Friday, 24 April 2015



I spent about half an hour being deafened by a few shots like this the other day. I need them for the video. It's an 1840 English Navy percussion cap thing, not the flintlock I really wanted. Oh well. I really must use a tripod next time.

Our video-mapping projection at The Bell pub is is being done by the same man who made this:

It will be shown on 3 nights, 22nd, 23rd and 24th of May, about 10.00pm. Let me know if you want to be a last minute sponsor!

Thursday, 23 April 2015


One of H.I.'s recent drawings.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Do you know Bob Hope?

Yes, this was the question that Facebook asked me this morning when I opened up my 'Tom Stephenson' mailbox account.

Having said I would never return to Facebook (not that you can ever really leave) I found it necessary to open up my account with it the other day, but not in my real name. Not that it makes any difference to Facebook. They know who we really are. 'By clicking on this you agree to accept our cookies' - sounds so attractive.

"I've got over 1800 friends", lied The Boy recently.

I've got about 20 friends, and most of them don't like me.

Apparently, Bob Hope wasn't a very likeable person in real life.

The head of the Bath Police Drugs Squad introduced himself to me some years ago. "My name's Bob Hope", he genuinely said. To this day, I don't know whether or not he was aware of the Cockney rhyming-slang connotations of his name, or if he was just bored with the smirks every time he mentioned it.

Oh well, it makes a change from being asked if I know Anne Marie Weismuller once a week.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Since when has 81 been a mile-stone?

Here in the UK, the Google logo depicts a bunch of aliens manning an underwater, mechanical Nessie, using bicycle technology to turn the propellor. Hold the cursor over it and it says, "81 years of searching for the Loch Ness monster."

Beneath that, there is an invitation to explore Loch Ness using underwater Goggle Street View, and a link to take you there. I didn't even know such a thing existed.

So I clicked on the link and pretty soon the start-point appeared on the screen, with Urquhart Castle on the nearby shore, and half of the camera lens underwater.

It works the same way as ordinary Street View, with arrows for up, down, left, right, and plus and minus for zoom. I turned the camera downward.

I didn't bother to walk the 23 miles of Loch Ness - a few feet told me that all you can see is impenetrable brown-green darkness which, funnily enough, is just how I imagined it.

This Nessie business has been saturated with humour since the very first time the monster was/was not spotted.

On the subject of things which we all know to be either true or false - or both - on which a lot of money has been spent to scientifically verify the facts, two bits of clinical research have been published today.

The first is that it is not possible to become fat without eating too much. Yes, believe it or not, this is true.

Some scientists became so fed-up with fat people going to their doctors and lying to them about not eating, that they locked them in a room and fed half of them what they needed to stay alive, and the other half what they needed to keep the other half alive as well. The scientists couldn't bring themselves to believe that these fat people - like plants - photo synthesised, and by golly they were right.

The other astounding fact is that - wait for it - babies feel pain.

For about 80 years - about the same time as they have been searching for the Loch Ness monster - everyone pretended to believe the callous doctors when they told the distraught mothers that the procedure they were about to perform on their children did not need anaesthetic.

Well now, due to very unsophisticated experiments which involve torturing babies and wiring them up to monitors (because the babies cannot yet tell them how painful it is), they now know that pain is very real for them after all. I wonder how much money this cost?

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Face-swap App

The Boy and his girlfriend.
Have you ever seen a more accurate depiction of a couple of young lesbians in your life?
There are a few of me (which I may show you), and I look like David Cameron with his hair. As a woman (his mother), I look like a right slapper.

This is John's favourite.
I look like an adorable old granny and she looks like the sort of woman that your mother warned you about.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Secret Laboratory - Lee Perry

I saw this man last week in Frome. It might have been my last chance - he's 82 now...

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Hot wax

God I'm knackered. I didn't stop for lunch yesterday for the above reasons.

That green stuff all over the place is wax - very expensive wax. The mission is to replicate a full-sized set of antlers for a cast-metal sculpture of a stag. The process is to cast the original antlers in sections with thin coatings of rubber, backed-up with plaster.

You heat up enough special wax to fill the entire mould, then you do fill the mould, swilling it out again back into the pot. You repeat this process enough times to build up a layer of the required thickness, then take the wax positive out of the mould.

I asked the founder what wall thickness he required, and he said, "No less than 5mm and no more than 6mm." I think he must have been joking. Well I laughed, anyway.

I take the waxes to him and he coats them in a ceramic slurry, then bakes out the wax in a kiln before filling the resulting void with molten metal. I take the metal positives away and weld them together in their original positions, then fettle-away the excess metal before fitting them onto the stag.

The process is called 'lost-wax' casting, but not because of the wax that is lost through loose joints or holes in the rubber as happened here.

The original moulds were made by my glamorous assistant. He actually gets Christmas cards from the Prime Minister and his wife, so I think I know which way he is voting next month.

I wonder how many Frank Zappa fans are going to stumble across this post because of the title, then turn away in furious disappointment when they see what it is really about. Hee hee!