Sunday, July 20, 2014

Triumphant Tin Foil Hats 2014

 Thank you all for returning on this auspicious occasion. If you would like to take your seats-
 No, here at the front, Norma! I've reserved seats for you VIP bloggers due to all the celebrities in attendance. Honestly, one couldn't move backstage earlier due to all the scantily-foil-clad reality TV stars!

Don't worry, I've locked Dan Osbourne and his tiny tinfoil trunks in my dressing room so he doesn't cause any further distractions during the award ceremony. I'll need someone to keep an eye on Tom Daley, though - Any takers?

Real stars; Elizabeth Taylor, Lady Gaga, Abba, Katy Perry and, uh... Vanessa Feltz(?) can't wait to find out who has won.

 So, the time has come. Voting is over and all ballot boxes have been emptied and counted. I am now in a position to reveal the winner of the 2014 edition of the Tin Hat & Tales Competition. Actually, I'm going to pass the honour of announcing the winner - for there is only one winner - over to Jennifer Anniston:

 Oh, for heavens sakes! Is it really that much of a surprise, Jen? Sigh... I'll just do it myself, then.

 And the winner of the Tin Hat & Tales Competition 2014 is:

Uranus Rising, by Ms Scarlet!

Congratulations Ms Scarlet! Not only were you the Popular Tin Foil Hat winner by garnering the most votes (narrowly pipping Mago to first place), but also the Technical Tin Foil Hat winner (just beating the last compo's winner, Eroswings). I hope you've prepared a speech? Your prize will be in the post shortly (i.e. when I've actually decided what it's going to be).

 Finally, before the celebrations begin, I would just like to thank you all for taking part and making this event a success. All the hats were marvellous - We should do this again sometime?!

 Right. I'm off to my dressing room to, uh... See to, umm... Find a... Oh, just start the Champagne, I'll be back in ten minutes.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Stalking Concorde

 This is just a quick reminder to let you all know there're only a couple of days left to cast your vote for your favourite tin foil hat. 
If you really can't be bothered to scroll down to the preceding post, just click here to be magically transported to the Tin Hat & Tales: Flights of Fancy exhibit (currently held, with kind permission, in the Infomaniac Art Gallery).
 Remember: You can either vote in the comments, or email me if you would prefer a secret vote (email address in my profile).

~ ~ ~

 To help while away the days - and to provide imagery for this post - I tasked my tin foil creation, Silverbolt, to find and photograph that elusive creature: Concorde. I strapped my rather crappy digital camera to Silverbolt's shaft and sent it on it's way, rather like a drone. These are the best images available:

A fearsome Concorde at the Intrepid Museum, New York.
We think it's eyeing up that line of smaller planes dragons as hors d'oeuvres.

This ferocious Concorde looks like it's been shackled to the ground at Filton Airfield, Bristol (UK).
Possibly after having devoured most of the cars from that car park on the left...


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Tin Hat and Tales Gallery 2014: Flights of Fancy

 Welcome! And thank you all for coming to this, the preview showing of the 2014 Tin Hat and Tales Competition: Flights of Fancy. 
 I must apologise for the late change in venue. Unfortunately, the Tate - the original location - succumbed to a plague of Scraplets, so MJ very kindly offered the use of the Infomaniac Art Gallery, for which I am eternally grateful. Just don't venture into the west wing. Or the basement, for that matter...

 Anyway, on with the show.

Just look at those critical eyes.
Can you feel yourself withering under their glare?

 We invite you to cast your critical eye (or eyes, if you're not a cyclops) over these exquisite exhibits and let us know, in the comments, upon who you would like to bestow the winner's crown (made of tin foil, of course).

 First up, we have xl's submission: The Right Smurf

The Right Smurf

This entry honors the 53rd anniversary of the flight of the second American in space, Virgil Ivan "Gus" Grissom in Mercury-Redstone 4 capsule Liberty Bell 7 on 21 July 1961.

~ ~ ~   

 The second entry is from our gracious host MJ: Superman's Package

Superman's Package

Up, up and away!

Superman has a package for you!

~ ~ ~

 Moving on, the third of our gallery submissions is by Ms Scarlet: Uranus Rising

Uranus Rising

 Ms Scarlet has graciously given a little background information about the creative process of her triumph of tin foil hattery:
Here is my hat... here is my story....

And so began the slow, torturous artistic process. Now that I was technically adept at tin foil modelling, I could at last focus my energies on artistic creativity. I retreated to my purpose built garret at the bottom of the garden and awaited for inspiration to take flight. It was not often that I was given a task of such import. Crawling through the back passage of my emotions, I re experienced hideous moments of my life that are probably best forgotten, it was a long and arduous journey, but I was determined to suffer for my art... and finally, when the sun was parallel to Pluto and Uranus was rising, my work was done.

The flight inspired tin foil hat, in all its explosive glory, stood before me. I was a shadow of my former self, but I knew that the 14 minutes I had spent creating it would benefit mankind for centuries to come.....

To be continued...........

~ ~ ~

 Passing through the gallery, on our right we have - 

....just a way to get past security.
Have a wonderful contest! 

 What the...?! How did this get past the stringent screening process? This submission from Norma is clearly in violation of the Tin Hat and Tales code of etiquette!
 Oh, give it a rest. We need something to bulk this compo up a bit. Besides, how do you know Norma didn't resurrect Liz Taylor's ancient carcass, slap a bit of filler on and fashion the hat out of tin foil, flowers and... Are those cigarettes??
That's probably not even the real Liz. Norma probably made her out of wax, created the weird smokers garden chapeau and plopped the whole lot in front of a Freemason's luncheon.
So, what's with the urine sample she's holding?
 I must say: Bravo Norma! It's a masterpiece. However you created it.
 OK, OK. Stop gushing. Let's continue on to our fifth exhibit, shall we?

~ ~ ~

 From Artiste Internationale, Mago: The Duck.

The Duck

I hate flying. At least sitting in a tin can and being shot to another continent has nothing in common with my idea of flying. I would board a balloon immediately. Or climb a board a glider. I would even sit my precious body into one of these Canadian post boxes that fly from lake to lake - but I hate jets. I flew in these machines twice in my lifetime - and the journey itself was without any hassle or inconvenience - both travels towards Southern destinations in Europe. But I can not fight the fear, strong martini helps.
I am not prone of levitation, but at one or two occasions in my lifetime I felt something that is best described as flying. One time I was playing billiards under the influence of mind altering substances, and at one point I was the ball on the table, within twenty minutes or so I was flying above the table. In this narrow space of time I could have done anything with the balls, and I did some really amazing shots. The second time is not for a blog.
So generally I'm flying like a dead duck, so you see the animal on my head - my personal totem. And because I like masks, and that sheet of tin foil just came in handy, that's it.

Deadlines ... pah ...

~ ~ ~

The final submissions of the Flights of Fancy exhibit are just down here on the left, in the Eros Wing of the gallery. This collection has been kindly loaned by that Texan Tinfoil Trickster, Eroswings.

 How to travel quickly and safely in today's world.

Air travel is so complicated and burdensome these days with all the scanners and lines and so many regulations that seem to urge the air traveler to hurry up and then wait for a long time to catch a plane. To breeze through the checkpoints and scanners, I introduce entry number one: 
The Snakes On a Plane hat.

Snakes on a Plane Hat

With your Snakes on a Plane hat, no airport screening agent will risk patting you down, not unless they want a poisonous deathly bite from your snake hat.  You'll just stroll right through the line to the boarding gate.  Bonus:  No pesky kids or annoying passengers will want to come near you, much less put their carry on luggage in your overhead compartment.

And when you arrive at your destination, say, for the World Cup Soccer games in Brazil, you can put on entry number two: 
The World Cup Soccer Slayer hat.
World Cup Soccer Slayer Hat

You'll notice Christ the Redeemer on the mountain in the background, protecting you from evil spirits.  The soccer player has a wooden stake in his hand, not because he's playing field hockey, but because in Brazil, there have been confirmed sightings of
the notorious Uruguayan vampire, which sinks its teeth into its victims in broad daylight on soccer fields.  Keep the wooden stake on your World Cup Soccer Slayer hat close, because you'll never know when the Uruguayan vampire might fly out and try to sink its teeth into your shoulders.  So far, he's shown a preference to biting Europeans!

But the Uruguayan vampire isn't the only flying danger you should be worried about.  With all the pollution causing climate change, the world is more dangerous with more powerful storms creating havoc and disasters on massive scales never seen before.  Forget raining dogs and cats.  These days, you have to worry about sharks flying in the air in tornadoes!  Thus, our final entry, the
Sharknado gear hat!

Sharknado Gear Hat

Your Sharknado gear hat is armed with a chainsaw to stop those flying sharks from chomping down on you!  And when you run out of gas or your chain breaks, use your ax to chop those sharks dead. Then reward yourself by using your chef's knife to make yourself some delicious sashimi and ceviche.  After all your hard work, you've earned yourself a treat!

~ ~ ~

 Now that we have viewed all the entries, please show your appreciation by voting for the chapeau that you'd like to win. You have a week to cast your vote, be it in the comments, or by emailing me if you don't want to give anything away (email address in my profile). As before, there could be two winners: One that you, the voting elite, choose; plus a technical winner that I shall declare based on adherance to the rules. I shall be tabulating your votes at the weekend and announcing the winner/s on Monday 21st July.

 Don't forget: You can make donations in the foyer before you leave. The collection pot is next to the Silverbolt tin foil hat fashioned by ourselves especially for this auspicious occasion.
Silverbolt, by IDV

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Last chance

 This is your last chance to submit a tin foil hat for the 2014 Tin Hat and Tales Competition.

Don't make me narrow my eyes...

 You now have five and a half hours to reach minimum safe distance finish your submission and submit it in time for the gallery opening tomorrow.


Sunday, July 06, 2014

Flying in to Cromer

 Well, I've received the first of many (I hope) submissions to the Tin Hat and Tales Competition 2014. With it, I also received a modicum of panic as I haven't even thought about my own submission, nor, after checking the cupboards of Castlette DeVice, do I have any tin foil!

 There was only one thing for it: I had to make a trip into Cromer.

 Despite being daytime, I decided - due to the sporadic rain - to travel in on Broom, hoping that the inclement weather would keep the majority of terrestrial travellers safely under their umbrellas from where they wouldn't see me gliding majestically-
* cough cough *
 Ahem. Majestically overhead.   

Hang a left at the lighthouse...

... and straight on to Cromer.

Cromer pier and the church tower peeking out from behind the cliffs.

An umbrella-less pedestrian foils my descent...

... and I veer off over the cliff, out of sight.

Cromer town heaves into view. An unexpected crosswind momentarily keeps me from alighting on the cliff path behind an unwitting couple.

 With no cherry trees to inconvenience my landing, I made a surprisingly graceful touch-down. After hiding Broom, Hat and my flight cloak deep in a gorse bush, I walked the rest of the way into town to purchase some foil and partake of a coffee and cake in Huckleberry's.

 Right. Now that I'm home again, I'd better do something with this tin foil. And the same goes for you lot! Go on - Snap to it!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tin Hat and Tales Compo 2014

My 2010 model aerodynamic tin foil Hat

 I'm sure you'll all be pleased to hear that I've finally come up with a theme for the Tin Hat and Tales Competition 2014. After days of thinking really hard, accosting Tim in Norwich for inspiration, thinking some more (well, Tim was useless - all sweaty and exhausted*, and I hadn't even accosted him that much, either), I finally resorted to picking a submissions gallery premier date then looking at good old Wikipedia to find out what happened on said date throughout the years.
 The date in question is 13th July. While scrolling through the various events, I happened upon this:
  1919 – The British airship R34 lands in Norfolk, England, completing the first airship return journey across the Atlantic in 182 hours of flight.

 And that was when inspiration struck! The airship landing in Norfolk reminded me of my recent aerial adventures, so I decided pretty quickly on a theme of flight. Further scrolling down the births segment revealed these specimens of fictional flight-related fortitude:
1940 – Patrick Stewart, AKA Captain Jean Luc Picard,
commander of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D & E

1942 – Harrison Ford, AKA Han Solo, captain of the Millenium Falcon

1988 – Colton Haynes, AKA Speedy in the TV series Arrow
in which he uses arrows which fly through the ai-
Oh, OK, I'm grasping at straws and just wanted an excuse to look at
his naked wet torso and scowly face...

 So, without further ado, may I present the Tin Hat and Tales Competition 2014: 

Foil Flights of Fancy!

The rules:
 To enter, you must fashion a tin foil hat that somehow involves the theme of flight, take a photo of yourself wearing said chapeau (or, if you are camera-shy, put it on a melon or other head-sized object) and send me the photo (email address is in my profile) along with a short technical description of the hat's flight-related functions, and/or a tale of fancy to go with it.
 The winner will be chosen by any/all of myselves, and displayed on this here blog. There will also be a (yet to be determined, but you can guarantee it'll be cheap) prize, or prizes.
 And "when do we have to get these photos sent in by?", I hear you ask? Why, by midnight Saturday 12th July (GMT) ready for Foil Flights of Fancy day on Sunday 13th..

 So, there you have it. You have just over two weeks to design and build your tin foil hat(s - multiple entries will be considered) and email your photo of it/them in. You will then have a week to vote for your favourite hat and I will declare the winner/s (and losers) the following Sunday. Or possibly on the Monday depending how lazy/busy I am on the Sunday. I may even make another hat myself as I can't find my original creation (I think it may have been unceremoniously despatched during a move?).

 Oh, if you're wondering what this is all about, click here for the original compo's submissions gallery.

 Good luck and godspeed!


* OK, so he was sweaty and exhausted because he'd been teaching Bikram Yoga in the Fine City of Norwich over the past three days, and not due to my accosting. He took my accosting rather well, though - encouraged it, even. Twice!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Tin Foil Hats: Let's Do It Again

 OK. So, enough of you have expressed an interest in giving this another go, so shall we have at it?!

 Not just yet, though. You've got time to pop your (tin foil) thinking caps on and make sure your tin foil stocks are sufficient to create your masterpieces. I'm going to have a think about a theme (like last year's Mother Mindbeam Thwarting one) or whether I should just leave your hat's function up to you, so you can let your creative juices flow. If I do, just be sure to mop up afterwards...

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Warning: Tin Foil Hat off the starboard bow

 So. Since the reminder I posted at the beginning of this month, it seems some of you have regrets about failing to take part in the Tin Foil Hat Compo that we hosted four years ago.
 Four years? Was it really that long ago?
 Yes, time flies when you're having fun, doesn't it!
 Sarcastic cow.

 For some reason, I am feeling uncharacteristically good natured and am thinking about hosting another tin foil hat-related competition. However, before I go to all that effort, I want to know if it will be worth my while. Will those of you who have regrets give it a go this time? And what about those of you who entered last time - Will you craft another chapeau de tin foil for the internet to ridicule marvel at?

 Just so you know what you could be up against, here are the entries from 2010's winners, Eros and Princess:

Popular Tin Foil Hat winner: Eroswings' Tin Foil Hat London Olympics

Technical Tin Foil Hat winner:
Princess's Empress-Dowager-thwarting, disco-ball'd-daywear tin foil hat

Let me know in the comments whether you'd like to have a(nother) go. Remember: You could win a prize!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Don't you point that thing at me!

 Clutching my pearls chest to make sure I hadn't just been stabbed through the heart by Concorde, I stared up to the cockpit of the gleaming white airliner, wondering who the reckless pilot was. Behind the windscreens I could discern movement, then, one of the side windows was wound down and a familiar-looking arm and head poked out.
 Even if I hadn't recognised the handsome face, the sheer magnitude of sexy arrogance plastered across it was a dead giveaway. It was Knight!

OK, so this clearly isn't Knight. It's not even Concorde's cockpit.
It's actually the Smokin' (it says so on his assignment patch) Flight Lieutenant
Russell Adams of the Royal Australian Air Force.

 "Hello, DeVice" he greeted me through a devastating smile. I was thunderstruck! I hadn't seen him in years, and now he turns up, quite literally out of the blue, in bloody Concorde! I think I actually gaped. "You're looking as lovely as ever."
 Suddenly, and with a loud whirring noise, Concorde's nose rose up and locked into its fully erect parked position as Knight gazed down at me with a salacious grin. I couldn't prevent the blush from taking over my face and, somewhat flustered, fumbled Hat's brim down a bit in the hope of obscuring it.
 While I fannied about with the press releases attempted to compose myselves, Knight disembarked and strode purposefully towards me. Much as I wanted to play it cool, the SubCs took over and fawned embarrassingly over our barely-uniformed not-really-an-ex-as-we-were-never-technically-an-item ex.
Hey! It wasn't all us.
Yeah, the Host played a big part, too.
 I think the less said about my part, big or otherwise, the better! Now, hush up.
 Will you lot shut up! I'm recounting this tale of aerial disaster, not you!
 Now, where was I? Oh, yes:

 "Ah, that's better" Knight sighed after he'd removed his flight jacket. Naturally, he wasn't wearing anything underneath and looked absolutely stunning. The years had been good to him and now, in his mid-forties, he and his abs looked better than ever. Bastard. "It's so hot out here. Especially after being in that air-conditioned cockpit."
 After gazing at him for what felt like an eternity and thinking thoughts I hadn't entertained since World War Two, I finally managed to pull myselves together and ask the obvious question. "What on Earth are you doing here?"
 Maddeningly, he just smiled that irritating, slightly patronising, smile-that-I-can't-resist, took my hand in his and led me towards the Control Tower Cabin. I was lost for words again.
 He booked his unusual inbound flight in the Movements book at Control, then, still silent but smiling, took my hand again and wandered over to the 'Cabin Crew' Diner. He left me outside and went in alone - a mistake, as, no longer under his spell, I was able to reassert myselves. I glared through the cabin window where I could see him flirting outrageously with the poor woman standing behind the counter. Poor Val was practically the colour of a beetroot by the time he'd finished with her, and so flustered that she was attempting to butter a washing up sponge using an egg whisk.
 "Well?" I prompted him with no small amount of impatience. Unable to take my hand again due to holding three cans of ginger beer, Knight cocked his head and gave me that kicked puppy look (seventh paragraph down), but luckily I had prepared myself for it. "Why are you here?"
 He gazed past me towards the runway before making eye contact again. "I heard about your last-minute collection of mythological flying machines and thought you might appreciate another addition."
 I was momentarily stunned. "But... But Concorde isn't mythological!"
 "Isn't it? When was the last time you saw one?" he asked, handing me a ginger beer as he did so.
 "I see one right now" I said darting a look over my shoulder.
 "I meant apart from now."
 "Er... Um..." I racked my brain and luckily the Host provided. "Twenty five years ago at Duxford! I actually went aboard the pre-production prototype Concorde 101, so there." Quite how I managed to prevent the Host from sticking his tongue out I don't know.
 "Well" Knight responded, "if you want to use it for this... well, whatever it is you're doing, you can. If not" and he looked past me again, a proper smile on his lips, "we'll just be on our way."
 Hang on, I thought. We? That was a little presumptuous even for Knight. I looked over my shoulder again to where he had averted his gaze. There on the runway, manhandling the supersonic airliner so it pointed in the right direction for take-off, was a figure in the same state of undress as Knight and far more muscular. The younger man looked up at us and gave a grin and a Gay Wave before resuming his feat of extraordinary strength. It was Blacksmith

Again, not Blacksmith (although he does look remarkably like him),
just another excuse to gaze at the adorable Russell Adams

  Ah, so that's who the third can of ginger beer was for! "So. You and Blacksmith, eh?" I prompted, surprisingly unsurprised.
  "Yes. Me and Blacksmith." He paused and studied my face for my reaction and, seeing my surprisingly genuine happiness for them, continued. "And it's all down to you."
 "Me?" I felt like kicking myself.
 "Of course. Don't you remember our little dalliance?"
 I thought back through the years, coming to a halt back in 2006. "Oh, yes..."
 "It took some time, what with one thing and another, but we eventually got together a couple of months ago." Knight looked over at Blacksmith again, who had, by this time, manoeuvred Concorde into position and was walking towards us with a grin on his face, his enormous muscles bulging and rippling disconcertingly. "We wanted to tell you as soon as possible because of our" and he indicated the two of us "nearly-but-not-quite relationship all those years ago. This aerial insurance ad thing was just a happy coincidence."
 "Well. I... I'm happy for you. Both of you" I said as Blacksmith joined us. "But you" I continued, pointing at Knight "have got to stop flirting at people!" Knight gave a good natured downcast look then turned to greet Blacksmith. Before they got carried away in a Public Display of Affection, I made my excuse to leave. "Right. I'd better go and find out what happened to those flying saucers!" 

Monday, June 09, 2014

An Assortment of Arcane Aerial Conveyances

 Ugh. Someone-or-thing over the Cusp has seen Top Gear's British made motors take over the Mall and the Allianz UK school run insurance ad and wants to do an horrific amalgam of the two for the Cusp's inimitable type of transportation insurance.

 I was contacted to see if I could organise a collection of unique, eldritch (to the mortal realm) personal conveyances so that they could be "auditioned" for suitability in an advertisement. I expect you can imagine my sighing and eye-rolling at such a task, but, unfortunately, the person (and I use that term in the loosest sense of the word's meaning) who did the asking knows a certain something about my past - that I'd rather stay in the past - and made it clear that this wasn't so much a request as a requirement.

 Anyway, I managed to gather a small fleet of apterygial AFOs (Arcane Flying Objects) at Northrepps Aerodrome this weekend. It was all very last minute, so I couldn't get everyone I wanted, unfortunately. 
Oh, come off it! You've known about this for weeks.
Yes, but we've been very busy with other important matters!
Yeah, like fannying about with centaurs and tin foil...

 OK, so I was given plenty of time, but my natural procrastinating abilities kicked in with a vengeance. However, it was still quite a sight as a loose formation of broomsticks, hoes & pitchforks, a magic carpet, an elderly Electrolux Model 30, two sensible umbrellas & a parasol, two flying saucers (don't ask) and a Mini-Metro took to the sky and performed low-level manoeuvres under the mostly sober guidance of their pilots.

The very elderly and difficult to manoeuvre Electrolux Model 30

 Everything was going swimmingly - or flyingly, I suppose - until a distant rumble rent the air. I was standing just off the leading edge of runway 04/22 being talked at by one of the nuns who'd arrived in the Metro, when I noticed her wimple vibrating slightly. At first I didn't pay it much heed as the nuns of the Chattering Order of Saint Beryl were capable of talking at such a rate of speed that I assumed the vibrations were a by-product of their loquaciousness. It was only when I noticed her being impressively drowned out by the ever increasing roar that I realised something else was to blame. As she obliviously blathered on, I surreptitiously glanced about trying to find the source of the noise. Soon, the roar was so loud that even she noticed it and changed subject to that of the noise so quickly that I almost suffered with whiplash!

 Suddenly, one of the few low-hanging cumulus clouds burst open to reveal an enormous white dragon, its wings spread and its claws out, heading right for us!

The mythological dragon, Concorde, about to seize its prey

 After that almost heart-stopping moment, I managed to gather my wits (no mean feat as some of them had managed to get quite a distance away) and see the "dragon" for what it really was.
 "Don't worry" I said, attempting to soothe the panicking nun. "Its only Concorde."
 And with that, my wits fled again - along with the nun - as the realisation that 150 tons and 62 metres of 20th century supersonic airliner was attempting a landing on a small village's grass runway that was only built mowed for microlights, light aircraft and the occasional helicopter.

 As I gawped in awed terror, rooted to the spot, the fleet of AFOs scattered to make way for the descending Concorde. Well, I say scattered - most of them did but a few of the slower ones were taking a terrifying amount of time to get out of the way. The brollies and the parasol were the chief culprits, but the ancient Electrolux was the worst. That thing couldn't manoeuvre for toffee and was attempting a starboard turn that made the Titanic look like a London taxi. It just about got out of the way though, its hose earning a clip from the very tip of Concorde's wing as the enormous jet dropped onto the runway.
 The airliner sloughed speed at an incredible rate, its brakes glowing red hot and screeching in protest, with great clods of runway being flung left, right and centre like a rubbish golfer creates divots. Somehow, it managed to skid to a stop before careering off the end of the runway, through a hedge and into the road.
 My heart hammered in my chest as, not two feet away, Concorde's droop nose pointed right at it.
 "Eeep" I said, breathing heavily.

 To be continued in... Don't you point that thing at me!