Monday, July 31, 2006
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Anniversary today of the French victory at Neerwinden (Landen) in 1693. Interestingly there was another battle of Neerwinden a hundred years later during the French Revolution, but this one is most famous for the death of Irish hero Patrick Sarsfield.
Oh Patrick Sarsfield, Ireland's Wonder,
Who fought in the fields like any thunder,
One of King James's chief commanders,
Now lies the food of crows in Flanders .
Wiki on Sarsfield
French language site on Neerwinden here
Friday, July 28, 2006
I know you're probably bored with me going on about ferrets but this is an interesting anniversary - it's 25 years this September that this creature was rediscovered - it being originally thought extinct. Since then it has been successfully introduced into areas to control the prairie dog population on which it almost exclusively feeds on. So check out the above website to learn more about these beautiful creatures and what can be done in the US to help bring them back from the brink. Why not adopt one?
The American experience with ferrets is very different to ours - they don't have a tradition of hunting with them and most people keep them neutered and descented living indoors like a cat. In the UK they tend to be kept outdoors though its not unknown in urban environments to have indoor ferrets, having the run of the place. There is evidence that ferrets occupied the same space occupied by cats in medieval times gradually being usurped by the feline, so maybe a comeback is overdue. Anyway, time to go feed ours...
Thursday, July 27, 2006
Images and so on here
Battlefield resource centre piece
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
This is another of the little darlings - named after Genghis Khan - a great ferret owner apparently. Also a great lover if the DNA evidence is correct.
It's quite a good time to name something Genghis as this year marks the 8ooth anniversary of his conquests. 'For Mongolians, he's almost like Jesus Christ. They feel very close to him.'
BBC article about Mongolians celebrating the great man.
Johnson is one of the most influential of all the great delta bluesmen - particularly among white rock guitarists as his King of the Delta Singers compilation was a widely owned album in the early 60s. I think he's brilliant, particularly lyrically. I used to listen to him a lot way back when though these days I prefer to listen to Charley Patton. Definitely you need at least one Robert Johnson album in your collection - the guitar isn't so essential.
Wiki on Robert Johnson
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
The official website says
StreetWars is a 3 week long, 24/7, watergun assassination tournament that has already taken place in New York City, Vancouver, Vienna, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and is now coming to London.
At the start of the game you will receive a manila envelope containing the following:
A picture of your intended target(s)
The home address of your intended target(s)
The work address of your intended target(s)
The name of your intended target(s)
Contact information of your intended target(s)
Upon receipt of these items, your (or your team's) mission is to find and kill (by way of water gun, water balloon or super soaker) your target(s).
You can hunt your target down any way you see fit; you can pose as a delivery person and jack them when they open the door, disguise yourself and take them out on the street, etc.
If you are successful in your assassination attempt, the person you killed will give you their envelope and the person they were supposed to kill becomes your new target. This continues until you work yourself through all the players and retrieve the envelope with your (or your team's) picture(s) and name(s). Then you win. Cash…but first live in fear.
This is a classic from the best girl group in the world ever, the Shangri-Las. As this is presumably a song that was about the Vietnam War, the backgrounds seem surreal to say the least. If you don't own one Shangri-las compilation then go out and buy one now. It is the perfect sound of summer. It's hard to put down in words why the records are so great - they are like perfectly drawn teen love story comics that capture the emotions of being young and dramatic. Mary Weiss is apparently recording a solo album for Norton records. Watch this space.
Monday, July 24, 2006
Official site here. Wiki here
The Locust are famous for having a synth-heavy, heavily distorted, crust punk (particularly on early releases) and noise-influenced sound, as well as a disturbing stage presence. Singer Justin Pearson has said, "I just want to change the way people look at music or maybe just destroy it in general."
The Locust have a unique stage presence. Costumed in skin-tight, full-body, white (or green) suits with large, black mesh, bug-like eye and mouth coverings, these suits help create atmosphere during their shows. Unlike most bands, which normally have the drums set up behind the other members, the four members of The Locust are all positioned in a line at the front of the stage.
Lyrically, The Locust is a scathing satire of popular mainstream US culture, homosexual culture, and US politics. Amidst the high-pitched screams and shrills of the vocals, it is nearly impossible to discern what is being said.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
'It's the kind of rollicking, party-rockin' fandango which, genuinely, nobody has the spirit or wit to put together these days. Primal Scream's latest, for one, rings hollow and heartless by comparison.'
Get it here
Saturday, July 22, 2006
By Miles Kington
I've never quite worked Frome out. It's a sleepy little Somerset market town with a big industrial past. It may seem dull, but it's full of surprises, and going there is a bit of an adventure. It's not a wacky old hippie place like Glastonbury, but there's something quirky about it which gives it a lot of flavour. And I can't be the only one who feels drawn, because recently it has started attracting quite a sprinkling of talented people to live there, many of whom are, oddly, jazz musicians.
rest of article here
Friday, July 21, 2006
Here's something exciting - Frome old school punk band The Stiffs playing live from a week or two ago at Midsomer Norton Mardi Gras doing the Clash's White Riot. I love this sort of technology where you can put up videos like this and potentially reach the whole world. It opens up a way of bands doing what they do in front of whoever wants to see them.
Bath Bus Station - too many drunks with cans of beer shouting abuse at buses and poor people milling about - useful for character research but bad for being photographed
Royal United Hospital - too many old and ill people shuffling about - a distinct lack of beautiful people here unless you like nurses.
Bath Spa Project - still not open despite costing each man woman and child in the area hundreds of pounds
Bath Charity Shops - even with a 6 figure salary it is unlikely that JD will be able to afford the prices charged by Bath charity shops where it is cheaper to buy brand new anything they have on their racks.
The above link takes you to a forum where rumours of Depp buying a property near Bath and what pubs he's been seen in are there.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Today is being celebrated as the 50th birthday of Corgi - the toymaker who brought you the James Bond Aston Martin, the Batmobile and others. Their first model was the Ford Consul - coincidentally the first car my parents ever owned back in about 1963 costing them £200. This Corgi is now available as a reissue from the above link. I ought to get one - my folks' Ford Consul was a khaki colour though. If I was to get in one now I would probably instantly vomit as I remember that any journey in those days would always involve much throwing up. I can probably say I've been sick in every lay-by in south-west England. Playing loud music cures car sickness we found - it stops the sound of outside the vehicle confusing your brain apparently and its a good place for introducing your little ones to the delights of the Ramones, Buzzcocks etc. I remember my first musical memory in the back of the Ford Consul - me sitting there hammering the seats in front singing 'all the pieces, bits and pieces' in imitation of the Dave Clark Five.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Which one is Beyoncé? asked Sue when she saw me watching a Destiny's Child video once - 'the one that looks like a goddess cast down onto earth' sayeth I. Son's friend George came round the other day and started slagging her off - 'we don't make unpleasant comments about Beyoncé in this house' I said ominously. He went silent but I was only joking. However she is my favourite of the Pop Princesses. In fact this is a game you might want to play - rate the pop princesses - stating why and how - ideal for a long car journey. Anyway this is the new single - having her wearing a load of different looks and hairstyles throughout the video in 5 second clips is the style these days - there is one outfit like a raffia ra-ra skirt that looks hilarious - the dance routine with it looks ludicrous too - but there are some good moments in the video - although I'm not overly taken with the song...yet. wiki on Beyonce wiki on Pop Princesses
Anyway - I couldn't initially find the video so here's them playing it on Jools Holland. Primal Scream are playing Bristol in November which makes a change for them to go there. I might say something nice about them. What do you think of this track? Lyrics here Sounds pretty mundane to these ears, or should I say this ear as one is heavily bandaged. Video tour dates and so on at the official site
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
Monday, July 17, 2006
I thought the historical Napoleon was supposed to have a powerful body odour but my search on the subject only had stuff relating to Napoleon enjoying Josephine's bodily smell; “I return in three days,” he wrote. “Don't bathe.” Fitting to have a ferret named after him then.
Apparently Napoleon was of above average height for a Frenchman. He was also born with a full set of teeth which brings us back to ferrets. They are very active creatures when they are awake, and accordingly hard to photograph but when they are asleep they are dead to the world. They don't like this hot weather at all but we spray them with a fine water mist and give them as much shade as possible.
Saturday, July 15, 2006
The execution was a botched affair. The Duke offered the axeman a purse of coin if he did a good job but this was not to be. The axe was not sharp and the first blow glanced off. Several more attempts were made to no avail and by this time the crowd were becoming insensed. Finally after about 6 blows the head was finally severed using a knife. The executioner had to be escorted off by a body of troops as the crowd were by then extremely angry at the poor ending to a popular figure. Soon handkerchiefs were being dipped in the blood of the new martyr.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Wiki on the movie
Guardian review by J G Ballard here
A musical ray of sunshine on this fine summer's day. This video is a gem I hadn't seen before which shows the band frollicking in the countryside. As I've said on this blog before this band were one of the best live acts I've seen - the musicianship was exemplary - which is a change from the bands I usually like, who normally can't play. But BWW were so young to play so well. They exploded on to the stage in a hail of fireworks and dancers. Wiki on Bow wow wow
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Gallery of stills here
Mobb Deep wiki G-unit wiki
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Yo La Tengo are set to release the follow up to 2003’s Summer Sun this September. The trio will release I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass on September 11.
The track listing is:
Pass The Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind, Beanbag Chair, I Feel Like Going Home, Mr Tough, Black Flowers, The Race Is On Again, The Room Got Heavy, Sometimes I Don’t Get You Daphnia, I Should Have Known Better, Watch Out For Me Ronnie, The Weakest Part, Song For Mahila, Point And Shoot, The Story Of Yo La Tango
Official YLT site
Wiki on Yo la Tengo
We hand reared about 6 a few years ago as their nest had been destroyed, raising them on mealworms and cat food. They were often kept as pets by country folk in the old days and I've heard people used to split their tongues with a silver sixpence and thus enable them to be able to talk like parrots. Ours became very tame and would land on our heads and hands at a moment's notice, especially if you were carrying food. They would also land on the back of our dog and hitch a ride. Apparently Jackdaws land on the back of sheep to eat ticks so this may have been a version of this. We decided to reintroduce them back into the wild so little by little encouraged them to spend more time with the other birds. Initially they used to come back beaten up but gradually they seem to have been accepted and stopped coming back. Occasionally though we do get visits by a gang of by now huge specimens who generally shout a greeting before flying off. Wiki on Jackdaws
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
The Associated Press reports that the Parisan anti-racism organization SOS-Racism stated today that "several very well informed sources from the world of football" say Materazzi called Zidane a "dirty terrorist."
Materazzi, 32, told Gazetta dello Sport: "I held his shirt for a few seconds only, then he turned to me and talked to me, jeering.
"He looked at me with a huge arrogance and said, 'If you really want my shirt, I'll give it to you afterwards.' I replied with an insult, that's true.''
Materazzi has not elaborated on what he did say, but one report suggested he responded with: "I'd rather take the shirt off your wife."
He has denied, however, some of the more vile insults referring to his wife or sister or calling him a terrorist.
"It was one of those insults you're told dozens of times and that you often let fall on a pitch,'' Materazzi said.
"I did not call him a terrorist. I am not a cultured person and I don't even know what an Islamist terrorist is.''
He added: "For me the mother is sacred, you know that.''
Wiki on The Great Game
Monday, July 10, 2006
Official Zidane site
If it was a racist taunt then given that FIFA have made such a fuss about making racism history then the Italians should have their victory revoked. Simple as that - or ban them from the next competition.
I am going back to my normal status quo of not being remotely interested in football - I am not sure whether I enjoyed the World Cup - I think the refereeing was pretty rubbish, and I found myself annoyed by what went on the pitch. Foulling and diving are so endemic as to deny the game any flow and all the much-vaunted players seemed to spend their time idling and waiting for the ball. I don't know anything about football - what I do know makes me think it's beyond saving. There was a brilliant German movie on Saturday night The Miracle of Bern set in the 1954 World Cup and it showed an era before money and corruption ruined the game.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
I don't know when I first didn't like them - from the start I thought the music was so-so - I thought 'White Riot' was pretty disturbing and when I saw them on the White Riot tour I was decidedly unimpressed though I kept quiet about it for some time. In fact I bought all the singles and saw them about 3 or 4 times but I never really got into them. I thought it was me. The music press wrote endlessly about them - serious articles with arty pictures of them posing like rebels - they were a fashionable band - doing all the reggae stuff - they were the 70s fab four. I think that was what made me dislike them. All the support bands for the Clash tours always went down terribly with the fans - yet they were the real bona fide article in most cases - Suicide - Richard Hell and the Voidoids - Clash fans generally gave them hell. Why? Cos they weren't a slick rock band like the Clash. Think of the Slits and the Buzzcocks on the White Riot tour? People liked it but there was a tension there, some awkwardness. On come the Clash and it's boom - rock and roll! But hang on - it isn't supposed to be 'boom! rock and roll' - we could go and see AC/DC for that - might these fellows be a con-job? Not real punks but old blokes, some clever musos who've been taken down to Boy on the King's Road and then politicised by some talcy malcy type? Strummer was 25 in 77 - I was 17 - they seemed to me like the same old blokes who hung around in guitar shops in their Rod Stewart haircuts waiting for a break. But I kept my opinions to myself. I do remember writing a letter slagging them off to the NME after seeing them live for the last time. It wasn't printed. Anyway I can honestly say apart from playing the first lp maybe once for nostalgia in the last 29 years I can't say I missed them.
Maybe it is me. I didn't like the Pistols much either. Sue and I turned down a chance to see them while on holiday in Cornwall - they were playing in Penzance coincidently while we were there. We thought it would just be an evening of violence. We were on holiday from that sort of thing! I know people deeply love the Clash and hold them with great affection and so on but I don't know I can't see it. Totally lacking in any humour, they weren't bad enough at playing, they always said the right thing, and they made lots of money. They weren't punks - they were a rock band.
Saturday, July 08, 2006
Friday, July 07, 2006
Thursday, July 06, 2006
Did I mention we met an old boy of about 85 who said that in his youth once a year the bones of the rebels were dug up and paraded around the village.
Here's a picture of me in dark blue portraying a Rebel while filming for BBC Education. The venue is Glastonbury tithe barn - now a Rural Life Museum.
1685 society webpage for more stuff on the Monmouth rebellion. Alas this society is no more but I do think there is still a niche for a good quality Monmouth rebel living history group - recreating a camp - forget the battles - but researching individual personae and learning about the non military aspects of 17th century life.
OK - not bad - didn't like the way they threw in an extra chord in the chorus and it is a song that really needs backing vocals but it was worth the posting, I think.
It was a fairly dull game but lively enough as every time Ronaldo got the ball as there was booes and whistles from the presumably English people in the crowd who had confidently bought tickets for the semi. I don't ever read the papers but I understand there is a campaign against this young striker. On ITV 4's 'World Cuppa' (I was waiting to see John Boorman's movie Zardoz, alright?) he was described as an 'evil cheating lady-boy'. Ok - enough is enough - if anyone is going to be hounded out of football it should be that egg-headed Swedish so-called Coach Sven Goran Erickson. What a mistake his appointment turned up to be. My dog could have done better. Still listen to me talking about football - I shouldn't really be doing that - I'll be talking about politics next.
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
Tuesday, July 04, 2006
Monday, July 03, 2006
225th Anniversary of Surrender at Yorktown to be Commemorated October 18-22, 2006
Yorktown, VA — The Brigade of the American Revolution is pleased to announce their collaboration with Colonial National Historical Park and Endview Plantation to commemorate the 225th anniversary of the surrender of over eight thousand British, German, and loyal American troops to George Washington’s Continental Army and French allies on October 19, 1781 in Yorktown, Virginia.
Check out these great photos from the 23rd Foot - Royal Welch Fusiliers.
That's not to deny there's a good deal of anti-French sentiment in English working-class culture - partially a gut reaction against the middle-classes' so readily embracing any French thing they can get their pudgy hands on, and partially a resentment of the blood that has been shed in their defence in the last century, but these are also the same people who when they are over in France on a weekend break enjoy themselves with abandon. I am also sure working-class French people hate the English middle-class as much as we do and wish they'd holiday somewhere else but what can you do?
You know you love the French really. You eat garlic bread without giving it a second thought. Your ancestors died in their hundreds of thousands defending their right to print dirty postcards and have a useless army. We should want them to win the world cup.
Sunday, July 02, 2006
One man to remember is Walter Tull a black professional footballer who died during the Great War.
To celebrate their victory over Brazil why not spin this video of French chanteuse Francoise Hardy - I don't have many French records apart from Metal Urbain but FH occupies a good few spaces - mostly bought from junk shops but nevertheless indispensable. She does the definitive version of Catch a Falling Star (in English) that is just mesmeric.
Saturday, July 01, 2006
Nearly 20,000 were killed on the first day. More than a million would die or be injured by the end of the battle. More here
He got a prize for from the headteacher for being so intelligent but also being so modest about it! Honestly!
The class are celebrating with a paintball match so next time we see him he'll be no doubt covered in little red bruises. Good luck.