Thursday, 24 February 2011

Read It Swap It

We've just found a great new website which fits in with our ethos of sharing knowledge with others and involves our favourite past time of exchanging post.

It's a website called Read It Swap It.

Rather than see unwanted books go to the pulp factory, this site breathes life into old favourites which may be taking up a bit too much room on your shelf. It's very simple, you list books which you no longer want (just type in the ISBN) and add a few helpful notes about the condition of them.

You can then hunt out unwanted books from other users (there are over 350,000 books on the site) or create a wishlist (on my list so far is a series of obscure titles ranging from origami, to canaries, to lawns to stamp collecting) and hope you have something that another user wants to swap. At any time, someone might contact you wanting one of your unloved books and chances are they might be getting rid of something which you didn't know you wanted. I've already got this book about pilot poetry coming my way.

Once you've both agreed to swap, addresses are exchanged, you post the book to its new owner and you wait for Mr. Postman to deliver your new book.

I've been a registered member for a little under 24 hours and have had about 10 swap requests (I've accepted 5 and turned 5 people down because they didn't have any book I wanted), put 5 of my own requests in (1 accepted, 2 declined and 2 not responded yet) and will be going to the post office tomorrow with a fistful of books that will be winding their way all over the UK. I'm getting rid of this book about Derrida.

I'd heartily encourage other members with piles of books gathering dust at home to join in the giant swap and find some new books which you didn't know you wanted.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Book Binding Workshop

Today I have been sharing a little bit of knowledge about book binding to a number of willing and inquisitive students in a full days workshop.

It started with a little bit of book deconstruction, removing the covers of a tidy little Penguin paperback, The Quest for Corvo, from the 1940s and showing the innards of the spine and how mass market books are put together with the sections, sewings and glue.

For me, book binding is all about precision! Precision measuring, precision marking, precision stabbing and precision sewing! This will leave you with a good looking book which will stand up to a bit of wear and tear and because you are in control of the amount of leaves you put in, what goes on the cover, how big the pages are - it can also be personalised to your own whim and fancy.

I trained as an apprentice with the great Mary Bartlett down at the Dartington Craft Education Centre who instilled a great sense of technical detail and discipline as well as allowing me and my ideas to breathe into whatever bookish form they took on. One of my favourite books on this subject is by the wonderful Kojiro Ikegami and if you fancy a bit more detail, head to Amazon for a copy, you will not be disappointed.

The ladies (Jill, Tracey, Ruby) learnt 3 styles of basic construction. We started with a square 5 hole Japanese stab binding, followed by a small 12 page concertina with personalised covers and then (Lily and Violet) arrived and by the end they all had a great little 5 hole pamphlet stitch with covers taken from an old book of stories for children. They looked super as a collection of 5 little mini notebooks.

I predict there will be several friends/relatives who may be receiving hand made books as gifts for the foreseeable future and I think that's no bad thing.

If anyone else wants some help or a workshop in book binding, just contact us at O&C HQ.

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Car Boot Keepsakes

Sundays mean only one thing in our orange and cyan world 
We love trawling through other people's unwanted treasures in search of some bargains. Ian is particularly good at haggling and this week at our favoutire spot - the giant Magna Road site, we got some beauties!

The morning started with this pretty little tin for 20p. It's full of wonderful buttons that are carefully guarded by a yapping dog on the front. We went on to buy a pair of hand-knitted mittens in glorious black, mint green and pale pink from the dear old ladies that run the Julia Hospice stall - our £2 goes towards the hospice and Tracey gets to keep her fingers warm so everyone's happy! Two Coca-Cola trucks, some double decker red nail polish and a Home on the Range  - best of the western's music CD later, we spotted this amazing book all about space with some great technical drawings!

As it was packing up time, Tracey was looking at this picture of horses and deciding if there was room back at O&C HQ when the lady gave it to her for free as she didn't want to cart it back home again. Now if there's one thing we love most, it's the word FREE and the horses are now up in the studio.

Biggest purchase of the day was 80 postcards for £5 - all amazing pictures of cactuses and deserts in America. Some lucky Postcrossers are going to be getting very happy mail soon.

Our final find of the day was a pair of deck chairs, haggled down to £1.50 for the two and we can't wait to test them out on the beach this summer.

We were sad we didn't see the cake lady today as she does a very nice cherry slice for 50p but all in all, was a great morning! We're so glad the weather is getting good again as this means more carbooting for us! Might see you there next Sunday!

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Sound Tracks New Blog

I've created a brand new blog that is just for my radio show Sound Tracks on Forest FM, where you can find all the brand new track listings, more gorgeous retro film posters, the track of the week as well as all my other filmic thoughts and musings.

See you there and make sure you're listening tomorrow, because there are some amazing tracks for your listening pleasure. 9am at Forest FM

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Retro Review

A Boy and His Blob: Trouble on Blobolonia
Nintendo Entertainment System

If I let my imagination run wild through the caves of videogameville I could not come up with anything as crazy as this crazy beast of a game.

You (a boy) and a sidekick (a shape shifting blob – which resembles a snowman) must fight an evil candy craving emperor and his army to retain your planet Blobolonia with the help of jellybeans and vitamins.

A truly unique puzzle platformer created by legendary game designer David Crane (Pitfall on the Atari 2600 – oh yes) that has an open world feel about it where boy and blob explore subways and a subterranean world full of rock rain showers and bouncing caterpillars.

In order to explore the world you must feed your blob (full name Blobert) jellybeans which will transform it into numerous shapes and objects to enable you to progress through the worlds.

There’s also a black market for vitamins where warped health food owners will only exchange their vits for pirate treasures and vast quantities of diamonds. You will encounter jelly bean conservation issues if you do not remember what each bean can do to Blobert (good memory or paper and pen anyone?), as you curse under your breath whilst feeding him a liquorice bean which makes him into a ladder when really you needed tangerine bean to turn him into a trampoline.

The audio and visual is a little repetitive as you cross back and forth through the same locations and can a trifle wearing on the eye and ear, but it’s a light hearted game with a very interesting concept with open world possibilities which makes it very addictive to play, one session I was in for 4 hours and I loved every minute. The controllers are always great to go back to after handling the mega beasts of the X360 and PS3 pads, the 2 buttons and a d pad are so simple and yet all you really need.

Mr Blobert and Master Boy is also an award winning game, a year after its release it won a Parent’s Choice Award for portraying “positive human values”. So dust off your NES, get yourself some jelly beans and go and save the world with this charming and original videogame.

Ian the Cyan

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Sound Tracks 13/2/11

Today the track of the week has to go to Sinead and Elliot for their haunting rendition of the Irish folk song She Moved Through The Fair in Michael Collins.

One Night Only, Dreamgirls
Spooky, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels
The Loving Mandolin, A King in New York
Bumpy and the Queen, Hoodlum
The Trap, The Trap
Sock Puppet/Flyover, Mirrormask
Sixty Seconds to What, For a Few Dollars More
The Green Leaves of Summer, Inglourious Basterds
She Moved Through the Fair, Michael Collins
Talijanska, Time of the Gypsies
You Know My Name, Casino Royale
The .44 Magnum is a Monster, Taxi Driver
Dracula, Bram Stokers Dracula

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Idle Hands and Happy Ears

I woke up early... for me and got to my normal shuffling around in my Nursey Bang Bang emergency slippers and sipping my mega mug of tea. I was preparing for a meeting today with the talented screenwriter and lunch buddy John Foster and knew if I put some music on, I'd never get there on time. Why is it that on the busiest days, I'm so much more susceptible to distraction, slowness and the dreaded temptation that is iToons?

It's hard when Abbo is editing his radio shows to not steal the mouse away and listen to every song in its entirety - and then turn up and repeat my favourite songs! Right now, I've got lots of lovely work that I enjoy to do that I really need to finish but too late! Whitey Shafer's "All My Ex's Live In Texas" pops up and everything stops for a loud sing a long.

It got me thinking about the power of music. There are certain songs that make you drop your pen, ignore your phone/postman/crying baby and have to be played all the way through. The anguish of hearing your favourite song on the radio, only for the DJ to talk over the last bit, right before the final guitar solo/organ cadenza/belting chorus kicks in is almost rage inducing! Not something practised by Mr A.

Music lifts us up or takes us on magical trips, makes our hearts race, makes us weep quietly to ourselves or sing out in unrivalled joy!

With this in mind, I thought I'd share with you Tam's Top Ten - stop everything you are doing and belt it out lass - songs. Please bear in mind, this has been no easy task and will of course change again tomorrow!

*insert Top of the Pop or similar chart countdown music here*

10) Wired for Sound - Cliff Richard (guilty pleasure)
9) Go Speed Racer - Ali Dee and the DeeKompressors
8) Holding Out For A Hero - Bonnie Tyler
7) Thunder In My Heart - Leo Sayer
6) Smooth Criminal - Micky J
5) Bat Out Of Hell - Meatloaf
4) Young Turks - Rod Stewart
3) Carry On My Wayward Son - Kansas
2) Knights of Cydonia - Muse
1) Runaway - Del Shannon

Pure indulgence! I think I need locking up for a week with just an orange crayon and a ream of paper - maybe then I'll get some work done!

Sound Tracks with Ian Abbott - every Sunday at 9am on Forest FM

Monday, 7 February 2011

Sound Tracks - Future Shows

I am about to burst with anticipation as I've just been curating the new few episodes of Sound Tracks.

I just had to give a little clue or two to which films some of the music will be coming from.

So which piece of music/song will it be?

Tune in every Sunday 9am to Forest FM to hear the finest musical output on the radio.

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Sound Tracks 6/2/11

In honour of the late and super great John Barry who left us this week, my track of the week is the theme to Midnight Cowboy, but by golly Johnny Cash ran him close.

The Farmer and the Cowman, Oklahoma
Colonel Bogey March, Bridge Over The Kwai
Sugar Baby Love, Muriels Wedding
1492 Conquest of Paradise, 1492 Conquest of Paradise
Death Cab for Cutie, Magical Mystery Tour
Quo Vadis (Ave Caesar), Quo Vadis
Gabriels Oboe, The Mission
Everything I Do, I Do It For You, Robin Hood Prince of Thieves
Don't Bring Me Down, Factory Girl
Dum Maro Dum, Hare Rama Hare Krishna
Midnight Cowboy, Midnight Cowboy
Hurt, Inside I'm Dancing

Friday, 4 February 2011

PlayStation 3

Who wants to hear a story about a little computer that began its life in Wigan? A modern console fairytale which goes by the name of PS3.

It's no.3 in the series from Sony after the incredible PS2 which shifted gazillions of units and had iconic titles like: Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, SingStar and Guitar Hero. I still drop a mean Wolf Mother on our plastic guitar or a tasty Franz Ferdinand from the red mic!

Well Madame PS3, tell me what can you offer.

Can I play a tasty Blu-Ray movie? Oh yes!
Well, do you have innovative and exclusive titles? Oh yes, we've got Little Big Planet, Heavy Rain and Metal Gear Solid 4
Well can I edit movies? yes. Get on t'net? yes. Photo/Music see/play? yes, yes, yes.
Are you very noisy when it's switched on? Oh no, I purr in the corner like a miniature cat

Would you like to come home with me then? Oui monsieur, I would like that very much.

The Console Collection now has its big sister to sit next to little master wii and the scampstrel that is xbox360 and I think they will all live happily ever after in the fantastical computer game happiness world of O&C.

P.S. But Dead Space 2 makes me scream a bit too much!