Sunday, February 26, 2006

Adam and the Ants 'Digital Tenderness' DVD

Coming in early March - so that's pretty soon - is this release from Sony bringing together what looks like a stunning array of videos and live footage - I must admit I will probably buy it if only for the early clips. If you can't wait there's an interesting clip of Adam doing his latter single 'Room at the Top' on German TV. This track has a guitar riff by Marco (not present on this footage) nicked from Laibach's 'One after 9o9' ... an exact copy- busted!!
This track contains the lyric
Made in england born and bred
An eighteenth century brain
In a twenty first century head

You can see - Adam's 18thc vision depicted here in his Stand and Deliver video.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Morrissey 'You Have Killed Me' single

Yesterday saw the premiere on channel 4 of the new Mozzer 45 - an Italian influenced ditty full of references to Pasolini and Visconti - two great directors of Italian cinema in the 60s and 70s.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Panzer Front ausf. b - tank gaming heaven?

Another game where you get to see what the Italian tank drivers in the desert had to put up with is this one - recently out for the PS2.
Looks good from the review. This game seems to be set in North Africa with battles that can be fought from either side. The official site here has graphics to give you an idea what it's like - but this UK site looks more useful - and is where I got this image from.

View Askew - Clerks II teaser trailer

This world is mainly created by Kevin Smith and its comic-orientated characters have gone on to be more than the cult figures of these semi-related movies with an ensemble cast that mostly famously included Jay and Silent Bob, Ben Affleck and Jason Scott Lee. Check out the site to see how many of the movies you have seen.
If you're wondering what the song is on the new Ben Affleck/Click fragrance (ad linked above) - it's Johnny Guitar Watson's Gangster of Love.
With the success of Jason Scott Lee in My Name is Earl maybe it's time that classics like Mallrats get revisited. Anyway you'll get an insight into the wonderful world of Kevin Smith and his various movie flops at this site

Thw Wicker Man

The competition between newspapers to give away reasonable dvds has given us some surprises for free movies - Dune, Donnie Darko and now this one is to be given away with Saturday's Guardian. Here's a link to a site that explains the different versions. It is really the soundtrack (search this page for an amazing exclusive instrumental of Willow's song) that I enjoy - this also comes in two versions, one dubbed from the movie and the other the proper studio masters. Here's an interesting fansite and another listing to keep up to date with fans worldwide.
I notice that a few sites of Iron Age interest like Butser and St Fagans do 'Wicker Man' burnings based on Caesar's description. Here's some background information from the reliable WIkipedia
So get your Guardian this Saturday!
Its not all good news though as it seems that Nicholas Cage is working on a Hollywood remake - damn!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

War That Made America - 2nd trailer

This series looks great - can't wait for it to come out on dvd. In case you don't know this is about the Seven Years War in America, sometimes known as the French and Indian war. This is a period that appeals to the romantic in us all having all the components of classic adventure
If you are in the UK - check out the New France and Old England website to find out about how its done over here

Stug footage

Some impressive film of the German Stug and the Panzerfaust here

Radstock in pictures

'Joyeux Noel' Great War movie opens in the US

Italian Tanks - the M13/40 in particular

I don't know why but I find the less-than brilliant tanks of ww2 more interesting than the more famous successful machines. Most of the tanks I like were pretty obsolete by the time war got going properly. The above website is an interesting history of the Italian tank corps.

I have recently become interested in the Italians after playing Call of Duty 2 online - where you get to drive a M13/40 and fight as Italians in a few battles. Sites worth looking at include this one about Italian tanks in North Africa and this one about the M13/40 and 41 and this one about tanks in Italian service. Here is a review of the Tamiya 1/35 scale model and a review of the Zvezda version. Here is a review of the Esci 1/72 model which is being rereleased by Italeri in November 2006. The above image is of an Italian tank helmet which went on ebay for 36 pounds. Bargain...wish I'd bidded now

Monday, February 20, 2006

Funeral of 100th British soldier killed in Iraq

The normally quiet town of Radstock where we live was even quieter to the point of eeriness as the funeral of Corporal Pritchard took place this afternoon. Businesses closed and the traffic was held back at the edges of the town as a mark of respect - the streets were empty apart from police. A sad occasion for the town.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Cowpens reenactment photos 2006

some great photos from this january's reenactment of the battle of Cowpens.

The American revolution must be one of the most picturesque of all the 18th century wars.
Even the atrocious movie The Patriot looked good... I was once in a room where it was on the tv with the sound down - it is quite a pleasant experience compared to following the plot. Visually quite impressive frame by frame but otherwise a terrible movie, loosely based on the character the Swamp Fox, who was the subject of a Disney tv series back in the old days apparently but Gibson alledgedly objected to some of old Swampy's attitudes so fictionalised the whole thing - this is why the Tarleton character is called Tavington or something - what an industry?

The Last Legion

More stuff on this forthcoming Roman movie starring Colin Firth. IMDB details here
It seems that moviemakers are still flocking back to Rome - this century has seen a veritable Roman revival thanks to the success of Gladiator. I first heard of Gladiator when they were casting the extras - some of my reenactment chums were in it but I turned it down - my initial reaction was 'who was Russel Crowe? The only person I'd heard of in it was Oliver Reed so I thought it was some low budget romp! I actually don't like the movie - I think the best Roman movie has to be Spartacus - Kubrick's slave army is fantastic - they look like shepherds and so on.
Novel here
Wikipedia article on Roman novels is linked here

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Polysics videos

Japan's Polysics are one of the most exciting bands around in my humble opinion. They really seem to be pushing the boundaries about whilst still being really energetic - check out the videos - in particular the mesmeric Kaja kaja Guu! which you must see, or Coelacanth is Android...magic - first seen by me on the brilliant show Adam and Joe Go Tokyo

I hate Tescos

Shepton Mallet is the latest town about to be blighted by the arrival of that great Satan among retailers - Tesco - and is fighting back - but we all know the outcome don't we? Check out the above site and realise that it's ok to hate Tescos - in fact buying product from them is something so wrong it is tantamount to snogging Hitler.

Al Jolson

Possibly the 20th century's first pop star

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

First person shooting online

We got ourselves an ethernet modem, costing about 15 quid - so now we can play Playstation 2 games online. First up is to try all the FPS (see above link for a definition) games we have - Timesplitters 3, which I found annoying and too fast and furious, Tom Clancey's Ghost Recon (complete with headset to talk to other players) which I found too technical and too much like hard work, Medal of Honor Rising Sun which was good but slightly annoying, and the best so far, Call of Duty 2 with its expansive maps and cool graphics. Of course I keep getting stuffed as I am not the sort of hardcore gamer that obviously the other players from around the world are so if you are inept - get in touch and we'll fight each other, ineptly. To see a little movie that seems to sum up the genre click here to see FPS Doug - Boom! Headshot!!
It's quite a unique exeperience especially with the headset working - you hear all sorts of ambient chitchat from around the world - talking about the action in this small world... I was getting French and the sound of a babycrying - but after a while your nerves become quite frazzled... the sort of jitters you might get after driving - sometimes this is eased by the 'huh huh huh' coming through the headset. Sometimes you hear your name being called - thats surreal but explained by the fact that your i.d. appears above your figure and readable to other players. Apparently its very newbish to snipe people and also to go around firing loads of rockets everywhere. I am getting better but it is confusing remembering which side you are on, but on the whole a pleasant believable experience. It's quite a heart stopping moment if you suddenly find yourself in a room full of bad guys but not enough for real sweat to break out.
No doubt I'll get bored soon once Ive played all the different scenarios, and the sun will come out and the real world will beckon once again.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Isabelle Huppert

Isabelle Huppert is probably my favourite of all the great actresses French cinema has produced. She first came to my attention with the Lacemaker and is known to Hollywood as the woman in Heaven's gate. This site is almost as elegant as Isabelle herself. I also enjoyed her Violette Noziere which was directed by the French Hitchcock Claude Chabrol. I last saw her in the excellent I Heart Huckabees
So if you are going to be alone this Valentines - rent a decent Isabelle Huppert movie and succumb to the enigmatic French siren. Madame Bovary is a role that shows her at her best.

Brainiac - History abuse

This is a programme on Sky Travel that is a kind of lads history - my daughter loves it and insists I watch it. It shows the gruesome and sometimes explosive side of things like weapons and inventions. A kind of history show for those people who don't like history. Well worth a watch if you think History shows are all boring... highlights include regular contributions by 'Ernest Clough History Buff'
More here

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Alien Big Cats in Somerset

This week's local paper the Somerset Guardian has another pair of black cat sightings in my area - this phenomena has been increasing in the south west for a number of years and is quite a mystery - most descriptions are of a large black cat about the size of a dog with orange eyes and a long tail, with a cat-like gait. A booklet has been published Some early reports here A Fortean Times article here
News from the British Big Cats Society here Big Cat Study Group Here
A number of theories abound as to what is going on - has the island always supported an elusive population? - has someone been systematically introducing them? It certainly is a mystery.
Since writing this my next door neighbour reports that he has seen one (ABC) while walking the dog at about 10 pm. I hope it won't be long before I see one - maybe I'll take my digital camera out dogwalking...

Friday, February 10, 2006

V for Vendetta

Trailer for this interesting looking movie set in a fascist Britain of the future based on the Alan Moore graphic novel - learn about the original comic here

The Grizzly Man

Trailer here
This documentary by Werner Herzog is amazing - it tells the story through interviews and camcorder footage of Timothy Treadwell who was killed and eaten by bears in Alaska. It is occasionally very funny but mostly the theme is quite dark as the main character comes across as having a death wish. Like some MTV Steve Irwin he exudes mania in every scene - well worth watching - review here

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Plimouth Plantation, Jamestown etc

If you're inspired to find out more about early America from watching the movie 'New World' here are a few links - Plimouth Plantation, Pocahontas - Jamestown
Jamestown is celebrating its 400th anniversary here and here

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Dr William Price

Here's a great Victorian eccentric who championed many offbeat themes for the time and lived a full and colourful life. Biography here and above.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Conrad Veidt

'Girls fight - for Conrad Veidt' or something similar was the publicists tagline... he will always be remembered for his role as Cesare the Sleepwalker in the Cabinet of Dr Caligari the classic early horror. Check out the above webpage to learn more about this remarkable actor

Dr Ross

The relatively obscure bluesman Dr Ross has been on my turntable recently. This one man band who lived in Flint Michigan was a great exponent of the rural boogie, welding harp and guitar together in a familiar but unique way, playing them upside down as he was left handed. He served in the Phillipines and elsewhere and recorded blues relating to his military experiences. This album is worth checking out, as is this discography
Another great one man band of the era is Joe Hill Louis another artist I love to bits...

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Serge Gainsbourg

Serge Gainsbourg is to me the epitome of 'Frenchness' in the 60s and 70s. I love his 'Bonnie and Clyde' with Brigitte Bardot and his 'Requeim pour un con' is one of my choices for playing at my funeral.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Casanova movie - Valentine's day cinema?

This is opening in the UK for Valentine's Day screenings which might seem a little odd - how many people would associate a story about a serial philanderer as ideal date material? But anyway they have got Australian Heath Ledger to play the famous Venetian so you can see where this film is aimed. It looks good enough from the trailer for the job in hand and might be worth a look - a review here. Fellini's Casanova must be the defintive version for me though with Donald Sutherland looking very much the part.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

100th British soldier killed

This tragic landmark occasion is particularly poignant for me as the dead soldier was from my own village, Radstock. Has anyone other than Blair been in favour of this conflict?