Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

I can’t remember when I was first aware of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but as a big comic book reader in the 1980s it was kind of inevitable that we’d cross paths.  Cleverly playing with some popular comic tropes, Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird created a pop culture phenomenon almost by accident.

I do remember the Ninja Turtles and their creators getting a shout out in the “thank you” list of the “Among the Living” album by thrash metal kings Anthrax.  The book seemed quirky and original, it’s popularity boosted with a reputation for genuinely great writing and art.

Next came the cartoon, a couple of years later.  This was the turtles tidied up for a younger audience and it became a massive hit.  I was about 17 at the time (!), but enjoyed watching the cartoon occasionally as a bit of tongue in cheek fun.  I was being ironic, honest.

The toys that were made at the time were very cool; for the era they seemed very well designed and super detailed.  I was far too old for the action figures, but secretly coveted them from afar.

Eventually I picked up the figure of my favourite turtle, Michaelangelo.  He must have been on sale somewhere post turtles craze,’cos this would’ve been in my student days and thus, extremely poor.  He was a perfect ironic, “look how wacky I am” student possession.

Sadly, Mikey disappeared – I know not where – and once again, I was completely turtle-less.

Until a couple of years ago, when taking my daughter on one of her last trips to Toys R Us, before it closed for good.  They had on sale re-issued turtles, exactly like the old versions I loved, and they were cheap (ish).

I replaced Michaelangelo there and then, and over the next few days was so eager to complete a collection of all four turtles that I returned to buy others.  With a little bit of toy spotting help from my old pal Adam, I was soon in business with a full team of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

At the moment, I only have the full group of Leonardo, Donatello, Michaelangelo and Raphael.  It would be great to have Splinter, Shredder and more one day, but I doubt they’ll turn up cheap.

The four turtles are great figures, nicely stylised and featuring great detail.  And awesome weapons.

All four are still Mint in Box.  How long can I resist the urge to release the guys from their blister pack prisons?  Surely one night I’ll have had a little bit too much to drink, and decide to tear that plastic from the backing card…

What do you think readers?  Should the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles stay in their boxes, or should I open them up?

Singles Night at the Virtual Hot Tub

Regular readers will be aware of my love for vinyl records: beautiful, spinning discs revealing a world of aural pleasure.  Most of my attention is devoted to albums, though I’ve also amassed a fair collection of 7 inch singles over time.

Back in my younger days, I would pick up singles to embellish my album collection with b-side tracks excluded from the main release.  I’d also pick up some interesting, groovy records that were within my budget and offered something different to my music library.

Over the last couple of years, I originally ignored the 45 rpm singles, but gradually I’ve started picking a few up.  One of the main influences for this was my friend Greeny’s jukebox, installed in his home, which I though was really cool.  It inspired me to pick up a few classics, in order to compile a wider range of musical genres on 7″.

You never, know, I may just get my own jukebox one day.

And so I’ve bought singles from record fairs, charity shops and car boot sales to complete gaps in my collection.  This has left me with a stack of 45s that I haven’t got round to playing yet.

So I had the idea for Singles Night:  I would play the records, both sides (A then B) from the top of the pile down, oldest to newest.  Regardless of genre, or what ever mood I was in.  Almost like the random playlists I’ve posted here before, but analogue.

The reader will notice that there are some cheesy, if not disgusting, purchases included amongst the gems in this list.  Everyone has some guilty pleasures; in the land of the 7″ single, my love of the truly awful can be fully exposed.

Here’s the list of what I played.  May the gods of music forgive me…

  1. Dave Edmunds – “Queen of Hearts” / “Creature from the Black Lagoon”
  2. Lipps, Inc – “Funkytown” / “All Night Dancing”
  3. Depeche Mode – “New Life” / “Shout”
  4. Carrie – “The Birds” / “Sugar Fan (Demo Version)”
  5. Deborah Harry – “I Want That Man” / “Bike Boy”
  6. Lovebug Starski – “Amityville (The House on the Hill)” / “Amityville (The House on the Hill) (Dub Mix)”
  7. Sinitta – “So Macho!” / “Cruising”
  8. Sinitta – “GTO (Radiomix)” / “GTO (Instrumental)”
  9. The Firm – “Star Trekkin'” / “Dub Trek”
  10. Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass – “Mame” / “Our Day Will Come”
  11. Dannii Minogue – “Show You the Way to Go” / “Show You the Way to Go (Dub)”
  12. Partners in Kryme – “Turtle Power” / “Splinter’s Tale 1” + “Splinter’s Tale 2”
  13. MC Hammer – “U Can’t Touch This (LP Version)” / “U Can’t Touch This (Instrumental)”
  14. Selena – “Shotgun” / “Shotgun (Instrumental Version)”
  15. Roxy Music – “Jealous Guy” / “To Turn You On”
  16. Senseless Things – “Hold It Down” / “Crucial Juvenalia”
  17. The Silent Underdog – “Papa’s Got a Brand New Pig Bag” / Pigbag – “Papa’s Got a Brand New Pig Bag”
  18. The Beach Boys – “Breakaway” / “Celebrate the News”
  19. Black Box – “Ride On Time Massive Mix (Remix)” / “Ride On Time Epsom Mix (Remix)”
  20. Genesis – “Invisible Touch” / “The Last Domino”
  21. Quincy Jones – “Razzamatazz (Edit)” / “Velas”
  22. Hawkwind – “Silver Machine” / “Silver Machine (Full Version)” + “Psychedelic Warlords”
  23. David Bowie – “Sorrow” / “Amsterdam”

I could write notes about pretty much every one of those songs to elaborate on why they’re in my collection.  Some are classics – Bowie, Hawkwind, Beach Boys etc. and need no introduction.

But as a means of explanation for some of the really ripe songs, let me say this: Sinitta and Dannii are in my collection ‘cos they’re well fit.

Oh, and “Turtle Power” is an awesome song and needs to be heard again!

I hope you enjoyed that playlist, reader.  I certainly did, and there will be more of this in the future.