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  • 403 Cossack Adolescents: Soviet Genocide? April 23, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    403 Cossack Adolescents: Soviet Genocide?

    Beach lives in a part of Europe (Italy) where the memory of the Soviet Union is revered not only by daft revolutionaries creeping out at night to graffiti their way to world revolution; a good part of the general population also makes this mistake. Of course, they will not defend Stalin and they shed some […]

    Lenin Meets the Bandits April 9, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Uncategorized
    Lenin Meets the Bandits

    19 January 1919, a wonderful moment where Lenin almost got offed by the forces he had created. On this day, Lenin, Chabanov, his bodyguard, and Maria, Lenin’s sister were driving with bourgeos ostentation on the outskirts of Moscow. At a railway bridge they were stopped, however, by three armed men, that Lenin and Chabanov assumed were […]

    The Eyes Have It: Lenin’s Screwing Orbs March 25, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
    The Eyes Have It: Lenin's Screwing Orbs

    Eyes! Novelists are forever going on about them, even philosophers occasionally get excited about them: blue eyes are beautiful, brown eyes are sublime, Kant insists.  Beach personally has never understood all the fuss: of the twenty members of his family he probably has noticed the eyes of three and knows the colour of six or […]

    He Was My Emperor! March 12, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    He Was My Emperor!

    Field Marshal Gustav Mannerheim was the man who created (once) and then saved Finland (twice). First, he commanded the White insurrection against the Reds in Helsinki in 1918 leading the country to independence from Russia (which was becoming the USSR). Second, he commanded the Finnish army in the Winter War, and third, he commanded the same army in […]

    Good Swastikas? The Hakaristi February 24, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Good Swastikas? The Hakaristi

    When is a swastika a good sign? The answer is, crudely, when it predates the Nazi party’s adoption of the crooked cross in 1920, for the swastika is one of the most ancient and one of the most widespread of human symbols. In many countries it remained an essentially religious symbol, locked into a pre-modern memory […]

    Historical Ménage a Trois February 23, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Historical Ménage a Trois

    Beach has recently become fascinated by those who live a ménage a trois, leaving behind the conventional marriage of two and creating something like a marriage of three: a man lives with his wife and lover; a man lives with a gay policeman and his wife… etc etc Such a coupling (tripling) is difficult to pull off today, […]

    Murder and Poetic Inspiration: Killing Fanny Kaplan, 1918 February 20, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Murder and Poetic Inspiration: Killing Fanny Kaplan, 1918

    The Soviet Union is infinitely ghastly and fascinating. Sometime it is the sheer scale of horror, sometimes, as today, it is the surreally Marxist details that astonish in this case the collusion of murder and poetry. 30 August 1918 an attempt was made on Lenin’s life in Moscow. The probable assassin was a half blind, […]

    You Can’t Go Home Again: Aunt Janey and Other Stories February 14, 2015

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    You Can’t Go Home Again: Aunt Janey and Other Stories

    Qua campis cervos agitabat sacra juventus/ Incumbit fessus nunc baculo senior./ Nos miseri, cur te fugitivum, mundus, amamus? (‘Here the holy young man who chased deer in the fields, now, stands a broken old man with a stick/ O what wretches! Why, world we love, do you flee from us?’) Alcuin O Mea Cella Beach’s […]

    Last of the British? September 21, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Actualite
    Last of the British?

    There are sixty million Britons, yet if you go house to house through England, Wales, Scotland and the six counties you will find that relatively few people actually define themselves in this way. If a family from Glasgow, Cardiff or Sheffield turn up in a French hotel they will probably write (under nationality) respectively: ‘Scottish’, […]

    Review: The Holocaust in the Soviet Union September 13, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Review: The Holocaust in the Soviet Union

    Books on the holocaust have, broadly speaking, two choices. They can either focus on the big picture and describe the liquidation of an entire people from this or that national territory, or they can focus on an individual, family or a village and concentrate, instead, on the micro-tragedies: an excellent example of the latter is […]

    The Other Dream Team: Basketball and the Baltic August 23, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Other Dream Team: Basketball and the Baltic

    The Other Dream Team is the best history documentary Beach has watched since starting this blog four years ago. As it doesn’t seem to have the fame that it deserves here’s a shout out: even the almost ahistorical Mrs B. was moved. Some background. Lithuania is a small Baltic State of three million that has […]

    Hidden Flags August 12, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
    Hidden Flags

    There’s a scene in that very good Powell and Pressburger film One of Our Aircraft is Missing (1942), where downed British pilots in occupied Holland establish the loyalty of their hosts through a trick commode. A line of orange flowers (the Dutch colour) leads to a swing picture that reveals a disguised portrait of the […]

    The Singing War July 25, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    The Singing War

    Revolutions are normally violent affairs. Popular anger leads to stupid and brutal acts. The French Revolution might stand as the archetype here with nice ideas thrashing out of control: liberty, fraternity and equality turning all too quickly into horror, fratricide and indiscriminate killing. But there are a select group of revolutions where a determined population […]

    Neo-Pagan Partisans May 2, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Neo-Pagan Partisans

    Ask a well-read person today about neo-paganism and many will identify it as something that came out of flower power in the late 1960s. However, this is not, for the most part, true. Neo-pagans were actually around before the Great War and in some incarnations neo-paganism can be traced back to late nineteenth-century eccentrics, such […]

    Totalitarian Leaders, Urban Legends and Motorbikes March 29, 2014

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
    Totalitarian Leaders, Urban Legends and Motorbikes

    Totalitarian states put their leaders at the very heart of civic life as symbol and reality of fascism/Nazism/communism (or whatever other nightmare a country has fallen into). One of the consequences of the popular focus on the duce/fuhrer/stalin is that the individual citizen comes to feel a special warmth for the head that they might […]

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