I had planned a longer detailed review of the International Toy Fair I attended (under false pretences) in Docklands Excel last week. I had even made a few notes on the back of my complimentary copy of License! magazine (a splendidly insidious publication that explains how to lure children to your branded character products). But in truth, no matter how fawning the reps were to me with my "UK Buyer" badge, and no matter how many stormtroopers minced around the Hasbro pavilion (it was "appointment only" to see the new Star Wars range) the whole thing was a little soulless and devoid of fun.
All I can say is expect to see some truly poor Charlie and the Chocolate Factory toys piled high this summer and look out for Oidz which I am told are going to be the new toy sensation (although everybody told me that about everything). Oidz are pretty cool, two magnets that vibrate when thrown together and make a weird noise. A kind of remade, remodelled Clackers for you 70s kids.
I suggested to their marketing guy that they should get Slade to do "Come On Feel The Oidz" for the advertising campaign but I could see that he thought that was dumb. (Until he proposes it to his boss I guess).
Far more retro-inspired excitement to be had with the imminent rebirth of Hammer films. A new studio will revive the Hammer brand and produce 6 low budget horror films a year with associated merchandise opportunities.
I once went to view some secondhand books at a house near Elstree in north London and the place was full of Hammer memorabilia. Turned out that the seller had worked as an electrician on some of the films. His books were useless but he did ask "Would you like to view my coffin?". For which I am forever grateful.
the first journalism Lake ever had published was a history of Johnny Thunders for Record Collector magazine, since then he has written for publications including the Guardian, Dazed and Confused, the Idler and more recently, outsideleft.com as you have just seen.