Thursday, August 30, 2007

Black Pearl Black Pearl don't lie to me

12 year old boy rumbles attempt to pass off a touring ship originally created for 1960s Mutiny on the Bounty as the PotC ship Black Pearl. Well done!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

H G Wells' Things to Come (1936)

This British science fiction film from '36 was on the telly this weekend and though I'd seen it before, this time I was deeply impressed by it and recommend you watch it. It's public domain in the US which is why it's on Google in its entirety. It starts in 1940 when war breaks out with a terrible air bombardment (pretty spot on) but the war drags on into barbarism with warlord Ralph Richardson fighting the Hill people by 1960. Soon a technologically advanced group 'Wings over the World' restore peace with the help of some great futuristic airships and clothing. Looks like the inspiration behind many later futuristic sci-fi organisations like Spectrum. Fast Forward to 2046 and everyone is living in underground cities. Fascinating and visually stunning this is worth the time spent watching it - why not watch it in chunks. If I was a US resident and in a band I'd project this onto a screen as its public domain - make a great backdrop. This is the best bargain you will get today unless you're a really lucky person...
Things to Come

'Nother Animals and Men song

We've uploaded a fifth new song onto our myspace...check it out - it's called Sugartown (You're dragging me down). We're doing a gig on sunday on our patio for our neighbours and friends. Hope it goes alright otherwise we'll have to move.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Sovereign's Servant Battle of Poltava Part 3

Maybe I was a little too quick to celebrate this film - call it the 'Last of the Mohicans/Sharpe' effect - people who know little about the period (like me) are going to love it but if you have a deep knowledge of the history, tactics, clothing you are not going to like it. This clip starts off the with the type of hand to hand fighting that only happens in movie battles. Though I do like the overall look of this movie I am probably being patronising, liking it because its not Hollywood but it probably is more Patriot than Barry Lyndon. Anyway soon I will have a copy to watch though it's not available in the West as a subtitled version I shall have to guess what they're saying. Check out the battle scene anyway. Parts 1 and 2 are also up.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Strobe Lighting

What's that all about? Maybe I'm getting old but strobe lighting at gigs - who wants it? I really find it annoying - am I the only one? Its supposed to induce a trance-like state presumably but I say if I want to have a trance like state I will get into one but not at the whim of some mental lighting engineer. I usually get a headache.

Gene Vincent & the Shouts 'You are my sunshine'

This is a great rocking though tender version of the old song - give it a listen and see if you like it - I'm a real GV fan and I wish I could have seen him live, but I was a little too young. Of course Gene was big in Britain and France long after his popularity had wained in the US and he was on Peely's Dandelion label. I like the stuff he recorded in the 60s more than I like the classic rockabilly sides - I know that's possibly sacreligious but the Challenge sessions are great with Ain't that too much being one of my alltime favourite Vincent songs. He was an icon to rockers in Britain in the 60s with his black leather but there was a fragile beauty to his singing that was coming out in these later recordings.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Well as this page is approaching 10,000 hits I thought it might be a good time to talk about the blog and give some kind of insight into the things I write about. At the moment I get about 20 hits a day - half of them could be categorised as friends and family and the other half is through search engine queries that draw people onto the site. I know most regular visitors aren't that interested in some of the things I write about but they tend to be the things that draw people in from afar, so to speak.
Do I wargame, reenact or make models? Not these days but I feel qualified to write about these things and writing about them seems a reasonable contribution to the subject. If I can attract people with the opening sentences that occur on search pages the hopefully their curiosity will be aroused to look and look further. For this reason I try to group subjects so if someone is looking for something the other items are linked in some way. I don't promote the site really - I get less hits than say this time last year but I am not too bothered after all if I wanted loads of hits I could write about Big Brother or celebrities' sex lives or even Sharpe but then where's the challenge in that? I feel quite pleased when I write about something and it is about the only non commercial piece on it on the internet in the English language - then I feel pretty good - so I am naturally after the obscurer items of interest, creating a niche if you like.
Anyway enough rambling. Thank you for reading if you are a regular and if you're an irregular visitor sorry about the stuff that is of no interest - whatever that may be!

Friday, August 24, 2007

New Animals and Men songs

We've uploaded 4 songs onto a new Myspace - 3 new songs and one a redone song from the old days. All the songs are recorded live with no overdubs.

Swedish Reenactment links

I've been browsing the various Swedish groups seeing which ones do the Great Northern War - why? seeing the clip from the Sovereign's Servant (see below) affected me enough to search out more on the 'Karoliner' - the Swedish soldier of the reign of Charles XII. Trouble is I don't speak Swedish and the online translators are a bit clumsy. I mainly mention all this so you can see how my mind works - I see a great epic movie and then I want to reenact it. This has been the way since I was a child and watched films like the Alamo at the Gaumont and then go and refight it afterwards in the cattle market buildings behind. But I digress. It's hard to separate the mythology from fact with regards the Karoliner but certainly legend has them as furiously aggressive on the battlefield in contrast to the norm of the time which was defensive relying on firepower rather than shock.
Check out the Links to see what is going on in Swedens historical scene.
Another battle scene from Sovereign's Servant - prelude to the clip below showing the Karoliners forming up.
Pic from the Swedish Army Museum

Adam and Joe on the radio

Comedy duo A & J are on Radio 6 7am to 10am this week and next. It's pretty good - witty without being cynical and worth listening to. Music's a bit lame but the chat is good like their old tv show which we miss greatly. Listen to it online if you miss it. Adam and Joe fansite

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Adverts Live at the Roxy in 1977

I got Sue to look at all the Adverts clips on Youtube and pick the best and she chose this one with them performing two songs 'On the roof' and 'New Day Dawning'. Her reason 'You can see the audience'. It is interesting to note the apparel of the fans - it's quite easy to imagine punks in 77 to look less normal but in those days people didn't often look that weird. Anyway there's quite a few classic moments to choose from - on OGWT doing 'Bored Teenagers' and of course on Totp doing the great Gary Gilmore's Eyes. I didn't know TV Smith and Gaye Advert came from Bideford, Devon, though.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Bad Detectives

My sister came round for a surprise visit on her birthday - havent seen her for yonks - I gave her a copy of the Bad Detectives album (not the new one B Movie Beat, the old one). I forgot to mention that you can download their radio show from Frome FM with loads of their fave songs on it. Shame I don't have a video to show you...when's the promo surfacing chaps?

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Monks

New documentary on the Monks - legendary 60s beat pioneers.
the Monks

Holger Erickson

Whilst in the Great Northern War period I thought I'd mention Swedish figure sculptor 'HE' - he worked in the 50s using mainly wood to create very elegant and semi-flat figures that have a period charm that suits the subject well. Aesthetically pleasing they lack detail but have a feel for the horse that is quite superb. 40mm moulds can be bought from Prince August - or 30mm castings can be acquired from Spencer Smith Miniatures.
Holger Eriksson Collector Society, C/O Lou Sandbote,

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Swedish v Russian Great Northern War battle scene

This literally blew me away. What is this? Watch it and tell me that you are not impressed. It's a battle scene from a movie - Poltava by the look of it - very well shot - extremely high budget -
the Swedes are doing the Gå På thing....I need to know more about it!! OK I have found out - it's a movie Слуга государев - set in 1709 - English title The Sovereign's Servant and it's a tale of two Frenchmen who are sent into the camps of Peter the Great and Charles XII. Imdb says 'Worthy of a look for those interested in battle scenes and historical accuracy'. We're there dude. Prop musket for sale - wonder if there are any more props on the market?

White Mountain 1618 photos from 2005

We've had a bit of a Cossacks revival on the pc at our house and enjoying historical battles like Narva (see below) and White Mountain (Bila Hora - outside Prague) which was the opening battle of the 30 Years War which ended in 1648. These photos are amazing - taken by one of the participating units - I had no idea that this period was being so well done in that part of the world. A lot more colourful than our rather dour English Civil War that was a bit later - this reminds me of The Flashing Blade (see earlier posting). Get in touch if you want an online bashing on Cossacks btw.

New Animals and men page

New snazzily 'designed by Bea page'...

Friday, August 17, 2007

Badgers and the British in Basra

This story in this month's Fortean Times raised our interest - badgers have been attacking cattle and people in the Basra region causing the rumour mill to reckon the British army have been introducing them to destabilise the population. "Of course we categorically deny that we have released badgers into Basra," said Maj. Mike Shearer. Apprently they have been returning to the region but conflict with humans is rare. I could tell you many stories about badgers attacking humans - read about the conspiracy of badgers here.

Gå På!

Narva - the siege of the Great Northern War was reenacted by Russian and Swedish reenactors at the weekend. Period formations were enacted as well as an exciting battle. And they had strongbow in the castle bar! In case you're wondering Ga Pa means 'fall on' and was part of the Swedish attack with musket in one hand and sword in the other. I think it's about time some UK reenactors got into the GNW - Poltava in 09 I imagine would be an ideal target. Live Journal/Blog for the period here including video footage.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Fulda photos and calendar

'Time travel to the 1700s' is the English translation - Fulda the home of the Hessian history museum is the venue - it's the site of the premier 18thc event in Europe held every year at the Schloss Fasanerie. Here's the photos from last weekend from Kersten Kircher - you may be one of the first to see them. I get invited every year - maybe next year? Buy a calendar here

Austrian Seven Years War reenactors

I must admit I feel a bit guilty in that I have probably been more interested in the goings on in America during the Age of Reason and haven't really got involved with the continental side but as we're in the middle of the 250th anniversary allow me to put some links up of some great Austrian regiments active in the Czech republic. Being English speaking often with the influence of Hollywood it's easier to find the sources more accessible and somehow more alluring.

IR Salm-Salm and Regiment Wied are the two groups pictured and they look great so get in touch if you are thinking of getting into recreating the SYW. If we ever move to central Europe as I sometimes fantasise doing I will organise a Hungarian unit. The Grenzers below impressed me but I would want to get away from talking to old ladies about how to fire a musket and get skirmishing out in the woods. See also Czech French and Indian war reenactors

Elvis Crawfish

This has to be my all time favourite Elvis moment - a brilliant Leiber and Stoller song beautifully delivered with a minimal backing - over shots of New Orleans - what more do you need to celebrate the life of the man taken from us 30 years ago. I'd love to cover this song but I would be in the worrying space of whether to anglicise it as crayfish thus losing the Elvisian syllable 'aw'. I actually feel a fair bit of guilt towards Crayfish - I used to hunt them down Vallis Vale and now everytime I go there I find none so I feel somewhat responsible. I also feel guilt over the Great Crested newt population of Broadway pond and the stone loach and gudgeon life at Feltham pond. But we didn't have game systems or the internet in those days - catching some rare pond life was about as good as it got for a ten year old in Frome.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Bad Detectives new album out

More rock and roll, surf and humour from unstoppable Frome trash culture recyclers the Bad Detectives on Western Star records. Also available to download. They have one of the new tracks The Weymouth Flyer on their myspace Weymouth being a seaside destination reachable by train from Frome.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

animals and men at the lyrics project

we've been filling in some of our lyrics on this - does that make us sad?

Duke of Earl Gene Chandler

We were watching Hairspray (the original not the unnecessary remake) and it's amazing how many records of that era were based on a cha cha beat. See Sha Na Na do it

Velimir Vuksic - illustrator

I thought before leaving the era of border warfare in the Seven Years War it might be useful to see if there's anyone who is the eastern European version of Gerry Embleton (see below) - someone capturing the fringes of partisan warfare but in the European theatre. This artist has certainly done some great studies of Croats and their enemies - check out his page for some great artwork. This figure shows what was the Prussian response to the Grenzers (see below) with the Hussar Mirliton being the main addition to the Hungarian style of the rest of the uniform. If you are wondering what was the British equivalent to the Pandour or Croat it was the Highlander - they maintained elements of their national dress, were hardy uplanders and were capable of fierce hand to hand fighting when necessary. Petite Guerre was dirty work and being outside the national 'image' also helped them accomplish what was essentially guerrilla warfare.

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Grenzinfanterie Reg. Karlstädter-Szluiner (Kroatische Grenzinfanterie) I am very impressed by this Czech group recreating the famous border infantry of the
Austrian Empire in the Age of Reason. These ferocious petite guerre experts were the envy of all Europe and it does my heart good to see them recreated so well. Members of the Dreispitz group - see photos of Kolin and other Seven Years War 250th events there. It makes me want to get involved in the anniversary events coming up - anyone out there want to do Austrian infantry?

Cast your own legion

Excellent idea - well done Prince August - click on the link to watch the youtube video on how to cast your own 28mm Roman legion in white metal from moulds. They have a blog too! Something for the winter maybe?

'Danger: Diabolik' (1968) trailer

Out now on remastered DVD this Italian comic based movie is worth getting if you are a fan of 60s kitsch like Barbarella. Watch the trailer to see what I mean.

Sad death of Tony Wilson

Plastic Underground

This is an interesting venture - someone producing 1/32 historical plastic figures as a cottage industry doing them on demand. This enables a niche period to be covered that wouldn't normally be done for commercial reasons. As an unfulfilled sculptor I am impressed by his work in particular the '45 Jacobite Rebellion figs and his Spartans. I have long fancied producing plastic figs in this scale - it's great to see someone actually doing it.

Kelmarsh History Festival

A World War One trench system and aerial dogfight are among the highlights of this event.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Narva Festival

This weekend in Estonia there is the excellent Narva festival which has all manner of activities relating to the siege during the Great Northern War. This is one of the world's premier 18th century events, with reenactors coming from all over the Baltic. I wish I could go, but which side would I be on? Certainly there were Scottish mercenaries fighting for both the Swedes and Russians so maybe I would offer my services to the highest bidder. Reenactors here. Until then I'll have to content myself with playing Cossacks the Art of War instead..

The Fall 'Reformation Post TLC' video

We haven't had much MES recently and I wouldn't want you thinking I've gone soft or something. Enjoy...that's an order!

Redcoats in the forest

Gerry Embleton is one of the world's premier military uniform and equipment specialists recreating mannequins in stunningly lifelike poses and classic illustrations of troops in situ such as this camp scene. One of his favourite subject is the British redcoat of the Seven Years War and the Revolution in North America and this site brings together much of his work to date, and quite brilliant it is too. Highly recommended.

Russian Indian Hobbyists

These photos are amazing - these people are obviously very dedicated to their hobby I salute their high standards. It's interesting to note how similar the flora and fauna of Northern Europe is to North America so it all looks very appropriate.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Hey! Elastica 'Eat Your Heart Out'

Can't find out much on the web about this band but finding this clip has been something of a pleasant surprise. They are from the early-mid 80s and I think they were Scottish possibly from Glasgow. Sounds pretty dated now though. I think this clip is from the Oxford Roadshow. They didn't really hit the big time but we liked them and bought their records and I've occassionally looked for this clip unsuccessfully so whoever taped it deserves a medal. What I want now is to see Danny and the Nogoodniks when they were on telly -and also the Cortinas when they were on Points West doing 'Television Families' The singer Jeremy Valentine was interviewed after playing 'We also do a song called Fascist dictator; it's a love song', if my memory serves me correctly.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster

Susan and daughter Bea went to the Thekla to see this Brighton band last night. They loved it and thought they were better than ever. Susan shot this cool is that? Have a look and check out their raw energy.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Austerlitz in 1/72

If you're a Napoleon fan (and I think you know by now that I am) you aren't so interested in the battle of Waterloo which is obviously the low point of his reign but your interests lie in the earlier more successful part of his career. Trouble is the uniforms are quite different, and most figures for the period deal with Waterloo. Recently several companies have started producing models for the Austerlitz period and this latest set from Italeri is a welcome edition to help the junior general refight the great battles of the beginning of the Napoleonic wars. Hat industries have done wonders for this era recently producing one of their best sets of Napoleonic 1805 soldiers in greatcoats. Also they have been producing the not so glamorous Russians in their 1805 uniform.
Looking at the new Italeri set at Soldatini Online I think they've sculpted the bicorns too big but what the hell the poses are excellent. I might this winter start a project that's been in the back of my mind since I was about 12, that is recreating the armies of Austerlitz and the other great battles in this time in the history of warfare.
Thinking further the 1798-1805 period has lots going for it in terms of style - the attrition of the Napoleonic wars later on caused for a more practical look to be worn by the armies as they trudged through the mud of Europe. This era was the last time military fashions followed the civilian fashions in terms of things like hat and cut of the coat - an elegant swallow tailed look. Anyway Austerlitz is depicted in War and Peace and it being a battle of three (count 'em) Emperors it sort of defines the age nicely. Besides the British weren't in the battle and I find British Napoleonics a bit of a bore. Having said that the campaigns in the West Indies in the 1790s have always been something that has interested me - basically the armies there mostly died of yellow fever but that's warfare. So the snows of Austerlitz or the slave armies and forlorn disease ridden European troops fighting in Santo Domingo - I'll probably not do any of it but you never know...

PSR French Infantry

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Chuck Berry 'Promised Land'

I also like the Johnnie Allen cajunified version of this great song and you can do an 'air accordion solo' which I might do for the camera sometime soon - but until then you'll have to imagine it. This version is from 65 and shows Chuck's famous leg directions to his band - CB always used local musicians for cheapness and used his right leg to signify stops and changes. The lyrics are sublime; Tell the folks back home this is the promised land callin' And the poor boys on the line

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Thoughts on Mickey and Sylvia

So are they any good? Well I am still listening to them - it might only be to hear the spicey biting guitar fills and solos by Mickey Baker but where's the harm in that? Maybe that makes me a bit of guitar nerd and for this reason I try not to inflict M&S on other people but I also like the cheesey songs too - they're quite dreamy and full of innocent joys like the one where they talk about a picnic in the park and taking along their portable radio tuned to their favourite rock and roll station. Of course you can't do that in our much vaunted National Parks or fly a kite but I digress. Male/female vocal harmonies seem a bit of a taboo in popular music - does it represent some kind of yuk factor? Anyway if you can get over that then these songs are like 50s Americana in musical form.

Buzzard on the roof

This was a pleasant start to the day - a juvenile Buzzard landed on our roof. We snapped it and filmed it fly off uttering its characteristic mew. They're fairly common 'round here but it still gives us a thrill. We live on the edge of town so our humdrum life is occasionally punctuated by spotting a stoat or roe deer, but it's rare to actually film something. You can hear Susan worrying that this Buzzard was after our fave ferret Napoleon - now that would have been a Youtube moment... Buzzard versus Ferret....