Subskate Summer Fun!

Are you going on a summer holiday? Maybe a nice Mediterranean place, with lots of sun? Can’t take your skateboard with you? Or if you could, will the pavements be cracked and broken? No skatepark, no surf, but still want to enjoy your board riding fun? Then the subskate could be just the thing for you!

There are many boards in my garage: skateboards old and new, longboards, a snowboard, a mountain board, etc etc. Some years ago whilst on holiday in Greece, I encountered someone with one of these subskate contraptions in the hotel swimming pool, and I had to get my own to add to the collection.

All it is, essentially, is a float – like a buoyancy aid for learning to swim – shaped like a skateboard. Unlike a surfboard (or wakeboard, or windsurf board, for that matter), the rider stands on the subskate which is submerged under the water. There, the “subskater” floats around with their upper body out of the water, and the lower body floating on the subskate in the water. Crazy! Whatever will they think of next??!

See the photos for info. I used a fancy underwater camera for these pics, no expense spared.

Of course, there’s not much to do in the water, just float around. You could try some 360 turns, which I did well at. Shuvits weren’t really happening, though. Everything moves real slow under the water, but the board just wants to escape to the surface!

Where the subskate could prove to be more fun, however, is jumping into the pool using a caveman style trick. This could actually be helpful learning those caveman variations. To be honest though, it got old pretty quick jumping in and constantly getting water up my nose. Or ears. Maybe if you had a crew of similarly kamikaze friends to try this with, it could be more fun…

To be fair, I quite enjoyed the relaxing feeling of floating around in the water. My first caveman into the pool was a good laugh, too. And slow motion ollie practice might have actually been worthwhile! I’ll leave it to the readers to decide if a subskate is worth the valuable luggage space to take on holiday, though. Maybe have a week off with a beer at the bar instead?

Does a subskate look like fun to you? Or am I just a grommet who can’t resist splurging money on skate related nonsense? Leave a comment and let me know.

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night #15

Bring Your Own Vinyl Night

The Queen’s Head, Mold

Friday 22nd June 2018

The mixed grill on my plate was a massive meal, and I tucked in with ravenous glee.  For I knew that I would need my strength tonight; this would be Vinyl Night unlike any previous.  Tonight, I would test the mettle of all of us in attendance.

Otherwise, it was business as usual for Bring Your Own Vinyl Night at the Queen’s Head in Mold.  Beers, goods company and the opportunity to play whatever you liked during a fifteen minute set.  Vinyl only, mind!

Although I don’t always run with a theme, this evening I had a definite plan.  Ever since I’ve first attended one of these events, put on by the brilliant Halcyon Dreams and VOD Music, there was one song n my collection I really wanted to play.  It would inform the rest of my set and provide a connection between all the songs.  I decided to leave that track till last, and put together a collection of songs to accompany it.

The question was: How would my star track be received by the audience?

The Beatles – Here Comes the Sun

To start the set, a classic Beatles song written by George Harrison and needing no introduction.  Of course it’s from “Abbey Road”, and I love it as it instantly makes me think of summer days, sitting in the sun on the beach.  It’s a perfect song; beautifully written and with such an uplifting feel.

Nancy Sinatra + Lee Hazlewood – Summer Wine

Next up was this gem; a duet between Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood.  I have the album with this track on it, however this version was a 45rpm single that my friend Colin lent to me for the event.  “Summer Wine” reminds me in some ways of a Bond theme, it has a little of that drama, but somewhat more relaxed.  A wonderful song that brings back memories of holidays abroad and cocktails.

Black Sabbath – Laguna Sunrise

A brief interlude on side 2 of the absolutely essential “Volume 4 album”, here’s yet another tune that demonstrates just how versatile Black Sabbath were.  A beautiful relaxing instrumental that effortlessly conjures up an appropriate image, this shows perfectly the genius of Tony Iommi.  As good as any song you’ve ever heard.

The Cult – Sun King

After that, the tempo was raised with a full on turbo charge rocker from my old faves, The Cult.  This was the 7″ single version, edited down from the album track.  One of my preferred songs on the massively successful “Sonic Temple” album from 1989.  With a title referencing French King Louis XIV, this is a great fun fists-in-the air macho rocker that reeks of burning up desert highways in a hot rod.

Johnny Griggs/Simon May – When You Go Away (Eldorado Theme – Instrumental)

Could you tell what the theme was, reader?  All leading up to this final cut, I wanted to play songs related to summer and sunny days.  I used to be a huge fan of hyper naff BBC soap Eldorado when I was a student – so bad it was good, and the Spanish setting used to cheer me up on dreary wet days.  Sadly that amazing programme was canned, but I found the single in a Woolworths bargain bin (for 29p, I think) back in the day.  Along with my VHS cassette of “The Best of Eldorado”, that’s all the merch from this class show that I have.  I played the instrumental B-side here, but cocked up by playing it on 33rpm at the very start.  Years of planning, bollocksed. 

So there you have it – my summer sun themed set.  Although I was ridiculed for the Eldorado song – and quite rightly too – I loved playing it.  I managed to ruin my cool reputation with one song, though.

Never mind – as she was leaving, one old dear told me she enjoyed my set very much.  I’ll take that as a win.

She must have been an Eldorado fan as well.

Nice one Halcyon Dreams and VOD Music, yet another great Vinyl Night – more soon please.

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.

Talacre Playlist

Recently, we had a family weekend break in Talacre, North Wales.  It was to celebrate Mrs Platinum Al’s Dad’s big birthday.  We had a great couple of nights in a caravan at the Talacre Beach Holiday Park.

In the evenings, we often found ourselves having a drink and a chat whilst taking turns to select some music from the old iPods.  Here are the tracks I played.  Some were suggested or requested by others, some I chose to force on them!

  1. The Beatles – “Misery”
  2. The Beatles – “Anna (Go To Him)”
  3. Queen – Fat Bottomed Girls
  4. Queen – Flash
  5. Queen – Seven Seas of Rhye
  6. Suzi Quatro – “Can the Can”
  7. Suzi Quatro – “48 Crash”
  8. Johnny Cash – “Ring of Fire”
  9. Johnny Cash – “Orange Blossom Special”
  10. Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash – “Jackson”
  11. Chris Isaak – “Wicked Game”
  12. Chris Isaak – “You Owe Me Some Kind of Love”
  13. The Animals – “House of the Rising Sun”
  14. Eddie Cochran – “Summertime Blues”
  15. T.Rex – “20th Century Boy”
  16. The Kinks – “You Really Got Me”
  17. The Kinks – “All Day and All of the Night”
  18. The Kinks – “Tired of Waiting For You”
  19. Little Richard – “Good Golly Miss Molly”
  20. Roy Orbison – “Only the Lonely”
  21. Roy Orbison – “Crying”
  22. Roy Orbison – “Dream Baby”
  23. Roy Orbison – “Working for the Man”
  24. 2 Unlimited – “No Limit”
  25. The Clash – “I Fought the Law”
  26. The Clash – “Should I Stay or Should I Go”
  27. The Clash – “Rock the Casbah”
  28. The Damned – “Eloise”
  29. Rolling Stones – “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”
  30. Rolling Stones – “Honky Tonk Women”

Really nice place, Talacre.  Recommended.

Oh, and Happy Birthday Graham!

Sci-Fi Weekender 2015: Bonus Photos

Flogging a dead horse?  Me?  Never.  As per last year’s Sci-Fi Weekender features, there’s still loads of photos that for some reason, I didn’t share in the previous articles.  So here are a few more pics from the weekend, featuring some amazing Cosplay outfits not shown here previously.

Now some of my pics didn’t turn out very well, and in some cases there were great costumes that I missed taking a photo of.  Hope fully these additional shots will give a bit of additional flavour of the event.

I have no idea why Green Screen Jar Jar didn’t make the cut last time.  Whatever your opinions on the Gungan Menace, you’ve got to admit that it’s a fantastic idea for a costume!

Above you will see documented evidence of Greeny meeting the Dark Lord himself, Darth Elvis.  And below is a photo of Kurt, as Shaun from Shaun of the Dead – the only one of our troop who dressed up.

The Lego characters below were simply amazing costumes.  Likewise, the Mad Max gang – so disappointed that this is the only photo I got of them.

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So, there we have it for another year.  My apologies to anyone who allowed me to take their photograph, for the image not to appear.  That’s more than likely due to my camera skills, or lack thereof.  Lens cap!

Thanks everybody, hope to see you next year.

 

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Captain Adamerica

Adam, Greeny, Kurt and Ste – we had a great time. Thanks Adam for organising everything, and thanks guys for all the fun.  Awesome.

Here’s to next year…

 

Click here for the Sci-Fi Weekender website.

You can find Sci-Fi Weekender on Facebook or follow on Twitter: @scifiweekender

Sci-Fi Weekender 2015 – part 1

Sci-fi Weekender 19th – 22nd March 2015

Hafan Y Mor Holiday Park, Pwllheli

Hard to believe it’s been a year since our last visit off-world to the magnificence that is Sci-Fi Weekender.  But here we were again, for our second journey to the stars, with a guest list of thousands from the realms of science fiction and fantasy.

As a convention, what makes Sci-Fi Weekender stand out is that all the guests stay on site at the Hafan Y Mor holiday park in North West Wales.  For one weekend each year, the geeks inherit the earth and take over in intergalactic style.

This year our band of explorers included Adam, Greeny, Kurt and myself as per last year, but with good buddy Ste along for his first voyage.  Amongst the features on offer were all day gaming, merchandise for sale, props to view, films to see, and numerous luminaries being interviewed and partaking in Q and A’s.

Let it be said that the entertainments were many, and that much alcohol was consumed.

On the Friday, I was eager to see an interview with actor Julian Glover.  He appeared as General Veers in The Empire Strikes Back so this was a pretty big deal.  I have at least three different Star Wars figures of this guy, for a start.  He also appeared in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, For Your Eyes Only and Quatermass and the Pit, for good measure.  Mr Glover was extremely interesting to listen to and seemed like a thorough gentleman.

Next up was James Cosmo, who I remembered from Highlander (classic!) and as Ewan McGregor‘s dad in Trainspotting.  He’s also appeared in dozens of other films and TV shows, not least Braveheart, so his Q&A was top notch.

I took a few photos and milled about a bit, we had some drinks and I caught the One Man Star Wars show.  For the uninitiated, this is one bloke recreating all three films from the original trilogy (Episodes IV to VI, fact fans!) in an hour – on his own.  There are no effects other than what can be recreated with his own voice and actions.  I have to admit that this was very impressive.  The audience laughed along, but me as a full on Star Wars nerd was engrossed in how he made the sounds.  I need to learn that R2 whistle for my action figures!  I AM A NERD!

The finale of the day was once again the genius of Darth Elvis and the Imperials.  What do you get?  A band of Dark Side troops, fronted by an Elvis Jedi, rocking the stage like a crazed Bantha herd.  They look great, they sound awesome! IMG_3978

Elvis classics are re-worked to suit the Star Wars theme, so we get “Return to Endor” and “Viva Mos Eisley”, amongst many more.  Brilliant!  The band rock out and also put a huge Hutt-like grin on your face with the genuinely witty spin on various classics.  Not just Elvis either – nice to hear some Faith No More in the set this year.  Absolutely epic entertainment and a perfect end to the night.  Hot Dang!

What’s more, I can personally vouch for the fact that the band are 100% decent folks.  I got a signed poster!  Greeny got a poster and a photo with the Dark King himself!  I got excited and forgot to ask for a photo of myself with Darth Elvis!  I AM A NERD!!!

Part 2 of our adventure to the stars soon…

Here’s the Sci-Fi Weekender website.

Check out Darth Elvis and the Imperials on Facebook or follow the Dark King on Twitter: @darth_elvis

The Urban Troopers are cool guys – follow them on Twitter: @yodasbitch

The Urban Troopers!

The Urban Troopers!

Me with tw of my childhood heroes...!

Me with two of my childhood heroes…!

Quay Hotel & Spa, Deganwy

A break at the Quay Hotel & Spa, Deganwy, North Wales

A few weeks back, Mrs Platinum Al and I were lucky enough to visit the Quay Hotel in Deganwy, North Wales.  It had been a present for Mrs Platinum Al’s birthday, an we were looking forward to nice relaxing break away.  Here’s a brief over view of our time there.

Deganwy is close to Llandudno on the North Wales coast, just far away enough to feel like we were removed from the every day.  The Quay hotel is a modern, yet stylish building situated (as you would expect) right by a small harbour on the Conwy Estuary.  The setting is picturesque and the hotel impressive and welcoming. _MG_3030

We were a little early to check in, so left out bags with the extremely helpful reception staff and checked out the leisure facilities.  The gym was compact but well equipped; I spent a good half an hour here getting my break off to a positive start!  I then joined Mrs Platinum Al in the swimming pool.  The pool was a fair size at 15 metres and not too busy.  We also experienced the hydrotherapy spa pool, steam room and sauna.

After this, our room was ready.  Our luggage had already been taken up for us.  The room itself was a large room with both bed and chairs, not to mention the added bonus of a balcony with view over the harbour.  The bathroom was enormous! IMG_3069

Next on our agenda was lunch.  We ate on site in the Grill Bar.  Mrs Platinum Al opted for a Club sandwich.  I chose a very fine wrap with poached chicken, bacon, cheese and barbecue sauce.  This was served with fries and was exceptional.

Later that  afternoon, it was time for our spa treament.  We were both booked in for an hour long, deep tissue full body massage.  I had never had a massage before, and found this to be a relaxing and enjoyable experience.  The spa environment was calm and luxurious, and the expert staff friendly and hospitable.  All in all a fantastic treat that I would recommend. _MG_3052

In the evening, we chilled out in our room and enjoyed a drink on the balcony.  It was very easy to lounge in comfort and watch TV – with full satellite channels there was plenty to watch!  However we decided to head into nearby Llandudno for a meal.  There are several restaurants in the town to fulfill this need, and it’s not far away in a taxi.

Our stay at the Quay Hotel was fabulous – I have no complaints what so ever.  The setting and the premises were really top notch and we thoroughly enjoyed our stay.  We hope to make a return journey soon!

The Quay Hotel and Spa, Deganwy Quay, Deganwy, Conwy, North Wales LL31 9DJ

Tel: 01492 564100

The Quay Hotel website is here.

Buffalo Wings and Beer

Buffalo Wings & Beer, Cloverly MD

Continuing the American theme from my last post, this time I’d like to tell you about a very special place.  It’s my favourite bar – possibly of all time.  Though it’s been a long time since I last paid a visit, I have some very happy memories.

Back in 2000, I went on “vacation” to Maryland, USA – and again the following year.  Some relatives of mine were living in the area, and I was lucky enough to be invited over to visit.  So my family and I made the trip from Wales to America.  We had a fantastic time catching up with our family and being amazed by the country itself.  An unforgettable part of the trip was when we were introduced to the BWB.

BWB stands for Buffalo Wings and Beer – which is, quite simply, what the establishment offers.  It’s a bar, and a local of sorts to my relatives, and we were to visit there quite a few times!

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Recreating BWB at home recently with wings and Sam Adams beer. Note BWB shirt and cap!

Quite different to the pubs we’re used to at home, the BWB is a sports bar also offering food.  So unlike our boozers back home, you can have a few (or several) beers and you don’t need to leave to get food.  When you get hungry, you can order food right there!  Now we have restaurant pubs in the UK, but at the BWB you can order food at later times not just during the restaurant opening hours.  No need to run off to the kebab shop here.

Great food too – I became a big fan of the chicken wings in particular.  But not too hot!  This was also where I grew to love Samuel Adams Boston lager too.  Not to mention the buckets of beer – literally of bucket with ice and several bottles of booze!  Fine ale and good food – it couldn’t get better.

Except it could.  BWB also housed the coolest jukebox ever, pool tables, pinball, dart boards, arcade games – awesome stuff.  As a sports bar, the TV Screens showed sports, but as this was the US the entertainment was not what I was used to.  I even saw a vert skateboarding competition being shown there once.

It must be said that the people in the BWB were great also – welcoming, polite, fun – both customers and staff.  They were pleasant and genuinely interested in us as visitors to the country.

If you’re ever in the area, make sure you visit.  There are a few BWBs in the chain, the one I visited was in Cloverly.  Awesome place.  I hope I get to go back there someday.

With thanks to Lesley, Simon and Ben Stagg, who introduced us to the world of BWB!

Buffalo Wings & Beer Cloverly, 15412 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20905

The BWB website is here.

The BWB Facebook page is here.