Wednesday 1 April 2015

April Fool's Day #7: The Multiverse Issue (News, Views and Music 292B)

Now available to buy as part of 'A Scrapbook Of Madness - The Alan's Album Archives Guide To...Alan's Album Archives' in e-book form by clicking here

Ye Page Of Ye Contents:

1) Dylan Thomas reviews The Beach Boys' "Concert"

2) Ted Hughes reviews The Beatles' "White Album"

3) Charles Dickens reviews Belle and Sebastian's "Tigermilk"

4) A Viking High priests reviews "Beo-Buffalo Springfield-Wolf. Again."

5) J K Rowling reviews "Harry Potter and the Byrds Album Of Secrets"

6) Herman Melville reviews Graham Nash's "Wild Tales"

7) William Shakespeare reviews Dire Straits' "Makin' Movies"

8) Beatrix Potter reviews the Grateful Dead's "Terrapin Station"

9) George R R Martin reviews "The Hollies Greatest: An Album Of Fire and Ice"

10) A A Milne reviews Jefferson Airplane's "After Bathing At Baxters"

11) Enid Blyton reviews Janis Joplin's "Pearl"

12) Elizabeth Barrett Browning Reviews The Kinks' "Village Green Preservation Society"

13) Douglas Adams reviews The Kinks' "Arthur"

14) Lewis Carroll reviews The Beatles' "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds"

15) Roger Hargreaves reviews Lindisfarne's "Mr In-Between"

16) Robert Burns reviews Paul McCartney and Wings' "Red Rose Speedway"

17) Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle reviews "The Monkees"

18) Murray Walker reviews The Moody Blues' "Seventh Sojourn"

19) Rod Serling reviews Oasis' "Morning Glory"

20) H G Wells reviews Pentangle's "Basket Of Light"

21) Edward Lear reviews Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon"

22) Mark Twain reviews Otis Redding's "Otis Blue"

23) E L James reviews The Rolling Stones' "Black and Blue"

24) Eminem reviews The Searchers' "Sugar and Spice"

25) James Joyce reviews Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water"

26) Virgil reviews The Small Faces' "Ogden's Nut Gone Flake"

27) T S Elliot's "Old Possum's Book Of Cat Stevens"

28) Gilbert and Sullivan's Savoy Opera based on 10cc's "Original Soundtrack"

29) William Wordsworth reviews The Who's "Quadrophenia"

30) C S Lewis reviews Neil Young's "Living With War"


Dear all, welcome to the latest issue of News, Views and Music. This is a rather special special edition you hold in all of your hands/paws/claws/whatchamacallits, partly because we're celebrating our 900th ever post (that's a lot of news, views and music right there!) and partly because its been brought to you by us, Dr Zeus' Team at BoFace Time Travel! We've had links with Alan's Album  Archives going back as far as...well last week actually, but having been through the history books and noticing all our shenanigans in Earth's past our collaboration seems to be as old as time! (Erm, we'll gloss over the pyramid scheme we sold to the Egyptians if you will!)  We wanted to try time travel for our first project, really we did, but that ended up being just a teensy bit harder than we thought (we do achieve it in the future though, judging by the last few years' worth of april fool's day issues that have been sent to us from the future - and, err, from a time when we caused all of Earth's time to happen at once apparently - sorry about that, or at least we will be when it happens!) So we've decided to concentrate on something a bit simpler for this year's issue: a special multiverse experiment where we've borrowed the use of our local time sensitive Nostrodogmus (cousin of Alan's Album Archives mascot Max The Singing Dog!), plugged him into the mains and discovered whole great realms of alternate worlds where Alan's Album Archives exists in some different form.

Our challenge for Nostro-doggo, which he has kindly accepted, is to see if he can create us a special issue of News, Views and Music for this year and commission a bona fide AAA review about all the AAA bands from someone in all of the lands he visits - and what luck, ladies gentlemen and possible belobrats from Zigorous Three reading this in the future - because he seems to meet a parallel world author/poet in every single time-stream (though most of them aren't famous in their worlds of course for a whole variety of reasons!) (oh and every band get covered once except The Kinks when Nostrodogmus got a bit drunk and got two reviews by accident!) We've equipped him with a special device that plays music in line with whatever the people of the time understand: 78s, vinyl, cassettes, CDs, minidiscs, mp3s, mp97 7/8 - whatever the inhabitants are most likely to understand and believe in (sorry this special device is not yet for sale - although we've seen an advert from 2197 promising its coming soon for the mass market so you'll just have to be patient!) We've occasionally had to include 'translations' because he's from a dimension very far away (that and our computer skills aren't always up to scratch) so sorry about those! Along the way we hope that each of these authors and poets with their own intrinsically different backgrounds and writing styles, can unite as one by showing all the various ways that music can help the human (and belobrat) race: by soothing, by sharing, by energising, by informing or by indulging in being a bit of a whinger (I'm looking at you Ted Hughes!) Ooh and it's amazing to see when Nostrodogmus goes into one of his trance  - his whole features change and everything - luckily Bingo the Boozy Dog was on hand to take pictorial evidence of the changes that came over him so we've included those shots along with the reviews and each of Nostro's quatrains. Because there's so much inside we won't be bringing you our regular news feature, but don't despair because we've also been sent by our future selves a column by our very own intrepid time traveller Nelson, whose still lost in our universe somewhere trying to get home and do good if unlikely deeds for AAA bands as he goes, plus there's a report on what happened to the 'missing'  sixteen years of Dr Who when it was off the air in a different multiverses and of course our regular top five which seems to have been inside every issue in every universe!

We can also offer you the first in our regular competitions slot (well, actually its an idea we nicked from our future April Fool's Day releases but never mind!) This year we can offer you a chance to win a multi-verse-travelling goody bag sent to us through a wormhole in space and featuring the greatest gems from across the twenty-five known universes (such as a real worm from a real wormhole and a Spice Girl head in a jar) as well as Max The Singing Dog's collected alternate universe autobiographies  in one handy easily losable volume:  'David Cameron: My Hat's Part In His Downfall' 'The Diary Of A Young Pup In A Top Hat' 'The Recollections of My Mind, Character and Hats' 'Toast, Spread With Pedigree Chum' 'Never Have Your Dog In A Top Hat Stuffed' and of course 'A Heartbreaking Work Of Staggering Genius In A Top Hat'. All you need to do to win this great prize is answer this simple question: How much wood could a clandusprod chuck if a clandusprod had arms and could chuck wood?' (I'm afraid we won't be accepting answers like 'lots' or the rather vague answer '4 to the power of 12 times 748 ≠ n(538) π x 8' because that's all far too easy!) Send your contact details to us at the usual u-mail (universal mail) address and you could be the first of your species to read about Max's adventures!

Remember, multiverse theory is cooler than a clandusprod at Christmas - oh wait those haven't been discovered yet have they, but trust us they really are very cool at a body temperature of -10© - and it's your lack of contributions that mean we have to start off with miserable small experiments into warped multiverses rather than getting on with space travel like we want to be doing! Thanks again - we hope to see you soon, whatever dimension you happen to make your residence! Goodbye for now, yours kissably, Dr Zeus (Very Proud To Be No Relation!) Take it away Nostodogmus and your opening incantation!....

Translation of Opening Incantation:

I am known as Nostradogmus
A wandering dog without a home
For I see my world in fog as
An X-Ray sees a bone

I dip my hat in soaking waters
And sit there staring right until
The spell does what it oughter
Or until I get a chill

Then I place a bone in all my paws
 And stare and focus all my might
Upon the noble and honest cause
Unless my braces are too tight

I sing I dance, play New York New York
And then I wait for news to spread
I wait to hear as they start to talk
And take notes of what they said

And I talk back out loud to visions
Some are big and some are small
Although I know from your derision
You don't think I see and hear at all

In fact I sense a whole great plan
That's being re-written all the time
About what lies in store for man
And sometimes for canines

I sense a sea of parallel worlds
                                 Full of ways life might have gone
                             Sometimes they're right, sometimes absurd
                           Sometimes they're just plain wrong

                            But each of them is real
                         Experienced by a parallel Max
                             Often things ginormous are revealed
                               Sometimes I just wear a different coloured hat

                          Often they are glorious
                           Worlds in which I want to stay
                       And sometimes they're laborious
                      Dull and Dismal, Dark and gray

                        But all of them are interesting
                         So different to our own
                        (Just as well with the effort I'm investing
                         Not to mention all my bones)

                        And so it comes, the hour draws near
                            Now did you just hear that?
                         The spirit draws closer, I give him a beer
                           And then I doff my hat

                           And suddenly I see pictures
                      or hear words of things almost meant to be
                          At the moment I see deckchairs
                        Are we somewhere out at sea?


#1: Ah yes I like this one - its a parallel world where everybody lives at the beach - everybody  round the entire globe all at once! I'm not sure how that can be geographically speaking but then, hey, it happens!  Just think - there's no more Midlands anywhere - yay!  Sadly in this alternate universe everybody is too busy  building sandcastles and eating ice creams to pay much attention to records, but there are one or two music fans I discovered who seemed interested in sending something in. I thought a Beach Boys record would be perfect for this world  - but alas our first submission doesn't really seem to have understood what I was after. I believe he's quite a big name in 'our' time-stream though so hey ho let's print it anyway!

Dylan Thomas reviews "The Beach Boys Concert"

I listened with quiet rapture

To the bell that tolls deep within its own soul

Pausing only for the passing deep dark fears

To grip my spine like a figure

Busy dancing downstairs

As i listened to the past

I heard all of my future

played out as one

like a welsh maid crying for her calf

the sound of a valley

ringing in my ears

like some discarded object

to be picked up and thrown away

like yesterday's decaying rubbish

not yet bought

by one who calls me master

Despite containing a soothing balm

that can while away the

years against the raging

dying screaming rays of the light

I walk on

singing to myself

a tune of Doing The monster mash

as i go trippin'

one last time

into the sea of life

My surfboard soaken

Under the weight of the world

leaving to pause on one last point:

I too have got 'the pink slip, daddy!'

and a little deuce coupe

primed for the race

of life

(Translation: Just then the world turned black as night
Full of tides of woe
Excuse me something's landed on my shoulder
Fe Fi Foe - 'Tis A Crow!)

(Translation: #2: Now this world I'm not so keen on. Everything here is really dark and I'm not just talking about the gothic lighting. There's no happiness or hobbies everywhere. Even dogs have been outlawed here as pets in favour of crows so I will have to be careful! As a result it was rather easy getting a submission from a certain poet who, in a land where everyone was as sullen as him, couldn't make a living as a poet full of woeful tidings. I do see where 'our' version of him got his life-long love of crows from, though.

Ted Hughes reviews The Beatles' "White Album"

I take in the serene white cover

And it reminds me. 

Of death.

Death death death, as if shouted by a crow

calling out with every black ember of its sombre hue.

The album sleeve tells me that the end is near.

That innocence is dead.

That death stalks me with every tread.

I pick up the music.

I listen.

All I hear is death.

Death death death

Across four sides of the triangle

The deep complex Lennon songs

The thoughtful philosophical Harrison melodies

The cute Paul McCartney whimsical tunes

The Ringo Starr filler

They all remind me of death

From Ob-La-Di to Ob-La and indeed Da

What do they mean by


Do they mean that we are to Ob-La-Die?

To Helter Skelter?

To while away weeping for a guitar?

I hear a 'Blackbird' offering up hope

But all I see is a crow laughing at me

Beating it's wings

Reminding me of death death death

Telling us that we are doomed to never live past that last 'Goodnight'

Buried at the pit of ink-black despair

The crows within cawing as they crawl

Infesting all my senses

Infecting all my reasoning

All the while cackling about the darker side

Which leaves me waking up from

The devastation that was life

and finding that I will


Be here


In The



Waiting for Revolution

and death

(Translation: Phew! At last I'm out of there!
Although I'm not quite ready to count my chickens
My chin feels strange, now full of hair

Help me! Save me! What the Dickens?!?)

(Translation: #3: Hmm I'm glad to have escaped from there! Not that this world is an awful lot better - this appears to be a world where Queen Victoria drank an ageless potion and Victorian Britain has continued ever onward - with the British Empire going on to control the whole of the known world! Sadly here everyone seems to be a bit down-and-out which is why my features seem to have taken on the unshaved bristles of the working class in this era. I really struggled to find an empathetic reviewer in this world - Queen Vic isn't into writing much as she's not often amused - so I decided to encourage one of my writers instead...

Charles Dickens reviews Belle and Sebastian's "Tigermilk"

It was the best of albums, it was the worst of albums (well the song known as 'Electric Renaissance' was a bit odd, especially as I don't understand this curious new word 'electric'). I was surprised, I'd been handed this LP on a rarest happy day in 1855, which reminded me of a dream of meeting a canine in a top hat I'd been puzzled by since 1845. He'd been a most scruffy companion on both occasions, full of asinine features and with the bristled chin and sozzled whiskers common to many folks I saw walking the grimy streets of London. He had often come to look upon my progress in my sleep, as if sounding me out about all the ideas he had for me in my head. Much of what he came to pass on to me was welcome - tales of great inventions, of heroes fighting for equality and justice and the chance to hear music not as part of some strict timetable of scheduled concerts and bands but to be able to pick and choose your own favourite and even carry them around in your pockets if you wanted to! Alas he also passed on stories of hardship so strong I felt my heart would break, woeful awful tales of neglect and cruelty at the hands of the scheming Coalition, who hated the poor and unloved even more than our own times. It was through he that I came to find myself a writer, beginning my humble career as a purveyor of news, views and music for some futuristic invention called a 'webbed site' that could be read and accessed by anyone around the world. What with this and the meeting with Dr Who the other year I began to feel quite mad!

The dog had reminded me of a schoolmaster I'd once had, Mr Cold Vice and the deputy head Mrs Turnkey who I experienced back in the old days when as a lively lad I had struggled to understand the nuances of city living. A country lad at heart, I found real obstacles to my progress of becoming a true city gent with all their hidden signs and values and he had tried to beat out of me both physically and mentally all the uncouth ways that he felt were not becoming of a city gent. After all, riding on city buses as a hobby did not seem sad to me and I enjoyed my unusual hobbies of turning round penny dreadfuls on the strands of brand new news-stand 'Marks and Spencers' and making papier mache models of Voltaire at play. It was only later that I found that my mysterious canine gentleman had also paid a visit to my tutors, paying for my tutorage outright as a 'mysterious benefactor' and turning up at my abode free of demands except to ask 'please, sir, could you write some more?'

Anyway, the candle grows short so I shall cut to the chaste. 'Tigermilk' is a most honourable album, full of heroes and scoundrels, rogues and fools. Though I confess some of the words were strange and seemed to belong to quite a different time I fully caught the sense of outrage as the undeserving got away with their escapades scott free and the normally meek and mild heroines found a way to turn the tables on their oppressors. I particularly found myself taken by the great song 'Expectations' (hmm that's given me an idea for a book!) where  the character claims in careers day that they wish to be known not by how much money they make but for how much their art moved people, by Lisa who finds her depressive state of mind kicking in as soon as the first cup of coffee (which tastes like washing up - whatever they both might be) and by We Rule The School in which the world is made for men - and not us, a line that moved me deeply and has inspired all of my latest work. I sense that if I was living in the great poet Stuart Murdoch's time I too would be aiming to write albums like this, where for every step up to the mayoral hall there's a local boy who wants to be a hero. I doff my cap to both Belle and Sebastian and look forward to more visits from my faithful canine companion, truly man's best friend.

(Translation: Victorian Britain was a slum for some
And for the poor was far from inviting
But I fear it might be worse, what I have become -

Part of the warrior clan of the Vikings?!)

Translation: #4: Well that was a scary moment - when my top hat started growing horns I was rather afraid this was a world of bulls or something (and yes, thankyou pedantic historians - Vikings didn't wear horns for every day dress but they did for informal party games, so there!) This was actually one of the more civilised lands I went to, full of culture and lots of story-tellers of all ages and the world's greatest explorer Leif Ericson, so finding a reviewer really wasn't a problem! Oh and I only got pillaged once which was a bonus!

BeoBuffaloSpringfieldWolf. Again.

Lo! How mighty fallen have the tall
Their lances shattered through lack of use
The band that could once have conquered all
Grown less mighty the further they grow from youth
Oft Scyld of Scefyld they worshipped
Doing battle with many could be considered least
But it was their own in-fighting that left them ill-equipped
It was falling on their own swords that doth slew the beast
The second album truly, what exceptional flair!
From Broken Arrows back through to Mr Soul
Their Bluebirds fly clean as a whistle through the air
This band doth know'eth how to rock thy roll
Everydays is a ballad to sooth the heart of a wolf
Yes many a jewel on this record can be heard
But from there unity sprang a hole, a gulf
There was no more past album the third
And so lo! I worship the afterlife
Where bands this great will always play
With quick fiery jabs as from a warrior's knife
And the Buffalo Springfield never ever went away
They say there are kinder Kings up in heaven
So to them I plea for all I am worth
Say that their albums now number at least seven
Although what query I? - I would settle for a fourth!

(Translation: Gosh those heavy helmets - my ears are about ready to explode,
I'm so relieved that things turned out so well
Now by eye of newt and wing of toad

I think I'll just stay here and rest for a spell...)

(Translation#5: This world was even more to my liking - I got to stay at Dogwarts, the international school of magic! There were all sorts of people open to writing reviews for me in this world - although most just cast a spell rather than doing the work themselves! I had lots of good entries for this one but decided to use a name some of you may know. Oh and before you ask, no my top hat is not a sorting hat although it is a useful place for keeping my sandwiches! Hmm I wonder who'll play me in the inevitable film? Dogley Moore perhaps or Pudsey the dog who won 'Britain's Got Talent'?...)

J K Rowling reviews Dr Byrds and Mr Hyde in "Harry Potter and the Byrds Album Of Secrets"

'Come on Harry!' Hermione exploded as her friend fell off his broomstick for the last time that day, 'We're late for Professor Snape's Potion Lesson!'

'Yeah - like it's even worth turning up, we're already so many magical demerits behind we'll never graduate before retirement!' grumbled Ron.

'You go on ahead' Harry replied. 'I'll catch you up!

He'd just received another vision and the lightning scar on his forehead ached so much he thought it would split his head in two. He was used to these visions by now - mysterious links that existed between him and The SpiceGirlWhoShallNotBeNamed (but was really Posh Spice) that enabled each to see and hear a little of what the other was thinking. But this pain felt different this time - for a starty it came with a musical accompaniment. Hurriedly passing the concerned-looking portraits of long-dead witches and wizards hanging on the wall he stumbled his way to a chair.

And what audible visions came over him then! He couldn't sort them out at all - one minute they sounded zeitgeist psychedelia, the next pure country. What on earth was happening in his head? Why couldn't the two strands of music stay apart?

Just then his pet owl Hedgewig ran out of his room and down the corridor towards him at a rate of knots.

'I think he has something to tell you, Harry' a voice said from behind him. Harry jumped. It was Professor Dumbledore who'd quietly slipped out of his office during a boring Teachers Association Meeting and come to check what all the noise was.

'He's never done that before!' said Harry.

'Well that's the things with owls - they don't often do what you tell them to. They just seem to be well behaved because they know they'll get treated better if they do from time to time. I don't think you've ever had that pain in your forehead before either have you?'

Harry shook his head - then winced as that action had set the pain off again.

'Now I've been listening to the sound in your head on my wizarderial radio - its very useful it even knocks out radio one which is a blessing  - but don't look so worried Harry, despite your doubts you've actually got most of the questions on your next exam right. The music in your head is part of an evil spell cast by Lord Vold- Lord Vol- Lord - You Know, Thingy, and is an evil trick designed to confuse you. Your mind is trying to divide the two strands of music into two so that He Who Must Not Be Named can slip into your sub-conscience and have a roam around.'

'So how do I stop him?' Harry replied.

'By letting the music flow over you' said Dumbledore. 'For instance, you're probably wondering how a band that can play with such rock attack on 'This Wheel's On Fire' could possibly be the same band singing a country ditty about their dog dying, but it really is the same band - they're just very very clever that's all. And that medley of blues songs is really there to show that the band are re-grouping after quite a few bands splits. Only the wizard known as Roger McGuinn is left from the original regeneration of the band you see. All you need to do is let the music flow over you and enjoy the fact that two such extremes have been joined together, a little like that potion lesson you're currently absent from. I should think your scar feels better even now Harry!'

And as if by magic, it did.

And Harry saw the great blunders his teachers had made, scientific delirium madness in a world of magic.

(Translation: Hmm I thought I recognised that lad
He reminds me of a wizard
Now what's happening this time? Not something else bad?

I'm a dog - not a whale - give me back my gizzards!)

Translation: #6: Brrr! I've gone right off this world - I seem to have materialised in the sea! Thank goodness someone is fishing me out - and no I am not a whale thankyou very much. How many whales do you see wearing top hats? That would be silly! Oh I see - apparently this world is all full of seas and everyone is a fisherman or a whaler - yes even Bob Marley is one of the Whalers! Ho ho ho, err ahem, OK I'll stop with the jokes I promise. As luck would have it I happened to end up in the same boat, as it were, as an aspiring author I'd visited many years before while doing another multiverse adventure for Alan's Album Archives and he keenly pressed this review into my paws.

Herman Melville reviews Graham Nash's "Wild Tales"

Call me 'Wild Tales'.

That's what the record said on the spine anyway. Some years ago - never mind how many precisely - I'd signed up to this review site Alan's Album Archives. I'd just got back from life on the high seas where I'd been having a 'whale' of a time and I'd been looking for something to tide me over until new employment had found me. I cannot tell you how the fates had decided that I was deserving enough of such bestowment. Luckily I'd read in Moby Monthly, the new spin-off of The Whaler's Weekly, that a new review page had been set up to explore the best records available. I had been intrigued enough to send off my coupon and after ticking all the boxes about searching for a goal that one would never truly be able to find had found myself declared compatible with CSN's records.

Ah here - here had been an artist. Where others had merely sung they had performed, where others had meekly stepped aside they had drawn the line, where others had never dared to sail there they were, their Wooden Ships soldiering ever onward and their freak flags flying. 'Wild Tales' had been the latest instalment in a long saga that I had enjoyed immensely, taking me out of myself as I thrilled to the sounds of these wild exotic tales from the East and tales of prisons, winter soldiers and the wind blowing cold on the line (I could identify with that song alright!) Yes - there she blows alright, a demented, diving, ferocious beast that pulled my emotions and senses this way and that as I sought hard to keep up with the many throes it threw in my wake. CSN had done it again with another strong album so I filed my report and waited, leafing through the list of what I could ask to be sent next. Suddenly one album in particular caught my eye, a follow-up of sorts to this record named 'Wind On The Water' by Crosby and Nash which contained a phrase that sent joy through me like Id' ne'er experienced before. There it stood in black and white the title name 'To The Last Whale'. At long last I felt I had achieved my life's ambition which had been nagging away at me for all my life and ran off to skype Captain Ahab and tell him all about it.

(Translation: I'm glad I wore my plastic mac
Otherwise life in that universe would have been doubly hard!
Next a world full of brainiacs
Where everyone has the potential to be a bard...)

 Translation #7: Hello dear readers, this is Max The Singing Dog Ba Ma BONE (Batchelor of Onerous Nonsensical Education) here again! In this world everyone is terribly educated and everybody seems to walk around wearing mortar boards all day long - very tiring when you're busy wearing a top hat underneath I can tell you! With so much education going on everyone wants to be a potential bard because writing really isn't very hard so in this timestream  Willie Shakespeare is out of work. Here's what he had for me on the subject of a Dire Straits album that seems to have given him ideas...

William Shakespeare reviews Dire Straits' "Makin' Movies" 

What, prey, lines up in my eyeline of sight
But a top-hatted canine walking at dead of night?
He wants me to review a record of which I have no sense
In return for financial recompense

(He turns to me and says 'look here Bill
How else can you afford your quills?')
A preposterous notion yet I'm no nay-sayer
So I calmly look out my CD player

To this makeshift contract he draws me up
I write and write till he begs me to stop
Yet although I start with head filled with qualms
My ears are filled with endless charm

Soon my feet doth throb, pacing up and down
And I mentally dub three with a phantom crown
Though this magical noise first had me perplexed
I palpitate in anticipation of what bears next

I swear these twists on love and song keepest one awake -
A love interest on roller skates!
An espresso love over coffee beans!
A gay bar where love's not as it seems!

A song called 'Romeo and Juliet' - I'm having that!
I thankyou servant dog in topped hat
I wait in eagerness for my next dose of muse
From Alan's Ye Album Archive, home of several-scroll reviews

I shall write more and more and more
Unless it's the Spice Girls which I protest I abhor
What's the next parcel transacted for next issue? Let me see
Hmm 'The Beatles' - is it 'Let It Be' or not 'Let It Be?'

(Exits Stage Left, pursued by a Dog in a top hat)
(Translation: Gosh that Shakespeare doth go on
I was fearing he might have written me a full play
Now what's this I spy? A garden pond?
And an animal in trousers - but no top hat, I say!)

Translation 8: Ah now this world is silly! Talking animals wearing clothes - whatever will they think of next?! At least I felt more like my cuddly self in this world - and the only humans I saw the whole trip were a pair of legs sticking out of Mr Ewan McGregor's Garden! Luckily I had just the right album to review for my next reviewer, or at least I did once I'd managed to coax him out of his shell. Oh and for anyone out there who doesn't know this album - yes it really is called that, yes it really is set there and oh boy does it get as strange at the end as this review makes it sound...

Beatrix Potter reviews Grateful Dead "Terrapin Station"

Ted the Terrapin had got up bright and early. He'd cleaned his house the night before (with the aid of Mrs Tittlemouse), had his shirts pressed and ironed (by old Mrs Tiggywinkle, still going strong at 84) and was already to set off to the mainland to see his friends Squirrel Nutkin and Mopsy Flopsy Bunny, known locally as 'The Lady Of Carlisle'.

Ted Terrapin had never been to Carlisle before. He had heard strange tales about all the dangers who lurked near but he really wanted to visit his friends and get away from those awful annoying rabbits who kept making so much noise annoying the local fox Mr Tod and sleepy badger Tommy Brock.

'The train is about to go! have you got your ticket?' a kindly dog with a top hat asked, holding out his paw for the journey.
'Wee wee wee I think so!' exclaimed Ted 'I bought it specially from Ginger and Pickles' online shop!'

'There's a little complementary extra in with the ticket!' winked the magical dog with the floppy ears, handing me a square shaped package which just fitted on top of all my parcels.

Finding my place in the carriage I settled down and started swinging sweet songs to myself for a while. After that I got bored and sucked all the peppermints Little Pig Robinson and his lovely wife had packed for the journey. After that I read the paper - the only thing I could find was a discarded Tailor and Cutter left by a rather surly looking cat. After that I twiddled my thumbs. And then the much-delayed train finally took off.

Looking for something to do while the train was moving I decided to look out that mysterious package the dog had given me. I located it in my luggage rack after a thump! thump! bump! as my luggage fell on my head.

It was a record. With me on the front. I listened enraptured as an Estimated Prophet explained his circumstances to the world. I listened agape as the record began to dance in the streets. I then found myself sitting as a passenger again, listening to, well, 'Passenger'. I gaped at the strange tale of Samson and Delilah and wondered why I didn't have any hair of my own. And then my life as I knew it disintegrated as I found myself listening to my own story, heading to the three tasks set by the Lady of Carlisle and on my own journey to Terrapin Station.

Suddenly the train braked and we were caught in a tunnel, in a siding, the obvious hidden. Out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw dancing skeletons. 'Fiddle de ree, I wish the train would move' Ted said to himself, 'It's very scary in the dark when you can't see your own flippers'. It seemed I was here, whether here was, for good or ill, again.

Then I saw it. An Alligator, standing in the noon day sun like he usually done, talking about the times when we were 'mutual friends'. With him was a China Cat Sunflower, proud walking jingle in the mid-day sun peeking through a lace bandana like a one-eyed Chesire, a diamond eye Jack. Behind them were an army of bears all with collars and multi-coloured coats. All of them were holding roses. I can't figure out if its the end or beginning. The train's brakes squealed. The train whistle was screaming 'terrapin terrapin'.  What was in that coffee I'd been drinking? Had I been dosed?!

It was then I realised: some rise, some fall to get to Terrapin but me - I had only just arrived. 

(Translation: Dancing Skeletons? Terrapins?
That soon got weird - the Grateful Dead are off the wagon!
Now for my next world I think I'll be a king
And have my own pet dragon!)

Translation #9: Hmm, this world is even more befitting of my noble birth - at last I can take up my rightful position as King Maxamillian the First, known to my friends simply as 'Max The Magnificent'. I even got my own pet dragon in this timeline - a nice pink one like Falkor from The Neverending Story! Alas I didn't last very long in this timeline - everyone seems to keep coming to sticky ends very quickly here. Nobody seems to have much time for writing or listening to music either - they're too busy declaiming things all the time instead! I did manage to pin someone down to write though - this review is just an extract by the way, it's really a seven-book volume series where each entry is so long each one has to be published as two separate books!

George R R Martin reviews "The Hollies' Greatest: An Album Of Fire and Ice"

King Midas surveyed his kingdom of Southosterous. It was a wreck. All these years he should have been ruling he'd been planning for a son and heir to take over his throne but all he had received in return had been a string of broken marriages with the rulers of neighbouring kingdoms. Queen Carrie Anne had been too busy playing games, Queen Jennifer Eccles had broken his heart, torn it apart and Queen Suzanne...well, Sorry Suzanne! He'd had to get out of that relationship in something of a hurry! It was Marigold Swansong he pined for, his heart telling him 'Listen To Me: We're Through! And yet I can't let go! I can't let go! I can't let go!' until he cried out 'Stop! Stop! Stop!'

He needed a new quest on which to set his sights. And then he found one: his bastard son, one he'd long since banished from the house of Lanister, flew in on the back of a dragon and contained the most breathtaking Long Cool Empress In A Black Dress he'd ever seen! It very nearly took the air that he breathed out of his body, but suddenly without warning slowed down and glided to a halt at the Dragon Bus Stop. He ignored his bastard son out of spite, leaving it to Joffrey to call out to him and be lifted up on the back of the fiery steed. 'Watch out for your back!' the Long Cool Empress declared. 'Nah - He Ain't Heavy, He's My Half-Brother' was the reply.

'And you' said the Empress addressing me. 'I have some advice for you: you've been ruling your kingdom in reverse! Stop being such an ass and start taking care of your kingdom! Just look through any turret - you can see the misery all around you!' And with Just One Look I realised she was right, that I had been neglecting my servants for far too long.

Unfortunately I never had time to do anything about the promise I made there and then because suddenly, without warning, a sword felled me, my head fell hanging useless as little droplets of blood turned the snowy coating of our kingdom to red and the world slowly faded away to black, my Long Dark Road now over as I became yet another gratuitous unexpected death to keep the ratings high. 

(Translation: My kingdom for a dragon! Wait - that's not fair!
I hope You readers can see I am not to blame!
Next up I'm meeting a sweet little bear
Reputedly of very little brain)

Translation #10: Awww - it looks as if I was kicked out of that kingdom for pointing out that there are so many people born of Royal blood everyone in the kingdom must be related to the nobility and accidentally ended up freeing up all their slaves! An easy mistake I tell you! However I rather like my next world, which looks awfully like A Hundred Acre Wood to me and where talking animals are de rigour.  And, gosh doesn't the sky look green today?! Hmm I think I'll stay in this world for a while...see you after the break and the return of our regular AAA April Fool's Day time-travelling favourite!

AA Milne reviews Jefferson Airplane's "After Bathing At Baxters"

The inhabitants of a hundred acre wood were confused to find a new companion in their midst. A new companion with floppy ears a top hat and a walking cane who'd looked a bit woozy, as if he'd fallen out of a multiverse at great height.

'Gosh' said Pooh Bear. 'You nearly knocked the stuffing out of me with that bounce, but at least you had a nice soft landing! Are you a tigger?'

'He can't be  - I thought i was the only one!' declared Tigger.

'Perhaps he's lost' said Kanga, looking concerned.

'He looks quite scary with those floppy ears - perhaps he's a heffalump or a woozel - oh d-d-d-d-d-d-dear!' exclaimed an excitable Piglet.

'Nonsense' said Rabbit, taking charge as usual. 'This my friends is nothing more than a common dog. Help! A dog!''

'I'll save you rabbit! cried Tigger, deciding to leap on top of rabbit to save him from the unseen assailant.

'Stop that you silly billies' exclaimed the deep voice and large knees of a now adult Christopher Robin. 'It is a dog but i don't think here's come here to attack anybody - he doesn't seem that sort of a dog!'

The stranger slowly came to, gulped at the sea of faces looking at him and doffed his had.

'Good day!' he said. 'My name is Max. I'm a music reviewer travelling the world of multiverses and looking for clients - do you know anybody who could help perhaps?'

'Hmm think think think' thought Pooh. 'We could take him to see owl i suppose!'
'oh dear - i suppose we're going to have to read them. i bet the reviews \are really long' sighed eeyore, a grey donkey.

'That's a good idea' said Christopher Robin and they all trooped off to see owl, who lived in a giant tree with the word 'wol' written proudly on the door.

Max explained what he was after with a rather long explanation. Owl nodded at first, then fell asleep with his head on his wing before waking up and finding that everyone was expecting an answer from him.

'Umm, yes' he replied. 'To whatever it was. Naturally' he paused for dramatic effect.
'good' said the dog - 'i've only got a jefferson airplane cd with me I'm afraid.'

Owl decided to sit down for this one and went to sit down on a chair that was neither halfway up nor halfway down his tree. he listened intently. then snoozily again. but before too long he began to realise what the jefferson airplane were after. they were after a society that, like theirs, reflected the human world - all bright lights, adult responsibilities and scary dangers but in a playful, childlike way. they too wanted to turn the world on its head. He loved their contradictions - the fact that the band could demand peace as angrily as they did, without taking no for an answer. he loved the freedom that they put into such clever words. he loved the contradictions across the entire record, that varied from highbrow Joycean storytelling to madcap sixties humour.

'what did you think owl?' Pooh asked

'I'm having a wild thyme - I'm doing things that haven't got a name yet! Ha ha! I don't give a hoot any more!'

'Are you sure you're feeling alright, dear?' asked Kanga kindly.

'Doesn't the sky look green today?' said Owl, excitedly, adding an extra 'armadillo' for good measure.

'oh dear' said Eeyore sighing 'another acid casualty'.

just then Christopher Robin stepped in. 'hang on a minute' he said staring at the back cover. ' i know a lot of these lyrics, they were written by my dad A A Milne, see here' he said pointing to a book he magically happened to have with him open at the title 'a spring poem' and studied the final verse of the opening song with care. they were one and the same.

'oops' said Max, 'I've got to go now!'

'gosh' said Christopher Robin, open mouthed between carefully chosen words, 'to think my dad invented psychedelia!'

'oh yes' said Max, 'the Jefferson's guitarist Paul Kantner was a big fan you know. he got the name 'pooneil' from joining pooh bear with his other hero, songwriter freddy neil! there's a good number of other references in paul kantner songs too, especially from 'when we were very young'. in many ways you could argue that without aa miilne there would be no psychedelia - well the san francisco branch of it at least'

'And to think' said Tigger, clutching his own copy of the album he'd bought from 'Heffalump master's voice', several flowers and some peace signs 'I thought I was the only one who 'got' it round here!'

NELSON'S COLUMN: IN 2022 WE SENT OUR ROVING REPORTER... BACK IN TIME!......Now a full seven years before he left,  Nelson is still trying to find his way back home to the AAA office while  doing good deeds for AAA musicians

Last week we'd left Nelson heading for what seemed like a nice little rest watching a late 1940s school assembly production of 'Alice's Adventure's In Wonderland', which was quickly turning into more like 'The Adventures Of Alan's Album Archives' given that two future musical superstars had just met. From there Nelson suddenly found himself whisked off into time again and finds himself, in his minus seventh year out of time (that can't be right - has something has gone wrong with our tracking machine again?!), inside a van heading to goodness knows where, a bass drum on his knees...

'Let's try that again, Arthur!' the teacher said, messing his mop of curly golden hair that looked like a halo. 'I don't want to hear you sing - I just want you to show your teeth. Now look don't pout, you're meant to be playing the Cheshire Cat you know and he doesn't sing at all now does he?'

'Excuse me!' I say, calling out form the front row. 'I think a song right there would be just fine - and I just happen to have one!' I say, passing on the film score to the Walt Disney production of Alice in Wonderland, which luckily for me won't be out until 1951 (and yes, before you write in, there was a song written for the Cheshire Cat but they cut it - have a look at the DVD extras!)

'And who are you?' accuses the teacher.

'I'm Nelson - I'm here on behalf of, erm, the Walrus union to check my clients aren't going to be wrongfully presented in this school assembly! Do carry on!' I add

'Well, we'll pick up where we left off for now Arthur and we'll practice that song later!' said the teacher, the five-year-old future superstar's eyes widening in triumph. 'Now for this next part I need to cast the white rabbit...'

'Got it!' I cry, 'What about casting Paul - oh and I happen to have a song for him too!' I add, hurriedly re-writing the score to Jefferson Airplane's drug-referencing hit single 'White Rabbit' as I go.
'Yes, yes, alright then' the teacher said wearily 'and yes another song added later will be fine. I think you can sing can't you Paul?'

'How about if they sing together?' I add

'I don't think you two even know each other do you? Different classes I think. Alright Simon - this is Garfunkel, Arty, this is Paul. You may be spending a bit of time together during the coming rehearsal week as you have a lot of lines and we're all going to be busy busy busy!' With that she ushered most of the boys out of the room, but the two I was most interested in stayed back.

'I like singing I do - I'm going to be a famous doo-wop singer when I grow up!' lisped Arty.

'Well, I'm going to be a famous doo-wop writer and write the songs that'll make you famous!' said Paul.

Arty giggled before realising that his new friend was serious.

Paul continued 'Do you fancy coming over to my house later? I've just got hold of a copy of the Penguins' new song 'Earth Angel, its about an angel....from Earth!'

'Would I?!' said Arty, grinning from ear to ear.

Thank goodness for that, I thought to myself, this week's mission seems to have gone rather better than expected - my work here is done.

You're very tall!' drawled Paul.

'Well you're awfully short!' shot back Art.

'What kind of a name is Garfunkel?' blurted out Simon

'What sort of a person has two first names?' stung Garfunkel.

Oh dear, I thought - not only was this a reunion of the pair's first meeting - it was a reunion of their first falling out too!

Before I had time to put things right though, suddenly....AAAAGH! I felt that old familiar feeling again as I prepared to go 'out of time'. Where was my monkeynuts editor sending me on this occasion? I just hoped it was somewhere quieter (those nattering five-year-olds acting the part of playing cards can really talk you know!)

Blimey, where was I now? Instead of the nice wooden ceilings of a 1940s kindergarten school I was suddenly staring at the heavy metal of a van being driven at speed with a bass drum sitting on my lap. According to a calendar helpfully stowed away on the back seat which always seem to be around in time-travelling works of fiction, it was sometime in January 1968. Next to me on the back seat was the drummer clutching the other parts of his drumkit and, luckily he'd been looking the other way when I came in or that might have been embarrassing.

In the front were two blokes, one of them clutching a keyboard and the other one, driving with a cigarette dangling out of his mouth, was wedged into the steering wheel by a bass guitar. Realising that this must be the band I needed to speak to I had a quick look at the drum on my lap. 'Ink Flo' it said. Hmm that was odd, I couldn't remember a band called 'Ink Flo' but then knowing what the editor of the AAA was like I figured he's just discovered a new band.

Unfortunately my attempts to read the drum alerted the drummer sitting next to me that I was there.
'Hullo' he said, blinking, visibly a little bit shocked but not as shocked as I would have been to see someone suddenly arrive out of thin air. 'We don't often gets groupies hiding out in our vans - and certainly not male ones!'

'Sling him out!' the bassist sitting at the front declared impassionately 'We're coming up to Grantchester Meadows at the next roundabout, we'll chuck him out there!'

'Hold on' the gentler keyboardist replied, 'He must have gone to quite some lengths to stow away in the band for all that length of time. We could at least give him a signature each!'

'Yeah, right, whose going to want our signatures now that Syd's not here'. There was a sudden hushed intake of breath. This was clearly a subject the three of them had been training themselves not to talk about and accidentally blurting the topic out like this was something the three of them rarely did.
They all looked ahead a little guiltily.

'I take it we are going to pick him up now?...' the drummer asked worriedly.

'Yeaaaaaah' the bassist said uneasily.

'Poor Syd' added the keyboardist.

'Well what about poor us?' the bassist demanded, battering his hands against the steering wheel. 'All that hard work, all those great songs, best up and coming group in Britain and then he goes and...well what has he done exactly?! It's just another brick i the flaming wall!' he exploded 'I'd understand it if he'd fallen off a stage and broken his arms or been clawed at by groupies but instead Syd's just...'

'Syd' the others finished for him.

'I think you missed the turning, Roger' the keyboardist helpfully tried to point out which sent the bassist into paroxysms of wild fury again as he u-turned down a busy road.

Counting the instruments and trying to work out which was missing I cough and say 'isn't there another guitarist you could play with?' An innocent question I thought, but that wasn't the way it was greeted by the three members in the van.

'Replace Syd? We couldn't...could we?' asked the drummer.

'Shurrup Nick, of course we wouldn't replace Syd - I mean he's the lead singer, the lead guitarist, the lead writer...'

'We're the tail to his Halley Bopp' added the keyboardist 'That's what one of the newspapers called us!'

Roger snorted. 'Well we're certainly not that - but the thing is we're not a full band. Now perhaps if we could bring in someone else and let Syd on stage when he feels like it. Nobody would be replacing him, he could still and write and record but we wouldn't go know...That again.'

I confer with the drummer in whispers. Apparently once this Syd fellow had put a combination of a whole jar of brylcream and the drugs he was on into his hair which melted under the studio lights. And on another day he'd played the band a new song which they'd found impossible to learn - it went 'have you got it yet?' but changed tune tempo and key signature with every verse so the band couldn't keep up. And he'd refused to appear on Top Of The Pops, a cardinal sin so I was told.

'The only trouble is' Nick adds in a whisper, 'there isn't a single guitarist in the world who could possibly be good enough to replace Syd or re-create his sound. He's one of a kind!'

I suddenly realise which band I am in the back of the van with. This isn't 'Ink Flo' at all but 'Pink Floyd' - I just hadn't turned the whole of the drum head round!

'What about David Gilmour?!' I blurt out.

Roger Waters slams the brakes on and my head nearly ends up inside the bass drum.

A grin grows across his features.

'Roger? You're scaring me again Roger!' says Rick Wright.

'Like that's something new!' scorns the drummer I know now is Nick Mason.

But the atmosphere in the van has changed.

'Are you thinking what I'm thinking?' said Roger, his eyes suddenly full of fire, ambition and creativity.

'Well, I mean he's very good and all but he's no Syd...' trails away Rick

'But he's the next best thing!' adds Roger. 'I bet ol' Dave knows how to play Syd's sound - they've played with each other often enough! The old Cambridge lot who've been there from the beginning would appreciate it more than just getting any outsider in! Think we'd be doing old Syd a service really and he's a friend, he'd understand!...'

'...And he's less likely to fight me for control of the band...' whispered Roger under his breath, so quietly that only I could hear it '...I'm sorry old friend, I don't want to do it and I'd do anything to have you back but I'm not going back to being a nobody...'

A moment's silence.

'We'd be doing Syd a favour really... wouldn't we? I mean, he's not really been enjoying it much recently has he?' adds Rick kindly.

'It would do him good - and us too' added Nick, half-convinced by the power in Roger's voice.
'And we'd keep him going with royalties from his back catalogue' added Rick. 'And if we don't do something now, nobody will remember us or buy the old records anyway...'

'Then it's settled?...'

No answer.

Roger pulled up to a crossroads that led left, apparently to the certainty of Syd's shared flat, or right to the open road of adventure and the unknown, with David Gilmour a mere jaunt away with a whisper of ' me...Syd' from Roger so quite only my AAA-enhanced hearing actually notices it.

Time seems to wait an eternity but before I can see what destination the band choose I sense that old familiar feeling taking root once more. I have tried to do my job in this time zone - I only hope that I have done some good. Then the lights swirl away into darkness and I am on my way again...

(Translation: Hello again! I'm back from my rest
Sorry for the slight interruption!
Oh dear now it seems I'm sitting a test
And awaiting doggy-training instructions)

Translation #11:  I'm back! Did you miss me?!? Well I missed you - but I didn't miss this tim-travelling lark which is getting difficult it seems. Yes I'm in a world where everybody seems to be at boarding school! What's worse I seem to have found myself sitting a test on doggy training - not something I was ever any good at (name to ask the AAA albums in chronological order though and that would be easy!) Hmm there's a few things I'm going to have to put right in this world!

Enid Blyton reviews Janis Joplin's "Pearl"

I giggled at the little dog with a cane as I saw him waddling down the road. 'He's not going to our house is he mummy?' I asked, laughing at him. He looked so foolish carrying his little record shaped parcel. I had only just got back from boarding school where I'd been the naughtiest girl in my form at St Clare's and had been looking out the window waiting for my older brother Jack to come home. He had all the fun! Ginger beer, midnight feasts and tuck sent to him by mummy - I longed to be older to join in with the fun and games but I knew I could never be like the boys because I was a girl and girls didn't behave like boys.
The funny little dog came to the door, wagging his tail. 'Oh mummy!' I cried, interrupting the cook, the maidservant, the butler, the nursemaid and the washerwoman who'd all gone to answer the door. 'Please say I can keep him! I can't work out whether to call him Scamper or Timmy or Buster or Kiki The Parrot but I really want a dog!'

'Erm, excuse me' said the dog, politely straightening his top hat. 'I'm not for sale! I'm here at your humble abode because you signed up to writing some album reviews for me. I'm the Max The Singing Dog, mascot for Alan's Album Archives' he explained politely. 'I used to deliver them to Noddy who I believe lives near here. I think he liked them although he never actually reviewed one - he just kept nodding at me all the time I was here trying to sign him up as a reviewer - but his neighbour Big Ears has complained about all the noise!'

'Oh goody, records!' I cried grabbing at the parcel. I'd almost forgotten about sending my coupon away when I'd seen the site advertised in our local post office - the one where nobody was ever inside and could talk to hours with us children yet mysteriously was never shut down when the local council grew low on funds. I liked records almost as much as mysteries, like that one time last summer when we'd discovered that old Mr Swearalot the Village Policeman was up to no good downloading naughty things onto his laptop or when that funny old councillor Old Mrs Brown had been sent to prison for arranging a deal on the side at the last planning meeting!

I opened up the parcel. The label said 'Janis Joplin'. I wondered if she would be the sort of little girl who would have come round to have tea and cakes and play with my dollies with me. Funny though, she didn't look like a girl - at least not a nicely brought up one like the friends I had at school. I liked the name, though, 'Pearl'. I'd had a pearl necklace once I'd bought on one of our eighteen holidays last year. I'd bought it the same day I'd bought the magical wishing chair and flown away to topsy turvy land where The Coalition were in power - and very scary my time there was too!

I took the record to my record player very carefully and lowered the needle on the record. I was suddenly bowled over by the sheer power of the voice. Was this really music? Was this really music by a girl singer? I went to wrinkle my nose up in disgust. However then something happened - I understood what the music was saying to me, that I didn't have to fit inside the stereotypes that conventions and boys especially had for me. I had a future where I was more than just somebody's younger sister, wife or girlfriend. I was already somebody special because I was me - the coolest girl in the school because I had a Janis Joplin record. I looked again at the cover. Janis would have told them where to get off the next time she was told to babysit her younger brother, I thought. She'd have said something about being sent a million miles away to boarding school where I was taught nothing except how to grow up to be a good wife. She'd have told my nosey neighbours to get lose the next time they shushed me for being too loud or for giggling or for playing or for wearing the wrong shade of blue or for just the sheer delight of being alive. I suddenly realised I had a companion for life. I turned to thank the funny little dog with the cane and top hat invited into the kitchen for drinks by my parent, but he'd already gone, his work here done.

(Translation: Ha ha my presence has for once been kind!
Now from one fair maiden to the next
I seem to be back in Victorian times
I think I might stay here - I could do with a rest...)

Translation #12: Forsooth! Just as I was beginning to despair of ever getting my quest completed I found myself part of our own universe, merely back a bit in time. and with all sorts of people eager to see their work in print including one aspiring poet then still writing via her maiden name of 'Barrett' (hmm, I wonder is she's a relation to Pink Floyd's 'Syd'?!) Luckily my musical device seemed to work even though they don't actually have machines to music back in this time-stream - I told her it was a new invention that had just been on show at the National Exhibition and she seemed to take my word for it!

Elizabeth Barrett Browning reviews The Kinks' "Village Green Preservation Society" (1968)

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways
The Kinks are a band I consider most great
And despite poor sales were going strong in 1968
With a release many consider their very peak

Yes From the twelve-track version of the album containing the hit single 'Days'
To the fifteen track version on which I now ponder
Full of characters called Monica, Phenomenal Cat and Johnny Thunder
I get the feeling that these four Kinks were truly unique

The Kinks always sat over and above the sixties' craze
A sense of preservation runs complete
Through every track - no mean feat!
Especially as each song comes with a different mystique

I love thee with a love that always seems to stay
Until the time they started their concept LPs
Which tried so hard yet did so little to please
And which when in search of music I rarely choose

I can barely wait till I press 'play'
Hearing tales of childhood, of steam powered trains
Wicked witches, of friends who complain
Of picture books that come in so many lurid hues

So I applaud you Dave, Pete, Mick and Ray
My cherished village green is in safe hands
Tended for by that most sacred of bands
Yes, I can hardly wait for more Kinks reviews!

(Translation: Well that was nice, but my editor can't wait
And I find myself sailing through the void
I must have fallen through a stargate -
What a handsome world of canine androids!)

Translation #13: Hmm apparently this universe is #42 - whatever that means! It all seemed a bit improbable to me, a world full of canine androids, but then I was out of my mind on pan-galactic gargleblasters most of the time I was in this dimension. That might explain why I seemed to end up getting this review written by one of the grumpiest characters I encountered on my travels (I cheered him up in the future though - I gave him Ted Hughes' telephone number so he could meet someone even more depressed than himself!)

Douglas Adams reviews The Kinks "Arthur"

Oh dear. Marvin the Paranoid Android was feeling very depressed. Alan's Album Archives had been in touch with him again about his reviews but he had a pain in all the diodes down his left side and hadn't wanted to spent the next hour or so talking about yet another record. The AAA book was a useful means of paying his way through cyberspace however, third intergalactic best-seller only to the Hitch-Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy in tempting alien travellers to Earth (as they decreed the music to be 'mostly harmless') and Oolon Colluphid's u-turning philosophical tomes 'Is Brian Wilson's Smile Really Proof Of The Existence Of God?' and 'The Spice Girls Just About Wrap It Up For God All The Same'.  Marvin didn't really understand what the fuss was all about. After all, when you've been around for as many millennia as he had no songs really seemed to stand out anymore. There were only a certain number of notes and they'd all been used up - a thought that made him very depressed.

He hadn't liked the last record he'd had to review much - a Grateful Dead reunion concert from 2015 that had as far as he'd known had only ever been read by one being in the whole of the universe and that was a dolphin who nodded to him on his lonely interstellar journey as if to say 'so long - and thanks for all the Phish'. However this record seemed different, as if it contained the key to human understanding that Marvin had been after for so long. He wondered out loud to nobody in particular whether the Earth album had been written about his Earth friend Arthur Dent and contemplated whether songs like 'Drivin' were written about travelling in a spaceship in hyperspace and whether 'She's Bought A Hat Like Princess Marina' was really about wearing a dressing gown like Arthur's. He wondered too whether the Vogons would have considered this album 'poetry' or not. He thought not and sighed over the Village Green that had been demolished to make way for a hyper space bypass. He also began thinking about the meaning of life, the universe and everything - but quickly realised that this was a bad idea. 'Life' he sighed, 'Don't talk to me about life...' Still, as human activities went spending an hour in the comfort of The Kinks wasn't actually too bad and was probably the biggest amount of fun he'd had in this millennia. As Zaphod Beeblebrox would have said, this Arthur guy sounded like a real frood who always knew where his towel was. 

(Translation: Gosh what a nerve - and what a grump!
Don't know about you but I'm rather pleased to go
When suddenly I fall down with a thump

I seem to have fallen down a rabbit hole...)

Translation #14: Well that's surreal! I don't often have bubbles coming out of my hat! I thought at first someone had set the Hitch-Hiker's Improbability Drive into action - but no I was in a surreal world full of hookah-smoking caterpillars, playing cards, walruses and carpenters (running a branch of Ikea), a white rabbit, a cheshire cat (which I tried to chase but iot kept disappearing) and two idiots named TweedleDave and TweedleClegg (or something like that). I nearly despaired of finding anyone to write in this world - but luckily a human was there with me too

Lewis Carroll reviews The Beatles' "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds"

Alice had been growing bored of reading Alan's Album Archives. 'It does go on a bit doesn't it?' she said to her tabby cat Dinah, 'They say that its all made by one lone writer but I think must be heaps and heaps of people writing to come up with that many words every week!' Dinah nodded. 'And it makes me feel so sleepy...I think I'll just have forty winks...'

It was then that Alice first saw the dog. He was very different to the usual dogs she saw, dressed up smartly in a top hat and holding a cane. 'I'm late Im late!' he cried, 'I've only got up to review eight!' and disappeared through a trapdoor.

'Good gracious!' said Alice and without even thinking she got up and rushed after him.

However once through the door she didn't recognise the world at all. She was on a boat in a river, full of tangerine trees and marmalade skies. She thought she heard the dog calling and turned around to answer but it was just a Hookah-smoking caterpillar who'd wondered in from the Jefferson Airplane dimension with rather funny kaleidoscopic eyes. She lost sight of her as some cellophane flowers of yellow and green began to grow, oh so incredibly high, blocking out the sun.

Finding herself at a bridge she then spotted the dog's hat waving in the breeze and rushed towards him. 'What's the big hurry young miss?' asked a passing rocking horse, currently being sat on by a Blue Meanie and an Apple Bonker. 'Wouldn't you like to stop and eat one of my marshmallow pies? They're yummy!'

'No thanks - I've just eaten!' explained Alice, as she dashed off to get inside a newspaper taxi that had appeared out of nowhere on the shore line, waiting to take her away. Climbing in the back she suddenly found the scene had shifted again, to Terrapin Station where Ted the Terrapin had woken up out of his weird dream of dancing skeletons and was having lunch at Carlisle with his friends Squirrel Nutkin and Mopsy Flopsy Bunny. But even as she looked again the scene changed - the porters suddenly morphed into, well, Morph with everyone around her on the platform suddenly made out of plasticine and all the porters seemed to be wearing looking-glass ties.

It was then she saw the dog again. He was at the turnstile trying to get his ticket out when he suddenly noticed her, rushed over and introduced himself. 'I'm Max' he said, lifting up his top hat, 'I'm travelling through parallel dimensions looking for record reviewers - oh hang on, I don't think you belong in this time zone either, never mind I'll ask someone else...'

Suddenly somebody spoke and she fell out of a dream to find herself waking up, getting out of bed, dragging a comb across her head and trying to hold on to the ginormous dream she'd just had of talking dogs in top hats and wondered why it had just come in to her mind to ponder how many holes it would take to fill the Albert Hall...

Alice thought to herself 'that's the last time I'm reading Alan's Album Archives before bed - It's getting more surreal with every issue!' and added 'I'd love to ... ... ...!"

(Translation: What a strange and fearful glen
I can't believe half of what I've just seen!
But now a land stranger still, full of Mr Men
And I'm being met by Mr In-Between!)

Translation #15: Erm, excuse the face dear readers - I seem to have got stuck like that, I thought ayt first I might be in 'Spice Girls World' but apparently its a side effect of what happens when three-dimensional people end up in Mr Men and Little Miss Land! If you think I had a bad time though spare a thought for my friend Mr In-Between - he had an even rougher time, as immortalised by Lindisfarne!

        Roger Hargreaves reviews Lindisfarne's "Mr In-Between"

This is Mr In-Between. I'd like you to know what I mean: this was a really In-between sort of person. The cousin of Mr Topsy Turvy, he secretly kept his heel placed firmly on his hat and like Mr Forgetful often didn't know where he was at at all.

Mr In-Between was well liked in Mr Men Land even though he hadn't had the easiest of upbringings. His father had made counterfeit money. His mother had made illicit gin. His sister had given kisses to sailors. Oh what a mess he had been in!

So Mr In Between had run away to Mr Men Land and found to his surprise that after a life of being 'unusual' in his world he was suddenly the most boring person knew. He couldn't smile the way that Mr Smile did. He couldn't tickle people the way that Mr Tickle did. He couldn't shout and scream and make lots of noise the way that Mike's dad did - whoops sorry, like Mr Noisy did.

It didn't take long for the inhabitants of Mr Men Land to wonder if their friend was alright. It took even less time before Mr Rude, Mr Obnoxious and Mr Steamingly Evil (known to his friends as 'IDS' for some reason) began to wonder if he should be locked up, And so poor Mr In-Between ended up before the magistrates accused of being a communist. The Policewoman, Little Miss Corruptable, said he was a 'bum'. Mr In-Between got arrested for drunken-ness - although he meant no harm to anyone!

However Mr Incensed and Little Miss Outrage were, respectively, incensed and outraged at the poor purple character's treatment and decided to appeal his sentence. Hiring Mr Clever to act as their attorney they fought a highly intelligent case and proved to the inhabitants of Mr Men Land that they were governed by an unfit party who deserved to get overthrown in the next elections. Mr In-Between got out of prison wand with his winnings from a court injunction bought his own house and lived happily ever after with Little Miss Lovely. He now proudly showed off his own peculiar character trait that he'd always been too scared to show off before: that he wore his heel proudly upon his hat. And now that's that. 

(Translation: Neither one thing or the other
What a crazy world there turns!
Next I'm met by my Scottish mother

Who happens to know Rabbie Burns...)

Translation #16:  'Where've you been then, hi the noo!' my mother Maxine declared when she saw me. I hadn't remembered her being Scottish! 'Hoots Max where's yer troosers?' me dad Maxus said  when I went home. I hadn't remembered him being Scottish either. Suddenly it hit me: I was in a parallel world where everyone was Scottish (this one's for you, Lizzie!) After enjoying some home cooking (though take it from me pedigree chum does not go well with haggis and porridge) I set out in search of authors and poets - and discovered that, now that everyone was a Highlander (even those in the lowlands) wee Rabbie Burns was out of work. So I asked for his help. D'y'ken? 'Cause I don't! 

Robert Burns reviews Wings' "Red Rose Speedway"

My love is like a Red Rose Speedway
An album by Wings that bears real fruit
Plus a single in 'My Love'
That's jolly good to boot

Sometimes I am left with mouth a'gape
So deep in love am I
Sometimes the songs are like fairest maidens
Born to make weep and cry

But all the seas gang 'adry
With that woeful last medley
I shout 'halloo!' and then shout 'Boo!'
Agh! What a ken this song about be?

The album's a mess I must confess
For greatness you wait a wee while but then harsh it comes
But just see what they bring, this line-up of Wings
and how ye' all led to 'Band On The Run'

(Translation: Well I've 'Mc'd about there far too long
Hanging out with lots of tartanned dogs
Next I'm in dark and grimy London town
Traversing my way through the fog)

Translation #17: Hmmm a one-pipe problem: how do I find someone to write about what life is like in their universe when the only difference seems to be that there is no longer any crime in the streets and super-heroes keeping the streets safe? Well seeing as I'm hopeless at drawing the world's greatest crime fiction writer in the guise of the world's most famous detective it is!

Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle reviews "The Monkees"

It had been many years since myself and my good friend Mr Sherlock Holmes had settled in our new abode at 221B Ginger Baker Street.  We had been there but a short while before my friend's detective work had dried up and we had found ourselves searching for new employment. I had wondered several times if we should not have tried to avail ourselves more of my friend's uncanny knack of understanding criminals just from them being in the same vicinity as he. However living as we did in a crime-free era patrolled overhead in the skies by Superman and Batman there was no longer need for his services.

It was Mrs Hudson who had first come to our aid that wind-lit day, trying to avert my friend's gloomy look of inconceivable longing from his precious pipe with a copy of that week's London Times. 'Good Lord  Holmes!' I explained  excitedly. 'Your thoroughly catalogued brain is perfect for the services this new lengthy review project is calling for . Your love of violins will come in useful too!'

'I doubt that, good friend Watson' he sighed, staring again at the ceiling while playing at the pipe which had made its way to between his lips. 'There's no room in this life for a detailed analytical brain such as my own!'

'These Alan's Album Archives reviews they've printed here seem pretty detailed!' I declared.
The result of that sentence was electrifying, my friend suddenly shooting five feet up in the air and coming back down again with the biggest change I had yet to see come over his scrawny, focussed features.

'Not the Alan's Album Archives! Why I know that site well - it helped me solve the mystery of The Simply Red-Headed League, The Crooked Manfredd Mann, The Bruce Springsteen Plans, The Moody Blues Carbuncle Mystery, The Mazarin Rolling Stones, The Speckled Band On The Run and inspired the case of the Grateful Dead's own Black Peter!'

'Yes, I think that's the one' I said, surprised at the swift changes in my friend's demeanour. By now he was pacing up and down the carpet, waving his arms in sudden movements that worried me, especially when he ended up accidentally sweeping all sorts of carefully piled up papers back into their natural heap on the carpet.

'You'll write for it, then?' I asked.

'Elementary!' came the reply.

I waited for the record to come with eager anticipation. It was an odd looking album featuring four cheery looking souls smiling. Mrs Hudson had a particularly soft spot for the young one squatting at the front, I had heard her mentioning his name  often when she thought I wasn't looking!
'What do you think?' I asked my colleague.

'Well, they're an interesting young group, new on the market I see, made up of four people who had never known each other before - as you can  tell by them being slightly out of alignment with one another, one of them clearly Mancunian while the others all come from the new land. The one at the back is clearly the leader and seems to be mouthing out a number, which suggests to me that he was hurrying the photographer into taking the album cover.  The four of them struggle to have the power to record what they want, which is why there are so few group originals on this LP - and yet you can tell that a power struggle is nevertheless going on thanks to the copious references to different producers and the fact that the 'musical supervisor' spends several paragraphs thanking a long line of people who are clearly not part of the band. You can tell by the way that these two hold their poses that they are really guitar players and that this shorter one has a strong sense of rhythm and yet doesn't play any instrument. It's this one with the curly hair so obviously fighting it's way to be free while confined within a traditional mid-60s haircut that interests me the most: he too is clearly the guitar player and yet this band clearly needs a drummer. By taking away the impossible and leaving the possible, however improbable we are left with the truth: he is the drummer, despite being a fine guitarist who has never played the drums before in his life and in addition he sets up his kit as if he is a left-handed player even though he is a right-handed one! What's more, music is not this band's first priority. You can tell that two of them at least were trained as actors and the other two also show signs of having very recently begun to show their prowess in front of a camera. They're also clearly portraying characters: this one plays the dummy despite the fact that he is really intelligent while in all other respects this group is not actually a proper band at all but a fictional entity brought to life in order to sell records!'

'Good lord Holmes - you mean you guessed all that just from the album cover?'

'Gracious no - I had a read of TV Weekly when you were out!'

(Translation: That's a good idea, I'll search for clues
For where I am to fulfil my next quota
I wonder where I can find my next reviews
All I can hear in this world is a noisy motor...)

Translation: #18: Buoyed up by the advice given to me the world's greatest detective (or his human interpretater at any rate), I decided that I would use all of my powers of dedication to work out what world I was in next. However that was a waste of time because it was impossible to miss the sound of the roaring engines coming from over a hill. It turns out that this parallel world was just one big F1 race and that without any need for his specialist knowledge F1 commentator  Murray Walker had turned  to writing about music. What a shame the only album I was carrying for him was really slow!

Murray Walker reviews The Moody Blues "Seventh Sojourn" 

And it's go go go....go! Yes, unless I'm very much mistaken, it's your favourite F1 commentator James Hunt talking to you about a review I've just been asked to write. Oh hang on a minute - yes I am very much mistaken, I'm Murray Walker aren't I? Silly me! The year 1972 was quite an era for that famous quartet of Brummies The Moody Blues - reminding me of course of the great Nigel Mansell, who had so much in common with them in every single possible sense, except of course that he wasn't in a band, couldn't play an instrument and he had no connection whatsoever to The Moody Blues. I say quartet of course because there are four of them - Justin, John, Mike, Ray plus Graeme the drummer making five. Anyway my pens are revved up to a nice gear ratio and my CD player is on full throttle so I can enjoy this record from Max to the max!

Let's have it with that opening full throttle song and...oh dear, it's a ballad. Not much to say about that one as the song limps into a lonely last place in my favourite songs on the album with a bit of a burnt cylinder there. Let's try song number two - this is the first song on the album, except for the opening track which of course came first. Oh dear, it's another ballad. Don't think much of that one! Track number three and this song is absolutely unique, except for the two songs before it - which were identical, this being another ballad! And next please excuse me as I interrupt myself to tell you that song four is up next. This is another ballad, a really slow one this time. And now with half the album gone it means that there is only half of the album left to go!

Hang on hang on, what's this? A fiery red glow coming at me from out of the darkness? Ah it's just my CD player button! What's up next on the start of side two? Well this one is almost fast with a top speed of about 30mph. Remember you can't hear an orchestra on this track, unlike on 'Days Of Future Passed' - and that's because there isn't one! Track six and, gosh, it's a ballad. I should imagine that if I had to find a word to describe this track it would be unimaginable and undescribable! Track seven next and its a ballad as you can hear audibly. With your ears. And the final track? Yes at long last its a very fast paced number this one, like a Minardi going backwards into the pit lane. A sad ending, albeit a happy one and a close to what has been a very enjoyable if rather unenjoyable LP.

I would certainly put this album in my top ten, probably in eleventh position. I make no apologies for the fact that there are only eight tracks on this record, except to say that I'm sorry that there aren't more songs here. What will happen to this band in the future you ask? Well, we will only really know that when something happens! Now then, after enjoying talking to you dear readers I'm afraid I shall have to go...go...go...go now! You see, my lift from James May's just got here and besides, I've got a lump in my throat!

(Translation: Next a fifth dimension beyond those known to dog
A dimension as vast as space and as big as my favourite bone
I found coming here easy as falling off a log
Yes - I am in the Twilight Zone'...)

(Translation #19: Hmm I'm not sure Murray quite understand that album, although it was full of 'Murrayisms' - thank goodness it was time to go go go! Unfortunately all that motor oil made me feel a bit sick and soon I found myself in a very odd parallel dimension where everything seemed to be really hot and some guy in a suit smoking a cigarette kept trying to tell me I had passed through a parallel dimension. Yes buddy, I know, I'm Notrodogmus, I invented parallel dimensions (with a bit of help from Dr Zeus!) At least he was obliging enough to write me a review!)

Rod Serling reviews Oasis' "Morning Glory"

You unlock this door with the key of imagination and a top hat. Beyond our dimension is another - of sound, of sight, of mind. Submitted for your approval, an adventure entitled 'What's The Story. Morning Glory?'

Two warring brothers start by bidding us 'hello'. One is gifted with unnaturally strong eyesight that enables him to look through the world through beady eyes, allowing him to interpret any written word put in front of him. The other has a way with animals, often surrounding himself with High Flying Birds and can translate anything that nature has to say. The two should be able to join their gifts and get along just fine but a touch of that old brotherly feud that's as old as the ages has till now kept them apart. Only now will they get in abject lesson in brotherly love, from the Twilight Zone.
We enter our story backstage somewhere commonly known as a rock and roll arena, but no lions are being fought today - just good old fashioned jealousy and disagreement. As we join them we discover that older brother Noeleo has thrown a satsuma at his younger brother Liamoid for telling him he doesn't look as 'pretty in green".

Liamoid: Huh! You were supposed to roll with it!

Noeleo: Nonsense! I'm not going to play with you anymore - I'm going to get my magician friend to erect a Wonderwall to keep you out of my life, forever!

Liamoid: Well, yah, if you do I'm going to take my friends Andy and Gem and we're going to play in our own little band. Some Might Say we'll even be bigger than when I used to play with you!

Noeleo: Hey Now, I don't believe that! Wait hang on what's that in the sky?

{Stage Direction: Just then the evil alien Spice Girls came out of their alien spaceship, the one with 'Grrrrr! Power' printed on the side)

Spice Girls: *Giggling* We are here to take over your planet Earth and to make sure that the planet will no longer be an Oasis for humanity out in space we will destroy it. Turn up the sun!!!

{Stage Direction: One of the Spice Girls zaps the solar disc with a lightning bolt from her arm, which she then aims at the brothers}

Liamoid: Watch out - she's electric!

Noelo: And probably from a family full of eccentrics!

{Stage Direction: Too late! Noeleo is zapped and the sun seems to darken}

Liamoid: No! Brother! What have they done to you?

Noelo: Never mind me, what about the world?

Liamoid: Wait, I;ve just noticed, as you look into the light you cast no shadow!

Noelo: Listen up! It's because of all my animal friends come to help save us - they're blotting out the harmful rays of the sun to buy us extra time!

Liamoid: What do they tell you?

Noelo: That its not too late if only we can work together

Liamoid: Then don't look back in anger - we still have time to put things right! What must we do?

Noel: I'll write out the message to the God of the sun, but you have to sing it, just like the pld days!
Liamoid: Very well - what's the story, morning glory?

{Stage Direction: Shots of Noeleo working away furiously. By the time he has finished the sky is nearly pitch black. His hand shaking from effort, he hands his brother a sheet of paper. Liamoid shoots up to the top of the cloud of birds in his superhero Oasis moonboots and starts singing. Suddenly the light becomes bright again and a whole stream of different colours pierces the scarry sky}

Noeleo: We did it! That's a champagne supernova in the sky!

Liamoid: We certainly did! Let's never fight again, reform the band and be together always!

Noelo: Well, I wouldn't go that far. I mean you'll probably do something stupid again like get drunk on board a ferry and get us kicked off or refuse to play just before MTV Unplugged go on the air

Liamoid: Yes, well, at least I do the work poncing about in music videos - you don't even show up anymore and when you do you're drunk and eating a McDonald's happy meal...

Road Serling: Well, some things it seem never change from dimension to dimension. But whose to say which dimension is the real one when bands of brothers can split apart and start bitter feuds and rivalries which not even family ties and music can overcome? Certainly no one who has ever journeyed into...The Twilight Zone {Rod Serling will return after the following messages advertising Alan's Album Archives}

(Translation: Now staying with the sci-fi theme -
Phew it's getting hotter and hotter by degrees -
I seem to be part of an evil alien scheme
Aachoo! Aachoo! That's odd - they all seem scared whenever I sneeze...)

Translation #20: It was just a short hop and a jump from that timezone to the scariest timestream yet - well after the one where the Spice Girls have outlawed all other music on the planet anyway! This was another parallel dimension for the Earth involving aliens that left me feeling even hotter as you can probably see from my picture (aren't I handsome by the way?!) Scary as this world, was, though, the inhabitants needed the music I brought with me more than ever - using it as both a comfort and a warning (I'll never listen to Pentangle the same way again!) I may have to pause here again by the way dear readers - this world's taking a while to solve - see you after the equally sci-fi themed break!

H G Wells reviews Pentangle's "Basket Of Light"

No one would have believed, in the last years of the nineteenth century, that the world was being watched keenly. And I'm not talking about time-travellers from Alan's Album Archives either but alien beings who watched over us as man considers insects and other animals from the cosier side of a microscope. No one, that is, except for a twentieth-century band named 'The Pentangle' who saw it their solemn duty to pass on all sorts of warnings to mankind by taking ancient songs from our times and before and passing them on to the more modern world (we tried the Jeff Wayne War Of The Worlds' brigade first, but all those lengthy synth solos and sung 'ooh-lahs' got boring after a while! The chances of anything coming from London bars are a million to one, I said - but still the songs come!

Just as well because ever since the night the disco-lights first danced on Ottershaw and the cylinder had fallen to Earth mankind had been in disarray. Those who have never seen a living Martian can scarcely comprehend the disgust and dread we felt the first time we saw them. Ever since the first appearance mankind had been in hiding, fleeing for our lives as the monsters gradually ransacked the Earth, the silent grey metallic globes dancing evilly from continent to continent as they held mankind's only home to ransom. They even intensified the glow and brightness of the sun with their heat rays, to make overly sure that the atmosphere was conducive to them to breed, not to ourselves. We might have continued like that, growing fewer and fewer in number and watching the hopes for the future of our race disintegrate completely had it not been for the top-hatted dog who joined us in our quest to fight back.
He saw that mankind had grown weary without hope, suffering from the lack even more than the absence of food, drink or sleep and taught us to fight back against our captors while staying safe. he taught us songs to lift our spirits, told us about a project he was working on collecting reviews of musical albums and explained that he was from the future in a parallel dimension where the Martians hadn't been eaten by the Clandusprods from Zigorous 3 in the early 19th century as per his universe. After all I had witnessed, his talk of time travel did not discourage me to his truth-telling nor did I doubt his story, so earnest were his eyes under that topped hat.

He taught us many songs that we enjoyed and many more which we wrote down under the guise of 'traditional' songs in order to tell our story in cryptic means to any future folk watchers who were listening. We wrote and sang many songs that anxious summer - we told of the 'Light Flight' that had first brought our captors to Earth, of my loss of my darling Carrie on 'Once I Had Sweetheart (But Now I Have Not)', sang of the 'Springtime Promises' before the martians had put a stop to our plans for our species, sighed over the 'Lyke-Wake Dirge' our lives had now become, spoke of our 'Hunting Song' as we tried to capture the martians for study - all to no avail alas. The dog promised to write them down and 'feed' them into the future of his own time-stream, although one doth fears that the subjects of our songs may be too obscure for future generations to comprehend.

The dog brought more with him than just his songs, pen and collection of bones, however. He also brought with him a cold - something he said had been caused by being in to consecutive time zones where the heat had been greater than what he had been used to in his own world. However that humble virus, the common cold, not to mention the fleas my companion carried about with him but which I for one was too polite to mention, had been something the martian hordes had not been used to in their world either and they succumbed to it gradually, their mournful pitiable cries of 'ulla' quite a sound to behold. When we could no longer hear the sounds we ventured out of the hiding places we felt sure were to be our coffins and found that the evil had dissipated and that there was not even a solitary martian left alive on Earth soil. Thanking the dog, who declared he must be off, I thrust these notes such as they are into his paws and bade him a safe journey, hoping it would be review enough for the task that he needed. 

Regular readers of our April Fool's columns will know that in the future - and the past - the AAA has been a long-term sponsor of Long running TV series Dr Who. Yes that's right, from new episodes for all the Doctors to a new run of series featuring the likes of Anthony Hopkins and Bill Nighy. One popular strand of this series in the future even has our very own max The Singing Dog playing the top-hatted timelord (because top hats are cool!) and his own sidekick, Billy The Friendly Dalek, the pair of long-running institutions now go together almost as well as a Belobrat and sandals (be sure to check them all out if you haven't read our other April Fool's Day issues yet!). A lot of you (well two of you) wrote into us the last time this pair were featured to ask more about how they got together and why (or as one of you succinctly put it 'Dear God, why?!?!?') For this issue we decided to find out why - and luckily enough for us it all seems to have started during one of the parallel worlds Nostrodogmus visited during his journey where Dr Who had never actually been taken off the air between 1989 and 2005. In actual fact Dr Who exists in precisely three alternate universes, but the Lewis Carroll world was considered too distressingly surreal to show you (so a little like the Colin Baker years then!) while the rapping world version of the series was particularly entertaining! ('I travel through time and space is my 'hood, I ran off to protect the world just 'cos I thought I should, I fight off the aliens with jelly babies and scarf, defeat the Daleks just for a laugh, I dress in suits that are made by Armani and if you think I look daft you ought to see the Rani!')

Erm, yes, anyway...the world that was closest to our own filled in the gap of the 'time wars' years between the timelords and the daleks nicely - you know the bit where Paul McGann turned into John Hurt and then Max The Dog (who we can now reveal in an astonishing plot twist worthy of Steven Moffatt just happens to be a younger version of the timelord who'll grow into Christopher Eccleston - the ears and leather jacket give it away!) It was also a 'charity' special - hence the 'Children In Need' Pudsey ears (although in this alternate universe Pudsey is a Clandusprod). Unfortunately for us this dimension wasn't transmitted as a 'proper' series but as a 'magic lantern' slide show of still photographs, but we thought those of you interested in Billy The Dalek's metamorphosis might be ...

#1: This is Billy, or rather Dalek #176761. Hobbies: Extermination and lots of it. Cute ain't he?!?!

#2:...And this is Billy just as the Dr is preparing to add some 'aggressive dampeners to him in the shape of some cute ears. Hobbies now: listening to albums Billy had downloaded from Alan's Album Archives and helping the Dr. Only - horror! - The newly regenerated John Hurt Dr was so busy kissing his lovely assitant that he's forgotten to turn them on!

#3: Billy The Dalek has succeeded in his wicked plan to control the weather on Gallifrey, blotting out the three orange moons with a cloud full of acid rain. Nasty!

 #4: Wondering why all the other daleks keep laughing at him - and struggling to look in a mirror (well, its not easy to turn round when you're a dalek is it?!) Billy becomes annoyed and exterminates everything in sight, including the John Hurt doctor. They think they've killed him too - although he's actually just staggered away to regenerate in the peace and quiet of his Tardis. The journey takes longer than he thought and an unforseen side effect of delayed timelord regeneration is that he's turned into a dog... Max The Dog!(I thought that hat looked familiar!) Oh dear - oh dear oh dear, that Dalek looks mad to us!

#5: After revenge now and having taken firm control of Gallifrey, the Dalek decides to take over planet Earth - scene of so many bad defeats down the years - safe in the knowledge that the pesky Dr won't be around to stop him. The Dalek announces on live TV - and in every cinema in the land - that they are now the masters of Earth and resistance is futile! 

#6: '...The masters of Earth...           


#8: However the Doctor-Dog isn't dead and has managed to 'borrow' President Romana's Tardis and follow the Daleks in their Dardis to planet Earth where he concocts a powerful weapon - an issue of Alan's Album Archives newsletter News, Views and Music in bullet form...He has Billy The Dalek in his sights and...he hits!

#9: The Dalek suddenly feels a bit weird, literally 'beside himself' with the new emotions of caring, sharing and music soft-wearing The Dr has encouraged inside him

 #10: Before long the Dalek is undergoing a regeneration of his own...

#11: Putting on a bit of weight along the way!

#12: Deciding on the name 'Billy' he decides that he doesn't want to exterminate any more and calls the time-war off, bursting into a song and dance routine as he does so (what a shame these pictures are only available in slide form...)

#13: Cautiously Max The Singing Timelord approaches Billy to ask him if he'd love to return to Gallifrey and put things right. Filled with love for the rest of the universe, Billy readily agrees...

#14: Which thankfully they do. Billy decides that he no longer has anything in common with his own race anymore and asks Dr Max if he can travel with him as a companion from now on - Max readily agrees and the pair throw a party to celebrate their new life travelling the universe together!

Well, you asked for the back-story - you didn't say it had to be a good one!

Anyway, where we? Back to Nostrodogmus...

(Translation: Right that's enough aliens - I'm getting out of here
That was getting too weird for me you know
Alas I spoke too soon - what have we here?
I seem to be in the land where the bong-trees grow...)

Translation #21: Phew! I'm pleased to be out of that dimension into somewhere a bit cooler! But hang, on what's this? Bong trees? Owls and pussycats? A Diaphanous Doorscraper Rhinoceros? (preposterous!) And what's happening to my gorgeous features? My cute little button nose has turned into a button! Help!

                    Edward Lear reviews Pink Floyd's 'Dark Side Of The Moon'

The Googong is a pretty bird
Which like a record spins round and round
It's polkadot plumage once considered absurd
By the boys and girls who only see it from the ground

The noise it makes is quite serene
Like a Nick C missing its legg
The trouble comes from finding where it's been
And where it lays its strangely coloured eggs

The shells are pink, they grow so big
They age into prisms of questionable creation
Honestly next there'll be a flying pig
Flying over Battersea Power Station!

They live on Bong trees on an island in the brain
Full of money and honey and a rower in a pea-green boat
The songs last for hours and become quite insane
Two minutes and no one has played a note!

The question of noise next: will it be folk, blues or world?
Or a merry sound like a drain that gurgles?
Or a rotten din like The Spice Girls
Oh no! I fear the Googong egg has curdled!

No 'Tis a Pink Floyd sound - a curious beast
Full of talking cows and secret saucers holding tea
They're the band I enjoy reviewing the least -
In truth they're just a bit too weird for me!

(Translation: Crikey what a surreal world
I can't get out! Oh wait, now I can
Not that this one seems any less absurd
It's a world full of Americans!)

Translation #22: Talk about going from the ridiculous to the sublime - in this world everyone gets a chance to be elected president, even little ol' me! Free music for all!!! Of course I had to get nominated first but luckily for me I had just the person. My cousin, no not Max but Huckleberry Hound, happens to be the pet dog of Huckleberry Finn in later life and before I set off on this journey had given me some clues in case I bumped into his lord and master. Hmm I think I have just the record (and for posterities sake, yes there some critics out there who claim this might be a secretly racist text, but I've always taken this author's tale of freeing slaves and wishing for equality between the races at face value!)

Mark Twain reviews Otis Redding's "Otis Blue"

Mark Twain had spoken the truth, mainly, in his two books of my childhood escapades 'The adventures of Tom Sawyer' and 'Huckleberry Finn' (available at all good bookshops and some bad ones too). Of course a little bit of lying had gone on, a little bit of stretching the truth, but doesn't it always, especially when reported by the Daily Mail? You may recall that the last time you and I both met I was preparing for a new life in the West Indian territories, free from all that hoo-hah over Mrs Watson's slave Jim and the ruckus it caused when I was kidnapped by my shiftless father 'Pap', I was left pretending to be the half-brother Tom Sawyer never knew he had and poor ol' Jim was left a slave again.

However I never did get to the West Indies and awa' to enjoy my fame and fortune because I discovered a much easier way of freeing myself and those around me from the shackles o' modern life (well, 'twas modern life to me at any rate!): music. And I don't mean just any two-penny wannabe musicians or them strangely-coloured Minstrel Singers pretendin' to be something they ain't, no sirree! I mean real music, the type that makes you want to sit up and beg to confess all o' your sins before God and dance with him until justice day. The sort o' sounds that could make a man listen forever  and which sound like a man has truly done pour'n out his entire soul - and find the answers to life and the universe.

It was through the curious gentleman with the big round nose, the long ears, the tall hat and the walking cane that I first came to discover this new avenue of thoughts. He'd appeared gradual like at first, asking if I was who I said I was and if I was as into writing down my thoughts as folk a-reckoned me to be. I replied that yes I was but I was busy that day appealing on behalf of a slave at our local courthouse and asked him to come back later. We chatted about music on our second meeting and he promised me some new additions to my gramophone collection for free I was willing to help him out. 

Having nothing to lose I said 'yes indeed sir' and waited anxiously for his return. The dog brought me a heap o' samples from what he called another world but my eyes fell on the sight of a record emblazoned with the words 'Otis Blue - Otis Sings Soul' and a pretty girl staring right back at me on the cover. 'Well gosh I stammered, 'is that there album as purty to listen to as it is to look at?' 'Purtier' said the dog and proceeded to play the entire album for me right then and there.

He wasn't kidding! I'd never considered possessing a 'soul' before - not the way they speak about in church and that I mean. But this music was something the dog called 'soul' and it hit me in a way I couldn't quite explain. It wasn't just the words that Otis was singing but the way he sang them - with real meaning I mean. 'Ole Man Trouble' - well, boy, I sure knew what that was about all right! 'Respect' - such an important song, full o' instructions on how all life is sacred and equal goddamit. I nodded my head to the urgent tones of 'A Change Is Gonna Come' and dreamed of a day when it truly might. I shook to 'Shake', sang along to 'Wonderful World' as soon as I had picked up all o' the words and found satisfaction in 'Satisfaction'. However as a river baby it was the closing song 'You Don't Miss Your Water' that got to me the most and I thought of Tom and I thought of Jim and I even thought of old Pappy and I wondered about all the people I'd miss if I went to the West Indies.

I told the dog that I thought the music reminded me o' some of them spirituals that the slaves had sung in town when I was little and how I was sure that the black men had a real powerful music in them jus' as important if not more so than our own. I told him that I yearned for a day when I could walk into a store and find records by all folks of every skin colour lined up side by side for purchase by all incomers. I told him that I had dreams that one day there might even be a black man living in the white house as our lord and president one day. And the dog nodded, leaned forward and told me tales of our possible future - how this singer had indeed been a distant inheritor of the music I spoke about, how he too had fought prejudice and injustice all because of the colour of his skin even nearly a century in the future from my own time and how in his timezone a black man had indeed won the most important position in America, even if there was still a woefully unequal divide between colours in society as a whole.

And then he told me that I was the kind of straight-talking injustice-fighting feller he admired and that while I could go to the West Indies if I wanted I was really needed here, in the deep south. At his urging I ran for congress, helping to bring through the first abolition o' slavery bill and helped nominate the dog to President of the United States - I don't think they'd ever had a dog before! Even though we fought  heavy opposition together we got through it all - and this was the album that helped me the most. They say that music's just for singing and dancing to - but I tell you it's more, so much more than that. Music can teach. Music can make people think much more than just words can. Music can move people. Music can open eyes to whole heaps o ' injustice if you can give it half a mind. And most of all music can bring hope - hope that one day a change will come. And a change did come, thanks to Otis Redding, a bigger hero than me or Tom Sawyer'll ever be.

(Translation: Sorry I'm late I was being re-elected
Loved the land over for my good taste and merry quip
Meanwhile this land isn't turning out as I expected
Watch what you're doing with that whip!)

(Translation: #23: Yes! Vote for Max and get Maximum Results! Free bones for all! Yes, why thankyou, I will pose for a photograph and - oh blimey I'm off again!  Hmm a kiss you say? Perhaps I haven't changed worlds after all! Why thankyou, wait, put me down!....Help!!! E L James has nothing on this world - which is why I tracked her parallel dimension multiverse self down to write this review for us. Now hey, you, get off a my hat!)

E L James reviews The Rolling Stones' "Black and Blue"

Anastasia had grown tired of her life with Christian Grey. He just didn't have the power to excite her anymore. No it was music for her now - music was the only thing that could reach the dark forbidden inner places that ordinary life couldn't reach. Although she carried on in her day to day world of drab business meetings and selling hardware implements to bored housewives, the moment of the day she really lived for was when she met someone she loved to call her 'love pusher', Max The Sexy Dog.
He called round at her house just then, parcel in hand. Good, she was in need of some serious 'party time'.

'Come in big boy, the door's on the latch!' she cried, checking to see that her suspenders with the bones on them she'd had made specially for showing to only him were showing.

'Hello' said Max, poking his handsome nose round the door.

'My what a handsome hat!' Anastasia cried. 'I bet it must be several inches long under there! Have you come to see me with mother's little helper, twelve inches in black?'

'Umm, ok' said Max, looking worried. 'What did you think of the last record I gave you to review?
Rolling Stones wasn't it?'

'Let's just say it gave me....Satisfaction' she purred.

'Oh, err, good' said the Dog. 'Would you like more on the same subject?'

'I certainly would - how about, I don't know, Walkin' The Dog?' she slurred.

'Don't think I've got that one' he barked, nervous and tense, poised to run.

'Look here dog, I'm tired of playing games, let's spend the night together and make this a Ruby Tuesday!'

Max didn't quite know what to say. His walking cane twitched in his hand.

'Here's a Stones album from 1976 you might like. I've got to be going now!' said Max, turning bright scarlet round the cheeks.

'Not so fast, honey bunny. You can't always get what you want' she chuckled locking the door.

'No really, got to go - I think I'm having my 19th nervous breakdown!' he cried, running out the cat-flap in Anastasia's door.

Curses, she thought, I'd forgotten that was there. Less enflamed now, her senses cooling, she picked up the record the dog had casually thrown away across her floor. A smile spread across her lips. Hmm 'Black and Blue', just my type of record she thought and went to sleep, her senses pounding again, listening to the funky inner groove of 'Hot Stuff' and 'Cherry oh Baby', leaving her muttering one last cry before she fell to sleep: 'they've done it again, Paint it Black, you devils...paint it black!'

(Translation: Calm down dear - now my jacket's torn
Though I must confess to being rather dapper
What's this next regeneration into which I'm being transformed?
Alas! Alack! I'm - *sob* - a rapper!)

Translation#24:AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHH!!! Phew! I managed to get out of that world nice and quick! Yo! Wassup? What's this world - its so hot its cool if you know what I mean! Oh I see - its rapper land and I'm turning into Snoop Singing Dogg! Hmm there must be some unemployed rappers from our dimension clogging up this one - let's see who we can get while I get on down with the street-pups innit yeah?

Eminem Reviews "The Searchers' Sugar and Spice"

Dear Slim, it's me again! I keep telling you I can't remember when I had such a great time writing with notebook and pen it must have been when I was ten and had a pen friend whose name was Glenn and I loved him more than my medicine or my hen which I called Ben I'd really like to see him again! I got a record Sugar and Spice, it's supposedly full of all things nice, which is just as well 'cause take my advice don't listen to the Spice Girls they're the world's biggest vice and I don't want to have to tell you twice, it's like your head is in a vice in a nest of furry mice fighting just to get a slice. This record is all about kisses sweeter than wine, which I suppose you could call fine, except for the girls I get to call mine which mess me around all the time, I think they should make it a crime to hang around with girls of grime including those that acts as mimes - they're just creepy and make you sleepy unless you're feeling a bit weepy in which case they can move me deeply! What was I saying? Yes there's just one part where this song fails, cause life is full of snails and puppy dog's tails, I see that whenever I get an email from some male whose in jail feeling frail while the politicians eat quails and chew their nails and write out their feelings in braille because the hypocrisy's off the scale so no wonder they wail I hope they get rained on with hail and hit with a pail or with a rail because not all of us can go to Yale! This was The Searchers' follow-up to Sweets For My Sweet, which is so good I play it on repeat, I tell you modern music just can't compete because it knocked me off my feet and left me red as a beet as well as giving me a kick in the seat 'cause it was just giving off heat and they're a band I'd love to meet if not today then perhaps next week. You see my name is Stan and I'm their biggest fan I was turned on to their music by my gran who heard them sing in Azbekistan when they were in a salon getting a tan like it was an everyday part of their plan and not in the way just anyone can but in a way that says they da man and for breakfast they eat all bran from a can they took from a stand that probably cost a grand and a reprimand. They're much better than that Spice Girls din, they nearly drove me to gin, which shows you what I think of them because I hate that more than anything, I just wanna put them all in the bin because they're all so stupid and stick thin like they were made of tin and you could knock Posh down with a pin and not even get a strike 'cause it was such an easy win, I hope I get The Searchers back again, yours Slim!

(Translation: And I say 'ice ice dog' and a double bo yakasha
Wait...wait...things keep changing all the while
I seem to be surrounded by a road of Irish bars
And I'm dressed in an early 20th century style...)

Translation #25: Aw man, I was really getting into the groove of that world thang and then it goes and changes again! Now where am I? Ok well this world is just silly - I seem to be in a world where its permanently early 20th century Dublin and its Bloomsday every day (a little like Groundshog day!) Why? Because U-lysses so that's why! Hmm it seems in this world James Joyce is trapped as a teenager...

James Joyce reviews Simon and Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water"

I held the record tightly in both hands. This, this was the day when all sins would be erased, when the world would discover at last the trapped nerve that ticked and tocked and staccato-beat away in my head, forcing me ever onward without the chance to take breath. For this was a moment in time, a moment stood still, a moment upon moment of ever so many raptures that made my breath stand still, clattering clamping gnawing tearing flaying fushing fit to buts with a nagging, stabbing bite of independence whistling and wailing away like a creature let loose in the deepest darkest blackest of nights. It was the day I got to review my first album for Alan's Album Archives, a veritable tome much sneered on in these parts for daring to give young soul the power to think.

'What have you got there?' my ma asked, the curlers daintily tripping out of her curls of Irish flame-red hair.

'Nothing much' I grunted.

But inwardly I knew differently. I knew, just from that cover, how much my world had changed just then and how much I would have to confess at my next weekly confessional to old Father Parsnip, who smelt of church hymns and vinegar and too many boozy night-afterwards. I gazed at it all adoringly, the short of it and the tall of it, trying to work out if in my life I was a Garfunkel standing tall and noble and proud or a Simon, upfront and full of many talents.The two shared such different outlooks on life, like a poor slice of lemon mixed in with a carbuncle. I listened to the first song. Slowly beat by rapturous beat I lost myself in a world of thought where I was that bridge and the world were those troubled waters, lost forever on a tide of uncertainty. Next there I was, finding myself agreeing at rather being a horse than a mule, yes I would oh yes yes yes yes I so very much would. Next I was the Boxer, fighting life's battles with a cock-eyed sneer and a gameful playful pose whilst knowing that my fists could batter tall great lumps out of anyone who dared knock me down in my prime, knock me down just for living, breathing, forming, existing, surviving, playing all those games that were forced into my hand by life's choosing. As the record progressed I found myself the only living boy not just of New York but the very living world, standing tall and proud on Bloomsday, self assured in the alien-ness of all others. And then as the album finished I found myself contemplating a song for the asking, an asking of not who anywhere but why? Why God why have you deserted your children and housed them in such darkness for so many years that their flames extinguished, their flickering candles were left to rot like pools of wax dripping dropping draping themselves over the corner of planet time as were are left to rot in our sufferings, in our misunderstandings in our very entity like a giant crack opening up in our unsteady immobile immovable unseated world of noise speaking to us from the very embers of our soul krrrrssssshhhh it cries through the cracks in our heads krrrrroommmm gaaaaaaa hisssssss blaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

'Tea's ready' called Mum. 'What did you think of that record you were playing?'

'Oh, it was OK, I guess' was my reply.

(Translation: Hmm wondering off was a mistake
I thought for one dreadful moment I'd get stolen
But at least I got to enjoy the craic
Wait - what's this - suddenly I'm a roman!)

Translation #26: Phew, that was nearly the end of this column dear readers - I got so bored of waiting for young Joyce to write his review I went wondering off and nearly got sold! As for this next world, I' not quite sure where I am - everyone seems to be shouting and wearing tunics, but that can't be a real world can it? And then it hit me like a smackero-blurdy - I was in a parallel world where Rome never fell and psychedelic took on a decidedly Roman hue. I wonder if I can change a famous Roman authors view of his entire civilisation using just one AAA album? If nothing else at least I had a nice mosaic painted while I waited! 

Virgil reviews The Small Faces' "Ogden's Nut Gone Flake" as part of the great "Alan's Album Archives Aeneid"

Oh muse! Of causes and creation I must relate
A tale most strange to contemplate
I met a dog, Maximus, who passed to me a tome
I liked him much although he did not come from Rome

His hat was too sideways, his mouth full of piercing laugh
He clearly had never been near one of our Roman baths
Yet I felt drawn to him as part of his quest
To see throughout time which albums are considered the best

I agreed to take part though what I knew 'bout music be zero
Apart from admiring the fiddle playing of our very own Nero
And a strange tale began to fill the room
Of Happiness Stan and his quest for the moon

He saw that it had half-disappeared from the sky
And our astronomers too ask why
Though I fear tis through an errant God
Of which knows not this heathen dog

Stan met on the journey - I'm not quite sure why -
By hermit, Mad John, and a talking fly
I still thrilled to the sound of the Small Faces combo
Who cometh up with a sound that was quite gonzo

I enjoyed 'Afterglow' which sounded like the burning of peasants
And thought 'Lazy Sunday Afternoon' particularly pleasant
But I was amazed as idea began to take root
Professor Stanley Unwin's was in our world and in command of our troops!

Yes Stanlinus Unwinus was my very own Sergeant Major
And the reason our troops had submitted to failure!
Suddenly my view of Rome as unique and special began to wane
And The Small Faces showed our values to be incredibly tame

They talked of peace being more sustainable than wars
And how even the centre of the Earth, Rome, must fall
Alas this album showed me our whole, our entire
Decline and fall of the Roman Empire

(Translation: Max The Roman, noble, fair
Now what do you think of that?!
But next I've landed in my worst nightmare

I'm slowly turning into a cat!)

(translation: #27: This is Maxamillian Maximus reporting for duty, sir! Wait - what are these whiskers? This world is horrible - I'm turning into a cat! Well there's one AAA artists I could possibly get reviewed in this world - and only one author I could ask, good ol' Tabbycat Elliott!)

T.S Elliott: Old Possum's Book Of Cat Stevens "Tea For The Tillerman" and "Teaser and the Firecat"

The reviewing of Cat Stevens LPs is a difficult matter
It isn't just one of your holiday games
I have to think about them for a long time, perhaps have a natter
And end up scratching my head after several playings

Not long ago I reviewed Abbey Road
With a picture of a crossing at which I just sat and stared
I suddenly wondered if the 'Paul Is Gone' myth is true
For when I looked McCartney's not there!

Up next to review Tea For The Tillerman and Firecat and Teaser
A very notorious couple of LPs
Full of broken mornings and Peace Trains pulled into stations
Though which Bitterblue are aimed to please

If after supper one of the girls
Can be found sighing at his picture with his big long curls
Everyone would sigh and say 'look at that!
Another of my relatives has fallen for an album by Cat!'

But was it Tea for The Tillerman or Firecat and Teaser?
Well, both are good - that's given as fact
And there's nothing at all to be done about that!

(Translation: And just as I wasn't 'feline furry' well
The room swayed and my vision was gone
Where I am next I can't really tell
But I can hear shouts of 'yo ho ho and a bottle of rum...')

(translation: #28: I am in the next world (tarantaratranatara!) Followed by a group of chorus girls (taranataratarantara!) Turns out I'm in some operetta - No wonder I'm feeling so upset, ah seem to be a pirate captain performing at the Savoy, and all the rest of the cast are fairies dressed i corduroy, I guess I'll just get what I can from this parallel world of Gilbert and Sullivan (Tarantaratarantara!)

W.S.Gilbert, with music by Arthur Sullivan, an extract of a review for 10cc's "The Original Soundtrack"

Review Act I Scene I: A winsome unmarried maiden, Rudy Gore, upset because the love of her life has just been changed into a garden gnome, is an unexpected hit of reality television. Finding herself the subject of much derision, she decides to enlist the services of a local sailor-dog who owns a magic locket that passes on wisdom through a 10cc CD he keeps in his enchanted top hat. Little does she know it but he is really the much-feared Pirate Damage Maximus, who was press-ganged into the navy as a pup and blackmailed into becoming a ruthless buckaneer. Rudy Gore has been ordered by her reality TV producers to remain a bachelor forever and play a pre-determined role, but her increasing awareness of her own true feelings means that she no longer keeps to the script. This, the opening song, occurs just as Sailor Max arrives off his boat.

Rudy Gore: He is the very model of a modern sailor houndable
His very curvy waist is evidently roundable
His little fluffy legs rarely reach the groundable
In every way I must say he's evidently un-put-downable!
He knows all things newsical, viewsical and musical
I love him right down to his teeny tiny cuticles
His very expression is eminently inscrutable
But as for our romance I fear for TV would not be very fruitable!

Max, with headphones: A little pup home from school am I
Laughing and singing a lullaby
With such a voice it could make you cry!
Little dog from doggy school!

All these 10cc albums I review are such fun!
Saying 'life's a joke that's just begun!'
Of reviews I write a tonne!
Little pup from music school!

I'm grooving to this album all the more
It's full of songs that I adore!
If Life is Minestrone I hope they never find the cure!
Little canine from reviewer school!'

Ruddy Gore (Spoken): What a handsome dog! I would like to get to know him better! But alas I must pretend to keep my love for him a secret, for I am doomed to live out the rest of my days with the evil harem of Spice Girls as previously agreed with my script-editor just before the shooting of this reality TV programme! I'm not even allowed to talk to him! And yet if only he would look my way he would see that, really, underneath this fake tan and pearly white teeth there is a real maiden underneath waiting only for him. Hark now here he comes - he mustn't know that my eyes are still inwardly following him as he walks from his boat or - disaster! - the ratings will surely fall. I must sing a song to myself as he walks past

Ruddy Gore (Singing): 'I'm not in love...'

(Translation: What next? A parade! A marching band!
A crowd of Mods who seem to be un-naturally still
Whose that figure in central command?
And why is he holding a daffodil?)

(Translation: #29: Well that was fun - I was right in the middle of my monologue when I dissolved into thin air - everyone's checking their scripts now! Just two worlds to go now and - ooh a brass band! A parade! Mods! No wait - really? Yes apparently so this is a world where Mods never died out and there are parades held every week to celebrate the fantasticness of mod-dern life! I'm after somewhere quieter so think I'll go pick some flowers with that nice quiet looking chap - only he turns out unexpectedly to be quite a mod fan himself!)

William Wordsworth Reviews The Who's "Quadrophenia" (1973)

I wandered lonely as a cloud
Because my earphones were turned up loud
When all at once I see a crowd
Of Mods shouting and hollering proud

Though I walked beside the lake and beneath the trees
They followed me onward, of the music seeming most pleased
So I stopped to share my muse with them - what can it matter?
The country was quiet and you could really hear Keith Moon's drums clatter

We all spoke and laughed, tossing our heads in sprightly dance
The fact that we'd joined as 'one' thanks to circumstance
Before eventually I walked on with thoughts of young mod Jimmy
And pause to wonder if his soul is in me?

For oft when on my couch I lie in vacant mood
I have thoughts like 'Pete Townshend's guitar work is really good
I love Keith's drums, John's bass fills
Roger's voice - I'm through with daffodils!'

So yes I cry - this album's a tonic
I too am bleeding Quadrophonic!

(Translation: You must admit I've come a long way
In truth I didn't expect it to be this far
Now at last my final stop of the day
And it seems the coalition are in charge...)

(Translation: #30: So at last - our final hurrah and by luck this world helps me get back to my own multiverse! However everything's not as it seems - apparently the 'next world' isn't very pleased with us in our time period and a certain Lion has 'come out of the closet' as it were to try to put things right. Gosh I wouldn't want to be in the shoes and top hat of a Tory MP right now...And yes, that really is it folks! Goodbye! It's been lovely travelling with you - remember to say lots of nice things about my cousin Max back in your world! Love and bones and maybe see you next April Fool's Day - if the Coalition haven't wrecked the planet by then!)

C S Lewis reviews Neil Young's "Living With War"

Azlan The Lion was growing very bored. It had been several years now since the children who used to visit him had all died in Narnia and gone to heaven - which must surely be the strangest if most decisive ending to any children's book series ever written.  Time always seemed to work differently on Earth so he wondered to himself what might have happened in the hundred years or so human-time he had been out of contact.

He decided to look for the special portal back to Earth, which had never been opened from his side before. He found it where he had left it, where no one in his kingdom would ever discover it - in a Spice Girls Greatest Hits CD. Stopping to take one last look back at the magical snowy kingdom of Narnia he stepped through the portal and found himself - in the back of a wardrobe.

After a bit of a tangle undoing the door (Ikea clearly hadn't built the wardrobe with lion's paws in mind) Azlan finally burst through and fell - into the deeply unmagical snowy kingdom of our world. Nothing was how the children had described it to him - instead of merry chatty joking children there was an air of melancholy and barely concealed fury.

He went over to a newspaper seller to ask what was going on, but all they would declare was the rather unhelpful suggestion 'aaagh, it's a lion, run for your lives!' so Azlan didn't get much further there. He did however find something to read in the paper, titled the Coalition Chronicle and dated 2016.

'Not bad' said the top hatted dog who'd magically appeared by his side. 'Only a year out from my own timeline - and in my own universe for once!'

'What has happened here?' said the Lion, leafing through the paper's artificially bright articles about how wonderful life was, which sat in stark contrast to the total misery and neglect Azlan could see all around him. 'This isn't the right multiverse for the Earth to be enjoying at all!'

'Ah well - about that - you see its one of the possible multiverses out there for the Earth' said Max. We estimate it has about a 40% chance of succeeding. You see this is what happens to the Earth if the Conservatives win the next election in any form and I see that - yes - in this particular universe they're in a coalition with the Monster Raving Loony Party, who come out of it looking by far the saner of the two.'

'And who is this ice queen who rules with  a toughness and evilness even the Queen of Narniacannot compete with?'

'Oh her - that's Esther McVey, whose meant to be in charge of benefits in this period. If you think she's evil you ought to meet Ian Duncan Smith!'

Azlan reared in pain, as if someone had stuck a thorn in his paw. 'So the devil himself is in this time zone? Can nothing be done?' roared the lion in visible pain at man's stupidity. 'I didn't sacrifice myself for the good of man to have turning out as sad and put-upon as this you know!'
'Nothing in this timeline - only in the run up to the election last May I'm afraid'

'Then let us go' and the lion took Max's paw and said a prayer, the pair of them waking up in April 2015 again. Things hadn't exactly improved  a great deal - there was still unspeakable cruelty and inane benefit sanctions and bedroom taxes and inequality that would have made even Dickens blush and the papers still tried to pretend that everything was happy happy happy because that's what they'd all been told to say. But there was at least hope in the eyes and hearts and souls and minds of the people they met there. 'Not long till the election' one said through gritted teeth, apparently not noticing the lion in his midst. 'Good evening' another nodded to the lion and dog 'Not long till the bastards are out, eh?!'

'I must return back to my own world soon, dog, but while I am here I want to create a difference. I can't vote - I'm not a local citizen and I fear I wouldn't fit in the ballot box - but I need to do something. What can I do?'

'You review' said Max, 'I just need one last contribution to the AAA to complete my mission. And it's an apt one I fear.

So it was that Azlan came to finish off the AAA chronicles by placing paw to typewriter and muzzle to speaker and listened to Neil Young telling the truth about the modern world in his album 'Living With War'. And while the record was written to expose the lies and hypocrisy of the Blair and Bush Governments, the sentiments clearly struck a nerve. Azlan wrote hard and fast as he heard the strains of 'Let's Impeach The President'. His heart broke for the relatives of dead soldiers waiting for their loved ones to come home from phony wars fought in the name of oil. He pulled at his muzzle in deep focus as he tore to shred the idea that modern man was nothing but a 'restless consumer' born to do as he was told and no longer think for himself. He cried to the strains of 'America The Beautiful' and changed the words to 'Britain the Insufferable'. And he roared in agony as he realised the people were 'lookin' for a leader' after so many years of putting up with the corrupt and evil. He bopped up and down, his tail shaking in the wind, as the musicians picked up speed. He threw out his claws and nashed his teeth at the thought of another four years with David Cameron in control. And he cried long great tears of hope and bitterness as an American choir intoned in a sea of voices that they had had enough and that change had to come. He even chortled at the line, written in 2006 before another great adventure, that the leader the world was looking for 'might be Obama, though people say that he's too young'.

By the time it was done a great crowd of people had gathered at the lion's feet. As Azlan looked up wearily from his writings he found that the people there were calling on him to bring them hope, to end the sufferings that seen them lose their jobs, their homes, their self-respect, their families, their ability to cope. They longed for Azlan, this great and noble looking lion, to put things right for them again. But the lion shook his head. 'Only you have the power' he says. 'And the arts have more power than anyone by teaching you the truth. Open up your ears and your hearts to the music, especially those reviewed at Alan's Album Archives' and you will know what to do.

My quest at a natural end, I asked one great last favour of those who had written their hearts for me on this journey - if Azlan could offer up a name to his review for me so that I could print it.
'But of course' he said to me, his eyes filled with compassionate tears, 'I named this review the only thing that seemed fitting, to point out the truth that no other media dares to. I called this piece after the most famous book about my adventures: 'The Lying, The Rich and the War-Drones'. And so it came to pass, the dogged one's quest at an end.

A complete collection of April Fool’s Day Columns (Plus Other Bits and Pieces):

#1 (published 2009, set in 2034):

#4 ('Swedish Elizabethan' edition, published 2012, set in a timeless universe):

#5 ('Max's Space Museum' edition, published 2013, set in 7114):

#6 (Max's Scrapbook' edition, published 2014 set in 2099): and

#7 ('Multiverse with famous authors writing for the AAA' edition, published and set in 2015)

#8 ('The Story and Discography of Pixie Drainpipe', published 2016, set in 5838)

#9 (‘All Hail President Bingo!’, published 2017, set in 2020)

#10 (‘Spice Up Your Life!!!’,  published and set in 2018)

#11 (‘Brexit Maxit and Farewell’, published 2019, set in 2029)

Every Single AAA Studio and Solo Release in Chronological Order: 


  1. Not sure if this genius or madness. possibly both?! And !!! to 'The Lying The Rich and the War Drones'! !!! :)

  2. Just got the Phish joke too now (ow!) !!!!