Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Ladytron High Rise Live

My favourite Ladytron song played live. Excellent.

More reenactors in the snow

More reenactors braving the snow to recreate some obscure war from 200 years ago. This time its Swedes against the Russians 200 years ago in the Finska Kriget - Finnish war - this looks like the opening action at Hameenlinna as the Russians surprised the border post before war was officially declared. Finland was part of Sweden then of course. These are really picturesque images - well done to all those involved. Gallery here - another here
Video here 9:55 in.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Bad Detectives live B Movie Scientist

We haven't had much BDs recently - here they are live a few weeks back at Farrington Gurney - nice set-up - great performance.

'Ice Cream For Crow' Captain Beefheart

This video brings back some happy memories - not sure what they are though...

Books on the French and Indian War

There used to be a time when there were only a few books you could find on the French and Indian War but now - there's loads of them - most annoying as I am not that mad on the period having had an overload of it in the 90s but I always have a flick through them when in a bookshop to see what is new and so forth. Newest was Highlander in the French-Indian War: 1756-67 (Warrior)
- pretty good - a not Osprey one that looked interesting was White Savage: William Johnson and the Invention of America by Fintan O'Toole - looked a good read. Empires Collide: The French and Indian War 1754-1763 is an Osprey greatest hits of the period with all the best colour plates from some of the best work but not worth getting unless you don't have any of the other F&I Ospreys.
Also there was British Light Infantryman of the Seven Year's War: North America 1757-63 - with excellent plates by Steve Noon who used the Corps of Light Infantry as models for his artwork (see left).

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Gerry Embleton's Frontier Sketchbook

These are great - a series of informal drawings by the master himself - worth a look if you are a fan of top quality illustration in the old style.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Big New Prinz The Fall

In 1988 Mark E Smith celebrated the tercentenary of William of Orange's accession to the throne by producing an album 'I am Kurious Oranj' and a stage performance with ballet dancers. This is the most powerful song from the suite which I highly recommend as an intro into the Fall as it's possibly their most accessible work and it's damn good. In fact I am so sure that you will like it if any of you watch and don't go 'fantastic' or your own tongue's equivalent I will return you your three minutes by not posting anything boring for a whole week.

Ogdensburgh reenactment

Regular readers of this blog will know I never miss an opportunity to salute those brave reenactors who get out in the snow - and this is another example - a reenactment of the 1813 battle near the St Lawrence River Canada. Incidentally in case you're wondering - my 1812 site is doing pretty well - lots more stuff since you last looked - why not check it out?

Nurnburg Toy Fair News

Some interesting products for 2008 are here at this gallery. Zvezda are doing 17th century Austrians. GNW Swedish dragoons and Russian artillery. Emhar are releasing their Viking ship and oarsmen as well as FPW Prussians and Peninsular Brits.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I Wasn't Born To Follow The Byrds

Must be the only song I like with pedal steel on - this is a lovely song with in this case perfect visuals. The song was written by Gerry Goffin and Carol King - lyrics here. She wrote some amazing songs - make a nice compilation - check out her wiki.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Perry's Go Plastic

What a good idea... due April - they're producing miniatures in hard plastic the same scale and detail as the metal miniatures - bound to be a winner - do the American Revolution please chaps!

The Liverbirds 'Diddley Daddy'

From 1965 - this all girl beat group from Liverpool aren't too well known over in the UK but they were popular in Hamburg and this song got to number 5 in Germany. It rocks in a pleasant way and has a groove to it that is quite punky I think. Info here - watch them do another here

Fats Domino 'I'm In Love Again'

If you need a lift then try Fats Domino - these simple songs have the ability to raise a grin on the dead. 'Baby Don't Let Your Dog Bite' - what a line. Play it twice if you like - you deserve it. I just noticed in 6 days time its his 80th birthday...maybe we ought to celebrate it in some fashion. He had a scary footnote to his busy life by getting caught up in Katrina but he survived and has played on stage since.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm 'So Fine'

And so fine it is - the late great Ike on a 1959 tv series from St Louis 'Party Time' - watch it till the end - he gets interviewed. Then Jimmy Thomas - one of the KoR vocalists steps up to do Splish Splash - magic. Jimmy Thomas became a UK resident and session singer performing with all sorts of acts - I think I saw him on Totp with Dexy's once doing Let's Get This Straight From the Start.

Monday, February 18, 2008

BBC's Last of the Mohicans from 1971

This you might enjoy - it's pretty funny - the final fight scene in BBC version of Last of the Mohicans from 71. This was filmed in Scotland - I know that for a fact as a pal was on holiday and came across them filming this. Quite a shock if you can imagine it.

'Dances with Wes Studi' Native American movies of the 90s

Of course when it comes to writing a history of movies about the frontier one has to examine the rush of films - mostly commercially successful about Indian subjects in the 90s. Dances With Wolves (1990) set the tone and was of course a smash but it wasn't really so much as a new type of western where cliches are left out but a whole new set of them to add to the old ones. Wes Studi's Pawnee in 'Wolves' are just the same as the old Hollywood indians albeit with better make up and costumes. The bringing in of spiritual themes was a bit of a new add-on for these movies - usually accompanied by some sort of flute. This could be viewed as a further intrusion by Hollywood into Indian culture but it certainly gave Indian actors some work through the 90s if the lead roles usually still went to a white guy.
Some white guy - Daniel Day-Lewis hit the big time with the next success in the genre Last of the Mohicans (1992) though even less revisionist in theme than 'Dances' with the original 1936 hit script providing the story and characters. The Indians looked better but they were still either noble and good or wicked and evil - with poor old Wes Studi having to leer and sneer again. The success of this saw another leatherstocking movie The Pathfinder (1996) with Kevin Dillon in the title role and a tv series 'Hawkeye' (1994) that used stock footage from 'Mohicans' in the credit sequence and an otherwise new set in Canada. It isn't worth tracking down.
The year 1993 saw Wes playing Geronimo in Walter Hill and John Milius' Geronimo; an American legend which is in my opinion one of the best 90s native movies.
Canada had a bash doing 'Black Robe' (1991) set in the early missionary days of New France and went for a slightly different feel than the blockbusterish Wolves and Mohicans but it still treaded with lead boots over the spiritual themes in a way that wasn't going to win any friends in the First Nations.
Other entries in this genre are Squanto (1994) The Broken Chain (1993) about Joseph Brant and Tecumseh The Last Warrior from 1995. There is a footnote to the genre with Wes Studi once again - and why not? - Mallick's New World(2005) was lile a late arrival but nevertheless an attractive one. Let's hope we haven't seen the end of Indian movies.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

WW2 reenactment pics

Snow always makes reenactment photos look good - this set of photos of a reenactment held outside St Petersburg are exceptional - they depict the conflict between Germans and Russians and capture it very well.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Serge Clerc

Hard to imagine Carmel without including the image of Serge Clerc's excellent cover. He is apparently the leading light of the BD Rock scene... his homesite has some great images.

New Indiana Jones trailer

Looks good...

Friday, February 15, 2008

Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy Stomp Dance Part 2

My website for reenacting woodland indians is coming along nicely - so with that in mind I thought you all might like a look at this great clip of an Iroquois social dance.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Carmel 'Willow Weep For Me' (1984)

Soul divas eh? Carmel - that's probably where I begin and end - apart from the real Mccoys like Billie Holliday. I used to really like this soul jazz fusion from the early 80s - watch her doing Bad Day here. However my favourite is the one I didn't buy -isn't that always the way? 'Willow Weep For Me' - funky bass carrying along with snappy drums. You got to love this - this is my Valentine's gift to you gentle reader...

Duffy 'Have Mercy'

Well the success of Amy Winehouse has opened the door for a lot of soul singers and that can't be a bad thing. This is a pleasant song reminiscent of 80s act Carmel and perhaps ESG - I love the bass riff. Go on give it a shot...

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Terraplanes Evil Going On

I thought maybe you might like to watch of us playing in about 1982 - I am on harmonica and Dave Mackay is on bass. I have on one of those fireman shirt things mentioned a couple of blog pieces ago.

Monday, February 11, 2008

US Militia War of 1812 (?)

Did this drawing for my webpage the war of 1812 in the UK to try and show what a Militiaman of the 1812 period might look like and how relatively straightforward it could be. What do you think? Don't give up the day job? What day job? I don't know whether these make much of a difference but it is one of those things you can get sucked into. Primary source docs for Militia

Animals and Men 'I'

Susan made this little film of one of our songs 'I' with sequences from our gigs in Brighton and Frome. Our Myspace

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Sutlers store sale

I was looking on the website of this Bournemouth company that sells all manner of historical get-up - western, Napoleonic - you can try stuff on too - it has this Tombstone shirt for instance - (this shirt is the sort of thing Susan likes) - but this RHA Rocket troop 1814 jacket is in the sale - some Adam Ant tribute band might like it perhaps.

Smyth's 1812 Regulations

Regulations For The Field Exercise, Manoeuvres, And Conduct Of The Infantry Of The United States (1812).

Tecumseh! Stage Show

Written by Alan Eckert - from June. 'The huge outdoor stages of the Sugarloaf Mountain Amphitheatre afford the audience a unique viewing experience. Sheer spectacle surrounds you with a herd of galloping horses, live military cannon in action, and the most dazzling battle sequences offered on the American stage'.
I must admit I wouldn't be able to resist going to see this if I lived in Ohio. Tecumseh wiki

Joseph Brant

Looked for this online - wanted it on my War of 1812 website and eventually tracked it down to good old Wikipedia commons! It's by William Berczy and it's from 1807. The subject Joseph Brant was a famous Mohawk Freemason and Loyalist or not depending on your take on the complicated man. Lovely image. We used to have a dog who looked just like that.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

'Changing Bath' a film by Susan

Music; Michael Nyman's 'Chasing Sheep is best left to Shepherds' from a Draughtman's Contract soundtrack. Bath is undergoing what will no doubt be a backdating as the old 'mall' type place is gutted and will be rebuilt and rebeautified no doubt in old stylee. I am enjoying these movies of Susan - they are like little time capsules for the future. Not bad for a late January lunchtimes work.

Daniel Boone documentary

Picturesque and educational short film on the real Daniel Boone who, fictionalised, featured in a 1936 movie and a tv series starring Fess Parker. Reconstructions in this documentary are excellent and I recommend you find time to watch it if you have an interest in American frontier history. Not a coonskin cap in sight. Boone was probably one of the inspirations behind Fenimore Cooper's Nathaniel Bumppo aka Hawkeye in the Leatherstocking tales.


I kicked myself the other day - while I was preparing my 1812 in the UK website Channel 5 were screening Brave Warrior with Jay Silverheels as Tecumseh and I missed it!...what luck...anybody see it? Anyway 'Easterns'... I tried to find some stuff about these on the web but to no avail - maybe I made this genre up? In my little world an Eastern is like a Western but set in the Eastern part of the Americas before the opening of the West and are around the 1940s in date - does that make sense? I haven't thought of a definitive list but I suppose it would include 'Last of the Mohicans'(1936), 'Drums Along the Mohawk'(1939), 'Northwest Passage' (1940) (pictured left) 'Unconquered' (1947) (where none other than Boris Karloff plays a Seneca chief Guyasuta) to name a few off the top of my head. They're usually quite scenic and colourful (and in the case of 1953's Fort Ti 3D) but of course costume-wise they are mostly 'pants'. You can watch a sequence or two from Northwest Passage here. They aren't usually very sympathetic to Indians - usually having two sorts - loyal and good - as in 'Blue Back' (Drums along the Mohawk) or evil - Magua and co (Last of the Mohicans) who are usually no match at all for the white frontiersman - Hawkeye - Robert Rogers etc. when it comes to bush skills and fighting ability. They are also quite grisly with all manner of torture being represented or alluded to. I must admit I do like them - they're part of my childhood after all but of course shouldn't be regarded as history at all - they're more like propaganda, or Americana but loveable all the same.

Spanish Civil War RTS gameplay footage

I did promise a review of this game Sombras de Guerra (Shadows of War) but unfortunately I couldn't get it to run - so watch this clip of gameplay instead and see if it's your bag. Should be available on ebay etc.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Cab Calloway 'St James Infirmary'

I think it's about time we had some more of the great Cab Calloway - this time in Max Fleischer's version of Snow White. Cab published a book in 44 called The New Cab Calloway's Hepsters Dictionary: Language of Jive - love to read it - anyone got a copy? Official Cab Calloway site

Monday, February 04, 2008


I quite fancy watching some of these Russian films - supposedly a Soviet Bloc take on the Western usually taking place in the Russian Revolution or Civil War period and dealing with bandits. The most famous is 'The White Sun of the Desert' which was apparently influenced by Stagecoach and High Noon. Watch it here. Apparently a cult film in Russia it has created many catchphrases and has been traditionally watched by cosmonauts before going into space. Screenshots here

'The Lakes of Pontchartrain' Paul Brady

As a way of deftly moving from the War of 1812 back to music for all you music lovers I thought I'd post this great folk song which I first heard of being played by Planxty. I don't suppose it is 1812 in origin as it mentions railroad cars but it is a lovely song and this is a fine version backed by Andy Irvine. Same chords and tuning as the Beatles 'Blackbird' apparently... I love the lyrics 'If it weren't for the alligators I'd sleep out in the woods' - we all know that feeling don't we? Lyrics here . Wiki on the song here.
If you're a Planxty fan - and I can't imagine any reason under god's earth you shouldn't be then you will be glad to see someone has posted 6 parts of a documentary on the brilliant band up on Youtube - part 1 here. Educate yourself and do me a favour and watch it.... official Planxty website

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Napoleonic reenactment with a difference

Sorry for all these posts about the War of 1812 and Tecumseh - but you know how it is... I've started building a webpage - let's hope I get some positive feedback.

New Tecumseh movie

Coming out in 2009

Called 'We shall remain; Tecumseh' this movie from Steeplechase films looks interesting and is part of a PBS series - details here.

Make-up pictures here at Alyssa Ravenswood's site.

Production shots such as this one showing American troops firing here

If you don't know who Tecumseh is - consult the wiki here.

Friday, February 01, 2008

War of 1812 in the UK

It's coming sometime - well maybe... to paraphrase a song. I have set up a proboard to discuss the War of 1812 in the UK. Feel free to join with no commitment. People from outside the UK welcome - more details to come.
The image here is an Indian Department Interpreter from the Canadian Military Heritage Gateway.

Officers and interpreters of the British Indian Department in Canada were often found in action with warriors during the War of 1812, the most famous instance being possibly at Beaver Dams in June 1813. At that time, the department’s uniform scarlet was faced with green. Interpreters, not being commisioned officers, did not have epaulettes. Reconstruction by Ron Volstad. (Canadian Department of National Defence)

Canada; a People's History - A world torn asunder

Good little film about Butler's Rangers - partisan fighters against the American rebels during the Revolution.