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Stay Alive to 1975! September 4, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Stay Alive to 1975!

Messianic religions have long faced a simple problem with final calamity. If you predict the end of the world you are going to get lots of new members: that’s humanity. But, God help you when the world’s end does not come. Not, of course, that this has stopped the faithful from trying. Despite said problem […]

Casualties and Memory September 3, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Casualties and Memory

This post was written as a response to a memory that has been whirling around and around in the last few days. The only time Beach ever saw his grandmother – a fine old English matron – weep was when she talked about the First World War. She had, in fact, no direct experience of […]

The USS Charleston Says Hello with Gunpowder August 30, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
The USS Charleston Says Hello with Gunpowder

Beach has been negligent in his duties in the last three weeks, particularly where comments are concerned. However, he’s going to try and make up for this in the next 48 hours by going through several hundred emails – sorry! – and splashing print everywhere. His excuse for this negligence? Well, he’s written half a […]

Ireland the Great and White Man’s Land August 28, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Medieval
http://www.nicolaasart.com/art_series_deep_blue_above.php

Beachcombing woke up this morning with Vikings on his mind – a migraine coming? – and so thought that he would visit one of his favourite northern stories/legends/cobblers: Great Ireland. The reference appears in Landnámabók the thirteenth-century ‘ancestral’ codex of Iceland. How much is history and how much is legend in the Landnámabók is much […]

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 […]

They Do It With Drawers You Know July 30, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
They Do It With Drawers You Know

To a twenty-first century reader one of the strangest things about nineteenth century séances were the materialisation of physical objects at the hand of talented mediums aka conjurers. What seems to be just absurd to us was actually taken as a proof of the genuine nature of the swindlers, because they were typically searched before […]

The Mysterious Island of Chronos/Cronos: Stonehenge, New Hampshire or Lundy!? July 29, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Ancient
The Mysterious Island of Chronos/Cronos: Stonehenge, New Hampshire or Lundy!?

One of the most peculiar texts that Beachcombing has ever read is the description of the Island of Cronos – the titan pictured here with thanks to Goya – in Plutarch (c. 120 AD). Much has been made of this island and attempts to fix it on the map have been undertaken frequently: some have […]

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 […]

The Greatest Curse: Epitaphs for Dead Children July 11, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
The Greatest Curse: Epitaphs for Dead Children

A very delicate subject this, but one that Beach couldn’t get out of his head having spoken last night to a woman who had lost her only daughter while in her 50s. If the nightmare of all nightmares should happen and a child die what might be written on the gravestone? A 1930s letter page […]

Mad Cures: Sore Throats and Currents July 10, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Mad Cures: Sore Throats and Currents

C. 1900 you have a nasty sore throat that won’t go away. A friend tells you that there is a new treatment in town for only three dollars, five if you stay at home and the practitioner comes to your house with ‘the machine’. And what exactly does this  ‘new’ treatment entail, you ask innocently? […]

Crowds #3: Crowds as Art July 4, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Crowds #3: Crowds as Art

***Dedicated to Andy the Mad Monk*** Beach has previously confessed to a thing about crowd photographs: he has put up posts showing August 1914 madness and orators in front of thousands. However, what if the crowd itself is taken out of its random passions and ordered into a work of art? This was the intuition […]

Creative Pretexts for War July 2, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Prehistoric
Creative Pretexts for War

In the good old days when we had spears and lived in tribal societies war was, for much of humanity, a seasonal activity like boar hunting and berry picking. You did not have to explain why you wanted to steal the cattle of the clan on the other side of the hill: you just got […]

Llewellyn Thompson: Champion of the World June 20, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary
Llewellyn Thompson: Champion of the World

Beach has pioneered on this blog ‘hinge moments’, those instances when world history changes. In any list of these moments, the Cuban Missile crisis is a must, because this is, of course, the closest the human race has come to mutually assured destruction. But what moment within the missile crisis was the key one? Almost […]

Crowds #2: Speaking to Crowds June 18, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Contemporary, Modern
Crowds #2: Speaking to Crowds

W.B.Yeats once wrote that the most important thing for a ‘man’ was, in his day, no longer a sword but a tongue to speak to the masses. Yeats was living in an age when that was still true. Microphones were allowing the amplification of voices and transport meant that a politician or preacher could travel […]

Ginx’s Baby June 8, 2012

Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern
Ginx's Baby

***Dedicated to Wade who sent this in*** An interview with the tax man today so a low intensity post on a story sent in by Wade from an American paper 1871. It is presumably a morality tale (with a kick at the old country): but it is cute for all that. It is one of […]

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