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Posted: 13 Oct 2020, 11:30

Masayoshi Takanaka: Guitar Fantasia (1983) [LNK-301]

I bet you 7p that you've not heard of this bloke. Masayoshi Takanaka. Thanks for paying me so promptly. It's alright, I'd never heard of him either. I bought this disc completely blind, no idea why. I'm glad I did though!

What we have here is a recording of concert from 1982 at Yokohama Stadium in Yokohama, Japan. Takanaka-san has put together a superb ensemble from across the globe for this gig, a supreme array of talent is on stage here. The line up is as follows:

Masayoshi Takanaka - Guitar
Joaquin Lievano - Guitar
T.M. Stevens - Bass
Frank Martin - Keyboards
Sheila Escovedo - Percussion

As far as concert Laserdiscs go in terms of quality, this disc has pretty much everything you could want. For a disc pressed in 1983 you get a sharp, detailed picture, which although 1:33:1, is also presented in juicy letterbox. If you are fortunate enough to have a video processor like a DVDO or Lumagen etc this disc looks fantastic when you fiddle with the settings, switch on linear stretching and so on to make the most of that letterboxed presentation. You get a sumptuous analog stereo track with CX noise reduction (sorry, no digital here) all wrapped up in a fragrant seasonal bouquet of luxury CAV goodness!

There are previous pressings of this disc, none of which I have come across yet. One released in 1985, also on the Kitty Video label, is presented on a CAV disc. The other pressing came much later in 1991, again on Kitty Video. It's possible this disc may have a digital track but I've never seen it so can't say for sure. The release I have is the 1983 first pressing which is CAV and analogue.

As for the concert itself, it is an absolute delight. If you are in to stuff like Rush, Weather Report, Victor Wooten, Santana and anything Jazz, Fusion, World, Prog Rock or Disco then you will be in your element! There is some stunning stuff here that is seriously brought to life from Takanaka's back catalogue and also some other pieces not by the great man himself. If you like big, stadium epics filled with wild guitar, drum, keyboard and percussion solo's then you are in for a treat!

Highlights for me are Summer Lady and the encore track Blue Lagoon. Summer Lady is great, the band just lets loose and tries to get some interaction going with the rather reserved audience who eventually perk up and participate. Blue Lagoon has some absolutely epic guitar shredding and wrangling. You also get some early hit's like the more tranquil Finger Dancin' which opens the concert, and Manifestation which is just utterly biblical!

If you love a bit of intricate guitar work and silky keyboard skills then you will be in awe at some of the skill on display here. The whole concert is just so watchable and enjoyable. 60 minutes races by, I wish it was longer! I didn't realise it at the time, but the cover art for this disc seems to compliment the theme of the concert. Lots of neon and lasers adorn the stage along with some excellent early laser image and pattern generators which were probably cutting edge for 1982. At one point Takanaka has a laser attached to the neck of his guitar which fires a tremendous bolt of green light in to the Yokohama night sky!

The audio quality on this disc is absolutely fantastic, and being a live concert disc it obviously needs to be. Again though, as with so many of these older discs, I found that although the audio is crisp and clean and superbly mastered, it does need a little extra welly from your equipment to get it over the line and really start to sing. I know I don't have a 7 trillion Euro setup, but my audio gear is good enough to tell me if something is mastered properly or not. I'm going to try this disc through headphones at some stage too, just to see how good it sounds when injected directly in to my ears!

There is an extra benefit to owning this disc. As far as I can see the performance is unavailable anywhere else on any format, it's exclusive to this Laserdisc. I cannot comment on the two other releases of this concert, but going off of my experience with this one I would encourage anyone who enjoys music or concert Laserdiscs to try and purchase a copy of this disc. It's not exactly cheap, even on YAJ it does command a not too unreasonable sum, but I guarantee when you pop this one in to your Laserdisc player and crank up your audio gear, you'll have an absolute blast.

Run to your nearest computer terminal, log on to Yahoo and go hunt down a copy of this lovely little disc today!

BONUS! I've found a clip of Plastic Tears which is on this disc. Hopefully it gives you an idea of what this disc is like.

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Posted: 13 Oct 2020, 22:15 

Here is the contents of the 1 Yen special. There are some.great discs here, especially the rally stuff and classic Monaco footage.

I watched the Manx Rally II Vol 4 disc and saw that Ari Vatanen is on it driving his Group B Opel Manta 400GP. Specifically at the 1983 RAC Rally. I was hoping the famous "dear God!!" footage would be included but sadly it wasn't the correct stage.

Here's the discs. There's loads, and all for ¥1! :D

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Posted: 14 Oct 2020, 16:01 

Julien may well recognise this show. This was one of my all-time favourites as a young pup. The way it dealt with death too, no holds barred.

The Blu Ray is OOP now I think, so it's surprising Jeff has any stock. It's between €50 and €250 in most outlets now. Jeff has it for a not too shabby €29.99.

Bought it today. All 26 episodes, remastered in glorious HD and with both the original French audio and also the English dubbed audio both in DTS-HD 2.0.

Le potage sportif!! :D

EDIT: Once Upon A Time... Man is also on Blu. I don't see. Once Upon A Time...The Explorers or. Once Upon A Time ...Space on Blu. If you are looking for any of these I would suggest buying now rather than being disappointed later. They don't make cartoons like this any more.

EDIT: Another titbit of information too with regards Dogtanian. Did you know the music including the famous theme song was written by Guido and Maurizio de Angelis?

They wrote all the music for Willy Fogg, Dogtanian, the Italian dubs of Doreamon, Ashita no Joe, Galaxy Express 999999999999999999999 and more.

You may remember them too from their excellent film scores. They did the incredible, and ultra violent Franco Nero crime masterpiece Street Law. Also the brilliant Lee Majors hyperblockbuster Killer Fish (great film, get it watched).

Though they also went under the name Oliver Onions where they wrote arguably their best piece. A smash hit across Europe.

The absolutely BIBLICAL....Dune Buggy from the Terence Hill and the late Bud Spencer smash hit, Watch Out We're Mad. :thumbup:

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Posted: 15 Oct 2020, 08:06 

Agreed, it is a great film. Slightly unexpected and a film that draws you in, even if you head in to it with the lowest of expectations.

Also thanks firehorse_44 for reminding me the 4K DOTD box I pre ordered months ago is only a couple of weeks away! Co-incidentally, I watched a few minutes of the 2004 DOTD last night. I forgot how good that film is, and what a beating it took from 'fans' over the zombies being fast. Jaysus! Get a grip! It's a great take on the film and really well done I think. Nothing beats the original of course, and one day I hope to visit Monroeville and pay my respects.

I watched The Peanuts Movie yesterday with a mini headmelter who loved it as much as I did.

Token verbage from my Letterboxd diary below:

What a lovely little film!

There's a lot to like here, the beautiful realisation of the characters and scenery looks true and respectful to the source for starters. Yet it's the little things that mean so much. The teacher's waa waa voice, the nods to the great pumpkin, the Christmas time song, the school disco dancing. All the lovely little references are a beautiful touch to this charming little film.

If truly pressed I would only criticise the 'romantic' element of the story. It's hugely inoffensive, that's not my gripe (if you can call it a gripe). It's just that that particular element I feel is more suited to slightly older children. It would go over very young children's heads. It's a story of a first crush wrapped around the real values of being a kind, honest and decent person.

This is a wonderful film and a refreshing change to the usual superhero comic book yawnfiesta.

The Peanuts Movie is made with an obvious and real passion, and more importantly a genuine respect for it's source material. I loved it and I hope it's success paves the way for more.

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 Post subject: Re: Zoom U-44
Posted: 17 Oct 2020, 18:35 

Have a look at this guide and substitute the ESI config for the Zoom U44. This is what I used to mine going.

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Posted: 21 Oct 2020, 20:46 

Here we go lads. Some serious egghead goodness right here.

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Posted: 27 Oct 2020, 11:15 

Right now it is four complete months waiting for a totally paid including shipping order. Due to virus postal cancellations they told me to pay another more expensive shipping method i said no cause it was already paid by me before SAL method went out.
The automatized processing of the articles is frozen but the storage charges are virtually going up

How bizarre. Sorry to hear you are having a rubbish time of it with them. I'm in absolutely no way affiliated with them at all, making that absolutely clear, just I've used them for a good few years now (since they first started iirc) and never had an issue. I have found sometimes that they can be slow with an auction unblock request, or getting back to a message sent. But they've done everything I've asked of them in the past and always packed items really well. They did the photos of my CLD-R7G recently too, which granted was an extra ¥500 but that's mere pennies when you are about to spend a lot of money importing a Laserdisc player and want to check it arrived domestically as the seller described.

That's poor though if they offered you SAL, you paid for the shipping and then they didn't ship it out before SAL services were stopped due to the pandemic. Is that what happened? That's pretty awful and you would be well within your rights to put the blame on them for not getting your parcel shipped out to you on time if restrictions were not in place. If they couldn't fulfill the service then I would think the least they could do is store your parcel free of charge until SAL service resumes again and then ship it out to you. Failing that if they were offering SAL shipping after the service was ceased due to pandemic restrictions and didn't correct their website then that's their fault and I would have thought they would either a) allow you to store for free until SAL resumes again, or b) pay some or all of the difference for a different shipping option up to a certain cap (something fair, depending on weight etc). Or refund the difference in full if a cheaper option, e.g. Surface, was available to you.

It's not right at all and sounds like a bit of a mess. Wishing you the best and hope you get it straightened out. I'll certainly be watching them more carefully in future.

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Posted: 27 Oct 2020, 18:15 

I think i have lost the articles and the money, if they dont put the solution on the table i wont move, no one more cent not even for a different (more expensive) shipping method. They apologized but man are you a japanese company? then do honor to that and complete the damn work as accorded!

Agree with you 100%, though it may be best to just suck it up and pay the extra shipping to get your goods and take the hit. Vote with your wallet afterwards. See if they will wipe off the storage fees as a goodwill gesture?

I found some information here that, although doesn't bode well for you, may prove useful. Good luck. :thumbup:

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Posted: 28 Oct 2020, 22:59

Van Halen: Live Without a Net (1986) [08WL-38129]

Last night, as I was writing this load of old drivel, I was paid a visit by Darth Vader from the planet Vulcan. He told me if I didn't import a Van Halen Laserdisc soon he'd melt my brain. Tired, I went upstairs to bed. At about 3am there was a tap on my window. I turned it on and had a drink. I thought about what Darth Vader had said some more, so I hopped on to YAJ, found a juicy first pressing of Van Halen: Live Without A Net, booked it, packed it and fecked off back to bed. I found some sleeping pills on my bedside cabinet. I woke one of them up and took it. The lamp went out, I told it to be back by morning and went to sleep.

Weeks later...

I bloody love Van Halen. What a band.

Personally their album of Glenn Miller covers, Pennyslvania 5150, is not my actual favourite in their lavish discography. Live Without A Net is indeed a tour of the 5150 material. It's not that I don't like it. Far from it. It's just that for me I prefer the brilliance of Van Halen II. That is without a doubt my absolute favourite Van Halen album. I wish they'd done a Laserdisc of that, but alas Halen LD's are few, and not exactly varied.

So what we have here is a live recording of one of their Connecticut concerts on either August 26th or 27th of 1986 (dates clarified at a Van Halen tour schedule supersite). You get a typical high energy concert here (Van Halen fans should have an idea of what to expect). Lots of mean, wangling guitar riffs, shredding, insane basslines, mesmerising keyboard fingerwork and so on.

There's nothing wrong with the concert as such. The lads come on, it's very high tempo, they play their instruments to within an inch of their lives, prank each other, perform different solo's (drums, guitar, bass etc) and sprinkle in some great crowd interaction. Climbing the stage scaffolding, reaching out to fans, drinking shots, swinging instruments around etc etc.

Video is fairly good minus the slight soft appearance and occasional fuzzy moment. The whole performance is fairly well put together as it goes. Nice edits of each song are presented in such a way that you can see everything that is going on both on and off stage. You don't feel like you are missing out on the action. This would be an even greater memento if you actually attended the concert too.

And the audio? Well, here's where the whole disc turns in to a turgid, soggy, poo-filled pair of pants. The kind of poo you could dip bread in to at that.

You get a choice of Analog or Digital, and that's great. But it's just all so muffled . Throughout the entire disc you've got a great selection of tracks that have serious potential to bring your sound system to it's knees, begging for mercy. Yet everything is crowded and squashed in tight across such a narrow centre band that it just sounds like every instrument is battling for prominence. In short it sounds like a mess.

There's occasional glimpses of potential when the odd drum beat comes pounding out of your speakers ahead of everything else. Yet it's literally that though, a literal beat or two of a drum that comes thudding through all of the muffled noise you wind up thinking it must be some sort of sound board fault. Perhaps my disc was on the turn?

I noticed that Live Without A Net has six different releases. Which makes me think it's either a very popular disc, or that there may have been faults with each revision until they got it right. Therefore I am not giving up on this disc. 08WL-38129 seems to be the most common edition with 45P6-9022 a close second.

The least common (afaik) is the WPLR-47 release from 1996. I've managed to purchase a copy of that today. When it arrives I can only hope it sounds better than this disc. What a wasted opportunity.

RIP Edward Van Halen.

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Posted: 29 Oct 2020, 12:06 

Another small update I thought would be nice to post here for completion (also thanks to laserfanhld-gb for the initial heads up!) with regards this excellent Laserdisc.

The eagle-eyed laserfanhld-gb (still recovering from Earthquake-induced perforated bowels) noticed that the drummer at this gig is none other than Narada Michael Walden who had a hit with I Should Have Loved Ya in 1979!


Yes, it took me a minute to make the connection too. I looked him up on my Tidal account and recognised the song instantly. Hopefully you will know the song too, at the very least you should know the bassline and the chorus as they've both been sampled about 8 trillion times. Here it is (on Soul Train no less!) if you want to listen to it:

If you want to know who sampled the track, look here (pretty sure that's an incomplete list as I've heard that bassline in a billion other songs):

Digging a bit deeper it gets more interesting. For starters yer man used to be in Weather Report! :shock: Not just that but it seems that when the Guitar Fantasia show was touring in 1982, Narada Michael Walden had a new album out at the same called Confidence, which was released on January 1st 1982.

Track 2 on that album is called.....? Yes, it's called Summer Lady , which also happens to appear in the Guitar Fantasia concert! You can check it out here if you wish to:

I'm assuming that there may have been agreement to cover the song on Guitar Fantasia as part of a co-promotion, perhaps as part of a Japan marketing activity? I can't find any printed matter about the tour so it's a best guess for now.

Anyway, I hope this proves insightful for someone. Make sure to pick up the disc if you can, it's excellent. You may have a long wait for the digital audio version though, it seems to be super rare and the analog disc doesn't appear that regularly either. Best of luck! :thumbup:

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Posted: 29 Oct 2020, 22:17

Shakatak: Da Makani (1988) [POLV-1011]

Da Makani is the second Shakatak Laserdisc in my collection, and they only released 4 albums and 3 singles on Laserdisc and CDV respectively, out of over 50+ albums and counting! I've talked about another disc of theirs elsewhere, Twilight Sensation, which is excellent, make sure you get it if you can. Da Makani though, to me, is something very special and just a little bit different to your typical band Laserdisc.

The unstoppable, awesome and quite frankly LEGENDARY band Shakatak were asked by Kenwood (the electronics brand famous for many a pair of 6x9 holes cut in to the back of many a Ford Escort XR3i parcel shelf back in the day) to produced the official album and video for the 1988 Kenwood Cup International Yacht Race. Said race was run annually in Hawaii until just a few years ago. The band came up with the album Da Makani and an accompanying Laserdisc of the same name.

What you get with this disc isn't your typical fare of a concert or a collection of music videos. Da Makani runs for 45 minutes across 1 side of a Laserdisc and comprises the audio of the Da Makani album along with some wonderfully shot scenery of Hawaii. If that sounds dull to you then think again, and here's why.

Da Makani is absolutely exquisitely produced. For starters the audio, which is really what you are here for, is laid down absolutely perfectly. I waited until everyone was out of the house, slipped on this disc and cranked the volume up on my pokey little setup and it absolutely sang it's heart out. Keys sounds note perfect, bass guitars sllip and slide up and down the scales with eloquent rumbles and drums sound crisp and 'thuddy' in equal measures throughout. Note that this particular disc was released in 1990 and features both analogue and digital audio. The 1988 first pressing is analogue only as far as I am aware.

Visually, Da Makani excels yet again. I'll admit when I first slipped on the disc and the opening sequence began, I thought my DVDO processor was having HDMI handshake issues. It was in fact a swiftly edited sequence with a strobe effect, so be warned if you are averse to flashing images as they do appear at the start of the disc.

Da Makani opens with the 'Da Makani Suite' on chapter 1 which comprises 4 parts a) from sun to sea, b) wind jammin, c) from sea to sun and d) cliffhanger. It sets the tone perfectly. The film opens aboard a helicopter looking down on the sea and mountains over Hawaii before moving to a hot afternoon by the sea and the harbour, watching the world go by, to sunset by the beach and to a close. The accompanying music from the album is just sublime. Silky, aquatic synth pads and watery piano tinkles that give the mind the impression of the big blue. Gorgeous, tropical, subtle synth swells that just put you right in the mood.

'Bermuda Rig' on chapter 6 is another nice track. Just the sound of an acoustic guitar and waves rolling on to the shore. You can sit back, listen and view and think 'this is the life'. It's good stuff, and again the audio is king here.

A few of the images take a more artsy approach. You can really tell this is a product of 1988! Overhead shots of expertly arranged sunloungers by a pool, a closeup of a pool step ladder and the gentle lapping of breezy pool water. One shot in particular of a bottle of Perrier next to a swimming pool not only looks tremendously 80's, but is also pin sharp in detail. Some moments reminded me of the beautiful (and now very expensive) 7" artwork on the brilliant 1985 single 'Faces' by Italian pop starlet Clio. The same can be said for the whole of this disc, picture quality is absolutely bang on. It looks excellent.

Da Makani is one all-round superbly produced disc. I can only imagine what an R7G, HLD-X9 or X0 could do with it.

A couple of the chapters do appear to show some yacht racing foortage, though it is unclear if this is from the actual 1988 race. I would imagine if the disc was a promotional tool, and it was released in November of 1988, then it was probably just a marketing product. The race footage could have been from the 1987 race prior? I'm sure that any sailing enthusiasts watching the disc would know, and they would have to, because no matter how hard I tried I couldn't find a single thing about the 1988 Kenwood Cup on the Internet.

The disc closes with my favourite track on the whole album, 'Endurance', which is just an absolutely whopper instrumental track that a) sounds totally 80's and b) has some incredible guitar playing on it. The video almost succeeds the audio with some great shots of yachts and surfing followed by an extreme close up of some waves gently kissing the sandy shore in some of the most detailed footage I've ever seen on a Laserdisc (for my setup). The video closes with a beautiful sunset as it's parting shot while reminding me of an old Taboo/Mirage advert from the telly years ago.

Make no mistake, Da Makani, in my opinion, is one of the best sounding and best looking Laserdiscs I have ever seen. Even if you don't dig the Shakatak sound I would still recommend it. This is not a Laserdisc. This is an experience. Turn it up and get it on!

FUN FACT OF THE DAY: Da Makani means The Wind in Hawaiian. (taken from the sleeve notes)

:thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup: :thumbup:

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Posted: 04 Nov 2020, 17:31 

Got these today. An unusual order as it came from the USA, complete with heartbreak tax (aka shipping that reduces you to tears). Still cheaper than Gr€€dBay.

I have the trilogy on Blu Ray, but it's Angel III and it's great! Need to find the rest now.

Heroic Trio. One that seems to command wild prices across a wild range and more expensive on DVD for some reason.

Mind's Eye. I think this now completes the set for me. I have Gate and Odyssey. I think I have Beyond, not sure.

American Boyfriends. A blind buy. Looks interesting and seems to be an odd one to find/buy on DVD.

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Posted: 10 Nov 2020, 12:39

You have just hopped off the subway at Times Square and dodged a run in with the Baseball Furies and the Turnbull AC's while managing not to drop your hotdog you've carried with you since getting on the train at Coney Island.

You stop in to a store to pick up a bottle of MD2020 and a copy of Fangoria before heading on down 42nd Street to catch a triple feature. You fight off advances from bums, hookers and lowlifes while scanning the sheer number of billboards jostling for your attention outside the movie theaters crammed tight on to 42nd Street. Across the way a board for a triple feature catches your eye. You cross the road while avoiding a man pushing a clothes hanger full of dry cleaning arguing with a couple of cops.

Arriving at the box office, you push your way to the counter between a guy that looks like Bo Diddley, and a stockbroker down on his luck. "...but this is a Rouchefoucauld! The thinnest water-resistant watch in the world. Singularly unique, sculptured in design, hand-crafted in Switzerland, and water resistant to three atmospheres. This is the sports watch of the '80s. Six thousand, nine hundred and fifty five dollars retail! It tells time simultaneously in Monte Carlo, Beverly Hills, London, Paris, Rome, and Gstaad!" you cannot help but hear him exclaim.

"In New York it's worth fifty bucks" says the guy that looks a lot like Bo Diddley.

You're at the counter. "Triple feature? Five bucks." says the assistant. You hand over your five big ones and step forward in to the dark abyss, occasionally lit by the mediocre glow of faulty, flickering red and magenta neon. The air is rotten with the stench of sweat, stale cigarettes and cigar smoke. The floor is littered with discarded gum, flattened boxes of Dots and Good n Plenty among the discarded sports pages from the New York Post (and something about Star Wars, though it's a photo of Ronald Reagan next to the headline, not Mark Hamill :think: ).

A janitor scurries past you, soaked in a heady cologne cocktail of Blue Stratos, stale cigarettes and bleach. With the seats offically having been hosed down, you find a seat and settle down. The cinema lights dim and the first feature begins to play...

What's playing at your dream grindhouse theatre? Pick 3 films you would watch back to back in your fantasy triple feature. Perhaps even recreate the experience at home?! Minus the hookers, bums, lowlives and boxes of Good n Plenty. :mrgreen:

My dream triple feature would be:

The Last Chase

Ultimate post-apocalyptic speed-riddled thrills, chills.....AND SPILLS! Starring Lee Majors and Burgess Meredith!

Bruce Lee Fights Back From The Grave

My absolute favourite Bruceploitation film! This one has everything, and it's completely absurd! I know where a set of negatives for this film are sitting waiting to be preserved. I just wish someone would go and get them and restore them. So sad... :cry:

Speed Driver

LONG overdue a 2K or 4K scan. One of Fabio Testi's finest flicks in my very humble opinion. Sadly overlooked by almost everyone in the entire universe. I'll have to settle for my French SECAM VHS and hyperrare Japanese VHS tapes of such a wonderful film. While gazing longingly at the original lobby poster I imported from a cinema clearance in Palermo. A tremendous film to round off a sub-par triple feature.

There's so many that I would love to add to the list. What about you? What's playing at your grindhouse? :thumbup:

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Posted: 11 Nov 2020, 20:56 

Received this today with two unusual things about it. One, I rarely buy a new, sealed Laserdisc. I hope it plays.

Two, I paid heartbreak tax on it as it only seems to be available in the USA.


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Posted: 18 Nov 2020, 11:25 

Lifted from my Letterboxd diary. Please try your hardest to enjoy my drivel below if you wish to. :thumbup:

Watch the film here on BFI Player

Jeff has the disc. Or buy it direct from BFI here:


I can't quite make my mind up about this 'film'. I use the term fairly loosely because what It Couldn't Happen Here is, is a collection of music from the Pet Shop Boys massive 1987 hit album Actually, with a surreal film cobbled around it. I watched the film on the 2020 BFI Blu Ray disc and must say while the film is a bit of a mixed bag, the disc and the extras are absolutely first class, so I'll cover those first as I feel that the extras alone make the disc a worthwhile purchase and essential viewing.

It Couldn't Happen Here has been available in the past, but is since long out of print on VHS and Laserdisc so to see a Blu Ray world premiere for the film is tremendous. The scan itself is very good. There's a decent balance of grain though some night time scenes can get quite noisy; I guess it was hard to strike a good balance but better than applying DNR and all the other gubbins applied these days that makes transfers look waxy and generally awful. Colours are excellent, the film doesn't look overly saturated or washed out. Considering the film has probably been sat in it's canisters since 1987 it appears to be in surprisingly good condition. No traces of dirt or damage here.

Audio is a different story. I watched the film late at night, so wore my favourite Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones so as to not disturb others. It would be both a blessing and a bit of a curse. You get a 2.0 stereo track here. Nothing fancy, no DTS-HD or 9000.1 Superbit HyperDTS or what have you. And that's fine. However with headphones on, yes I could detect some good use of left and right pans, dynamics and so on. It was all pleasant enough, yet at various moments throughout the film I detected some very obvious sound edits, occasional foley mistakes and most unfortunate of all moments that sounded like damage to the actual audio track itself. Perhaps the damage could not be repaired, or was undetected in the remastering process? It's a shame really, so with that in mind I'm going to hunt down a copy of the film on Laserdisc to compare the audio tracks. If the Laserdisc sounds either a) better or b) has no sign of damage on the track then I'll tear out the audio from that and remux it to my Blu Ray disc to make my own ultimate edition.

As for the extras, this is where it steps up a notch. I absolutely encourage you to watch the interview with director Jack Bond. It's about half an hour long as Bond describes his backstory from childhood to becoming a director and all the (now iconic in many cases) projects he has worked on throughout his career. It's the way he talks to the camera though. Like he's talking directly to you. Some of the things he has to say, especially about his early years, are just so vivid, so touching. I was nearly in tears, genuinely. Again, I urge you to buy this disc, even for just this interview if nothing else. Respect where respect is due. You get another interview on the disc with choreographer Arlene Phillips, again at a half hour long. There is also a commentary track with director Jack Bond which I am very keen to listen to, I'll be making sure to do that soon.

There is also a trailer for the film which, according to the sleeve notes, has been digitally reconstructed. My guess is that the reel for the trailer has been lost, intentionally destroyed or is damaged beyond repair. It doesn't say what the process was for the reconstruction, my guess is a team worked to rebuild it using a VHS or Laserdisc master for reference? It doesn't look like an obvious reconstruction apart from the credits card at the end of the trailer which looks like it was recreated from scratch at high resolution.

Fans of image galleries will be in their element here because you get some really great, high resolution and highly detailed scans of shot cards, draft and final scripts (these are great as you can see big changes between the original vision for the film and the final version) and best of all you get superb high resolution scans of the VHS and Laserdisc sleeves from across the world (USA, UK, Spain and Japan iirc). There are also some great publicity and lobby photo cards, again, lovingly preserved in high resolution.

Finally you get the full music video from the lads 1987 hit single You Were Always On My Mind. It's a shame that the source for this isn't that great, it looks like a 2nd or 3rd generation VHS or Betamax transfer. Again though I imagine this is the best that Warner Music UK could provide. Perhaps more consideration should be given to the preservation of music videos as much as the consideration is given to preserving films, television shows and so on?

As for the film itself, well it's a bit of a mixed bag. The majority of it makes no sense and may well be that it is open to the viewer to interpret what they think it is all about or what it signifies. I'll give my thoughts here of how I interpreted the film, it may very well differ to your opinion and that's fine, again, that's maybe how the director envisioned it and wanted to create discussion.The film appears to depict Neil and Chris on some sort of a road trip, from a sleepy, but once bustling, seaside town (Frinton-on-Sea is my best guess) to Scunthorpe to make an appearance at a nightclub. Along the way they meet a variety of strange and surreal characters including much-loved Carry On star Barbara Windsor who appears as the owner of a B&B in Frinton-on-Sea, and also as Neil's mum. Each segment of the road trip is broken up with mini 'music videos' of a variety of hits from the bands 1987 hit album Actually.

What I found interesting is the opening scenes appeared to depict Neil and Chris as schoolboys, getting up to mischief, it also appears to imply they went to schools run by religion (perhaps Chruch of England or Catholic, I'm unsure). The boys break away from a school outing and along the way stumble upon various things that are perhaps classed as 'sins' (the song It's A Sin is slotted in here rather aptly). Things like 2p peep show cinema arcade machines, explicit cabaret shows featuring guys in leather and girls in sexy period outfits (perhaps suggesting exploration of their sexuality?).

The road trip makes it's way towards Scunthorpe and the climax where the surrealism is cranked up to another level. It really is quite bizarre stuff, I wouldn't say on the same level as David Lynch, Shinya Tsukamoto or the writings of Hunter S Thompson. Perhaps more along the lines of the great Jim Morrison film HWY An American Pastoral (which I haven't seen in years, reminder to self to rewatch it soon!). There is an underlying theme of World War II here but I can't quite put my finger on what the significance of it is supposed to be.

Barbara Windsor is superb, taking the surrealism in her stride and throwing herself fully in to her role. As do all of the cast, you get some great dance pieces here but also some superb character roles. One scene in particular features the boys sat alongside a travelling ventriloquist at a greasy spoon cafe. The boys overhear the man placing his order for a fried breakfast and I'm almost certain the scene is an outtake as both Neil and Chris are absolutely wetting themselves in hysterics, yet the ventriloquist never breaks character and finishes the scene. It's worth watching the film just for this scene, I was in hysterics too and if it was an outtake it's brilliant that director Jack Bond left the scene intact.

Before you know it 86 minutes have flown by and the end credits are rolling. It's difficult to formulate an opinion on the film immediately because there is so much to digest. It could all be a load of old cobblers and the film simply means nothing. I'm inclined to believe otherwise. Underneath all of the madness I think the boys, and the director, actually had something to say. It's just hard work trying to pick out all the little pieces to find out what that message actually is.

One thing is certain, I am delighted with the BFI disc and am glad I took a punt on it. As an 80's child I am well aware of how huge the Pet Shop Boys were back then (and still are today), though I was unaware of the existence of this film. Looking at it now it's great to see the little pieces spliced out of the film that went on to make up some of their music videos that I would have seen aired on TV of a Saturday morning (I never had the luxury of Satellite or Cable television in my home, just 4 terrestrial channels). That bloody tuxedo Neil is wearing finally makes sense now!

Take a punt on this disc, or rent the film on BFI Player (though buy the Blu Ray if you can). It's a great historical piece with the bonus of being filled with even better music. Thank goodness it's now been rightfully and properly preserved for the future.

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Posted: 24 Nov 2020, 21:24 

Coming back as clean. The server is a VPS on Vultr (a popular VPS service). Ports 22, 123, 80 and 443 are open on it. Looks like it has a few CVE's that need patching up too so the owner should run an update and vulnerability scan in the near future.

Try this link as i think the one I posted earlier seems to have expired or is wrong, sorry.

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Posted: 25 Nov 2020, 00:18 

Gave it a quick test this evening with Angel III and it looks superb! Also I ran a test with an analogue only disc, I used my copy of the Imagination concert. The DVDO Edge has absolutely no problem with analogue audio over HDMI. Fantastic!

There's a lot of stuff missing from the VP50 Pro here though..

Another thing, I had the same old EDID issues with picture but no audio. I have Dr. HDMI device hooked up between the Edge and switch/matrix to test if there is a signal and to try different 1080 EDID types that the Vertex 2 has issues with. Set the Dr. HDMI to 1080 FULL HD NO 3D (EDID Preset 2) and I got sound! Must be something to do with the Edge being HDMI 1.3 perhaps?

Connecting direct to the AVR caused no sound too so it was not just the Vertex 2 switch! Handy tool to have. I reported it to HD Fury in the hopes they can fix it. It works for now though so happy days.

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Posted: 01 Dec 2020, 10:19 

MD still holds it's own to some extent imho. Mainly around seamless shuffle playback.

I have a little Sharp portable MD player which I've kept specifically for the one MD I own, a retail edition of Gescom (by the awesome Autechre). It's a minidisc only retail release. Basically the disc relies on MD's seamless shuffle playback to work as intended.

It's a 45 track album sliced in to 88 segments. The idea being you play the album on shuffle and get a unique, seamless album experience every single time. It's pretty genius stuff, plus Autechre are fantastic so it's win win.

There's rips available as the cost has risen for the MD. But there's nothing physical out there to match the MD experience, hence it remains unique compared to the later CD pressing.

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Posted: 06 Dec 2020, 00:19 

Watched 13 Ghosts in Illusion-O! Lifted from my diary if you wish to read it. :thumbup:

Also watched Moonraker, Live Like A Cop Die Like A Man (which was BRILLIANT) and Murder By The Book over the past couple of nights. Anyway…


A fun, and very much of it's time, little horror film from 1960 packed with an Illusion-O gimmick!

I watched the main Illusion-O version with a pair of red/blue 3D glasses I had laying around as the Indicator Blu Ray box set doesn't have a Ghost Viewer packed in. Early pressings of the 2001 Columbia DVD did come with a viewer but these are hard to find now and expensive.

Interestingly, William Castle was originally going buy a 'haunted' mansion and then get 2 million keys cut for it. The keys would have been handed out at screenings but only one key would open the door to the house. In other words William Castle was going to give away a house to a lucky winner.¹

Another interesting piece I learned from the Indicator blu ray is that Rosemary DeCamp, who plays the mother, was at home with her husband on July 7th 1946 when an X11 airplane, piloted by mogul Howard Hughes, crashed in to the house next door to them but not before the wings of the aircraft tore through her home, with her and her husband in it, first! Hughes apologised and offered to pay for all of the damage.¹

The film is fairly short and sweet, telling a simple tale of a haunted house but with a treasure-laden twist. It's all good stuff and by today's standards it's fairly innocent fare. I would imagine that even back in 1960 there were more terrifying films to see but the gimmick is the draw here and it works really well.

I had a great time donning my 3D glasses and looking for the ghosts as well as peeking through the blue filter to see them instantly removed!

There's not a great deal to say about 13 Ghosts as it's really straightforward stuff. I guess if the gimmick was missing this would just be a picture lost in the vat of countless other horror films of the time.

There's a fairly good score here, decent acting and some lovely direction to get the best out of the filtered ghost viewer scenes. Nothing that will leave you sitting in a damp collection of your own loose, watery stools, but an enjoyable gimmick-laden 80-something minutes will probably be had by many.

Seek this one out, preferably as part of the two excellent William Castle Indicator box sets.

¹ source: Steven Laws introduction feature, Indicator blu ray release.

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Posted: 07 Dec 2020, 23:12 

Watched a great little film today called Shin Dousei Jidai Hawaiian Breeze.

Lifted from my diary if you wish to read some drivel. :thumbup:


For the life of me I've no idea how I stumbled upon Hawaiian Breeze but I'm glad I did.

It's a simple story about a couple together two years. Peter wants to start a family, his girlfiend Eri is purely focused on her career and has no interest in further busying her life. It's as straightforward as that.

It may not sound like the foundation to a groundbreaking feature film but be assured that Hawaiian Breeze is a resounding success.

I love productions that centre on one location for the entire run time. The layers of complexity that are required by them to hold enough interest, when executed right, are almost enough to make any feature a triumph in my opinion. Hawaiian Breeze focuses on the apartment Peter and Eri share, with the rouse that Peter is the house husband and a work from home illustrator too.

I found it refreshing that the male lead was the domestic, stay at home character. Hawaiian Breeze could have easily reversed this and it would probably not have had as great an impact on the rest of the story.

You'd be forgiven for falling in to a couple of easy traps as the film progresses, I certainly found myself apologising to the film as it began to take a sharp detour from processional fodder. And it is this detour that proves to be the ace up the sleeve of Hawaiian Breeze. I won't spoil it for you, lest I merely add that the conclusion is brought to a good, if an ever so slightly predictable one.

There were a couple of moments where my face almost made contact with my palm, and some pieces of dialog and Peter's actions played back today are a little questionable, but upon reflection are actually fairly brave stuff by the director.

I thoroughly enjoyed the subject matter that Hawaiian Breeze openly tackles. It's done in a fairly tasteful manner; cultural differences are blurred somewhat in it which makes the film more appealing to a wider audience.

Visually it's not a AAA epic on a Ghost In The Shell or Akira level. It's appealing enough with some lovely muted, pastel tones that are a compliment instead of a turn off. The voice acting is fairly impressive too, the heated moments especially. You can clearly tell corners were cut, possibly to meet a budget or perhaps some scenes are a little rushed. These moments let the film down a bit but the rest is so nicely put together that you can forgive it's simpler moments.

Coming in just under 50 minutes it is all over fairly quickly. There's a couple of avenues that could have been taken to stretch it out to 80 or 90 minutes but I feel it would have been unnecessary and probably ruined it.

Hawaiian Breeze is a fantastic,obscure little gem. Seek it out and pop it on your watch list.

Oh, and stick around for the end credits. The images are a nice touch and relevant subject matter. One of the images certainly made me chuckle out loud too. You'll know which one I mean.

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Posted: 09 Dec 2020, 16:14 

Totally agree. Our elders had it so good with tea strainers and loose leaf tea. Then we come along and just mess it all up with teabags that don't biodegrade and all the other rubbish that's mass produced and sat in a warehouse for about 6000 years before us schmucks go and buy it.

Loose leaf is the only way for me today. Even the cheap Tesco own brand loose leaf in the red box is a superb little every day tea (granted it's mass produced etc etc) and about a third or less of the price of a box of bags. I don't have the time to go plums-deep on a proper Matcha set up. The bamboo whisk, ceramic kettle and a concubine hired at a reasonable rate. I've settled for a nice little Bodum glass teapot with stainless steel inner.

Black teas, blue peaflower and some more fun stuff like nice Christmas or seasonal teas are great. You certainly pay a premium but I think it's worth it. Unlike other stuff you can get in to where it sits still sealed and gathering dust, at least with tea it has to be drunk in a reasonable time. I've not tried the Pu'erh yet, maybe save that for another day once I get more confident at brewing it.

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Posted: 09 Dec 2020, 18:31 

Never thought there would be some loose leaf tea enthusiasts on a Laserdisc forum! :thumbup:

Even when you first dip your toe in with a very cheap supermarket tea, compared to the same tea in a bag the difference imho is night and day. Granted there's some out there that are like licking the sweat from Roseanne Barr's underboob. Or a dog licking it's arse. But there's some real beauts out there that taste absolutely tremendous! That's the fun part, just picking up a few samples. Chundering while sniffing what can only be described as Jimmy Crankie's used jocks with one or two, or discovering an absolute whopper tea by pure chance. Great craic!

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Posted: 15 Dec 2020, 01:59 

Warbeast? Damn. I was still hoping he was called Alan (Absurdly Lethal Android Nuclearbastard). :(

Bridges of Madison County is an exceptional film too. I watched it years ago on telly or something. Film 4 perhaps? Loved it so much I went and bought the DVD the very next day. Still have it too. Whopper film.

Watched Sky Riders on Sunday afternoon. That was excellent! It's a bit urgent for a film rated PG too! Some whopper stunts in it. It's a proper Sunday afternoon film while doing the ironing. Or sitting on the couch after a big Sunday lunch with your belly out in agony because you ate too much type of film.

Highly recommended. :thumbup:

EDIT: Interestingly there's a review here that also recommends Sky Riders for Sunday afternoon viewing.

So there you have it. If you are going to watch Sky Riders then ONLY watch it on a Sunday afternoon for maxium awesome. :thumbup:

(Get the Blu Ray too, it's a great version)

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Posted: 15 Dec 2020, 12:46 

With 2020 nearly finshed, and my birthday over a year away, I figured it was time to look back at my diary and see what were my favourite films I have watched in 2020.

Just a couple of rules to adhere to before you make your own selections!

Choose 10 films only and rank them in order of preference.
Films can be any format, not just Laserdisc. So feel free to include VHD, Betamax, Hi8, cinema screenings, courtroom trial pastel sketches and so on.
Films can be from any year, not just 2020.
It must be a film you watched for the first time in 2020, not a re-watch.
If you're including Sky Riders in your top 10 you may only include it if you watched it on a Sunday afternoon. Watching it at any other time or day of the week is unacceptable and thus your selection will be deemed null and void.

My top 10 films (plus two honourable mentions!) I saw for the first time in 2020, and in order of how excellent they are, 1 being absolutely incredible to 10 being pretty frickkin' whopper but not as whoppers as being absolutely incredible, are as follows (links go to my reviews waffling drivel if you wish to read them, and where applicable):

Most whopper film of 2020 is this yoke here:

Cleo from 5 to 7
:clap: BEST FILM I SAW IN 2020 BY 820 TRILLION MILES :clap:

Dead Tired (aka Grosse Fatigue)
:arrow: Magnificent on almost every level. Just brilliant, brilliant, BRILLIANT. Watched it on Laserdisc, then bought the Blu Ray that came out in Feb of 2020 (complete with sanitized subtitles. Get the Blu, get the DVD and then mux your own ultimate edition with both subtitle tracks like I have done). ABSOLUTELY MONUMENTAL FILM. WATCH IT.

Napoli… la camorra sfida, la città risponde
:arrow: Whopper 1970's Italian ULTRAVIOLENCE.

Singin' In The Rain
:arrow: Caught me off guard. I hate musicals. This one is absolutely brilliant.

Eight Hours of Terror
:arrow: Never seen Stagecoach. I don't even need to watch it to know that this is better. Great film.

Christmas In August
:arrow: A wonderful, brilliantly-acted and highly moving film.

Shin Dousei Jidai Hawaiian Breeze
:arrow: Pure, one-room brilliance.

Dial M for Murderesness
:arrow: Sponsored by Meryl Streep's Versatility. Smell like Streep for cheap!

The Peanuts Movie
:arrow: A beautiful, lovingly-made film full of passion and craft. Loved by supermini-headmelters too! A film to treasure. I hope there is a sequel.

Sky Riders
:arrow: The aerial photography and ultraviolent opening scenes that somehow earned this film a PG rating make this film worth it alone. The rest is epic too. "DO NOT WATCH THIS FILM AT ANY OTHER TIME OR DAY OF THE WEEK THAN A SUNDAY AFTERNOON. PREFERABLY WHILE DOING IRONING. THIS IS THE LAW. LAW? I AM THE LAW!" - Sylvester Stallone c.1995

:arrow: Does exactly what it says on the tin. :thumbup:

The Rocketeer
:arrow: Until 2020 all I knew about this film was a cardboard cutout lobby standee I saw in a cinema back in 1993. Wish I hadn't waited 27 years to watch it!

Link to the list is here:

What are your favourites? :?:

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Posted: 16 Dec 2020, 02:20 

Great choices! Added some to my watchlist, thanks.

I haven't looked it up yet but I assume, or rather I hope, that Highway To Hell is a sequel starring Michael Landon and that tubby bloke with the hat who I think was also in Airwolf?
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