Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Wicker Man May Pole Song

As it's getting near to the time of year where we frolic naked in the morning dew I thought we ought to refresh our memories of the Maypole dance in this classic British movie. Is that a young Bobby Gillespie playing the Jews Harp? I was thrilled to note that one of our hosts in Denmark DJ Grayskull reckoned this as his favourite horror movie. Good taste or what... The soundtrack is a must have but get the 2002 version. Noticed the Sneaker Pimps have covered 'Gently Johnny'...bummer...

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

dEUS The architect

This is a great new song from Antwerp's finest dEUS. I am not going to try and explain what it sounds like - I will simply invite you to play it - you can always stop playing it if you don't like it but if you do enjoy their groove then check out their extremely good website.

More on Butler and Tanner

We're still shocked by the closure of this, once the largest employer in Frome.
Independent article
TV coverage here

Monday, April 28, 2008

Bob Dylan Just Like Tom Thumbs Blues (1966)

We're having a bit of a Dylan revival chez nous so I trawled through all the Dylan clips to find a favourite and chose this one from London in 66 when people were still outraged by his abandoning his folk roots in favour of a punk attitude.

Lexington reenactment

Patriots day in the USA - celebrated with a living history recreation of the skirmish at Lexington green....more pictures and video here. This image is great - well done whoever took it... youtube videos here

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Slaughter and the Dogs

The great Manchester band from the Don Letts Punk rock movie - plus teen punks Eater - did you know Morrissey sang with Slaughter and the Dogs for a while - hard to imagine - but there you go. Dedicated to all the Frome printers...

Butler and Tanner to close?

This won't mean anything if you don't come from Frome but it looks like the book printers B&T - where I did my apprenticeship and worked alongside my dad and Uncle is going to close - read about it here. This kind of brings to a close a whole era of book printing in the UK - so many viable companies have been asset stripped it's unbelievable. Madness.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Royal Ethiopians

I think it's great to see a black patriot unit The First Rhode Island but what about on the British side...isn't it time we saw Lord Dumore's Royal Ethiopians recreated? Apparently they wore the words 'Liberty to Slaves' on their chests...what did they look like though?
This detail of a painting by American artist John Singleton Copley of the Battle of Jersey is thought to depict a loyalist regiment of the American Revolution. This unit formed by Lord Dunmore from runaway slaves fought most notably at the battle of Great Bridge in 1775. More here

Plastic Bertrand Ca Plane Pour Moi

It's been a great week for our band Animals and Men so I thought I'd post this great clip of Belgian pop punk star from 1978 to celebrate. We've got an offer of a single of new material on vinyl and another offer of a vinyl lp of our 'hits'. Added to that our first single 'New Age' fetched over 45 quid this week on ebay! Whatever next? You can hear some tracks we recorded at Arhus on our myspace. We had about half an hour to rehearse and record so I think we did rather well.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Animals and Men Live in Denmark

Footage of us, Animals and Men doing the Suspect and Evil Going On on 19/4/08 at Aarhus Huset. Promoters - filmed by DJ Zebrakill.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Safety Dance video

I don't very often plead with you to watch videos but I'm gonna for this one. If I tell you that it features a dwarf in a jester's costume - was filmed in a village near Bath and looks inspired by the Wicker Man would that help you choose whether to watch it? I don't know why - but I'd never seen this video from the 80s until the weekend and it was a case of 'where have you been all my life'... it is amazing - I can't say why - it just is. I showed my son it and his response was of the 'awesome' variety. Watch it 'til the end as there's an important bit... 'Safety Dance' wiki

Hello I'm back

Well folks, I'm back from Denmark and we had a fine time with our gig there. The venue we played - Huset - is part of a movement in the region to establish youth houses where people of a creative disposition can have a space to do their thing and express themselves and it seems to be working really well. The promoters Deathrock Dekay were great hosts and we drank a lot of beer. I'll post some photos and a clip soon.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Vive Le Rock

Righto - see you at Aarhus...I'll leave you with this until I get back...

Almansa 1707-2007

Photos from last year's event in Spain. I see a lot of familiar faces - friends from when I was involved in that period. Some of the groups depicted are not of the 1707 period, but it looks like they're having a good time, and that's the main thing.

Tercentenary happenings

I said I'd post something that Celia my daughter would like this time and so as she is well into old ships I'd put up a photo of the "Preobrazhensky Life Guards", on board a ship of the same era. More photos here
Information about the Peter the Great era ship here.
This is a pretty important time for early 18th century reenactors with the 300th anniversary of Lesnaya in Belorussia in October and Oudenaarde in Belgium just two of the highlights.
Lesnaya was an important battle in the Great Northern War that sewed the seeds of the great victory at Poltava in 1709. I noticed that part of the battle of Lesnaya was about 1,000 Swedish soldiers who mutinied and stole alcohol and were left drunk in the woods. Sounds like a job for the Radstock Caroliners...
Early 18th century wars forum

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Will Hay 'Go to Blazes' (1942)

Light hearted public information film about extinguishing incendiary bombs starring the great Will Hay - one of Britain's best movie comics. I just love hearing his voice - something about his bumbling persona that resonates with me. He was a really intelligent man in real life studying astronomy. Go to The Next Train's Gone - a Will Hay fansite to learn more about the man and his co-stars. Graham Moffat used to run the Englishcombe Inn in Bath after his career as a troublesome youth was over.
If you are interested there is a Will Hay Box Set containing Ask A Policeman (1939), Boys Will be Boys (1935), Oh Mr Porter (1937), Convict 99 (1939), Old Bones Of The River (1938), Where There's A Will (1936), Good Morning Boys (1937), Hey! Hey! USA (1938), and Windbag The Sailor (1936).
My grandfather's house in Radstock got bombed with an incendiary - my Uncle Cliff scooped it up in his sports jacket and tossed it out the window. The adjoining woods briefly caught fire and got mentioned by Lord Haw Haw in his broadcast as a forest fire raging south of Bath.

Danish Army Uniforms

Had a quick look to see what information was available on the Danish army of the early 1700s and found some great stuff on Dan Schorr's site including this (b/w pic) - the figures of which are 2 meters in height and look invaluable - someone should go to Rosenberg castle and photograph them - sadly I'm going to the wrong bit of Denmark. Anyway if you have an interest in this period check out the Danish army sections - they're very good. Also up on the site and very interesting are some early tapestries from the 1670s and the Möinichen Paintings - recommended. Seems like Claus Moinichen did quite a few battle paintings of the Scanian War. Lovely period. Media in category "Scanian War"

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Admiral Kolchak (2008) trailer

Another historical epic from Russia - this time about the white Russian Admiral Kolchak. Looks from the trailer like its an interesting tale...what do you think?

Stephen Fry and the Gutenberg Press

A great programme that charts the invention of moveable type and a working medieval press is reconstructed. Well worth a watch if you like old printing. BBC i player keeps programmes up for a week I think so if you want to watch you'll have to be quick. Recommended. Of course I did my composing apprenticeship in the old hot metal days - amazing how long hot metal lasted really. Now we don't even need books.

Them 'Here comes the night' 1965

At the NME poll winners concert at Wembley. I can't find any other clips of Van Morrison's Northern Irish r'n'b band - this particular song I am not so fond of - especially when compared to the three all time classic garage songs 'Gloria' 'Baby Please Don't Go' and 'I can only give you everything' but this will have to do.

Monday, April 14, 2008

HRADCE KRÁLOVÉ 1866 - photos of the reenactment

Also known as the battle of Koniggratz...see clip below.... Such a picturesque period, the Austro-Prussian war - shows there's more to the 1860s than the American Civil War... love to go - photos

Battle of Königgrätz 2007

While in the 1860s (see below) you might - if you are interested in reenactment of this period - find this film of a reenactment of a battle fought between the Austrians and Prussians in 1866. Very interesting film - I am impressed by the numbers - who are these groups? Photos here - 1866 portal - with more footage

Mladějov - Blosdorf 1915 Some of them are Czech and the guy who posted this footage also put some very good quality clips, three in total, of a World War One reenactment near Blosdorf village that involves all manner of interesting bits of equipment - trains and vehicles .... recommended for history fans. Photos here - organiser's site with more photos.

Battle of Dybbøl 1864

As we're off to Denmark at the end of the week and today is part of the anniversary of this battle fought between Danes and Germans in the 2nd Schleswig War I thought I'd post this clip of a comedy routine on hand grenades from a Danish tv show by the look of it - don't worry about the language - you don't need to speak Danish to get the punchline. Apparently the Battle of Dybbøl is celebrated every 18th April in period uniforms. Also see
The battle saw the use of espingols - a Danish secret weapon that did pretty well. Danish army uniforms 1864
Danish 1864 reenactors

Jimmy Rogers 'Walking By Myself'

Chicago Bluesman Jimmy Rogers isn't as famous as he should be - presumably because of his confusing name - he sold bucketloads of records back in the 50s as a solo artist for Chess. This song - a piece of pop blues is one of his big hits and a lovely rendition is here for your enjoyment.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

'Baby Please Don't Go' Big Joe Williams

One of the great garage rock anthems thanks to a version by Them this here's the original as performed by its creator Big Joe Williams. BJW plays a 9 string guitar - with his own attachments and he was a tough man who played lumber camps and Juke joints before becoming something of a star at RCA Bluebird. I wonder if he got any royalties for all the cover versions? Story of the song

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Recruited Collier

I haven't done anything on the 18th century for a while and what better than this song and this painting - both from the same era - the song is the sort of thing that would be great to sing around the fire at a reenactment - the art - the '2nd Hogarth' John Collet - The Recruiting Sergeant From Bridgeman Art

Oh, what's the matter with you, me lass,
And where's your dashing Jimmy?
The soldier boys have picked him up
And sent him far, far from me.
Last pay day he went off to town,
And them red coated fellows
Enticed him in and made him drunk,
And he'd be better gone to the gallows.
The very sight of his cockade,
It sets us all a-crying,
And me I nearly fainted twice,
I thought that I was dying.
My father would have paid the smart
And he'd run for the golden guinea.
But the sergeant swore he'd kissed the book,
So now they've got young Jimmy.
When Jimmy talks about the wars
It's worse than death to hear him.
I must go out and hide my tears
Because I cannot bear him.
A brigadeer or grenadier
He says they're sure to make him.
But aye, he jibes and cracks his jokes
And begs me not forsake him.
As I walked o'er the stubble field,
Below it runs the seam,
I thought o' Jimmy hewing there,
But it was all a dream.
He hewed the very coals we burn,
And when the fire I's leeting.
To think the lumps was in his hands,
It sets my heart a-beating.
[For seven long years he courted me,
Now I can't live without him.
There's nothing left for me to do
But sit and think about him.]
So break my heart and then it's o'er,
So break my heart, my dearie.
For I'll lie in the cold green ground
For of single life I'm weary.

How Green Was My Valley? (1941)

As you may know my ancestors, the Mitchards were all Radstock miners on my father's side and I also live in a pit cottage in Radstock where they used to thrive. I constantly tread the pit paths of my forefathers and walk the same streets, drink in the same pub (the Tyning) as they did - therefore I am always trying to connect or reimagine what life was like in a pit village all those years ago. My father is of course full of stories of a 'special place' where people looked after each other on the surface like they did underground and I am always all ears for any stories of miners. Yesterday he talked about the white silk scarf mufflers they all wore when out on the razzle in Bath on saturday nights - any trouble and all the miners would pitch in - easily identified by the uniform of the muffler. Of course everywhere was black then with smoke from all the chimneys, steam engines and coal dust - nowadays trees cover the old slag heaps (batches) and wildlife flourishes in the ruins of the tumbled down mine buildings. This picture from the Museum collection shows Lower Writhlington colliery part of which is now famous for its fossils dragged up from deep below many years ago and a haven for dog walkers and ramblers as part of the Colliers way cyclepath . I saw a stoat this morning darting out of an old Somerset and Dorset railway hut, which pretty much says it all as the area once black with smut is now populated by Roe deer, badgers, and the like. Of course mining's the stuff of museums these days and Radstock has been blessed with one the finest but any kind of film of mining is interesting to me even when its been given the Hollywood treatment. This opening scene of the John Ford How Green Was My Valley starring Roddy McDowall is worth a watch - it has Spanish subtitles. Radstock was pretty much like a Welsh mining village but without the singing - and mining started a lot earlier - the 1760s but otherwise I think this is quite a good picture of Victorian mining and worth a look.
So to conclude with an answer to the question How Green Was My Valley? - Not Very but it is fact you can hardly notice there was any mining going on at all - and that's probably the rub.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Original Delta Fireballs 'Going Down Slow'

This rockin' blues duo are great - check them out if you like harmonica and one man band boogie style in the Memphis tradition. Led by Geneva Red . Highly recommended.

Adam Ant art book

In the UK art and rock and roll have always gone hand in hand - usually with some commercial success - you don't need to be a genius to list the number of rock stars who went to art school - just check out some of the most popular bands of the 70s and 80s. Adam Ant was one such person - someone trained as a graphic artist who used punk as his medium for expression, and this new project - a coffee table book of concept art from his golden age promises to be quite a desirable item. Check out the website to register your interest and watch its progress. This sample image is interesting as it's a look that he initially suggested for us based on the 'exis' of Hamburg - leather clad beatniks like the early Beatles - he used the image later for the Vive Le Rock single.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Jimmy Reed footage 'You don't have to go'

One of my alltime favourite bluesmen and I've never seen any footage of him - until today that is - how's that?
Jimmy Reed is the king of the pop blues - the low hypnotic boogie - using a racked harp he's the model for a lot of musicians from the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan - please watch him - he's not in his prime - it's 1975 - he will die a year later - but he's still the Boss Man! Get anything by Jimmy Reed - most useful are the Veejay sides and believe me your life will improve, your hair will grow back and you will live forever. I recommend as a starter the 2 cd set The Very Best of Jimmy Reed on Charly. Unbelievably beautiful minimalist songs that will last with you forever not like these stupid pop bands you get nowadays.
If he looks kind of familiar - his look - ray-ban wayfarer shades - was part of the style appropriated by the Blues Brothers when they created their Chicago-blues tribute back story - almost 30 years ago now. Expect some Blues Brother theme pieces soon...

Monday, April 07, 2008

Dersu Uzala (1975)

I was blowing off the dust from a load of old VHS tapes and found this classic from Kurosawa. It's a brilliant film - a joint Japanese Soviet film Dersu Uzala is a must-see movie all about a topographical mission in early 20th century Russia who meet a wilderness dwelling man who manages to impress them with his unique perspective on things. I don't think that explains it at all but if you watch the trailer hopefully the magic of this brilliant piece of cinema will overwhelm you and you will buy the DVD. Indulge me - watch the clip... read the wiki at least.

Jayne County 'Time Machine'

Some 'punk country' for you - a really great songwriter Jayne County here performs a song that is simplicity itself - I wish I had written as of course I would like a Time Machine. What date to set it for though? County has been amazingly influential - spanning the Warhol era and the Punk scene he/she has been creative in creating a genre of humorous shocking rock and roll. If you have any interest in punk history then you must watch this clip with his band The Queen Elizabeth from 1972 doing among other things a version of Wonder Woman that turned up on the brilliant 'Things Your Mother Never Told You' lp. Official site

Gig in Denmark

Thought you might like to look at the poster for our gig on the 19th April. With Danish band the Fanatics. Venue here

New Rooster

Our old banty rooster Yoshi sadly passed on a few months ago but this weekend we were offered a new one - he had been fighting to the death with his brother so he needed a new home. He's a silver-laced Wyandotte. As you can see he's a bit bloody but he's settled in really well with the ladies and hopefully not waking up the neighbours too early...

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Bill Bailey reenactment sketch

This short sketch by Bath-born Bill Bailey is probably what most people think reenactment is like. It's a mildly amusing perspective...

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Malcolm McLaren 'Zulus on a timebomb'

This is a cool little song from 1983 with a slightly shocking video that was banned apparently at the time - I only saw it once and thought the song was better than all the other African inspired sounds that McLaren made at the time.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Post punk raincoat

We have been sorting out some new togs for our trip to play Aarhus on the 19th April - but most of the things are more 're-buying' things we had back in the day. This coat is such a thing - it's a light olive green drab US army trenchcoat in a rain resistant material called Quarpel. This old photo shows Susan wearing one in about 80.

The Alamo (2004) El Degüello scene

This was another monumental movie flop - it's actually not that bad but what do I know? This is one of the best scenes - the Mexican army are playing the El Degüello.
This is supposedly a piece of music meaning 'No Quarter'. See Crockett duetting on fiddle.

The Only Ones Another Girl Another Planet

Did you see the Only Ones on Jools Holland last night? Here it is if you missed it. Susan said 'Don't say anything mean' so I won't - I'll let you watch it and see for yourself.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Hound Dog Taylor 'Wild About You Baby'

The musician's musician H.D.T. rocking out at Ann Arbor - this shows his rough tough garagey style off to a tee - he's obviously loving it too - great performance.

Charge of the Light brigade clips

Hurrah! Someone has put up some clips of the great 1968 classic The Charge of the Light Brigade by Tony Richardson up on Youtube - in my opinion one of the best historical movies Britain has produced. So if you haven't seen this movie check out the Battle of Alma - and Balaclava 1 and Balaclava 2 - you'll not be disappointed. This is one film I recommend you to purchase if you have an interest in this sort of thing.... there are lots of memorable and sometimes funny sequences - all in all a great film that manages to be spectacular and quite accurate at the same time. A stellar cast - great animation sequences - an insight into the Victorian world no less.