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  • Surviving Decapitation January 31, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Surviving Decapitation

    Beachcombing was traumatised in early childhood by seeing his father execute several hens on a Pennine farm. Even now he smells the metallic tang of their blood and sees the mess of heads and bodies and the feathers sticking everywhere. (Honestly, Mrs B won’t even let the younger Beachcombings watch SOS Nanny, what was Beachcombing […]

    Review: Night Climbers of Cambridge January 27, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Review: Night Climbers of Cambridge

    [Note: Beachcombing apologises for any emails he’s not answered but the local internet provider has been down again for the last week: and he only has a couple of minutes with term beginning to rush in and put up posts at work. As soon as service returns he’ll be writing.] Another classic from the vaults […]

    Review: The Codex Seraphinianus January 21, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Review: The Codex Seraphinianus

    Luigi Serafini, Codex Seraphinianus (numerous editions…) Beachcombing has Ricardo R. to thank for an introduction to the Codex Seraphinianus, a guide to another world. First published in 1981, a copy from the original series now runs at about 8000 dollars. Beachcombing, who is a bit strapped for cash, did the barbaric thing and read it in […]

    Silly Sieg Heils January 19, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Silly Sieg Heils

    The Nazi and ‘Roman’ Salute have been traditional signs of the extra-parliamentary right since the 1920s. Claims have been made that these salutations are more hygenic, more beautiful and also of shorter duration than the handshake. Well, Beachcombing is certainly no fan of palming… However, he finds – memories of the Great Dictator? – the […]

    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 […]

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