Tuesday, December 29, 2009

To Absent Friends....

Well, it's getting around to the end of the year. That means it's time to remember those who left us over the past twelve months. The Etherverse took a bit of a hit this year, and since there won't be a New Year's show (I'm still sick), this online roll-call of the dearly departed will have to suffice.

January 13 – Patrick McGoohan, American-born British actor.  Best known for the cult classic The Prisoner
April 4 -- Lux Interior, legendary frontman for The Cramps
April 12 – Marilyn Chambers, American pornographic actress
June 2 – David Eddings, American author (The Belgariad).
June 3 – David Carradine, American actor
August 13 – Les Paul, American musician and inventor of the guitar that bears his name
October  12 -- Dickie Peterson, drummer for Blue Cheer.
November 30 – Paul Naschy, Spanish movie actor, screenwriter, and director.
December 29 - Erica Boyer, American pornographic actress

Monday, December 28, 2009

Shakespeare and heavy metal, together at last

Shakespeare and heavy metal, together at last

Interesting news story about a a group that combines Shakespearian monologues and costumes with heavy metal and comedy.  There's a video in the story--it's not as corny is it so easily could have been.

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"Exclusive" Fox News Story on Dita Von Teese

Fox News has an interesting story on fetish model/burlesque performer Dita Von Teese.  It's kind of surprising that Fox would post such a positive story about someone whom their hosts would probably spend a lot of time condemning for the "immorality"* of her career choice, but I've long since given up trying to figure out where they're coming from.

Back before she became Mrs. Marilyn Manson, I used to email Ms Von Teese on a semi-regular basis.  And no, I'm not talking in a stalker kind of way either.  Here's the rundown.  Back when I was learning to use Painshop Pro, I created a digital painting using a photograph of Dita, and I wanted to put it on my (long since dormant) webpage.  Rather then risk the embrassment  and hassle of a cease and desist letter, I forwarded a copy of the picture to her via her webmaster, explaining what I wanted to do, stressing that there was no commercial intent and if she said "no" that was fine and I'd live with it.  To my surprise about a week later I got an email from Dita herself, complimenting me on the picture and regretfully informing me that while she didn't mind my putting it online, she didn't own the copyright.  She did say that if I contacted the actual copyright holder, then  I could tell them that I had her approval for using it. In the meantime she asked me if she could put it on her website, in the gallery section, which I refused (just kidding, of course I said yes).

Then, she mentioned The Black Dahlia case (my email address at the time had black dahlia reference in it), telling me that David Lynch had suggested casting her in his upcoming movie about it.  She didn't know anything about the case and asked if I could give her any info, and that started a correspondence that lasted a couple of months. In return for me filling her in on the Black Dahlia, she dished some pretty juicy gossip from Tinseltown (some interesting stuff about Rose McGowan, for instance). It may be hard to believe, given her glamourous image and all, but she was very smart, funny and down to earth. Nothing earthshattering, just idle chat.  I sent her a couple of more pictures, and she was very encouraging about them (there was at least one other one she asked about putting on her website).  Then it just sort of tapered off as she got more famous and (one assumes) more busy and I was too busy to spend much time online (especially since I didn't have a computer at home at the time).

Next I heard, she was stepping out with Brian Warner (aka Marilyn Manson) but by that time correspondence had more or less ended.  I did send her a brief note congratulating her on her engagement, and she sent a polite reply.  Still, it's probably one of my few enounters with the Hollywood glitterati, so I milk the story every chance I get :)

Here's the Fox story:

  FOXNews.com - Exclusive: Dita Von Teese 'Shocked' That Americans Think Burlesque Is So Taboo

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* While of course showing lots and lots of video clips and photos just so that the audience has no doubts about what they're condemning.

Blood: The Last Vampire Trailer

Okay, I know I promised to ration the videos I post, but this is still within the guidelines I set for myself, and there's a reason I'm posting this one.

I've been wanting to see Blood: The Last Vampire for a while now, and my friend Eddie lent me a copy to check out, but before I got to see it, he took off to Jamaica for the holidays (lucky bastard) and so now I'm going to have to wait for him to get back in a week or so before I can see it. After which, of course, I will post a review. But I'm pretty confident, based on this trailer, that it at least won't be a total waste.

For one thing, I love vampire movies (and not the insipid, tweeny "Twilight" crapola that is currently smothering the genre in girly fluffiness and is an affront to darkness and perversity everywhere). For another, I love Asian action movies. I never saw the original manga though--my geekiness has never embraced japanimation, for some reason.

Anyway, enjoy the trailer and keep an eye out for the upcoming review.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Lords Of Chaos movie update: Twilight Heartthrob To Portray Varg Vikernes

Twilight Heartthrob To Portray Black Metal Icon Varg Vikernes Of Burzum In Upcoming Movie

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I wonder what Varg thinks of this little tidbit. Lords Of Chaos, based on the fascinating book, is slated for release sometime next year. There is a website for the movie, but there's nothing there as yet.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Daybreakers Trailer

Speaking of vampire flicks, here's an upcoming movie that looks like it might be worth checking out:

4 Reasons to Get Excited for Burton & Depp's 'Dark Shadows'

Happy News.

Alice In Wonderland isn't even out yet and buzz is already happening for the next Tim Burton/Johnny Depp opus: Dark Shadows!

I'm too young to remember the original Dark Shadows, but I do remember the short lived attempt to resurrect it (featuring the luscious Barbara Steele). With the relentless dumbing-down of the vampire genre thanks to the teeny-bopper Twilight franchise, the thought of stylemeister Burton lensing a vampire film--especially a vampire film based on the classic Dark Shadows, is great news indeed.

Rest assured as soon as there's a trailer, I'll be posting it. Until then, here's a story you might find interesting:

4 Reasons to Get Excited for Burton & Depp's 'Dark Shadows'

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Merry Metal Xmas to all!!

Wishing you all a very safe, happy holiday.

We here at Tapping the Ether will also be relaxing for the holidays, so tomorrow nights show will be a classic (i.e. repeat) episode of Tapping the Ether

Toss down some eggnog and throw up the horns!

Twentieth Anniversary T-shirts now available!

The first t-shirt for Tapping The Ether's twentieth anniversary are now available on Zazzle.com.

Hoodies and long-sleeve shirts will be made available early in the new year, but this will give you an idea what they're gonna look like.

Director Terry Gilliam Discusses Heath Ledger's Legacy

Director of the actor's final film, 'The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus,' remembers the actor's talent.

I've been wanting to see this. Now, because of Heath Ledger's death, what was originally going to be a cult flick is likely going to be widely seen and, one suspects, completely misunderstood.

Heath Ledger was one of the few bright points of Gilliam's "Brothers Grimm" and Depp always seems to shine for Gilliam, so I do have high hopes for this one.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Film Review: Shaolin Girl (Shôrin shôjo)

dir. Katsuyuki Motohiro (2008)

Shaolin Girl is a bit of an enigma. It's really two (maybe two and a bit) movies spliced together. Fair enough, except that the Western equivalent would be The Bad News Bears spliced together with The Matrix (with a bit of A League Of Their Own tossed in at the end).
The plot is paper thin: Rin, a young woman recently completing 9 years of training at the iconic Shaolin Temple, returns to Japan to spread Shaolin through her grandfather's dojo. Arriving in town, she finds her Grandfather's dojo derelict and her former teacher cooking at the local noodle house. No one will tell her what happened to the Dojo, so she moves into the ruins anyway.

Hooking up with MinMin, Rin visits the local university, where there's something very, very sinister happening with the girls lacrosse team (we're never told what—I mean never, it's never explained at all. Ever. Oh and it involves the beach volleyball team—do I smell sequel?). Rin joins the lacrosse team in order to recruit them into learning Shaolin. The Teacher takes time out from his noodle-slinging to sign on as coach. This part of the flick is firmly in the “Bad News Bears” territory—talented but awkward outsider tries to prove herself, fails miserably because she doesn't understand the importance of teamwork and must earn back the respect of her team mates. It's nicely done, with the required elements: The flash of self-realization, the long training montages (particularly well done), the gradually winning over and bonding with team mates, the awkward yet arousing scenes of sexual awakening (okay, I lied about the last part.) .

Then the script takes a wild, spiraling dive into complete whatthefuckery. It turns out that Rin is the illegitimate love child of Luke Skywalker and Bruce Lee—she was sent away to Shaolin to teach her to control the awesome power that churns within her. Apparently this dark power will only be released if she fights (so of course sending her to the most famous martial arts school in history is the perfect way to head that off), and for some reason that is never fully explained the Director of the University wants to battle it out with her. Next follows kidnapping, arson, ambushes, massive free-for-all melee complete with comic relief, and more special effects than you can shake your nunchuks at. Despite the whirlwind of improbabilities and implausibilities, it works. The special effects look great, the fights, while not stunning in their originality, are competent, and the final confrontation (while a little long) is very satisfying.

Almost as an afterthought, the authors suddenly remember that this is supposed to be a lacrosse movie, so the team crams an entire season of games during the credits. This isn't a criticism, as the montage was nicely done. Basically, the filmmakers started with such a wide net, this movie could (and often did) go anywhere, and no one choice was better or worse than any other potential choice. Personally, I would have preferred that the filmmakers either a). stayed with the lacrosse story throughout the movie, or b) used the lacrosse story just long enough to provide a framework for the more revenge-oriented action plot.

Please don't think that because I pointed out this movie's (many) flaws that I didn't enjoy it, because I did.  It's not a bad movie by any means, but it could have been a great one. Still, there are worse ways to kill a couple of hours, and I don't' doubt that I'll watch Shaolin Girl again in the future.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Def Leppard Developing Cartoon Series | Billboard.com

Def Leppard Developing Cartoon Series Billboard.com

Well it's good to know that Def Leppard has managed to maintain both their dignity and artistic integrity despite the passage of years....

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Onward to 2010.

As not only a new year, but the twentieth anniversary of Tapping The Ether rapidly approaches, I decided to sit down and think about what I'd like to accomplish with this blog next year. I'll be honest: this year was pretty hit and miss, and for that I apologize. Part of that was because I was on a learning curve; part of it was because of real life events taking precedence. Overall though, I was happy with what I learned and I'm confident next year's going to see some good things happening.

Here are some of the plans I've made so far:

More reviews: Particularly movie reviews. I love movies. I watch a lot of movies. Now I just have to develop the discipline to write a review after I've finished watching. I saw some great films this year, including “Red Cliffs 1&2”, the “Transporter” movies, “The Bank Job” and dozens of other—but nary a review to be seen. This year I will rectify that. I will try and post at least one review of some kind every week.

Videos and Trailers: This is one area where I learned a lot this year. I found some great sources for trailers and music videos, and learned how to embed them properly. This year the goal is to balance the video content with content that I actually create. It's so easy (and lazy) to just add some video when I don't feel like writing something, but then I end up with a solid block of videos and nothing from me. That's gonna change this year. I'm setting myself a limit of no more than two videos in a row (and preferably fewer than that).

More news: The Etherverse is a wide ranging cultural gumbo that includes music, books, movies, television (a little), art and aesthetics—I'm going to start blogging stories of interest that I run across in my meanderings through Etherspace. Up to now I've shied away from that, because I saw it as exploiting other people's work—now I realize that it actually promotes other people's work, and hopefully they will promote mine in turn.

More Promotion: Improving the blog will hopefully improve the readership, but improving the readership also gives incentive to improve the blog. This year I'm going to try and strike a balance between the two efforts, and hopefully my listeners and readers will help me out on that.. If you belong to a band's fan club, or a message board or something similar that overlaps with Tapping The Ether's focus, please let people know about us here in our little corner. But please, please don't spam on my behalf.

Culling The Blogroll:  I have some great blogs on my blogroll, but I've been noticing that some of them update even less than I do (!!).  Since there's a limit to how many blogs I can put in the blogroll, I'm going to start more actively managing the roll--giving precedence to those blogs that provide quality updates on a regular basis (and of course those who provide me with some recipricosity).

So there you have it: The basic outline of the Tapping The Ether plan of attack for 2010. Please check back often. Please participate: leave comments, check out links, watch videos, and (most importantly) listen to the show.  2010 is going to rock!

Terry Pratchett Challenge, 2010

So I'm going to participate in my first blog challenge: ReadingAdventures: Terry Pratchett 2010 Challenge

Here are the rules:

The challenge will start from 1 December 2009 and run through to 30 November 2010. There are several different levels of participation for you to choose from:

1-3 books - Cashier at Ankh-Morpork Mint
4-5 books - Guard of the City Watch
6-8 books - Academic at the Unseen University
9-10 books - Member of Granny Weatherwax's Coven
10-12 books - Death's Apprentice

You can either be reading the books for the first time, rereading, or even watching the TV adaptations if you like! As long as everyone has fun I will be happy! Please also do not feel limited to only reading the Discworld books as any books by Terry Pratchett will count for this challenge.

To a certain degree, this is not exactly a challenge for me--I'm usually rereading a Discworld novel at some point (sometimes two). In fact, when I found out about this a couple of days ago, I was about 20 pages away from finishing Guards, Guards--so I get to start the challenge one up. Now I'm reading Lords And Ladies. I'll keep you updated on my progress towards Death's Apprentice.

Actor Paul Naschy dies at 75

Actor Paul Naschy dies at 75

For those of you how are unaware, Paul Naschy almost single-handedly kept the Werewolf genre alive throughout the late '60's and '70's. For many film fans, Naschy was the Spanish horror film industry.

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Friday, November 27, 2009

Check this out.

Zazzle not only prints T-shirts and other knick-knacks for Tapping The Ether, but is a community of very talented artists and designers. From time to time I thought I'd showcase something "metal" that has caught my eye. Here are two just to start us off.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

A little personal history

Permanent Waves was the first Rush album I ever purchased, and I hated it!

I was a callow youth of about 13, just returned to Canada and living with my cousin, who played me 2112. I loved the song "Something for Nothing" so as soon as we moved into our new home I saved up my allowance and skipped down to Sam The Record Man to buy 2112. Alas they didn't have 2112 so I bought the album with the cute chick on the cover (hey, I said I was callow) took it home and put it on the old turn table and listened--and hated every minute of it. Nine minute songs? Lyrics that weren't about girls and partying? Fussy, intricate instrumentation? and it was LOUD! I didn't get it, didn't like it and put it aside for a year or so.

After that year or so had passed I started hearing this cool song on the radio called "Tom Sawyer". I heard if for weeks and loved it, but didn't know who sang it. One day I finally heard the DJ announce "Tom Sawyer by Rush" and I thought "Half a mo'*--Don"t I have a Rush album somewhere?" so I went home, pulled out the album and put it on the slightly newer turntable and listen--Holy Crap? Epic slabs of pure awesomeness! Lyrics that actually meant something! Pure instrumental virtuosity! And man was it LOUD!! I was hooked, big time.

In the year between the release of Moving Pictures and Signals I'd purchased every Rush album on vinyl, and in between Signals and Grace Under Pressure I replaced every album on cassette. And I've been a huge fan ever since

*although I had my English accent beaten out of me pretty quickly at school, I still tended to think in English idioms.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Anvil: The Story Of Anvil.

I love Anvil. Probably most of that's nostalgia: Anvil was technically the first metal band I ever saw live (they opened for Iron Maiden back around '81). But it's more that just that. Despite the jokes and the sniggers, they were actually good. Not brilliant, but good: solidly, honestly, reliably good. Their "Metal On Metal" album remains a fond favourite, instantly transporting me back to the days in high-school. I was nerdy, slightly weird, socially aloof and everso slightly disturbing to the jocks and the preps. Ah, good times.

Anvil are finally getting some recognition, thanks to a documentary "Anvil: The Story Anvil". The title of the movie is much like the band itself--everything you need to know is right there, no poetic metaphors or lofty subtexts. The movies about Anvil: The Story of Anvil.

Here's the trailer, courtesy of the good folks at Trailer Addict:

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Lacuna Coil

Judas Priest/Harley Davidson contest....

As I mentioned on last night's show, there's a contest for Priest fans where on lucky winner will win the actual Harley Davidson Crossbones motorcycle used on stage for the current Judas Priest tour. As an added sweetener, all five members of the band will be signing the bike. The contest is being run by Legends Harley-Davidson in New Jersey and you can read details on how to enter in a recent newsletter available here.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tshirts Are Here!

Thanks to the good folks at Zazzle, Tapping The Ether now has it's first official Tshirt.

There's a doohickey that allows you to purchase it from this blog, but I can't get it to work at the moment, so for now, you can check them out here. Keep an eye out for more designs and possibly a coffee mug...

Meanwhile, you can see the design above.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Keith Olbermann

I don't tend to do politics on my blog, but Keith Olbermann's comment on the Dr. Tiller assassination and Pampers O'Reilly complicity struck a nerve and I thought I'd share it

Saturday, May 09, 2009

I love you, Man!

Okay, so I went to the drive-in tonight to see "Star Trek" and the second feature was "I Love You Man", which due to an impending thunderstorm we didn't stick around to see. There was on reason and one reason only I wanted to see this movie--Rush appears in one scene, performing "Limelight". Thankfully I didn't miss that scene becuase my lovely wife tracked down an online version of it, which I'm now sharing with you:

Friday, March 06, 2009

HIstory Of Rush.

A short documentary on the history of Rush. Not particular good (for one thing it makes the bizarre claim that the members of Rush have all gone solo), but it does feature some nice live footage and some soundbites from Geddy and Alex.

Replay video | Share video | Watch more videos

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

"Lords Of Chaos" movie announced/

ZU33 Pictures is filming a movie based on the book "Lords Of Chaos".

For those of you unaware, the book details the birth and rise of the Black Metal scene in Norway, with particular emphasis on the church burnings and murders committed by the so-called "Inner Circle".

Here's what the film company says about the movie:

Set inside the notorious Norwegian Black Metal music scene of the early 1990s (and based on true events) this narrative feature follows a group of dedicated musicians and their charismatic figureheads - Count Grishnackh and Euronymous - as art transforms into brutal violence in the streets of Northern Europe.

Sion Sono (Suicide Club) is directing and the film is slated for a 2010 release.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Libertine

The Libertine stars Johnny Depp as 17th poet, playwright and all-round reprobate John Wilmot, better known as the Earl of Rochester. Played with a wonderful combination of exuberance and despair by Johnny Depp, Wilmot opens the film with a prologue during which he declares "You will not like me". And he's right.

John Wilmot is portrayed as the 17th Century version of a self-absorbed rock star. Self-indulgent, self-absorbed, self-loathing, with emphasis on the "self". Talented but lazy, intelligent but crude, lionized yet isolated, Depp portrays the dissipated Wilmot like a spoiled rock star in the mold of Axl Rose or Nikki Sixx--an out of control Bad Boy whom no one has told to grow up. As Wilmot's looks and health succumb to the ravages of syphilis, he increasingly resembles Freddy Mercury in his final days.

The movie is not perfect, by any means. It suffers from a certain air of "staginess" and the script occasionally loses focus, resulting in periods that are bordering on tedious. Less emphasis on Wilmot's relationship with actress Elizabeth Barrie and more on that with King Charles II (wonderfully played by John Malkovich) would have improve the plot considerably. Many of the supporting characters are flat and lifeless, and there is no real antagonist to the story.

Reactions to the movie show that there is no middle ground. You will love it, or you will loathe it. Of the negative reviews I've read on Amazon, about 70% seem to be from women who picked up the movie solely because Johnny Depp was in it, and were disappointed to find such a dark and depressing story. Another 20% were from people who objected to the vulgarity of the movie (making me wonder what the hell they were expecting of a movie called "The Libertine"), with the remaining 10% of viewers who knew what they were getting into, and sincerely gave the movie a chance.

Perhaps it's best to think of The Libertine as a very, very dark counterpoint to Shakespeare in Love, a movie that it very much resembles in many ways. Don't let that mislead you into thinking that this is a feel-good movie, however, because that is one thing that it most definitely is not.

The Weekend.

It was a busy weekend, but pleasantly so.

Sunday was my wife's birthday, so we skipped out of town on Saturday afternoon for a family getogether with cake and ice cream. Then it was back to town in time for the show. As part of her present, my wife programmed the entire show, and she did a fantastic job! Saturday we watched "Yankee Doodle Dandy" together (a gift from my parents) before going out to dinner with friends. For anyone who hasn't seen it, I heartily recommend it. One of Cagney's finest moments (and I've been a fan of Cagney's gangster movies since I was young lad). All in all it was a great weekend, marred only when my wife had a nasty fall on some ice in our parking lot.

On a slightly sadder note, I found out this weekend that Bill Landis, co-editor of Sleazoid Express magazine, died not too long ago. Although I've never read the magazine, I have a copy of his excellent book of the same name that gives a history of grindhouse films and the theatres that played them. A vital resource for anyone interesting in exploitation, cult and bizarre movies from the 60's, 70's and 80's. Ironically just a couple of days before reading the news my friend Eddie and I were talking about the infamous "Ilsa" movies and he was asking me about tracking some similar fare, and I immediately recommended he read Sleazoid Express (the book) for suggestions. It's a small world indeed. Bill Landis, R.I.P.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Chanbara Beauty: The Movie

Before I start, I should mention that I’ve never even heard of, let alone played, the videogame that this movie is based on. On the whole, I doubt it makes much difference, but I’m willing to concede that some of the niggling little complaints I may have about Chanbara Beauty might stem from the original source material. Caveat delivered. On with the show…

What can you say about a movie that is stuffed to the seams with zombies; a bikini-clad assassin with a sword; a leather clad biker babe with a gun; zombies; an evil, sword-wielding hench-girl in school uniform; buckets of blood and gore, zombies; a sadistic mad scientist bent on world domination; and zombies?

Did I mention zombies? And we aren't talking about yer flaccid, shuffling western zombies either. These bastards can move...

It’s the near future, and science has created a process by which the dead return to life as flesh eating zombies (why this is desirable process is never explained, natch). Aya (a young assassin who for some reason has adopted the costume of a red bikini complimented by a white feather boa and cowboy hat) is searching for her younger sister, who has thrown in with the evil scientist. She and her sidekick team up with Reiko, the aforementioned biker-babe who is seeking revenge on the scientist. The fat, jovial sidekick is also seeking his younger sister, kidnapped by the same evil scientist. The plot is pretty much by the numbers—get to the scientist’s hideout, slaughter their way through the zombies, and kill the madman, followed by the final confrontation between the sisters.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the movie works best when it’s in non-stop action mode. On the rare occasions when it pauses for exposition or “character development”, the movie seems very forced and awkward, but once the zombies appear and the severed limbs start flying, hold on to your popcorn! The back story of the Aya and her sister is told adequately through flashbacks, but doesn’t really add anything to the story except provide an excuse for their final showdown.

The showdown takes up the final 15 minutes, and while it starts out fine, it quickly lapses into the two girls grimacing at each other and screaming “Aaaaiieeeee!” while colourful special effects swirl around them. I’m sure this is where the movie is most influenced by it’s original source, and certainly the special effects are pretty to look at, but 15 minutes of it is frankly too long.

That being said, Chanbara Beauty provides enough thrills and eye-candy to pass a pleasantly mindless hour and a half or so.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Chanbara Beauty Trailer

I saw this movie a couple of days ago and I'm working on a review. Until then, here's the trailer to whet your appetite...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A few changes....

As you've no doubt noticed, there's been a dearth of updates so far this year.

Part of that's been real-life issues. A rotten, miserable flu, and a busy time at work. In the cyber-realm, my original affiliate has closed down, leaving me with no alliliate, and no conent.

Enter the good folks at HKFlix--an excellent site that offers a variety of movies, with emphasis on Asian movies.

Now if there's one thing I love as much as metal, it's movies, and HKFlix has the Asian horror, fantasy and martial arts movies that I crave--movies that are seldom available on Amazon, and almost never available locally.

For non-Asian genre movies that HKFlix may not carry, I'm still looking for a secondary affliate, but thankfully I will have links and graphics that will keep the blog looking fresh. Also, HKFlix has a deal where my reviews of movies that they carry may end up on their website, which in turn will link back to my blog, giving me a little exposure.

On a sadder note, it appears that the metal video's that I was posting up have been removed by the host. Hopefully these are isolated removals, but just in case I'm also looking around for another source of metal videos.

So now you're up to date, keep watching this space. I'm working on a couple of movie reviews, including one for Hysteria: The Def Leppard Story, which I caught on TV last weekend.