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  • Don’t Blame Germany July 26, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
    Don't Blame Germany

    Germany has never been a very popular country. But it is fair to say that Germany is perhaps more unpopular in 2015 than at any time since the bush fire memories of the Second World War started to die down in the mid 1950s. In several countries Germany is loathed: top of the list here […]

    And So Goodbye Ray Girvan, I knew you but never met you… July 5, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    And So Goodbye Ray Girvan, I knew you but never met you…

    Some sad news via email today. Ray Girvan, a very old friend of this blog, died 30 June 2015, after a three-year fight with lung cancer. He was 59 (a victim of these speedbumps that hit 15-20% of us in late middle age), witty, knowledgeable, and had, of course, never smoked, something that tempts me […]

    The Poisoned Bowl and the 5000 Letters May 29, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
    The Poisoned Bowl and the 5000 Letters

    Beach has not offered up a rogue researcher for some time: the last was mummy maker, Bob Brier, a year ago. Rogue researchers, for the uninitiated are those men and women, with doctorates, who do things that others in their discipline might consider eccentric. To call someone a ‘rogue researchers’ is a sign of the […]

    History Journals and Their Limits May 28, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    History Journals and Their Limits

    There is something rather sinister about Mike Dash’s latest history post. The problem is not the subject, which is fascinating, women poisoning men in seventeenth-century Italy. Nor is the style off-kilter: it is, as always, accessible and fun. The problem is, quite simply, its length. MD’s new essay runs to almost fifteen thousand words: Beach finished the […]

    50 Shades of Grey Without the Sex Scenes April 19, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    50 Shades of Grey Without the Sex Scenes

    The copy of 50 Shades arrived on a pendrive. The movie was in English but had Chinese subtitles. Instead of the regulation 125 minutes the film ran to 120 minutes. The reason? Every sex scene had been cut from the sex film of the year by censors: think Indiana Jones without the stunts, Lord of the […]

    Beachcombing and the Telepathic Rat March 8, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    Beachcombing and the Telepathic Rat

    In the last few weeks rats have been seen in the garden of Chez Beachcombing. The women in the house got rather hysterical about these old grandfathers of the sewer running up and down among the roses, and they may have had a point. But the rats don’t live in our garden, they just visit […]

    The Horror of History Seen from the Bubble March 2, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    The Horror of History Seen from the Bubble

    Beach has long consoled himself with the thought that he is in the Bubble: the three generations that have lived since the Second World War in the western nations, surfing the greatest economic wave in history, buoyed along by petroleum, micro-chips, and the internet and paradoxically protected from violence by the threat of thermo-nuclear war. […]

    Writers I Loathe January 19, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    Writers I Loathe

    Why do we just latch onto some people and enjoy detesting them? Beach is not talking here about neurologists taking years off your life or architects stealing tens of thousands from loved one, the bastards, but those more random insidious despisings that arise with people who are barely known and who have not done anything […]

    IELTS for Mothertongues: So you thought you knew English! January 4, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    IELTS for Mothertongues: So you thought you knew English!

    A weird experience six week ago that, while in no sense historical, might interest some poor folks out there who have to go through the same ordeal. Beach was born in the shires of England. As such English is his mothertongue and lacking any particular linguistic proficiency he knows English well and lots of other […]

    The Ghosts of Children Past December 30, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    The Ghosts of Children Past

    Beach has spent a lazy Christmas trying to get to know his new daughter and trying to stop his two elder daughters from killing ‘baby': ‘can I carry her up the stairs’, ‘but I thought she would like to eat a carrot’ etc etc. All this primed him for a dive into CHILDES, possibly the […]

    Goatman: Flesh or Folklore November 26, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    Goatman: Flesh or Folklore

    ***warning, Beach worked on a goat farm for six long months…*** Let’s first of all get one thing out of the way. Goatman: Flesh or Folklore was brought out by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. In other words, it is a privately published work. In 1990 this would have been a strong negative signal and old […]

    In Praise of North Korean Pop Music November 23, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    In Praise of North Korean Pop Music

    We need to be grateful for North Korea. In a world where communism has crumbled like a biscuit in milk, where even Cuba is getting excited about the market, where there are scores of Chinese billionaires, then good old North Korea is there to remind us of just how god awful state run life can […]

    Source of Life: Mrs B Gives Birth November 17, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    Source of Life: Mrs B Gives Birth

    3.5 kilos, homebirth, lots of stitches, baby and mother doing well. 29 Nov 2014 Invisible sent this beautiful piece in. Looking for anecdotes of Charles I, ran across this charming welcome to a new-born daughter. Miss Talbot to a new-born child, daughter of Mr. John Talbot, a son of the Lord Chancellor. You are heartily […]

    New Folklore Survey: Have You a Fairy Story to Tell? November 14, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    New Folklore Survey: Have You a Fairy Story to Tell?

    Great news from London tonight. Launched in this month’s Fortean Times and run in association with the Fairy Investigation Society, which has been reconstituting for the last months and that will send out its first communication this weekend, the Fairy Census 2015-2016 is  ‘a go’ (the organizers don’t apparently follow the Gregorian calendar). Now what […]

    The Joys of Historical Ignorance November 9, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    The Joys of Historical Ignorance

    For a student from the west the basic sign of historical literacy is whether or not you can put the following periods in their correct order: antiquity, ‘dark ages’, middle ages, renaissance and modernity. Beach has the privilege of teaching perhaps two hundred American students a year and probably ten percent would be capable of […]

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