Sunday, December 31, 2006
The documentary on Crumb is a strange experience - a better depiction of this man who enjoyed getting Piggy Back rides is in the movie American Splendour.
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Friday, December 29, 2006
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
There's a kind of cockleshell about you.
Sad to see that it is being redone with Drew Barrymore. Yuk. Try watching it with the sound down - another great sound down movie of the 60s is 'Girl on a Motorcycle' but I suppose that's another post. If you are interested in tracking down the original comics then try this BD page - BD is Bande dessinee I think. Imdb credits. Noteworthy is that the costumes were designed by Paco Rabanne
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Monday, December 18, 2006
The site is the Cobb at Lyme Regis - the Dorset seaside place where Monmouth landed. Also the setting for the movie The French Lieutenant's Woman.
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Saturday, December 16, 2006
Frome in Somerset is an old wool manufacturing town with many artisan's dwellings dating from the early 18th century - worth a day out if you fancy exploring a town over the Christmas break. The rebellious clothworkers of Frome declared for the Duke of Monmouth in 1685, after Sedgemoor most of the rebels were hung or transported. The town itself was punished by it being occupied by Royal troops - a British equivalent to the Dragonnades. Many of the buildings of this era still stand and the house where Monmouth stayed is now a coffee shop. Frome reccovered enough for Defoe to describe it in the 1720s "so prodigiously increased within these last 20-30 years, that they have built a new church, and so many new streets of houses, and those houses are so full of inhabitants, that Frome is now reckoned to have more people in it than the city of Bath, and some say, than even Salisbury itself, and if their trade continues to increase for a few years more ... it is likely to be one of the greatest and wealthiest towns in England". He estimated a population of 10,000 - a phenomenal number for the time.
Friday, December 15, 2006
Yesterday we had one of those conversations about whether our children enjoyed going off and doing reenactment and I think all of them would say on the whole it was a useful experience, especially when young. Camping and having open fires to cook on, meeting all sorts of eccentric individuals all make for a pretty happy diversion especially if there are others of their age group around to share it with. I found the English Civil War Society pretty child-friendly, but most societies are - but find out if they allow camp fires. This is the heart of period camping and without it it's not much fun. Probably the thing my son enjoyed most was chopping wood, keeping the fire going and this is after all essential growing-up stuff for kids of both genders. It can be rough and ready but you do finish up appreciating the modern comforts when you get back. In short, it is a useful thing to get some good basic hard campaigning - facing powder and shot - alright not that but facing the British weather into them in their formative years. You don't need a Dangerous Book for Boys or anything wussy like that - if you want to bring your kids up tough enough to enjoy themselves when it's raining or be able to cook on an open fire - or unselfconscious in funny outfits - take 'em reenacting - but don't leave it too late or they will sulk.
Thursday, December 14, 2006
I was perusing the Christmas edition of the Radio Times looking to see what films were on and as usual feeling let down - but this is another thing from the b.v. days - before video - when the only place you could see a film was on tv or the cinema.
'Anything good on' asked Susan. 'Ring of Bright Water' said I 'We've seen that fairly recently haven't we?'
'Yes but Napoleon hasn't'.
Already a nice brochure has been produced with artwork by Chris Hull. The good thing about it is there's not a pitchfork in sight. Thankfully....
I cringed a bit when I read my review - in my defence that was written when nobody read my blog and I was being a smart arse. How times change he said sarcastically.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
This is Chicago blues at its very best - a clip from the British-made Devil's Music tv series from 1976 has Billy Boy, who learned harp from John Lee 'Sonny Boy' Williamson and played on Maxwell street with Bo Diddley, in fine rockin' form. This clip has him backed up by the Aces - the Myers and Fred Below - some of the best backing musicians of the genre. This stop-time song is a reworking of his 50s single for Vee Jay and is a great tale of being outclassed by a clever woman. 'I thought she was just a dumb little girl and I could give her almost any old line'.
In the days before video I remember watching this programme with a cassette player pressed up against the tv - daring anyone to speak and spoil it. Well I was 16.
Interview here where he talks about his early career, playing with Bo and I Wish You Would. Bio and recent history here
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Monday, December 11, 2006
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Friday, December 08, 2006
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
'Do you wanna learn - or am I being wasteful now'. I don't know how many times I've checked to see if any Subway Sect has been uploaded and now it's there - watch it now in case it disappears.Wiki here Discography
This lot of glum Londoners were to me one of the best punk bands ever - although they didn't really have an album out during their early classic phase they made one of the best 45s of the era - namely Nobody's Scared/Don't Splitit. Listen to it and the flip here. Their style was deadpan, flat vocals over trebly guitar and thunderous drums, a format that was discarded too early, as Vic Godard pursued a more rockier approach. I will never forget the disappointment seeing them supporting the Buzzcocks on the Love Bites tour when they had jumped on a power pop bandwagon. I still shudder at the thought of it. Never mind there are some early tracks knocking around - anyone know of a definitive compilation of that early stuff
The Bristol Connection? I think the Sect were a big influence on the Bristol scene - something just clicked I reckon - there were dozens of Subway Sect sound and lookalike bands and probably had it not been for the fact that we had Susan as a singer we would have been another. I think the Pop Group were influenced by them - of course this might not be the case but that's just a thought - their appearance on the White Riot tour and playing Barton Hill gave them a load of fans in this neck of the woods. Of course Johnny Britten - mentioned in an earlier posting joined them and apparently and this is something I didn't know - was in Joboxers. I remember him being a bit of a 'face' on the Clifton scene and also recall him joining the Media. I was in a documentary about Bristol's punk scene - I was interviewed in the Dug Out Club when I was at printing college there. ANyway enough nostalgia - buy the Punk in London DVD to see 'em do Ambition the way it should have been done as a single and Staying Out of View. Other not so good bands are featured like the Lurkers, Killjoys, JaM, Adverts and the Clash in a German documentary from 77 - also one from X-Ray Spex. Worth buying honestly. Pics and story
Interview with Vic Godard who is now a postman. His Myspace
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
300 is a movie by Zack Snyder based on Frank Miller's graphic novel. The story is of course the battle of Thermopylae - once visited in the sword and sandal era as The 300 Spartans. This time it's shot entirely in front of a blue screen and the effect is - to look at the trailer - stunning. Already toys are going on sale.
Watch the trailer here
Info and posters here
Monday, December 04, 2006
Battle of the Scanian War fought this day between Sweden and Denmark. I like this period...it's bloody obscure and maybe that's why I like it. The painting of the battle here sort of captures why I like the 1670s though looking at it I can't really put my finger on it. Be really nice to wargame this period though I am not sure of any decent figures that are available for it. A 1670s range could also cover Louis XIV's wars of the period, the Battle of Fehrbellin, and maybe even back to the Carignan Salieres regiment and the Restoration. Danish uniforms and more information on the Scanian wars here
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Saturday, December 02, 2006
The museum is housed in the Market building depicted in the painting, and a fine museum it is, with lots of enthusiasm for the region's past.
Friday, December 01, 2006
Around here one William Ashman built a steam loco-motive to run on the coal tramway tracks around Radstock in the 1820s but it was too heavy. Shame. Picture from here
Thursday, November 30, 2006
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
I've managed to prevent him getting the nickname Nappy but he is occasionally known as Mr Chuckles because of the happy noises he makes while he scurries about. Maybe I ought to record it and put out a cd - bet the other Napoleon hasn't had that.
Monday, November 27, 2006
Live version of the Groupies classic from this summer's visit. You get a view from the moving audience. We do a version of this song - it's a classic from 66... 'Because I love...and I live...Primitive'. The Groupies were all extremely young and when they were signed to Atlantic -got on a wrong plane finished up on the wrong coast and got dumped by the label. The 1960s NY Garage band scene
Sunday, November 26, 2006
The kind-hearted colliers of the North of Old England
Have offered to help them and set them free,
From their tyrant oppressors who have long been supreme,
And those Radstock colliers will never give in,
There's no end of danger they're in down below,
Doing their best to bring us good coal,
Yet still in this danger, they're sorely oppressed,
By those who employ them for wages so low
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Janet Tanner has also a fiction work 'Tucker's Inn' loosely based on the pub Tucker's Grave. Interestingly this must-visit cider house was also the subject of a song on the last Stranglers album. Funnily enough Hugh Cornwell was out there once when I was there. Small world.
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Monday, November 20, 2006
Sunday, November 19, 2006
Just in case you are wondering who this man is and why they should be making a film of him - read his life story above. A son of a slave who raised an army to beat the French helping to create a new Republic. For military information check out the Osprey Napoleon's Overseas Army by Rene Chartrand (see image).
Fight to Control the West Indies
The period of the French Revolution and Napoleonic wars in the West Indies hasn't really had the coverage it deserves - it was essentially about who controlled these sugar-rich fever islands and was part of the maritime struggle between Britain and France in the 18th century. For wargaming it maybe the best bet is to convert Hat's Spanish Guerrilas, British Marines and sailors and French Line Infantry
Campaigns in the West Indies
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Friday, November 17, 2006
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
My son is always telling me that all he knows about the Great War is gathered from the comic strip Charley's War from the British mag 2000AD and others. Well it so happens that this strip is a good place to start for anyone's money as it is not only very accurate historically it also is very well drawn into the bargain. Check out the site if you don't believe me.
So if you want a good graphic book about this period get one of the compendium stories or put it on your wish list for the festive season. Many historical themes are covered including the Etaples Mutiny.
An interesting Dark Age battle has its anniversary today, fought between Northumbrians and Mercians. Website above will tell you all there is to know. The helmet known as the Sutton Hoo helmet is from roughly the same era. Buy your repro version here
If you're into tanks but are not bothered by modelling and more into game play you might want to try Avalon Hill's game Axis and Allies. Centred around collectable miniatures and figures and various scenarios it looks like it might be a worthwhile investment if you are wanting something three dimensional to get you away from the screen. I notice they have the Italian M13/40 (see below) as highly inflammable - nice...
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Ah nostalgia - even more poignant when relating to toys - well that's what I think. You can tell a true toy fan when they fantasise about what models they'd get when time machines are invented - mine would have to be Britain swoppets. They were amazing and this site does them justice with all manner of interesting pictures and stories about the creation of these superior toy soldiers. I had some of course, never enough and I always changed what I was interested in so I would only have about three of each range. My son was asking me about this tendency to change the period of history I was into frequently the other day - I blame movies for this - you can happily go along being quite happily into say, the Napoleonic wars and then you watch a movie about say the American Revolution and then off you go. Anyway enjoy this site and if you have any of these figures feel free to send them to me, I will give them a good home, and won't trash them like I did 40 years ago. Link to another interesting Herald and Britain's site
Monday, November 13, 2006
Out on November 14 Civil War will be a first-person action game and will take place during 12 of the war's most notorious battles, including Gettysburg, Bull Run, and Antietam. The game will feature authentic guns, like repeating rifles, revolvers, and Gatling guns, but it will also feature plenty of gritty hand-to-hand combat with bayonets, sabres, and good old-fashioned fists. Gamers can play as either the Confederate or Union soldiers.