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  • Fear and Black Dogs August 30, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
    Fear and Black Dogs

    Black dogs – and we’ve covered a few posts on this subject with fairy dogs and the black dog of Bungay: why are they so frightening? Ian McEwan’s best novel is probably Black Dogs in which idealism destroys evil catches the terror of big black canines perfectly. But Beach was terrified too in his recent […]

    Totalitarian Bizarreness August 29, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    Totalitarian Bizarreness

    Beach isn’t a big fan of totalitarian regimes, but in the defence of those sorry little (and occasionally big) regimes they do make for bizarre news stories. For example, the rumour is just coming in, via South Korea, that the Great Leader in the north has wiped out much of NK’s pop singing community. Among […]

    Knock on Wood/Head August 23, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
    Knock on Wood/Head

    Victorian and, to a lesser extent, Edwardian writers loved explaining superstitions with bold comparative examples, sweeping generalizations and daring exegeses. However, more recent scholars have been less sure of our ability to unpick  the origin of our taboos. Take this brief passage on superstition from Keith Thomas in his Decline (747-748): The virtue attributed to […]

    Fairy Knick Knacks: The Five Strangest August 21, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    Fairy Knick Knacks: The Five Strangest

    Beach has had a couple of trippy days looking for unusual fairy gifts for a close friend. In doing so he began to understand what a truly strange yet enchanting world modern fairy enthusiasts inhabit. Here are Beach’s top five favourite fairy gifts for the Celtic Faery Shaman who has everything. Enjoy. In fifth place […]

    The Golden Ghost of Mold #5: Against the Golden Ghost! August 20, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern, Prehistoric
    The Golden Ghost of Mold #5: Against the Golden Ghost!

    An attempt follows to draw the not-so-golden threads of the Golden Ghost together.  We have definite evidence from Rev. Clough that in 1833 when the grave was dug that there was the story in the locality of a golden ghost associated with the tomb. However, there are a number of problems with this. First, only […]

    Do Black Dogs (with burning eyes) Hate Fairies? August 19, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
    Do Black Dogs (with burning eyes) Hate Fairies?

      Beach is very gradually dipping his big toe into the world of black dogs: those fearsome creatures with eyes as big as saucers burning like fire seen out and about in the British countryside. The key guide is Trubshaw’s Explore Phantom Black Dogs that has a number of fascinating essays including an introduction by  […]

    Pfil and Pamela: Fairies of Eastern Promise? August 13, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    Pfil and Pamela: Fairies of Eastern Promise?

    Beach has previously advertised the splendors of the fairies of the east: particularly that  nature elemental Totoro, one of the great film heroes of the last generation. However, this summer while researching fairy comics – there are not as many as he had hoped… – Beach came across another eastern contribution to the modern fairy […]

    Review: Shock! The Black Dog of Bungay August 10, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
    Review: Shock! The Black Dog of Bungay

    ***Thanks to the Count for this tip*** Shock: The Black Dog of Bungay is a recent book (2010) by David Waldron (of Ballarat Australia) and Christopher Reeve of Bungay, Norfolk. The fact that you have to get a historian-anthropologist from down-under and a Norfolk historian to do justice to said black dog – and they […]

    Go Web Young Man: Why Books Are Dying August 9, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    Go Web Young Man: Why Books Are Dying

    ***Dedicated to L*** Beach has been having a tortured year thinking about books and the books he’s written and would like to write. For many years he wrote non-fiction books for money or with the hope of making money and lived as a writer. Now he has the luck to write but to make his […]

    Bullet Proof Mormon Underwear? August 8, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
    Bullet Proof Mormon Underwear?

    ***Dedicated to the Count, who gave me a pleasant hour on an unpleasant day. Beach should note here that he is not a fan of Mormonism but that he is a huge fan of Mormons: he has had consistently and powerfully positive experiences of followers of that religion and nothing that follows is meant to […]

    Fairies in Space August 7, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    Fairies in Space

    After some rather nauseating episodes in Victorian fairy stories fairies became scary again in the late nineteenth century with the writing of men like ‘Fiona MacLeod’ (William Sharp) and, of course, Arthur Machen. Scary fairies were a late Victorian and Edwardian topos and we’ve looked before at the way the tradition developed and some examples. […]

    The Magic of Monkey August 2, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    The Magic of Monkey

      Monkey (aka Monkey Magic) was a Japanese series originally broadcast in two seasons: 1978/1979 and 1979/1980: there are 52 episodes. It was based on the famous Chinese novel describing Xuangzang’s journey to India with four guardians: a pig god, a monkey god, a fish god (think undine with skull bracelet) and a dragon who […]

    Giant Spiders in Bristol July 25, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    Giant Spiders in Bristol

    Derren Brown is a gifted English mentalist and an ultra sceptic (atheist, materialist…) in the mould of the great Houdini and the sometimes great Randi. You can usually get to the bottom of DB’s tricks, which makes them all the more interesting. This is Beach’s favourite. He simultaneously plays seven chess professionals, simultaneously wins four, […]

    Sex, Teachers and Students June 27, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    Sex, Teachers and Students

    ***To Bilker*** A long argument last night about the Jeremy Forrest case with an old friend and a post that strays from the pleasantly brambled paths of history, though not, sadly, from the red brick road of education. For those outside the UK Jeremy Forrest was a twenty-nine-year-old teacher who had an affair with his […]

    Magonia #9: The Myth Continues June 21, 2013

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Medieval, Modern
    Magonia #9: The Myth Continues

    As access to information gets easier, and there was a huge-internet powered jump in the 1990s, then surely the information available to us should become more accurate, right? Easier to check facts, easier to be checked… Not a bit of it. As information becomes more accessible then more people have more access to information and […]

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