Platinum Al’s Real Hot Tub

After all these years of Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub, at last, I bring you… Platinum Al’s REAL hot tub!

It was my birthday recently, and we hired an actual, real life hot tub for a few days as part of the celebrations.

To commemorate the occasion, here’s a photo of me, sat in the luxurious tub waters, enjoying a cocktail. Just to prove it happened. No, I’m not naked – I have surf shorts on – but still, I apologies to you, faithful readers, for having to see me scantily dressed.

Sadly, the hot tub had to go back – but I couldn’t let this memorable event pass by without a mention. Back to the Virtual Hot Tub it is. Normal service has been resumed.

Singles Night at the Virtual Hot Tub #28

Well it’s been a while, but here we are back at Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub enjoying some 45 rpm tunes. I can promise you another night of varied music spanning the musical genres – some well known, some obscure, some classic, some not so classic.

How does it work? It’s simple: I play my way through my (sometimes bizarre) collection of 7″ vinyl singles – both sides, one after the other. The result is a playlist of tunes and an evening captured in time. Drinking the booze often helps.

Here we go with this playlist:

  1. The Stranglers – “Walk on by” / “Old Codger” / “Tank”
  2. Anti Nowhere League – “Streets of London” / “So What”
  3. Public Image Limited – “Rise” / “Rise (Instrumental)”
  4. Fat Boys – “Wipeout” / “Crushin'”
  5. Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Up Around the Bend” / “Run Through the Jungle”
  6. Nazareth – “Shanghai’d in Shanghai” / “Love, Now You’re Gone”
  7. Nazareth – “This Flight Tonight” / “Called Her Name”
  8. Tiffany – “Could’ve Been” / “The Heart of Love”
  9. The Beach Boys – “Do It Again” / “Wake the World”
  10. The Hollies – “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” / “‘Cos You Like to Love Me”
  11. Madonna – “Hanky Panky” / “More”
  12. The Beatmasters ft. The Cookie Crew – “”Rok Da House (Remix)” / “Rok Da House”
  13. Fuzzbox – “International Rescue” / “Raining Champagne”
  14. Thin Lizzy – “Rosalie (Cowgirl’s Song)” / “Me and the Boys”
  15. Thin Lizzy – “Whisky in the Jar” / “Black Boys on the Corner”
  16. Diana Ross – “Touch me in the Morning” / “Baby it’s Love”
  17. Diana Ross – “All of My Life” / “A Simple Thing Like Cry”
  18. Dian Ross & Marvin Gaye – “You Are Everything” / “Include Me in Your Life”
  19. Stevie Wonder – “Saturn” / “Ebony Eyes” / “All Day Sucker” / Easy Goin’ Evening (My Mama’s Call)”
  20. Stevie Nicks – “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” / “Kind of Woman”

A few notes on the records listed above: firstly, the Fat Boys A side is listed as “featuring The Beach Boys”, so that group have ended up with two mentions in this list, technically.

The Stevie Wonder single is the 7″ EP that originally came with the “Songs in the Key of Life” album. I already owned the album, but not the single, so that’s a great addition to my collection.

Also, the Stevie Nicks single features Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

A fine evening’s entertainment with that playlist. From the most obscene song in my entire record collection (ANL’s “So What”), covering some punk/new wave classics, hard rock and pop gems – it was a ton of fun. More soon.

Singles Night at the Virtual Hot tub #27

I promised we’d revisit Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub for another Singles Night, so here we go! Another evening of playing 7 inch singles and having a few cocktails (or beers, or whatever you thirst for). There’s a massive pile of these 45 rpm records to get through, so prepare yourself!

As a quick recap for the uninitiated, I have a stack (or several) of singles that I haven’t played yet. Some have been gifts, some have been picked up – usually very cheaply – from record shops, record fairs, charity shops and carboot sales. The idea is to play through the stack of vinyl one at a time, A side the B side, and enjoy the tunes.

Now I present to you my latest playlist:

  1. Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Taste the Pain” / “Show Me Your Soul”
  2. The Stranglers – “European Female” / “Savage Breast”
  3. The Wee Papa Girl Rappers – “We Rule” / “Rebel Rap”
  4. Salt-n-Pepa – “Shake Your Thang” / “Spinderella’s Not a Fella”
  5. Vanilla Ice – “Ice Ice Baby” / “It’s a Party”
  6. Motley Crue – “Girls, Girls, Girls” / “Sumthin’ for Nothin'”
  7. Neil Pepper (Elvis) – “Stairway to Heaven” / “The Beatnix – “Stairway to Heaven”
  8. Sham 69 – “Hurry Up, Harry” / “No Entry”
  9. Kenny Everett – “Snot Rap” / “Snot Rap (Part 2)”
  10. The Turtles – “Happy Together” / “Like the Seasons”
  11. Aerosmith – “Janie’s Got a Gun” / “Voodoo Medicine Man”
  12. Don Fardon – “Indian Reservation” / “Hudson Bay”
  13. Cerrone – “Je Suis Music” / “Rocket in the Pocket”
  14. Marty Wilde – “It’s Been Nice” / “Bad Boy”
  15. Taja Seville – “Love is Contagious” / “Mama”
  16. B.A. Robertson & Maggie Bell – “Hold Me” / “Spring Greens”
  17. Fiddler’s Dram – “Daytrip to Bangor” / “The Flash Lad”
  18. Bob Geldof – “The Great Song of Indifference” / “Hotel 75”
  19. Gary Shearston – “I Get a Kick Out of You” / “Witnessing”
  20. Mr. Mister – “Kyrie” / “Kyrie (Extended)”

A note on disc number 7 above: Neil Pepper is an Elvis impersonator, and The Beatnix are a Beatles tribute band. On this record, both have covered the Led Zeppelin classic in the style of their inspirations.

The latter half of this playlist started to wander in to some strange, unknown territory – along with featuring some decidedly dodgy songs. A while back, I purchased a box of about 100 singles at a carboot sale for a fiver, quite a lot of which was quality music. Here though, some of the dregs have started to float to the surface.

It’s not all bad though, and there’s a fair spread of awesome tracks scattered through out the list to make it a fun listen. Plus a lot of variety too, from The Crue’s dumb party metal, to classic 60’s pop from the Turtles, 80’s pop with Mr. Mister and some great old school hip hop.

I’m favouring Sham 69 and The Stranglers as particularly fine songs. And of course the Red Hot Chili Peppers, which I bought because although the A side I have on an album, I wanted the B side to add to my collection.

Singles Nights are always a cool way to spend an evening. I’ll update you with another killer playlist soon.

Singles Night at the Virtual Hot Tub #26

Welcome, music lovers! Yes, we’re back at Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub for another leisurely evening of spinning 45 rpm records and drinking a hell of a load of cocktails. It is on, brothers and sisters!

So what’s going down? It’s pretty simple. I have a stack of vinyl singles (hence “Singles Night”) and I’m playin’ ’em in order, side A then B, just for the heck of it. Because it’s fun. And you might just hear some great tunes. No cheating: play each single in the pile, with no skipping (even if it’s a dud).

Here’s the latest playlist. Grab a drink, this is gonna be fun…

  1. Dread Zeppelin – “Stairway to Heaven” / “Jailhouse Rock”
  2. INXS – “Suicide Blonde” / “Everybody Wants U Tonight”
  3. Creedence Clearwater Revival – “Bad Moon Rising” / “Lodi”
  4. Rainbow – “All Night Long” / “Weiss Heim”
  5. AC/DC – “Heatseeker” / “Go Zone”
  6. INXS – “New Sensation” / “Do Wot You Do”
  7. Budgie – “Keeping a Rendezvous” / “Apparatus”
  8. Eagles – “New Kid in Town” / “Victim of Love”
  9. Free – “My Brother Jake” / Only My Soul”
  10. Village People – “In the Navy” / “Manhattan Woman”
  11. Mike Post ft. Larry Carlton – “The Theme from Hill Street Blues” / “Aaron’s Tune”
  12. Sammy Davis Jnr – “What Kind of Fool Am I” / “Gonna Build a Mountain” / “Someone Nice Like You” / “Once in a Lifetime”
  13. Giorgio Moroder w/ Philip Oakey – “Together in Electric Dreams” / “Together in Electric Dreams (Instrumental)”
  14. S’Express – “Superfly Guy” / “Funky Killer”
  15. Sting – “Demolition Man (Soulpower Radio Mix)” / “Demolition Man (Film Version”
  16. Slade – “Far Far Away” / “OK Yesterday Was Yesterday”
  17. Shakatak – “Feels Like the Right Time” / “Corina”
  18. Roy Orbison – “Only the Lonely” / “Here Comes That Song Again”
  19. Earth Wind & Fire – “In the Stone” / “Africano”
  20. Little Eva – “The Loco-Motion” / “He is the Boy”

And were there any duds in this selection? Well, nothing disastrous, though “Hill Street Blues” was a bit of a mood changer.

But just look at the strength of the list over all: some absolute beauties from AC/DC, Free, Rainbow, CCR and double INXS. Plus that Budgie single (which is a really nice 7 inch picture disc, by the way) is totally cool.

Some great pop classics in there, too. Village People and Giorgio Moroder? Floor fillers!

Thanks for joining me for another Singles Night at the Virtual Hot Tub. Let’s do it again soon. In the meantime, keep your media physical and your drinks cool.

Singles Night at the Virtual Hot tub #25

Yes, that’s right: it’s time for another Singles Night! This is no crappy Channel 4 dating show featuring halfwit Instagram influencers, no sir. The type of single we’re talking about here is the vinyl kind – 45 rpm records, beautiful black plastic discs. Seven inches of pure joy!

For the newcomers, I have a pile of unplayed vinyl singles, which I listen to consecutively (A side, then B side). Accompanied by a few drinkies, it’s a most excellent evening of entertainment.

Here’s the latest playlist, featuring some total bangers:

  1. AC/DC – “Touch Too Much” / “Live Wire” / “Shot Down in Flames”
  2. The Piranhas – “Tom Hark” / “Getting Beaten Up” / “Boyfriend”
  3. Judas Priest – “Evening Star” / “Beyond the Realms of Death”
  4. Hollywood Beyond – “South Africa” / “The Cocteau Twins – “Orange Appled” / The Fall – “Lucifer Over Lancashire” / Zodiac Mindwarp & The Love Reaction – “High Priest of Love”
  5. Pretenders – “Brass in Pocket” / “Swinging London” / “Nervous But Shy”
  6. Billy Idol – “Rebel Yell” / “(Do Not) Stand in the Shadows”
  7. Television – “Prove It” / “Venus”
  8. Def Leppard – “Rocket” / “Release Me”
  9. U2 – “The Unforgettable Fire” / “A Sort of Homecoming”
  10. Pet Shop Boys – “Always On My Mind” / “Do I Have to?”
  11. A Flock of Seagulls – “Wishing (I Had a Photograph of You)” / “Committed”
  12. Frankie Goes to Hollywood – “Relax” / “One September Monday”
  13. Big Country – “Chance” / “The Tracks of My Tears”
  14. Duran Duran – “Wild Boys” / “(I’m Looking for) Cracks in the Pavement (1984)”
  15. GB Band – “Smasheroo” / “Long Distance Calling”
  16. Petula Clark – “Downtown” / “You’d Better Love Me”
  17. Paula Abdul – “Straight Up” / “Straight Up Power Mix”
  18. Slade – “All Join Hands” / “Here’s to…”
  19. Foreigner – “Say You Will” / “A Night to Remeber”
  20. Chuck Berry – “Reelin’ and Rockin'” / “I Will Not Let You Go”

Whoa, a lot of EPs and mulitple B sides, there!

There you go: another twenty top quality tunes that I enjoyed rocking out to in the Virtual Hot Tub. Well, except maybe Foreigner. But at least Chuck Berry saved the day!

That playlist spans the years and the genres, with some of my favourite artists like AC/DC, Billy Idol and Zodiac Mindwarp rubbing shoulders with pop legends and underground classics. Which ones are you a fan of?

See you soon for another Singles Night at the Virtual Hot Tub!

Platinum Al’s Top 10 Rock & Metal Albums of 2021

Over the last year, I’ve reviewed a fair few albums for my pals at Ever Metal, and also continued on my never ending odyssey to explore new music. Old bands, new bands, from the big hitters to the up and comers. But what Rock and Metal albums were my favourites from 2021?

This list answers that question: here are the albums that I enjoyed the most from last year:

10. Stoner – Stoners Rule

9. Here Lies Man – “Ritual Divination”

8. Bloody Hammers – “Songs of Unspeakable Terror”

7. Melvins – “Working with God”

6. Acid Mammoth – “Caravan”

5. Barbarian Hermit – “One”

4. Red Fang – “Arrows”

3. Son of Boar – “Son of Boar”

2. Green Lung – “Black Harvest”

  1. 1968 – “Salvation, if you need…”

Another strong year for new music, 2021 managed to deliver that much, at least. There were plenty of other great releases from other artists, this is just my pick of the best – and it certainly wasn’t easy to narrow down to just this ten.

All of the above are superb records, and I’d strongly advise you to check them out. Read the full reviews on Ever Metal (where applicable) and also on here too, in the near future.

Let’s raise a glass to more great music in 2022 – and who knows, maybe some more gigs?!

The Best of 2021

That title seems like a bit of misnomer, doesn’t it? “The Best of 2021“. Following the unprecedented nonsense of 2020, last year we were all anticipating returning to normal, or as close as possible. Small victories were made during that time, but here we are again: a pandemic that seems to loom ever worse; the threat of lockdown and restrictions still a possibility; working from home if you can; vaccination after vaccination; and the same bumbling charlatans in charge of it all.

Hopefully it will all get better. It can’t get much worse (at least in terms of the virus, the post apocalyptic hell of Brexit is still to be reckoned with).

During 2021, Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub still aimed to entertain and inform. Sometimes we made it, sometimes we ballsed it up. But much of the blog content shone through regardless.

In the spirit of sharing success – and smiling in the face of adversity – here are the blog posts from 2021 that were most successful, in terms of views.

10. The Halloween Horror Fest Don’t Die

Halloween Horror Fest was another October highlight this year; this review featured The Dead Don’t Die and Hammer’s The Mummy.

9. Platinum Al’s Top 10 Rock & Metal Albums of 2020

My other gig is writing reviews for Ever Metal – many of my reviews cropped up on this 2020 album list of favourites.

8. The Plague of Halloween Horror Fest

The last mini horror mvie reviews of 2021 featured The Plague of the Zombies and The Crow.

7. Bucket of Halloween Horror Fest

Another Hammer classic, with this review of The Gorgon.

6. Ryuko Interview

Published back in January 2021, this interview with alt rock band Ryuko at last years Pentre Fest originally appeared on Ever Metal, before it graced the Virtual Hot Tub.

5. Sci-Fi Weekender – Back to the Future

SFW was sadly destroyed like Alderaan due to the pandemic – but I dug up a few unseen pics from previous years to ease the pain.

4. Liverpool Comic Con 2021

As the year progressed and we appeared to be making a tentative return to events, I filed this report from Comic Con in Liverpool.

3. How Do Fossils Form? by Eloise Jones

The third most popular blog of the year was written by my super talented daughter. I might just hand the whole thing over to her…

2. Hawarden Limerick

A silly limerick about a local village, it proved popular for some bizarre reason.

And the number one, most popular blog of the year was…

  1. Millennium Falcon – The Greatest Toy Ever

Photos and memories of my vintage Star Wars Millennium Falcon toy, I think this blog is a justified winner! A fantastic toy and something I’m very proud of.

With a lack of events again in 2021, it’s no surprise that other blog subjects rose to prominence. Maybe the escapism of movie and toy reviews appealed to our audience this troublesome year.

We don’t know what will happen in 2022. Fingers crossed, the future looks brighter. But rest assured, Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub will be here for you. If you need a friend, or just some heavy metal reviews and photos of old toys, we’re never far away.

Christmas Tat 2021

In the continuing tradition of sharing some tacky Christmas baubles, here’s the single addition for 2021. Yes, just one new acquisition for the tree this year – I’ve really not seen as much silly, tacky nonsense on my limited travels recently. But fret not, this one’s a beauty!

Here we have a Christmas dinosaur: a bright blue triceratops adorned with sequins and jewels. What could be more festive than a dinosaur? Unless you’re an evolution denier, of course.

Whatever, I hope you like this latest addition to the Virtual Hot Tub Christmas tree.

Christmas dinosaur ball ball

And I’d also like to thank all the readers of my blog, the legendary Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub for your continued support. Please keep reading and let me know what you want to see in the year ahead.

Merry Christmas to all, and a wonderful New Year!

Singles Night at the Virtual Hot Tub #24

One of my favourite types of night in: a random stack of 7 inch vinyl, and a big old crate of booze. I’ve not held a Singles Night at Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub for a little while, so allow me to put that right.

You see, I’ve got a load of 7″ singles that I haven’t listened to yet. They come from various sources, though most are second hand. So I play ’em through, A side then B side, and enjoy the sonic delights. Accompanied with a tipple of two.

Here’s the latest batch:

  1. Mudhoney – “Warning” / Meat Puppets – “One of These Days”
  2. Cockney Rejects – “The Greatest Cockney Rip Off” / “Hate of the City”
  3. Metallica – “The Unforgiven” / “Killing Time”
  4. The Shipbuilders – “Silk Road” / “La Fee Verte”
  5. Huey Lewis & The News – “Stuck With You” / “Don’t Ever Tell Me That You Love Me”
  6. The Archies – “Sugar, Sugar” / “Melody Hill”
  7. Boney M – “Painter Man” / “He Was a Steppenwolf”
  8. Twiggy – “Falling Angel” / “Virginia (And the Circus Side Show)”
  9. Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballe – “Barcelona” / “Exercises in Free Love”
  10. Yes – “Going for the One” / “Awaken Pt. 1”
  11. Bad Manners – “Special Brew” / “Ivor the Engine”
  12. Kylie Minogue – “Better the Devil You Know” / “I’m Over Dreaming (Over You)”
  13. The Jam – “Going Underground” / “The Dreams of Children”
  14. Siouxsie & The Banshees – “Cities in Dust” / “An Execution”
  15. Gary Numan – The Live E.P.: “Are “Friends” Electric?” / “Berserker” / “Cars” / “We Are Glass”
  16. Del Shannon – “Runaway” / “Jody”
  17. The Smurfs – “Silly Little Song” / “Little Smurf Boat”
  18. The Proclaimers – “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” / “Better Days”
  19. Stray Cats – “Stray Cat Strut” / “Drink That Bottle Down”
  20. Eurythmics – “Sexcrime (Nineteen Eighty Four)” / “I Did it Just the Same”

From Metallica to the Smurfs, there’s a right old mixture in that playlist. A nice wide coverage of genres from pop, disco, ska, prog rock, punk and – wonder of wonders – even some opera. Not to mention all the various subgenres on the list (Goth? Post punk? New Wave? Make your own conclusions).

Another fine evening of music, I can recommend a Singles Night for the variety and fun. Dig out your old singles collection and have a knees up!

Barbarian Hermit – Album Review

Barbarian Hermit – One (Reissue)

APF Records (For the Lost PR)

Release date: 29/01/2021

Running time: 49 minutes

Review by: Alun Jones

9.5/10

Writing these reviews for Ever Metal isn’t easy, you know.  I’m sure I speak for the whole writing team when I say that we pour our heart and soul into all our prose.  Each of us lives with the fear of the dreaded Writer’s Block, gnawing at our bones.  So, I decided that my review of this reissue of the 2016 debut album by Barbarian Hermit, released by the mighty APF Records, would need some help. 

But who could assist with such a task?  Why none other than my old friend, Volkrugg the Decimator – barbarian warlord of Ages Long Forgotten.  Of course: no-one is better qualified!  And seeing as I’ve basically been a hermit for the last year, between us we should have it covered.

Take it away, Volkrugg…

“Greetings, people of the 21st century!  I am Volkrugg the Decimator – warlord of the Mist Realm, conqueror of the Thorspian cities, leader of the barbarian hordes of Vossk.  My good friend, Al, has begged me for my musings concerning the recorded work of Barbarian Hermit, and lo – shall I render it unto thee with vicious glee!

“From the very start, these seven songs burst forth like an army of Ionian Thrask Vandals!  They wield their war axes with vengeful power, surging down from the mountains on thundering hooves of hell.  The brief respite of sometime calmer moods offer shelter from the maelstrom of war, yet always the majesty and power of conflict lurks temptingly!

“Verily, hearing these odes, I was mindful of my fallen brothers from glorious battles past – gone but ne’er forgotten, proudly drinking and brawling in Valhalla!”

There you go, I couldn’t have said it better myself.   “One” is a great, sludgy, fuzzy celebration of relentless force and mesmerising intricacies.  Both Volkrugg, his band of berserker warriors and myself are all big fans.  You’d be a fool of mythic proportions to miss this album, and be warned – Volkrugg fed his last court jester to a tiger.  Barbarian Hermit reviewed by a barbarian and a hermit – you can’t get a more honest opinion than that.

Seek Barbarian Hermit on Bandcamp, Facebook and Twitter.

Heed the word of APF Records on the internet here, or visit them on Facebook, Bandcamp or Twitter.

This review has been presented to you by Ever Metal and Platinum Al.