Tuesday, February 28, 2006


As a child passing through school I experienced quite an amount of bullying, most aimed at me, but I'm ashamed to admit, some amount passed on by me to other children. As an adult, I cringe at some of the things I have said and done as child, things I would never, ever say to another adult unless I was bent on causing a physical confrontation.

School seems to bring out the very worst in children, ours wasn't some hard bitten inner city school, it was just a fairly normal large village school. It had though it's established pecking order of 'hardest boy' and 'hardest girl' who often hung around with the elite 'next hardest' mob and thus were the top ranked lot when it came to bullying.

Children though do seem to become evil at school, as they grow up your little darlings will say and do things away from you that would (hopefully) leave you upset and horrified. Hopefully I say because it seems that there are far too many parents today who will support little Johnny's tantrums and obnoxious behavior in the face of authority.

Some reasons I was picked on at school, though I accept that the bullies don't really need reasons, they are just an excuse.....

I liked reading.
I have a couple of facial moles, I got really uptight when the school morons started giving me grief because of this.
I had to wear glasses.
I preferred boots to trainers.
We lived in a pub.
I didn't like the all prevailing pop and rockabilly culture.....
....I was into punk, Siouxsie & The Banshees, Adam & The Ants, The Boomtown Rats

As we all got older and went up to grammar school, these differences became all the more defined. At this time I had found that I couldn't, and didn't want to be, accepted by the bullies. Everything they did, liked, wore and supported, I wanted to be different. This of course hardly helped my cause, when everyone else is wearing drainpipe trousers, sculpting their hair into quiffs and listening to Matchbox, it's pretty easy to spot the tall, bespectacled red/blue haired punk in the knee length boots and Adam Ant approved flouncy blouse.

My sister believes, and I think she's right, that quite a lot of the grief I suffered stemmed from the fact that we grew up in a pub. As the older lads grew up they would try their luck at getting drinks underage, most would be turfed out by my Dad, then both they and their younger siblings would pick on us because of it. I always found it difficult to back down though, which isn't a great tactic when combined with being crap at fighting, I had plenty of fights but didn't win many.

I got a whole terms worth of relief from bullying when I laid out the school's official hardest boy, the fight went like this, Eddy (whom I now get on with quite fine by the way) was picking on me, for reasons I now can't remember. You always had an option, you could just stand and take it, and get a few not too serious slaps and punches, nothing that was going to leave black eyes or serious bruising, and this was what I was doing. A bit frightened, humiliated in a circle of jeering children, I was enduring the bullying and just waiting for the point when it would end with the ritual threat of "And don't forget who's hardest round here."

Then he knocked my glasses off. I panicked, I couldn't see very well, and sort of flailed around a bit, more by luck than judgment I landed a huge swing on the side of Eddy's head and knocked him down. There was an awkward silence, the breaktime fun hadn't gone as planned. Eddy sat up, someone passed my broken glasses to me, I could see Eddy's eyes were not really focusing. He got unsteadily to his feet and held out his hand, I shook it.

For the rest of the term I was possibly the hardest boy in school, I really wasn't at all but you may as well ride your luck. That all changed the next term when two new boys joined the school and there was the usual merry-go-round of fighting and bullying to determine the new rankings.

I found that bullying was worse at middle school (ages 9-13 ) than it was at grammar school, perhaps because when we all went up to Ilkley the classes changed, it was a much bigger school, I found new friends and could mostly avoid my old tormentors, in school anyway. When I was old enough to go to college, being different was everyday and accepted, at my day release college I was exempted from any power struggles because of my day status, although some of the other students said there was a definite canteen split along racial lines there was no such thing in the day release group.

I don't have any real answers for the problem of bullying, children fight and squabble to assert themselves just as any other young animals do, but they also form distinct social groups and gangs for solidarity, protection, or more likely just because they want to fit in.

The school that my Godchildren do/will attend is quite active in this issue, younger children joining the school are paired up with an older child whose job it is to guide them and look after them. The school places great importance on acceptance and the importance of never leaving anyone out, this works really well in this tiny village school, things will probably be quite different when they attend the larger schools in town.

Obviously the people who have the greatest influence are the parents. I imagine that the vast majority of bullying goes unreported to anyone, I certainly didn't say anything unless it was obvious that I had been in a fight. I know from friends who are teachers that there are many parents who simply will not accept that their beautiful little offspring can be in any way to blame, for anything, at any time. We all knew at school who would get in trouble with their parents, and also whose parents were the sort of 'can't be bothered' type.

Although the bullying I received tailed off as I got older, for many children this is not the case and bullying becomes worse as they progress through their teens. From time to time we read terrible stories in the press of teenagers who have killed themselves because of the bullying they have received. I think anything I might suggest would be far easier said than done, but, a better respect for authority might help. I don't mean from the children, I mean from their parents, support for the teachers and heads, for the police and courts.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Yorkshire Soul's Rambling Quiz 4:7

Answers to Yorkshiresoul@gmail.com on/by Friday 3rd March, no lists of possible answers, no spoilers please.

1) What happened to Tess just before the beginning of the chapter 'Maiden No More' in Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles? (1)

2) Who is this ? (1)

3) Whose prison number was 6655321 ?

4) Whose prison number was 5446 ?

5) What is the common name for this plant ?

6) What is the name of the first building in London to have been built to serve as a prison, and during which civil disturbance was it destroyed ? (2)

7) Who is this ? (1)

8) What is the name of the guard that prevents number 6 from escaping ? (1)

9) Which prisoner caused a riot outside the Bastille by shouting claims that the warders were killing the prisoners ? (1)

10) What is the name of this prison ? (1)


Good luck!
We're Doomed, Doomed I Tell You

Trescothick has flown home, Vaughan is following him on the next plane, Simon Jones has crocked his knee and will sit out (at least) the first test, Pieterson has a dodgy back, Giles didn't even make it to the tour.

Flintoff steps up as England captain, well at least so far on this tour he has proved quite capable of catching England Captain's Disease in the run getting department, players are being brought over in bus loads from the A Team tour in the Windies.

What England need now is a real hero, we need Strauss or (insert jetlagged upper order batting replacement here) to get a stack of runs at the top of the order and calm things down a bit and then the remaining pacemen plus Blackwell / Panesar to get amongst the wickets quickley.

What odds an England series victory then ?

Friday, February 24, 2006

From The Mailbox

Like a Valentines Day, but for blokes, Steak and a Blowjob Day. (Thanks MR)

A pair of really mammoth jugs. (Thanks Squirt)

Two blondes living in Oklahoma were sitting on a bench talking........ and one blonde says to the other, "Which do you think is farther away..........Florida or the moon?"
The other blonde turns and says "Helloooooooooo, can you see Florida...?????"

CAR TROUBLE A blonde pushes her BMW into a gas station. She tells the mechanic it died. After he works on it for a few minutes, it is idling smoothly.
She says, "What's the story?"
He replies, "Just crap in the carburetor"
She asks, "How often do I have to do that?"

There's this blonde out for a walk. She comes to a river and sees another blonde on the opposite bank.
"Yoo-hoo!" she shouts, "How can I get to the other side?"
The second blonde looks up the river then down the river and shouts back, "You ARE on the other side."

AT THE DOCTOR'S OFFICE A gorgeous young redhead goes into the doctor's office and said that her body hurt wherever she touched it.
"Impossible!" says the doctor. "Show me."
The redhead took her finger, pushed on her left breast and screamed, then she pushed her elbow and screamed in even more. She pushed her knee and screamed; likewise she pushed her ankle and screamed.
Everywhere she touched made her scream.
The doctor said, "You're not really a redhead, are you? "Well, no" she said, "I'm actually a blonde." "I thought so," the doctor said. "Your finger is broken."

A blonde was playing Trivial Pursuit one night. It was her turn. She rolled the dice and she landed on Science &Nature.
Her question was, "If you are in a vacuum and someone calls your name, can you hear it?" She thought for a time and then asked, "Is it on or off?"

A girl was visiting her blonde friend, who had acquired two new dogs, and asked her what their names were. The blonde responded by saying that one was named Rolex and one was named Cartier. Her friend said, "Whoever heard of someone naming dogs like that?" "HELLLOOOOOOO......," answered the blond. "They're watch dogs!"

(Thanks, I think, to The Lurker)

Now that food has replaced sex in my life, I can't even get into my own pants.

I saw a woman wearing a sweat shirt with "Guess" on it. So I said "Implants?" She hit me.

I signed up for an exercise class and was told to wear loose-fitting clothing. If I HAD any loose-fitting clothing, I wouldn't have signed up in the first place!

When I was young we used to go "skinny dipping," now I just "chunky dunk."

(Thanks to Stuart)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

England Amongst The Runs

Ah, my curry eating question has been answered, it would appear that most of the bowlers have over indulged in the vindaloo and are now inseperable from the loo. Panesar, Jones, Blackwell and Udal have all suffered from 'Delhi belly' (sorry, couldn't think of a Vadodara based pun) and the runs are reported to be coming thick and fast, and loose and liquid.
He Gets It From His Dad

"It looks like a school CDT [craft, design and technology] project gone wrong." - The Duke of Edinburgh uses his customary tact to describe the women's Ashes trophy - a wooden cricket ball screwed onto a wooden plinth
A Rather Public Dissident

Prince Charles is currently embroiled in a rather public court court vs. the 'Hate' Mail on Sunday which has published bits of his personal diary and letters and wishes to publish more.

I'm with the Prince here, if I publish something to my blog, or write it for a magazine or newspaper then that is for everyone to read, if I write it in a personal letter to a friend, or jot it down in my diary, then that is a private matter. Yesterday lawyers for the Mail were trying to claim that someone born to such a high office should have no right to privacy.

Of course the case also revolves around the point that someone in the Prince's employ, who doubtless had to sign a confidentiality contract as part of his terms of employment, has now decided he would rather earn a few quid from the tabloids rather than maintain his honour, contract, loyalty and morals.

Even though I support Charles' rights to have his personal diaries kept secret, the details so far revealed have been fascinating. Here is a man with strong political, religious and economic views, a man with definite and considered ideals. Politicians and newspapers editors are screaming about the constitutional harm that the Prince of Wales might do by expressing his own opinions.

"I think he sees himself as above the law because the constitutional rules are very, very clear. A head of state is not to put his political views on the public stage, and this is what he is doing," said Phil Hall, former editor of the News Of The World.

Why on earth shouldn't Charles have his own views and opinions ? I for one would much rather have a monarch who was interested in the world beyond the pomp and rigmarole of court life. Surely it is everyone's right to have opinions in a democracy ?

Politicians and editors are being rather hypocritical about the whole issue, especially the Mail, after all, if they hadn't published large swathes of his personal notes, then we would not know the opinions of the Prince on various matters (especially concerning China and the Hong Kong handover) because he has never made them public knowledge otherwise. You can't come in to dubious possession of someone's diaries, publish them and then say that this person shouldn't be saying this and that, because this person was not saying this and that to the public, he was writing down his thoughts for his own journal.

Personally I think it's pretty good that we have such an independently minded person next in line for the throne. So the Prince sees himself as a 'dissident working against political opinion', good for him, I feel just the same, it's just that no-one really listens to me. So he's not elected, so what ? Our democratically elected officials regularly do things, going to war for example, that the vast majority of their voters would rather they didn't.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Captions ?

Get The Knowledge

When you're looking for answers to the Yorkshire Soul quiz, do you use Wiki or Unclyclo ?
Going Off The Air

We're having some work done in the office, assuming that the carpenter ever turns up of course, so I might be off the air until the start of next week.

In the meantime, I have trimmed out all the dead blogs from my links list, so go and amuse yourselves over there.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

A Win

England brushed aside the Indian President's 11 yesterday to wrap up a simple victory in their first tour match, some of our batting was a bit wayward again though. Despite Flintoff saying that the middle order would reign themselves in both he and Skunky Flagnuts flashed early and were out cheaply.

The bowlers did well, there are only two questions to answer before the test series begins, which spinner will make the test side ? And, which spinner ate all the curries ?

Ian Blackwell or.......

....Monty Panesar ?
George And Tony

(Nicked from That Nikon Man )
Cruel, Too Cruel

I watched a bit of the rather poor Brits ceremony the other night, can anyone explain why fading/faded star Prince was given half the gig to play a Purple Rain greatest hits package ?

Anyway, far and away the best news of the night was the announcement from professional dullards Coldplay that they were going to take a four or five year breather from the pop business and stop boring the arse off decent people everywhere.

It turns out however that this was just a cruel joke by evil/boring Chris Martin, oh yes, the macrobiotic one's sense of humour knows no bounds. Briefly he made millions happier than they had ever been when listening to his dirges, then he snatched that happiness away, bastard.

Perhaps if we start a petition we could get some action here, send an e-mail to Parlophone/EMI saying...."We the music loving public, demand that Coldplay take a five year break". There, that should do it.

"P.S. Could you also stop Radiohead from releasing their awful shite as well, thanks."

Don't forget to pen a quick missive to Geffen as well, along the lines of......"Life has been just a fraction more pleasent since Blink 182 split up, please do all you can to stop them reforming."
Deep Fried Goat's Penis ?

Or would Sir prefer the selection of testicles ?

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Captions ?

Yorkshire Soul's Rambling Quiz Series 4 Week 6

1) Phil ' The Power' Taylor made a brief foray into the world of rock music last year, how so ?

OK, there were two possible answers here, Phil recorded a quit cringeworthy rap on a single called 'Better Than The Best', he also appeared in a video with Justin Hawkins for 'This Town', a point for each.

2) What is unusual about this man's guitar ?

Piles of information about welding, chrome plating and bomber rivets, all true of course, but the really different thing about Matt Bellamy' guitar is that it is actually two instruments in one, his guitar has a built in theremin.

3) Which British rock band has a father and son in their line up ?

The Mystery Jets

4) Which chef's autobiography was written in short sections, each inspired by food eaten as a child ?

Nigel Slater - Food

5) If I'm riding goofy and getting plenty of amplitude, what am I doing ?


6) What religious first should occur on England's forthcoming tour to India ?

Monty Panesar should become the first Sikh to play for England

7) What has become the most expensive wine in the world ?

A bottle of 1787 Ch. Yquem Sauternes sold at auction for £55,000, would I drink it ? Hell yes.

8) Who is this ?

Usually behind the camera, the photographer Annie Leibovicz

9) Who is this ?

I don't think anyone recognised the captain of the French Rugby Union team in his civvies, Fabien Pelous.

10) Who is this ?

Men's Downhill Gold Medal winner Antoine Deneriaz

This Week's Scores

MR 7
Eleanor 6
Chez 5
Squirt 3
Mr Moosehead 2
Penny Farthing 1

Week 4.6 League Table

1) Eleanor 82
2) MR 79
3) Chez 66
4) Dr. P 60
5) Rachel 'O' 43
6) Dirk Thruster 22
7) Mandy 17
8) = EvilBarSteward 15
8) = Penny Farthing 15
10) = Miss Fitty 13
10) = Mr Moosehead 13
12) Andrew M 10
13) Patricia 8
14) Squirt 3
15) Ms B Haven 1

Well done folks, a few very minor positional changes this week, MR closes the gap at the top, I'll try to do another quiz during the week.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Calling Djibouti, Calling Palau

Poor old Wosser was saying that he doesn't get any hits from South America, I have trawled my hit log and found thousands of visitors from that fair continent have dropped in at Yorkshire Soul in the last year so perhaps a few of you could call round his place and keep him company.

Two places I don't get many hits from though are Djibouti, which I'm vaguely aware is in NE Africa, and Palau, which I'd never even heard of before, both register but a single hit each in the past year. I can't imagine why my steady diet of food related waffling, hiking photos and naked celebs proves to be such a poor draw for the citizens of these fine nations (about 20,000 citizens in the case of Palau, in context, two stands still empty at Elland Road).

Still, I'm going to see if I can double, nay treble, oh good grief let's go for the whole nine yards, quadruple my hits from these countries in the next year. How I'm going to do it, I have no idea, but watch this space. Until I get bored of the idea and never mention it again.

The Full One Hit Wonders List.....

Solomon Islands
Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
Equatorial Guinea
British Indian Ocean Territory
Sierra Leone
Go On then, Have A Laugh

I was going to let my Canuck readers have a go at me after their ladies thrashed ours in the curling today, but then I found this photo of Team Kleibrink, and I think we can all laugh at the Canucks instead......

...what have you lot come dressed as ? Love the Chavscum approved bootys!
Chicken Joke

(Thanks to CarzyMetalGuy)

WooHoo, We Have A Medal !!! And A Winter Olympic Babe !!!

Pewsey girl Shelley Rudman took the silver medal in the frankly insane sport of skeleton bob (downhill head first on a tea tray - copyright everybugger). The girl with nerves of steel stood at 4th place after the first slide, but on her second descent she rocketed into 1st place, Maya Pederson of Switzerland pulled off a phenomenal slide to win the gold.

This has been Shelley's first full season in the skeleton, she has been helped on her way to the Olympics by a marvellous bunch of nutters from her home town and local pub The Moonrakers Arms, have a look at the Shelley Rudman Supporters website.

In other news, both the men's and women's curling teams are doing fairly well with the men's team topping the table alongside Canada, and the women's team lying second behind Sweden but with a game in hand, and well above Canada (sorry, couldn't resist). The women spanked Russia yesterday 10-4 including a stunning 4 stone score.

In other, other sports news, England's U-19 squad were crushed by India in the World Cup Semi-final, oh dear, I hope we've got better talent than that to push through the ranks in the next few years.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

A Joke

An East Texas couple, both real-life rednecks, had 9 children. They went to the doctor to see about getting the husband "fixed". The doctor asked them why, after nine children would they choose to do this. The husband replied that they had read in a recent article that one out of every ten children being born in North America was Mexican and they didn't want a Mexican baby because neither of them could speak Spanish.

(Thanks to Gripe)
A Night In The Restaurant

A reasonable menu to prepare yesterday.

Smoked Trout with horseradish salad and parsley croutons

Fillet of beef Wellington with red wine sauce
Rosemary midi potatoes
Baton carrots, savoy cabbage

Citrus mousse with almond tuiles

The whole fillet of beef, ready for trimming.

Steaks trimmed up and cut. They look so good, and what a shame, I have ordered too many, we'll have to have steak for dinner with the Big Red Boys on Friday.

The steak seared, chilled and about to be wrapped on it's little bed of mushrooms.

Many beef wellingtons, I got a bit busy during service and forgot to take a presentation shot which is a shame as they looked really nice cut in half and presented, I even did fiddly flower mushrooms to go with them.

The smoked trout salad, rocket, frisee, tomatoes, horseradish carrots.

A table full of salads ready for service.

The citrus mousse ready for service, I made a light mousse, very tangy with lime, lemon and orange. Oddly, I tried new (to me) mousse recipe from the hallowed pages of Larousse the day before and it was a disaster, it turned out like lemon rubber, so back to the tried and trusted whipped cream and gelatined fruit juice, it turned out really well.

Mrs. YS, Robyn and Sarah.

Mrs YS grins madly for the camera.

"What did I marry ?" asks Mrs Yorkshire Soul.
Making Bacon 2

I was a bit worried that when I got the bowl of belly pork back out of the cellar yesterday all I would have would be a bowl of slowley rotting pork, but lo and behold, the pork has dropped out a pint and a half of liquid, it smells ever so faintly of the bay and sugar which were in the salt rub, and you can feel the difference in the meat, it has more tension now and does not handle like fresh meat.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Winter Olympic Babes

Ice Hockey, whoo! I've just spent a fruitless half hour trawling the Swedish women's team website, by 'eck, there's some munts in Sweden.

Curling, oh who cares if I've got it all wrong ?
Book Review - Fables : Storybook Love - Bill Willingham****

Spoilers within.

So, Snow White is convalescing after Cinderella blew most of her brains out with a hunting rifle, why isn't she dead ? For the same reason that thre 3 Little Pigs are still around, the Mundys love their stories, and the best loved fables are really hard to kill because of it. Rose Red points out that if she (or Weyland Smith or Jack Ketch or Bluebeard) were to take a similar injury, they die right away.

Willingham brings in some Mundy interaction in this book as a journalist researching the Fables believes he has stumbled upon a nest of vampires, he challenges Bigby Wolf and the Fables are forced to go to extraordinary lengths (involving Briar Rose and a pin) to keep their secret safe. The story arc takes a sudden violent twist in the last page when one of the Fables decides that the end will justify the means.

There are some new characters intoduced in Storybook Love, the Mouse Police are great, and the characters of Hobbes the Goblin butler, Jack Horner and Prince Charming are fleshed out more. Prince Charming in particular looks set to become a major character in the series.

The Mouse Police discover that Cinderella has made it to Fabletown, and that she is in bed with, both literally and politically, with Bluebeard. Bluebeard's butler catches the mouse corporal and he panics, he uses a magic potion on Bigby and Snow White, implanting a powerful suggestion in their minds that a camping holiday would be a really great idea, lurking in the woods is the gun toting revolutionary Cinderella.

Storybook Love ends with some love, we get to see some pleasing developments in the Bigby/Snow White love story, and a welter of violence as Prince Charming takes on Bluebeard and a prolonged fight between the near unkillables of Bigby Wolf, Snow White and Cinderella. Cinders dies hard, axe to the brain, 200ft fall down a cliff, struck by a speeding truck which catapults her body into the river, Cinderella is a well loved Fable though, and we don't get to see her corpse, could she return again in the future ?

At the end of the main story arc, Willingham keeps the ball rolling by introducing two ongoing story elements, Prince Charming announces that he will stand for Mayor of Fabletown, and a weeping and distraught Snow White discovers that she is pregnant by Bigby.

SL is bracketed by two unrelated stories, the first telling of Jack Horner's dubious adventures in the American Civil War, his outplaying the Devil at cards and his subsequent capture of Death. The second story tells of the Barleycorn Boys and their struggle to find wives in the new world.

Again, Fables is capably drawn as opposed to being visually stunning, James Jean's covers continue to be rather special though, there are four different pencillers throughout the book, I'm not all that keen on Mark Buckingham, he can't seem to draw Bigby's mouth, he might be trying to make him gruff and tight lipped but it ends up with a bloke who has a strange absence of lips.

Fables has become one of my favourite comic series, although there is a plentitude of characters, the main are well crafted, the plotlines are equally well thought out and Willingham demonstrates an ability to keep scenarios that were introduced early in the series popping up throughout. The Fables behave just like people, or even more so, although the General Amnesty supposedly keeps things calm between various Fables, old arguments and accusations often resurface, differences that may have simmered for centuries come swiftly to the boil.

Again, highly recommended, Bill Willingham has established his place amongst the big guns with this series.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Making Bacon

Well that's what you traditionally do on Valentines day isn't it ?

1 belly of pork, cut into 4 equal sized pieces
1kg of rough salt, rock salt, not cooking salt
200gm soft brown sugar
10 bay leaves, blitzed
1 tablespoon coarsely crushed black peppercorns
2 tsp saltpetre (optional)

We're having a go at dry curing our own bacon, with a recipe taken from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Meat, it's a great book, go out and get yourself a copy.

Mouth watering already ? Rub the mix liberally over the meat, put in a non metal container and leave somewhere dry and cool, we've opted for the cellar. Repeat for between 5 and 10 days, pouring off the salty liquid each day and rubbing with more dry cure. Hugh says 5-6 days for breakfas bacon, up to 10 days for proper salt pork that will last indefinately but will require soaking before cooking, we shall see.

"Ha ha, piggy nimples!", Mrs YS is not taking this project entirely seriously.
Book Review - Fables : Animal Farm - Bill Wilingham*****

First a warning, there are spoilers within the review, if you don't want to know what happens, don't read on.

Willingham's second collection of his Fables comic introduces us to The Farm, the countryside residential area for the non human Fables, protected from the Mundy's by witching wards.

Snow White takes her errant younger sister Rose Red on a visit to the Farm, partly to return the runaway Colin Pig, partly just so the sisters can get some time together. All is not well on The Farm though, the sisters walk into a meeting of the animals where, just as in Orwell's more famous work, the pigs are in charge and looking decidedly more equal than the rest. We learn that Colin Pig has been sent as a spy to get a key to unlock the magical artifacts held by the human Fables, he has failed in this and his punishment is sure and swift, the sisters awaken to find Colin's head on a pole.

The literary references are made large, and the book whirls though an amalgamation of Lord Of The Flies and Orwell's Animal Farm. The animal Fables are in revolution, ostensibly aimed at getting their lands back from the Adversary, but as in all revolutions there's an amount of fervent bloodletting to be done first.

Led by Dun Pig and the psychotic Goldilocks, the non human Fables have built up a massive stock of arms, Rose Red defects to the revolutionaries and Snow White makes a desperate bid for freedom aided by Reynard Fox and the few Farm Fables who have remained loyal, Cock Robin, Aslan and a few others. As Snow White fees through the woods she is pursued by Shere Khan, Baghera and Kaa, plus Old Mother Hubbard and her semi-automatic toting children.

Back in Fabletown, Little Boy Blue has learned of the death of Cock Robin via a Watching Ward, he persuades Bigby to let him take a posse up to The Farm to see if they can find out what is going on, Bluebeard, Prince Charming and Rufus the flying monkey are duly rounded up and sent off on the rescue mission.

Willingham has really picked up the pace in this second volume, the plot is much tighter, he packs in plenty of background material without it seeming irrelavent or appearing as obvious filler, and Willingham's humour shines through. Goldilocks is a great character, dangrous, political, sexually deviant, single minded and completely barking mad.

Towards the end of the book Willingham uses his characters to make a good socio-political point when Snow White, recovering from the bullet to the head fired by Goldilocks, tells Weyland smith "We havn't yet been corrupted by the Mundy's modern social philosophy, the responsibility lies entirely with the perpatrators, not their victims." The ringleaders of the revolution are brought to trial, and beheaded.

In this second volume, Fables has turned into a fantastic comic read, Willingham has a great way with words, he might be right up there with Carey and Gaiman, oh yes, he's getting to be that good. In one of our regular "It's just a comic" arguments, between P and myself vs our wives, Mrs YS said to me "How can you claim he is a great writer, there's almost no writing in it as compared to a novel ?"

P replied "But a picture paints a thousand words," and this is the genius of a comic writer, he must convey to his penciller exactly what he requires in each frame of the page, then add the few words he can fit in, which is almost entirely dialogue. Fables is well drawn, but not special, I've seen much nicer looking comics, it is very well planned and written though, and James Jean's cover art is beautiful.

I'll be reviewing part 3 later in the week.
Captions ?

Dreams Do Come True

It finally happened, after many years of perving at the psuedo-lesbian pop duo T.A.T.U, I actually got to meet them.

Yorkshiresoul meets T.A.T.U
Love Is In The Air

Awww, we're going to have a wedding in the family, brother in law mk.2, aka Andy, aka The Lurker, has finally done the decent thing and asked Carol, aka Hot Babe, to marry him.

He planned a secret romantic weekend away in lovely Burnsall, stayed at the Fell, dined at the Angel Hetton, and popped the question in proper style, down on one knee, on the banks of the Wharfe, I like it, the boy's got style.

Well done Lurker, I know you're going to be really happy together.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Book Review : Fables - Legends In Exile - Bill Willigham****

Where would we be without DC's Vertigo ? The imprint range has consistently delivered high quality comics since it's inception and Bill Willingham's Fables is another feather in their cap.

The good thing about Fables is that you don't start the first chapter with no knowledge of the characters, Willingham doesn't have to spend ages cluing you in on the main personas and their peccadillos because you already know them all, they're just in a slightly different setting, and shape in some cases.

In the first few pages you are therefore re-introduced to a number of characters you have known since you were a small child, Bigby (Big Bad) Wolf, Jack (formerly of giant slaying fame, but now pardoned under the fable general amnesty), Snow White, Old King Cole, Little Boy Blue, the Frog Prince, Beauty and the Beast, Prince Charming, one of the 3 Little Pigs (Colin Pig), Cinderella, Bluebeard, Pinnochio. You already know, and to a degree, undrestand, these characters, so Willingham can get strait on with the plot.

The background is that the Fables have been driven from their historic homelands by a tyrant known as the Adversary and have ended up living in the mundane (Mundy) world, either in New York for the human looking fables, or at The Farm out in the country for the non-humans.

Old King Cole is Fabletown Mayor, Snow White his dilligent and accomplished assistant and the real power behind the throne, Bigby Wolf is Fabletown Sherrif (and forever barred from The Farm for his earlier crimes, even despite the amnesty) and Boy Blue the office lackey. Jack staggers into Bigby's office to report a truly hideous crime, his girlfriend, and Snow White's somehwat forgotten younger sister Rose Red, appears to have been brutally murdered.

Bigby sets out to solve the mystery, his style is to accuse various people he suspects of the murder and then see what their response is. In this fashion he rapidly upsets Jack, Snow White and then Fabletown's largest annual contributor Bluebeard. I don't want to give too many spoilers, but Bigby solves the crime by the end of the book, criminals are brought to justice, and those who have gotten too big for their boots are taken down a peg or two.

It isn't obvious at the end of Legends In Exile where the series is headed, the story wraps up nicely in the last few pages, we have been introduced to many of the most prominent Fable exiles and given a decent background for an ongoing series, but there isn't a cliffhanger ending or any obvious ongoing story threads, it is though a well crafted read with nice clear drawing by Lan Medina.

Bigby's character has some fairly obvious mirrors in other comics, there are more than a few hints of Wolverine in him, but at the same time Willingham works to flesh out his character. It's obvious that Bigby revels in his gruff, standoffish, chain smoking persona, but off duty we see a different Big Bad Wolf, one whose kindness towards the runaway Colin Pig has obviously made a transiton from guilt to friendship, although he's not averse to eating ham and eggs in front of his friend.

Snow White is a little one sided in this book as the hard working / no time for fun deputy mayor, but there's obviously a love/hate relationship with her sherrif and it might be interesting to see where that leads, and the host of supporting characters are diverse and well thought out.

All in all, a good start, let's see where it leads.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Yorkshire Soul's Rambling Quiz Series 4 Week 6

As always, answers via e-mail to Yorkshiresoul@gmail.com, with QUIZ in the header please, no lists of possible answers, on/by Fri 17th Feb.

1) Phil ' The Power' Taylor made a brief foray into the world of rock music last year, how so ?

2) What is unusual about this man's guitar ?

3) Which British rock band has a father and son in their line up ?

4) Which chef's autobiography was written in short sections, each inspired by food eaten as a child ?

5) If I'm riding goofy and getting plenty of amplitude, what am I doing ?

6) What religious first should occur on England's forthcoming tour to India ?

7) What has become the most expensive wine in the world ?

8) Who is this ?

9) Who is this ?

10) Who is this ?

Good luck!
Ice Patterns

Bill, You Are Been Watched......

The vandals at the Horton-in-Ribblesdale gents loo are very neat and tidy, but their written English is of very poor standard.
Three Peaks Radio Telescope

There it is, tucked away in John McKay's garden. It's a serious scientific project, it's one man's hobby, therefore the National Park authorities have declared it an eyesore and are trying to force John to remove it.

The thing is, even if you think that it is an eyesore, you can only see it by going right up to that wall in the corner and peering over into John's garden, if on the other hand you think that the park bigwigs might just be a set of overly fussy, interfering old whatnots, you can get in touch with John and sign his petition to keep the contraption.

3 Peaks Radio Telescope