Saturday, March 27, 2010

Manholes of Venus

Talking about adverts in old Marvel comics in my last blog reminded me of their early 80s adverts for Atari games and consoles. I specifically remember one advert where some kid had a really uncool game system, and everyone mocked him for it.

A little internet investigation locates the advert in question -

Isn't this a tragic tale? Particularly poignant is the cruel way the girl with the blond pony tale rejects Maxy. No doubt Maxy organised the whole games night merely as an excuse to invite her over. But when she finds out he only has inferior games, she storms out, crushing him with the cutting phrase 'Later baby.'

Young Maxy would undoubtedly be devastated. Later in life he'd need therapy for his romantic failures. Even then he'd never really be comfortable around girls.

The blond haired girl does appear again in the last panel. But by then it's obvious she only likes Maxy for his games. You can tell from her body language that's she's not really interested in him. Probably by this time she's secretly dating the lead guitarist in the local speed-metal band.

What really sticks in my mind about this advert is not just the way Maxy is spurned by the woman he loves, it's that the game he's mocked for owning is called 'Manholes of Venus.' At the time, nothing struck me as odd about that name. But now I think about it, it's a very strange title for a kids game. Manholes of Venus? Did whoever wrote the advert realise the various interpretations you could put on that phrase? It sounds like something written by Petronius for the Emperor Nero, detailing events at their latest orgy. I really want to play Manholes of Venus.

At the time, at the start of the 80s, an Atari games console would have seemed to me like an unobtainable luxury item. I never knew anyone who owned one. But I recently bought myself a PS3. Ha. Take that, writing career.

Friday, March 19, 2010


I've noticed Oreos in the supermarket recently. As far as I know, Oreos only arrived in Britain fairly recently. They didn't used to sell them here. However, I was aware of them before that, because they were often advertised in the American Marvel comics I read when I was young.

I examined at the packet in the supermarket, and wondered about buying them, but was put off because they contain artificial flavours. I'm picky about artificial ingredients (Mostly for no good reason. I have many pointless food phobias.)

But while Oreos might be a fine product, they are associated with behaviour which strikes me as very strange. Their adverts say you should dunk them in milk. I've always regarded this as odd behaviour. Deviant in fact. The notion of dunking a biscuit - or cookie - in a glass of milk makes me vaguely ill. What's the point of dunking a nice biscuit in a glass of cold milk? Ew. You need tea to dunk cookies in. The drink needs to be hot, to be absorbed properly. It should be tea. (Possibly coffee, although I would regard that as letting standards slip a little)

There's no getting round it. Dunking anything in a glass of milk is just weird. But I'm quite suspicious of milk, generally, so perhaps I'm biased here.

Here is the cover for the American edition of Curse of the Wolf Girl, which is due to be published in August.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Pretty Shoes

An email arrives from Amazon, advertising shoes. I'm puzzled. I have bought books and games from amazon. But I wasn't expecting them to start sending me adverts for shoes.

I look at the shoes. I don't like them that much. But are mens' shoes ever that nice, really? I never know what would make for a nice pair of mens' shoes.

Browsing some newspaper sites - possibly with shoes on my mind - I noticed this gallery of shoes in The Times, as pictured here. There are a lot of nice shoes here.

As I may have mentioned before, I am useless at describing things like shoes. If shoes appear in any of my books, there's generally very little description. I couldn't accurately describe any of the shoes shown here. I'd need pictures. But I understand it's generally frowned on to put pictures in your novels, for things you can't describe very well.

(Can anyone describe shoes? I'd be interested if anyone could write a good description of any of these shoes)

It must be quite difficult to walk in these high heels. I'd be hopeless at it. I'm clumsy at the best of times. In high heels, I'd break my ankle before I got out the front door.

I don't suppose as many women are as obsessed with shoes as people pretend. But I have met some who are. I sympathise. I generally sympathise with peoples' obsessions, whether it's high heels or model train sets. Go with your obsessions, I say.

In Lonely Werewolf Girl, Thrix and Malveria are obsessed with shoes and fashion. But they don't suffer for it. They're not made to pay any sort of price for their obsession.

The new edition of Lonely Werewolf Girl from Piatkus has now been published in Britain. Also, the publisher sent me cover art from Curse of the Wolf Girl, which I like. I thought that was due to be published in September or October, but I notice it's listed for August on Amazon, in Britain and the USA.