Saturday, September 30, 2006

Nude Magazine

No - not a nude magazine but a great visual read covering music, art and culture - we subscribe - it's a cornucopia of pop and post punk - this issue has Savage Pencil, Robert Quine, Linder British comics - I heartily recommend this good-enough-to-keep take on contemporary culture. Spearheading the tiki revival.. the ads alone will keep you entertained.... was it the inspiration behind SugaRape magazine in Nathan Barley?

Friday, September 29, 2006

Napoleonic short, movie that is...

This is a pleasant good quality film set during the early Napoleonic campaign of 1796 and surrounds the legend of Piana Crixia in Italy and a local geological anomaly - a mushroom shaped rock. This little movie is quite inspirational - I'd like to think I might be able to one day make a mini historical movie - I suppose the easiest from a point of view of location would be the Monmouth Rebellion which took place locally. Maybe one of the more salacious legends would be interesting to film. Get in touch if you have any ideas on this subject.

Last of the Mohicans (1920)

You have to watch this - alright you don't - but anyway here's the silent version of Last of the Mohicans - you don't have to use the soundtrack...

Something kinda Ooooh

I know we're supposed to like Girls Aloud - they have been critically acclaimed and all that and we're supposed be all behind this so-English pop and have a favourite one, but this one stinks - it sounds like an advert! I am tired of pop videos looking like adverts and adverts using pop music - why not standardise the 2 genres and make one? After all plenty of pop promos have product placement all over them - mostly phones and mp3 players - why don't we make all singles the length of a commercial and have a punch line and product endorsement at the end and then that way the whole thing can become a feeding frenzy of cash changing hands and we can have the knowledge that we ARE being exploited.
The chorus of this latest blend of rock and dance has the wonderful
Something kinda oooh Jumping on my toot toot, Something inside of me, Wantin' part of you oOo
1984 is here...
Wiki on Girls Aloud video

Stinging Nettles

Interesting plant that plagues us all. Imagine a world without them - you could run about naked in the countryside blindfolded - well maybe not but it is the blight of all our childhoods - falling in a bed of stingers was something that loomed large over every activity - the worst I found was falling off your bike into a bed of stingers, but anyway - can we blame the Romans for these? Someone told me they were introduced by them but it seems it is only a particular variety. Why would you introduce nettles? - well eating is one reason and the story that Britain was so cold it was necessary to flog your legs with them to keep warm - but also apparently Romans applied nettles 'below the navel' to improve virility. Bizarre.
Have a look at the above linked page on nettles - it might prove useful - for instance
It is a strange fact that the juice of the Nettle proves an antidote for its own sting, and being applied will afford instant relief: the juice of the Dock, which is usually found in close proximity to the Nettle, has the same beneficial action.
'Nettle in, dock out.
Dock rub nettle out!'
is an old rhyme.

You never know when you might fall in a bed of stingers.
Wiki on stinging nettles

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The Pike

'Trail'st thou the puissant pike?' Shakespeare Henry V
I thought I'd post some more pictures of myself - this time at my first ever reenactment in 1985, where I trailed the pike for Col Nicholas Devereux's regiment and did so for about 4 years (I am on the extreme right btw). The pike is about 14-16 feet of ash pole with a spear head at the top - mainly used to create a defence against cavalry, though infantry pike v pike clashes were more common in the 16th century. It eventually became obsolete with the invention of the bayonet. It was considered a noble weapon - more honourable than the musket and was often trailed by gentlemen volunteers. It is mainly a question of balance being able to swing this long pole about and training and drill were performed to the beat of the drum to enable the 'stands' of pikes to move about the battlefield. A tell-tale sign of a force about to break and run was the wavering of the pikes.
The 'posture' depicted 'charge your pike' is the main fighting stance. In the other picture I am standing next to the late Gordon Usher of Frome who recruited me, took me along, filling the journies with stories of reenactment battles and also invariably beat me at wargames.

Battle of Lesnaya

A decisive battle of the Great Northern War - a battle where the Russians discovered that the Swedes were not invincible. To see photos of this colourful period being reenacted go to Preobrazhensky Life Guard 1709 - the photo used here is from filming done by the group.
More on the battles here
Russian troops raised for the 1700 campaign

I love this period as it combines my love of the 18th century with my love of the pike - I'd really like to see a group started in the UK to do this period - there were plenty of English and Scots soldiers who fought on both the Russian and Swedish armies as mercenaries. A guide to the armies of the Northern Wars.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Yorktown anniversary

As tomorrow is the anniversary of the start of the siege of Yorktown which took place in 1781 and ended the American Revolution, why not watch this clip of some of the more desperate fighting which happened during October. I don't know how many people who read this blog are interested in 18th century warfare but I live in hope. Maybe you will all want to buy a flintlock musket and have an urge to cook over an open flame. Who knows? If I was rich I would go over to take part in the 225th anniversary battle on the Franco American side of course, but never mind, we can read the participant guidelines. March to Yorktown article

Osprey Graphic History

Coming soon from Osprey - publishers of military history books - is a series of graphic - or comic book-style history books. Looking a bit like they're dumbing down for the American market the titles cover the American Civil War and World War Two. I suppose you can't blame Osprey for wanting to make a buck or two. This is the usual stuff they do - includes the new book on the Volksturm with art by my pal Sean O'Brogain which you might want to buy.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Adam Ant and his Bipolar Illness

Stamford bridge and the next big one

1066 and all that...
As today is the anniversary of the battle of Stamford Bridge in 1066 - part of the run up to the Battle of Hastings - 14th-15th October - I thought it would be interesting to check out the advance stuff for the Hastings reenactment again. I have stuff for this period - shield, spear and so on but I've never done a Hastings as I'm not involved with any of the societies participating but there was a time when I might have tried to take part. The period is pretty accessible as its not expensive to kit out as a Fyrd or something lower class. A Norman knight involves a lot of work. Make a date in your diary though if you want to attend a no doubt large spectacular.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Frome Youth Wing snaps

A couple of interesting images from about 78 I reckon - interesting is a loose term of course - me and Henry Hutton of the Bad Detectives and the other sees me with Kev Saunders later of Frenzy and Bunse, or is it Bunce? Practising for a gig at the Youth Wing - not sure what we were called then - was it the Thunderbirds or the Contenders? Anyway - check out my waistline in the right pic - I didn't even wear glasses then let alone having some hair to dye! Curse you decay!

White and Nerdy Weird Al

This is really funny - very accurate too, from spending evenings with a roll of bubble wrap and action figures to comics and the Star Wars Holiday Special. The lyrics are here is they come to fast for you...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

The Notorious Bettie Page

This 2005 biopic of the famous pin-up girl from the fifties is an affectionate and stylish tribute and its out soon on dvd. Mainly in black and white with bits of colour for effect the period detail is excellently done and the subject well handled. If you are a fan of 50s Americana then you will probably enjoy this movie, with its excellent costumes and well rendered interior. Gretchen Mol is well cast as the girl who came from rural Tennessee to New York to make some of the most famous glamour photos of the era. Wiki on the movie. Imdb Wiki on the real life Bettie Page


Well today is the official start of autumn - and I suppose it is time for us to put away such monstrosities as shorts and open toed sandals and dig out the jumpers. I like autumn and it started in a classic misty way this morning gradually giving way to bright sunshine. I even saw a squirrel scurrying around.

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Wonderful and frightening world of Mark E Smith

This excellent 1 hour documentary on the Fall is on tonight, Friday on BBC2 so if you haven't seen this insight into one of the most successful and critically acclaimed post punk band you should tape it or watch it. I love music documentaries - I really enjoyed the one on Blondie recently and the programme on Stiff records I saw recently was pretty interesting too.
This documentary did sort of end an era of me loving the Fall though - in some ways they have now received the acclaim that they deserved I kind of am not that bothered really - it's like supporting a team when they're in the third division is probably more fun than when they get promoted to the first division - or something...

Ultimate Avengers movie

Most Marvel animations up to this one have been awful low budget tv cartoons with lots of repeptitions and rubbish. This one - now available on dvd and the follow-up is also out has the look of quality Japanese stuff. Not quite the attention to detail as some like Ghibli but still impressive - the opening sequence which pits a World War Two Captain America against Nazi aliens is brilliant but what was that heavy machine gun they were using? (Who says I am not a nerd?) Wiki on Ultimate Avengers

Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Kills 'The Good Ones'

I've been enjoying the recentish album by this UK/US band - if you haven't heard it I recommend it - it's nothing really earth shatteringly different but it's a good lo-fi rock'n'roll song that's a bit T-Rexy. The chorus 'did you get the good ones?' could be answered by 'no, as these were on buy one get one free'. Official site

Daddy Long Legs Invasion

Have you had these little buggers bouncing around in your house at night? We've found the best way to get them is to wait until they settle and then grab them and chuck them out. Trouble is when you're throwing one out another one comes in...

Battle of Prestonpans 1745

The first battle of the 2nd Jacobite Rebellion was fought today in 45. Resulted in the famous folk song Johnnie Cope
More here and here

Adam Ant book signing tour dates and Film news

To promote his autobiography Stand & Deliver, Adam is currently on a UK signing tour. Forthcoming dates are as follows:
Saturday 23 SeptemberNewbury, Borders new store opening [12-2pm]
Oxford, Borders [6-7pm]
Tuesday 26 September Glasgow, Borders [1-2pm]
Edinburgh, Waterstones [6-7pm]
Thursday 28 September Milton Keynes, Ottakers [1-2pm]
Birmingham New Street, Borders [6-7pm]

There's also a news story about the obnoxious Russel Brand starring as Ant in a new film.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Me and Leroy

Bea suggested I put up this pic of me and my dog Leroy in my G-Unit t-shirt. Leroy is a Staffordshire bull terrier cross and is a great family dog though he doesn't really like male dogs much but people and kids he loves.


In case you are wondering what the wonderful Kelis is going on about when she says about switching to Bape in her new single - see previous post - here is what it is. You probably have to be black to get away with wearing it but who knows? I get away with wearing my G-Unit t-shirt ironically. Official site

Battle of the Alma 1854

Anniversary today of the battle between British Turkish and French troops against the Russians in the Crimean War. This old-school battle was well depicted in the film by Tony Richardson 'The Charge of the Light Brigade' which is in my opinion one of the best military history films ever and well worth buying. Lots of streets and terraces in Victorian Britain were named after various battles in the Crimean war, though now of course it is mainly remembered for its stupidity and mismanagement.
More here

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

The Lord of the Rings backlash

There's some pretty funny gags in Clerks 2 at the expense of Lord of the Rings - and it seems that it is open season on this trilogy of films that once delighted us and now makes us wish they'd never bothered and Peter Jackson had never been born. The funniest gag involves one of them doing impressions of all three films - basically walking - revealing how lame the plot that involves nothing much other than travelling. There is also a lot of jokes about the potential for romance between the hobbits.
I must admit I liked the first film despite never having read the book (I wasn't either a hippy or a nerd) but by the 2nd one was beginning to think that we'd been conned; why couldn't they condense it into three hours and save our bottoms the sensation of going totally numb? Why was there no colour in it? Anyway you couldn't really say anything bad about it at all at one time but now of course - it's open season. Fire away - watch this funny little animation of how the trilogy should have ended.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Kelis 'Bossy'

Lyrics here

I really like this. Kelis manages to bring out some pretty good pop singles - Milkshake - Trick Me - really good salty r'n'b dance floor fillers. This one is a really catchy toon - give it a spin - we all love someone who is bossy don't we? Wiki on Kelis

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Detroit Cobras Cha Cha Twist video

Well, the Detroit Cobras - one of the finest bands around - are on tour - only in the US and Canada by the look of it but what the heck - watch the video and check out the Myspace recordings for some quality punk inspired soul classics.

A night at Purr

Purr is Bath's kind of indie club night where they usually throw in three decent up and coming bands with some cool in between djing that sounds like they're playing your own record collection. Now located opposite the Lamb and Lion
Enjoyable were the Autons
Purr Myspace

Friday, September 15, 2006

Thunders Hell Nolan and Lure

A great clip of punk legends the Heartbreakers back in the mid 70s. Great for Richard Hell and Johnny Thunders fans. The Heartbreakers passed me in the street once after their gig in Bath - quite a surprise.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Iggy, Sonic Youth play Somerset

This is pretty good news - a festival Nightmare Before Christmas 8-10 December at Minehead Butlins done by the All Tomorrow's Parties people. 'Curated by Thurston Moore' of Sonic Youth - the recent album by the way is great by the way - headlined by Iggy and the Stooges - if you like music and you want a break from the usual December rubbish then this could be a good weekend. World class acts in your area!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Battle of Vienna 1683

Image from With Fire and Sword

Possibly the most decisive battle of the era this conflict between Holy League troops and the Ottoman Empire ended 300 years of war between the eastern states. Not really a famous event in Britain as we were far removed from the action, though on a European level it was a decisive turning point, one of the key moments of early modern history. Document on the siege from 1683

Polish 17th century reenactors

Read about Polish Hussars here

See images of the spectacular Polish winged hussars here


Based on a true story - says the poster - the subject is the Lafayette Escadrille (American volunteers fighting for France before the US entry into the war) during World War One. It's out in the US later this month. Looks aimed at the youth market which is understandable and the action scenes look a bit fake but you don't get that many movies about the Great War so let's all go and see it. Jean Reno's in it. Watch the trailer at least!
Imdb here

Monday, September 11, 2006

Adam Ant autobiography out

'I try to tell you but you just don't understand - you've got my entire life in your hands' - thus begins Vive le Rock - one of Adams non hits - we know what he means - maybe he feels the same way about this book - so go out and buy it - I am sure it will be an enlightening read with lots of anecdotes about the punk era. Check out some extracts at this link

Battle of Brandywine

On this day in 1777 took place a battle in Pennsylvania during the American Revolution - a British victory that resulted in the capture of Philadelphia - see the virtual marching tour. Print is from Adrian Martinez

Sunday, September 10, 2006


A new Spanish movie set in 17th century Spain starring Viggo Mortensson. Supposedly the most expensive Spanish film it looks pretty spectacular. Trailers here

Yo la tengo new album out

They've done a London show to launch it, and are doing a full tour in November - review here and here. First listens are always difficult but to these ears it sounds like a really good and varied album. Many styles are in there to listen to - and it is a pleasurable experience. Another classic.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Battle of Lake Erie weekend

This weekend sees the annual battle of Lake Erie weekend. A 32-pound carronade, similar to the type used in the War of 1812, will thunder, historic re-enactors will fire black-powder guns, and Vice Admiral Ronald Route, the naval inspector general, will speak. The event celebrates the 193rd anniversary of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s victory over the British fleet at the Battle of Lake Erie.

Slave Rebellion of 1739

September the 9th was the date of the Stono Rebellion - a significant uprising of slaves in North America led by someone known to history as Jemmy. Make an interesting movie I think.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Bad Detectives' early recordings webpage

I don't know when this webpage of early (1981) demos from the band that are now bringing rockabilly to the Somerset masses got put up, but it is a pleasant surprise. I remember hearing the song 'Incognito' when they did it and thought it a really brilliant song in the classic vein. I suggest you give it a listen. It sounds timeless and is extremely catchy. I'm going back there to listen to some more.


Today's battle is no ordinary battle - it was a Napoleonic epic, a wearing out battle so common by the American Civil War. Virtual battle More here

Yeah Yeah Yeahs new single

New video is up for the next single Cheated Hearts by the YYYs - it's a great video so try to watch it - go onto the Media page and there you go. Wiki on them.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


As tomorrow is the anniversary of the battle of Borodino - the apocalyptic battle between the Russians and the invading army under Napoleon in 1812 - why not watch this clip of scenes from the masterful Bondarchuk film production of War and Peace. It's in Russian so I have not idea what the young lady is saying but the visuals are interesting enough to warrant a view. Its only had 20-odd views so far so I think you should show some interest in this educational and spectacular clip.

Battle of Groton Heights

Today is the anniversary of this skirmish in the American Revolution. Near the amusingly named Fort Griswold or is that just me that finds that name funny. New England artist David R Wagner (see below) has done a painting of Groton Heights - that's the great thing about the Revolution - all the minor skirmishes are celebrated and remembered.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

David R Wagner's Revolutionary war artwork

A great selection of paintings depicting incidents big and small from 1781 when French troops had landed in America to assist the forces under George Washington by New England artist David R Wagner. A very picturesque period with colourful uniforms this selection of paintings are evocative and pleasing.

Noah photos himself everday for six years

This is pretty fascinating in a dull Andy Warhol type of way. There have been a few of these recently - I suppose once one comes out everyone has to jump on quickly - soon there will be a demand for more of a plot - get hooked on crystal meth, lose flat, get religion, and then get obese - now that would be interesting. Sue suggested it could have been better iff he grew a beard or something....

Primal Scream cover punk classic

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Bow Wow Wow 'W.O.R.K'

A brilliant song even if it has a slap-bass solo - lyrics by Mclaren I think that has prophetic lines like 'demolition of the work ethic takes us to the age of the primitive!' A clip well worth watching,

Battle of Worcester 1651

Today is the anniversary of this the final battle of the English Civil Wars. Charles II's Scottish army was beaten by the Parliamentarians. Wiki on Battle of Worcester. The above link has photos of the battlefield that are worth looking at, and this link will take you to the Fairfax Battalia's webpage - Fairfaxes are probably the best English Civil War reenactment group going in my humble opinion, but I am biased having once, long ago, been a member. Buy the print by Chris Collingwood here.

Eldest daughter Bea's back

With plans to return to the States next year. She is eating like an American at the moment as well as talking like one. Totally. Catching up on much missed music at the moment - I will found out what was the first thing she played when she got back when she eventually wakes up. They showed Saxondale on the plane and she thought it was crap.

21st Century Ultimate Soldier range

Daughter Bea is safely back from Connecticut and of course it was presents all round. One thing I really loved was a set of WW2 Japanese infantry weapons from 21st Century Toys in their range of accessories for their 12 inch or so figures. The detail on these weapons is incredible with working bolt action and removable magazines and so on. They were discontinued and so marked down to a dollar so an incredible bargain is possibly to be had if you go down to your local toy store, if you're in the US. In the UK Ebay is probably the best way to get them. Obviously when Napoleon the ferret is a little bigger he can have them to play with.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Adam Ant autobiography

This long-awaited book is out soon - 11th September I think. You can preorder it here - looks a pretty good deal - we might buy the talking book deal - anyway not long to wait now, if you like that sort of thing - looks like the Digital Tenderness DVD is coming out too.

The Fall Theme From Sparta FC video

Or listen here. A brilliant football themed song from Britain's most interesting band the Fall. Video is good though not related to the subject of the song. 'We live on blood'.

'She wore a yellow ribbon'

'This movie sounds really dull' said Redmond, 'sounds like the most boring movie ever made'. Well there's the generation gap for you. I was brought up on John Wayne - mostly being dropped off at the cinema while my parents shopped - usually I got to see the lesser 60s westerns like the War Wagon, the Undefeated and the Ford-like Alamo. Anyway John Wayne has always been a bit like an alternative on-screen father figure to me as he nonchalantly slugged his way through the history of America. An embodiment of post war Americana. You probably aren't bothered about the man, but if you're curious to see what the fuss was all about you can now buy She Wore a Yellow Ribbon very cheaply on dvd as an intro to the John Wayne Collection (see above link).
I LOVE the John Ford cavalry movies - which includes Fort Apache and Rio Grande - written originally as short stories by James Warner Bellah an ex-army officer. I can't say why I love them - they are as corny as White Christmas but they are pure cinema magic - the supporting cast is a treat - Victor Maclagen in particular with his characterisation of an Irish pugilist fond of whisky is usually hilarious and there is usually other familiar faces like Ward Bond and Ben Johnson. If you're lucky you might get a turn from Hank Worden. I particularly love the choral songs so often raucously sang in the background, and the familiarity of a lot of the scenes. I find them a great escape and find them more enjoyable every time I watch them. So why not bask in the glory of mythic storytelling and some great visual delights and get this movie. She Wore a Yellow Ribbon IMdb wiki on the same
Propaganda and American Values in She Wore a Yellow Ribbon by Laurel Westbrook
James Warner Bellah filmography

Friday, September 01, 2006

Ferret scout car

I am thinking of buying this Action Man toy for Napoleon my ferret. It will make an amusing photo. Besides he hasn't got a vehicle yet. Actually there's a real one for sale at £5,200 here.
Wiki on Ferret armoured car

Invasion of Poland

Today is the anniversary of Nazi Germany's invasion in 1939 - starting the Second World War.