Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Bonnie and Clyde's Hideout

After watching the superior tv movie Bonnie and Clyde; the True Story I was moved to check out this site to check out some of the actual photos and read some more. A great story and one that is somehow one of the great romantic tales of the modern age, the tv movie is believable with a bewitching Bonnie Parker.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Russian revolutionary songs

From the same source as below some amusing ditties here like 'Advice to Revolting Workers'...

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Latvian movie pic

This was found on the Russian Civil War Yahoo group - it shows Freikorps in the Baltic presumably in the 1920s

Friday, January 27, 2006

Mallick's New World - 'Aguirre Wrath of God' Rip Off !!

I've been looking forward to his movie for a while now - the idea of retelling the story of John Smith and the first colonists in a serious movie was something I wanted to see - so was it any good? Well yes I thought so - despite it being a bit like a fake European movie of the 1970s and being pretty unfathomable at times it was a good experience watching it. There was a lot of long quiet bits inside action sequences, jumpcuts and the usual tricks of arty cinema. It still is enjoyable though despite the fact that the story is basic to the extreme.
The natives are well choreographed and looked the part - the love scenes tender and set to a Schubert-like score of piano. The soldiers looked like they were styled on Aguirre Wrath of God's Conquistadors (steel flecked with blood and mud).
Historically it was pretty accurate from what I saw and what I know though I think there was a little too much armour in the ranks of the colonists. I can't imagine crossbows or bucklers being used then which were depicted in the film though all the armour was at least in period. A fight is depicted when Farrell is wearing a cuirassier bascinet, something that while technically possible in the period but looked wrong and too medieval ( being only worn by heavy cavalry - sort of like someone running around in the jungles of Vietnam in a helicopter pilots outfit). So I think that Mallick was probably trying to emulate the look of Conquistadors with the look of the settlers. Visually it borrow a lot from Werner Herzog's movie (see pic) showing the decay and infighting of the intruders in a brooding malevolent way.
Linguistically the film is interesting - lots of unsubtitled Native language and the settlers were all mumbling away in Mummerset enough to make you wish they were subtitled too. Farrell seems to drop his Irish accent in favour of a Casualty Bristolish accent only to return to his Native Ireland before the end of the sentence. A lot of the dialogue has the feel of theatrical rehearsals rather than actual acting - the verite style of Mallick looks as if he filmed the improvisation rather than the finished version. Most of this babble is obviously intended to be irrelevant as obviously only the odd words uttered by Farrell were supposed to have any significance. I felt sorry for the girl acting the P-Princess - she was acting and dancing her socks off in a lot of scenes while the Irish Brad Pitt simply sneered or curled his lip.
Pocahontas - not that they ever use the P word during the film - is pretty striking - I think she must be a ballet dancer - she moves very gracefully and looks the part. The character actors in the background are good but Farrell - who has to be 'playing' the only man in the 17th century with a pony tail - is boring and his 'rebel colonist' persona unbelievable.
Enjoyable movie - worth a trip to the cinema, but watch Aguirre Wrath of God first
(picture left is of Klaus Kinski in this German movie set duiring the Conquest of Peru)
New World movie site

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


Geoff Norcott (our Animals and men drummer) now lives in Torquay and drums with this band. Give them a listen - sounded a bit like the Wedding Present when I first heard them.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Arms Drill 1730

These images from a drill book of 1730 are staggering! Brought to my attention by Peter the Great period reenactor Boris these individual plates show everything from top to bottom in the handling of the weapons, pike and musket, of the era. The pike was obsolete in Western Europe but was still used ceremonially and it is all the better for its inclusion. The origins are unknown to me but it is a rare document indeed showing the dress and acoutrements in good detail.
Here to see photos of the Great Northern War being filmed

Thursday, January 19, 2006

People getting pwn3d!

This set of fast video clips showing disastrous mishaps was shown me by my eldest daughter. It's a fascinating and sometimes horrfying array of disasters that hit you in quick succession so you hardly know what you've seen but some of them haunt you for hours afterwards


I was half-watching the fairly awful movie 'Hanover Street' the one where Harrison Ford gets to reprise his role as Han Solo, this time as a bomber pilot in 1943. Anyway, there was, as in all world war two movies, a Kubelwagen in it, and I wondered about them - this site looks the best place to start...reenactment photos of other German vehicles there too. In case you're wondering, a 45 model is up for sale for 12 grand.

Bronco models 1/16th scale CV-33

Box art for a couple of variants (Chinese army) of this Hong Kong based company's forthcoming release.

Ethiopians versus the Cv-33

This tale is from the website 'Tanks' http://mailer.fsu.edu/~akirk/tanks/
The Ethiopian campaign demonstrated a severe handicap due to the machine guns' narrow traverse capability. In one event, Ethiopian soldiers (who had no tanks are were basically a medieval army with muzzle loading cannon) actually attacked a troop of CV33's. After the initial fear and worry had worn off, and getting a bit hot under the collar because their beloved leader had fallen, they formed a plan. Noting the limited traverse of the MG's, they simply attacked from the side! In the narrow area in which this occured, the poor CV33 tankers simply could not turn around. After a liberal stabbing of port slits with sabers and knives, the angry soldiers then poured gasoline on the tanks and set them afire. To add insult to injury, the Ethiopians then flipped the tanks over - barehanded. Only one crew survived to surrender out of 13 tanks in this encounter - and that was by shouting Christo - Christo! Seems that the Ethiopians did not understand that hands up meant surrender... to them, the Italians simply made better targets of themselves!

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Photojournalism in the Spanish Civil war

this was the first was where correspondents were in the action shooting the bomb damage and getting it into print where it could influence the public. On the subject of influencing the public this exhibition of posters looks interesting

Italian CV-33 tankette

This four foot high 'tankettes' saw action in the SCW and WW2. One turned up recently in Iraq at a Republican Guard base at Tikrit - pic here
A 1/72 model by DOC is reviewed here and the BUM one here
Nationalist tank page here

Battle of Guadalajara

Last major victory for the Republicans.
Also linked to a well done site La Cucuracha, which has a diary and features on songs

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Imperial Japanese Army Page

This is a pleasant site with lots of photos of the various light tanks and odd weapons used by the Japanese army in the 30s and 40s.

Spanish Civil War Remembered

Interviewing a large percentage of veterans from Britain

For whom the Bells Toll rework

From Variety
Leonardo DiCaprio is in talks to star in "For Whom the Bell Tolls'' at Warner Bros. "`Troy'' writer David Benioff is scripting the adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's novel. DiCaprio - is said to be keenly interested in playing Robert Jordan, the young American teacher who joins an antifascist guerrilla unit in the mountains of Spain. DiCaprio won't commit to the project without a director, however, and none is attached.

La Columna -- UK's Spanish Civil War living history

It's always pleasant to see the obscure periods of history being recreated and especially good if its being done well. La Columna have been going for some while and have an interesting website with lots of useful links as a testiment to their research and enjoyment of the period

Vehicles of the SCW

Spanish language site - lots of pictures though. Spend some time here as it is rewarding...some brilliant photos. Helmets pictured here

Spanish civil war photo essay

BUM 1/72 models for the SCW

If you are thinking of modelling the SCW then you might consider these curious Spanish-made models of some of the more notable vehicles used. One (the Italian tankette CTV) comes free with a cd of Italian marching songs! All of the sets are limited to a 1000 run and turn up on ebay occasionally.

Soviet tank operations in the Spanish Civil War

This is a useful article that covers the deployment of T-26s in Spain.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Spanish Civil War Living History

You can tell by their graphics (left) that this Spanish group Ay Carmela are going to be good. Browse their excellent website and see the photos...and the articles in English to enjoy the enthusiasm on display. Well done.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Jarhead reviews

Sam Mendes' Gulf War film based on the book by Anthony Swofford. This is a movie that sets out to be the Apocalypse Now of the Gulf War and to a degree succeeds, though its brutality and tedium does actually make uncomfortable viewing. Apparently this movie did not benefit from support from the US military and did not get the free hardware offered to such films as Black Hawk Down and therefore is a warts'n'all depiction of the inaction of the USMC in the desert. Worth a look if you like this sort of thing. IMDB facts here

Saturday, January 14, 2006

The War That Made America tv showing Jan 18

this is showing soon in the US - its a history of the French and Indian War to mark its 250th anniversary - looks well done from the trailers here http://www.thewarthatmadeamerica.com/promos.html well worth a look

Friday, January 13, 2006

Lew Lewis 'Save The Wail'

I was wondering this evening - like you do - what happened to Lew Lewis? - he made some great modern rockin' blues tracks with Canvey bands the Hot Rods and the Feelgoods in the mid 70s - at his heyday he had an album on Stiff I think and even had his own promotional harmonica to give out at gigs. When I was an r'n'b singer harpist in the Bad Detectives we used to do a cover of the Hot Rods ''Horseplay' which was a firm favourite among our 'fans' as well as other Lewis 'hits'.
Anyway he's alive and sort of well as the above link shows - if you haven't heard 'Caravan Man' 'Out for a Lark' or 'Boogie on the Streets' then try and track them down. Come back Lew - we need a harp maestro like you so the younger kids can learn how its done!

The Lowlands of Holland

This song I first heard on the debut album by British folk legend Martin Carthy. It's a great song and this page does it justice, with lyrics and background.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Cock and Bull Story

This is a new release movie starring Steve Coogan and his protege Rob Bryden. Official website here. It is about the filming of Tristram Shandy, the so-called unfimable book by Laurence Sterne. I'm a Coogan fan and am looking forward to it...

Russian Cavalry memoirs

this selection of excerpts on this excellent site Russian Battlefield tells the story of cavalry in World War Two. Russia used the mounted arm quite a lot - it suited the large expanses of the land and horses were very much still in the Russian way of life

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Simon Girty

As its the anniversary of the attack at Dunlap's station (1791) I thought it might be interesting to put a link up to the legendary villain of American history, Simon Girty. A more reasonable biography which explores the myth is here and another here
Some photos of a living history based on Girty here

Monday, January 09, 2006


Now I am not a big fan of the Samurai - it could be all the difficult to pronounce names or maybe its just too difficult to get to grips with but it is a popular subject and one that my kids are quite interested in. BBC4 have just shown a night of Samurai programmes which they have enjoyed so I have put a link up to the above site which looks a good place to start.
Russian plastic figure manufacturer Zvezda have just produced a headquarters set which is reviewed here.
We spotted a well painted 90mm Papo Prestige toy Samurai in a shop in Bath - available here in the US here

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Death of legend Link Wray

I'm a bit late with this information - it happened late November. Very sad but what a contribution to music? His classic instrumentals are going to live on forever as the birth of primitivism in rock and roll. We were lucky enough to see Link live at Dingwall's back in the early 80s and Sue got to shake his hand. His set was primarily made up of standards, Elvis tunes etc but he finished off with a rousing medley of his golden age hits.
My claim to fame is that I met Screamin' Jay Hawkins, another lost legend. A very scary man indeed.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Remote controlled tanks

This is another Christmas gift that I thought may be of interest. A 1/24 scale tank that fires bb pellets, has a rotating turret, elevating barrel and fully working tracks. First off I was the recipient of the Russian designed T-90 but that didn't work so it was replaced by a German Leopard A5. This one worked and was very impressive covering obstacles and so on. Now I wish I had another tank to pit it up against, though luckily there is a good amount of modern tanks in that scale - click here for some of the tanks available. If you're thinking of getting one then shop around - the prices seem to fluctuate widely.
1/16 scale seems to be one to go for if you want world war two - there seems to be Tigers and Panthers in this scale, though no doubt more will follow.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Big Bottom Massacre Jan 2 1790

The Big Bottom massacre between Ohio company settlers and Delawares and Wyandots marked the start of four years of frontier warfare in Ohio, which only stopped when General Anthony Wayne and the Indian tribes signed the Treaty of Greenville.
Pictures like the one featured left on the Ohio region's history are at this site Opening the Door West - a tv series about the Ohio Company. 3d Reconstructions here