Friday, March 31, 2006

Shepton Mallet in the news

I was looking for a piece that made it into the Fortean Times about the countrys' largest chicken being from Shepton Mallet - a town up the road from us - and I found this piece from the Observer about how fashionable Somerset is these days. We knew it was a bit like that from reading the Sunday Times supplements that get passed onto us. I will let you know if I see any famous people driving through.
I found the rooster story here if you are interested. It's a year old.

Yeah Yeah yeah's Gold Lion Top of the Pops

To see this amazing performance go on 19th March from the Watch Top of The Pops icon and Bob's yer uncle

Tainted Love

After hearing the current chartbound sound SOS by Rihanna, Susan and I discussed its apparent sampling of Tainted Love, the Soft Cell version - who would get the royalties? This led to the matter of the song Tainted Love and who wrote it and of course I was able to authoritatively state it was by the great Ed Cobb who originally offered the song to the Standells, who turned it down - so it went to Gloria Jones who also recorded his 'Heartbeat' recently covered by soul-punk supremos the Detroit Cobras. Jones' version of course became a Northern soul anthem. Cobb also wrote Dirty Water and Sometimes Good Guys Don't Wear White. Cobb seems to have deliberately wrote lyrics that celebrated the 'bad boy' image of the band in imitation of the Stones. See clips of the Standells doing Dirty Water and appearing on the Munster show! Maybe someone might do a cover of Tainted Love one day in the style of the Standells...
Wikipedia entry on Tainted Love

The War that made America trailers

These trailers are worth a look - the series tells the story of the French and Indian war.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Punk Rock: An Oral History

This new book published by the Ebury Press to mark the 30th anniversary is by John Robb - once of the Membranes and now a talking head on TV. Review here. He made an interesting comment in an interview (see below) that Blogs were like fanzines but easier and quicker.
I read about this in my copy of NUDE Magazine - a kind of arts magazine that we subscribe to... some great features in this month's like a piece of pinball
The printed word does seem redundant in this world of the net but we still buy the odd magazine - we also get 2000 ad, and the Fortean Times and occasionally MOJO.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Vive le Rock Adam Ant

what with the Adam and the Ants dvd withdrawn we are now left bereft of any new clips to enjoy but instead watch this clip of one of his lesser hits (or flops to use the common parlance) although I like it a lot. This is probably one of the few songs to have been inspired by a t-shirt, in this case a Seditionaries design. This song was performed at Live Aid with much notoriety. I hated Live Aid myself and couldn't understand him wanting to do it but there you are.
The Cramps had the best attitude damning all rock do-gooders with the album Stay Sick!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Photoshopped old masters

These are fun - redone old masters.

This one is my favourite...check them out

Monday, March 27, 2006

Checking out my wigwam

This loveable ditty will have you singing along - its the return of Betty Boo - and Blur bassist Alex James - the video is directed by Dom Joly - pretty good too. Sue said 'we tried to explain it to you, that we'd seen it and it was good but you didn't seem interested'. Well I am now, because I have heard it and liked it. See it in full

Gun for PS2

If you wondered - like me - whether there were any gun-based games set before the invention of the tommy-gun you might like this western adventure shoot 'em game.
There's lots of fun game play with horses, hunting buffalo as well as games rounding up cattle and mustangs. A slow-mo gunfight tool enables you to be a dead shot. The horse action is well animated and realistic and the side missions initiated through reading wanted posters are great.
Recommended to fans of the western genre

RSM 95s

These are the SYW miniatures used in Alzheim. They were sculpted back in the 80s if I recall by a policeman in his idle hours. They are proportionally correct which is unusual in metal miniatures these days - figures today usually look like big handed ogres.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Duchy of Alzheim: More Fortress than you could shake a stick at.

The Duchy of Alzheim: More Fortress than you could shake a stick at.

Duchy of Alzheim

This is an interesting blog based around the creation of 18th century wargames armies specifically for the 'Charge' set of rules. These rules were written by Brigadier Peter Young that have at their heart a series of fictitious 18thc kingdoms fighting it out in simple almost Little Wars style. The scale is big and the units grand in size. This blog is full of enthusiastic projects like this polystyene Vauban project, and casting the semi round Prince August figures. Photos like the one on the left and day by day updates make this a really fun read.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Romanian army in world war two

Well laid out site including movies of armed forces, tanks etc.

World war two microtanks

This has got to be the cheapest way of recreating tank battles in miniature. The company has a long list that seems comprehensive. At about 40p for a tank it makes sense financially and presumably largeish battles won't take up too much space. A 1/300th tank is about 1/2 inch in length.

Clash of Empires Exhibition

Time Machine are a Swiss based company that makes extremely well made mannequins depicting historical scenes for museums and so on. Recently they have done a French and Indian war exhibition to mark the 250th anniversary. Presumably the tortoise wasn't consulted.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Thursday, March 23, 2006

THE LIFE OF COL. JAMES GARDINER, slain at Prestonpans 1745 ebook

This is a fine e-book covering the Battle of Ramillies from a Scottish soldier who fought in the dragoons at Prestonpans. A biography gives these details. Wikipedia entry here

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Godfather game for the PS2

This is an interesting game. It is like Grand Theft Auto San Andreas and also a bit like the Warriors - but its old time gangsters - Italian style. Brando actually recorded the voice so it sounds and looks very authentic. Or not. Official site here

Deadbeat Descendant The Fall

This is one of my favourite Fall clips from the excellent Snub Tv programme from the 90s. Finding the origin of some of Mark E Smith's wonderful lyrics is a fun game which some of us nerds play - he was most famously outed as a Neighbours viewer after his single Susan Vs the Youthclub - lyrics here. This song Deadbeat Descendant we sussed out while watching tv - it is a line from a Flintstones cartoon when Fred goes into the future to meet his beatnik ancestors - a chase ensues and I think Fred shouts 'Come Back Here You Deadbeat Descendants!'. Lyrics here

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Pegasus Hobbies temporary website

This site has some amazing first looks at a few forthcoming models. There are some very interesting items that will no doubt be well recieved - 1/72 1940 French for the Battle of France?
There is also a range of 1/44th scale figures and prepainted vehicles - thats half the size of 1/72 by my maths. There has been a few companies like Dragon and Trumpeter who have made armour in this scale - 12mm. Also WW1 French, 1940s Polish cavalry... well worth a visit if you're into that sort of thing.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Death of a Nation TV programme on Russia

Marcel Theroux's hard-hitting look at Russia's crisis in health and demographics on More 4 was a startling piece of television. The above link to a list of facts gives you the gist and there are some clips - basically Russia is dying. A frightening and sad tale.

Renault R-35 light tank

This French light tank is featured in Call of Duty 2 and was intended as a replacement for the Ft-17. Wikipedia entry here - photo article on a model in Israel that was used in 1948 by Syria. Gallery of Aberdeen photos showing the fine paint scheme. R-35 graphics. Heller do a 1/32 kit. Solido - a French manufacturer of die-cast vehicles in 1/50 scale have done a model. See a movie clip here
I have decided to stop playing Call of Duty 2 Online - I did pretty well but the mood it put me in was not a pleasant place to be - maybe I'll resume playing when I can do it more in a fun way.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs on top of the pops

Tuning in to tape Morrissey for our son we happened upon the YYYs doing Gold Lion. What a performance - they certainly moved me - Karen O and band strutted like Cats across the stage making a fine din. It was one of those rare tv moments when it did actually work. I'll link a clip when there's one on the TotP's website. Didn't catch the Morrissey bit though.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

today's video picks

Serge Gainsbourg Requiem Pour Un Con. I've gone on about this song before - now you can inhale its beauty...

Susan picked Empire State Human by the Human League - I also chose Can't Seem to Make You Mine by the Seeds. If you get the chance to see Sky Saxon' Seeds they are great live, playing all the great favourites from the past.
Another good one is the Man From U.N.C.L.E theme - when we met the Monochrome Set I remember Andy Warren saying this would make a great cover - I can almost imagine the M Set doing this.
Also watch Serge G's duet with Brigitte Bardot doing Comic Strip - and of course Bonnie and Clyde you have to watch these!

Ant DVD withdrawn

What bad news... the company deserve to have it pirated, leading people up the garden path like that...

Saturday, March 18, 2006

1/48th scale

It seems that this is a newish scale coming from mainly Tamiya - see above link for reviews - all in all it seems that the new kits are good with lots of improvements like having a die cast metal hull for extra weight and stability - check out this review. It seems to be a popular scale for planes and helicopters but this is relatively new for figures and vehicles. The scale is apparently a quarter of an inch to the foot.
On the wargaming front it seems that North Star have got on this trend and of course the Honourable Lead Boiler Suit company has been going for 1/48 as a scale a while - they even do French and Indian wars - see pic left . Also see this website Track 48 for more background. If 1/48 vehicle production gets anywhere near as comprehensive as 1/35 it will be an interesting development - at the moment choice is limited but if you want to do WW2 bigger than 1/72 but not as big as 1/35 or 54mm this could be for you.

Figure Reviews

I don't really know much about the world of 1/35 scale modelling but I am amazed by the amount and depth of the companies producing these figures - particularly the medium of resin which is new to me. The above site gives some reviews of the current models.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

WWII database

This is a pretty amazing site - it even has movies - newsreels etc - be sure to watch the French tanks footage. This site has some pretty astounding stuff to look at - so clear out those cache files and enjoy some Char B footage... what a great invention the world wide web is, at least if you have broadband.
The Somua tank pic full-sized is in their Galleries section - watch it in action in the Movie section.

South west big cats in the news

WW2 In Color

French tank on fire 1940 from the ww2 in color website. I'll let you identify it from links on this page...

WW2 IN COLOR If you go to the 'other units' folder you'll find some more French tanks - mostly abandoned like the tanks on the left - what are they?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


Pronounced 'Lieback'. A Slovenian industrial band that have influenced many though they have been pretty much an enigma. One biography states Laibach have often courted controversy through their skilful manipulation of imagery from both the far left and far right of the political spectrum. Their music has always acted as an extension of their ideology and from early experiments with industrial noise they have evolved to create a kind of totalitarian pop that is often typified by their radical cover versions of existing songs. Official site here. A new film The Divided States of America - is bound to cause controversy with the tagline that says that 'America has no soul and so killing it would not be a crime'. Clip here
I find them funny - the old singer looks like he's from Wilson Keppel and Betty - the sand dance trio of old music hall fame.
Get the lowdown on them at the reliable Wikipedia and buy the DVD Anthems...

Yeah Yeah Yeahs

I am quite enjoying the new YYYs album - it's a little on the mellow side - compared with the last one but still pretty much in the same vein. The single Gold Lion is pretty catchy. It's a more 3 dimensional sound than before when they sounded a bit like a P J Harvey tribute band.

Bonnie and Clyde clips

The above newsreel though grisly is interesting. It's not really how we like to think of our latter day Romeo and Juliet - riddled with bullet-holes and very much dead. Cheer yourself up by watching the trailer to the Hollywood version from 1967. This was a watershed movie by American standards though it has to be said nothing new as far as European cinema was concerned - perhaps one should watch Pierrot le Fou first.

See Flatt and Scruggs perform the iconic themetune.

Visit the Hideout for more facts and images. Of interest to gun fans is the piece on Clyde's guns - he particularly liked the BAR. Bonnie's poems are worth reading. Seems like someone beat me to the Bonnie and Clyde the Musical idea though. Fansite here; Wikipedia piece here.

extreme accident footage

Another of those compilations of accidents that make you realise how thin the thread is between life and death.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Pulp Figures

The world of 1930s pulp heroes and villians in miniature. Also images of the Call of Cthulu range.

Finnish winter trek photos

If you like flintlocks and snow you'll enjoy these images from Finland...

todays punk videos

I only really know the Avengers from their I Believe in Me/Car Crash single which we still have in red vinyl - this clip of them in 1978 is enjoyable and captures the spirit of those times. Also from that era is this clip of Crime
If that hasn't pushed your trust in my choice of decent footage then watch this clip of the Ramones from 1975 when they possibly ruled the world but didn't know it.

America's Army - the Official US army game

This is pretty disturbing - the official US army First person shooter. It had to come really - I noticed UK army recruitment ads had the look of Ghost Recon and now this...

1946 Storm of Eagles

This is an interesting 'what-if?' concept based on the continuation of ww2 into 1946 - principally in order to use some of the hardware that was in development at the time. A review of the figures here. They've used a helmet design for the post-Hitler German figures that was historically proposed, being ballistically better but rejected by Hitler on grounds that it didn't look German - the trouble is - on the figures it looks a bit rubbish. Still, a novel idea if you like big tanks, rockets and the like and lust after pitting some of the late 40s machines against one another.

THE GREAT VICTORIAN WAR (all rights reserved 2006)
In this spirit I'd like to trademark my own variant on history - this variant is that Britain, in 1863 joins the American Civil War on the side of the South and mounts an expedition from Canada and captures New York. Napoleon III then invades southern Britain - only an expedition from Bismark of German troops reinforcing London saves the day.
I will call this 'The Great Victorian War' tm and the good thing about it is that people who wargame the Crimean, ACW or Franco Prussian war can all play together. Of course the white heat of technology means that everyone has steam powered land cruisers, ironclads, and armoured trains. If you need inspiration watch this Steamboy trailer

Monday, March 13, 2006

Char B

It must be said that the French army in 1940 was ideally suited to fight the 1914-18 one!
This is a French heavy tank - a veritable dinosaur to be placed in the context of the backward thinking that created the Maginot Line (be sure to do the virtual visit!). There's a little article on the model they have in the Tank Museum. This tank is also described here .

Recently reissued in 1/72 as a kit with the Renault Ft-17 (box art above) - with Heller Somua now available this makes a French trio in that scale.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Hot Chip 'Over and Over'

this is a new single which I like from London-based band Hot Chip

Porco Rosso clip

my son asked me if I'd done anything on my blog about this film. I thought I had but here's a clip which might persuade you to track down this Studio Ghibli masterpiece based on a manga that was originally in a scale modeller's magazine, then planned as an inflight short. The craft in the film are all based on historical Schneider seaplanes. Imdb here

Hotchkiss H39

One of the better tanks the French deployed in 1940.

This tank is featured in Panzer Front ausf. b

See the British Hotchkiss Society website and Wikipedia entry form information on the Hotchkiss company.

If you have an interest in the French army of 1940 check out 'En Pointe toujours' - orders of battle and useful links in English. France 1940 has useful information and colour schemes. Also information of some of the planned vehicles.

For more photos than you'll ever need of French tanks go to

Terraplanes 'Evil Going On' on Youtube

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Independents Day - Simon Reynolds

Piece on post punk - taster for his book which is out

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Howling Wolf Story DVD review

This is a great documentary. It tells the story of one of the most influential of all the Chess Blues stars through interviews with family and Bluesmen like Hubert Sumlin, Billy Boy Arnold and Jody Williams. There's not a huge amount of archive material but what is there is worth the admission - Sam Lay's home movies showing Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter and the Wolf fooling around in a club were a treat in colour, alongside clips of Son House and Bukka White. Thw Wolf clips are there to enjoy and they are of course, phenomenal. It is a warm hearted film - particularly pleasing to see Hubert Sumlin play some of his legendary licks - a little scary hearing Wolf tell Son House in one clip he'd wasted his life.
Howlin' Wolf site

Bow wow wow 'Go Wild in the Country'

Maybe its because the signs of spring are appearing around us but I'm having a bit of a Bow wow wow phase at the moment. This is one of their best singles and will always remind me of those long lost summers when we were young etc.
In case you didn't know they were originally Ants who were then lured away from Adam by Malcolm Mclaren to create a teen pop band but soon enough they wised up and dumped Mclaren's rather seedy approach and created idiosyncratic group songs full of youth and optimism instead. Whilst the sound - tribal, latin, funk all mixed with nursery rhyme rap and chants - isn't usually my cup of tea - there's something about them that makes me love them. It's probably respect for their musicianship - the effortless skill of the backing that I appreciate - they mesh well and they make a fun bouncy sound. Isn't that enough? I must admit I prefer the later stuff they recorded when they had ditched Mclaren - the Going Gets Tough album is still listenable to. They're touring the US at the moment. Download songs here

Thursday, March 09, 2006

V for Vendetta - out soon

This movie based on the comic strip by Alan Moore is getting the promotional treatment as the moment - in fact Alan Moore is doing a rare tv interview on the Culture show - watch it here. He pretty much disowned all the movies of his work including this one. The plot is fudged a little by having it set in a parallel world where the Nazis won world war 2 instead of just Britain in 1997 having a Nazi government as in the original novel. It has raised questions about a film that basically espouses terrorism and whether a movie that has its central theme the blowing up of a major landmark would have been made in America.
IMDB facts here
Novel fansite
Wikipedia entry
Alan Moore fansite and interview

Churchill's parrot

still alive and cursing the Nazis...sounds like a subject for a documentary on the History channel.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Some post punk videos

Here's a few we found - Pop Group Beyond Good Evil and the Only Ones Another Girl Another Planet Magazine's Shot By Both Sides and Joy Division live in 1978 doing Leaders of Men

Panzer Front Ausf. B

This game for the PS2 is a Tank sim or rpg set in ww2 - in this case mostly North Africa. The blurb says
PlayStation 2 installment in Enterbrain's strategy game series. Panzer Front Ausf. B is set at the North African front during World War II. Players are in total control of the German, Italian, or English forces, position units and set attack patterns to turn the tide of the war in their favor. The game features historically accurate weapons and tanks, including Germany's III, Italy's M13/39 and the English Mk.IV. The new game engine, coded from the ground up for PlayStation 2, enables the player to view the action from any angle, and even get a zoomed-out bird's eye view of the battlefield.

The history of this game meant that the previous 2 games in the series were only partially distributed and with this game you can see why. Its basically very crude visually - like an old school pc game with awful lettering and a clunky interface. The tanks are well rendered and they drive like the real thing but this game is disappointing technically. So the verdict: Only for the nerdiest of ww2 tank fans. A favourable review here

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Our video picks of today

Mine is this clip of the Gories doing Nitroglycerine and Susan's is Marc Almond singing 'A Lover Spurned'. We nearly lost Marc to a bike crash a while back so celebrate his existence by reading his autobiography A Tainted Life or his night-life book In Search of the Pleasure Palace.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Spitfire anniversary footage

If you are a Spitfire fan search BBC news for footage of the anniversary flight over London.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Ralph and Susan's video picks of the day

Thought we'd pick some videos from Youtube for you - first is chosen by Sus and its the Buzzcocks doing one of her favourites 'What Do I get' from the Electric Circus back in the days when Garth was on bass - funny but the lyrics are more distinct here than the single version. My choice is classic Dr Feelgood doing Roxette from 1975 - it's what we danced to before punk rock was invented - well us Frome folk anyway - jerky movements inspired by Wilko - Oxfam suits and ties - soon to become part of a national trend but in 75 a local abberation.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Chicago blues on the web

Sorry about this but these clips are so good I have to tell someone - 'Everyone knows the Hound' says this man, the Bluesman's Blueman as he introduces the Houserockers. If you don't dig this clip - you're already beyond saving.
If you like your blues a bit more sophisticated try this clip of Otis Rush...or this slice of heaven in the form of John Lee Hooker how about some Howlin' Wolf? Muddy Waters ? Buddy Guy or the brilliant Magic Sam

Spitfire 70th anniversary event

Bow wow wow on Youtube

Some great videos by what were one of the best live acts I've ever seen. The trio of ex Ants were brilliant musicians and cool with it. Watch Baby Oh No, Man Mountain, Do you Wanna Hold Me, W.OR.K. N.o., C30 360 c90 go! are all there plus of course I Want Candy

Terraplanes 'Evil Going On' on You Tube

Well it was only a matter of time wasn't it before I had to upload something - this was us in 1981 - at the Granary in Bristol. It was part of Out West battle of the bands competition which we didn't win - but we got a video which was very new at the time.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Bob Gruen's 'All Dolled Up'

The legendary Dolls at the height of their powers this is a must-have item.

You Tube

what an amazing and useful selection of clips. It's not all Punk rock either - I tried looking for Sonny Boy Williamson II and got this clip of him backing up Muddy Waters doing Got My Mojo Working ... good quality ... brilliant. I found some interesting Richard Hell segments a bit earlier - I love it - it's what the web should be like... check out this Seeds clip one of the wackiest 60s settings.... 13th floor elevators... Velvets...Im in Hog Heaven...
Other must-sees include Bo Diddley Screaming Jay, Bukka White Cramps Bowwow wow Son House Roky Erickson Shangri-Las Link Wray Oblivians Yo La Tengo Troggs
well those are the things that I searched for and found - your taste will no doubt differ...

Monochrome Set 'Jacob's Ladder'

One of the greats of the post punk era - this was about as close they came to chart success - brilliant band

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Monks on You Tube

The Monks are/were one of the greatest bands ever! You don't have to take my word for it as there is now this great site that has clips of all manner of things and three (oh heavenly) songs by the Monks. The Monks were all ex US servicemen who stayed on in Germany to become beat stars - playing a loud, bass heavy trance-like sound that predated bands like the Fall by God knows how many years. Search this site for other Monks tracks and all sorts of treasures.

Post Punk Raincoat?

US Army Trenchcoat the ultimate post-punk clothing item
If you want an iconic item of clothing that to me shouts post punk then it has to be the ag-274 US army raincoat. They were a must-have item for us fans of the Ants and Joy Division - both Adam and Ian Curtis (below) wore them and of course I had one too... the above link is to one on ebay - they are to be found there reasonably regularly but they are getting scarcer to find these days. Here's a pic of Adam Ant wearing one.
This link shows them in their full colour glory - a light olive colour. Ideal for putting badges on...

Bill Farmer - Figure sculptor

I have often on these pages, mentioned 1/72 plastic figures. This is an interest that goes back to my childhood when Airfix had the monopoly and metal wargames figures were virtually unknown. Nowadays there is a tremendous diversity of periods and subjects available but a lot of the background work is a mystery to many of us. This site by Bill Farmer shows behind the scenes and details the work that goes into producing these tiny figures. Well worth a long look - this site is a mine of information for those of us still in touch with our inner child...