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Hippocratic Cobblers. February 15, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
Hippocratic Cobblers.

***Dedicated to good and honest doctors: a pox on the others…*** Beachcombing has suffered greatly under the tyranny of white-coats over the years: blame a long undiagnosed and thus untreated condition – uncovered eventually after about ten minutes on Wikipedia. He has come then to expect problems in the medical sector. But nothing prepared him […]

August 1914: Surprise or Countdown? February 14, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
August 1914: Surprise or Countdown?

In western memory, particularly in European memory the guns of August 1914 were a long awaited horror: and while the First World War was so much worse than anyone could have possibly imagined – Beach thinks of an earlier Churchill post on the nineteenth century comparing itself with the twentieth – everyone knew it was […]

I was afraid to move: I was gasping for breath February 12, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
I was afraid to move: I was gasping for breath

As those who favour the death penalty have found, killing a human being is surprisingly difficult. How much more difficult if you have a hundred, or a thousand or a hundred thousand human beings to kill and little time to do it. Bullets will only do so much, men and women can be filled with […]

Mona Lisa Madness February 5, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Mona Lisa Madness

Beachcombing has long taken an interest in Leonardo’s Mona Lisa. Not because he is particularly a fan of cold and bold LdV and those other renaissance artists who wrecked the unity of the Middle Ages. But because the Giocanda has attracted pretty much every mad theory about: we’ll come to this week’s in a moment. […]

Beachcombing’s Invisible Library February 4, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Beachcombing's Invisible Library

  Beachcombing has had a lot of fun over the last year and a half cataloging invisible libraries, libraries that only exist in the imagination of authors and connoisseurs. Today, Beach thought he would take stock of the achievement to date and also, in a fit of utter self-indulgence, introduce readers to Mrs B’s contribution […]

Image: Princip’s Conscience February 2, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Image: Princip's Conscience

Beach has several things on his conscience. Aged eight he clumsily trod on a frog breaking its back bone; last summer he accidentally killed a baby adder while trying to get it out of the garden; and then there was a very painful split with a girl who deserved better a decade ago, sorry E. […]

Owen’s Untimely Death January 31, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Owen's Untimely Death

  There are occasional micro moments in history that are so extraordinary painful to read about that they strangely dwarf greater tragedies such as the liquidation of a ghetto, the dropping of an atom bomb or the sinking of a cruise-liner. One of these micro tragedies that has been bobbing in and out of Beachcombing’s […]

De Gaulle and Ike at Gettysburg January 26, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
De Gaulle and Ike at Gettysburg

One of Beachcombing’s many files in the rusty filing cabinet in the downstairs bathroom is a surprisingly bulky: ‘battlefields after the fact’. Here there are a series of great men and women visiting the places of carnage past and reflecting on ‘the father of all things’. There are many precious references in said file including […]

2012 and All That January 24, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary
2012 and All That

The Beachcombings’ last aupair but one wanted to go back to school and get a degree as a midwife (which in itself begs all kinds of questions) but was holding off till 2013: ‘I don’t want to waste my time if the world is about to end’ she usefully explained. Beach should add that she […]

Remembering Bologna January 23, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Remembering Bologna

Beachcombing doesn’t normally have much time for railway-stations, but for Bologna he’ll make an exception. It is not the edifice itself that catches his attention, but the way memory has been built into its very fabric: the memory that is of 2 August 1980. At 10.25 on the morning of that day a bomb went […]

Burning Libraries! Two Lost Folklore Collections January 20, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Burning Libraries! Two Lost Folklore Collections

Historical blindspots: every age has them. Take the relative lack of interest in folklore prior to the eighteenth century. When folklore heats up in the later nineteenth century you cannot walk across the parlour without tripping over a book on fairies or witches. This means that anything written before say 1860 is particularly precious and any loss all […]

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 […]

Israel Saved by the Soviets in 1973? January 13, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Israel Saved by the Soviets in 1973?

In 1948, 1967 and 1973 Israel fought wars that could conceivably have seen the destruction not only of the Israeli state but also of the Jewish community in Palestine. None of these wars came closer to Arab success than the last, the Yom Kippur war. Egypt and Syria (with Iraqi backing) managed to achieve almost […]

Jesus Lived to 114 in Japan! January 11, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary
Jesus Lived to 114 in Japan!

Beach has long been hearing rumours that Jesus Christ was actually buried in an obscure Japanese village of Shingo. But it was only this morning that he finally decided to climb up this particular mountain of madness and see what was really happening up in the mists. According to local ‘tradition’ (always a slippery word) […]

Accidentally Obscene January 7, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
Accidentally Obscene

The Belfast Telegraph recently ran a story on the Limerick town of Effin – named for St Eimhin no less! ‘Ann Marie Kennedy is proud to live in Effin – and now she has launched an online campaign to have Facebook recognise the town whose name was blacklisted for being too offensive [urban dictionary]. Ann […]

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