar ôl ’rysgol ac yn ystod y gwyliau. Roedd gan Darryl Jones gwmni gwerthu hen gomics – paradwys o le i hogyn fel Arfon a fyddai’n helpu i ffeilio a storio. Aeth i Goleg Menai am dair blynedd ac yna symud ymlaen i Brifysgol Bangor am bum mlynedd arall i wneud gradd mewn Dylunio yn rhan amser. Bywddarluniwr neu animator oedd arno eisiau bod, ond i bawb ddweud wrtho y byddai angen iddo fo symud i Gaerdydd i ffendio’i draed ac yn y blaen. Penderfynodd Arfon aros ym mro ei febyd a mynd ar drywydd y gwaith dylunio. Tybed a oes rhai ohonoch yn cofio strip comic o’r enw Vincent T. Vulture yn y Cambrian News rhwng 1997 a 1998? Tra oedd o yn y coleg, Arfon oedd yr artist y tu ôl i hwnnw. Byddai’n gwneud y strip ar nos Sul, mynd i’r coleg i’w ffotogopïo ar y dydd Llun, ac yna ei bostio i Aberystwyth o’r blwch post y tu allan i’r coleg – a byddai yn y papur ar y dydd Iau. Mae’r drefn honno wedi newid erbyn heddiw yn amlwg ond, fel mae’n digwydd, ar gomics y mae Arfon yn gweithio’n bennaf. Sut fath o rai? ‘Horror comics’! Mae’n bosib nad ydynt at ddant pawb ond mae gan y genre yma lawer iawn, iawn o ddilynwyr. Unwaith roedd Arfon wedi mynd at y deintydd, ac wedi digwydd sôn ei fod yn dylunio i gomics. Pan aeth yn ôl i’r gadair am yr apwyntiad nesaf mi ddywedodd y deintydd ei fod wedi prynu un o’r comics a’i fod wrth ei fodd efo Slaughterhouse Farm! Gobeithio na chafodd y deintydd unrhyw syniadau o hynny! O leiaf gadawodd Arfon y gadair yn saff! Yn 2013 roedd dipyn o sôn yn y cyfryngau Cymreig a thu hwnt am y ffilm Zombies from Ireland, a gafodd ei sgriptio gan Ryan Kift a Sian Davies. Ffilm Zombi a wnaed gyda chyllideb fach a sgriptio wedi ei ysbrydoli gan yr hen ffilmiau o’r un genre o’r ’80au. Y stori yw bod carcharorion yn Nulyn yn cael eu defnyddio mewn arbrofion anfoesol i ddod o hyd i driniaeth ar gyfer ffliw’r moch. Maent yn cael eu cludo i Ynys Môn am fod diddordeb yn yr arbrofion gan y llywodraeth yn Llundain, ond ar y ffordd mae rhai ohonynt yn troi yn Zombie – ac mae’r gadwyn yn parhau… Mae’r ffilm ar gael i’w gwylio ar Youtube – ond chi sydd i benderfynu a fyddai’n well gynnoch chi aros nes y bydd y pandemig yma wedi mynd heibio cyn i chi edrych arni! Teg dweud bod gan y ffilm nifer parchus iawn o ddilynwyr erbyn heddiw. Arfon oedd yn gyfrifol am y gwaith celf ar y poster, ac mae hynny’n sicr yn bluen yn ei het. ‘Zombies from Ireland’ Fel person creadigol, beth yw’r gwahaniaeth rhwng gwneud ei waith personol a’i waith bara menyn? Gyda’i waith cyflogedig, meddai, mae’n llawer mwy ymwybodol bod angen iddo blesio rhywun arall a bod angen cyrraedd rhyw safon arbennig. Mae ceisio lliwio gweledigaeth rhywun arall yn cario rhywfaint o bwysau. Mae’n cael llawer o waith o America, ac yn cael negeseuon am bedwar o’r gloch y bore i drafod gwaith! Ymysg y gwaith personol sydd ganddo ar y gweill ar hyn o bryd mae sianel ar Youtube sy’n cofnodi’r broses o fynd i siop fideo ers talwm. Mae’n pigo hen ffilm ac yn peintio llun ohoni ac yn ffilmio’r broses. Pa mor bwysig yw’r broses o wneud llun felly? ‘Mae cymaint o bobol yn iwsio cyfrifiaduron i wneud gwaith fel hyn, ond dw i’n eu peintio. Mae’n cymryd oriau.’ Wonder Woman a’r Tardis Er enghraifft, mae wedi gwneud llun o boster y Gremlins ac mi gymerodd hynny bythefnos. Mae hefyd yn gweithio ar hen gloriau llyfrau Dr Who. Mae dros 100 o danysgrifwyr ganddo. Mae’n edmygu gwaith vintage Tex Avery, yr hen Looney Tunes a Tom and Jerry ond ei hoff ffilm yw Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Bu’n cymryd rhan mewn Sharkathon ble gwyliodd ffilmiau siarc am 24 awr i godi arian at elusen Alzheimers. Pan ddaeth cwmni teledu Heno draw i wneud eitem ar hyn roeddynt yn ei weld yn hynod o ddigri mai Who Framed Roger Rabbit? oedd ei hoff ffilm gan fod y tŷ yn llawn o luniau arswyd! Y clasuron yw ei hoff ffilmiau yn y bôn. Mae cartref Arfon fel amgueddfa; yn amlwg mae’n byw ei ddiddordebau a’i waith. Mae’n hoff o gasglu DVD’s a fideos ac mae wedi creu siop fideos yn ei gartref. Mae’n casglu amrywiaeth o bethau o’r ’80au a’r ’90au, yn gemau bwrdd neu ffigyrau He-Man a hen gemau Arcêd. Ella bod rhai ohonoch yn cofio’r eitem ar raglen Al Huws pan oedd o’n chwarae’r hen gêm Donkey Kong tra oedd o’n cyfweld Arfon yn ei gartref. Mae ei holl gasgliadau yn dylanwadu ar ei waith, ac yno am reswm. Wrth i’r ddau ohonom gael y sgwrs dros facetime mae tomen o Daleks uwch ei ben. Bydd Arfon yn mynychu’r Comic Conventions enwog yn Wrecsam, Caeredin a Llundain ac mae wedi cyfarfod Arnold Schwarzenegger mewn Comic Con ym Mirmingham, Stan Lee yn Llundain a David Hasselhoff yng Nghaeredin. Mae’r diwylliant yn rhan o’r brif ffrwd rŵan hefyd, felly mae’n help i hyrwyddo gwaith newydd. Mae Arfon yn sicr wedi gwneud ei farc yn y maes yma – ond cofiwch, yn y Llanw y darllenoch chi amdano fo gyntaf! Gellwch weld rhagor o waith Arfon ar ei sianel Youtube VID-O-RAMA! www.arfon.net 
Mared Llywelyn Williams


June of 1990 the first ever article written about Arfon Jones from Nefyn and his cartoons and it was on the children's page of the Llanw Llŷn! Thirty years ago to the month we revisited Arfon to see how much his work has developed since then. Mared Llywelyn chatted with him on the Llanw Llŷn's behalf. Here is the children's page from June 1990 which included an interview with Arfon along with an early cartoon by him, which featured with a short story, “A long time ago, all insect was grey- but one day a Ladybird flew through a rainbow and came out the other side colourful- and so all the other insects decided to do the same.” the article also mentions that Arfon was twelve and that he had created fifty characters which live in his imaginary land, ruled by King Llywelyn the lion. Amongst the various characters there are Larry Lama and Plastic Pete, who can reshape his entire body at will having fallen into a strange chemical. Perhaps you might be familiar with Arfon's work? He successfully pursued his then ambition and today works as a freelance cartoonist and illustrator. When he was younger he worked during school holidays for Darryl Jones in a vintage comic warehouse in Edern, who sold old, vintage comics- a paradise for someone like Arfon who helped to store and catalogue the comics. He went on to College Menai for three years, then moved on to the University in Bangor, enrolling in a part time course for five years achieving a degree in illustration.
His ambition was to be an animator, everyone kept telling him he would need to move to Cardiff to achieve this goal- and so he remained here and embarked on a career as an illustrator. I wonder if any of you remember a comic strip character called Vincent T. Vulture who appeared in the Cambrian News between 1997 and 1998? Arfon was the artist responsible for that, while at college he would create the strip on the Sunday evening, travel to college the following morning- he would photocopy it, post it to Aberystwyth via the postbox outside the college and it would be in the paper the following Thursday. The days of doing things that way have long since passed- Arfon works primarily in comics these days. Which kind? 'horror comics'! Not exactly to everyone's taste- but this genre has a massive following. Once, while visiting the dentist he happened to mention that he illustrated comics- the next time he returned to the dentist chair, the dentist informed him that he had purchased Slaughterhouse Farm and was a big fan! Hope the comics didn't give him any funny ideas- thankfully Arfon got away safely!

In 2013 there was a stir in the world of Welsh media and beyond due to the release of a film entitled Zombies from Ireland. Scripted by Ryan Kift and Sian Davies, it is a zombie movie inspired by the horror movies of the 1980's. The story tells of a boat carrying convicts that had been experimented on in order to find a cure for swine flu on the orders of Parliament- which lands on Anglesey causing an infestation of zombies... the film is available to watch on YouTube. It's entirely up to you if you wish to wait for this pandemic to pass before watching it! The movie has many fans, Arfon was responsible for illustrating the movie's poster. I asked Arfon, as a creative person what is the difference between commission based work and his own personal projects? He said that with commission based work, there is the emphasis to please 'someone else' and reaching someone else's expectations can be daunting at times.
He receives many commissions from America and often finds himself having to respond to messages about projects sent to him at four in the morning! One of his own personal projects is a channel on Youtube in which recounts the days of going to rent videos. He picks a film from the past and paints a tribute to it documenting the process. What is involved in this process then? “There are so many people using computers these days, but I paint everything- and it takes hours to complete” Wonder Woman and the Tardis for example, he also created a poster for Gremlins which took him a fortnight. He now has over one hundred subscribers.
He admires the work of Tex Avery, vintage Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry cartoons and his all time favourite movie is Who Framed Roger Rabbit. When he took part in a Sharkathon in which he watched shark movies for 24 hours to raise money for Alzheimers he was asked by the Heno television crew, who were filming an item, they were amused to find that Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Was his favourite film and not a horror!

Arfon loves the classic movies, and Arfon's home is like a museum and his interests can be seen in his work he collects VHS's and DVD’s and he has created a mock video shop in his home. He collects all manner of things from the 80's and 90's such as board games, He-Man figures and arcade games. Perhaps some of you might remember an item on Al Huws's radio show when he was playing the old Donkey Kong video game while visiting Arfon at his home. His collections are there for a reason as they influence his work. As we both chatted on Face-time he had loads of Daleks just overhead. Arfon has attended numerous comic conventions- from Wrexham, to Edinburgh to London and once met Arnold Schwarzenegger in Birmingham, Stan Lee in London and David Hasselhoff in Edinburgh. These conventions are very popular now and and great for promoting one's work. Arfon has certainly left his mark on this field- but remember it was in the Llanw you heard about him first! You can see more examples of his work on his YouTube channel VID-O-RAMA! www.arfon.net

© Arfon Jones 2020. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.  

New Book: Shock Value: Legacy

A brand spanking new stand-alone horror anthology for you from the good people at Hellbound Media (shown off here by my good friend, and creator of the online Competitive Colin the Comic Strip, Nick Brown!) This new 92-page, black and white graphic novel is their latest addition to an already impressive line-up of horror and dark fantasy titles and it features ten tales of terror from some of the best talent in the independent comic scene from around the world. The book celebrates “the monsters that stood as the vanguard of the horror genre”. Yours truly had the pleasure of illustrating the interior back art – follow this link to find out more, and don't forget to follow them on Facebook for more news and future releases. Tell them Arfon sent you!

© Arfon Jones 2020. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

New Book: The Joe Bob Briggs Fanzine #7

Latest issue out now, with my tribute to the the 1980 classic chiller, The Changeling on the back cover!
As ever it's an honour to be included in this amazing publication, Paddy Jack Press once again have knocked it out of the park with this issue! But I could be biased here... tell you what, why not follow this link, buy it yourself from their Etsy shop and let me know if that's true or not...

The painting that features in this issue also features on my YouTube channel, give it a view and let me know what you think and don't forget to subscribe!

© Arfon Jones 2020. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Monday, 15 June 2020

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Exhibition, Blackpool. 9 July 2006

Back in June of 2006 Mrs Jones and I were attending a Doctor Who event in Blackpool and to our absolute delight we discovered that there was also an exhibition showcasing props and costumes from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie (released the previous year) next to the zoo! It was poorly advertised and we only found it by chance, but when we got there it was amazing and due to those two previously mentioned points there was hardly anyone else in attendance, so we had free reign of the place. Seeing as there is little to nothing about it online, and photos seem to be in short supply I thought I would post our photos... enjoy!

© Arfon Jones 2020. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Thursday, 30 April 2020

New Book: The Unofficial Master Annual 2074

Regular readers of this site (Blogger assures me that I have those) will recall last year's Unofficial Dr Who Annual 1987 by those splendid chaps at Terraqueous Distributors and how I had the privilege of illustrating two stories for it, well they have only gone and done it again! This time-releasing the wonderful, Unofficial Master Annual 2074 dedicated to the original Master portrayed by Roger Delgado. This week I received my contributor edition and just as with the last book I am equally delighted with this as that previously mentioned love and devotion to the series shines through its impressive 136 pages with contributions from well known names such as Alister Pearson, Smuzz, and Andy Walker.
As I said the Unofficial Master Annual 2074 is published by Terraqueous Distributors and available from  Lulu at the print-on-demand price of £23.32 plus shipping costs). So please visit the site and order your own copy.  Well done all concerned, and thank you Terraqueous for allowing me the opportunity to work on another of their amazing publications.

© Arfon Jones 2020. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Monday, 20 April 2020

VID-O-RAMA passes 100 Subscribers!

On Saturday I reached 100 subscribers... I realise that some people achieve this figure with no real effort and other YouTubers achieve vast, greater numbers achieving the coveted YouTube Play Buttons all the time but please indulge me here, when I uploaded the Frankenhooker painting video on my channel back in August I told myself, if I had achieved 100 subscribers by next August I would keep doing these VID-O-RAMA videos..
A big THANK YOU to everyone that has helped me achieve this number, there is still a great deal to do but I am very much looking forward to getting on with it, and who knows? perhaps even getting one of those play buttons?

NEW VIDEO: The Incredible Melting Man (1977) 

© Arfon Jones 2020. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Tim Brooke-Taylor OBE (1940– 2020)

Me, grinning like an idiot meting Tim Brooke-Taylor at
the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury- 2007

The great Tim Brooke-Taylor died last Sunday, another victim of this dreadful situation we have globally found ourselves in, serving an absolutely devastating blow to our spirits. A great English comedian and actor, there are many other sites online that do a far better job than me in documenting his amazing life and career, he started out as an active member of Cambridge Footlights, along with all the greats that would eventually become the basis of Monty Python's Flying Circus, he was a panellist on I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue for almost 50 years but I think its fair to say that he will always be Tim from The Goodies.
The Goodies ran on the BBC from 1970 through to 1980 and was tremendously popular, they had various specials, comic strips, books and even made it to No 4 in the music charts with The Funky Gibbon in 1975. Then in 1980 they were asked by the BBC if they would step aside for one year so they could invest the annual budget into adapting The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for television... they never called them back. Let down by the BBC (a recurring theme for the BBC) they moved to LWT and the show aired on ITV instead, alas the the show only lasted one series and that was the end of the Goodies. Frustratingly, it's at around this time that I become 'aware' of television, and so I just narrowly missed them! Bill Oddie was now Dr. Dimple on Tickle on the Tum and Tim Brooke-Taylor was Derek Yates in Me and My Girl. But the Goodies would get together again in some form in the 1980's for a new project for the BBC, and I was in the front row for this one- Bananaman!

A loose animated adaption of the comic strip of the same name which first appeared in Nutty#1 in 1980 and the series, produced by 101 Productions aired on Children's BBC from 1983 to 1986 and featured the voices of the The Goodies with Graeme (incorrectly credited as Greame on some episodes) as the voice of Bananaman and his arch nemesis General Blight. Bill voiced Crow, Chief O'Reilly and Doctor Gloom and Tim Eddie the Gent, King Zorg of the Nerks, Auntie, Appleman and of course Eric, the ordinary schoolboy who lived at 29 Acacia Road who became Bananaman when he ate a banana! I loved this show, I read the comic strips in the Dandy, annuals, and all the various specials released and each time I read the strips I could hear their cartoon series voices in my head. I had the stationary set in school and I fondly remember being given a Bananaman Easter egg one year.
Fast forward 20 years having been teased with clips from the BBC over the years I was finally able to 'go over' their heads and experience the Goodies for myself on the Internet, and they did not disappoint- beautifully scripted, wonderfully acted and a credit to the skills and talent hired by the BBC at that time, their special guests serve as wonderful time capsules to that bygone era of both Britain and the BBC studios of the 1970's and I still say its one of the funniest shows that the BBC have ever produced. 
Signed by Graeme and Tim, notice Bill hasn't
signed it... 
 a story for another day...
Then in 2005 after a successful Australian tour the trio (with Oddie appearing via video link) played a full run at the Edinburgh Fringe, (a return for Tim who had performed there back in 1962 with the Cambridge Footlights) with their The Goodies Still Rule OK? show I remember listening to Graeme and Tim on radio 2 promoting the show and thinking how I would have liked to have seen them live, and as luck would have it they toured the UK and on Friday the 16th of March 2007 Mrs Jones and I saw them at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury and they were wonderful- it was a warm look back on their career, sharing anecdotes to a packed house. Afterwards we went to the stage door as they both came out, they signed autographs and posed for photos, giving everyone their time, true gentlemen. They did not disappoint. I handed them my 1990 Dandy Special to sign, and they very kindly did so- Tim even told me how much he loved Bananaman- the cherry on the top of a very special Banana Sundae for me!
Since then we have re watched the shows, and I was even been able to introduce them to my daughter, a testament to how special those shows are. Still can't believe we lost Tim, and in such an awful way- a great, senseless loss. Last year a Indiegogo campaign was launched to complete The Goodies -The Movie a feature documentary on The Goodies on their 50th anniversary, sadly it didn't meet its target, but I hope they will try it again in Tim's honour. We need to remember how these people made our nation laugh, now more than ever. 
RIP Timbo

© Arfon Jones 2020. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Monday, 23 March 2020

New Book: The Joe Bob Briggs Fanzine #6

Latest issue of this fine publication is out now, and you can find my tribute to Q:The Winged Serpent and its director Larry Cohen (whom sadly died one year to this very day) on the back cover- but wait! There's more! The good people of Paddy Jack Press, responsible for this amazing fanzine, filled with contributions by numerous talented people, have generously made all the previous issues free to download to help lift everybody's spirits during the global pandemic! 
So follow this link and enjoy! Be sure to follow the relevant social media links and thank them afterwords mind. Oh, if downloading isn't how you 'roll' and its actual physical copies of things that floats your boat- order it on their Etsy shop tell them Arfon sent you!

The painting that features in this issue was documented on my YouTube channel, give it a view and let me know what you think. Don't forget to subscribe!

© Arfon Jones 2020. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.

Friday, 20 March 2020

I see a bad moon rising...

How are you all doing out there? Remember when we used to just shrug off these prophecies of doom? Case in point, having survived the predicted apocalypse that was to occur when the clock struck midnight marking the start of the new Millennium, twenty one days later I was outside waiting for another sure sign of doom. January 21st 2000 I was waiting for the Moon to pass directly behind the Earth and into its shadow causing the moon to turn a reddish colour- namely a total eclipse of the moon!
Eclipses were still 'in' at this time as Britain had 'attempted' to witness its first solar eclipse for 72 years six month prior (with only part of mainland Britain witnessing totality due to having their views obscured by clouds) and so this astronomical phenomena also received some media interest. Many saw the image of the moon turning blood red to be the real sign of end being 'nigh' but this again wasn't the case, and much like the solar eclipse the clouds rolled in just as things were about to 'officially' happen. But never the less I was there, outside the studio between 3:14am – 4:15am huddled up, Panasonic NV-R33VHS camcorder in hand (hence the shaky cam) as I sketched the moon/ documenting the event. Unfortunately the mic picked up the radio (on in the background to help me document the time) and at one point YouTube flagged the music and so I had to silence one section of it but it offers a moment of time, that might be of interest to someone out there.
Or at the very least offer something to while away the hours in our quarantined bunkers.  
Hunker down, stay safe. 

© Arfon Jones 2020. All images are copyrighted throughout the world.


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