EMQs with… Platinum Al

Last year, in the depths of lockdown and with no live entertainment to review, the glorious website that is Ever Metal was kind enough to open up their Ever Metal Questions series to the reviewers. As an EM contributor I was finally able to fulfil a lifelong ambition – and satisfy my enormous ego – by being interviewed for the site.

The questions were pretty much what we ask musicians, only I had the privilege of answering them myself. And now, in a move that confirms that I really have no shame, I proudly re-present the same interview here, at the Virtual Hot Tub. Well, it is my birthday this month…

Enjoy!

What is your name, what do you do, and can you tell us a little bit about how you ended up doing it?

My name’s Alun, AKA Platinum Al.  I write some reviews for Ever Metal, which came about through meeting Rick and Beth at Pentre Fest a while back.  “I can write!” I lied, and they’ve been too kind to bin me off ever since.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

North Wales in the UK.  We seem to be a bit out in the wilderness to the outsider, but thankfully there are a few venues that put good bands on in Chester and Wrexham (both nearby) and of course, the good old Tivoli in Buckley (just up the road).  Liverpool and Manchester are both accessible.  The big win for us though is Pentre Fest – and all the other events that North East Wales Metal Productions put on.  It’s introduced me to loads of new music and it’s right on my doorstep. 

What is your favourite latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

Desert Storm’s “Omens” on APF Records is album of the year so far.  Beyond that, I’m still reeling from the wonder of Giant Dwarf’s self-titled master piece, my album of 2019.

Who have been your greatest influences, in music or in life?

George Lucas, for Star Wars – which influenced me more than anything since I was five years old.  Stan Lee and Marvel comics have also been a big inspiration.  Skateboarding in general has opened my eyes and ears to the wonder of the world since my teens. 

In music, there’s dozens: Johnny Cash, Motorhead, AC/DC, Ramones, the Damned, The Misfits, Black Sabbath, The Cult, Soundgarden, Led Zeppelin, Queen, Monster Magnet, COC, Melvins, Jimi Hendrix etc etc.

What first got you into music?

I listened to the Star Wars soundtrack first of all; it still has an amazing emotional response on me even now.  The next big development was seeing the film Highlander, which I loved.  A friend of mine recommended the Queen album A Kind of Magic as it featured several songs from the film, and it’s been downhill from there.  Thankfully, through skateboarding I was introduced to music that was a bit off the beaten track, shall we say.

Which current bands or musicians would you like to see collaborate on a record?

Good question!  How about Shakin’ Stevens – the Welsh Elvis – fronting the Misfits?  Danzig can write the songs.

If you could go to any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Pentre Fest!

What’s the weirdest music related thing you own?

I have some pretty weird vinyl in my collection, like Roland Rat, the Wurzels and an album called “How to Strip for Your Husband”.   Oh, and a Joan Collins work out record.

If you had one message for your Ever Metal readers, what would it be?

Never ever bloody anything ever.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

So many greats to choose from (sadly).  I’ll nominate my old mate Lemmy, as I probably embarrassed myself when I met him by talking bollocks.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Stop developing new formats – you lied to us about CDs when vinyl was the ultimate.  There are some albums I own on vinyl, tape, CD and download – and I’ve had to buy every single one.  Can we all just agree to not buy whatever new garbage format they try and lumber us with in the future? 

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Vinyl, obviously!

What’s the best gig that you have been to, and why?

Black Sabbath at Birmingham Genting Arena on their “The End” tour is up there.

What do you get up to when you’re not writing/ taking photos?

Working the day job and being a dad mostly.  Then listening to music, skateboarding, riding my bike, watching old Hammer horror movies, collecting toys, drinking beer.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Sir Christopher Lee, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix, Joey Ramone and Lemmy.

If they have to be alive, then James Hetfield, Glenn Danzig, Dave Vanian, Henry Rollins and pro skateboarder Mike Vallely.

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

I don’t know, but I had cherry ones in Greece and they were amazing!

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Just thanks for giving me the opportunity to flaunt my massive ego by doing an interview, it’s something I’ve always wanted to do!  HAHA!

Oh, and to the readers of Ever Metal: thanks for reading, and never forget that we are fans just like you and we do this for the love of the music.  Never say die!

Read more Ever Metal staff EMQs here.

Questions #11: Chocolate bars

I love a bit of chocolate, me.  I often indulge my love of the delicious sweet, and I’m regularly spoiled for choice when carefully selecting which treat to go for.  At this time of year, I look forward to (hopefully) receiving a selection box of choc bars that I can guzzle.

So I decided to find out what the favourite chocolate bars were amongst my friends.

The choices were limited to the sort of chocolate bars that you can buy in a sweet shop, or the confectionery counter of a newsagent.  Boxes of chocolates – such as Milk Tray or Roses – wouldn’t count.  Neither would chocolate cake or chocolate digestive biscuits.

Also, the choice would have to be actual chocolate – so the vote  I received for Highland Toffee was also discounted.  I allowed Caramac, though – because Caramac is great, and I make the rules.

Q: What’s your favourite chocolate bar?

Helen – Fry’s Turkish Delight

Steve O – Munchies

Jen – Twirl

Simon B – Double Decker (from the fridge)

Karen – Spira

Chris A – Wispa

Claire H – Toblerone

Jamie H – Daim

Jack H – Lindor chocolate

Laura J – Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

Mike R – Yorkie Raisin & Biscuit

Kirsty R – Picnic

Dan G – Yorkie Raisin & Biscuit

Brett H – Starbar

Mark H – Wispa

Gary B – Starbar

Mandy – Starbar

Snips – Starbar

Sadie – Starbar

Mike Stone – Marathon (that’s a Snickers, kids!)

Michaela – Starbar

Naresh – Caramac

Steve W – Double Decker

Ben – Wispa (sorry, Ben – took this as your default choice!)

Claire W – Picnic

Sara-Jane – Green & Black’s Ginger

Abigail R – Freddo

Greeny – Double Decker

Kiaran – Lion bar

Kate L – Finger of Fudge

Danny “Chef” Burke – Wispa

Claire B – Double Decker

Neil C – Caramac

Chris J – Fry’s Five Centres

Cathryn R – Nestle Dairy Crunch (white)

Kathryn W – Fry’s Turkish Delight

Bryn – Marathon

Shaun C – Texan bar

Jazbo – Texan bar

Corrine – Galaxy

Urien – Wispa Gold

Lee T – Picnic

Steph C – Wispa Gold

Lisa P – Cadbury Fuse

Vanessa – Fry’s Turkish Delight

Me – Galaxy

The result?  It’s a draw!

Both Wispa and Starbar received six votes each.  Although I did count Wispa Gold in with the other Wispas…

Double Decker put in a brave fight to come third.

I tried a Starbar after this poll, just for research, you see.  It was quite nice, but I didn’t like the nuts.  For me, nuts shouldn’t be in chocolate.  Peanuts should be served salted with a nice beer.

I’ll happily leave this poll as a draw, safe in the knowledge that the dreaded – and totally over-rated Crunchie – didn’t show it’s evil face.

Questions #10: Film Scenes

If you could visit a location in any film you’ve ever seen, what would it be?  I don’t mean a film set like Pinewood Studios, I mean the actual location that you see on screen, real or imaginary.

You could pick New York, but when King Kong is climbing the Empire State Building.  That’s a real place, but when something fantastic from within a movie is happening.

Or you could pick a place that’s completely imaginary, like Oz or Narnia.

I asked this question to several people, and this is what they said.

Q: What scene from a film would you like to visit?

Scott: X-Men mansion

Jamie: Zion (The Matrix)

Matt: the mansion in Underworld

David R:  Andy’s room from Toy Story

Terry: Asgard (Thor)

Sam: Tron world(?)

Iaian: Springfield (The Simpsons)

Alex: Middle Earth (Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit)

Mike W: SHIELD Heli Carrier (The Avengers)

David: Hoth (The Empire Strikes Back)

Nathan: Fantasia (Never Ending Story)

Laura: Neverland (Hook)

Sue R: Paris (as in Last Tango In…)

Jayne: Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory

Andy B: Hill Valley (Back to the Future)

Kev: Pandora (Avatar)

Greeny: Jurassic Park

Adam G: Hill Valley 2015 (Back to the Future)

Chris: Gotham City (The Dark Knight)

Simon B: the bar in the Cannonball Run

Karen: Black Pearl (Pirates of the Caribbean)

Steve O: The Copacabana club (Goodfellas)

Claire H: Jamaica (Cool Runnings)

Kirsty R: Desert island from Castaway

Me: Mos Eisley cantina (Star Wars)

Leave a comment below if there’s a scene you’d like to be in!

Happy First Birthday, Virtual Hot Tub!

The Top 5 Posts on the Virtual Hot Tub

Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub is now one year old!

Actually, the first anniversary was on March 24th.  So I’m late, again.  But I’ve been so busy capturing vital events like Sci-Fi Weekender, Kurt Cobain’s passing, Easter and all the other stuff that I just haven’t had time to get round to celebrating it.

So it was 24th March 2013 when I first welcomed you all to bathe in the soothing waters of the Virtual Hot Tub.  Since then, I’ve posted all manner of weird and wonderful items on the blog.  But which ones have been the most popular?

I checked out the stats; and here, in reverse order, are the most read posts in the first year of the Virtual Hot Tub’s existence:

5. Skateboard Museum: Variflex Joker

There’s obviously loads of people searching the interweb for old school skateboards.  This post about my old Variflex skateboard has been constantly showing in blog results.  Nice post – shame about the photo.  I’ll remedy that soon.  Take another look here.

4. Questions #2: Full English Breakfast Ingredients

All of the “Questions” posts fared well in the rankings, particularly the food related items.  This one was the highest placed.  Read it again here.

3. Hammer Glamour

I went blog crazy in October with my Hallowe’en Horror Fest.  This post, which counted down the top ten Hammer Horror babes, has been incredibly popular.  Lots of people Googling sex and horror, I guess.  Check it out here.

2. The Best Man’s Speech

Over 150 people have read this post, commemorating the wedding of my friends Cathryn and Jarrod.  It’s nice that this article has been read so many times.  Have another look here.

So what’s the most read blog post on the Virtual Hot Tub, in the first year?  It is:

1. A Letter to the New York Post

This piece, which recounted my experiences in New York on September 11th, caught people’s attention much more than I thought it would.  I suppose it went “viral” – more than 475 views.  It certainly received an amazing, and heart warming, response.  Thanks to all who shared it.  Read it again here.

There you go: the top 5 blog posts on Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub.  Thanks for reading, thanks for sharing, thanks for being a part of it.  Your contribution – and interest – has helped make this worthwhile.

Plenty more to come, so stay tuned.

Questions #9: On Toast

What’s your favourite thing to eat on toast?  A simple question, yet this one offered a lot of interest and whole load of suggestions.

Toasted bread is a very simple idea (even I can cook that) – but it’s appeal is massive, judging by the response to this question.  Some of the suggestions I received are obvious, some sound delicious – others are a matter of taste.

Q: What’s your favourite thing to eat on toast?

Nathan: coleslaw

Matt R: bacon

Sian: bacon & sausage

Terry: Bacon

Jamie: butter and tomato sauce

Iain: peanut butter and jam

Sam: marmalade

Jayne: bacon

Mike R: salmon & scrambled egg

Mike Stone: mushy peas

Nick Jones: melted cheese

Mark “Hungry” Harper: peanut butter (smooth)

Lindsey Over: butter

Dan Graham: sardines

Irene Thomas: peanut butter, honey & banana

Annette Evans: spaghetti hoops

Steph Cottam: tomato puree, sliced tomatoes, sliced bratwurst, cheese (grilled)

Sarah Docherty: Branston pickle and cheese

Colin Pugh: sausage, fried egg and tomato sauce

Greeny: apple sauce

Adam Halliday: black pudding and cheese

Andrew Redman: strawberry jam & butter (on white bread)

Lisa Lord: Tomato puree, mature cheddar, Henderson’s relish and black pepper

Sarah Fickling: Dairylea and cucumber with a little black pepper

Claire Bujeaud: beans

Jayne H: sardines

Snips: Runny poached egg, fresh ground black pepper and Anglesey sea salt

Ade Cappadona: cold chilli con carne

Neil Calloway:  poached egg and lashings of marmite

Cheryl Jones: pot noodle

Mark Dutton: crispy bacon and marmalade

Adam Butler: butter

Brian Hall: HP sauce

Matt Barnes: lard

Michaela Jjones: peanut butter and raspberry jam

Laura Jones: Marmite with a poached egg and cheese on top, sprinkle of salt and pepper

Vanessa: cheese and beans

Belinda Spry: Vegemite (+ cheese)

Peter Higginson: thinly sliced haloumi with sliced green olives, dash of black pepper

Zoe Cullen: beans and cheese

Corrine Bufton-Sales: peppered mackerel

Mandy H: cheese and tomato

Donna: cold caviar on piping hot toast with Dom Perignon

Bryn: bacon lardons, red onion and cheese

Mike W: bacon and cheese

Richard Pearson: roast dinner

Me: peanut butter (crunchy) and chocolate spread

There you have it: some excellent ideas.  Some very simple suggestions – like good old butter – we often forget how good that tastes.  Then there’s the Full English options, right the way through to some that sound like they could be on a menu.  I’m also partial to sardines on toast, so nice to see that crop up a couple of times.  One or two of these “favourites” may well be jokes, but I’m not sure…

Sweet or savoury, there are some great ideas here that I would like to try.  I’ve not picked a winner, I hope this fun exercise has given you some “food for thought”.  But – roast dinner on toast?  Regular readers will be able to guess what I think of that…

Questions #7: Christmas Songs

It’s Christmas time, there’s no need to be afraid.  Not that there’s any doubt that we’re in the festive season – there are decorations, lights, and yes, songs, everywhere.  Christmas songs are the cherry on the top, the star on the tree – and they’re inescapable right now, whether you’re shopping or just watching TV.

So what’s your favourite Christmas song?  I did some research and this is what I found.

There were some rules: basically, it had to be a song about Christmas; with a Christmassy theme or “sound”.  A Christmas number one therefore doesn’t necessarily count, much as I love Rage Against the Machine.  Traditional or pop, here are the results.

Q: What’s your favourite Christmas song?

Jess: “Merry Christmas Everyone” – Shakin’ Stevens

Ash: “Fairytale of New York” – The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl

Lynne: “Fairytale of New York” – The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl

Tom: “Merry Christmas Everyone” – Shakin’ Stevens

Matt: “Last Christmas” – Wham!

Dave W: “Stop the Cavalry” – Jona Lewie

Mike W: “Fairytale of New York” – The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl

Imam: “Jingle Bells” (Traditional)

Jayne: “Fairytale of New York” – The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl

Alix: “Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)” – The Darkness

Stu: “Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)” – The Darkness

Jade: “All I Want for Christmas is You” – Mariah Carey

Michelle: “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Everyday” – Wizzard

Jamie: “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” – Brenda Lee

Terry: “Fairytale of New York” – The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl

Sam: “A Spaceman Came Travelling” – Chris De Burgh

David R: “The Night Santa Went Crazy” – “Weird Al” Yankovic

Sue R: “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” – Band Aid

Nathan: “All I Want for Christmas is You” – Mariah Carey

Ben G: “Christmas Time (Don’t Let the Bells End)” – The Darkness

Sarah: “Fairytale of New York” – The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl

Jack: “All I Want for Christmas is You” – Mariah Carey

Me: “Merry Christmas Everybody” – Slade

So there you have it: the popular choice for people’s favourite is The Pogues & Kirsty MacColl’s “Fairytale of New York”.  Great song.  Should’ve been a Christmas number one.

Only one vote for Slade???  Never mind, at least the vile monstrosity that is East 17 didn’t get a vote.

If you’d like to let me know your personal favourite Christmas song, leave a comment.  Disagree with these choices?  Are you an East 17 fan?  Let me know.

“It’s CHRIIIIIISSSSTMAAAASSSSS!!!”

Questions #6: The Ultimate Burger

We’ve just installed a new burger grill at Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub.  Here’s the deal: you get one super supreme grilled burger, inside a quality bun.  You can have four toppings of your choice on your burger – anything you like, but only FOUR.

Now we’ve got lots of toppings to choose from.  The obvious to the obscure.  What would you choose?

The only freebie you get is sauce – whatever sauce you want, it’s not one of the four toppings.

Q: Which four toppings would you like on your Ultimate Burger?

Jon

  1. Smoked bacon
  2. Goats cheese
  3. Jalapenos
  4. Chorizo

Terry

  1. Extra burger (!)
  2. Lettuce (!!)
  3. Onions
  4. Tomatoes

Jamie

  1. Chorizo
  2. Cheese
  3. Bacon
  4. Onion rings

Sian

  1. Cheese
  2. Onions

Matthew

  1. Extra burger
  2. Bacon
  3. Cheese
  4. Gherkin

Sam

  1. Bacon
  2. Cheese
  3. Chicken nuggets
  4. Chicken noodles

Nathan

  1. Chilli con carne
  2. Cheese
  3. Onions
  4. Chorizo

Iaian

  1. Cheese
  2. Chorizo
  3. Chicken breast
  4. Jalapenos

Me

  1. Cheese
  2. Chilli con carne
  3. Tortilla chips
  4. Chorizo

There you go – just a few ideas for you.

The burger grill is on.  When you’ve had a couple of virtual drinks and a soak in the virtual hot tub, slink on out and head over for a virtual burger.  Your Ultimate Burger, your way.

Let me know what four toppings you would choose – leave a comment below.

* All burgers, drinks and hot tub are purely virtual…

Questions #5: Sandwich Fillings

We’re getting peckish once again at Platinum Al’s Virtual Hot Tub.  Time for a snack.  How about a sandwich, filled with whatever you like?

Here’s the proposition.  The Virtual Hot Tub snack bar will create any sandwich you like, with up to three fillings.  You can have whatever bread you want, and as much salad as you can cram in there – a bit like Subway.

Except grated carrot.  Why would anyone want carrot on a sandwich???

Anyway, just pick three items to fill your sandwich with.  The Virtual Hot Tub sandwich makers will put it together for you, whatever you like.

Q: Which three items would you pick for your ideal sandwich filler?

Jayne

  1. Chicken
  2. Bacon
  3. Cheese

Jack

  1. Pepperoni
  2. Cheese
  3. Bacon

Si

  1. Meatballs
  2. Onion
  3. Cheese

Terry

  1. Ham
  2. Cheese
  3. Bacon

Dan

  1. Chicken
  2. Bacon
  3. Cheese

Ash

  1. Sausage
  2. Bacon
  3. Cheese

Joe

  1. Beef
  2. Ham
  3. Cheese

Natasha

  1. Cottage pie
  2. Sausage & mash

Stu

  1. Sausage
  2. Fried egg
  3. Hash brown

Ben

  1. Chicken tikka
  2. Glastonbury mature cheddar cheese
  3. Nachos

Jon

  1. Smoked salmon
  2. Cream cheese & chive
  3. Rocket lettuce

Mike

  1. Turkey
  2. Cranberry
  3. Stuffing

Sam

  1. Fishfinger sandwich

Me

  1. Chorizo
  2. Cheese
  3. Chicken

There you go.  What three would you choose?  Please leave a reply below and let us know.

Questions #4: Wrestler Intro Music

You’re a famous WWF wrestler.  Tonight is a big match as you face your greatest nemesis.  The crowds roar and the lights blaze.  Dry ice clouds the air.

Back stage you are almost ready to go on – to take the long walk down to the ring.  But what would your intro song of choice be?

Here are the answers I got to that question:

Q: If you were a wrestler, what would your intro song be?

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El Taco Grande

Alix: “Gabriel’s Oboe” – Ennio Morricone

Joe: “Enter Sandman” – Metallica

Mike: “Crawling in the Dark” – Hoobastank

Wolfie: “Sail” – Awolnation

Terry: “Here I Go Again” – Whitesnake

Jamie: “Walk This Way” – Aerosmith

Gareth: “Song 2” – Blur

Sam: “Danger Zone” – Kenny Loggins

Ben: “Jungle Boogie” – Kool and the Gang

Jon: “Don’t You Want Me” – Human League

Me: “Highway to Hell” – AC/DC

We’ll leave discussions about names, outfits and signature moves for another time…

 

Questions #3: Pizza Toppings

What three toppings would you pick for your favourite pizza?

A basic Margherita (base, with cheese and tomato) is all you get to start.  You choose three toppings only.  If you want Barbecue sauce base, for example, that counts as one of your choices.

Here’s what we came up with:

Q: What three toppings would you choose for a pizza?

Terry

  1. Ham
  2. Pepperoni
  3. BBQ Sauce

Ashley

  1. Spicy Beef
  2. Spicy Chicken
  3. Pepperoni

Ben

  1. Spicy Chicken
  2. Bacon
  3. Onion

Mark D

  1. Chocolate
  2. Marshmallow
  3. Space Dust

Wolfie

  1. Pepperroni
  2. Jalapenos
  3. Red Onion

Woody

  1. Chicken
  2. Pepperoni
  3. Ham

Jamie

  1. Pineapple
  2. Ham
  3. Mushroom

Joe

  1. Pepperoni
  2. Jalapeno
  3. Sweetcorn

Dan W

  1. King Prawn
  2. Chorizo
  3. Chicken

Me

  1. Pepperoni
  2. Anchovies
  3. Meatballs

It’s nice to see that mushrooms weren’t a popular choice.

What are your three choices for a great pizza?  Reply below and let me know.