The Pan Book of Horror Stories Remembered

As a teenager growing up in the 1970′s, my favourite horror anthologies were The Pan Book of Horror Stories. I read them avidly, and always looked forward to the next volume coming out. These books really did have some great stories in every edition, and their lurid, colourful covers certainly did much to emphasise their appeal! Totally timeless and still much-missed today by the horror fiction fan.

Most out-of-print copies of The Pan Book of Horror Stories can still be found on sites like Amazon and Ebay. I have managed to obtain a few copies from Amazon, and although they are a little well read and spine-creased, the feeling of nostalgia that came flooding back when I started reading them was just fantastic. There are some real little gems in these books, and these stories completely knock the socks off a lot of the so-called “horror” stories of today.  These volumes should be essential reading for anybody who loves writing horror and needs some good examples of how to create a good, gripping, scary tale.

Like all fans of these books, I would love to see The Pan Book of Horror Stories revived some day. It is a great pity the series was ever discontinued in the first place. When they dropped The Pan Book of Horror Stories, they sadly left a big, gaping gap in the horror anthology genre which, as far as I am concerned, has never really been adequately filled.

Cisco Associate Level Certifications

Cisco entry level certifications can only get you so far when it comes to the IT field. Once you have obtained an entry level certification in one of the different types of tracks you can take in the IT field, the next step to furthering your career is to obtain a Cisco associate certification, or intermediate certification.

Unlike the entry level certifications, an individual that possess a Cisco associate certification will show that they not only possess practical knowledge to be able to perform basic tasks in the IT field, but that they also have hands on knowledge as well. Many employers want their employees to possess practical knowledge and hands on knowledge before offering them a position with their company. Another great thing is that sites like TestsForge offer up all the study materials that you need to pass.

A Cisco CCENT certification is the first step towards obtaining your Associate level certifications. In the IT field, just like in life, everyone has to start from the bottom and work their way up the ladder. They must be able to prove that they possess general knowledge, before being given the opportunity to show their hands on knowledge capabilities.

You can think of the Cisco Associate level of certifications as an apprenticeship, or as a foundational level towards earning an advanced networking certification. Remember, the more experience that you have in the field, the more job opportunities exist.


Liverpool Giants Are Back In Town

Following on from the success of the Sea Odyssey spectacular in Liverpool in 2012 – which told the story of a man who perished on the Titanic, his orphaned child, her diver uncle, and a dog – the Liverpool giants return to the city to commemorate the First World War Centenary.

This year’s giant event is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people to the city, just as it did two years ago. According to Royal de Luxe, the company behind the event, the majority of the story will be told by the grandmother giant in her own language, which will be translated in subtitles.

The public will get their first chance to see the giants moving on Friday morning when the little girl and Xolo the dog will set off from the Queensway Tunnel en route to Newsham Park. The grandmother will leave the hall shortly afterwards.

The giants will travel from the park to Clarence Dock on Saturday and on Sunday will parade around the Three Graces before sailing off down the River Mersey.



Employers Who Ignore Job Applications

I just want to say a few words about these employers who ignore job applications, a tendency which always annoys me.

When you send off your CV, you expect some kind of acknowledgement, even if it’s just to say that they have received your application and that it is being considered. Sadly, it is very rare now you get even that, as far too many of these employers are taking cold, discourteous advantage of the high unemployment. They can afford to cherry pick, and they know this, and consequently their attitude seems to be that they can treat job applicants any way they like. Well this attitude STINKS, and I am sure I speak for the vast majority of jobseekers here too.

Another thing that infuriates me is when some of these employers don’t even have the decency to give you feedback when you contact them. They always make some sort of lame excuse to fob you off. I have encountered this sort of negative behaviour from employment agencies too (which I think should be scrapped, as a lot of these useless agencies are notorious for advertising fake jobs).

If there were not so many people out of work, these employers would be glad of every applicant they could possibly get, and so could not afford to be so choosy.



Best Stephen King Books

I have been a big fan of Stephen King’s right from the late seventies, and he is my next favourite author after James Herbert. Over that time, I have read virtually everything King has ever written, and so I thought I’d list my all time top ten Stephen King books. Some of you may agree with my choices, some of you won’t, but anyway, here it is:

4. IT

I also love his short fiction too, and may compile a list of my top ten King short stories some time in the future.

I would welcome any comments about my King top ten novels, or indeed any other comments any of you wish to make on King and his work in general.


Britain’s Got Talent – What I Love and Hate About It

As Britain’s Got Talent returns to our TV screens for another series, we, the great British public, can once again look forward to a varied – and often quite unusual and madcap – array of people from all walks of life, and of all ages, striving for instant fame and fortune and, of course, the ultimate prize: appearing live onstage at the Royal Variety Performance before Her Majesty The Queen.

Simon Cowell, who is of course the head judge of the show, is back again, along with fellow judges Amanda Holden, David Walliams and Alesha Dixon. And this year, we have the added feature of the Golden Buzzer, which basically means that if this is pressed, that act automatically goes through to the next round.

I watch Britain’s Got Talent every year, and there are some things that I love about the show, and there are some things that I hate. Firstly, the things I love about it.

The main thing I like about it is that it has brought back variety to our TV programme line-up, which, let’s be honest, has been far too overloaded with boring reality shows (if it’s not home improvements, it’s bloody cookery shows) for far too long now. Being a great fan of old TV talent shows like Opportunity Knocks and New Faces – shows that really made television worth watching – I have often bemoaned the appalling lack of such variety shows on the box. Variety is “dead”, people have frequently said, and of course I would tend to agree with that sentiment. Now I know that Simon Cowell is perhaps not the most liked man on TV, being notorious for his straight-talking, sometimes controversial remarks to poorly performing acts (“What the bloody hell was THAT?” and so on). However, whatever your views are on Cowell as a person, you’ve got to give the guy some credit for bringing back variety to our Saturday night TV screens and, in so doing, making it worthwhile staying in again.

The other thing I like about the show is the wide range of acts – from the sensible to the eccentric – that parade in front of the judges. It’s all here, and more besides: singing DJs with dodgy teeth, old ladies effortlessly performing acrobatic stunts guaranteed to make your jaw drop, zany Elvis look-alikes, extraordinarily intelligent dogs and singing ventriloquists. We even have had a Simon Cowell impersonator (ooo, the cheek!).

I also love Ant and Dec as hosts. They are funny, down to earth, likeable, and provide that extra ingredient of watchability to the show. I also like the way they encourage, and joke with, the contestants before they go on stage to face the judges.

Now for the things I don’t like about the show. Not many, I grant you, but still enough to get the angry steam coming out of my ears (now THERE’S something I’ve never seen on BGT before, come to think of it: an act that can emit steam from their lug holes).

Just like The X Factor, Britain’s Got Talent sometimes suffers from the odd sob story or two. They are also known as “emotional back stories”. There is nothing that irritates me more than watching somebody who, on first impressions, seems to be quite a strong, levelheaded person – only to then break down into a pathetic, blubbering wreck just because they got a “No” from the judges. We see enough of this on X Factor. We DON’T want to see it on Britain’s Got Talent too. So stop the sob stories, please.

Another thing that really annoys me is when a rubbishy act gets through to the final. Even worse, I hate it when they go on to actually win the darned thing. Without pointing the finger of disapproval at any act in particular, let’s just say that there have been one or two acts over the years which have left me staring at the screen with jaw-dropped disbelief, wondering what on earth were the voting public thinking when they chose THAT act as the winner. Having said that, though, the show has generally produced some pretty worthy winners over the years.

Aside from these few faults, on the whole I really do enjoy Britain’s Got Talent, and will probably go on watching it for as long as it continues. You can’t beat a bit of variety on a Saturday night. Now if you’ll excuse me while I reach for my golden buzzer . . .

Alan Toner

New Godzilla Movie

Once again, the so-called “King of Monsters”, Godzilla, is brought back to life in a new movie, entitled, appropriately enough, Godzilla (2014)

In this new reboot, the world’s most famous monster is pitted against malevolent creatures who, bolstered by humanity’s scientific arrogance, threaten our very existence.

Check out some very interesting Godzilla links below;

Godzilla Trailer

Godzilla 1954

Godzilla Wiki

Godzilla 1985

King Kong vs Godzilla

Godzilla Movies

Godzilla Toys

And you can buy the following Godzilla movies by clicking on the relevant image link:

Anchorman 2 Out On DVD Today

I am really pleased at the fact that Anchorman 2, one of my all time favourite American comedies, is out on DVD and Blu Ray today. If this sequel is as good as the first Anchorman movie, then I am certainly in for a treat!

For those of you who have never seen Anchorman, the story is basically about a top rated newsman, in a traditionally male dominated world, called Ron Burgundy. However, when an ambitious – and very beautiful blonde – young woman, Veronica Corningstone (played by Christina Applegate) is hired as a new anchor, Ron starts to feel his status being seriously undermined by the new arrival – even though he does happen to have a painful crush on her. The subsequent love-hate relationship between the two rival news reporters makes very entertaining viewing, and without wishing to give away any more of the plot, I would just say that if you love a real good comedy set in the heady world of news reporting, then go and treat yourself to Anchorman.

You can buy both Anchorman and Anchorman 2 by clicking on the links below.


The Cat Lovers’ Book

I am  pleased to announce that I have just published a new Kindle book on Amazon. This time, however, I have departed from my usual theme of ghosts and paranormal – at least for now – and have turned to the subject of cats.

The Cat Lovers’ Book tells you everything you need to know about cats, from buying your first kitten to how to look after your new pet, and much more besides. In addition to all this useful information, the book also features many interesting and little-known facts about cats If you love cats, you will be sure to enjoy The Cat Lovers’ Book.

You can buy The Lovers’ Book by clicking on the image link below.


Hammer Glamour

The third and final book in Marcus Hearn’s brilliant Hammer trilogy I want to mention is Hammer Glamour. Whereas the previous two in the trilogy concentrated mostly on Hammer films in general, Hammer Glamour focuses mainly on the many beautiful ladies that graced the studio’s movies over the years.

Every scream queen that you have ever seen in a Hammer movie is covered here, with detailed biographies of each lady accompanied by plenty of gorgeous, colourful photos, many of which are so big that you could even take them out and hang them on your bedroom wall. Every Hammer fan knows that along with all the other features that made the studio such a big box office success story, the fact that each movie introduced some truly gorgeous, low-cleavaged ladies – either as heroines or as villains – was also a big contributory factor to the company’s appeal and legacy. As well as featuring chapters on such popular female Hammer stars as Veronica Carlson, Barbara Shelley and Ingrid Pitt, the book also gives good due coverage to the lesser-known beauties who provided equally outstanding contributions to the studio’s output.

If you have a particularly favourite Hammer scream queen, then you will be pleased to know that she is certainly going to be included in this book, along with an interview and, of course, a gorgeous glossy photo or two. The overall presentation of this book is truly stunning, and again I must take my hat off to Hammer historian Marcus Hearn for his excellent work here. He certainly knows how to provide fantastic material for any Hammer horror fan’s delight.

Just like the other two books in the trilogy, the cover of this book is just superb, depicting a busty Madeline Smith who really personifies the image of “Hammer Glamour” as a whole. Buy this book now to add to your collection, and to complete a trilogy of what, for me, is the best ever written on the Hammer horror legacy.

Buy Hammer Glamour now by clicking on the image link below.