Saturday, December 31, 2005

Where we live

In the spirit of giving I thought I'd show you where we live. The photo I googled but it's actually taken by our next door neighbour. We're about 4th house from the end at the right. They're miners cottages from the now defunct Somerset coalfield.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Age of Reason

Age of Reason movies
Above's a webpage I put together publicising some of the groups that recreate the mid eighteenth century - the Seven Years War mainly - a period I consistently enjoy recreating and studying.
I suppose it was Kubrick's Barry Lyndon (production shot left) that got me started on this period and so far there hasn't been a movie to rival it in scope and depth. Another great 18th century movie is Sternberg's The Scarlet Empress.
I hear there is a movie scheduled on Marie Antionette for 2006 - trailer here - looks interesting...

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Call of Duty 2 - the Big Red One

My kids (well not kids anymore but you know what I mean) have long wanted to find a Playstation game that was historically accurate enough for me to want to play on it and I think they found one in this game. A first person shooter (means you see a little rifle in the foreground) that takes you through North Africa, Russia apparently (dont ask how) Normandy and so on, operating various weapons and craft. It's wonderful - yesterday I drove a Stuart tank against Panzers. The scenery is well done and the vehicles and weapons superb.
So... if your kids have a PS2 get a copy of this game - it's really good. I actually prefer letting the offspring play it as they are better at it and I just watch and bore them with background chatter, like why the guys you're fighting are French, and why the Garand isn't worth trading for a Kar 98.

Lobositz 1756 Reenactment

This is looking like a good English speaking organiser too! The above link takes you to a chapter from Carlyle's History

'As many of you already know, the 250th anniversary of the Battle of Lobositz, the first battle of the Seven Year War will take place over a celebration weekend from Thursday 28th September to Sunday 1st October 2006.The weekend opens with a large street fair in the town of Lobositz ( today Lovosice in the Czech Republic), Saturday 30th sees an international wargamers festival in the Lovos Culture Centre organised by the Prague Historic Wargamers Association and on Sunday 1st October we will have a Battle Re.enactment on part of the original battlefield site.

In addition there will be local tours around the battlefield on oldtimer buses and also to Litomerice and the Terezin Memorial which are all within 3 miles of the battlefield and Lovosice.The Battle is being organised by the Mayor of Lovosice with the support of the town council and regional authority and those taking part in the battle will receive food and accomodation subject to early application.

If anyone is interested to take part in the events in Lovosice please contact the Event Co.ordinator'

David Griffiths, Zamek Borec, 41002 Lovosice, Czech Republic

Friday, December 23, 2005

The Rock Star Game

This is an excellent pursuit - choose your band and then off you go - compare your band's progress to others - learn the value of touring and practice. We never did. My band is The Popcorn Dictatorship and I'm at the moment trying to get my first single out.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

King Kong... a star is reborn

I am not normally a fan of remakes but this - the current Peter Jackson version - is very good indeed. It expands on the original - takes the original ideas and gives them more depth and more humanity. Coupled with epic action scenes and panoramas that take the breath away this movie though 3 hours in length keeps your interest from the first scene. NYC of the 1930s is so well recreated that it is totally believable but in a way that makes you feel that you are seeing it in a new way. It makes the original seem like a storyboard - a blueprint for this version which without detracting from the original creates the ultimate version.
Jack Black is good as the crazed Denham but of course the star is the gorilla who has been given more personality and made more believable - there are hints at the fact that he is the last in the line of huge apes and his subsequent loneliness are thrown in and there is a delightful bum-skating scene with King and Ann that is reminiscent of Bambi.
So... give your eyes a treat and your buttocks some torture...go ape for King Kong

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

JCB Song

This quirky folk song about childhood days is an unexpected breath of non commercial music in this season of over produced slosh, from a duo, Nizlopi. Apparently a contender for the Christmas Number one slot. The video is a delight - watch it at the above link. If you're an American reading this you might not know JCB is a make of earth mover...maybe they're an international company...?

Monday, December 19, 2005

Merian C Cooper - King Kong producer

The man who dreamed of a giant gorilla attacking New York would make a fascinating subject for a biopic himself. An airman in the war between Red Russia and Poland he and co poducer Shoedseck are in the close up shots of airmen in the original movie . There's a book on Amazon that looks in interesting

Sunday, December 18, 2005

King Kong Reviews

It seems that this movie is getting the thumbs up - I might even got to see it myself - the period feel to the trailers have sold it for me - the stunning backdrop of 1930s America looks great

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Merry Christmas - the Movie

This movie, which is about to hit the arthouse cinemas in the UK about now, is partly about the Christmas truce of 1914. Presumably this is a movie that could have benefited from the success of A Very Long Engagement.
Synopsis here
If you read this blog a while back you might have seen some links about this obviously important event that has inspired people ever since.

Official website

meeting with Howling Wolf

Good site dedicated to the most powerful of all the Chicago bluesmen Howling Wolf.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Conquest Miniatures' Native Greens

It's always interesting to see figures in their early stage - Conquest are an American company making quite a name for themselves with their 500 nation range. New up are the Sac and Foxes

New World movie reviews

This eagerly awaited tale by Badlands and Thin Red Line director Mallick is based in Jamestown 1607 and features Colin Farrell as John Smith. This 'arthouse movie with a Hollywood budget' is apparently out in the US on the 25th (January 13 in most cities). Mixed reviews are gathered at the above link. I'm enthusiastic about this film despite what some of the critics say - historical pictures that aren't about Rome are as rare as hen's teeth these days and this promises to be a visual feast if nothing else. Check out the official site that has a 360 degree tour of the Powhatan village and some very atmospheric stills

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Trafalgar clips

There was a news item today about the oldest-serving sailor from HMS Victory so here's a few clips of the celebrations this summer

Monday, December 12, 2005

Space Cadets hoaxes public

According to the blurb this reality tv is hoaxing a group of wannabees that they are in Russia and going into space - a big joke - but it seems that the hoax is going to be on the British public as it turns out that the so-called participants are all in fact actors. Shame on Channel 4....

Austerlitz 2005 photos

Lots of really good wintry images at the link above of the French and Allied troops at this event which seems to have been a great success. It's great to see the greatcoats and the winter kit of the period. Much more spectacular than the full parade dress methinks

Pygmy wars

this is a comprehensive site based on the wars of eastern Europe in the post Russian Revolution period. Excellent

Sunday, December 11, 2005


this place is my father-in-law gets his harmonicas... they certainly have a dazzling array - gone are the days when it was Hohner or nothing...

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Sudden Strike 2

Been busy (ha!) over the last couple of days getting to grips with Sudden Strike 2 and Sudden Strike Resource War - Real time strategy set in World war2. Command either Brit, US, USSR Japanese or German tanks and infantry, their support vehicles even aircraft in realistic battles - well so the aim is. I like them. There are some drawbacks - see the review - but it is a fun and reasonably well rendered world that looks like the war. Some of you might get a copy so I can try out the online capabilities.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Austerlitz photos and video clips

Thanks to Eric from Holland here are some more images of this epic Napoleonic battle. This dedicated reenactor drove 2700 km - 15 hours to fire ten rounds... but despite the cold and the usual difficulties found it worth it to be on the field with 4,000 reenactors.
'It does look great, but very hard work. People having sliding and falling down all over the place. Also having to climb a small hill was very difficult to get up. Took a while before everyone was on top. Very tiring it was. Also very cold, sometimes the leatherstraps of my gaiters froze to the ground if we didn't move too long.
A lot of British we joining French regiments. Our 3eme had some of the 71st HLI members in it.
The Napoleon actor really looked the part, but didn't really have time to watch him on the battlefield. Besides the battle I never saw him again.
I think the next one will be Jena, also likely to be very cold.'
Eric Timmerije

Info on the American who played Napoleon excellent photos - news coverage - photos - news video

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Austerlitz December 3rd 1805 - video of reenactment

Click on the above text for some sensational footage - in snow - thoroughly convincing!
The Battle of the three emperors - French, Russian and Austrian was fought 200 years ago this weekend and a reenactment took place - hopefully it won't be long before we have some photos to look at. If you have a good connection go here to see some videos from a local tv network. Missed the opportunity to watch it live but there's some consolation to seeing some clips. Project Austerlitz

Saturday, December 03, 2005

The Cramps New LP of rarities

The Cramps have consistently been probably the greatest rock and roll band in the universe since their inception in the mid 70s. Starting in Ohio before relocating first to NYC and then to their beloved Hollywood, Lux, Ivy and an array of cool and oddly named costars have been the most explosive live act gracing the stage despite the advancing age of the main band. This cd looks like an ideal introduction into the sleazy world of B-movies, horror, burlesque, scifi and anything trashy in American culture that they bring into their infectious rockabilly.

(See them live here doing Cramp Stomp) featuring one of music's most enduring and creative partnership - Lux (vocals) and Ivy (guitar) - long may they reign as King and Queen of rock and roll - German fansite here -


the blurb from Channel 4's website. It is quite an unconventional sit-com as it gets to show the protagonists inner thoughts about intimate subjects

Meet Mark and Jeremy. Mark's the sensible one, a professional brogue-wearer with a slightly disconcerting interest in World War Two. Jeremy is the loose cannon, a lazy waster with dodgy friends who dreams of becoming a musician but can never get his act together (or up in the morning). As ever, their deepest, darkest thoughts and feelings are revealed as they try in vain to find their place in the modern world and to find love and fulfilment. After two years, Mark finally gets together with his beloved Sophie but is distraught when she's relocated to Bristol. He tries everything to maintain their relationship, from mild stalking to a botched session of phone sex. Meanwhile, Jeremy tries to get over his disastrous marriage to American beauty Nancy by embarking on a series totally misjudged relationships. Along the way he falls for a troublesome defendant while he's on jury duty, and - horror of horrors - Mark's younger sister.

Also in this series, Mark and Jeremy are forced to deal with intimidating plumbers, insane friends, and must face up to scary teenage muggers and disappointing threesomes.

Sudden Strike; Resource War

If you were wondering what the game being played at the start of Channel 4's excellent comedy Peepshow by the nerdy Mark it looked like Sudden Strike - so I got myself a copy and will give it a review. It is a resource building based game like Cossacks and American Conquest which I have enjoyed so here goes nothing

site meter added

Now I have taken the plunge and put a site meter up. Now I will see for real how few people read this. So in order not to embarass me tell your friends so the site meter can get into reasonable figures... or hit Refresh a few times!

New Osprey of Note

Back of Beyond Times

An excellent site offering a fresh look at what can be done with miniatures that are painted well. This bit features Copplestone Castings eastern figures.
If you like fantasy and want to see more have a look here

Friday, December 02, 2005

Bath's Blitz Project

lots of memories and so on of Bath (Somerset's) wartime experience. Check out the before and after photographs - amazing sayeth one family member while looking over my shoulder. Bristol is dealt with here


information on this beautiful prehistoric fish

Diorama Dreamland

this is a nice site of dioramas of 1/72 figures. Links to the NIKOLAI range of woodland indians in that scale

Thursday, December 01, 2005

WW2 Fighter sims

Ive been looking around for flight sims as one of the neighbours was asking about them and what with watching a load of airfield movies - this one looks good though maybe a little out of date... this one IL2 - Sturmovik set on the Eastern Front looks good and has good recommendations. Some videos here. Also has Pacific variant

Leslie Howard

Hollywood had a real life hero in this charming man - who took up acting after suffering shellshock in World War One. Costarred in Gone with the Wind. The epitome of the English gentleman. He returned to the UK to help the war effort making morale raising movies such as First of the Few.
Information about the death of this great film actor and filmmaker here a good biography here

Saga of Billy Fiske

Been trying to find out more about this movie The Few based on American volunteers in the Battle of Britain. This movie is already controversial - see above - what about the author of the book, yet to be published Alex Kershaw. He's written a book on the Battle of the Bulge - there's a segment here. He appears to be a very commercially-oriented writer.

the West country in archive film footage

this is a useful collection of films from the prewar and later period in the West Country. Enjoy the reminiscences tooo of an age now longer with us (I wish)... The Compton Martin film is good - reminds me of one of our lame jokes - 'straight outta Compton - Compton Dando'