Category Archives: Uncategorized

1960s and 70s space exploration stamps

I found my childhood Stanley Gibbons stamp album today and thought I’d share a few images of some Ajman, Romanian and Czechoslavakian space exploration stamps.

1970 Ajman airmail stamps

These Ajman stamps feature artwork depicting some of the US Apollo missions.

Ajman 01

Ajman 02

Ajman 03

Ajman 04

1964 Romanian airmail stamps

These Romanian stamps feature US astronauts and Russian cosmonauts such as John Glenn and Yuri Gagarin.

Romanian stamps 05

Romanian stamps 02

Romanian stamps 03

Romanian stamps 01

Romanian stamps 04


Czechoslavakian stamp

I can’t find the date of this stamp but “člověk na měsíci” translates to “man on the moon” and the 1969 date would seem to celebrate the beginning of the Apollo moon missions. The letter ‘C’ on the astronaut’s chest could relate to Eugene Cernan, an Apollo astronaut of Czech origin.

Check 01



Speeder Bikes and ads from Fine Scale Modeler, Jan / Feb 1986

Fine Scale Modeller cover for Jan / Feb 1986.

Fine Scale Modeler cover for Jan / Feb 1986.

The 1986 Jan / Feb edition of Fine Scale Modeler featured a step-by-step guide on how to build a Return of the Jedi diorama. The results are impressive, and part of the diorama – featuring a Speeder Bike and Scout – is shown on the excellent cover, seen above.

Inside there are some nice modelling ads from companies like AMT, Testors, Fujimi and MRC-Tamiya, all of which feature below. Enjoy.

Richard Petty's Nascar number 43. by AMT. US. Fine Scale Modeller. 1986.

Richard Petty’s Nascar number 43. by AMT. US. Fine Scale Modeler. 1986.

Porsche 911 by Fujimi. US. Fine Scale Modeller. 1986.

Porsche 911 turbo by Fujimi. US. Fine Scale Modeler. 1986.

Airbrush thinners by Testors. US. Fine Scale Modeller. 1986.

Airbrush thinners by Testors. US. Fine Scale Modeler. 1986.

World War II Battleships by MRC-Tamiya. US. Fine Scale Modeller. 1986.

World War II Battleships by MRC-Tamiya. US. Fine Scale Modeler. 1986.

Love the ’70s and ’80s? We didn’t own an Ipad. (Video)

Set to the tune of Billy Joel’s 1989 hit “We Didn’t Start The Fire”, this beautifully observed tribute to ’70s and ’80s pop culture should leave you with a big smile on your face.

Thanks and kudos to hunkygraham1 for making and sharing 🙂 and thanks to my mate Stef for the link 🙂

Cassette Store Day 7th September 2013


Some survivors from my original cassette collection

The cassettememories of recording Metallica over my grandad’s Val Doonican tapes. Employing the nearest HB pencil to tighten-up spool cogs. Untangling yards and yards of ‘wild’ tape that had spitefully come loose. And avoiding magnets and speakers!!

Today, the 7th of September 2013, is Cassette Store Day, an International celebration of the magnetic tape cassette, a musical format long ago consigned by many to the bin, but one that has recently undergone a popularity swerve with musical artists, stores, and industry labels embracing once more the humble cassette tape.

Led Zep - tape format style.

Led Zep – tape format style.

Despite considering myself more a vinyl junkie, I’ve been looking forward to celebrating Cassette Store Day. I remember upgrading most of my cassettes to their CD versions a long while ago, but I still kept hold of many of the cassettes with the quiet belief that one day they’d receive the cool-factor recogntion they deserved. That, or I was just too sentimental to give them to the charity shop.


Insert inserts here.

Vinyl had always been my favourite choice back in the days before CD and downloads. But for portability the cassette format was the easy winner; school holidays, days spent down the park, camping trips with mates, end of term when the teacher allowed us to bring in our favourite music to play – it was always the fag packet-size cassette and its portable player that provided the soundtrack.



There were always plenty of shops selling label releases on cassette. Even non-musical shops could afford to stock them due to their compact size. I remember the busy Saturday morning markets of Birmingham in the ’80s; the indoor markets and outside of Oasis, these places were great to go and pick up music, especially bootlegs and other cassette oddities.

Bands and gigs and demos
The band's old best friend.

The band’s old best friend.

The cassette definitely served me well as a listener and buyer of music. But as a musician playing in numerous bands since the age of fifteen, one of the things I’m most grateful to for the cassette was the ability to record our own music. Most of the bands I played with back in the 80s and 90s would record our own demos live in rehearsal studios. We’d choose the best four songs and post them off to labels and music magazines.  We’d also take along a cassette player to gigs and record the whole set live. Even during the middle of the noughties we still found ourselves sharing song ideas on tape.

Home Taping is Killing Music
RIP already music.

RIP already music.

I don’t think I taped so many albums from my mates’ collections. I was always happy saving up and buying the proper label releases because I loved the artwork and lyric sheets that were so much part of the appeal of a new album for me. However, a few copies would sometimes ‘find their way’ into my collection… I like to think I wasn’t so much killing music by home taping, just inflicting a few flesh wounds.

Clean Me!
Back in the day, 'Head Cleaners' weren't just a lotion you applied to the head for nit infestations!

Back in the day, ‘Head Cleaners’ weren’t just a lotion you applied to the head for nit infestations!

Happy Cassette Store Day!!

Right, enjoy your day, I’m off to set up my old tape deck and blast out some tapes!

You can read more about Cassette Store Day here

and please read this superb article by Jude Rogers  Total rewind: 10 key moments in the life of the cassette

Stella Marrs: postcards you may not know about.

Found them! My 2001 Stella Marrs postcard set...

‘Danger’ and ‘Nothing Funny’ from a Stella Marrs postcard set I ordered back in 2001

Round about the year 2001 I became interested in environment issues (still am, but back then it was a brand new fire smouldering within). I remember discovering an article online about Stella Marrs and being blown away by her vintage style postcards with slogans and information. Her style captured for me this perfect mix of bygone images and modern messages – often political, funny, inspirational or even just aww cute!

'Water Contaminants' and 'Stop Feeding Me Dog Food' from my 2001 Stella Marrs postcard pack.

‘Water contaminants’ and ‘Stop feeding me dog food’ from my 2001 Stella Marrs postcard pack.

'Garden Organically' and 'Industrialized Agriculture' from my 2001 Stella Marrs postcard set.

‘Garden Organically’ and ‘Industrialized Agriculture’ from my 2001 Stella Marrs postcard set.

I remember eagerly ordering the ‘environment set’. The set contained around twenty postcards and arrived less than a week later from Washington. Straightaway I tacked about a half dozen onto my kitchen wall and gave a couple away to friends. The rest were saved in their original envelope and eventually boxed away somewhere, resurfacing for special occasions like those ‘sorting out stuff’ moments when you find yourself routing through cardboard boxes for an item you could’ve sworn was packed away, only to find an entirely different item that immediately distracts you!

Last week was one of those ‘sorting out stuff’ moments. I  came across my bundle of postcards while rifling through a box of vintage annuals. It was great seeing them again and I immediately checked the website address (printed on the back of the cards) to see if Stella was still making these. The website no longer existed but I did find a new one and was once again blown away by the images and messages. I’m looking forward now to choosing a brand new set. So I’ll shut up and let Stella’s work speak for itself with a few images taken from her current website.

Images and text below are taken from Stella’s website

Stella Marrs is an interdisciplinary artist whose work addresses environmental issues and feminism. Her collaborative public projects seek to open new relationships and redefine public space. She has presented her work at California Institute of the Arts, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, MIT, University of Texas (Austin), Lesley University and The Evergreen State College. She received her MFA in Visual Studies at University at Buffalo.

For more information and how to order your own postcards go to

BOOK REVIEW: La French Touch

La French Touch
History of French Star Wars Merchandising & Marketing, 1977-1986
by Stéphane Faucourt
  • Published June 2013, France
  • ISBN: 978-2-9527-0462-5
  • Available in French and English language formats
  • Author’s website: La French Touch


In 2006, Stéphane Faucourt published his first book – From Meccano to Trilogo, a well-received (and today highly-collectable) reference book that examines the availabilty of French vintage Star Wars toys.

In Stéphane’s latest book – La French Touch – we see a natural progression into the exploration of the history of Star Wars merchandising and marketing in France between 1977 – 1986.

La French Touch not only examines the toys and products made available, but also looks into how the films were perceived and the different styles of marketing that were applied. La French Touch explores thoroughly the impact and sensation Star Wars had on France at the time.

The book (242 pages) comes packed with many cool photos of authentic French Star Wars memorabilia, complimented with writing that provides not just a fascinating look at how Star Wars was presented to the French public but also an impressive overview of how Star Wars films and toys were originally conceived outside of France.

La French Touch is perfect for the seasoned collector and for the newbie taking a first step into the world of vintage Star Wars collecting. TVTA highly recommends adding it to your Star Wars bookshelf today!

For information on how to order La French Touch you can go to the author’s site here: La French Touch

Vote now for your “Favourite Star Wars Figure in a Vintage Ride!”

VOTING closed thank you.

Some great photos here of vintage Star Wars figures in the cockpit of their chosen vehicles! Voting runs till the 13th Feb… go check ’em out… clink the link below…