30 Before Thirty (Comics & Graphic Novels)

Congratulations Mr Trump (3).png

I’m going to be thirty in just over 2 years and at this moment in time I’m OK with that (how I feel about it in 10 minuets is up for debate) but one of the things that I realised is that there are a fair few things I still want to accomplish whilst the career and social goals are somewhat out of my control things like films I want to see, albums I want to listen to and books I want to read are very much in my control, especially as I have 25 months to accomplish it. Here is a list of the Comics and Graphic Novels that I would like to have read by the time I’m thirty.

Grant Morrison’s 18 Days

25611652

Camelot 3000

61q2xJpcvhL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Miracle Man: A Dream Of Flying

51yGXnCbYtL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

All Star Superman 

51aj58tawbL._SX318_BO1,204,203,200_

Preacher: Gone To Texas

95431

The Crow

The_Crow_comic_book_original_cover

Sandman Preludes and Nocturnes

51GG3FKAR4L._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_

Alan Moore’s: Saga of The Swamp Thing

51WJwR8QmnL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Marvel 1602

Marvel_1602_Vol_1_1

Saga: Volume 1

81+Sf+bNqUL

 The Order: Die Mensch Machine

download (1).jpg

The Complete Scarlet Traces 

download (2).jpg

Button Man

2902281-button_man_1

Ronin 

51cErSDhkDL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Superman: Whatever Happened To The Man Of Tomorrow 

51ynXz0DmPL._SX336_BO1,204,203,200_

The Infinity Gauntlet 

Infinity_Gauntlet_1

Amazing Spider-man: Kravens Last Hunt

512UYljUNrL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_

Promethea Book 1 

Promethea

Jack Kirby’s Fourth World Omnibus 

511O7BCCEyL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Multiversity 

3788807

Son Of Superman 

Son_of_Superman

Hellblazer: Original Sins 

81IQpmRpRHL

The Authority: Relentless 

download (3).jpg

Hellboy: Seed Of Destruction 

51rsvrgxK-L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

Doctor Who: Emperor Of The Daleks

download (4).jpg

Death: The High Cost Of Living  

200px-Death-_The_High_Cost_of_Living.jpg

JSA The Liberty Files 

JSA_Liberty_File_1

Alice In Sunderland 

51JbqqPdUnL._SX353_BO1,204,203,200_

Daredevil Yellow

81Nk9wThhYL

The Tragical Comedy or Comical Tragedy of Mr. Punch

Mr_Punch_cover.jpg

How many of these do you think I’ll get done before July 21st 2019?

30 Before I’m Thirty (Films)

Congratulations Mr Trump (2)

I’m going to be thirty in just over 2 years and at this moment in time I’m OK with that (how I feel about it in 10 minuets is up for debate) but one of the things that I realised is that there are a fair few things I still want to accomplish whilst the career and social goals are somewhat out of my control things like films I want to see, albums I want to listen to and books I want to read are very much in my control, especially as I have 25 months to accomplish it. Here is a list of the films that I would like to have read by the time I’m thirty.

How Green Was My Valley 

MV5BMjE1YWRmMWEtYTQ0Yy00NGEwLWFmNzAtZDkwOWNjMzkwYzJmXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNjc1NTYyMjg@._V1_UX182_CR0,0,182,268_AL_

Gentleman’s Agreement

Gentleman's_Agreement_(1947_movie_poster)

From Here to Eternity

From_Here_to_Eternity_film_poster

Gone With The Wind

Gone_With_The_Wind_1967_re-release

Cat On A Hot Tin Roof

Cat_roof

West Side Story

West_Side_Story_poster

Lawrence of Arabia

220px-Lawrence_of_arabia_ver3_xxlg

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf

5183CT06SGL._SY445_

Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner

guess-whos-coming-to-dinner-movie-poster-1967-1010267936

Funny Girl

large_4b5ZtYmVtwz5R0UDavj3rvQJrBj

Fiddler On The Roof

fiddler_on_the_roof

All The Presidents Men

MPW-60749

Milk

milk-movie-poster

Kramer Vs Kramer

220px-Oscar_posters_79

Terms of Endearment 

MV5BMTk0ODM4NDk0MF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTEzMDUxMDE@._V1_UY1200_CR90,0,630,1200_AL_

The Cider House Rules

cider_house_rules_xlg

An Education

education_xlg

The Wolf Of Wall Street

wolf_of_wall_street_ver3_xlg

Guardians of the Galaxy 2

download.jpg

Moonrise Kingdom

moonrise-kingdom-movie-poster-2012-1020750674

Saving Private Ryan

MV5BZjhkMDM4MWItZTVjOC00ZDRhLThmYTAtM2I5NzBmNmNlMzI1XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDYyMDk5MTU@._V1_UY1200_CR93,0,630,1200_AL_

Going In Style 

going_in_style

Wall Street

MPW-76145

King Ralph

king_ralph_xlg

Planes Trains and Automobiles

A70-12393

O Brother, Where Art Thou?

51Z2g-KN03L

The Monuments Men

Monuments-Men-poster-2

Good Will Hunting

Good_Will_Hunting_theatrical_poster

Good Morning Vietnam 

large_7gxvvzBj5dAIiTbGItX3V48YPMb

This Is Spinal Tap

5f688539c8ca40399076d1b7b1d869e5

How many of these do you think I’ll get done before July 21st 2019?

Valentines Day

How To Write A Speech (2).png

I didn’t get a card today, I knew that was coming. It amazes me though how many people don’t actually know the history of Valentines Day.

It goes back to ancient Rome, where the Christianity was a crime. Christianity was a crime in its infancy, because it flew in the face of the Religious multitheism that was Rome. Rome had no problem with different religions, but they tried to fold them into their own, this is why there is a temple to Isis (goddess of health, marriage and wisdom, not the so called Islamic state) located in the roman settlement of Caerleon (just outside Newport). But because the first commandment states “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” the Romans, whose emperor was said to have divine connections , may have had a problem with this.

So because of the legal status of Christianity, Christian marriages couldn’t be performed openly, then along came Valentinus, who performed the marriages in secret as a means to stop the now married men from being sent to war. Upon being discovered and imprisoned many sources claim that whilst imprisoned he heals the blindness of his jailers daughter, whom he falls in love with. Upon the day of his execution  he leaves her a love letter, signed “from your Valentine” .

So there you have the so called history of Valentines Day, but sources for its veracity are mostly folklore and hearsay, and at best could be said to be apocryphal, so hopefully that makes you feel better, but if you’re at home reading this blog on Valentines Day, not much is going to make you feel better.

 

The Lazy Ramblings Of A Lazy Guy (On Being In Love)

The Man Down My Local (2).png

I was recently introduced to the Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Fellow by Jerome K Jerome. The book consists of 14 essays on 14 topics

  1. ON BEING IDLE.
  2. ON BEING IN LOVE.
  3. ON BEING IN THE BLUES.
  4. ON BEING HARD UP.
  5. ON VANITY AND VANITIES.
  6. ON GETTING ON IN THE WORLD.
  7. ON THE WEATHER.
  8. ON CATS AND DOGS.
  9. ON BEING SHY.
  10. ON BABIES.
  11. ON EATING AND DRINKING.
  12. ON FURNISHED APARTMENTS.
  13. ON DRESS AND DEPORTMENT.
  14. ON MEMORY.

Jerome K Jerome is pretty much me down to a tee. He’s lazy and just writes whatever comes to mind. He doesn’t care who he offends, and I often felt that he may have been somewhat high when he picked up the pen. But Mr Jerome has inspired me, so I am going to be writing a series of posts on the topics that Mr Jerome turned his hand at. (I know I’m ripping the guy off, but quite frankly I don’t care)

On Being In Love 

Have you ever seen someone and known that they would be a terrible distraction to your life. That was how I would describe it, that feeling of knowing that this person is going to really change your life. That knowledge that this is going to be massively inconvenient.

That’s how it all begins then you slip into it, the early days are all wine and dinner and flowers and dancing, but then comes the big pants and netflix, the cups of tea, the farting and the lack of make up, if you can get through that, that is true love. The enduring real world version of the thing.

Foreigner wanted to know what love is, well its two people who have decided to just give up and settle with each other because they find the other person somewhat less detestable than the rest of humanity, that my friends is love.

This is the second in series of posts ripping off the work of Mr Jerome K Jerome and his seminal piece The Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Man.

 

The Lazy Ramblings of A Lazy Guy (On Being Idle)

 

The Man Down My Local (1).pngI was recently introduced to the Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Fellow by Jerome K Jerome. The book consists of 14 essays on 14 topics

  1. ON BEING IDLE.
  2. ON BEING IN LOVE.
  3. ON BEING IN THE BLUES.
  4. ON BEING HARD UP.
  5. ON VANITY AND VANITIES.
  6. ON GETTING ON IN THE WORLD.
  7. ON THE WEATHER.
  8. ON CATS AND DOGS.
  9. ON BEING SHY.
  10. ON BABIES.
  11. ON EATING AND DRINKING.
  12. ON FURNISHED APARTMENTS.
  13. ON DRESS AND DEPORTMENT.
  14. ON MEMORY.

Jerome K Jerome is pretty much me down to a tee. He’s lazy and just writes whatever comes to mind. He doesn’t care who he offends, and I often felt that he may have been somewhat high when he picked up the pen. But Mr Jerome has inspired me, so I am going to be writing a series of posts on the topics that Mr Jerome turned his hand at. (I know I’m ripping the guy off, but quite frankly I don’t care)

On Being Idle

Laziness is both a blessing and a curse, there is nothing more satisfying than spending a day lazing about on the sofa, especially when you know that there are plenty of more important things that you could be doing, and therein lies the curse. Having to put aside that bliss, can prove difficult and indeed a real hardship and can even lead to outright resentment. Or at least this is how I feel. I’ve now reached the point where I actually hate to have to do things. When people interrupt my doing nothing I really do get a little bit angry about the whole thing.

Since the advent of the internet the whole staying in thing really has taken off, with the world of online streaming services and takeaway foods that you don’t even have to speak to people to get, the world of insular laziness has actually become more and more of a easy thing to achieve.

Laziness and indeed idleness itself is a state of mind, its where you sacrifice any sort of social life just to achieve the pleasure that comes from doing nothing. It’s hard to get into the head space required to want to do nothing but watch Game of Thrones in your pants while eating cereal straight from the box.

There are some people who couldn’t be lazy if their lives depended on it. They just lack that lack of drive. They have too much motivation, too much determination to just get things done. The world would stop without those people, without them we wouldn’t have anything. But thanks to those people the rest of us, those lazy fellows can enjoy the things those great enablers have given us. Thanks to them we can vegetate until we fuse to with our sofas, until bed sores set in and until we have to wash ourselves with rags on sticks.

6cd24fc01d4a91665df7b9b6429418a3664d9158b6b24f562b09d22d05356bf2.jpg

The world takes a dim view of laziness, but to those who say this is say to you…meh I’ll tell you later.

 

This is the first in series of posts ripping off the work of Mr Jerome K Jerome and his seminal piece The Idle Thoughts Of An Idle Man. 

I Been Spendin’ Most My Life Livin’ In This Santa’s Paradise

I had planned a blog post out in my head that would have been rather long, but I have decided to research that a little more, because today I spent the afternoon finishing off my Christmas shopping, and have spent the evening wrapping it all.

Today I’ve got through two rolls of wrapping paper and six meters of clear cellophane, this proves two things that I already knew:

  1. I really hate wrapping gifts.
  2. I really suck at wrapping gifts.

But I suppose that’s what the festive season is all about, that and getting so drunk that you lose control of your bladder and eating so much you run the risk of gaining your own orbit.

From Netflix and Chill to Dressing to Kill (101 Tips For The Modern Gentleman)

  1. Knowing a good florist is a must, whether getting a mothers day bouquet or a dozen roses for that special somebody, nothing says I care less than the words Tesco’s Own, it also shows that you give a damn beyond some passing thought whilst buying beer.
  2. A true gentleman knows his good points and his bad and whilst you should always accentuate your good points there is absolutely no reason to shy away and mask your bad points. If you have a blocked sink, call a plumber. If you don’t know which end of a paintbrush is up call a decorator. There is nothing unmanly about it, knowing what I do about myself and lack of prowess with a wrench my last struggle involving a toilet will  be teaching my daughter to use one.
  3. A real man changes his bed sheets weekly, as well as this you should own more than one set of bed sheets, you’re not in university any more.
  4. Work out a “look” early on, I’ve been the guy in a suit since 17, you should experiment with styles until you find one that works for you and remember that dressing well is its own reward.
  5. Know a good jeweller, even if you’re single, it’s good to know one, even if its just for your own watches and cufflinks.
  6. Always tip waiters and waitresses even if service is poor. You don’t know whats going on in their life, or if this poor service is the result of a bad day, incompetent co workers or a manager with a personality akin to Seabiscuit’s nether regions. Chances are poor service isn’t solely down to them alone and a decent tip may make it a better service for the next person.
  7. Familiarise yourself with the menu’s and wine list’s of at least three fine dining establishments (including one vegetarian spot) knowing the menus and winelists will make it easier to steer the bill to suit your budget and a good recommendation on the wine goes a lot further than “a bottle of the house red please”.
  8. chivalry may not be dead but it is on life support. these days its not the norm to pull out chairs or stand whenever a woman leaves the table. In this day and age a I settle for a sort of half chivalry, I’ll stand to greet a woman and always offer up my seat in a crowded bar or on public transport, I will always hold the door open for anyone, regardless of gender, I tell myself that I’ll start acting in strict accordance with the chivalric code the very moment I’m knighted
  9. All men Should Own a decent suit, a tailored suit is to women as expensive lingerie is to men.
  10. Never wear a hat indoors unless you work in a kitchen or on building site.
  11. A gentleman should always have about his person: a working pen, a handkerchief and a lighter, as you may never know when you or even better a young lady may need one.
  12. A good knowledge of wines and spirits for the man about is a must. Putting lemonade in smirnoff is acceptable, putting it in grey goose is a capital crime. Similarly not knowing the difference between sparkling wine and champagne is something no one should be guilty of. Even if you don’t like a particular spirit or aren’t a wine drinker a little education is no bad thing.
  13. You should always endeavour to treat those who are gender reassigning as you would any member of that persons chosen gender, and whilst I’m sure I personally will put my foot in it and occasionally  use the wrong pronoun I don’t do so from bumbling ignorance, not from malice, it’s just that I find gender politics hard enough to navigate under normal circumstances, let alone when someone is trying to cross the floor.
  14. Whilst a gentleman may possess a wonderful singing voice, when he chooses to employ it is important, after a rugby match can be overlooked , karaoke can be forgiven if not forgotten. But under no circumstances should a chap engage in a boozy kebab infused rendition of Wonderwall, even if he happens to make up one third of the three tenors.
  15. You should always strive to remember everyone’s name and one fact about them, this simple act can boost the confidence of almost anyone, as it shows that a near complete stranger thinks enough of them to take an interest in their life.
  16. Learn a little about art, even if its just learning to say you don’t like something with a touch of eloquence.
  17. There is nothing wrong with a little culture, Britain is a land of stately homes, art galleries and museums, why not acquaint yourself with the cultural melting pot that is Britain, In Wales, all museums are free and host impressive collections of historical artefacts and art ranging from Pre-Raphaelite beauties to modern art reminiscent to something hanging on my fridge. This does prove, in spite of what the newspapers say, culture can be found outside of the M25.
  18. A man should always have at his disposal a selection of wines and spirits (including a red a white, and a rosé all above the £7 mark) and the spirits should be drinkable alone but also shouldn’t make you want to weep if someone asks for a mixer.
  19. you should never underestimate the power of being well informed, watching the news or reading a newspaper regularly will not only increase your understanding of current events and the  world in general, but will provide you with ample conversation topics and is proven to increase your IQ.
  20. Having survived this long in your life you should know that when a woman asks “how do I look in this?” your automatic response should be “you look great”. This however is NOT the case. You should answer honestly, if a colour doesn’t work for her, tell her. Don’t be harsh in your criticism, explain your opinion delicately, shes asked for your opinion, give it. She’ll probably respect you more for it.
  21. A gentleman will under no circumstances post explicit materials of any persons they have been intimate with on the internet and will not share these images with friends, regardless of break up circumstances or any other mitigating factor.
  22. Good manners should be the norm, not a means to to get into someones undergarments, just because you’re polite to someone does not guarantee VIP access to their genitalia. Do not then accuse that person of leading you on, I fail to see why people feel they should be rewarded for behaving the way they are meant to behave.
  23. Being a single man can be both amazing and frustrating in equal measure in equal measure. Most frustrating is trying to determine weather or not someone is into you. I have a simple trick. This Text “Hey [insert name here] hows it going I was wondering if you  wanted to [activity] on [day]. How they answer should give you some indication of how they feel. A resounding yes is a pretty clear, however if they reply with an “I’m busy sorry” there are two interpretations to this answer, either they are legitimately busy or trying to let you down gently. I’ve only ever found one way to work out which, reply exactly “no problem, maybe some other time.” How your intended replies will be the give away. If they reply offering alternative dates/times you’re in, if there’s no reply it may be time to move on.
  24. A mans home is his castle and he should rule with an iron fist from throne room to kitchen, no man should fear pots and pans, all men should learn to cook a few simple dishes and learn them well and remember that presentation is everything.
  25. A true gent will avoid firearms unless he plans to eat what he kills.
  26. One should always know how to make a number of cocktails, some basics are; a  screwdriver and a sex on the beach.
  27. Always strive for the perfect Martini, knowing full well that you will never achieve it.
  28. Talking about money depresses people, there is nothing more puerile than talking about the size of your (ahem) endowment.
  29. always pass the port to the left, even if you don’t touch the stuff yourself.
  30. All gentlemen should own a corkscrew
  31. The correct way to make tea is; teabag then boiling water, allow to brew for about a minute, then add sugar and finally milk
  32. Basic use of cutlery should be instilled at a very young age, but since none of us can help our upbringing, remember, the knife goes to the right and the fork to the left. Regardless of need, a knife should always be picked up and held at all meal times. A spoon should be used in the right hand and elbows should never touch the table.
  33. Keeping abreast of fashion is a must, if only to know what to avoid, crocs are a crime against nature, let alone fashion.
  34. you should learn some basic DIY skills there is something almost therapeutic about beating something with a hammer for constructive purposes.
  35. When hosting a dinner party you should not serve food that was ordered from justeat
  36. A gentleman should follow sport, if only to know what’s going on when it appears on TV.
  37. Learning to sew is a useful tip for the modern gent as “make do and mend” is a trend that has fallen by the wayside, but it makes your clothes last and keeps you looking better for longer.
  38. You as a gentleman should never underestimate the power of live performance, and you should regularly partake in the majesty pf theater, ballet and opera, not only to broaden your mind, but they will often broaden your social standing as well.
  39. You should always give money to buskers, regardless of their musical talents.
  40. A gentleman should always offer to pay, but shouldn’t be threatened by going dutch.
  41. Flip Flops are a no
  42. A man should always try to maintain his appearance, you may run to fat or lose your hair, but you should always try to make the most out of what you have to work with.
  43. One should always strive to be on time, the universe may conspire to foil you in this, but the effort should be made.
  44. A mobile phone should be used only when needed, not as a social crutch.
  45. A man should imbibe enough to become fun, but stop before becoming a figure of fun.
  46. No man should ever have a name for his penis
  47. A sane man should always read his contracts word for word and should not shy away from asking for clarification or changes to be made.
  48. If a tan isn’t natural it shouldn’t be had.
  49. Body hair should be kept trimmed, a body trimmer is a must.
  50. An adult should both own and know how to tie a tie.
  51. A man should know how to dance, even if he chooses not to.
  52. A chap should only ever wear swimming trunks he would be comfortable going to a bar in.
  53. Never take a date to Wetherspoons (unless they ask) if Wetherspoons is the height of culinary excellence where you live…move.
  54. Know how much tax you should be paying.
  55. Always Know the number of a reliable taxi firm.
  56. Swearing is a part of modern life but a gentlemen will stand apart from the crowd. Why not turn a “go fuck yourself” into a “go and sodomise yourself”, why not get creative with it, the more loquacious the better.
  57. Always end a relationship in person. The end of a relationship should not mean the end of common courtesy, you owe it to that person to do things face to face.
  58. Always remember that your religious views are similar to your genitals, you may enjoy them, you may receive great comfort and pleasure from them in times of need and you may think that they are better than everybody else’s and want to spread them to the four corners of the world, but please refrain from brandishing them in public.
  59. You should always have a few little tricks at your disposal for entertaining children, but remember that children are actual human beings ,so you will need something better than the never classic “got your nose”.
  60. A gentleman will not bemoan his circumstances, but instead seek to change them. Remember it’s better to light a flame thrower than curse the darkness.
  61. Never wave cash at a bartender, its undignified and wont get you served quicker.
  62. Whether texting, emailing, writing or tweeting, always use the queens English, spelling mistakes can be overlooked, but deliberate mistakes cannot, for example, like is not spelled with a Y, bae is not a word and yolo sounds like the name of a circus dwarf.
  63. Even if you love the sound of your own voice, others may not, sometimes less is more and its the quietest that speak with the loudest voice, in a meeting or social situation, others have a right to be heard.
  64. A gentleman should never lose his temper, times are sent to test us, but the times make the man, decisions made in haste will invariably go sour.
  65. Alternatively though more has been lost through indecision than choosing the wrong course of action, the key is confidence in your conviction.
  66. Always look a person in the eye when talking to them, don’t look at their feet. Observing someones body language while conversing is fine, but feet have nothing interesting to say.
  67. By now you should know what to ask for from a barber and have preprepared small talk ready for once you’ve asked them for it.
  68. Blasphemy should be avoided, especially by atheists. It’s a tad hypocritical to yell “Jesus Christ” regardless of whether you’ve hit your hand with a hammer. This rule may be overlooked as it would take the most iron willed of atheists to yell “theory of evolutionary biology and natural selection” when met with a hammer.
  69. Newborn babies, whilst the representation of innocence, purity and the future are in fact nothing more than squashed, ugly, wailing, loud masses of bodily fluids, however when presented with one a gentleman should make the generally accepted cooing noises, recitations of beauty and cuteness and appropriate comparisons between this shrill ball of vomit, urine and excrement and the adults who sired it.
  70. Talking to oneself is perfectly acceptable, sometimes its nice to have some intelligent conversation.
  71. Never be afraid to admit that you don’t know something or that you don’t know that much about a particular subject, you may learn something new and a little education goes a long way.
  72. If you do one day become a parent, remember that it is important to strike the balance between master, magistrate, mentor and mate.
  73. If you have to question your motives for being somewhere, perhaps its time to leave.
  74. A gent should know what to drink regardless of where he is, it really is a massive annoyance to be held up at a bar, or while getting coffee, by someone else’s indecision.
  75. He whose round it is shall choose the vintage.
  76. Similarly if it is your round and someone is not specific about what they want, ie “I’ll have a lager”. It is bad form to get them the cheapest brand, unless that is what they usually drink.
  77. It’s no bad thing to admit to being too broke to take part in an activity with friends. It shows you’re responsible enough to say no and the occasional night to yourself is something to be treasured.
  78. Whether netflixing or attending the cinema, you should always ask what it is your companion would like to watch, however prefacing it with what you would like to watch is acceptable.
  79. Never put a knife in your mouth
  80. It’s okay to correct a mispronunciation, but not to make fun of it.
  81. Travel, a holiday should broaden the mind, and not just diminish the liver.
  82. Even if you are an ardent pacifist, never put down someone for serving in the military. It’s a legitimate career path for many who would otherwise be written off by society and chances are an 18 old private will be earning more than most recent graduates, with the added bonus of being debt free.
  83. Become informed about politics, you don’t have to join a political party, but at election time you should look at what the candidates are saying and work out who will be best for you. nothing is more childish than voting for someone because your family has done so for decades, or worse refusing to vote outright.
  84. if you don’t drive you should have, at least, a basic knowledge of public transport in your area.
  85. Never mention a persons weight, if they’ve lost some, chances are they’ll know and if they’ve put some on chances are they wont wan’t to know.
  86. When it comes to footwear you should try and strike a balance between comfort and looking good, if you ever find a pair that are both, you should by 20 pairs of them.
  87. Real gentlemen will always have a toast ready, you never know when it’ll come in handy
  88. You should always taste food before adding salt, adding salt to something without tasting it is a little insulting at the best of times. So try it first.
  89. Animals are a good judge of character, even if you don’t like them, be nice to them.
  90. Cheese is life, make peace with it.
  91. When giving a gift, you should bear in mind that presentation is key. Even a poundland box of chocolates can be made presentable with a bow. This works wonders at Christmas time, especially for those relatives that you are obligated to buy for, but don’t want to spend a fortune on.
  92.  Whilst the health problems are highlighted everywhere, smoking is still a hobby for many men, just be wary of your surroundings and be mindful of those around you.
  93. Get a coffee maker, good coffee is worth waiting for.
  94. No mater how hot it is, a shirt should always be worn in public (exceptions can be made for swimming pools and beaches)
  95. Always give a lady the aisle seat.
  96. Announcing that you are going to the toilet is fine (preferred terms are the gent’s or the men’s room) announcing what you are going to do there however is not .
  97. Invest in a good umbrella, a cheap one will break at the most inopportune moment, one that cost £10 or more may make it through the British summertime.
  98. Knowing the rules to two or three card games is an essential skill. No one wants to sit at a bar in a casino, but alternately no one wants to lose their shirts either, so remember bet with your head not over it.
  99. The English language is a beautiful thing, don’t bastardise is with text speak.
  100. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but emoji’s are worthless
  101. Most importantly, remember that being a gentleman is not about education and status, but about a commitment to bettering yourself, being comfortable in your own skin and treating everyone with the respect that they deserve.

Hopefully this post will help you out in some way. Because it may be a mans world, but there is defiantly a long way to go until its a gentleman’s world.

Opera, An Aide De Small Talk Guide

One of my more obscure passions is opera. I know what you’re thinking, that this is a pretty weird thing for a man in his 20’s to be into, but there you have it, I am enamoured  with those foreign subsidised vowels. I’m not sure how my love of the art form came about but it is something I’ve indulged since my teens, leading my mother to be possibly the only parent ever to yell up the stairs “WILL YOU TURN DOWN THAT F***ING OPERA” to which I would invariably turn it up louder.

So here is a little look at 5 operas designed to give you something to start off with.

Pagliacci:

pagliacci

Pagliacci is a fairly short Italian opera by  Ruggero Leoncavallo which premiered in Milan in May 1892. It follows the tale of the jilted clown Pagliacci and his quest for revenge on his cheating wife and her lover. As an opera in two acts the High point of the piece from my point of view, comes at the end of act one, where the great clown, upon discovering his wife’s infidelity begins preparing to take the stage for the evenings performance, it’s beautiful, haunting and really moving.

HMS Pinafore:

hms-pinafore

H.M.S Pinafore is a comic opera in two acts by the British duo Gilbert and Sullivan. This opened at the Opera Comique and had an original run of 571 performances. The story takes place aboard the ship HMS Pinafore. The captain’s daughter, Josephine, is in love with a working class sailor, her father intends her to marry the slightly inbred First Lord of the Admiralty. She goes along with her father’s wishes, but her fiancee’s  advocacy of the equality of all man encourages Josephine to overturn conventional social orders and plans to elope with her true love Ralph. As with most Gilbert and Sullivan operas it feels like a pantomime, especially being in English. The best part from my point of view is the song He Is An Englishman, it evokes a national pride in me (even as a Welshman) and is both stirring and rousing at the same time.

Cavalleria Rusticana 

632642_1.jpg

The Cavalleria Rusticana is an opera in one act by Pietro Mascagni adapted from a play and short story written by Giovanni Verga. It premiered in Rome in 1890 and since 1893, due to its relatively short length, has been performed with the aforementioned Pagliacci. The story is a pretty simple one, a young farmer goes off to war, while he’s away his fiancee gets married to another man, he comes back and meets another woman, his married ex doesn’t like it, they begin an affair, then the cuckolded husband and the jilted rebound girl team up for revenge and like any good opera ends in tragedy. You may recongnise this particular opera from The Godfather Part Three. I think the best bit musically would actually be the Intermezzo, and the this opera was actually the first opera recording that I ever purchased on CD (the Maria Callas version).

Carmen

1236-default-l

Carmen is a four act opera by the French Composer Georges Bizet the opera was first performed at the Opéra-Comique in Paris on 3 March 1875, the song Habanera from act 1 and the toreador Song from act 2 are among the best known of all operatic arias. The opera is written in the genre of opéra comique with musical numbers separated by dialogue. It is set in southern Spain and tells the story of the downfall of Don José, a naïve soldier who is seduced by the tempestuous gypsy Carmen. José leaves his childhood sweetheart and also deserts from his military service, however he loses Carmen’s love to the toreador Escamillo, after which José  then kills her in a jealous rage. The depictions of everyday life, immorality, and lawlessness, and the tragic death of the main character on stage, broke new ground in French opera and was highly controversial at the time, however managed to draw in non french audiences and proved extremely popular outside France, a fitting legacy for Bizet, who died after the productions 33rd performance, never knowing the success it would gain.

Der Ring des Nibelungen

download.jpg

 I’m cheating somewhat as Der Ring Des Nibelungen is actually a cycle of four operas composed by Richard Wagner, comprising of Das Rheingolfd, Die Walküre, Siegfried and Götterdämmerung. The plot revolves around a magic ring that grants the power to rule the world, forged by the Nibelung dwarf Alberich from gold he stole from the Rhine maidens of the river Rhine, intended to rule the feminine multiplicative power by a fearful magical act termed as ‘denial of love’. With the assistance of the god Loge, Wotan – the chief of the gods – steals the ring from Alberich, but is forced to hand it over to the giants, Fafner and Fasolt in payment for building the home of the gods, Valhalla, or they will take Freia, who provides the gods with the golden apples that keep them young. Wotan’s schemes to regain the ring, spanning generations, drive much of the action in the story. His grandson, the mortal Siegfried, wins the ring by slaying Fafner (who slew Fasolt for the ring) – as Wotan intended – but is eventually betrayed and slain as a result of the intrigues of Alberich’s son Hagen, who wants the ring. Finally, the Valkyrie Brünnhilde – Siegfried’s lover and Wotan’s daughter who lost her immortality for defying her father in an attempt to save Siegfried’s father Sigmund – returns the ring to the Rhine maidens as she commits suicide on Siegfried’s funeral pyre. Hagen is drowned as he attempts to recover the ring. In the process, the gods and Valhalla are destroyed. The musical high points of this saga are too numerous to mention, but most will be familiar with the piece the Ride of the Valkyries (of Apocalypse Now fame).

Hopefully you’ll all go out and immerse yourself in these great works of art, but at the very least I hope this little guide may come in useful if you ever need it for small talk, are dragged to one by a would be suitor or even need an answer in a pub quiz.

 

 

The A-Z Of Super Teams

The Avengers

The Avengers.png
Marvels flagship super team formed in the 1960’s and originally comprising of Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Ant-man and the Wasp, this team has gone on to produce multiple spin off titles and has run for over 50 years. Even being the focus of the current Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Big Hero Six

Big Hero Six.jpg
Japan’s premier superteam introduced by marvel in the 1990’s, originally comprising of Hiro, Gogo Tomago, Honey Lemon and Baymax along with X Man Sunfire and former villain Silver Samurai, this team was formed by the Japanese government to protect their shores. This title was short lived running for only 3 issues in 1997, then ressurected as a mini series in 2005 before enjoying success as an award winning Disney animation

The Champions

the-champions

In the aftermath of the Civil War II storyline, Ms. Marvel, Spider-Man (Miles Morales), and Nova have left the Avengers and make plans to “put the world back together.” After recruiting The Totally Awesome Hulk, The Vision’s daughter Viv, and a time displaced cyclops, they form the Champions.

The Defenders

The Defenders.jpg
Originally formed of The Incredible Hulk, Namor The Submariner and Dr Strange the team came together in order to take on lovecraftian villains the undying ones, who are hell bent (pun most defiantly intended) on taking over the earth for themselves. The defenders would enjoy a great deal of success over the years and, unlike regular superteams, would feature a rotating cast of characters depending on the mission at hand. The defenders name lives on to this day and will feature as a new television series as a joint venture between Marvel Studios and Netflix.

Excalibur

Excalibur.jpg
Britain’s Premier superteam, consisting of various European and American X-men led by the mystical hero Captain Britain and his wife, the Roma Gypsy, Meggan. Conceived as a team when the X-men were missing and presumed dead, Excalibur dealt with a number of threats, including aliens, werewolves, alien werewolves and a whole series of extra-dimensional misadventures. The original series ran for 125 issues and then came back as a mini series, then another 24 issue series entitled New Excalibur, which then morphed into the Captain Britain and Mi 13 series.

Fantastic Four

f4.jpg
Marvels first family was arguably the beginning of the silver age of comics as far as marvel are concerned, a team made up of the Thing, The Human Torch, The Invisible Woman and the bizarrely titled Mr Fantastic (the man has an excessive amount of doctorates but whatever). The Fantastic Four have endured in comics since their development in 1961, however have not enjoyed much success in other media, with every attempt at hitting the big screen being a disaster, including one film so bad it was never released.

Guardians of the Galaxy

GOTG.jpg
There’s been more than one team to bear the name Guardians of the Galaxy, a team from the year 3000 who would sporadically appear in the pages of the Avengers, and the New team, coming in the Wake of Marvels Annihilation and Annihilation Conquest events, this version featuring Star Lord, Gamora (the deadliest woman in the galaxy) Drax The Destroyer, Rocket Raccoon and Groot (the sentient tree and Monarch of Planet X) have stared in 2 series (25 and 27 issues respectively) with a third ongoing series under way, as well as a major motion picture (with a sequel to be released next year) that many are claiming is the high point of the Marvel Cinematic universe.

Heroes For Hire

Heroes_for_Hire.png
Heroes for Hire is literally as it says on the tin, the concept started with Luke Cage the Hero For Hire, who teamed up with Iron Fist, and then various other superheroes forming heroes for hire inc.

The Invaders

The Invaders.jpg
The Invaders were Marvels superteam of world war two featuring Captain America and his teenage sidekick Bucky, The original Human Torch and his teenage sidekick (sensing a pattern?) Toro, Namor The Sub Mariner, Union Jack and Spitfire. They took the fight to the axis powers and did what they could to further the allied cause, before Captain America and Bucky became frozen in the ice cold Atlantic.

Justice League

justice-league
The Justice League of America is DC’s flagship superhero team, originally formed of Batman, Superman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Wonder Woman and The Martian Manhunter. The Justice League has featured almost every hero from the DC universe at some point or another. The team has enjoyed great success as a title, running almost non stop since the 1960’s, its spawned two animated tv series, various animated feature length pictures and a major motion picture is just around the corner.

Knights of Pendragon

Knights_of_Pendragon.jpg
The team is formed to be agents of the Green Knight; a mystical entity representing the natural cycle and spiritual growth. The Knight is in ageless conflict with the Bane, an unnatural destructive force of warfare and winter, apparently led by the Red Knight, the Green Knight’s adversary. The Green Knight invests power, in the form of a possessing spirit bestowing powers, to various groups throughout British history, to protect nature; one such group were the original Knights of the Round Table; the Knights of Pendragon are a modern-day incarnation.

Legion of Superheroes

legion-of-superheroes
The Legion of Super-Heroes is a fictional superhero team in the 30th and 31st centuries of the DC Comics Universe. Initially, the team was closely associated with the original Superboy, and was first portrayed as a group of time travelers who frequently visited him. In later years, the Legion’s origin and back story were fleshed out, and the group was given prominence on par with Superboy’s in a monthly comic. Eventually, Superboy was removed from the team altogether, and appeared afterwards as an occasional guest star.

Midnight Sons

Midnight Sons.jpg
The midnight sons came together from the mystic corner of the Marvel universe, comprising of Blade, both The original and the Second Ghost Rider’s Johhny Blaze and Danny Ketch, Morbius the Living Vampire and Doctor Strange, they came together to fight threats like Vampires and Lillith the mother of demons. The team was rather short lived even though the concept was pretty cool.

Nextwave Agents of H.A.T.E

Nextwave.jpg
The Nextwave series features a collection of minor Marvel superheroes: monster hunter Elsa Bloodstone; Monica Rambeau, the former Captain Marvel; Tabitha Smith, formerly of X-Force; Aaron Stack, the Machine Man; and new character the Captain, previously called Captain ☠☠☠☠ (the obscured words being so horrible that Captain America allegedly “beat seven shades of it out of [him]” and left him in a dumpster with a bar of soap in his mouth). These individuals are assembled by H.A.T.E., the Highest Anti-Terrorism Effort, to fight Unusual Weapons of Mass Destruction (U.W.M.D.s). The Nextwave team learns that H.A.T.E. is funded by the Beyond Corporation©, an organization formerly known as terrorist group S.I.L.E.N.T. As a result, the heroes leave H.A.T.E., stealing a vehicle called the Shockwave Rider. They destroy the U.W.M.D.s that the Beyond Corporation and H.A.T.E. have hidden around the United States, while being pursued by H.A.T.E. Director Dirk Anger.

Outsiders

Outsiders.jpg
Originally formed by Batman The Outsiders have had three incarnations. They were founded by Batman, whose ties to the League had become strained. The Outsiders were reformed in the early 2000s by Nightwing and Arsenal after The Titans dissolved following the events of the graduation day story line, in which the heroine Donna Troy was killed by a rogue Superman android. The intention of this new team was to act as ‘hunters’, actively searching for superhuman criminals currently on the loose, rather than waiting for them to act and then responding as other super-vigilante groups often do. In its most recent formation the group’s leadership was relinquished by Nightwing to Batman, who recruited former members and newcomers. He has stated his intention to use the team as a black ops version of the Justice League, able to take the proverbial “fall” in public opinion when the League cannot. After Batman’s (apparent) death in Final Crisis, he posthumously charged Alfred Pennyworth with recruiting a new team of Outsiders for a forthcoming mission of “great importance”.

Power Pack

powerpack
Power Pack is a fictional team of comic book superheroes consisting of four young siblings who appear in books published by Marvel Comics. They were created by writer Louise Simonson and artist June Brigman and first appeared in their own series in 1984. The series lasted 62 issues. The characters have since appeared in other books. Power Pack was the first team of preteen superheroes in the Marvel Universe and the first in comics to operate without adult supervision. The title retains a cult following and in 2005 was relaunched as a title aimed at younger reader

Quantum and Woody

Quantum and Woody.jpg
Eric Henderson and Woodrow Van Chelton are adoptive brothers. After years of estrangement they are brought together by the mysterious death of their father (Woody’s foster father). They set out to find their father’s killer and, in the course of their investigation, are accidentally imbued with powers.

Runaways

The Runaways.jpg
The Runaways are an interesting concept. Take the children of a group of super villains, let them inherit their superpowers, then upon discovering that their parents are murderous villains instead of doing the superhero thing and fighting them, they run away.In August 2016 Hulu ordered a pilot for a TV series based on the comic.

Suicide Squad

Suicide Squad.jpg
Take villains and make them heroes, its a simple concept, that has made DC a fair bit of money over the last year, Suicide Squad is has been around in its current incarnation since the mid 80’s and this year has managed to become one of DC’s highest grossing cinematic releases to date.

Teen Titans

Teen Titans.jpg
What started out as a Justice League for teenage sidekicks has over the years evolved into one of DC’s best selling titles, spawning its own animated series and several animated features including the upcoming Justice League vs Teen Titans. Originally featuring Robin, Aqualad, Speedy and Wonder Girl the Titans have expanded to feature fan favourites such as Cyborg, Raven, Beast Boy and Starfire.

Ultimates

The Ultimates.jpeg
The Ultimates are The Avengers, but from another universe, thats pretty much all you need to know.

V Battalion

V-Battalion.png
The group was originally a British agency formed in World War II to fight Nazis,the leader of the organization was John Watkins. However, in his superhero alter-ego, Citizen V, he was strangled to death by Baron Zemo. In time Zemo hunted down and murdered most of the original organization. Citizen V’s pregnant lover Paulette Brazee was kept in hiding to protect her and her unborn child. She would later give birth to a son named John (JJ) Watkins, Jr. In time both Paulette and JJ took up the mantle of Citizen V as well as JJ’s son John Watkins III.With the original organization destroyed, a group of Golden Age heroes choose to reconstitute the group, including Roger Aubrey (the Destroyer), Betty Barstow (Silver Scorpion), and Helmut Grueler (Iron Cross). The organization operated out of Symkaria and one of their primary missions was to hunt down Nazi war criminals. The team has constituted 2 mini series and one or two sporadic appearances over the past 20 or so years.

West Coast Avengers

avengers-westcoast
The team is founded by the Avenger Hawkeye in response to a suggestion by android and fellow Avenger the Vision, who at the time wished to expand Avengers’ influence. Hawkeye recruits Mockingbird, Wonder Man, Tigra, and War Machine, Together the team defeat a petty criminal called the Blank and later the Avengers foe Graviton. The team would later take on Henry Pym as a scientific advisor and compound manager. Due to constant in-fighting and a general lack of organization, Captain America intervenes and disbands the team. Several members of the West Coast team—including a returned Iron Man—are unhappy about the decision and leave to form another team, called Force Works.

X-men

X-men.jpg
The X-Men were formed by Charles Xavier and his dream of peaceful coexistence between humans and the mutant race. Facing racism and fighting for survival these days the term X-Men pretty much just refers to any mutant out there, but the dream still lives on even if they fight for it. The X-men is arguably marvels biggest franchise with over 30 different ongoing titles over the last 50 years and and 9 major motion pictures (with a 10th to be released in 2017), as well as 3 pretty awesome cartoon series (with possibly the best theme tune outside of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)

Young Avengers

the-young-avengers
The Young Avengers came about after the actual avengers called it quits following the events of Avengers Disassembled. Featuring a Young Vision, the twin sons of the Scarlet Witch and (The adult) Vision, The half Skrull/ Half Kree Hulkling, and female teenage Hawkeye and a young black Captain America wannabe. They have slowly become a fan favourite, with two ongoing titles and various miniseries and one shots the Young Avengers are definitely here to stay.

Zoo Crew

Zoo_Crew_Issue_20.jpg

Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! (give me a break, nothing starts with z) is a DC Comics comic book about a team of funny animal superheroes called the Zoo Crew. The characters first appeared in a special insert in The New Teen Titans #16. followed by a series published from 1982 to 1983

 

 

Seeing Red (Razors) A 2000ad Review

What sounds better than making criminals pay for their crimes, by actually making them uphold the laws that they have broken? This is the concept of Red Razors. Brainwashing dangerous criminals into becoming the police force of Russia in the late 22nd century, what could go wrong?

red_razors

The series focuses on Razor’s the first of the Red Razor’s rehabilitation program, a former member of the Red Death gang, Razor’s is finally brought to Justice by Chief Judge Yeltsin, who after extensive surgery puts Razors to work cleaning up the streets of East Meg Two (the last population centre of a future Russia ravaged by nuclear war). Razors is a accompanied by his partner Ed, the talking horse.

Mark Millar (Civil War, Kick Ass) has managed to show a society that is overrun by violent crime, corruption at the highest levels, and the complete Americanisation of the world, there are lots of little nod’s and satirical references throughout, such as John Major’s Stand Up Comedy Club, the Mcburger and the Church of Elvis which left this hound dog chuckling right in the face of Armageddon and the violence that ensues, when the OAP KGB get their hands on a nuclear device supplied by a Mr Huggy Bear.

Steve Yeowell provides excellent art throughout and it really is quite well complimented by Nigel Dobbyn’s work in the second half of the book.

It was bloody, violent, shocking and managed to highlight the effects of capitalism on countries that aren’t used to such things as freedom of choice, this is why I devoured the book in one sitting and was then sad to find that that was itfor the Red Razors, hopefully one day there may be a sequel.