Wednesday, October 31, 2007

LaZag


Sadly I missed this Italian 8 piece ensemble when they played the Bell at Walcot Street Bath the other day but this clip is some sort of consolation. BIOG here They play music inspired by the Italian Renaissance on all manner of interesting instruments and make a lovely sound. Give this one a try - wait for it to really get going because by the end it's kicking like a mule. You'll not believe how good bagpipes and bass can sound. Inspiring. Maybe they should do the music for my Dancing Mania movie. Sound a little like Blowzabella if anyone knows them.
Their Myspace
Lazag - Gaudeamus

The Creation 'Painter Man'

Another British beat group for all to enjoy in the theme of 'bands that are like Dave Dee Dozy Beaky etc' - the Creation followed a pop art theme with their music and this anthemic song starts with the lyric
Went to college, studied art
to be an artist. make a start
studied hard, gained my degree
but no one seemed to notice me
- brilliant stuff - though this clip seems a little tame by today's standards although the suits look a little Hivesy. Creation wiki

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Troggs 'Can't Control Myself'

If you are into Dave Dee Dozy etc you might want to try this other great West Country beat band from the 60s here playing a thumping live version of this proto punk anthem in front of a groovy audience. Reg Presley grinding is not a pretty sight but this is an excellent clip.

TK Tankette in action

On the whole I am not a big fan of WW2 reenactment - not sure why I'm not keen - but it seems in the UK at least a bit dull. But this clip showing a Polish TK tankette is great - it's very short but worth watching. These tankettes were popular in the early years of armoured warfare but were obsolete by WW2. If you enjoyed this action recreating 1939 watch this reenactment clip of Polish cavalry charging a German armoured car - you'll have to watch to the end though...

Monday, October 29, 2007

Great War event near Moskow
















Lots of well equipped and dedicated reenactors of the First World War gathered near Moskow at the weekend braving the cold and bringing some amazing bits of equipment likes these items shown here. Eastern front and Western front scenarios were enacted. Wish I was there but I would probably just be sat in the armoured car keeping warm drinking tea.
More Photos here
Russian news story on youtube here

Richard Hell

Did you see the ITV Punk documentaries on last night? Pretty good all in all, I thought. Nice to see how people have aged - some looked great like Gaye Advert. I was glad to see Richard Hell getting some of the credit he is due for inventing the punk style and attitude - if only he was such a shameless self publicist like Lydon we'd all be sick of hearing about it all by now. On the subject of age Richard Hell has some reflective autobiographical discourses on age among other things up on his youtube channel. Worth watching if you are a fan and interested - his monologue on age reflects a career long interest in time and ageing as in such songs as Destiny Street, and of course Time. Wish he'd make more music but I don't suppose it would be the same without Akron's own Robert Quine on guitar. Richard Hell's Official site

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Animals and Men's Danse Macabre

Some pics from our gig on Friday - as you can see we got to live out a fantasy of having horror movies and images showing in the background. Next gig is the 17th Westhill Hall Brighton with the Pheromoans and friends.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Joe Meek Festival

Newent in Gloucestershire is host to the first festival celebrating record producer Joe Meek. Featuring a band called the Triumphs.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Control trailer

This movie about the early years of Joy Division frontman is currently at cinemas - it's at the Little Theatre at Bath locally. If you can't be bothered just watch the trailer - I expect you'll get most of the good bits. Burglars look away - I have a copy of the vinyl ep in the clip - worth a mint - must sell it before the Joy Ds go out of fashion - if you think that's unlikely think how fashionable the Doors are these days. The Guardian had a feature recently about how to get the Ian Curtis look - all 300 quid shirts and expensive labels, soon it will be someone else - line up to become the next icon - kill yourself first though.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Dancing mania

Did you know about this phenomena? From the 14th to the 17th century groups of people would be gripped by a dancing hysteria, speaking in tongues and so on. Fascinating. Wiki on it here. People would play music along with the crazed dancers which only served to make it worse. According to another page The first major outbreak of dancing mania was in Aix-la-Chapelle in July of 1374. A group of people were seen to dance uncontrollably in the streets, foaming at the mouth and screaming of wild visions. They kept on dancing until they collapsed from exhaustion, but even then they flailed about in agony until forcefuly restrained. The dancing caught on, and spread rapidly throughout France and the Low Countries. There is a lovely poem there
Amidst our people here is come
The madness of the dance.
In every town there now are some
Who fall upon a trance.
It drives them ever night and day,
They scarcely stop for breath,
Till some have dropped along the way
And some are met by death

It sounds like some form of poisoning - some explain it as ergot - a fungus that gets blamed for everything from the Marie Celeste to the Children's crusade. I'm not sure what was going on but I think it would make a great movie...
Rethinking the Dancing Mania

John Cooper Clarke 'Health Fanatic'

John Cooper Clarke pops up on the Ian Curtis biopic 'Control' movie soundtrack doing 'Evidently Chickentown' - not sure where in the movie it is as I haven't got off my arse to see it yet but it's a brilliant and witty poem and it took me back to the time when he seemed almost everywhere. I had kind of completely forgotton about this Manchester, or more correctly Salfordian punk poet but he was great live supporting various punk acts and his rapid fire poems often bitingly funny or seriously depressing but always fascinating. Where was he now? Alive and well and living in Colchester according to the piece on him in The Independent - he's actually touring at the moment so maybe he'll get some acclaim as I think as in inspirer of others he has to be lauded for doing what he did so well. Before JCC there wasn't really any culture for spoken word stuff but now with hip hop and it's commercial success people have woken to the spoken. This poem 'Health Fanatic' deals with the kind of health nut who seems to have proliferated these days. Check out youtube for other clips including 'Chickentown' from Neil Innes' show and his bizarre Sugar Puffs ad.

Della Bella

Looking for images for our Halloween party on Friday night to project onto the wall and came across this by accident - it's a picture of a comedy actor from the 1640s by Della Bella - freaky though isn't it or is that just me?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Celebrate the humble onion

On H R Stuffnshit's blog is some thoughts on the Onion. Actually one of the most popular marching songs of the army of Napoleon was 'I like Onions Fried in Oil'. It flew in the face of the official patriotic songs they were supposed to sing. Sometimes when the army was called on to shout 'Vive L'Empereur' the troops shouted 'Vive le Pomme de terre' instead.

Images of Frome

A few images of Frome to encourage you to come to town for our Danse Macabre on Friday. The Masonic Hall is opposite the Museum. Frome is home to quite a vibrant music and arts scene with plenty of cafes and galleries. You might even see the Bad Detectives shooting one of their videos (see below)

Bad Detectives promos

Here are 3 clips from promos done by the Bad Detectives - Frome's rock and roll superstars as heard on Radio 2. They show a real flair for this sort of thing - the promos are well worth watching - having a budget of zero these mini films are the bees' knees and very funny. The songs are B-Movie Scientist (off the new album), Alligator Rosie (looks like it was filmed at Vallis Vale), and Surfing the Severn Bore - the Severn bore being a huge annual tidal wave on the River Severn. Excellent, quality stuff.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Elizabeth the Golden Age trailer

Cate Blanchett as the Virgin Queen in this good looking movie out now. I find it reassuring that they still knock out movies that have as their centrepiece the Spanish Armada.

Billy Boy Arnold 'I ain't got you'

Burglars don't read this: We got a new pc with speakers on it today that boom out so to celebrate that fact I thought I'd choose something a bit different, and as the BBC Four Newport Folk Festival evening has set me in a blues mood this week I thought I'd post this clip of Billy Boy Arnold playing the classic 'I Ain't Got You' backed by the Blasters. One seriously underrated blues musician BBA is a musical bridge between the Afro-American rhythms as purveyed by Bo Diddley and the traditions of John Lee Sonny Boy Williamson, his harp mentor. Not sure if Jimmy Reed did the first version but it changed vehicles from an Eldorado Cadillac to a Maserati GT I think when the song crossed the Atlantic to be covered by the Yardbirds.

Viking comic

Myspace comics gives you the first glimpse of an epic sage set in the Viking age by Brian Wood. It looks really good with excellent artwork.

Monochrome Set Mr Bizarro live in 1984

Will I be able to make Monochrome Set fans of any of you? Here's a croony number with elements that sound a bit like a 1920s tango that was originally a B-side to one of their Rough Trade singles.

Sergey Letin

Another great Russian illustrator - see his Napoleonic work here
A reknowned authority on the Guards of Peter the Great he sadly passed away in 2005. If you look at the large version of this print you can see the detail and workmanship that has gone into these paintings - a three dimensional knowledge of all aspects of equipment, clothing and their construction are required before attempting something like this.

'To Be Or Not To Be' aka 'the Hitler Rap' Mel Brooks

Lyrics here Brilliant song from 1983 when Brooks remade the 40s classic with Jack Benny

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Kolberg (1945)

Perhaps the greatest movie folly of all time this film, available in full on Google video, tells the tale through the eyes of Goebells of a German town's resistance to Napoleon. Intended to be an epic along the lines of Gone With The WInd it was shot in Agfacolour and used thousands of troops. It was a hugely expensive undertaking. When it was premiered it was already all over for Germany with most theatres already bombed out of existence. Lots of absurdities abound in the making of this film like the 100 railway wagon loads of salt being sent to Pomerania to shoot snow scenes in the summer - anyway if you just want to watch the 'money shots' or the battle scenes they start at 1 hour 8 minutes in. If you don't speak German or French the synopsis is on the wiki. You have to laugh really - it's the last thing that you'd think would be needed in 1945 - a war film!
Wiki on the movie here

Alexander Nevsky (1938)

If you like old battle movies with a propaganda twist then check out this small section from the Ice Battle in Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky. A film that makes a comparison between the Teutonic knights and Nazi aggression it was the inspiration behind many battle sequences made since including the Hoth battle in Star Wars and it was rotoscoped for the battle of Helm's deep for the animated Lord of the Rings. Wiki on the movie here Watch the whole movie on google

Gig in Brighton 17th November

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Frederick the Great movies

History is often hijacked for propaganda purposes - everyone does it and did it from Birth of a Nation through to Henry V and the Alamo - one of the themes Germany used in the 20s and 30s was the saga of movies about Frederick the Great - the Fridericus Rex films. Starring Otto Geb├╝hr they span the silent era from 1920 until this one, the final film, a remake Der Groesse Konig in 1942. It depicts the battle of Kunersdorf - a disaster for the Prussians against the Austrians and Russians. Anyway watch the clip - it conjures up an 18th century battle reasonably well and fairly spectacularly too. Hitler associated himself with Frederick the Great and watched these movies for relaxation after a hard day's trying to rule the world.

Kings of Leon 'Charmer'

Kings of Leon do a Pixies impression. Actually I quite like this single but I imagine it would get annoying after a while. Why is it that every band you see on telly these days has either a Rickenbacker or a Thunderbird. Whats the matter - ordinary basses not interesting enough?

Capitaine Conan (1996)

I haven't seen this French movie but from the trailer it looks well worth tracking down. It's a film by Tavernier set in the First World war with what looks like some excellent action sequences in an unusual theatre - the Balkans. Imdb says of the plot Bulgaria near the end of World War I: Conan, warrior and wolf, leads a band of 50 ruthless French fighters who love hand-to-hand combat. Their motto: "We forgot to take prisoners, Captain." At war's end, the unit goes to Bucharest, where Conan tries to keep them out of trouble, defends them when they behave as warriors, and finds he's unsuited for peacetime. His friendship with Norbert, a teacher turned lieutenant, is tested when Norbert accepts a job as court-martial prosecutor because he's learned that Conan will be facing charges and he wants to protect his friend. When they are sent to the Russian border to fight Bolsheviks, Conan is back in his element and Norbert is off the hook

La vie et Rien D'autre (1989)

'Life and nothing else' is a film by Tavernier. Set in 1920 it deals with the aftermath of the Great War as a burial party led by Phillipe Noiret have to select a soldier for the Unknown Soldier tomb at the Arc de Triomphe. A melancholy love story but well worth watching

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Razor's Edge (1984)

The first in a series of great movies dealing with World War One. Based on the book by Somerset Maugham taking in the Great War and the 20s this forgotten movie of the 80s was a straight role for Bill Murray and his only screeenwriting credit. It is a rare remake that surpasses the original - starring Tyrone Power. Keep your eyes peeled for this great movie that is extremely underrated. Visit the Fansite here - full of interesting articles....

Nico and the Velvets 'Femme Fatale' live

Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Kaiser

Scene from the remake of All Quiet on the Western front featuring the Kaiser. There was a homosexual scandal attached to the early years of Kaiser Wilhelm II's reign which started when a military type while wearing a tutu dancing a pas seul died in the Kaiser's presence. Called the Harden-Eulenberg affair it was a contributory cause of the First World War. Strange.

Whistling Jack Smith 'I was Kaiser Bill's Batman'

A hit from 1967 - info here - a lot of the easy listening hits of the 60s confused me as a child when I heard them on the radio - I used to take them quite literally - 'Windmills of your mind' what was that all about? (According to the wiki on it 'The song illustrates a person's mental state after a romantic break-up, relating the way emotionally charged thoughts and memories can run in tortured circles'. Oh. Nothing about windmills like 'A mouse that lived in a windmill in old Amsterdam' then')?Similarly this hit - who was Kaiser Bill and why did he need someone to dress up as Batman for him?

Adam Ant on 'This Morning' 09/28/07

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Steve Weston's 1/32 A7V out

Looks excellent - take some painting. Wiki on A7V Sturmpanzer.
Ideal for wargaming in the garden. The Germans only made 20 of these - they also use captured British tanks.
Let's hope Weston's produce a Renault FT-17 next - useful for French and American forces as well as French Foreign Legion...Spanish Civil War, WW2 .... people will buy multiples too...well when I say people I mean me... Armies in plastic 1/32 ww1 figs pics here and here
Here's a link to an excellent Ft-17 site
- all manner of photos, plans - basically a fansite to the Ft-17.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Cross the Green Mountain Bob Dylan

The American Civil War battle by Soskan is on at the American museum Bath this weekend so to follow that theme here is Bob Dylan - who seems to be undergoing a revival with his song Cross the Green Mountain done for the movie Gods and Generals.

Destino

Noticed this by accident - a short film that is a result of a collaboration between Salvador Dali and Walt Disney, abandoned in the 40s but released in 2003. Looks interesting....only 6 minutes though.

Eylau 1807 from the Napoleon Miniseries (2002)

Interesting depiction of the Battle of Eylau fought 300 years ago - it's a Spanish dub but you get the idea. A bit rubbishy in the modern digital sense. Not a patch on Bondarchuk...

H R Stuffnshit

Bea's started her own blog! Amusingly titled it has kicked off with an article explaining the concept of Last FM and explains what scrobbling is. Let's hope she posts loads of crap like I do. Watch intro to 60s kids show H R Pufnstuff here

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Waterloo 1815

This Italian company has been producing figures relating to Italian history for a while and are about to release 1/32 WW1 italians and Napoleonic Prussians. Some interesting things on the site though it's often not clear what scale they are, for example the Sahariana.

Great War TV series

Studying and understanding the Great War has just got easier - some kind soul has uploaded the whole series of the acclaimed 60s BBC documentary series in majestic black and white. I picked this episode about the hellhole of Verdun as an example of the quality of filmmaking that went into this series with many interviews of survivors and excellent maps making this military history at its most accessible. Of course you might find it depressing to learn about this sort of thing but on the other hand it might make you appreciate the life you are living a little more and that's a good thing right? Earlier episode about Brave Little Belgium

Oleg Parkhaev

This Russian illustrator's work may be familiar to you having been featured on cards published in the late 80s. As Russia became more international and Russian reenactors started travelling to the West these cards were used to get spending money off people like us and gratefully received they were too. A nice archaic style with uncluttered backgrounds they carry the information well. More here
http://www.greenforest.ru/gf.html?category=cat_encyclopedia&section=history_page - 4 links at the top will take you to many more examples.

Bad Detectives on Radio 2!






Frome's rock and rollers The Bad Detectives were on Steve Lamacq's show on Radio 2 last Saturday, you've got until Saturday to listen to it here (it's about 45 minutes in): http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/shows/bobharris/playlist.shtml?focuswin

Actually I kind of won a bet to myself - I guessed the track that they played ('I'm In Love With the Mole Man's Girl') - that was a stand-out track of choice for us too... actually I am dead impressed by this achievement - well done...from Frome FM to Radio 2 on a saturday in one leap...if this was a pop boardgame I am sure they have just thrown a double six!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Tis the season to watch telly

There's two things worth watching on our tv screens in my humble opinion - the Tudors and Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe. The first features my wife's favourite Jonathon Rhys-Meyers as the young Henry VIII and the drama focusses on his athleticism on the tennis courts and the bedchamber as opposed to the usual stuff of TV monarchy. I enjoyed it - surprising for me as I usually hate all the history dramas I have seen about Kings and Queens but this one had something going for it that it was difficult to pin down but a fine cast, good locations and an inobtrusive soundtrack helped. Next episode is on friday night. Wiki on Tudors Renaissance romping with Henry and his ratpack NYT
Charlie Brooker's Screenwipe is a marvellously cynical look at the world of television - The blurb says 'Brooker is an expert at disassembling TV... peeling away each layer of the supposed mystique until you can see what a horrible place the world of media really is'. Brooker is the man behind Nathan Barley, Gaurdian columnist and some of the best cutting edge comedy and creates an acidic portrayal of the industry that is long overdue with all the current scandals. If you miss this you can watch them on Youtube. Wiki on Brooker

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Nikolay Zubkov


Another brilliant historical artist from Russia is Nikolay Zubkov. Check out his ancient romans and so forth here, and Napoleonic work here.
Incidentally if you are interested in reenacting this early period there is an open training weekend October 20/21 in the midlands see www.vicus.org.uk

British alien big cats

Given the speed grey squirrels colonised this country it makes Alien Big cats a bit more likely

Battle of New Orleans Johnny Horton

You have to watch this... As you can see I am getting a bit desperate for decent songs that involve a historical theme but this one ties in with the conflict between red and grey squirrels in my mind at least. And it's uniquely hilarious. Notice the authentic backwoodsmen costume worn by the band - I have considered a hunting frock as stage wear - not like this though.... here's what they should look like. Pattern here

The Great Squirrel wars

We all know that the Grey squirrel came from North America and pretty much wiped out the native red apart from places like Northern Ireland, Brownsea and a few others but have you ever wondered how they got here? We all know how mink got here, signal crayfish etc but what about squirrels? Did they come over in ships like rats but in the rigging being fed by sailors? Was it a malevolent nutter? 'The first documented release of grey squirrels into the UK was in 1876 in Cheshire, with subsequent introduction to sites ranging from Glamorgan to Kent totalling more than 350 individuals. Grey squirrels are now present in every English county and absent only from parts of Cumbria and Northumberland, a small area of the Sefton coast, the Isle of Wight and Poole harbour islands'. Parliament.co.uk
As to why they were introduced
'This is a fair question because the animal has no redeeming features compared with the resident reds, and it certainly has more vices. The most likely answer is that acclimatisation of species, as they called it, fitted in with the Victorians' view that man's task was to reshape the world in all its aspects and it became the fashionable thing to do. At that time very few people, including most of the experts, were aware of the damage that this might cause to native wildlife'. Essex wildlife trust
More depth on introductions here

Monday, October 08, 2007

Animals and Men 'I' and 'Sugartown (You're dragging me down)'

In case you are wondering how we got on in BoA at the Black Cat Club then wonder no more as here's the first two songs we played - we went very well - I think they might have us back - it's a great venue with a nice set up. Don't forget our Danse Macabre on the 26th October at the Masonic Hall, Frome - come early and get your face painted - there's all manner of fun to be had - support from Invisible System - if no one comes I am going to join a Foreign Legion reenactment unit.

Germany's Great War Panzer

To celebrate the release by Steve Weston of a 1/32 A7v Sturmpanzer I thought I'd post this segment of images and even moving footage of this beast - not very successful for the Germans compared to the British 'tank' but it has its charm and the 1/32 model is a must have for anyone who is into that part of history, selling at 14 pounds. Their British tank already out looks fine and very appropriately large. Available from the US from Armies in Plastic who produce a comprehensive range for WW1. More old tank footage including Whippets, Schneiders etc here

'Bad Boy' Larry Williams

Most people probably know Larry Williams from the songs of his covered by the Beatles 'Dizzy Miss Lizzy''Bad Boy' and 'Slow Down' or his own big hit 'Bony Moronie'. He's usually compared to his Specialty label mate Little Richard, but I think his style is more like the Coasters and as they are undergoing a revival at the moment I thought I'd throw up this audio of one my favourite songs of his. It is an amusing picture of a wayward teen, with a catalogue of horror stories.
Williams was almost a model for today's hip-hop superstars with a string of convictions for selling drugs and at one time threatened to kill Little Richard over a drug debt. Track down his music if you don't have any - an album recorded with Johnny Guitar Watson and the Brit band The Stormsville Shakers is also worth seeking out. Larry Williams wiki

Sunday, October 07, 2007

World War One Reenactment film

Film of the twice yearly reenactment in the US by the Great War Association. Shot with a 1920s cine camera it's a very well put together little movie filmed at the association's 100 acre site including full trench systems in Pennsylvania. More footage here http://www.great-war-assoc.org/

Review Beneath Flanders Fields


Beneath Flanders Fields: The Tunnellers War 1914-1918 by Peter Barton , Peter Doyle, Johan Vandewalle. This is quite simply the best book on the Great War I have read. Profusely illustrated it tells the tell of military mining on the Western Front in amazing detail ranging from poignant witness testimonies, archeological photos to all manner of military and technical detail. Packed with anecdotes this is not a dry list of engagements but a really in-depth look at the British and Commonwealth miners and their German counterparts who fought a highly developed and often brutal war underground. A series of line illustrations are particularly interesting bringing clarity to the subject showing detailed cutaways of tunnel system and the like. Highly recommended.

Friday, October 05, 2007

'Love Power' Lorenzo St Dubois

Another musical highlight from a 60s classic - this time from the Producers with the hilarious audition scene featuring 'L.S.D.' - do you think they're a bit like Sky Saxon and the Seeds? The performer's name is Dick Shawn - he also plays a similar role in It's a Mad Mad Mad World. Wonderful. Sad to see he died on stage. Dick Shawn wiki

Hives Tick Tick Tick Boom video

More from Sweden - this time the furious rock and rollers the Hives in an excellent promo....a great way to start the day...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Gig in Bradford on Avon


We're playing in B-o-A tomorrow night at the Riverside Inn. BoA is a very pretty cloth town and well worth a visit if you like old buildings. This is one of my favourites, a Saxon church from before the Norman conquest. Pass a few moments enjoying these wonderful photos of a great old town and if you're local why not come and see us? Dont forget the gig in Frome on the 26th October though...

A. Karashchyuk

You probably know I am a bit of a Russophile - probably something to do with them stopping Europe becoming a Nazi colony during WW2 - anyway one thing I do know is that there are some great historical illustrators and sculptors working out there - usually fairly unsung in the West too. I've never heard of this fellow before but his early 18th century work on the Drabant miniatures site is, as the Americans say, awesome. I will be featuring some of the best in the next few weeks as I hopefully generate some interest in the early 18th century.
The text reads; The picture shows musketeer and grenadier of Languedoc Foot Regiment. This Tallard’s regiment was one of the most famous and dangerous in French army. Most French musketeers had leather cartridge box on a belt. Grenadiers of the regiment wore tall fur hat with long cloth cap, unlike soldiers of many other regiments including Guards. French grenadiers necessarily wore moustaches. Grenadiers were armed with firelock muskets and sabers instead of epees.

Hopefully you will check out his other early 18th century artwork on the Drabant site - some of the best figures on the market in 40mm scale, including Swedish pikemen and drummers - see below. The paintings I have been told are available as prints on order from the Drabant site.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Boss Hog 'I Dig You' promo

Weve been enjoying Boss Hog recently - they're a groovy punk/blues mixture that appeals to both Susan and myself - maybe it's because they're a husband and wife team. Anyway give this a spin - groove to the funky harp solo and read the wiki on them. OK?

The Radstock Caroliners

I am quite a fan of the Great Northern War - the period of the Sovereign's Servant the recent Russian epic movie and I also like reenacting the early 18th century but don't really do it anymore having got bored I suppose so what I am going to do is organise a virtual regiment of Swedish soldiers to show you how its done, to encourage people to create their own Great Northern War regiment and so on and you are all hereby forced to sign up.
How to start?
Drums First up as I am a bit of a musician I would create the drum section. Being lazy I would get in touch with some experts on the period in this case the Swedish group the Nerike Wermelands Caroliner and I would get the dimensions of the drums of the period - pictured on their website and acquire two field drums of the style and paint them up accordingly. I would buy two from Marcus Music in Wales (see picture) - the prices and quality are very good and reliable.
Next thing would be to train up two drummers. I used to have two field drums and they make a lot of noise so I would go out to an abandoned quarry like we used to to practice and march about making some beats. Of course what to play is maybe a tricky thing if the research isn't out there but if not I would use French examples. After a few weeks practice sessions let's assume we have two reasonably well trained drummers capable of keeping a beat while marching and so on - what's next, you keenly ask? Assuming we are reasonably well heeled the next thing - this being the UK I would order some pikes - long spears - about 12/16 in number - they're not expensive and you can drill anywhere you like and it's a good start for people not used to handling muskets.
In the meantime if you are keen you would be reading up on the army of Charles XII, visit some websites maybe learning a bit of Swedish and if you are really keen I'd get you to order a pair of handmade shoes from Sarah Juniper - the best historical shoemaker in my opinion in this country. See you next time.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Great Northern War photos




If I lived in Russia or around the Baltic region I would definitely reenact this period - it has lots of potential and will grow over the years to become truly spectacular. The Poltava reenactment in '09 will no doubt be worth travelling for. It's my opinion that the Sovereign's Servant movie will increase the profile of the era encouraging more people to get involved - anyway here's some photos from last weekend at Kexholm a northern fortress.
More details in English and Russian here http://www.peter.petrobrigada.ru/
Early 18thc reenactment links

Borodino reenactment clips

Some excellent footage from the 1812 battle reenacted in Russia a couple of weekends ago. http://loadup.ru/video/view/?id=v1239143439
http://loadup.ru/video/view/?id=v1239422d06
http://loadup.ru/video/view/?id=v124017d62b

Monday, October 01, 2007

Bow wow wow Interview and 'Aphrodisiac'

Doesn't Matthew Ashman - the guitarist - look cool in this clip? Watch this for a slice of 80s pop heaven - wiki on Bow wow wow. Here the reformed BWW play the Smiths' 'I started something' on their myspace.