Archive for January, 2021

Airfix 2021 Catalogue

Posted: January 30, 2021 in Books, Cool stuff, Hobby

I always appreciate the annual Airfix catalogue and now we have the latest edition to check out. This hobby has come a long way. No longer a passtime just for kids but for adults that crave absolute perfection, as seen in many international conventions these days. As a hobby, it ticks a lot of boxes. It relaxes you for sure, no doubt about that. It can also be used for bonding across generations. Many future engineers started their journey building models with dad in the old shed (or basement, wherever the hangout is). At my age (at 59), it is the nostalgia as well, connecting with days gone by. I have noticed that I have a growing number of old friends that are getting into it again. I like that. The annual catalogue is a good place to start. 148 pages.

(My shot of said catalogue)


Well here we go, we now have confirmation that the Babymetal Anniversary compilation “10 Babymetal Years” will see international release on April 23. Obviously this will be an opportunity to gain a lot of press and attention, hopefully in a world that is opening up for concerts again later this year… I guess we may see other titles as well, maybe even some unreleased DVDs (as in unreleased outside of Japan). Two Vinyl versions will be available, one ordinary and one coloured. This looks like they are gearing up to launch a fresh offensive outside of Japan, especially since the 10 concert run at the Budokan will be over in mid-April.

Now somebody out there might wonder why I support Babymetal so hard on this blog, so let me tell you why. Number 1. They totally deserve all the attention they can get. Also, in my neck of the woods they still have to get accepted in mainstream media. No support whatsover in publications like Sweden Rock Magazine (not one single article in a decade, but they can write pieces on just about any other act in the world as soon as they have an album out). I feel that Babymetal are still the underdogs in this business, and that is so unjust. They are so talented and so unique that ignoring them year after year is just plain crazy. Even Classic Rock have largely ignored them, but at least they gave them a full spread when they broke in the UK, discussing what had happened. Metal Hammer, Kerrang! and other UK publications have supported Babymetal 100%. And they have sold a lot of magazines and recieved a lot of traffic on their online operations in the process. Babymetal have also achieved a lot of love and support from fellow artists, like Metallica, Guns N´Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Judas Priest, Korn, Bring Me The Horizon and countless others. They may not have your ordinary backstory in place, but they have a history like no other act on planet Earth. And they have survived and strived so hard, accepting countless challenges. Now they are walking tall, because they deserve it. They are also the most humble act in the world. Well mannered and polite. When I said in an earlier post that Su-metal is like the Audrey Hepburn of Heavy Metal, I meant it and I love that something like that can finally occour. This music has to evolve or it will be all over. Babymetal has done their bit, and more.

10 years from now, I would like to see Babymetal as one of the acts that can headline any rock and metal festivals in the world. The buzz is still going. If I can be part of that buzz in this way, by supporting them on my blog, then so be it. I am also enjoying it a great deal. Which is the point of me having a blog to begin with.

(My shot of Babymetal in Stockholm 2020, plus album cover inserted)

And so we have reached the 2009-2015 period of my magazine publishing (final bunch and Nightwish and Tarja did pop up in some of them). I will not showcase absolutely everything (I have already skipped some stuff), but you will get a general idea. In this part we will cover the last of the one-off titles (TOP SECRET 2009) and some of the RETROFUTURE magazines that I made. So here we go…

This was one of two Tarja related features in TOP SECRET 2009 (April 2009), a story on the first concert in Stockholm (Tyrol) on June 1 2008 and a general summation on Tarja and her importance in rock as a vocalist.

Jump to RETROFUTURE 3 (November 2010) and you have a 4 page article on the Rockweekend Festival (July 8-10 2010) in Sweden, in which Tarja and her band took part alongside Deep Purple, Over The Rainbow, Twister Sister and others. Seen here is the second spread of said article. It was a good performance.

In RETROFUTURE 4 (September 2011) we have another shot (this one by my friend Seth Nilsson) alongside some Tarja news. The “What Lies Beneath” CD is out.

RETROFUTURE 6 was a 104 page double issue (as in two magazines, Western & Deep Purple covers) that celebrated 100 published fanzines (they came out in 2013, big party at the rock club Jane Doe in Östersund on November 23 that year). One of the classic Michael Johansson shots of Tarja holding SLICE 2006 goes with this article in the Western edition.

The first spread in the Deep Purple edition looked like this. I presented a very detailed section about the journey in this issue, covering all fanzines in pictures and words. Still use this guide as a reference myself these days, I am really glad that I did it. Again, one of the classic Tarja shots of her holding the SLICE 2006 issue.

And so we have arrived at the very last magazine, which was RETROFUTURE 8 (March 2015). I used this page to say thank you for all the wonderful support through the years. The image is a shot of the Nightwish spread in SLICE 2005 (see part 3 in this series, exclusive shot by Michael Johansson), signed by all members of Nightwish. You can not see it on this snapshot, but there is a smaller image down to the right of Jon Lord on this page as well sharing a beer with me in 1984 – it all ended here though all these years later, save for this blog. And Nightwish & Tarja had been a part of the journey. Good times.

Previous posts: Part 1 (January 1), Part 2 (January 6), Part 3 (January 10). Part 4 (January 15). Part 5 (January 20). Part 6 (January 24).

(My shots of said magazines, big thank you to everybody involved)

Warriors Of The Wasteland

Posted: January 27, 2021 in Cool stuff, TV & Movies

2019. The world ends in a nuclear war. The survivors are hunted by mad men. Two heroes and a boy stand in their way. “Warriors Of The Wasteland” is an Italian B-movie from 1983 and a pretty cheesy one at that. Released on DVD in 2017 by… err, Cheesy Movies… umm, well that says it all right there. Fifth generation VHS quality picture does not help. At least it has Fred Williamson in it. Some films are good because they are bad. This is one of them.

(My shot of said DVD)

There will be a Sakura Gakuin 10th Anniversary book coming out in Japan in March, celebrating the legacy of the Idol Group as well as saying goodbye. All previous members, including the girls that went on to considerable success in the Sakura Gakuin subunit Babymetal (that went solo in 2013), will write personal messages in the book. This means that Yui Mizuno (Yuimetal) will pop up in public (in a small way) for the first time since her leaving Babymetal in October 2018, a fact that is not lost among the kitsunes (Babymetal fans) out there. I tell you what would really make waves in the Babymetal fandom, a new image with the original trio hanging out as just friends. If it could happen, it would be right here. In any case, nice to see it all end with a book that sums it all up. The Sakura Gakuin books are quite nice anyway, very Japanese.

(My shot of the 2012, 2013 and 2015 books, with the cover of the 2021 book inserted)

Then & Now

Posted: January 27, 2021 in Comics, Cool stuff

Some things never change, or at least not very much. Swedish comic book Agent X9 has not changed much over the years and that is a good thing. Seen here is 1 1977 and 2 2021 and Modesty Blaise is still the cover star. Rip Kirby, Corrigan, this is timeless stuff. It has been going since 1969.

(My shot of said issues)

Dodgy cover, but I am so glad to have this epic film on DVD now. The 1981 masterpiece (no other word for it) “Excalibur”. Helen Mirren is mentioned on the cover but the film is packed with well known people (some of them making their mark in this very movie), like Patrick Stewart and Liam Neeson. But you also have seasoned actors like Nicol Williamson (Merlin) and others in there. Also, the music is by Wagner, which makes it even better (Ozzy picked it up for his live shows around this time, not sure which happened first). I saw this film in the movies back in the day and it was great. Still holds up. It is quite a tale for sure.

(My shot of said DVD)

Got these publications on import from Japan, Metal Hammer (Vol.4) and PMC (Vol.18). Now it has to be said that the Japanese edition of Metal Hammer is a lot more impressive than the original in the UK. It is just the way the Japanese do things. 130 pages in thick paper, superb quality. 25 pages of history and interviews with Su-metal and Moametal plus a double sided poster, all presented with great photographs. The PMC magazine is equally impressive (it also sports their third cover since Vol.13!), with 47 pages of Babymetal. Basically a third of the total content, also with interviews and loads of history. I do like that Babymetal presents themselves in such a mature and graceful way, and that they take the highroad as rolemodels. Metal could use more of that. Total professionals.

(Thank you Kalle for securing these magazines for the ever growing collection)

In this part of this series we go back to two publications (I was now in a period when I thought it was good fun to publish one off titles, all under the umbrella of SLICE), Raket Magasinet 2006 (translates to Rocket Magazine 2006) and LE (short for Lektyrentusiasten, or The Magazine Enthusiast). The latter had a nice shot of Tarja on the cover taken in Finland on September 22 2007 (by Michael Johansson). So let us take a dive into what I was publishing at the time as the story continues.

Over in Germany a gentleman called Andreas Jost met Tarja for an exclusive dinner/concert/meet and greet in Berlin (where she was performing a Christmas show at the Passionkirche). Andreas got in touch and I printed a report from him on this occasion and in doing so I could continue the coverage of Tarja post Nightwish from the word go. It was just one spread in this magazine but I think it was a rather nice article and this was obviously before she returned with her career in rock with the “My Winter Storm” album in 2007. Raket Magasinet 2006 was published in may 2006.

LE (Lektyrentusiasten) came later, it was published in December 2007. This was a promotional 24 page edition that I handed out to people for free in different ways. Michael Johansson´s cover shot was just phenomenal, with Tarja posing with the SLICE 2006 magazine (see part 5 in this series). Perfect cover for a magazine that looked back at what had been. Obviously, this was the third publication with a Tarja cover. We had the idea to shoot Tarja holding LE which would have been an incredible cover had it happened, but that never materialised. Bit of a shame. Tarja was not available for interviews when she visited Sweden for the “My Winter Storm” album so I felt that it became less interesting to continue the ongoing support. Or less doable.

I did hand out a bunch of copies at the venue in Stockholm on June 1 2008 and Tarja did get some magazines. The covers popped up on her homepage in the magazine covers section. I did continue to give her some coverage and we will end this series with the last hurrah in part 7.

Previous posts: Part 1 (January 1), Part 2 (January 6), Part 3 (January 10). Part 4 (January 15). Part 5 (January 20). Part 7 to be published on January 28.

(A big thank you to Michael Johansson and Andreas Jost for being there for me)

Point Of Know Return

Posted: January 23, 2021 in Classic Rock, Cool stuff

Very happy to have been able to get the 1977 Kansas album “Point Of Know Return” again, as it just appeared in a Limited Edition run of 1,500 copies on flaming Vinyl. I always loved the cover of this album (was it the first ever to have a Sea Serpent on it?), Peter Lloyd did a great job with that. Some great tunes on this album, not least “Dust In The Wind”. Kansas had a strong identity, I guess they still do.

(My shot of said release)