Monday, 30 April 2007

A DATE WITH BUTTONS: buttons responds!

The Rabbit Bites Back!


Before April has finally flown, I need to tell you about my calendar opening for this month.

This calendar (the best I've ever had) was a New Year’s gift from my good friend Barb Nicolson who lives in Los Angeles with her friend Moz - or Mozilla for short - who is a small green and purple dragon with prominent black eyebrows.

Moz has travelled the world (with Barb) and been photographed (by Barb) in front of many famous landmarks from Graceland…

…to the Great Wall of China.

Barb’s The Adventures of Moz Calendar for 2007 shows Mozilla everywhere from London to Hong Kong as well as many famous locations within the USA such as Bryce Canyon...

...and the famous geyser, 'Old Faithful'!

Apart from posing for the obligatory tourist pictures, Moz’s real skill is getting himself photographed with other old geezers -- sorry, I mean Stars and Celebrities!

Indeed, the calendar features him with (to drop but a few names) Robert Redford, Tony Bennett, Johnny Mathis and Phil Collins as well as the ever-radiant Elaine Paige.

But best of all, is the month of April where Moz is shown chatting with our very own Buttons who (as can be seen from his website and blogspot) is also a world-traveller of great sophistication and culturally refinement!

What has yet to be told is the story behind this particular photo-shoot…

When this picture was snapped, Moz and Buttons were sitting on the mailbox of legendary fantasy/sci-fi writer, Ray Bradbury, in Beverley Hills.

And the reason that Moz posed with Ray's mailbox rather than with the man himself was down to his having heard about a catastrophe that had almost befallen Buttons a few months earlier.

On a previous visit to Ray, I introduced him to Buttons and took a picture of their meeting. Unfortunately, Ray slightly misunderstood and assumed that Buttons was coming to live with him!

An extremely awkward moment followed with Ray welcoming Buttons and suggesting that he might care to settle down among a large group of bears, dogs, cats and other assorted creatures currently residing on his sofa.

Of course, Button's politely thanked Ray for the offer, but explained that inter-galactic travel -- whilst well within the scope of his accomplishments -- was not quite what he was planning for the immediate future and that he needed to return to Britain because his friend, Bodge, would miss him.

Ray, naturally, was very understanding about all this...

However, Buttons blabbed the story to Moz who told Barb and, when they joined me on my next visit, they decided not to take any unnecessary chances!

Sunday, 29 April 2007


Graffiti is unquestionably the artform of the 21st Century and Banksy and others have already been accorded the status of Old Masters.

A recent exponent of this art took an intriguingly nihilistic approach to the medium by reducing Kibworth Street, SW9 to a Street-with-no-name relocated in W8....

While a Brighton graffitist demonstrated a laudably moral and ecologically sound approach to the craft...

Saturday, 28 April 2007


Why should there be only roses in this world?
A grass flower or a dandelion flower
has as much beauty, as much importance
in the scheme of things.

- U G Krishnamurti

Photo -- click on image to enlarge -- taken with my new camera, replacing the one stolen a few weeks back. Thank you, David!!

[Image: © Brian Sibley, 2007]

Friday, 27 April 2007


Of the six people whom I tagged to list Five Goals That Are Relatively Simple and Which Might Make Me Successful If I Kept to Them, four have responded.

CAFRINE is suitably teasing with an interesting selection of goals desplayed on her blogspot that include being more disciplined --- and eating more chocolate!

I'll just let her EXPLAIN!

And here are the responses from my three friends who don't have their own blogspots...

It is interesting to see what aspirations, ambitions and obsessions we all seem to share...


1) To be a bit more like a rudderless ship and realise that there's quite a lot to be said for drifting around aimlessly at the whim of the current whilst the rest of the world floats on by in the nautical equivalent of a 4x4.

2) To keep the weight thing under control, carry on doing as much exercise as I can and playing footie as long as I can, even if it means not eating all the chocolate fingers or feeling compelled to finish all my Easter eggs by the end of the day.

3) To occasionally turn the computer off and go off in search of that Xanadu men have called reality.

4) To travel a whole lot more than I have done and, just for once, set foot in a commercial aeroplane.

5) To write a Christmas hit so that, like Hugh Grant in
About a Boy, I can just sit around all day collecting the royalties.

Can I have a signed copy, please, providng I promote it on my blogspot??

And now here are SUZANNE's goals...

Five goals... Gosh, this is a tough one. I'm not sure if I can distinguish between goals and things that I want!

1) One definite goal is of course to LOSE WEIGHT AND GET HEALTHY - how original is that?!

2) Try to FIND A JOB THAT I LOVE, like working with books... And that doesn't mean me sitting at my computer writing articles and poems that nobody's going to read.

3) STOP WORRYING - that's something I've been trying to do for years. Occasionally, I do manage to convince myself that it is pointless, like asking myself what is the worst case scenario and realising that it really isn't quite so bad.

4) After proving to the world and to myself that I can live on my own, FIND A LIFE-TIME PARTNER, and stop falling in love where it's not wanted.

5) And last, but definitely not least, the I WANT. I want to sell up everything here, move to the Vendée region in France and live with Marc. I can say that here because he doesn't read your blog!

Are you absolutely sure?! Anyway, good luck, Suzanne!

Meanwhile GILL lists her goals as follows...

1) Take more exercise...

Walking is painful, and this, combined with a job which is sedentary but busy, means that I spend a lot of hours sitting behind a desk then jumping into a taxi to sit behind a meeting table, then into another taxi to sit on a train. I sometimes make resolutions about swimming but it doesn't actually happen! Exercise would give me more energy and maybe I would lose some weight!

2) Be more patient...

I need things to happen "now", always. When they don't I am scratchy and difficult. I work at top speed, why can't everybody else? And why can't everybody understand everything immediately? Patience might not make me more successful in any material way but it would make me a better person!

3) Care about detail...

Because I don't! Detail [this is about work] bores me to death, it is somebody else's job. I want to get on to the next thing. This is not good. I do care about detail when I am decorating a room or setting a table so I ought to be able to translate this into the rest of my life, it would make me a better boss if I wasn't always saying "I don't know. Ask so and so."

4) Give up smoking...

I like smoking, it gives me pleasure. It also costs a lot of money and is anti social. Trouble is that I am deeply contra suggestible and the more the world in general tells me I can't do it the more I revert to adolescent rebellion and want to! Be good though not to have so much of my life ruled by when and where I can have a cigarette. The success would be social acceptability.

5) Creams and potions...

I have never been any good at moisturising and so on, it's boring! I almost never wear make up so don't need to use gunk to clean off other gunk. Still, I think I am certainly at that age where I should be religiously applying something to stave off wrinkles. I'm not sure how this would make me more successful, perhaps just to have a daily discipline would be a success.

My goodness, what a lazy grumpy person I am!

Not at all, Gill - just one of the hazards of goal-keeping...

[Cartoons: Mike Baldwin's Cornered]

Thursday, 26 April 2007


Time to reveal the answers to the entries in my recent book Book Competition.

Entrants were asked to sell the plot of a well known book in 12 words or less. The results proved too puzzling for most readers, but for those who wondered which book was what, here are the descriptions and the volumes they represented...

1) Orphans! Abortions! War! Incest! It's all about apples and pairs! (Joint-First-Place from Good Dog)

The Cider House Rules (1985) by John Irving; subsequently adapted for stage and film: an excellent, pithy summary of the book's key ingredients with a very clever "apples and pairs" tag-line!

2) Abused child, madwoman, virgin bride, arson, religion and sex! (Joint-First-Place from Gill)

Jane Eyre (1847) by Charlotte Bronte: all the key-characters and events succinctly condensed. The Reader's Digest couldn't do better!

CONGRATULATIONS to SUZANNE for correctly identifying both these books - and, indeed, being the ONLY reader to have a go at guessing any of them!!

3) Strong plot, original ending but maybe open to misinterpretation. (Second-Place from Boll Weavil)

The Bible (0BC onwards!) by Assorted Hands: The Good Book brought to book.

4) Ancient tales, human sacrifice, miracles and the end of the world. (Gill)

Ditto by Ditto! But what happened to the SEX??

5) Abused child, robber baron, family secrets, a martyred woman, happy ending. (Gill)

Oliver Twist (1838) by Charles Dickens (aka Oliver! by Lionel Bart!): you want MORE? I'd say, that just about sums it up!

6) Sex bestiality and fairies in the woods, happy ever after in town. (Gill)

A Midsummer Night's Dream (c. 1595) by William Shakespeare: a neat summary of some of the basic differences between country life and town life!

7) Wobbly furniture of the world, rejoice! (Boll Weavil)

War and Peace (1865-69) by Leo Tolstoy --- or so Mr Weavil says... I have to admit I didn't quite understand this one, so bonus points in spades if anyone got it - other than Mr W of course!

8) A journey from childhood to independence, for anyone on that journey themselves. (Qenny)

The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955) by J R R Tolkien, although this could be a description of a great many books. Qenny explains his précis thus...

"This might seem like an odd perspective, but it works for me. I was really disappointed with final part of Peter Jackson's film version because it missed out 'The Scourging Of The Shire', and for me, that was one of the most important parts of the whole story. The hobbits went from being like innocent children to having to look after themselves, and not having the elves and everyone else around to protect them. The journey of the books, which is mostly seen through the eyes of the hobbits and is a journey from innocence to maturity, only achieves closure when Saruman had finally been routed from The Shire. It is essential to the integrity of the story arc, in my opinion."

[Images: Study for The Quarrel of Oberon and Titania by Sir Joseph Noel Paton; Saruman by Grant Gould]

Wednesday, 25 April 2007


Pigeons. They were once an unmistakable part of London life: with wheeling, whirling clouds of them circling Nelson’s Column, the attendant lions and the fountains of Trafalgar Square. Then London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, stopped the trade in birdseed and now the sight of a pigeon flying across the great space between the National Gallery and Northumberland Avenue is rare indeed.

The fate that befell London’s pigeons is now about to befall the birds in another famous public feeding ground - St Mark’s Square, Venice.

Until now, the only creatures to outnumber the baggage-toting, camera-snapping tourists in Piazza San Marco, have been the pigeons - some 10,000 of them - strutting and fluttering around what Napoleon called “the finest drawing room in Europe”.

Years ago, a famous photograph was taken in the square using the pigeons to advertise Coca Cola…

…And for generations the grey angels of St Mark have pestered customers eating their expensive toasted ciabatte outside the grand caffés and - when indolently shooed away by the white jacketed waiters - have had to settle, instead, for vast quantities of bird seed sold (nowadays for 1 Euro a bag) to the hordes for whom a snap in front of the Basilica or the Ducal Palace with an entourage of birds is, de rigeur, a part of the Venice experience.

But the pigeons have been increasingly blamed for various ills… Obviously, their verminous presence is potentially injurious to health and having a dozen or more birds flapping their germ-infested wings in your face is not the healthiest of entertainments whether you are a small child…

…or an even smaller bunny!

Not only that, but research carried out by the Department of Environmental Sciences at Ca Foscari University in Venice has proved that the main cause of deterioration to the historic buildings in St Mark’s Square is the hundreds of pounds of excrement that the pigeons produce every day.

Various measures - including the use of wheat as a ‘contraceptive pill’ - have been tried in the hope of controlling or reducing the pigeon population, but always in vain.

The decision was finally taken to forbid street vendors in the square from selling the grain. In anywhere other than Italy this might seem obvious but the laws in Venezia are complex and convoluted and whilst an ordinance of the city of Venice forbids the feeding of pigeons, another ordinance grants concessions to vendors to sell bags of corn to tourists - presumably for their personal use!

Nineteen families have, for several generations, made their living from selling corn and have been thought to be "untouchable" - until now!

A change is about to happen as a result of which - for good or ill - St Marks will never be quite the same again.

As a Venetian website explained…
To accommodate the nineteen vendors who sold corn as bird feed, the municipality will now allow them to sell souvenirs, instead, but not in St. Mark's Square. Next Thursday, all the involved parties (vendors, Comune, Art Superintendance) will hold what should be the final meeting to finalize the details. It will create a completely new look for St. Mark's, free of birds which damage the monuments, bring disease, and are loved only by tourists and corn sellers.

We should, of course, applaud this move for its understanding of the issues of monument conservation and human health and hygiene, but the absence of that soft murmuration of cooing that has always underscored life in the square and the sudden rush and flap of wings as a great swirling mass of birds flew up whenever the bells of the campanile rang out will make this most enchanting of places seem curiously less magical.

After all, a custom (however disreputable) that has survived for a thousand years - and which was so intrincically a part of the Venetian scene - will have suddenly, and rather tragically, died...

[Photos: © Brian Sibley & David Weeks]

Tuesday, 24 April 2007


Twice in one week! Ridiculous! First I am blog-tagged by Mike Crowl’s Roving Report to list a few Simple Things That Might Make Me Successful If I Kept to Them! Then, a few days later, Ridley Walker at News Sluice tags me to name my Five Goals.

Once I’d realized that the latter didn’t mean Gazza’s free kick scored for Spurs against Arsenal in the first FA Cup semi-final to be played at Wembley in 1991 (OK, so I looked it up on Google!), it dawned on me that the overlap between these ‘memes’ was such that I could get away with a compound answer!

So, here are my…

Five Goals That Are Relatively Simple
Which Might Make Me Successful
If I Kept to Them

LOSE WEIGHT: I’ve done it before and very successfully, but a long time ago when I was less prone to pain and depression and generally younger, fitter - and, er, more successful!

I know that to lose weight would help my arthritic condition and (probably more importantly) would give me a greater sense of well-being and self-esteem…

So, I know what to do and how to do it; but, like all really simple things, it is HARD!

LOSE FEARS: The sands in the hourglass are running down and I’d be a lot happier for whatever time I’ve got left if I could only stop worrying about (a) what’s gone and can’t be undone; (b) what’s lost and can’t be recovered; and (c) what’s coming and can’t be avoided!

BE MORE POSITIVE: I must find a book on How to Do This… There’ll be one out there somewhere and it’s probably called something like Your Half-Empty Glass is Actually Half-Full… Or maybe I should just make myself Disgustingly Rich by writing a best-seller called Your Half-Full Glass is Actually Half-Empty! I know I’d buy a copy!!

I need to strike while the iron's hot and seize the bull by the horns and worry a lot less about the dangers of getting burned or gored.

‘“Did you make that song up?” [asked Rabbit.]
“Well, I sort of made it up,” said Pooh. “It isn’t Brain,” he went on humbly, “because You Know Why, Rabbit; but comes to me sometimes.” “Ah!” said Rabbit, who never let things come to him, but always went and fetched them.’

I really should be more of a Rabbit and less of a Pooh.

BE MORE PLEASED: Not smug, haughty or peacock-proud; but just quietly pleased with the little things I’ve achieved; the many friends I’ve made (and kept); the love I’ve given and (in far greater measure) have received; and the small, simple, un-earth-shattering pleasures I’ve been permitted to enjoy.

And remember, as Thomas Carlyle once observed, "A man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder..."

Now, in turn, I’m tagging…

Boll Weavil
David Weeks
The Other Brian Sibley

Monday, 23 April 2007


Comments now enabled on yesterday's blog, 'Booking Form' and today's 'Forever England' post (below).

New Blogger keeps deciding which of my posts may and may not be commented on... Bloody cheek!!

Apologies proffered and contributions now welcomed!


William Shakespeare who was born (and who also happened to die) on 23rd April, famously shared this date in the annual calendar with St George, Patron Saint of England.

This is doubtless why, in his play, Henry V (Act 3, Scene 1), the Bard has King Hal spur on the English troops at Agincourt with the rousing words:

"I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,

Straining upon the Start. The game's afoot:

Follow your spirit; and, upon this charge,

Cry ‘God for Harry! England and Saint George!’”

And, indeed, it was after that particular punch-up with the frogs in 1425 that St George received his Patron Sainthood. However, his patronage is not exclusive to this sceptered isle since he is also the patron saint of Canada, Catalonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Montenegro, Portugal and Serbia as well as the cities of Istanbul, Ljubljana and Moscow and a raft of professions, organizations and disease sufferers!

Most of us know little or nothing about the dragon-slaying, maiden-rescuing saint who (despite not being English) finally cemented his thorough-going Englishness with a visionary appearance to the Crusaders, sporting white robes emblazoned with a red cross, while they were busy laying siege to Antioch in the 11th Century.

Legends rather than facts surround George, but the common belief is that he was born into a Christian family in the 3rd Century and followed his father into the Roman army winning various promotions until he was part of the personal guard to Emperor Diocletian.

When, in 303, Diocletian launched a wholesale persecution of Christians throughout the Roman Empire, George had the bad luck to be ordered to take part in the Christian-bashing, whereupon he not only owned up to being a True Believer, but was rash enough to suggest that Diocletian was wrong!

The Emperor was - not surprisingly - unamused and immediately ordered George to be tortured and executed as a traitor.

After several nasty experiences including laceration by the Wheel of Swords, George was decapitated outside the walls of Nicomedia on April 23rd, 303.

George’s story spread and people soon started venerating his memory until, in 494, Pope Gelasius I announced George’s canonization as part of a list of those "whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God." Which suggests that the Pope didn’t know much about him either!

Although many artists have shown George’s famous combat with the dragon, it is - as I'm sure you're aware - disappointingly just a myth...

As the story goes, the dragon allegedly terrorised the city of Cyrene (or, possibly, Lydda) in Syria and could only be placated by regular offerings of human sacrifices that were chosen by lot - a regrettably random system that, one day, resulted in the King's daughter being picked for dragon-fodder.

Fortunately Soldier George happened by, slew the dragon, rescued the Princess and, as a thank-you, everyone in the neighbourhood instantly converted to Christianity.

Apart from the proliferation of Flags of St George in World Cup Years, most English folk have pretty much given up on the saint - and bearing in mind our dismal showing in the World Cup, that is scarcely to be wondered at

Now, however, the English Tourist Board is campaigning to give the Day named in George’s honour a higher profile - maybe even to the extent of having it declared a national holiday!

Whilst that is probably unlikely, true patriots will certainly want to visit St Georges No apostrophe? How frightfully unEnglish!

This is the place to purchase all your St George's Day essentials such as George Cross t-shirts, mugs and umbrellas as well as English Wine Selections and other nifty knick-knacks such as a Shakespeare pocket watch.

The site also plays the Battle Cry from Henry V and 'Land of Hope and Glory' and proudly quotes the words of Winston Churchill:
"There is a forgotten, nay almost forbidden word, which means more to me than any other. That word is ENGLAND."
The revival of the cult of St George has also resulted in a new line in greetings cards - another opportunity for blatant commercial gain; but then, after all, we are a nation of shopkeepers! The cards show either the saintly knight at the gallop…

…or, if you're inclined towards supporting the underdog, the fire-breathing (but sympathetically endearing) dragon!

[Images: Portrait of Shakespeare by John Alcorn; 'Saint George and the Dragon' by Ucello; cards by Second Nature]

Sunday, 22 April 2007


Many apologies for the delay in posting of the results of my Brought to Book Competition but...

...the WINNER is:

VAT returns and mouse-hunting in the kitchen.

No! Sorry! Those are the reasons for the delay in posting the results!

Enough said… You really don’t need to know!

Anyway, here -- finally -- are the results!

There was, I have to report, a low level of submissions (despite all the pleas for competitions about books instead of films) and in fact I received just EIGHT offerings from FOUR entrants. But, needless to say, quality stuff!

Entrants were asked to pitch the plot of a book (in twelve words of less) and GOOD DOG and GILL share FIRST place with these pithy pitches…

Orphans! Abortions! War! Incest! It's all about apples and pairs!


Abused child, madwoman, virgin bride, arson, religion and sex!

While SECOND place goes to BOLL WEAVIL (the artist formerly known as SCROOGE) for this proposition:

Strong plot, original ending but maybe open to misinterpretation.

But which books are so described?

Below are ALL the submissions - with, I note a healthy tendency towards such topics as sex and abuse! - conveniently numbered for the benefit of anyone who wants to have a stab at identifying the volumes in question:

1) Orphans! Abortions! War! Incest! It's all about apples and pairs! (Good Dog)

2) Abused child, madwoman, virgin bride, arson, religion and sex! (Gill)

3) Strong plot, original ending but maybe open to misinterpretation. (Boll Weavil)

4) Ancient tales, human sacrifice, miracles and the end of the world. (Gill)

5) Abused child, robber baron, family secrets, a martyred woman, happy ending. (Gill)

6) Sex bestiality and fairies in the woods, happy ever after in town. (Gill)

7) Wobbly furniture of the world, rejoice! (Boll Weavil)

8) A journey from childhood to independence, for anyone on that journey themselves. (Qenny)

Answers shortly --- subject to VAT men and, as Mr Jinx would say, Meeces!

Saturday, 21 April 2007


After yesterday’s blog about iPod-wear, I’m afraid today’s is taking another of my always controversial looks into the curious world of clothing advertising.

There was, as you may have heard, a lot of interest last month in the opening of a branch of Abercrombie & Fitch in London’s Mecca of masculine couture, Saville Row.

It is hard to know what scandalised people more: the fact that a chain store like A&F had dared to invade a street that was, hitherto, the exclusive home of bespoke tailoring for the wealthy and elite; or the fact that the hoardings and bus-sides marking this brash incursion into English sobriety should have featured a young man with jeans that were so low-slung that they saucily revealed rather more than what polite society considers proper!

And while the aristocartic customers of Saville Row were getting over that shock, our friends ae Ginch Gonch have been up to more antics with the Ginch Gonch Boys, Benjamin and Ethan, setting off on a tour of the USA wearing pants, boots, smiles and not much else...

…while the GG girls have been making their own Mae Western understatement!

Also the boys and girls came out to play in an outrageous video promoting GG's latest ‘Nice Guns’ range.

I hope this film - featuring as it does both lads and lasses - may escape the usual charges levelled at this blog of pandering to homoeroticism --- although, having said that, while the gender of the participants is most definitely mixed, it’s probably safe to say that the only things that are truly straight are their seams!

Friday, 20 April 2007


Remember when we were kids and we used to buy new outfits for our Barbies or Action Men?

Well, now - in this mad, mad, mad, mad world of ours - you can kit out your iPod with its very own little mp3 wardrobe - from under garments...

To a wide range fancy dress oufits for party-going...

It is possible, of course, that by dressing up your iPod as a doll, you may deter all but the weirdest iPod theives!

Discover the whole crazy range at iAttire and start collecting TODAY!

Thursday, 19 April 2007


Guy Browning's Never Push When It Says Pull: Small Rules for Little Problems (Atlantic Books, 2005), is one of those volumes that I cannot allow myself to read in public places - say at a bus stop or on a tube train - simply because I can't stop myself from laughing OUT LOUD, thereby raising suspicions that a dangerous lunatic is at large...

Dip in it anywhere and there's a gem... Take Browning's instructions on 'How to be SMUG':

Certain clothes are an outward and visible sign of an inward and invisible smugness. For example, polo-neck jumpers are virtually the uniform of the smug. It's a way of saying to people, "I'm rather cosy."

The word smug is basically an elision of smiling and snug...

Smugness, like ragwort, is incredibly difficult to get rid of once it has taken root.

The hot bath of achievement may have long disappeared down the plughole of life but the scum line of smugness will last until it's scoured off by the brillo of ridicule.

Wednesday, 18 April 2007


A few more Balloon cameos from much-loved movies...

You can view the rest of the series and read the director talking about the project on Cartoon Brew.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007


You can read some really strange things on the web these days!

Ian McKellen is best known for playing Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings. This was his dream job, especially having been turned down previously by his favourite director, Shirley Major.

His association with Soggy Sock Productions began when he saw Shirley’s Temple in a dingy Soho theatre. Since that day he’d been a huge fan of all the works of Shirley Major and John Spate. After many loyal years he was able to audition for a role in the doomed Soggy Sock production of The Lord of the Rings. Sadly he did not get the part, but was quickly picked up by Peter Jackson for his alternate version being made in New Zealand.

To this day Ian still praises Shirley, his idol, despite the death threats from him.

And on the same web-site…

Brian Sibley is an author who’s recently been asked to give evidence in the infamous 'Major/Spate' case. Since his appearance in the courtroom he hasn’t been seen by any member of the public and is no longer taking calls. Rumour has it that he has simply disappeared, but most sensible commentators believe he is taking time out after going through such a traumatic and grizzly experience in court. Sibley rose to fame after adapting The Lord of the Rings for the BBC. It was during these early years that he first met John Spate and Shirley Major. This influential meeting was discussed at length in the documentary Guerrilla Distribution which has yet to be released as it is being held as evidence in court.

Sibley was until very recently one of the great fans of the work of Shirley Major and John Spate. He fondly praises
Shirley’s Temple, a film that he saw premiered and discussed at great length with Ian McKellen. However his rosy relationship with the pair was brought to an end in court. In a fit of rage after being forced to sit through the documentary Guerrilla Distribution Shirley Major tried to fight his way out of court aided by John Spate with a wheelbarrow.

When this ploy failed he was dragged back kicking and screaming a declaration that he would kill everyone associated with that film. This means that Brian is on top of the list as he was a prime contributor.

There is also a reference to a certain magician who was recently named as a Member of The Inner Magic Circle...

Brian Sibley’s long association with dangerous figures such as John Spate and Shirley Major should have ended him up in hospital a long time ago. He has probably been saved by his protector in chief, David Weeks. Word on the street in London is that Weeks is capable of powerful feats of magic.

When Shirley Major’s film Shirley’s Temple was released Brian and David spent a great deal of time with Ian McKellen. They would study the film closely, discussing the implications of the slightest detail in the work. It was on this interaction with David that McKellen based his performance of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings. In fact there was one moment when Ian wanted to order a pizza. He was absolutely famished but couldn’t quite afford it. David suggested that if Ian gave him what he could afford he would put it on his card and order one for him on the phone. Ian was suspicious and accused David of magically creating a pizza and pocketing the cash, to which David replied, “Ian McKellen! Do not take me for some conjurer of cheap snacks! I am not trying to rob you… I’m trying to help you!” Ian saw the error of his ways, burst into tears and they all had a hug.

This is just the merest glimpse into a delightfully bizarre publicity campaign promoting an often strange, sometimes slightly terrifying but also rather wonderful film by Battered Hat Productions called, as you’ve read above, Guerilla Distribution

Visit Battered Hat for more details, trailers and an opportunity to buy the DVD of this ground-breaking, butt-busting work!

So, is that actually Ian McKellen piloting the bi-plane? And is that really me looking out of the window of the Empire State Building? Well, maybe… But, as the filmmakers are at pains to make clear…

"It is important to note that any characters that may resemble actual people do not bear any relation to their "real" counterparts. The two should not be confused and we should not be sued."

Monday, 16 April 2007


Today is Derrière Day, courtesy of the Sunday & Daily Telegraph's picture galleries...

An entanglement of contortionists on display at New York's Madison Square Gardens.

Bull's-eye view of matadors at the Maestranza bullring in Seville, Spain.

Bathroom fittings with attitude in a public convenience in southwest China's Chongqing municipality.

And, as if that wasn't bizarre enough here's a grotesque advertisment from Germany advertising an on-line employment agency that seemingly offers an alternative approach to achieving promotion...

Sunday, 15 April 2007


Animators have always been slightly anarchic and iconaclastic folk which probably explains the work of an unknown independent director who, it is rumoured, occasionally works for Disney and who created a witty series of movie homages (originally intended as possible ideas for a theme park attraction) featuring classic secenes from cinema with cameo appearances by an interloping balloon!

Here's a couple of my favourite sequences...

And for those who prefer a movie (and a baloon) with a bit more action to it...

Saturday, 14 April 2007



Supposing you had to pitch to a publisher a well-known book that was not, as yet, well-known...

How would you sell it?

What would you say in JUST TWELVE WORDS or less to outline the content and make it so irresistible that the publisher couldn't pass up the chance to snap it up.

The Lord of the Rings or The Lord of the Flies, Gibbon's Decline and Fall or Waugh's Decline and Fall...

The choice is yours. Not more than FOUR submissions per blog-reader and the wittier the better!