At The Memorial by Emyr Humphreys

We remember wartime

Wartime

The leaves were red

Columns

Backs

Silences

Were broken

And skies were tight.

 

Singers in uniform

Were frozen

Stony men

Were children

Nights

Flesh

Steel

Cracked burst buckled

Nothing was

The Target

Nowhere

The Retreat.

 

We managed

The living the key workers

The throats of loyal trumpets

The minds of washed out cockpits

Our prayers were pistons

We managed

Our leaders in bunkers

 

As indestructable as rats

The tongues and necks

Of true survivors

 

In one cold wood

A headless boy

Still walks

A thin man prays

In his own blood

The dead

On every side

Wait to be counted

 

Catalogues

Printed

In old blood

 

Old wars

Are not doors

They are the walls

Of empty tombs

Bowed to

At stated times

By true survivors

Only dreams

Have hinges.

 

by Emyr Humphreys


Fun fact: He registered as a conscientious objector in the Second World War, working on a farm, and later doing relief work in Egypt and Italy. After the war he worked as a teacher, as a radio producer at the BBC and later became a lecturer in drama at Bangor University.

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Disney Favourite Friends: Sticker Collection

If you see these packet in shops they’ll only say ‘DISNEY’ on the front but ‘Disney Favourite Friends’ is the official name of this sticker collection featuring a selection of Disney and Disney Pixar characters.

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£0.60 per pack

5 stickers per pack.

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Stickers in the packet I got:

  • 40: Finding Nemo: A full body portrait of Mr Ray the Manta-ray smiling. A stock promotional image of him. The central sticker has no border but as you can see in the photo you can use the boarder if you want to use this sticker in isolation rather than place it in the album.
  • 67: Alladin: Gold foil sticker of Princess Jasmine with Apu and the Genie’s lamp
  • 159: Frozen: The bottom half of a two-part image of Olaf, Sven and Kristoff
  • 175: Frozen: The top half of a two-part image of Anna, Sven and…??? I assume from the slight bits seen of body parts it includes Elsa, Olaf and Kristoff.
  • 180: Frozen: The bottom right corner of a four-part image of Elsa, Olaf and… ??? I’ve no idea who or what is in the rest of the larger image.

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Review:

The stickers are the standard size of 76x55mm. They’ve mostly gone with painted, original, artwork so there’s definitely value in the images themselves for Disney fans and all the printwork is relatively high quality on close inspection.

Apparently there are brand new “scannable stickers” but the packet I bought didn’t have one and there’s special gold, silver and 3D stickers to look out for. The Jasmine sticker above is an example of one of the golden foil stickers.

The price averaging out at £0.12 per sticker I’m not happy with to be honest considering the number of ‘section of a multi-part image’ stickers in the packet. I was fortunate enough with the ones I got that they have enough of a character on them you can just about get away with them being used alone though it’s clear they’re meant to be part of a larger image.

On the backing paper are various characters with Belle and Aurora being the standard image for the landscape stickers while the profile stickers having different characters. The cover of each pack has different characters – I got one with Mickey and Minnie Mouse but there were others with Olaf or other characters.

If you are a big fan of Disney these are definitely worth checking out. If you only like certain series it is very pot luck. The one major downside, aside from the low number of stickers for the price, is that you’ll most likely get parts of various multi-part images and that is very annoying as I’ve found with other series I’ve reviewed in the past.

Made and published in Italy by PANINI S.p.A.

Viale Emilio, Po 380, 41126 Modena

www.paninigroup.com

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Disney’s Frozen: Olaf’s Frozen Adventure Collectable Stickers

Printed by Panini.

Price: £0.50 for a packet of 5 stickers.

Stickers in the packet:

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47 – A screen grab of Olaf and three white-haired children looking up an unlit fireplace chimney.

74 – Left half of a two-part image featuring a complete screen grab image of Elsa.

124 – a pair of vector art generic white on matt kharki-gold snowflake images (a two for one ‘sticker’).

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142 – A drawn illustration of Anna featuring glitter covered silhouettes of goats and a glittery border.

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173 – Bottom Left corner of a larger illustration image featuring the lower part of Elsa using her powers.

Review

I usually look for the good in these packets of stickers but this was a rip off. Only 5 stickers per pack is ridiculous for basic stickers no matter how good the quality of the print is (I would expect at least a shiny/hologram sticker included per pack to justify the price). The full body sticker of Anna was nice (maybe this one with a small amount of glitter is the ‘special sticker’ per pack often seen in other ranges?) and I like the illustration style but otherwise the stickers feature screen grabs and the generic snowflakes vector art ‘two for one’ sticker which you could easily get in bulk from other seasonal decorative sticker ranges.

I was either unfortunate with the single packet I got or there is an over reliance on multiple part images in the sticker album thus ensuring you constantly buy more to chase for the missing pieces. Just go get a pack of stickers you can see the contents of if you want something from Frozen. There’s not much to add… the packet was rubbish hence why it took me so long to get around to reviewing it months after I actually bought the pack when everyone has probably already forgotten it existed.

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‘And You, My Friends…’ by Anna Akhmatova

And you, my friends who have been called away,

I have been spared to mourn for you and weep,

Not as a frozen willow over your memory,

But to cry to the world the names of those who sleep.

What names are those!

I slam shut the calender,

Down on your knees all!

Blood of my heart,

The people of Leningrad march out in even rows,

The living, the dead: fame can’t tell them apart.

 

by Анна Ахматова (Anna Akhmatova)

(1942)

from Седьмая книга (The Seventh Book)

translation by D. M. Thomas

Red Nosed Frost [extract] by Nikolay Nekrasov

Not the autumn wind in the forest,

not streams hurtling down to the plains –

what we hear is Frost the Commander,

patrolling his far-flung domains.

 

Has snow been swept by the blizzards

over every pathway and track?

Is there any bare ground still showing,

any last brown fissure or crack?

 

Have the oak trees been handsomely dappled,

are the tops of the pines fluffed just right?

Have the ice floes been shackled together

so that every lake is gripped tight?

 

Frost comes striding over the treetops;

shards of ice crackle under his tread.

Lord Frost moves closer and closer;

beams of sunlight dance in his beard.

 

What pathway is closed to a wizard?

Ever nearer the widow he draws.

Now Frost is looming above her,

rehearsing his wintry laws.

 

There he stands in a pine tree,

beating time with his cane,

boasting of his own glory

and repeating his old refrain:

 

‘No need to be bashful, sweet maiden,

see how fine a Commander I am!

Speak truthfully now: have you ever

glimpsed a more handsome young man?

 

‘Blizzards, downpours and whirlwinds –

I can quieten them all in a trice;

I can stroll out over the ocean

and build myself chambers of ice.

 

‘One breath – and the greatest of rivers

lie silenced beneath my yoke,

transformed to the strongest of bridges,

broad roads for the merchant folk.

 

‘I love dropping down into graves

to scatter diamonds over the dead,

to freeze the blood in their veins

and ice the brains in their heads.

 

‘I love frightening a lonely robber

riding home with a purse he’s plundered:

in the depth of the forest silence

I make branches resound like thunder.

 

‘Old women go rushing back home,

their heads full of spirits and devils.

But there’s more pleasure still to be had

with drunkards returning from revels.

 

‘I don’t need chalk to whiten their faces!

I set their noses ablaze without fire!

I freeze beards to reins in a tangle

not even an axe can sever!

 

‘I’m rich, there’s no counting my treasure;

my fortune’s as great as the world.

Every day I bejewel my kingdom

anew with silver and pearls.

 

‘Dear Maiden, I bid you now enter

my empire. Let me make you my queen!

We shall reign in glory all winter,

then let summer slip by in a dream.

 

‘Come, maiden, and let me warm you

in a palace of pale blue ice!’

So Lord Frost sings out above her

as he swings his sparkling mace.

 

‘Are you warm enough there, dear maiden?’

he calls from high in the pine.

‘Oh yes,’ the young widow answers –

and icy shivers run down her spine.

 

Now Frost has dropped down lower,

his mace swinging ever so near,

and he whispers softly and tenderly:

‘Warm enough?’ ‘Oh yes, my dear!’

 

Warm enough – but what does she feel?

Frost’s breath has already numbed her

and needles of ice from his beard,

though colder and sharper than steel,

are lulling her into slumber.

 

‘Are you warm enough now?’ Frost whispers,

his arms now encircling her waist –

and she hears not Frost but Proklyusha

and all she sees is long past.

 

On her lips and her eyes and her shoulders

Darya feels the wizard’s long kisses –

and she sees not Frost but her husband

and she drinks in his honeyed whispers.

 

He’s talking to her of a wedding,

his words so caressing and sweet

that Darya’s eyes are now closing

and her axe lies still by her feet.

 

And the arc of a smile now parts

the poor lips of the wretched widow.

White flakes now cover her eyelids

and needles of ice her brow…

 

A lump of snow falls on Darya

as a squirrel takes a flying leap,

but Darya does not lift a finger;

she’s frozen, enchanted, asleep.

 

by Николай Алексеевич Некрасов (Nikolay Alexeyevich Nekrasov)

(1864)

translated by Robert Chandler and Boris Dralyuk

Disney’s Frozen : Magic of the Northern Lights : Stickers

Made by Panini
Price: £0.50 per pack from Tesco so prices may vary

The artwork seems similar to that of Brittney Lee, who did the illustration work for the book ‘Frozen: A Sister More Like Me’, but this may be the standard for the entire production design.

There are 5 stickers per pack and if I am honest I think I was unlucky and got a poor selection but have to assume there are much nicer ones in the collection overall.
I got the following in the packet I bought:

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7: The right hand side of a, presumably, two part landscape. Mountains in the distance and a barren uneven rock covered landscape in the foreground with a few sparse leafless trees populating it.
62: An oval sticker of Olaf looking happy with an ice palace like staircase behind him. The outer part of the sticker can also be used so you get a more complete image of Olaf if using it alone. (You can just about see the edge of the oval in the photo).

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98: The left side of a, presumably, two part landscape image. Elsa riding on the back of Sven both with determined looks on their faces and a generic snowflake background. (Is it just me or does it look a bit ugly? A much more amateurish generic looking effort than the painted style of the other images).
116: The right side of a, presumably, two part image. A young reindeer, it’s eyes closed and its snout cut off as part of the left side of this image, tied to a green sled with a foot poking in from the left on a snowy landscape. It is probably Kristoff and a young Sven but that is just a guess.

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123: The bottom right corner of a, presumably, four part image. Three young trolls look up in adoration at the back of a man’s legs – probably Kristoff.

Did you notice the trend there? Only one sticker really stood on its own (Olaf obviously) while with the others you can see there might be an interesting image, once completed, but due to the cuts you don’t feel you got something which is satisfying in and of itself (Maybe the mountain landscape might be acceptable in fairness if you trim off the incomplete border frame). As I said maybe I was unlucky and there are plenty of standalone stickers in this series but I get the impression they went overboard with dividing images amongst multiple parts.

The quality of the stickers is good, they’re 22mm by 38mm in size and I am sure children who have the sticker album (sold for £2.99 with a few sticker packets included with it) will be happy to add these to their collection.
However I do hope that the company didn’t go overboard with multiple part imagery in the collection as having only part of a complete image is, from my memories collecting such things when little, immensely frustrating to the point you suspected they don’t include certain stickers in random sticker packs just so you pay the much higher price to directly order the remaining stickers to complete your collection rather than take the increasing risk of duplicates in the randomised sticker packets.

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So my advice… If you intend to collect the album these are okay but I would have preferred a few more stickers in the the pack as only five seems unacceptable for the price unless you were getting a lot of foil, hologram or other high cost to manufacture ‘special’ stickers in the collection thus averaging the manufacture’s cost across the collection.

As you can tell from the images these have all clearly been printed in a centralised location and given multiligual labelling in each box to make manufacturing and international distribution cheaper so I think they could have cut the price down a little more considering everything or provided more stickers. Certainly 5 per pack is the lowest number I have ever encountered!

These are new images so while you won’t be repeating the now ubiquitous imagery of every promotion since the original film’s debut it is hard to say buying just a packet of these will satisfy a fan of the property – especially younger ones expecting clear images of the heroines. It is hard to recommend them but hopefully you have better luck than me in what stickers you get. I think I was extraordinarily lucky during the previous collection of ‘Winter Fever’ I covered in a previous post but this time got a load of duds unless I intended to collect the series further.

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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