Peaches and Bananas

29 01 2016

On some other astral plain, there’s a fruit shop which only sells peaches and bananas.

And only the Men buy peaches, and only Women buy the bananas.

While here in our plain of existence we can buy grapes, coconuts, figs, watermelon and passionfruit with gay abandon.

Clearly a shop which only sold two kinds of fruit in that way, would be ridiculous.

And yet that’s how we’re meant to behave with our sexuality.

Wolfie Rankin.

“Fake” Blackstar?, Proceed with caution.

22 01 2016

Here’s a thought about David Bowie’s Blackstar, The clear vinyl version sold out across the planet in a remarkably short space of time, bought on by his death which shocked a great many of us.

Like any artist’s art, it can reach its highest price after the artists death, and while some see this as a bit grim, it’s human nature I think, I’m sure Bowie knew it was going to happen too, in fact he joked about an earlier album “Reality” reaching #1 if he were to jump off the side of a huge ship in Sydney Harbour, which he could see from the window where he was being interviewed at the time.

Anyway, let’s throw the cat among the pigeons, shall we?

First of all, there were 5000 copies of the record, technically it is NOT rare, despite people on Ebay suggesting that it is, However I suppose if a million people want it, then perhaps it is.

The version sold at the David Bowie website was the real collectors item, mostly because it may have come with lithographs, which were not packed inside the record, but were posted out separately to those who had pre-ordered as far back as November last year.

However, people being people not being quite as nerdy as most record collectors, knew that it was the clear vinyl version of Blackstar which was the thing to have, so it’s a case of “near enough, good enough, “.

The clear versions were exclusive to Barnes and Noble, as well as selected record chains around the World, such as JB-HiFi here in Australia.

The website version is selling on Ebay for about $1000, while the exclusives are going for about $700 (Australian).

The differences between the versions are very small, basically a sticker and (possibly) a cat number.

Other than that, the contents are identical.

So if the one with the sticker is $200 – $ 400 less than the other version… couldn’t we just rip off the shrink wrap and replace it with a clean one?

Shrink wrap for records can be bought on Ebay.

The only other stickers on the wrap include a barcode and a recycling sticker, which I think could be faked fairly easily.

What if they supplied the receipt? cool, but couldn’t that be faked too? A photo of the record’s cat number might help, but I’m not sure there either.

So, My thoughts would be that if you were to buy a record that is clearly one of the exclusives, then at the very least you are getting the real thing, and saving yourself some cash.

Please note: I’m not saying it has happened, but it could.

  • Records from Music On Vinyl generally come in a much better outer sleeve and always have a difficult to copy sticker on the top corner, I would like to see other record companies adopt this idea, especially for collectibles.


Wolfie Rankin.



Cunt in a Clown Suit

17 01 2016

Before you froth at the mouth over the title, I’d been reading a story about David Bowie where he told Film Director Michael Dignum about the day they filmed Ashes to Ashes.

Apparently an old bloke and his dog walked in front of the camera while filming the last scene of the video. David, dressed as a Pierrot thought the two might be in shot for a while, so sat down near the camera.

The Director stopped filming and approached the Man, “Do you know who that is?” asked the Director, pointing back at Bowie?

The Man looked him up and down and said “Some cunt in a clown suit”.

David took it on the chin, up till that moment he’d been starstruck by his own persona.

Last week, I was woken by the Postie, who had a package for me, The Blackstar Album had turned up, something I thought would be nice to add to my collection, it was the black one, I had two clear ones on pre-order which had not yet arrived.

Yeah two, I dunno why, I do stuff like this occasionally, I still haven’t got them yet, but apparently one is on its way.

I wasn’t feeling all that great that day, I had something to eat and got back into bed, and slept for a few more hours.

Later I woke, and started up the PC and watched my Twitter feed.

“David Bowie has died” said one tweet, or something like that anyway.

I didn’t RT it because I’ve seen death hoaxes before, we all have, and a few of the journos I follow noted that there had been no update of Bowie’s Facebook or home page, none of us believed it… by now there were more tweets saying the same thing.

Bowie’s Facebook and Twitter were saying that he had died, and still none of us believed it, could it possibly be a hoax and a hack?

As the day wore on, news sites picked up the story, but then news sites have been sucked in by hoaxes too, nobody wanted to touch it, but we began to feel our hearts drop as it looked more likely.

Bowie’s Son tweeted that the story was true, and I think that did it for most of us.

BBC were reporting it, but CNN was still doubtful and said as much.

Our local FM Station, Gold, started talking about it too.

I began to wonder if I was still asleep and simply hadn’t woken up.

I think we were all shocked.

Someone said it was cancer, I still wasn’t quite believing it, skeptic that I am.

How do you keep cancer quiet? I’ve had cancer myself, I had three doctors, multiple nurses, a surgeon, various hospital staff knocking around… It wasn’t adding up.

Yet it was true, A legend had died.

A tweet pointed to a video of Elvis singing a song called Blackstar, The lyrics confirmed that the album was Bowie’s way of saying goodbye.

How on Earth did he manage to do that?

When I had chemo, I could barely stand up, threw up a lot, just wanted to stay in bed… and yet he thinks “I’m dying, how can I use that in my art?” and then produces an album.

Ballsey or what?

I spent the day, with a mixture of feelings, a great loss, a hole in my heart, grief, sorrow, confusion and anger.

I was mildly angry at him for dying of cancer, if I could get over it, why couldn’t he? He’d given us more than I ever could, surely he was of more value than I?

You only have to read the old posts to know I’ve faced my own battles with cancer, I hate it so much.

Why the fuck was Murdoch still alive?

Yes, David Bowie gave us his music, but he changed things, He helped make it easier for us oddballs, and for that we’ll be forever grateful.

I address anyone under forty, you might think things are bad now, and in some places there hasn’t been much change, but I do remember the 70’s.

A lot of Men at the time seemed to have a fragile sexuality. At the time aftershave was just starting to hit the local market, and a lot of men wouldn’t use it, a lot wouldn’t even use deodorant for fear that someone would call them a Poofta (Gay).

Yet here’s Bowie, slapping makeup on his face and wearing dresses, not because he wanted to be a Woman, but because it was *just* powder, *only* material, and why not wear it if you like it?

Naturally if you liked Bowie, you’d be called a poof by some too, there must’ve been a lot of poofs back then because David began to have quite a following.

I remember a story about Bowie trying to get his band to wear makeup too, and they refused, so he pushed the issue. The next night, like a scene from Spinal Tap, Bowie found them fighting over the mascara, apparently because they’d attracted more Women than they thought possible.

Bowie didn’t have weird ideas, and choke them down again, because they might be socially unacceptable. He gave nurtured them and used them in his art, that to me is very brave.

And because he did it, many of us felt that we could do it too, doors were opened and we’re thankful.

Today we have people being themselves, Science fiction fans go to massive conventions each year, where before they were just geeks to be ignored.

David loved reading, and Science Fiction in particular, indeed he was a lot like Doctor Who, and we were the companions who found different Men along the way.

David said that he hoped people could find their own characters within themselves, isn’t that what Furries have done?

Our hearts have broken, and we’ll miss you so very much.

Wolfie Rankin




Blackstar – In detail.

8 01 2016

Vinyl collectors, and those who love David Bowie should be feeling rather thrilled with his latest release being posted out today.

But there is some confusion over the formats, and although I haven’t got my copies yet, this is how I’m reading things right now.

There are two versions of Blackstar available.

The first is the black version.

  • It’s 180 gram.
  • Comes in a die cut (star shape cut into the front) gate fold jacket
  • Includes a 16 page colour booklet with special varnish.

The Second is the clear vinyl version, which I understand is being sold by a selected chain in each country, Barnes and Nobel in the US and JB Hi-Fi in Australia, among others.

However, the clear version is

  • A standard weight record (Not 180g)
  • In a regular but die cut jacket (Not gatefold)
  • Limited to 4000 copies.

It’s possible that the version sold in Australia was made here, I don’t know yet, However if that’s the case it would add to it’s collectibility.

Some versions of Blackstar may come with what they call a “Hype Sticker”, These are usually on the front of the cover and say things like “Wow, David’s Amazing new Album is here and it has da da da da on it” Hype Stickers are part of the package and should never be removed. :)

Look for my video on Blackstar over the next few days.

If you have any facts on the record then please let me know, Thanks!

Wolfie Rankin.

*** Update ***

I have just got my clear Blackstar today, this was one of the versions sold as an exclusive.

According to the local retailer (and Barnes & Nobel) there was no indication that the record was 180g, was in a gatefold cover or came with a book… but I can tell you that it does!

Basically it’s the same record, in the same gatefold cover, except it’s a milky clear colour rather than black.


The Sewer.

4 12 2015
So, My sewer is blocking up again.
I’ll probably need to get the plumbers out, as I do each year, to clean it out with the snake.
Unless the 100+ year old pipes have finally caved in.
They put a camera down there and saw mud piling up, and tree roots from the giant Elm in our backyard.
I don’t want to cut down the Elm, isn’t that the problem with the world? cut down all the trees and get those pests out of the way and everything will be hunky dory?
The tree is home to lots of animals too, I like that, plus it keeps the extreme heat off of my house in summer.
If the pipes have caved in, which is happening at the far end of my yard, I’m in real trouble, as I can’t afford to fix it at all, However I asked a no dig company about it, and they were the ones who put the camera down there. They quoted $10K which is still out of my league.
I have read about flushless toilets, which might work, and even a grey water system might be an alternative, but is still going to cost a fortune.
I’m desperate, and have even considered jerry-rigging it if it all goes to crap… which it does, being a sewer.
No I cannot move, I’ve lived here for 50 years, it’s my home.

Coming along nicely.

2 12 2015

It’s taken me till the age of 50 to do anything about it, and I mean picking up a serious musical instrument and learning how to play it.

Not that I’m ever going to end up in a rock band, Kids think anyone above twenty is about ready for a nursing home, I remember I did too.

One of my favourite records in my pre-teen years was Abba’s “Dancing Queen” The Woman in question, according to the lyrics, was “Young and sweet, only seventeen” Only seventeen!, I thought, Crikey! I think I was about twelve at the time.

But I have no aspirations to wind up in a band, I just want to learn how to do it before I croak, just for myself, for entirely my own reasons.

You may have read how I had been writing again, Well I was writing about a band, I have a fair bit of it worked out but the main character was a guitar player… but I had no idea about guitars, so to solve that issue, I bought one recently from Ebay.

Of course I wanted to learn too, but that seemed a pipe-dream, Of course I could go out and get a teacher, but it could end up like being a gym membership, nothing but good intentions.

I needed encouragement, I needed to play with something.

A friend suggested Rocksmith, so I looked into it. Rocksmith is a video game, much like Guitar Hero, except instead of pretending to play a guitar, it’s a controller which looks like a guitar, you plug a real electric guitar into your computer or console, then off you go for the ride of your life.

I’m a notorious video game hater, I see them as superficial bullshit, but this, ahh… well if you’re good at this, it means that you can also play the guitar, what’s not to love?

So I got it, thinking apprehensive, but excited, me… excited about a game!

So there I sat with my guitar, it felt weird.

A guitar was something a Rock God would have, not the likes of me.

It felt as though I’d woken up one morning and discovered that all my clothes were kilts, and I’d have to wear them in public.

No, there’s nothing wrong with a kilt, plenty of blokes wear them, and I reckon my boys would prefer to hang freely rather than be corrupted by tight jeans.

I felt stupid.

But I’ve been picking the thing up and playing for about an hour each day  and I’m beginning to feel “one” with my instrument, I’m no longer afraid of it, it has become a normal part of my routine.

Yes, Yes, I CAN play it, nowhere nearly as well as Brian May or Eric Clapton of course, but I can play it to a point where now and then I feel a little shocked, and say “Wow, I did that!”

I’ve had a few moments where I’ve grumbled and thought I’d give it up, but it’s very tempting to go back and have another crack, and I do.

Chords are my main stumbling block, it’s like I have too many fingers and don’t know where they ought to go, and I have avoided playing them, thus restricting my score, but I’m tinkering with them now and I seem to be improving slowly and surely.

While Rocksmith is brilliant, it shouldn’t be your only teacher. Talking with more experienced guitar players certainly helps and you can find them on various forums supporting Rocksmith players.

“Rocksmith Nation” on Facebook, is a great one, and very active too.

You’ll not only get help with Rocksmith, but find out about essential gear too… guitars, amps, cases, strings, you name it. is an invaluable site for anyone who wants to learn to play guitar,  Justin is a guitar teacher based in the UK, who gives weekly lessons and tips. The site is free to use, but relies on donations to keep it going.

Rocksmith can be bought in several different forms.

As a download from Steam for Computers and Consoles.

As A DVD pack

As a DVD pack and Cable

Or as a DVD pack, with cable and Epiphone guitar.

More cables can be bought should one break or, if you want to try out Rocksmith’s two player mode.

While I’m still a beginner, I honestly never thought I’d be half as good as I am on guitar right now, “Rocksmith 2014” to give it it’s full title, is a truly remarkable video game, If you’ve ever thought about playing a guitar but thought you could never learn, give this a shot.

Wolfie Rankin.




Bright lights and dim bulbs.

8 11 2015

I was thinking while out walking the dog, walking the dog often promotes thinking.

Money is the problem, we imagine that it’s useful, but it’s not really, it’s a big black wall with a sign stuck on it which reads “You cannot pass”. Even for those who have enough money, it has restricted the richness and beauty of the world that we might’ve had, if the poor were allowed to shine.

There are bright lights out there, ordinary folk with massive, life altering ideas. Perhaps it’s a cure for cancer, perhaps it’s a musical sound you’ve never heard before, perhaps it’s an invention, who knows?… but these people cannot get to first base, because they have no money.

Instead we’re stuck with dim bulbs to lead the way, greedy politicians hurting the weak, instilling fear through the rotten teeth of religion. Encouraging the growth of dirty industry while the masses are conned through bought media.

How can we live this way?

Wolfie Rankin.


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