Davy Jones

March 1st, 2012

This photo is from what I think was the last ever photocall the Monkees did, on what I think was Davy Jones’ last visit to his hometown of Manchester. I was about three feet away at the time.
At the show that night, Davy Jones made a joke that he made every night of that tour – “I used to be a heartthrob, now I’m a coronary”.

So why am I talking about Davy Jones here?

Transformers: Toy Stories

July 4th, 2011

There are many, many reasons why I might be considered an idiot, but if you were going to make a list – and believe me, I’ve made a few such lists in my time – then I’ve got a fair idea of what the top three should look like.

I’ll spare you numbers one and two for now, but number three is easy. You see, I must be an idiot, because I don’t think I understood mortality until I watched Transformers: The Movie for the first time. Yeah, Transformers, “robots in disguise” that turned into planes and cars and tanks, and had their own crappy TV show. That was where my first intimation of mortality came from. Told you I was an idiot.

The realisation that all of this would one day stop had never sunk in at Sunday School, where the focus was more on old stories than on the possible absence of narrative. It hadn’t made any impression on me when various distant relatives had died – they had seemed like minor characters in my story, and their deaths didn’t truly register with me at the time. It didn’t even really occur to me in the early parts of Transformers: The Movie, despite the fact that whole planets were being destroyed and beloved characters were being gunned down like so many extras (with all weapons having been switched from tickle to mangle between TV series and movie, naturally). But OPTIMUS FUCKING PRIME, my favourite toy and childhood hero, dying on-screen, in an astonishingly drawn out manner? Yeah, I felt that, and it scared the living shit out of me.

See, here? One day your sentence will be up. Full stop. Story over. The end.

Don’t worry, we’ll get to Simon Furman in a minute!


Occasionally, certain men of a certain age will run out of things to say to each other. Conversation grinds to a dry halt, and the only course of action is to resort to a comfortable zone of the collective consciousness, and wallow in the soft haze of nostalgia, of endless Saturday mornings in pyjamas, and Robots in Disguise. Let us call this place the Transformers Room. If you crack the door open and gently peer in, you can see the Mindless Ones sitting around, comparing their first Transformers and touching their winkies with excitement. Awwwwww! Come on, let’s go and join them…

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