Nightride by Gillian Clarke

The road unwinding under our wheels

New in the headlamps like a roll of foil.

The rain is a recorder writing tunes

In telegraph wires, kerbs and cats’ eyes,

Reflections and the lights of little towns.

 

He turns his head to look at me.

“Why are you quiet?” Shiny road rhythm,

Rain rhythm, beat of the windscreen wipers,

I push my knee against his in the warmth

And the car thrusts the dark and rain away.

 

The child sleeps, and I reflect, as I breathe

His brown hair, and watch the apple they gave him

Held in his hot hands, that a tree must ache

With the sweet weight of the round rosy fruit,

As I with Dylan’s head, nodding on its stalk.

 

by Gillian Clarke

from The Sundial, Gwasg Gomer, 1978)

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Star Wars: ‘Journey To Star Wars: The Last Jedi’ Trading Cards

Cost: £1.00 per pack (from Tesco)

Over 210 Cards to Collect – 8 cards per pack including one Star Wars: The Last Jedi Foil Card.

Look out for special cards in packets:

Jedi Foil Cards 1:3

Gold Cards 1:4

Limited edition card to replace regular card 1:36 packets

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Cards Acquired:

11: Supreme Leader Snoke – a photo still from The Force Awakens during his hologram meeting with Kylo Ren and General Hux. It’s dark and blurry and at this scale just doesn’t work.

31: Rey – Promotional materials stock image portrait. Generic. You like Rey? You’ll love this. But it’s as generic a trading card as you can get.

95: A still from the teaser trailer of one of the new ships (I tried to look up the name but gave up – you probably know what it is if you’re reading this) just before it starts dragging through the surface revealing clouds of red dust. If you hadn’t seen the trailer this is a bad card with no meaning. Even having seen the trailer I find it amongst the weakest.

100: Millennium Falcon: A generic stock photo but on the back of the card it gives some of the ship’s statistics which makes this quite a nice card.

108: Qui-Gon Jinn vs. Darth Maul: A still from Episode 1 during their duel. In hindsight were there any ‘original trilogy’ cards in this series? Card 100 doesn’t count since it’s in the, as of writing this, new trilogy. This is a bit blurry too due to being a still from an action scene.

127: Luke Skywalker – painted portrait (I wish the artist had been named out of respect though of course Disney/Lucasfilm own the image). This, by far, is my favourite as it seems something not just copy-pasted from stock promotional materials or motion blurred film stills.

187: Stormtrooper Executioner – portrait from a stock photo. (It’s has that effect usually referred to as ‘holographic’ so I’m guessing it’s one of the limited edition cards). On a side note there sure have been a lot of variants of Stormtroopers since Disney took over. Got to push that merchandise guys! You could probably replicate it using a black permanent marker on a standard stormtrooper figure…

209: Agen Kolar – Jedi foil card – portrait from a stock photo. Who is he? I had to go look him up too as he is really minor and only found in the background of scenes with little to no development…

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Published by Topps Europe Limited,

18 Vincent Avenue, Crownhill, Milton Keynes,

MK8 0AW, UK

http://www.toppsdirect. com

http://www.starwars.com

Lucasfilm Ltd. / Topps / Disney

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Review

I might have been lucky with the ones I got but I’m quite pleased with these in contrast to other collections. The portrait cards are all very nice and high quality with the painting of ‘The Last Jedi’ Luke being probably my favourite. However on the downside, as has been the case before, the still taken from the film all have motion blur to them and thus look low quality in comparison to the other cards. The card stock used is of very good quality and I couldn’t see much risk of disappointment unless you have a distinct aversion to the prequel trilogy and let’s be honest how many people actually know Agen Kolar let alone what scenes he was in? Short answer: Palpatine killed Agen just before his duel with Mace Windu.

There you go. Now you know who he was… unlike some of the other secondary Jedi I don’t think he ever appeared in The Clone Wars TV series to be a more developed character like Kit Fisto or Plo Koon amongst others.

On the whole I wish they were a bit cheaper, but then doesn’t everyone, but I see no real issues with the overall quality nor number of cards you get (in comparison to other series recently) and they serve as a nice little treat for Star Wars fans young and old. I can’t say how easy this would be a collection to complete but since much of it is stock imagery I don’t think you will miss out on anything should you never pick a packet up. It’s purely a ‘teaser’ promotional item and even at the time of posting this a few weeks after purchasing them Tesco have already stopped stocking them. The low points are the photo stills with motion blur (that very dark and blurry Snoke one especially!) but all the character specific ones really do harken back to the golden era of trading cards and more than make up for them. If you’re a fan of the series, and can find them, take a chance and buy a pack. If you’re looking for value for money it’s probably better to invest in something else.

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Minions Movie Tie-In Collectable Stickers

5 Stickers per pack (4 normal and one foil in the pack I bought).
Price: £0.50 (I bought them at Tesco so the RRP price may vary elsewhere).
Published by TOPPS Europe Limited, 18 Vincent Avenue, Crownhill, Milton Keynes, MK8 0AW, UK.
Hellsteller: Topps Deutschland GMBH, Goethestr, 18, 60313 Frankfurt, Deutschland.

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The size of the stickers is smaller than I have seen previously. When I was growing up Panini, and its imitators, stickers were larger while Topps measure 68mm x 54mm with the foil sticker being 85mm x 61mm. However I do remember a Street Fighter II sticker collection by Merlin which had these dimensions so it may just depend on the individual company producing each series.

In comparison to the previously reviewed Frozen ‘My Sister, My Hero’ stickers, which were 97mm x 64mm, these were far smaller. If I was to make a comparison for anyone without a ruler then think of it this way: the minion stickers are ‘small business card’ size while the Frozen ones are ‘trading card’ size. However it may be a case I only ever bought stickers from Panini made series and so this smaller size seems worse when it could be the standard for most collectable sticker series otherwise.

The images are clearly printed though the print colouration seems dull compared to the vibrancy you would see on other promotional materials of these same images. The foil sticker has promotional images of the film’s villains on a foil background while the standard stickers are mostly stills from the Minions film itself. I did get one sticker which seemed to be an original image for the collection which seemed to be a generic minion, set off to one side, with a ‘funky’ pattern background. I say ‘funky’ because this is the sort of thing a think tank of advertising executives, out of touch with current trends, would consider ‘funky’ when looking at Google search for the sort of things that would be ‘60s style imagery’ such as the psychedelic artwork of Peter Max but then go on to make it as plain and generic as possible so as to not offend anyone’s sensibilities and thus ensure maximum market saturation potential for sale. This is a pretty standard practise across the industry for sticker collection tie-ins of movies so while it seems uninspired it is sadly expected and a cheap money maker for companies. It’s all about the marketing of the product not the quality of it.

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On the back of the stickers is an original illustration of the 3 main minions from the film and I would hope that the rest of the series was composed of more original artwork like this than just the generic ‘print screen’ imagery that is standard for movie tie-in collections.

There is nothing to really complain about, although the foil sticker easily picks up finger prints and is then near impossible to clean without using a soft cloth so be careful when handling them, but in this day and age you would hope for more. We used to get 10 stickers in a pack when I was growing up but now it is 5 albeit they are of far higher print quality.
I think this was a missed opportunity. They could easily create a much more original and fun series even with a basic concept of producing images of various ‘____ type minion’ having the various minions dressed as different jobs or stereotypes. We already have a Fireman Minion, a Maid Minion, Baby Minion and many others so a collection of these could easily be made and enjoyed with only a very small amount of investment in design.

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If kids want stickers of the minions then they will be satisfied, just as we all were in childhood collection of footballers (i.e. the classic company cash cows as the yearly ‘same game different player names’ computer games are for their respective companies), movie tie-ins (for me it was Jurassic Park through to Space Jam) or oddities (Garbage Pail Kids… say no more) but in comparison I think the ‘Frozen: My Sister, My Hero’ ones are far superior in quality and individual image value (so you don’t get as many dull scenes of ‘character stood with blank face in unrecognisable scene #A204b) that are not amusing in their own right. I don’t think at £0.50 these are of equal value to the Frozen ones which retail at the same price but if its minions you want then these are okay. You won’t be disappointed but you won’t be impressed either. Sort of like the film I guess if the reviews are anything to go by…

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For those interested here are the stickers’ numbers:

  • 10: Napoleonic Minions: with cannon
  • 18: 1960s line up of the main Minions: green hat, robot arm and lava lamp
  • 41: Ancient Egyptian Minions: with an upside down pyramid plan
  • 99: Blank face minion with ‘funky’ background
  • 132: (Foil) Scarlet Overkill and Herb

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