Tat Trek Update #8: Jo Guest Strip Pen

It’s been far too long since we last took a peep into the collection de tat at Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub.  So lets examine another fine piece from the assembled items of dubious taste and quality which I humbly possess.  And this one is a beauty, make no mistake.

ITEM: Jo Guest Strip Pen

Description: one of those ink pens that feature a picture of a woman on the side, wearing a bikini.  The clothing “disappears” when tilted so that the lady is naked

Cost: Free with copy of Men’s World magazine

Bought: location n/a

Reason for buying: n/a

When I was about twelve, a friend of mine (who was a few years older) went to the seaside and was allowed to buy one of these “tip and strip” novelty pens.  I was thoroughly shocked by this.

Years later, a similar pen came into my possession.  This is the one featured here, which features images of lovely 90’s pin up/page three girl/nudey mag legend, Joanne Guest.

Jo was a popular glamour model in the mid 1990s, and regularly appeared in top-shelf magazine Men’s World.  This pen was a cover mounted free gift with a particular issue.  Of course, I didn’t buy the magazine (or any other, similar publications) – this item was given to me as a gift, honest.

It’s quite a neat little item to own.  Guesty looks very cute on the pen, even though the image is tiny.  The tip and strip action is still working well and the pen even writes.  Owning one of these pens would be an envious item in any stationery stockpile, the fact it’s glam queen Jo Guest emblazoned in all her (naked) glory makes it even more desirable.

I’ve censored Jo’s rudey bits in the above pic, as you can tell.

For anyone who has trouble remembering the 90s, on the right is a pic of Jo from back in the day to refresh your memory:

To see more from my tat collection, go to the right hand side menu and click on “Tat”.  Scroll through for the goodies.

Disclaimer: in no way does Platinum Als Virtual Hot Tub admit to owning, viewing or buying any gentlemen’s periodical/jazz mag.

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night #11

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night

The Queen’s Head, Mold

Friday 24th February 2017

It’s the first Bring Your Own Vinyl Night of the year!  It was great to be back in the Queen’s Head in Mold for another Vinyl Night, and nice to see all the familiar faces after the Christmas break.

Most of all, it was great to have a few pints and hear some great music, old and new.

To recap how this works (though I’m sure you know by now): everyone gets 15 minutes to play whatever music they like, so long as it’s on vinyl.

Here’s my playlist for the evening:

Professor Elemental – I’m British

For my first song of the set, I craved something a little different. So I decided on a track from Professor Elemental, a gentleman of some repute who is known to fashion extraordinary “chap hop” tunes.  That is, steam punk hip-hop (sort of).  I’ve seen the good Professor live a couple of times (at Sci-Fi Weekender) and was astonished at this marvellous mash-up from the get go.  A few months back I tracked down some vinyl via the Prof’s Bandcamp page; lo and behold it was a sonic delight.  Lively beats and unusual samples – more brass band than James Brown – meld with humorous, uniquely British rap topics to create a wonderful new hybrid.  This track was the perfect primer for the uninitiated, but it’s all good.  Get over to the Professor’s Bandcamp now, you won’t regret it.  And catch him live if you can!

B-52s – Planet Claire

Next up in my musical feast was a fine little song from those lovable, quirky scamps the B-52s.  “Planet Claire” is a perfect slice of sci-fi flavoured rock’n’roll, straight out of a B-movie and into your brain like Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  I love it.  This version is from the B side of the “Rock Lobster” 12″ single, which I was lucky enough to pick up at a record fair not long ago.

Thee Hypnotics – Come Down Heavy

In the late 80’s/early 90’s, just before Nirvana changed the world with “Nevermind”, I had discovered the Stooges via punk rock bands like the Damned and the Sex Pistols.  At the same time, there were bands coming out of the USA – such as Mudhoney – that utilised a very Stooges-like sound: fuzzed up guitars, wah wah pedals and so on.  Thee Hypnotics were a British garage band that followed a similar blueprint.  Though largely forgotten about now, they’re a fantastic historical anomaly and pre-cursor to the alt rock explosion of the early 90’s.  “Come Down Heavy” is from the album of the same name.  It seemed very popular on the night – highly recommended.

Iggy Pop – Cold Metal

I bought the Thee Hypnotics album from a Connah’s Quay record fair around 1990.  I also picked up Iggy Pop’s “Instinct” album at the same fair, as I’d heard the track “Cold Metal” on a Sounds sampler EP that a friend gave me.  I love – and still love – the amazing guitar riff.  I was instantly smitten; not just the riff but the incredible gritty yet finely produced guitar tone – courtesy of the one and only Steve Jones.  “Instinct” is a superb album – Iggy’s explored lots of sounds, but I do like it when he rocks out unashamedly.  A highlight of a varied and inspirational career.

And that was the end of the set – hope everyone enjoyed it as much as I did!  Looking forward to the next Bring Your Own Vinyl Night – it can never come too soon.

The Halcyon Dreams blogspot is here.

The Halcyon Dreams mixcloud page is here.

The Halcyon Dreams Facebook page is here.

The VOD music website is here.

Tat Trek Update #6: Spice Girls Mug

Wow, what’s that saying about waiting for buses?  Yes, it’s another Tat Trek post, not too long after the last one – ‘cos you love ’em so much.  Here we go with another look at an item from my collection of kitsch.

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Item: Spice Girls Mug

Description: your common or garden drinking mug, featuring pictures of girl power legends, the Spice Girls.

Cost: 2 for £1!

Bought: from Shotton (new tat capital?)

Reason for buying: I indulged in the two for a quid offer so I could give one to my daughter and keep one for myself.  Plus I actually think that the Spice Girls were a great pop band.

I couldn’t resist picking up these mugs, especially at the price.  The Spice Girls might seem a bit naff, hence the immediate induction into the Collection de Tat, but to be fair I thought they were pretty good.  They had some genuinely good pop songs and were a lot of fun.  On the whole much better than all that Britpop crap from the time. img_20170222_184056046

Plus the best example to illustrate how fantastic the Spice Girls were is this video.  Now tell me that’s not awesome.

And my daughter likes them, so it was smiles all round.

Despite my justifying my Spice Girls love here, the novelty value of these cheap mugs makes them another fabulous find for Tat Trek.  Hope you enjoy!

Reef – Gig Review

Reef1

Reef + Tax The Heat

Thursday 24th September 2015

The Live Rooms, Chester

One thing I’ll tell you about Reef: they’ve got the tallest fans ever.  I’m only five foot eight on a good day, so I was dwarfed by this crowd.  I have no idea how come Reef can command such an audience of giants.  Perhaps there’s something mystical in the music of these West Country rock wizards that attracts the giants from the hills, mesmerised.

Tonight I managed to see the entire support set, which made a nice change.  Better time management on my part.  And I’m glad I did, as opening act Tax The Heat were great.  Splendidly dressed in sharp suits, they cranked out some classic rock riffs and looked to be having a hell of a good time.  Definitely good enough to see headline their own gig, Tax The Heat compliment old school rocking chops with a modern sheen.

I’d been hoping that Reef would turn up in my neck of the woods for some time.  Previously I had witnessed part of their set at Wakestock some years ago, unfortunately having to leave early.  That wasn’t enough for me – I felt I was due the full Reef pie, with all the trimmings.

There was quite a good time vibe amongst the crowd – you could feel the anticipation in the Live Rooms.  Reef entered the stage in a relaxed and unassuming manner, though they immediately unleashed some magical sounds with opener “Higher Vibration”.  Conner MacLeod was on vocals, doing a top quality job as Gary Stringer.  To his right is new(ish) guitarist Jesse Wood, who fits in perfectly: he’s confident yet laid back; masterful playing and not overly flamboyant.

A great deal of the set was culled, unsurprisingly, from Reef’s hugely popular second album, Glow.  So we get gems such as “Consideration”, “Come Back Brighter”, “Place Your Hands” (of course) and my personal favourite – the absolutely megalithic stomp of “I Would Have Left You”.  Songs that sum up Reef’s ability to meld Zeppelin sized riffery with tuneful, tender moments.

There’s also some songs from Rides and the sole song from debut album Replenish, “Naked”.  Jack Bessant, looking like Rob Zombie’s Dad but much, much cooler – unleashed another monstrous bass line for “New Bird”.  It’s no mere greatest hits set though, as Reef throw in some well placed new material.  The new songs are quality stuff, sounding like old time soul classics played by seventies blues rock behemoths.  Drummer Dominic Greensmith looks to be having a great time as he smashes his kit into a parallel dimension.

My only complaint is that there’s nothing from their fourth album, Getaway.  I love that album, it’s a real forgotten masterpiece.  It would’ve been great to hear “Set the Record Straight” or “All I Want”, a song that’s so good it brings a tear to my eye every time.

I always wondered how Reef got lumbered in with the whole Britpop thing.  To me, their music is classic old school 1970’s British ROCK, with a nice spoonful of laid back soul.  They put on a great, relaxed and yet commanding show – full of the warmth of the last days of summer.  A great atmosphere with songs that climb to Gandalf sized epicness.  And I guess that’s how you tame the giants.

The Reef website is here.

The Live Rooms website is here.