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A Werewolf in 1960s Italy January 16, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
A Werewolf in 1960s Italy

Regular readers will know that Beachcombing has no great love for sociologists, who are to historians (or should be to historians) what garlic is to a vampire. However, he makes an exception for Belden Paulson’s brilliant The Searchers (1966) a description of life in a small Italian town, Castelfuoco (not its real name!), in the […]

Atlantis in the Far East January 15, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary
Atlantis in the Far East

Naive Beachcombing set out in an earlier post his ambition to create a list of all the locations in the world that have been claimed over the years as the ‘true’ Atlantis. However, while writing this piece over Christmas he ran into a problem that he had not frankly anticipated. There are just so many places that […]

Image: Cow Sheds and Massacres January 11, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Image: Cow Sheds and Massacres

Beachcombing has had the novel experience, in these days of premature babies, of watching lots of history documentaries. It is one of the few things that you can do while syringe feeding a fifteen-day-old tot and hoping that she will sleep. After years of staying away from television, he’s been treated to a lot of sub-standard stuff, but […]

Epiphany Gift: War In Dollyland January 6, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Epiphany Gift: War In Dollyland

As Beachcombing noted yesterday (click here, if you dare, for Beachcombian reflections) he has prepared a gift for the WWW this snowy epiphany: War in Dollyland in all its glory. Textual notes: the following was copied from the 1915 original with some care leaving eccentric or antiquated spellings in place. The only change that Beachcombing has made is […]

Prelude to Epiphany: Fitzgerald in the Trenches January 5, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Prelude to Epiphany: Fitzgerald in the Trenches

For Beachcombing a canonical text on the First World War is chapter thirteen of Fitzgerald’s Tender is the Night. Here FSF gets as close as anyone ever has to explaining why European civilisation committed suicide in 1915 and 1916. Dick and his party, including the vapid Rosemary have come to visit the First World War […]

Image: Executing Christ January 3, 2011

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Image: Executing Christ

                          The Spanish Civil War… the junction of the twentieth century. Often sold as the beginning of the Second World War it was, in reality, the last blast of an older nineteenth-century battle, the battle between left and right. Once Barcelona had fallen […]

New Year and Minnie Louise Haskins December 31, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
New Year and Minnie Louise Haskins

  Beachcombing is about to settle down to frying some aubergines (as you do). He thought though that before this he would offer by way of New Year greetings to all his readers the sentence that ends this piece in bold. Banal and even objectionable in their way these words by Minnie Louise Haskins were sanctified […]

Image: Omagh Ground Zero December 23, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Image: Omagh Ground Zero

Beachcombing has had to miss writing a serious post today because of the arrival of his second-born at the local hospital. He thought that, in lieu of that ‘serious post’, he would offer instead this extraordinary photo from Omagh in Northern Ireland 1997 – a celebration of what it means to eat, breathe and read good books. The […]

Review: Moa Sightings December 22, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Review: Moa Sightings

[automatic reserve post]   When Beachcombing was just a wee sprog, he used to read books and be transported to other  worlds. Those were the times when three hundred pages written by John Buchan, Evelyn Waugh or Enid Blyton could set off fire balls in his head. But then Beachcombing lost his innocence – schooling […]

The Library of Dream December 15, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
The Library of Dream

Beachcombing has, on previous occasions, enumerated some of his preferred invisible libraries: books or collections of books that never existed save in the imagination of fantasizing authors. And he could hardly overlook a notable recent contribution to the genre, the Library of Dreams by Neil Gaiman. For those who don’t know NG is an author of graphic novels and novels. […]

Review: Creative Malady December 13, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Review: Creative Malady

George Pickering (obit 1980) was, when he wrote his three-hundred-page essay Creative Malady (George Allen and Unwin 1974), a retired Professor of Medicine from the University of London and Master of Pembroke College (Oxford). In his younger days he had worked on headaches, hypertension and peptic ulcers – all illnesses then linked to mental states. And […]

Image: St Paul’s Rides the Blitz December 9, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Image: St Paul's Rides the Blitz

Beachcombing should start today with an apology. In his mission statement about his Image series he promised to put up only little known photographs and paintings. And yet here he is, six months on, offering the most famous of all British pictures from 1940, as if it were a scoop. Sorry. Beachcombing only hopes the […]

Classicists and the Other Side December 7, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary
Classicists and the Other Side

Beachcombing recently opened up a new tag on ‘Rogue Researchers’, lovable academics who have left the bounds of their respectable (and incredibly tedious) colleagues by, say, talking to spirits at archaeological digs, boiling dormice alive or, a personal Beachcombing favourite, re-enacting Mayan heart removal on Mexican John Does. And today he wants to induct a […]

Back to the Arabian unicorn December 6, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Medieval
Back to the Arabian unicorn

Beachcombing – three long moons ago – ran an article on a European sighting of two unicorns at Mecca (of all places) in the sixteenth century. Given his bewilderment at the time he feels obliged to add this fascinating fragment that he recently stumbled upon. Strangest of all [the mythical beasties of south-west Arabia] is the Tahish. It is a fearsome […]

Image: Arresting Trouble December 4, 2010

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Image: Arresting Trouble

The Beachcombing family has been shook tonight by phantom (?) contractions and Mrs B. is  upstairs wondering whether or not she is about to give birth. Beachcombing is a nursing a frullato downstairs confident that the baby is still a month away. But then Beachcombing is wrong about almost everything and that leads him nicely to […]

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