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  • Cat Fishing and Brahms April 13, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Cat Fishing and Brahms

    Again apologies for cessation in email communications and posting, Beachcombing is on the mend and normal service should resume tomorrow. *** Not so long ago Beachcombing said something unwise about musicians, namely that  the classically inclined folk prior to the shamans of modern rock did not have particularly bizarre lives and that music was a […]

    Immortal Meals 2#: Eating in a Victorian Dinosaur April 10, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Immortal Meals 2#: Eating in a Victorian Dinosaur

      Sadly Beachcombing will just write as a short post today as the sfiga hex has settled over him. Paul Johnson’s book has extended its evil to Beach’s comic shelves that collapsed in the night and the attack on his body is now burning fierily, so much so that Beachcombing is enforcing what the medieval used to […]

    The Day Wager April 8, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Day Wager

    A recent post that has haunted Beachcombing was that concerning an early submarine exploring a world of Merfolk near the Isle of Man in the seventeenth century. What most interested Beachcombing was not curiously the mermaids, welcome as they were, but the fact that an innovative technology had slipped unnoticed into an eighteenth-century Manx folk […]

    Review: Shadow Pasts April 5, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient, Contemporary, Medieval, Modern
    Review: Shadow Pasts

    Beachcombing has only a few minutes today before class begins – a spring cold has meant that he is sleeping double his regulation five or six hours. But he wants to take what little time he has to celebrate William Rubinstein’s Shadow Pasts: ‘Amateur Historians’ and History’s Mysteries (2007), a gem of a book he […]

    Sweet Will of Stratford April 4, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Sweet Will of Stratford

    One of the great joys of writing posts for this blog in the last ten months has been the experience of coming across new mysteries. And of the many that Beachcombing has tripped over in his sorry excuse for research none has bemused him more than the mystery of Will of Stratford, otherwise known as […]

    Crocker Land April 3, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Crocker Land

    Where do good bizarrists go when they die: why to Crocker Land, of course. And where is this anomalist’s World of Cockayne? Well, unusually for such a fantastical place we can be exact: it stands at 83 degrees N, longitude 100 degrees. Hell, Heaven, Eden and Purgatory never enjoyed these kinds of specifics. And how was it […]

    Best of Enemies April 2, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Best of Enemies

    Beachcombing is always going on about how he is looking for historic pictures, especially of the lesser known kind. He was most excited then when a correspondent recently opened up a raw and largely unmined vein: what Beachcombing will call ‘the best of enemies picture’.  Foes brought together after the event… Ok three rules. 1) Photographs […]

    Discovering Australia in the Sixteenth Century March 28, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Discovering Australia in the Sixteenth Century

      Beachcombing has been wondering in the last few days about the various maps from the Age of Discover when Europe was laying claim to the world. These charts are a dream for mystery lovers as there are so many ‘irregularities’ that can be explained in the hushed tones of a conspiracy theory: drbeachcombing is always interested in […]

    John and Paul: The Patagonian Giants March 26, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    John and Paul: The Patagonian Giants

    Antonio Pigafeta aka Antonio Lombardo (obit 1531) was a lucky man. He was one of 17 of circa 230 men to make it back from Magellan’s circumnavigation of the world. He was also a fine writer and described in his Relazione del primo viaggio intorno al mondo (1524) Magellan’s adventures, death and the mission’s return […]

    Reading Runes at Runamo March 25, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval, Modern
    Reading Runes at Runamo

    The horror! The horror! Beachcombing joined the rest of his family this morning with headlice and so is rushing this post in between a delousing shower and the preparation of an application for a new job for Mrs B. Apologies too to all those many correspondents to whom he has not yet replied. He hopes […]

    Image: Tupaia’s Map March 23, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Image: Tupaia's Map

    History faculties have spent much of the last forty years demonstrating to their own satisfaction that the rise of the West is not ‘the whole story’. Hiding behind enslaved Africans, small-poxed Carribean islanders and various downtrodden Asian peoples there are other narratives struggling to get out. Beachcombing is all for looking at the other side […]

    Review: Atlas of Remote Islands March 22, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Review: Atlas of Remote Islands

    Judith Schalansky, Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Never Set Foot On and Never Will (Penguin 2010). St Jerome, long ago, said that books should not be treasures and Beachcombing, is happy to subscribe: he wants cheap functional paperbacks with a lot of glue on the spine. However, every so often someone produces […]

    Mermaids Sighted from Early Submarine March 21, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Mermaids Sighted from Early Submarine

    Beachcombing promised a month ago a mermaid text from the Isle of Man that would amaze one and all. And what Beachcombing particularly likes about the following eighteenth-century description is the way that the we have not only mermaids but also a ‘submarine’, using the word very loosely, that makes an appearance a century before such vehicles had […]

    Lancashire Kick Boxing March 20, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Lancashire Kick Boxing

      Old time readers of this blog will know that Beachcombing once expressed an interest in ‘purring’ or ‘clog fighting’ when in the nineteenth century the natives of Manchester, Preston and Liverpool in the north-west of Britain were alleged to settle their disputes through kicking contests. Back when he wrote this post Beachcombing expressed some […]

    Jesus Christ and an Egg from Leeds March 18, 2011

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    Jesus Christ and an Egg from Leeds

    Beachcombing has recently become curious about a passage in Charles Mackay’s Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds (160). ‘A panic terror of the end of the world seized the good people of Leeds and its neighbourhood in the year 1806. It arose from the following circumstances. A hen, in a village close by, […]

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