VSX, A shadowy flight into the dangerous world of a man who does not exist: Starbuck Powersurge - a young loner on a crusade to champion the cause of Viper Squad Ten, a long-disbanded group of stranded timetravelling troubadours, formed to help finance repairs to their time-machine. Now very much stuck in C21...
All text is copyright the Viper Squad Ten blog team 2003-2006 unless otherwise quoted or credited. If we've not credited you properly, please let me know. Throw us a link if you're desperate enough to use this guff...
Friends, casual acquaintances, passing net surfers and bots, I have something to say. Its better to burn out than to fade away... there can be only one... hwooooarrgh.
One final piece of writing etched into the VSX annals for 2004, that is. Or rather, several disjointed pieces messily stitched together.
Friends and Family Christmas is as Christmas does, as my lookalike once nearly said, and verily a good time had came to pass for Powersurge & his clan. I'm lucky to be a part of a close but fairly extended family, which makes birthdays and Christmastime a bit of An Event. A bit too much of an event, I fear, as excess 21st Century toxins accumulate within my 25th Century frame, and I start to feel pretty 12th Century in constitution (curse those insidious infernal rhinoviruses!)
This Winter, circumstances have dictated that the annual Christmas Eve meet-up in the Worst Pub In the Midlands, and event that myself and my old school-friends have endured enjoyed for the last decade or so, did not take place. Such is the progress of time, I fear, as the diaspora of my unit from its crashlanding site continues apace. One good point, however - after many years in the wilderness, tonight I shall be meeting up with Princess Valium, Viper Squad keyboardist and occasional sax guru (I will share any valuable updates on her moon-rock eating habit at a later date).
With myself and my friends unable to meet as often as was once possible, I do wish I could conquer my telephonophobia. Even more so, I wish that more people that I have "physically known" (as it were) were part of this "phenomenon" known as "weblogging". Maybe they are, but they just keep it anonymous. Or maybe they're just not as boring as me...
Festive film review During those cold dark days between Christmas and the New Year I find that there is nothing better than a trip to the cinema to see some snow, and this Christmas was no exception. Two films - Yimou Zhang's House of Flying Daggers, and Joel Shumacher's Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom Of The Opera. If you're wondering which to go and see yourself, the snow in HoFD was significantly more blizzardly than that in PotO. Very impressive.
If your cinematic criteria stretches further than precipitation, then I enjoyed Zhang's "Hero" more than "House...", possibly because it was more glossily stylised, more "super-hero". Starbucketta preferred "House" as she felt it had more depth, more heart. Both were good.
As for Phantom, I quite unexpectedly enjoyed it greatly as well. Three suprises of the feature: the appearance, straight out of TV's Brookside and Hell's Kitchen, of pop-star-failure Jennifer Ellison And Her Cleavage. Something else I'd never expected to see in my lifetime was the name of Richard "Finders Keepers" Stilgoe projected in massive cinovision as the credits rolled. Also putting the jeepers up me (whatever they are) was that Faith No More's "Be Aggressive" kept threatening to break into the soundtrack...
Wedding news Some progress. The wedding list is in hand, and the honeymoon booked. We've stuck with our original idea of Koh Samui in Thailand. Despite the terrible tragedy that struck at the weekend when much of South East Asia was devastated by tsunami, Samui was unaffected, being sheltered from the waves within the Gulf of Thailand. Although it somehow felt wrong planning our honeymoon whilst much of the region is in such terrible circumstances, delaying wouldn't be a right thing to do either.
Pressie news Christmas is a time of giving, but its also a time of taking, and you lucky, lucky people will soon be bearing the brunt of that, as I take lots of lovely piccies for you with my spanking new digital camera. No longer will I have to wait months to illustrate my writing on these pages, no longer will I have to filch images from other website - from now on, you'll be subjected to my own poorly-taken photos. Here's one, for example, of a superhero in my fridge:
Since Christmas is a time of giving, YOU, the lovely reader of these words, may well be feeling generous with your unwanted gift vouchers. Or you may be drunk. Whichever, please feel free to forward onto me any of the following tokens of your appreciation - the unfulfilled remnants of the wish list (the contact address is to yer left, pisshead):
-- CD's --
William Shatner - Has Been
The Orb - Bicycles & Tricycles
The Orb - Orbvs Terrarvm
DJ Shadow - The Private Press
Orbital II (the brown album)
Mr Scruff - Keep It Unreal
David Holmes Presents The Free Association
David Holmes - This Films Crap Lets Slash The Seats
KLF - White Room
-- Books --
The "League of Gentlemen" Scripts and That
William Gibson - Pattern Recognition
The period of festivities commonly known as "Christ-mass" is once more approaching - its fast becoming an annual event - and many of my fellow celebrants of commercial excess will no doubt be fretting about what they might possibly get for their loved ones.
Since all of the best media outlets seem to nowadays do a "review of the year" around this time, there's nothing to stop the worst media outlets from doing the same. This is where I come in.
The only possible problem is that I've not actually absorbed too much pop culture this year, but what the hell, maybe it'll be more focussed as a result - if I only drink the purest distillate of entertainment in the first place, then the goodness that I micturate in your direction should verily be potent indeed.
Some caveats. Firstly, alot of this stuff will be old news to all you hipsters - I'm not exactly an early-reviewer of cutting-edge product - but its a review of MY year rather than yours, so fruck it. And secondly, you probably wouldn't be able to buy some of this stuff anyway, TV programmes for example, which kind of defeats the object of the exercise. Still, you could always download it off a P2P network and burn it onto disc for your loved-ones. They'll thank you for it. Criminal. Thirdly, erm, maybe we should just drop the Christmas present theme to these awards - it doesn't really work.
Also, regular readers, having read all this before, will no doubt have already acted upon my recommendations like the brainwashed sheep that you are. Bleet.
Anyway, without further ado, I bring to you: Powersurge's pantheon of pop-culture present proposals, and that.
TV Documentary of the Year 1: The Power of Nightmares (VSX review)
2: The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off
Comic strip of the year 1: Joe Sacco - The Fixer (Time review)
2: American Splendor (though strictly a film; VSX review)
Book of the Year (I've only read one!)
Stephen Baxter - Phase Space (VSX review)
Series of I'm A Celebrity-Get-Me-Out-Of-Here of the Year The first one (VSX review)
Blog disappointment of the year The way that old Haloscan Comments drop off my older blog archives, and that valid Comments on intermediate-era archives don't register on the blog. Gits.
VSX post that has resulted in the most sordid, nasty Google referrals of the Year
The Dirty Den one.
Villain of the Year
1: Coventry Airport's Bill Savage.
2: Osama Bin Bush.
3: The indicator stalk on my car.
4: That Andy bloke off of Eastenders.
B&B of the Year
The Castle Inn, Edgehill (VSX review)
Most unwholesome lyrics stuck on repeat-mode within my internal jukebox
1: Beenie Man - Dude ("I want a dude who will do me in the van, a thug that can handle his biz like a man".
2: NIN - The Wretched ("The clouds will part and the sky cracks open, and God himself will reach his fucking arm through, just to push you down, just to hold you down. Stuck in this hole with the shit and the piss, and it's hard to believe it could come down to this, back at the beginning. Sinking, spinning") Ahem.
3: NIN (again) - Big Man With A Gun (censored)
Blogroll update 2
Christmas is a time of sequels - Bond Films on the telly, new LotR editions, Band Aid 20 - so further to last week's "blogbuster" post (grrrroan, as Chewbacca would say shortly before cutting his hairy wrists), those in need of a more interesting read than VSX should direct their browsers to "And Then He Said...".
It's... a.... baby!
 May I just bade my hearty congratulations to my friends Jo & Rob on the birth of their beautiful (so they say, and considering their genetic stock I have no reason to doubt) baby girl Lily Grace. They've been wonderful friends to me, and I know they're going to be wonderful parents.
And with that, here's a terrible pictoral in-"joke" for Jo:
Christmas is coming, & Starbuck's getting fat
I do love a bit of overindulgence, and since tis the season to be jolly, tra la la la laaar la lar la laaaargh, I'll no doubt be overindulging with the best of them. What with a plethora of birthdays, pagan festivals, and religious traditions rapidly approaching, I'm expecting my girth to have increased by a few extra inches by this time next month.
Its been an interesting body mass rollercoaster ride that I've been strapped in on over the last few years. I used to be a little bit plump, courtesy of the Grillsteak, Chip & Beer diet grillsteaks and beer. As my self-esteem ebbed away I felt the need to exert some control over my appearance, and I started running... and running... and running... for hours at a time. This, coupled with a slight change of diet - mainly beansprouts and hardcore straight-edge baked potatoes (no marge or fillings!), plus white wine and a smattering of fast food to keep the triglycerides up - made me very sleight indeed.
Aside from the mental considerations of such an endeavour, I found it very interesting how the "feel" of my body changed over trhis period. A tightness of flesh across the sternum, the protuberance of blood vessels as the body fat melted away, a general leaness.
More interestingly, at some point my belly button stopped producing fluff. My gaping maw of a belly button had, for as long as I could remember, been a mineshaft for the excavation of masses of mysterious blue-pink fluff. When I reached a certain threshold of thinness, production of this extraneous substance promptly ceased. And since excessive exercise has now ceased and my weight has been increasing again, at a distinct moment I was again able to ceaselessly harvest material from the cavernous cavity that is my belly button again - a joy. And its not an uncommon joy, according to The Incredible World of Navel Fluff. Ugh!
And now, with the aim of knitting a fluffy jumper in time for Christmas next year, I think I'll be overdoing it again this year!
The downside - possible weight-gain, resulting in myself looking chubby at my forthcoming wedding.
And talking about overindulging and wedding business, Friday night (& much of the early hours of Saturday morning) was spent dancing round the living room, just myself & Mrs Powersurge, on the wrong side of a cocktail of wine, beers, whisky, Baileys, & bubbly. A truly wonderful experience, I am sure, if only I could remember more of it!
And most wonderful of all, dancing to some fantabulous music by a band/group/artist that must remain secret at present, we decided that we'd use it as the first dance at our wedding next year. Oh, how I want to spill the beans. But the walls have ears...
Talking of Mr T (as I was in the previous post), I would like to publicise Bob Francisco's "Cruising Through" blog, to reciprocate for his own kind linkage. Mr Francisco is studying nursing at a Midland University. My own dear fiancé was also a nurse in Birmingham for a while, so its kind of like we know each other already... except it isn't. Anyway, Bob's blog is an interesting place to hang around by the bins, as it includes some very nice images of Howling Mad Murdoch.
14 DECEMBER UPDATE OK peeps, another recipribloglink for you. This one I like the looks of very much indeed - Background Noise - and I'll be back to make sure The One Known As Richard doesn't let me down. Otherwise I nuke his site.
I run a website about Mr T, which is becoming increasingly popular among the Mr T community. I noticed that you had linked to mrtvseverything.com on your site. Mr T fans love Mr T vs everything pages, but unfortunately they cannot find much information about Mr T on those sites.
My site aims to bring Mr T fans every piece of information they could possibly need. Therefore, I was hoping that you would link to my site alongside Mr T vs everything to help Mr T's fans learn more about him
I've already linked to your site and am updating the links page to many other sites, both Mr T sites and others. Your link be found, by tomorrow, at:
I believe that Mr T's loyal fans deserve access to as much information about Mr T as possible. Therefore, I'd be pleased if you linked back to mine.
If you have any further suggestions or comments, such as more exposure on the site, please do not hesitate to email me.
Regards, Ian Copeland
"It is truly a cerazy world" I mumbled to myself without actually using my mouth. I stumbled blindly around the site (the linked to page at http://t.weve-got.com/links.html being "under construction"), before realising that my ineptitude was being further magnified by the navigation interface not being Firefox-friendly. And lo and behold, there VSX was on the "Mr T fansites" page.
I'll forgive them for referring to the blog by the wrong name - the only reason that "Fat City Arizona" is a part of my URL is that the blog was set up during a notoriously dicey era during Blogger's history. Just getting VSX created in the first place took most of an evening, and connection problems with the site misled me into believing that "vipersquadten" had spookily already been snapped up as a Blogspot URL (I thought in my foolishness that hundreds of thousands of different word combinations had been reserved by enterprising Blog-parasites); Fat City Arizona was also a notoriously juvenile and rude little ditty by my previous band, Dieticians Featuring Fat, something of a classic that I'd like to think inspired the Red Hot Chilli Peppers' "Blood Sugar Sex Magick" even more than even P-Funk did.
But I digress. My site apparently contains "good stories and links to other blogs", so now you know, and I'll forgive them any oversight.
It got me thinking that it'd be fun to T'inating VSX one last time. So imagine my shock and horror (note:exageration) to find that the T'inator site no longer seems to exist anywhere on the web. So if anyone knows where this marvellous collection of web filters are hiding then please let me know.
COVERING STATEMENT The above piece of writing was composed under the influence of alcohol in the early hours of this morning, however the author failed to click on the correct button to publish it. Its quality or lack of does not necessarily represent the standards normally expected from the author at half past three on a quiet Sunday afternoon.
First Bush beats Kerry. Then Yanukovych is declared victor (viktor?) over Yushchenko. Now "Steve" polls more votes than G4 (half the men that Gazza is) in the first X Factor final.
If this was Jim Davidson's blog you would at this point get some "humourous" joke centred around the Chinese's supposed inability to pronounce the word "election", so thank heavens for small mercies. Then again you probably wouldn't be reading Jim Davidson's blog in the first place. Hopefully.
Somethings best forgotten!!
DJ Tim [23:23]
After a search for lost scripts in the Radio Ealing studios we unearthed the, previously thought lost, master tapes of the original Radio Redland show which stared, amongst others Starbuck (aka DJ 'arve).
This has caused so much excitement that we are thinking of doing a Radio Ealing does Radio Redland weekend. So anyone that can pick up Radio Ealing, tune in this weekend and not only can you hear the great DJ 'arve, but you will hear all the favourites such as, Sid the Soundman, the George Lucas interview, the live Smoke on the Water rendition and of course our favourite ad for Cheeky, Chipppy Chappy.
I can see them watching me
"Drift - dancer without a body" - a not-half-bad musical work that makes me feel like I'm back at in 1994, its 5 a.m., and I'm burning off the coffee in front of some sound-system at the corner of a field near Glastonbury. But this time **I'm** in charge of the visuals!
Warning - it goes on and on and on, so you you got time to go and buy a glowstick from that dodgy-looking bloke who looks like Bob from Twin Peaks who's standing near Joe Bananas Blanket Stall. You can almost smell the ganja...
Its the brainchild of Koert van Mensvoort, and there's some interesting stuff on the rest of his website as well. Datafountains, webcam et al. In Dutch.
(Spotted but not-clicked-until-recently at Maffydoo).
Its a bit of a pain being digital-camera free. It makes me lazy, unspontaneous, when it comes to writing.
Or perhaps it makes me ingenious, reflected (cf. Interactive Fiction and fracking Myst).
Whatever, THIS POST round at the ever-reliable Saturnyne's Lounge has further whetted my appetitite for diginess and what it could do for me. (voice of Vince Purity aka Colin "Mr" Bennett) - "You should be so lucky..."
Though I know that the months of build-up (EXAMPLE) as I wait to get my photos developed must have a certain charm.
To chav and to hold
Whilst innocently asking young Tam whether the much-derided "chav" has flourished in the sociological niche that is New Zealand, interest prompted me to do a quick Google on the term, and lo and behold, its likely derivation is revealed on World Wide Words. Hey - VSX is educational!
it seems that the word is from a much older underclass, the gypsies, many of whom have lived in that area for generations. Chav is almost certainly from the Romany word for a child, chavi, recorded from the middle of the nineteenth century. We know it was being used as a term of address to an adult man a little later in the century, but it hasn't often been recorded in print since and its derivative chav is quite new to most people.
Other terms for the class also have Romany connections; another is charver, Romany for prostitute. Yet another is the deeply insulting pikey, presumably from the Kentish dialect term for gypsy that was borrowed from turnpike, so a person who travels the roads.
Did chavi die out, only to be reinvented recently? That seems hardly likely from the written and anecdotal evidence; what we're seeing is a term that has been in active but inconspicuous use for the last 150 years suddenly bursting out into wider popular use in a new sense through circumstances we don't fully understand.
"Through circumstances we don't dully understand" - bit of a cop-out there!
Shame, though. It's rascist derivation kind of puts me off continuing to use what was once a much loved term of unendearment.
I know that I've mentioned them before, but whilst I'm in such a jovial festive mood, I must revisit your gaze once more upon Lawn Greengrass' two blogs, the Stratford-upon-Avon-centric Shakespeare Wuz 'Ere, and the more internationally-focussed The Word. Very good indeed. Ding dong merrily and that.
We'll have no support for casual sexism on these pages. As a result, I beg you not to follow the link to the Boobies For Peace advent calendar that co-editor DJ Tim forwarded to me. Disgraceful, and slightly disturbing in their loopedness.
Tim of course insists that he was sent the link and wasn't surfing the site when he came across it...
May I just use this platform to offer my hearty congratulations to my former flatmate Mr Thain (aka Unit 2) on his recent succesful job application. I'm very pleased for you, especially as it necessitates a move to Toulouse, France, and I'm very much looking forward to taking advantage of your hospitality over there....
Thain will be working on the A380, a mighty vessel indeed (the world?s only twin-deck, four-aisle airliner, and more fuel-efficient than your car). Here's a photo for you - see how they huddle together like woodlice around a fragment of detritus...
Les groupies d'avion CLIQUETEZ ICI pour encore d'autres photos fantastiques.
Sunday morning pillow talk Chez Starbuck this morning was an in-depth discussion about the lack of evidence for intelligent extraterrestrial life that underlines the Fermi paradox - they must surely have existed, but where the hell are the signs - and some perfectly possible, yet exotic, explanations. I may not have faith in God or Allah or any such man-made creations, and I may be able to explain Mankind's propensity for belief in evolutionary terms, but that's not to say that my mind isn't wide-open to other possibilities...
My brain is in Sunday Shutdown again now so I won't raise any of my fanciful hypotheses - and it is the Sabbath (religion-depending) after all, so I don't want to risk being struck with a bolt of lightning for rocking anyone's faith (I wish!) - so I'll spare you the gory intellectual details.
Suffice to say it all culminated in a call for insurrection - if there is indeed some sort of authoritarian supreme being, who has set down such tightly-restricting parameters for His playthings as a means of placating His insecurity, then we NEED to RISE UP and RALLY against Him. In my humble opinion.
I bet you're glad you don't have to wake up next to me...
Band Aid Dilemma
Thanks to Billy for this wonderful post about his quandary regarding the purchase of the dismal Band Aid 20 single, and for pointing me in the direction of the Band Aid Dilemma website.
Agreed. I heard the song for the first time today. I pulled up to the kerb and sat there in shock, immobilised by its sheer twee shiteness. Though when you think about it, the original was remarkably patronising and ignorant in terms of its lyrics.
I'm as peculiarly-obsessed with my search-engine referral statistics as the next blogger, but recently I've been just too lacking in quality computer-time to indulge myself in such questionable delights.
However a quick scan through the stats can prove educational as to what's going on in that big old world around me. For example, there's been a recent flood of people searching for information about the "ark of the covenant" and "Napton-on-the Hill" (who I guess arrived here due to THIS and THIS.
"Intriguing", I thought in pixels, as I did a quick Google News search on it, "it looks like those crafty Knights of the Templar might have hidden the Ark of The Convenant (and a bunch of Ten Commandment tablets as a Brucey Bonus) in or near to an old well in Napton. It all makes sense," I continued to expose, "as the last time I visited the Church at nearby Burton Dassett, I noticed that the stained glass window - the Epiphany Window - shows a little red brick arch. Now I happened to be there at Epiphany - January 6..." I continued to lie to myself, "which happens to be the only day when the two tail stars of the Plough, which are often used to represent Michael and Gabriel, happen to point vertically downwards. And at midnight they were pointing down to Church Green in Napton. Where there is an arch."
It all makes sense. And it explains what that ruddy great box was that my young nephew Joe (who lives in Napton-on-the-Hill) found in the stream, and why it made such spectacular firewood...