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  • Crowning Corpses in Portugal April 30, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    Crowning Corpses in Portugal

    Beachcombing’s site has a long and honourable tradition of screwing up anniversaries and today will be no different: a celebration of the most bizarre royal ceremony in history, a full twenty four hours after the fairly modest William-Kate affair drew to its uncontroversial conclusion. Bizarrists will already have anticipated. Beachcombing is, of course, referring to […]

    Misplacing Masterpieces at Railway Stations April 29, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Misplacing Masterpieces at Railway Stations

    Beachcombing heard today that his father – pater Beachcombing – will soon be coming for a visit to the Beachcombing house in Little Snoring – the first time in a couple of years, so a cause of celebration. Beachcombing’s favourite story about his father is that once while travelling by train to his publisher in […]

    A Book about Spitting April 28, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    A Book about Spitting

                      Jerry Lembcke, The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam (New York University Press 1998) Beachcombing was never going to let a book about spitting in history pass him by. And so when he heard that Jerry Lembcke had given over two hundred pages […]

    An Early Sighting of the Loch Ness Monster? April 27, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
    An Early Sighting of the Loch Ness Monster?

    Medieval saints were famous for their encounters with dangerous animals. In their Lives we read of confrontations with wolves, bears, stags and snakes; but also of meetings with more exotic creatures. Beachcombing thinks of St George facing down a dragon or St Brendan and his monks celebrating communion on the back of an enormous sea […]

    Stealing Swords in the Congo April 26, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Stealing Swords in the Congo

      This post is dedicated to Ricardo R. whose father was there in Kinshasa on the day This famous image from the camera of Robert Lebeck is much anthologized as the ‘ African moment’. A gutsy young Congolese has jogged along the limousine of King Baudouin of Belgium and the Belgian Congo as then was. […]

    Sink or Swim: Infanticide and ‘Baptism’ on the Ancient Rhine April 25, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
    Sink or Swim: Infanticide and 'Baptism' on the Ancient Rhine

    Portentous day in the Beachcombing household as Tiny Miss B, the new arrival, was baptised with a select group of friends and in-laws looking on. Unlike Little Miss B – a chip off the Beachcombing block, who screamed her way through her welcoming into the church – the younger Beachcombing, who takes, instead, after her […]

    Immortal Champagne Toast April 24, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Immortal Champagne Toast

    Beachcombing continues his series of Immortal Meals with a mere liquid lunch, a short champagne party from 29 August 1991 in Whitehall, London. Of course, champagne parties in London are two a penny: but this one was rather unusual as all those in attendance were (i) ostensibly at work and (ii) they were members of […]

    The Monster of Mondoñedo April 23, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    The Monster of Mondoñedo

    Summer madness approaches in Little Snoring – just the exams and marking to go and term is over. By way of celebration Beachcombing thought that today he would leave conventional (sic) history behind and partake in recipes for the madness of crowds. Think of what follows as a twenty-first-century entry for the Anarchist’s Cookbook inspired […]

    Heavenly Bodies in the Pacific April 22, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Heavenly Bodies in the Pacific

    The meetings between Western explorers and Pacific peoples in the sixteenth through nineteenth centuries saw a whole host of misunderstandings. And among the most interesting of these was, on the Polynesian side, the question of where the outsiders – with their great sailing boats and white skins – came from. Curiously, there are a rash […]

    The Football Charge of the Somme April 21, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Football Charge of the Somme

    Beachcombing found himself thinking about sport and war last night. Polo teams racing at machine guns came flitting into his mind. Then there were the cinematic surfing scenes from Apocalypse Now, Empire thugs walking around ‘taming’ the natives with cricket bats (there was a post-war comic strip), the Central American Soccer War, British bill boards […]

    Cellini’s Canon April 20, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Cellini's Canon

    Beachcombing has been thinking in the last hour about objects that are far travelled – for example the Indian buddhas that made it to Viking Scandinavia or, say, the Viking coin that (allegedly) ended up in pre-Columbian Maine. And it was while musing on these far-flung things that Cellini’s canon came to mind. Now admittedly […]

    The Commissar Vanishes April 19, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Commissar Vanishes

    After yesterday’s post on cinema gimmicks, Beachcombing found himself wondering about why cinema alone of the great arts seems to prosper under totalitarianism. From there he got all excited about Soviet kitsch and spent an hour in his armchair where he got reacquainted with one of his favourite books of the last couple of years: […]

    The Fright Break! April 18, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Fright Break!

    Beachcombing recently complained about the lack of the bizarre in classical music. Luckily cinema has no such limitations. Indeed, it is difficult to think of a major director prior to the second world war who was not a complete loon. Then there are – may the heavens be praised – the gimmicks: those loveably outrageous […]

    Vedic History and the Myth of the Golden Age April 17, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Ancient, Prehistoric
    Vedic History and the Myth of the Golden Age

    Every so often when Beachcombing writes a post, pastes a text in, finds an inane photograph and presses ‘publish’ there comes the click. It is a noise that means he has just stepped on a pressure bomb and that his next step is going to lead to dissolution: or, in blogging terms, thirty furious emails […]

    Weeping Beachcombing Leaves WordPress April 16, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Beachcombed
    Weeping Beachcombing Leaves Wordpress

    To date, I’ve put up 322 posts and built up traffic of c. 1400 hits a day with about five hundred daily visitors to my home page: ‘the regulars’ as Mrs B calls them.  I have also made many pleasant acquaintances by email – drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com – and I have enjoyed myself […]

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