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Review: I’m the Teacher, You’re the Student May 13, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
Review: I'm the Teacher, You're the Student

University campuses have seen many changes in the last fifty years: digital technology, new teaching methods, ‘political correctness’… But the change that really matters has been the extraordinary growth in student numbers. Take the UK and the US. About 60% of young men and women now undertake third-level education in these two countries, whereas in […]

Zombie Planes May 3, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
Zombie Planes

***Dedicated to Ricardo*** Beach is properly modest about his knowledge of aeronautics – apart from perhaps the prehistory of flight. But he is as moved as the next man to see the spitfire test in First of the Few or (1.37.40)  or, for that matter, Corky sweating in Tales of the Golden Monkey as a […]

Suicide and Historical Loopholes April 7, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
Suicide and Historical Loopholes

Suicide has proved abhorrent to most spiritual traditions. Certainly, the great monotheistic religions and most of the far Eastern religions have condemned ‘self-murder’: cue lots of pulpit bashing and descriptions of hell or unpleasant reincarnations. This begs the question though of what you can do if you live in 500 BC or 500 AD or […]

Bullwhips and Brown Belts: Beach’s Style Guide April 4, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
Bullwhips and Brown Belts: Beach's Style Guide

Beachcombing recently stumbled on an unconventional online guide to being a good writer. Advice ranged from the sensible ‘be honest’, to the silly ‘drink coffee’, to the frankly bizarre ‘have a huge bowel movement each day’. It was entertaining but left Beach no closer to Evelyn Waugh and Walt Whitman. In fact, it left Beach […]

Icelandic Penis Collections, Gnome Sanctuaries and Other Unusual Museums April 3, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
Icelandic Penis Collections, Gnome Sanctuaries and Other Unusual Museums

Beachcombing was in his early teens on holiday in Cornwall when he went to the Gnome Museum. There was a very likeable hippy in her early forties (?) who ran the place and showed Beach and family around a couple of rooms and the garden where she had ‘seen’ the gnomes: there had been some […]

Invisible Library in Skyrim March 28, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
Invisible Library in Skyrim

***dedicated to Larry K*** Beach’s nightmare week continues and the search for the aupair proceeds a pace.  In an attempt then to relax in these brutish hours as the Beachcombings try and put their lives back together Beach thought that he would offer up another invisible library: libraries that have only ever existed in the […]

Britain’s Obsession with the Second World War March 27, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
Britain's Obsession with the Second World War

Anyone who knows Britain will be aware of the constant references to the Second World War in the island’s political culture, particularly when  national sovereignty is at stake. Harold Wilson decried appeals to ‘the Dunkirk Spirit’: and then shamelessly used the same trick himself. And the recent spats over Britain’s use of its ‘veto’ within […]

From North Carolina to Chad: Families and Food March 10, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
From North Carolina to Chad: Families and Food

An ‘ill’ day with interesting complications in the throat area  so Beach is going to go off topic with this  extraordinary book he recently stumbled upon: Hungry Planet: What the World Eats (Peter Menzel 2005). This exercise in photo-journalism has a fair bit of manipulation behind it: but the idea itself is an extraordinarily simple […]

Witchcraft Murder in Modern London March 3, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
Witchcraft Murder in Modern London

Beachcombing has spent rather more time than is good for him over the last year looking at cases of, what are in legal terms, child abuse. Nineteenth-century Irish families who (to use an inadequate word) ‘punished’ children because they believed that they were fairies or ‘changelings’: the real child had, the families believed, been spirited […]

Twitter, Mon Amour February 25, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
Twitter, Mon Amour

Beachcombing has enjoyable memories of explaining, in the most patronising terms possible, such arcane devices as the joy stick and Chucky Egg to dense parents and he doesn’t like seeing the same thing being done to him. But slowly, painfully, increasingly it is happening. Beach has watched bewildered as aupairs, students and nephews and nieces […]

The Decline of the Public Domain January 30, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
The Decline of the Public Domain

Beachcombing, like many aging ideologues, can no longer bring himself to care about things that used to give his teenage self heartburn. But, there are a few exceptions – identity cards, Brussels delenda est, reptile road-crossing tunnels… – that buzz him into life. Not least among these and particularly associated in his mind with this […]

Hauntings and Technology: the Teflon Effect January 19, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary, Modern
Hauntings and Technology: the Teflon Effect

Not a month ago Beachcombing reflected on the strange way that Roman ghosts are a modern invention and the way too that there are apparently fashions in which historical periods haunt and which do not. Beach thought that today he would reflect, instead, on a different but surely related phenomenon, the apparent allergy that new […]

The Future of English December 29, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
The Future of English

There have been various ‘world’ languages, beginning with Greek, moving on to Latin, and from there changing rapidly from Portuguese, to Spanish, to French and more recently to English. Beachcombing spent a lazy moment yesterday browsing a nineteenth-century essay on the ‘inevitable’ triumph of English, the author arguing that not only would English become the […]

Jung, Active Imagination and the Bicameral Mind December 18, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
Jung, Active Imagination and the Bicameral Mind

The demography of this blog is unusual: it is about 30% history buffs, 30% anomalists/Forteans and 40% hybrid types. Beachcombing belongs very much to the first of these three and he certainly did not plan, when he started, a year and a half ago, to write for anyone but his dry-as-dust friends. He is glad, […]

Britain, Europe and Wife-swapping December 11, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
Britain, Europe and Wife-swapping

A rather off-the-wall post reflecting on some of the imagery used in the last few days as the UK begins its long, hard crash out of the European Union. While little Miss B continues to play with her new rabbit and the family opens another door on their electronic advent calendar, history is being made. […]

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