1 August 2017

Movie: Deadly Impact

It seems I've been remiss about posting. I should fix that.

First up, a movie. Even better, a Fred Williamson movie. Deadly Impact. Always a sign of quality that Fred.
We open with a comp geek (oohhh sexy 80s computers) and his girlfriend who are winning on the pokie machines, he gets killed. Svenson grabs his buddy Williamson (a helicopter pilot, for some reason), and they go investigating. It's kinda like an Eddie Murphy buddy cop show. But Williamson, and his moustache, beat Murph's everyday.
There's car chases, lots of shooting (yaya for bullet proof vests), smart arse comments (Williamson), laconic dryness (Svenson), and it all rocks along nicely.

Here's the trailer. Go on, 90mins of quality.

2 April 2017

WhiskyLive !

Half of the cabal reformed to grace WhiskyLive with our presence. Armed with a notepad, a thirst, and a realisation that we would be back home at a reasonable time, with a good chance of being OK in the morning, we hit London.
Stopping first for a coffee, discuss the relative merits of our employers (comedy value only, it appears) we moved onto the great English tradition of queuing to get anywhere. But eh, it was sunny, the crowd was civilised, and we all wanted booze.

I made tasting notes. Some of them will be legible, some won't. Some may just have the whisky name. I'll upload a pic of my last page of scrawling later and let you lot translate it...

So, freebies: the usual nice glass (pic below with our first dram), and a 35cl of 12yo HP. Yeah, I'm ok with that. It works really well in Ginger & Whisky cake (recipe here). That cake has been thoroughly tested by me, and my office mates (I told them how much booze was in it, after they'd had it for breakfast).

Highland Park - Valkyrie
This is their new expression which is due out shortly. Bottled around 46% from memory.
N: peat, bourbon, sweet, chocolate
P: chocolate, very dry, sweet
F: med-long

I'm not the biggest HP fan, some are great, but there's a number which are a bit too marketing driven for me. But this was very nice and quaffable. The nice chap pouring us booze said it would retail for around £55 - at this point, I'd recommend buying some.

Glengoyne - 15yo
N: sweet, sherry
P: sherry, very very dry, sweet
F: long. so very long.

Look I'm biased. Of course it was the first stand in the main hall we'd go to.

Glengoyne - 21yo
N: xmas cake, more xmas, light
P: fruit cake, light, delicate sherry
F: medium

I love this whisky. It's light, complex, interesting, the sort you can just lie back and savour while the world goes off and does whatever it wants.

Compass Box - Oak Cross
N: light, fruity, vanilla
P: apples, clynelish
F: long

Had a lovely chat to their rep, this one is made up of 60% Clynelish [which is very prominent], 20% Dailuaine, and 20% Teanninich. Given I like Clynelish, this was very likely to do well. And the apples / fruit come through beautifully, with that slight hint of waxy salty coastal stuff.

Compass Box - Extravaganza
N: spicy, sherry
P: where's the taste? possibly red peppers? [Alec]
F: short

5/10, oddly flavourless. Maybe a victim of other booze? who knows.

(we are onto page 3 now)
Kavalan - Manzanilla
N: sherry
P: very dry
F: long
8/10 it's not doing anything very interesting, but it's doing sherry very well

Kavalan - Amontillado
no notes, just 9/10.
It appears I liked that one.

Kavalan - Pedro Ximenez

Kavalan are the Taiwanese whisky makers, there's probably more in Taiwan, but we only hear of these guys. They like their sherry. And they make superb whisky. As a picky bugger, I think they're too perfect, there's not a massive amount of character (not sure that's the word I want, but meh). It's also very pricy. yeah, there's none in my cupboard, how did you guess?

William Grant- Ghosted Reserve 26yo
N: fruit, apples, peaches, sweet
P: floral, sweet,
F: short-med
9/10, lovely and light

Ghosted refers to the old (40yo we were told) cask of Ladyburn which is in this blend. It really was a lovely whisky, but at £370, I'm not rushing out to get a bottle. Although it's worth it.

Girvan #4 
very drinkable 6/10
It's a grain whisky from W.Grant's Girvan distillery.  I've got nothing against grain whisky, in fact I like drinking them.

Girvan - cask strength version of #4
very drinkable, 7/10

Girvan 25yo 
also, very nice. 8/10.
But at £250, maybe a bit beyond my reach, if I'm spending that on a bottle, I'd like to go for something more traditional.

Girvan 30yo
boring. 6/10
Apparently I was getting very wordy.

We broke for a bit of food at this point, because we're nothing if not responsible.

- Standard 4/10
- 19yo Oloroso 8/10
- 21yo bourbon 7.5/10

That Boutiquey Whisky Company
- Blend #2  7/10
- Mortlach 18 yo 7/10 [possibly the least interesting Mortlach I've had, I even added notes: bit rough, fruity]
- Springbank 21yo 8.5/10
I like their bottling, tends to be interesting stuff. Possibly should have hit them earlier? but the Springbank was very good...

-25yo Port 8/10
-sherry, new £125 9/10

Deanston 18yo
burnt sugar, very nice, 8/10

Smokey 18yo Sherry  9/10
This was very similar to the Benriach Solstice, and at around £80 is a steal.

Elements Lg6
manly! 8.5/10

-Prometheus 7/10
-new make (7month) spirit 8/10
A new distillery in Glasgow, they're making a lot of very good gin, while they wait for their whisky to mature.

Good range there, and for our money the two whiskies of the day are the (oddly!) HP Valkyrie and the Ledaig 18yo. With the GlenMoray sherry also a contender.

We retired to sober up over a pint, and headed our separate ways. Another great day with the cabal...
Also, as promised, here's the last two pages of notes:


25 February 2017

Movies: Iron Angel

We open with a CONVOY going heading through mountains, panning back to some generic asian looking military types, he raises his hand and explosive music kicks in, along with the credits. Welcome to Iron Angel and the heroic manly GIs. Sadly not gastro-intestinal.
Lots of instructions, warnings of guns, it's sketchy but it's all we've got. Classy. Oh no! conflict between the lieutenant and the sergeant, but 'he'll get that gun, you can bet your life on it'. this could be a long one.
And now some random people dancing, with the GI's. they all appear to be losing clothes at a rate of knots. but it is B&W so not that many clothes.

The GIs found a first aid truck, the head of the medics is woman! But she's got moxie! Dear god this is bad. having mentioned god, there's a strong undercurrent of god bothering in this movie too. they're having an emotional scene recently the lords prayer while one of them dies. FFS.
Probably avoid this one.

22 January 2017

Movies: The Bat People (1974)

The Bat People (1974) We open with some supposedly scary images of bats, personally they look adorable. And then cut to a man rolling around clutching his neck, while having a nightmare. Cue credits, with spooky theme song.
We're out in a desert/cactus type area, a little bit of mansplaining/exposition, woman scared by bat, man heroic by throwing rocks at it. After this, presumably foreshadowing, they take a tour of a cave. Subtle this ain't. Kathy (the wife) falls down part of the cave, this annoys the man.

I think it's worth quoting, in full, the IMDB summary:
"After being bitten by a bat in a cave, a doctor undergoes an accelerating transformation into a man-bat, which ruins his vacation and causes considerable distress for his wife."

Arrgghhh, bats !!! Johnny (our main man) has been bitten! More nightmares by Johnny as they appear to up a ski-lift. Look I don't understand either. Just run with it. Some nice tinkly piano music while they go skiing, and more chair lift action, this time with flute ! And we cut to a hot pool in the snow where Johnny and Kathy are sipping cocktails. Johnny chokes on his drink, and cuts himself. We all feel his pain. 
After some more exposition and general 'don't be a silly woman' type comments from the doctor, we see Johnny turning into a Bat-person. 
Johnny is admitted to the hospital and attacks a nurse, then goes on the lam by stealing an ambulance, which leads to a dull car chase. He holes up with (tickbox alert) a garrulous drunk who dispenses folksy wisdom. Things got a bit slow around here so I did the ironing.
Let's cut to Johnny going back into the cave, and Kathy wandering aimlessly around town at night. 
More crap happens. It's been rather dull. 

21 January 2017

Movies: The Vampire Lovers (1970)

I'm feeling crap, so crap movies will help, right? Next up on the 4 movies, 1 disc, for less than a fiver, quality entertainment is The Vampire Lovers. One of the Hammer collab movies.
We open with a voiceover describing the Karstein family. We even get uncalled for emphasis on the word 'thrust', oohhh i'm coming over all queer just thinking about it.
Lots of Ludwig type castles, dry ice, busty maidens, and now a dead chap staggers into the pub. Those Karsteins are at it again!!
And now, Ingrid Pitt. There's a win right there. Peter Cushing appears at least twice the age of everyone else in the movie.
There is an awful lot of exposition in this movie, oh well. Our simpering heroine is corrupted by the bad lady vampire, she keeps having nightmares and is becoming so very pale. Oh noes! could it be !? quick, cut to kissing and heaving bosums, ahhh that'll help. It's fair to say fuck all is happening, I guess they hope there's a storyline, but largely its occasional exposition interrupted by lesbian vamp action. Or at least strongly hinted at lesbian action kissing and boobs, followed by slow fades. Our vamp is now corrupting the mother. booyar.
The serious old white men have decided there are vampires, and now they're off to kill them. Cue dry ice, they're off to the castle !
Overall, predictable, slow, but not too painful.

8 January 2017

Movies: The Screaming Skull [1958]

There's a top albums 2016 coming at some point, but in the meantime...

Even by my standards this is cheap, four movies on one DVD. For well under a fiver. So first up : The Screaming Skull. We get a voiceover, warning us it is so scary that it may kill us, and offering us free burials. Nice.
On we go, opening on a skull in water. Ohhh nice Mercedes driving along, one of those pretty gullwing merc's. [car talk? from me? sheesh] They're in a run down house, a unique fixer-upper opportunity, they're newly weds, and his previous wife died, ahhh this is his house he's returned to...we sense there's a plot device about to happen there.
The gardener has 'issues' !! More plot devices!!
She died when it was raining. Her skull smashed, thankfully there are men around to man-splain this to the new wife. And the audience. Lucky break that.
A banging window scares the new wife, who is then petrified at a painting of the old wife. Man calms her down. Silly woman. We notice the new wife looks very similar to the old wife. Things potter along, and the new wife is left alone in the house at night! She see's a skull, her hand bleeds, much moody lighting ensues, oh and the gardener is ambling around.
this is not a pacy movie. I've just seen it's only 30 mins in, it feels like significantly longer than that...
She throws the skull (from the cupboard) out the window, it bounces on the lawn and grins back at her. Like the catty bitch of a first wife, the skull comes back. Ohhh the new wife is very shapely in her diaphanous nightwear :)
Ahhh she's been told she's 'very impressionable' - huzzah. Another tick box for the 50s horror movies.
More shenanigans with the skull, Micky the gardener gets slapped around a bit more (literally).

Yet more skull action, and a ghostly apparition, much craziness. Not much plot tho'. Highlight? possibly the skull getting all bitey.

24 December 2016

Movies: Frankenhooker (1990)

I'm 'busy' prepping for christmas dinner, so while the pavlova is cooking...it's time for some sleazy horror, Frankenhooker. I know on title alone, how can it fail.
We open with a chap slicing into a brain, which has an eye attached, encouraging it to follow his hand. this is done on the kitchen table. There is some terrible over acting, so this is starting well.

Jeffrey likes operating on things, he's a part-time doctor, kinda. An automated mower, has just killed Jeffrey's fiance Elizabeth, 'reduced to a tossed human salad', although parts of her are missing! I think we suspect Jeffrey !! Mainly because he's been designing an electric circuit for a human, with Elizabeth's head at the top.
Jeffrey is concerned he's becoming amoral, his mother offers him a sandwich.
'To new beginnings...' to Elizabeth's head and various body parts. He's a hopeless romantic, and is awaiting a storm to make her a whole new her. Even the weatherman says the storm will be ideal for mad doctors out there. He's now drilling a hole in his own head, to get in the mood to abduct a hooker. But he wants 6-7 women, who he measures to create his perfect body - sadly the crack he'd made, which they took, makes people explode. With very cheap effects, brilliant.

Elizabeth, reanimated, reconstituted, appears to have the personality of a hooker. So she's off to town. Things don't go well. Ohhh evidence body parts can self-assemble. Elizabeth then saves Jeffrey.

Overall? Quality entertainment here.

21 December 2016

Movies: Van Nuys Blvd

Van Nuys Blvd [1979]: We open in a sunny car based US city, funky music, cuts to woman getting ready, while a lad drives his van across vaguely rural countryside. Soundtrack is getting better and better.  She loses her clothes, and cracks him a beer. He doesn't seem very interested in shagging her. He watches a news article on Van Nuys Blvd, and expresses his displeasure at this small tin pot town, and takes off for VNB. In his van.
We're now enjoying a very extended sequence of people cruising up and down VNB. Thankfully the tune is good. Oh look a drive in restaurant.
"no-one calls chooch a creep" - stunning dialogue between guy the cop pulled over, and the cop (the cop is crooked, and called Zass).
Those kids, all that car racing. Crooked cops. All happening here.
It all appears to be an excuse for dance routines, drive in restaurants, and beach parties.  It's pretty damn bad, and although there's lots of sun and nipples, basically everyone seems to be whining at each other. But the kids do get one over the cop, or 'the man' as they adorably refer to him. In what may have been an amusing metaphor to the directors, a pig is released and runs around the beach. Yes. There are a number of vignettes of this type.

Here's the theme song. It's great.
And now, the full movie

11 December 2016

Movies : Scorpion [1986]

Scorpion opens in a mexican/spanish? village. With a ferrari. We move into a bar, there's a lot of hairy angry looking men. They exchange meaningful glances, a fight breaks out. More tragically a beer is spilled, and they switch the jukebox off.
The credits are rolling with suitably epic synth led music, also we're in Spain. For some reason we're now in Amsterdam. We learn the president has allowed pre-emptive strikes. OMFG, coincidence or what, but there's been a sky-jacking! Our top man, Scorpion, is going on the plane (it's on the ground), the hijacker has the worlds worst German accent. Which isn't nearly as offensive as Scorpion's very short shorts.
Oh he won. He beat all the terrorists. Amazing.

Now he's on the hunt for the big bad terrorist. People keep getting shot, synthtastic.
Hospital scene had the classic soundtrack "Dr. Blair, Dr. Blair, Dr. J. Hamilton, Dr. J. Hamilton" - sadly the guitars didn't kick in. Our hero is sad now, his friend is dead. He's now passing through the stages, is on anger. But the bad guys are in the hospital now, our hero has sprung into action. As has a slowly pulsing bass synth.
This movie is not rocking along. Our German is trying to escape, slowly. More people are dead, and yet the plot hasn't moved. I know i'm expecting too much. But really, moody shots of a grumpy hero are wearing a little thin now.
Oh bollocks, I'm only an hour in, there's another 38mins !
I think we've reached the penultimate fight scene, it's dire.
For some reason we're on a boat now. Chasing someone. For some reason. Everything is moving so slowly, the editor needs a serious talking to. But anyway, we get more synth heavy tunes, so it's not all bad.
A solid 2/10.

4 December 2016

Cabal Strikes Back : we hit SMWS

Half of the cabal reunited to drink whisky, solve world problems, and argue over flavours. We decided SMWS London was the location, and Saturday afternoon the time. It also gave us opportunities to swop xmas gifts, all booze based, and for me to collect my Bruichladdich MP5 (Port Charlotte) from Alec. Google Keep provided the note taking, and the open fire, the relaxing ambiance.

1.202 Delightfully delectable 22yo d. 23/9/93 53.8%, virgin oak hogshead
Nose - green grass, bourbon prickly, wood polish, lemons, malt loaf
Palate - sweet, honey, fruit salad - melons,
Finish - med long

Add water, brings out bourbon and makes it v prickly.
A very rare Glenfarclas from SWMS, really nice and would be great to have sitting in the cupboard.

35.168 Essence of BFG, 15yo d.17/5/2001 60.4% virgin toasted French oak butt
Nose - odd, sweet marshmallow, Parma violets, deep complex, old house, cherry, burnt sugar
Palate - warm, butter, tingly, salted toffee, caramel, liquorice at end of palette
Finish - long, tingly, salty caramel
8.5/10 this is quite odd, and quite lovely

With water, warmer and smoother on palate possibly with ginger.
Glen Moray? why yes, I will try some of that. We both really liked this, interesting and a lot happening in the whisky (contrary to someone else's review on the web). Definitely recommend.

36.111 Benrinnes
Nose - light manuka, medicinal, star anise, hay
Palate - sweet at finish, prickly, sherbet at start, bourbon, not quite ripe kiwifruit, hint of tea??!!
Finish - med
Could be more complex, but interesting 7/10

3.286 Islay Village Peat-Smoke Haze , 17yo, d.25/09/1998, 57.8%, refill ex-bourbon barrel
N - medicinal, big, smoke, hospital bandages,
P - throat clearing, bacon, salt, honey,
F - massive, salty
8.5/10 it ain't subtle but it is brilliant, more evidence Bowmore indie bottlings are better than their own.

Lovely wee tasting, with two standardouts (Bowmore and Glen Moray).