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  • Prolific Souvestre and Allain August 24, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Prolific Souvestre and Allain

    Beachcombing is back from his time at the top of the mountain. His ‘restful’ reading material there included Pierre Souvestre and Marcel Allain’s Fantômas, the first in a series of French pulp novels from the teens of the last century. For those who have not been initiated Fantômas is a master criminal who works without […]

    Baring-Goulds’ Pixies August 23, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Baring-Goulds' Pixies

    Anyone interested in fairies will read in many places of Sabine Baring-Gould’s childhood encounter with pixies. But how many will have actually read the original? In an effort to correct this Beach sat this afternoon tapping out the following text only to discover that someone else got there first: a bunch of heroes over at […]

    Prussians in the Frame: Brownies Out August 22, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Prussians in the Frame: Brownies Out

    Beach often shows his students WW1 and WW2 photographs in class. He lets the effect wash over them and then breaks that effect by asking them why the photograph is staged. For most of the best shots from the world wars are the invention or, at very best, the ‘reconstruction’ of photographers who were far […]

    Gluten, Famine and the Slow Crawl of Medical Knowledge August 20, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Modern
    Gluten, Famine and the Slow Crawl of Medical Knowledge

    ***Beach wants to salute his readers for a couple of days as he is going on his yearly retreat (hermit’s cave etc): he’ll see you on the other side, if the wolves don’t come*** Wheat is the grain of the west. The crop that has followed Europeans wherever they have gone for the simple reason […]

    Closing Door Erotica August 18, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Closing Door Erotica

    Beach would like to start by apologising for this post. Like so many things that appear here it just won’t get out of his head. Erotics… Beachcombing is on the search for the most erotic passage, but… So this is the thing. It is easy to cut and paste from My Secret Life or Fanny […]

    Photo Fakes and Irresponsible Buffoonery August 9, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Photo Fakes and Irresponsible Buffoonery

       ***Dedicated to Invisible who sent the first paragraph and wrote the second*** The camera never lies, a picture is worth a thousand words, the architecture of light and shadows: photography in short. Enjoy this little extract from an Arthur Conan Doyle biography. During Conan Doyle’s last lecture in Nairobi…he showed a photograph taken of […]

    The Hairies: Thoughts from Africa August 5, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    The Hairies: Thoughts from Africa

    Beach has only very inadequate knowledge of cryptozoology, so if he says things here that are unoriginal, stupid or dangerous he wants to apologise ahead of time. It is just that he didn’t go to sleep until very late last night because he found this stuff so interesting. He knows that there are ape men […]

    Queens On Top (or not?) August 3, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    Queens On Top (or not?)

    Beach has been waxing lyrical a lot about monarchy recently: there was Charles I with his head sewn back on (the bastards!), then there was environment vs the hereditary principle (or perhaps better environment within the hereditary principle) and today we come to queens. Queens, you’ve got to love them. For is it Beachcombing’s imagination […]

    Highest Placed Spy August 2, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Highest Placed Spy

    And so it begins… Mrs B woke up at 5.00 am this morning and took darling daughters and aupair to the sea for at least a week. Beach is going to relax today and then from tomorrow do some serious MANLY writing. (He will only really relax when he learns that Italian motorways have not […]

    Genetics vs Environment among Monarchs July 31, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    Genetics vs Environment among Monarchs

    There is a phrase that’s trotted out from time to time that monarchs are simply the descendants of those who killed lots of people and as such deserve little respect and certainly no adulation. Of course, it is true that monarchs are the descendants of those who killed many people. But what really matters is […]

    Revelation: Music, History and the Incredible Public Service Broadcasting July 25, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite, Contemporary
    Revelation: Music, History and the Incredible Public Service Broadcasting

    It very rarely happens that Beach gets excited about something new on the web. But it happened tonight. And as the two individuals responsible have immense talent and as too few people know about them here’s a post dedicated to Public Service Broadcasting, a British outfit that has (apparently) been around for the last three […]

    ‘Psychic’ Phenomena: Trends in Time? July 24, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    'Psychic' Phenomena: Trends in Time?

    Beach has had a lot of fun today reading Andrew Lang from morning to the kids’ homecoming. What a pleasure! Lang (obit 1912) was a Victorian/Edwardian writer who had a clear fascination with psychic-phenomena among many, many other things. But Lang was tough-minded and always looked for other solutions before starting on about clairvoyance or […]

    The Trolls That Tuck You In July 22, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Trolls That Tuck You In

    1980 a British psychic is in Finland. ‘I had hardly made myself comfortable [in the bedroom], and I was certainly not asleep or even dozing, when I heard chattering all around me. There were people in the room. Perhaps, thinking I was asleep, they had come to inspect the strange creature in their midst from […]

    Crowds #4: Religion July 20, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Crowds #4: Religion

    Beach has so far offered up three crowd photo collections: August 1914, Speaking to Crowds and Crowds as Art. Today he thought he’d move in a little deeper with religious crowds from a small file he’s been building up over the last couple of years. The picture that head’s this post is one of his […]

    Burning Reputations in Science July 16, 2012

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Burning Reputations in Science

    Imagine for a second with Beachcombing that you are world famous scientist. You don’t have a Nobel Prize yet, but a telephone call from Stockholm is a distinct possibility, particularly if you don’t say anything unwise about the developing world or human rights. In the meantime, you have fawning doctoral students, colleagues sending you sixty […]

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