Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sevans Daleks Adverts - Doctor Who Monsterkits (1988)

Here's another full page DWM advert for the Sevans model kits. Interestinigly the price of the Dalek kit has risen again to £17.95 (from £14.95, and from originally £11.95). Quite a large price rise in such a short space of time (approximately 2 years). I imagine that this increase reflects the overheads involved in the introduction of the other model kits seen in this particular ad, notably the Cyberman and Ice Warrior kits.

Thanks again to Outpost Gallifreyan MasseyLopez for sending this in.

Source: Doctor Who Monthly, Issue 136 (May 1988), page 10.

Sevans Daleks adverts - TIMELORD - BEWARE (1985-6)

This advert was featured in several issues of Doctor Who Magazine (DWM) during 1985-6. Thanks to Outpost Gallifreyan MasseyLopez and John Main for sending this in.

A fantastic advert I must admit, and the first Sevans one (to my knowledge) that was in colour, this one frequently adorned the rear cover of DWM during 1986, and again as a kid I remember drooling over it trying to decide what colour to paint my very own one that I got for Crimbo in '86! In the end I painted my Crimbo '86 one in the "Resurrection" scheme, and my Crimbo '87 one in the silver/gold scheme that you can see in this ad.

Hey they've gone up to £14.95! That's a whopping +25% in 1 year. I know that house price inflation was insane in the late '80s (as it is now), so maybe Stu Evans had a whacking great mortgage he needed to pay off!

Source: Doctor Who Monthly, Issue 105 (October 1985), inside front cover.

Sevans Dalek adverts - DALEK INVASION (1985)

Here's a classic example of a Sevans models ad from the mid '80s. This was featured in several issues of DWM (Doctor Who Monthly) in 1985. I remember drooling over this particular ad for a long time as an 11/12 year old before finally getting one delivered to me by Santa in 1986. As you can see, the price was £11.95. That sounds so cheap by today's standards! It's amazing how inflation creates that impression... probably the equivalent of £30-£35 nowadays I guess. Thanks to Outpost Gallifreyan, John Main for emailing this in.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Photo of the day: Post office signs

Here's a photo taken in Prague this weekend. It is a post office door. I was amazed by the amount of activities that are non-permissable in this establishment. I even had to leave my shooter outside.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Gaz’s Spaghetti Bolognaise (serves 4)

This is my own recipe for spaghetti bolognaise. It is no doubt based on a number of recipes that over the years I have I have combined, altered, refined and customised to my own taste.

Actually, I find that spaghetti bolognaise is pretty hard to get right. This recipe is based on my most recent attempt from the other day. It came out really well, and I believe that the secret is totally in reducing the sauce so that the flavour of the tomatoes is intensified.


  • Olive oil
  • Onion (1 large one)
  • Minced beef (500g)
  • Tomatoes (12 of them, nice and ripe)
  • Basil – A handful of leaves, washed and finely chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Ground black pepper (a good few grinds)
  • Mixed dried herbs (2-3 tbs)
  • Chilli powder (1/2 a tsp, don’t go mad – you shouldn’t notice it)
  • Balsalmic vinegar (3 or 4 tbs)
  • Optional – red wine (a good slug)
  • Optional – Worcestershire sauce (3 tbs)
  • Minced garlic (3 or 4 cloves)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • Optional – mushrooms, chopped and fried separately (a tub of them)
  • Pasta (as much or as little as you want)


  1. Heat a good slug of olive oil in a pan.
  2. Finely chop the onion and fry until translucent.
  3. Add the minced beef and brown off nicely. Give it a good blast but do not burn. Salt it while it is cooking.
  4. Skin and chop the tomatoes and add to the pan.
  5. Add the bay leaf, pepper, mixed dried herbs, chilli powder, Balsalmic vinegar, optional red wine, Worcestershire sauce.
  6. Finally add the garlic (I always add this slightly later in the cooking process. I find that its flavour is diminished if it’s put in too early, especially with the onion).
  7. Add the previously fried mushroom to the sauce (and their juices) if required.At this time the sauce will be quite watery because of the tomatoes. Reduce the sauce over an hour or so on a moderate hear. This will intensify the flavour and make it tangy (most recipes use tomato puree to achieve this, but I don’t use the stuff). The longer you can do this the better.
  8. Salt the sauce to taste.
  9. Serve with pasta that has been boiled with some salt and a slug of olive oil.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Horror Dream Diary: My Gran's Remains.

My grandmother died in 2000, which is obviously plenty of time for me to come to terms with her passing, but strangely I have had two nightmares recently that featured her. Both were within 3 months of each other, and both featured people desecrating her remains. This is not exactly a pleasant thing to dream about, and originally I decided that there was no way I would write down something so disturbing, but after a while I recognised that the dreams had a slightly comic element to them that takes the sting out of them …so here we are with my macabre (but slightly silly) tale of “My Gran’s Remains”.

In the first dream I stood in the aisle of a church facing the altar. In front of me was my grandmother’s coffin. It was on a long, high table that raised it up to shoulder height. A man stood at the side of the coffin. He was dressed in a black suit and was leering at me. His eyes gleamed with wickedness. He rubbed his hands together in an extravagant way like a magician would before performing a trick. He then lifted the coffin lid slightly and reached inside with his whole arm.

He heaved on something large that was inside the coffin, and in one motion pulled out my grandmother, but minus her insides. The man had basically pulled out a Gran “body-suit” somehow leaving her bones and internal organs inside the coffin. The nearest thing I can think of that resembled this is that trick where someone yanks a tablecloth from a table leaving the crockery intact on the tabletop. This was a grotesque parody of that stunt, with my Gran’s bones being the crockery and her outer “body-suit” being the tablecloth.

I don’t know how the man did this but I found this scene utterly vile. He stood there laughing at me while my boneless grandmother flopped limply around his feet. When I woke up I felt quite sickened at what I dreamed about.

I had a second, similar dream around one month ago. Once again I was in the church from the previous dream, but this time I stood facing a wall. It had been crudely smashed open to reveal an urn that stood within the wall cavity. Somehow I knew that it contained the cremated remains of my grandmother (this is strange because I was fully aware in the dream she had actually been buried in real life).

My mother breezed into the church and tipped the urn upside down, pouring out some of the ashes into the wall cavity. She scooped some up using a small gardening spade and shovelled it into a small plastic bag. I asked her what the hell she was doing, and she explained that some of my Gran’s ashes were needed over at the hospital. Apparently “the hospital” had a collection of ornaments and semi-precious stones that they liked to display, and they favoured displaying them on a bed of somebody’s cremated ashes (apparently the colour of the ash complimented the display items perfectly). For some reason the hospital occasionally needed to renew the ashes, and this time it was my mother’s turn to get hold of some. Interestingly, when my mother explained all this to me, her tone was one of nonchalance, as if what she was doing was simply just a normal everyday occurrence. She did not seem to understand why I found her actions strange, and she found it odd that I thought she was doing something unusual.

My mother breezed back out of the church with a plastic bag containing some of my Gran’s ashes, and I turned back to look at the urn feeling very confused.

Read more of my HORROR DREAM DIARY

Friday, September 07, 2007

Mechanics of a Damaged Mind

This is an experiment that I've been working on sporadically for a few weeks and I finished it today. I set out to draw a completely random picture - just anything that came into my head. I stared in the middle of the page and progressed round and round until I got to the outside, aiming to cover every inch of the page with some sort of design.

During the process I realised that is that if everything is completely random it is not so interesting to look at - the eye is not drawn to anything specific. Therefore, as I progressed to the extremes of the page, I tried to work in more geometric designs and bolder patterns. I think that they work much better. I suppose that even chaos needs a few rules.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Horror Dream Diary: The Grey Man

Recently my brother told me something disturbing. He described how he had seen a ghost in my parents’ house some 8 or 9 years ago. Why he had not told me sooner I don’t know. I have always felt slightly uneasy in the upstairs rooms of that house – there is something unusual about the atmosphere - and now that I know that the place is haunted everything makes sense. It’s not a particularly old house. It was built in the early ‘70s, but in my opinion that’s more than enough time for a soul to make its mark.

What he described to me was quite unusual, and not at all like any ghost stories that I’ve heard before. He was having a sleepless night in the back bedroom (a twin room), and out of frustration shoved the duvet aside. With the duvet out of the way he could see that an elderly man was kneeling on the floor between the beds. He had grey hair and was bent over so much that his forehead was almost touching the carpet. The man held his head in his hands, his knuckles clenched around the back of his head. The position that the man was in was almost like a brace position as if an earthquake or bombing raid was happening. Despite this, my brother sensed that there was something deeply tragic about the man and that he was in this unusual position because he was experiencing some grave despair.

Terrified, and realising that he was seeing something supernatural, my brother covered himself back up with the duvet. A few minutes later he dared to take another look, but the old man was still there, frozen in the same position as before. Somehow he managed to get off to sleep and by morning the apparition had thankfully gone.

I mention all this because the other day I had a nightmare featuring the same ghost which went something like this…

For some reason I had taken up residence in the upstairs of my parents’ house. The house was disturbingly empty, as if nobody lived there anymore. I was alone in the house and it was night. The place was really creepy and inexplicable things would happen – electrical appliances would spring to life by themselves, and the light cord in the bathroom would often start swinging, clacking rhythmically against the tiles.

I heard the noise from the light cord and went to check it out. I passed the open door of the back bedroom where my brother had seen the ghost. Inside the room the electric light crackled dangerously, and a TV in the corner hissed menacingly at me. I stood at the threshold of the room and watched as the same elderly man that my brother has seen gradually materialised in the middle of the room. Sometimes he partially appeared then faded away, but once or twice he appeared to be completely solid. He seemed animated as if talking and gesturing to an invisible person who was also in the room. I could hear what he was saying. It was mostly gibberish – the ramblings of a madman, but he coherently said two or three sentences. I distinctively heard him say that there were “problems in Arkansas”.

I tried to attract the old man’s attention. “Hey” I shouted, but he was not aware of me. I tried again more loudly and he immediately stopped talking to his invisible partner. Slowly and silently the man turned around and looked into my eyes.

“What is your name?” I asked.

He told me.

I wish I remembered what it was when I woke up.