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Sunday, 17 March 2013

The Right Club - Pro Nazi British Fifth Column of World War II


The Right Club – pro-Nazi British 5th Column

Archibald Ramsay
The Right Club was formed in 1939 as the United Kingdom drifted closer to the inevitable conflict with National Socialist Germany. In Britain, there was a portion of ‘well to do’ people in society who believed the new German state led by Adolf Hitler was right concerning Jewish people in western culture. The Right club was a British anti-Semitic group whose aim was to make peace with Germany and expose, what they believed to be Jewish-dominated areas of public life throughout Britain. In short, The Right Club desired Britain to become a fascist National Socialist Society in the same mould as Germany. To a degree, many within British society were too preoccupied with the events unfolding in Europe and they regarded The Right Club to be a bit of a pathetic joke – an indulgence of upper-class pink gin-swilling Toffs who had nothing better to do.


The leader of this little band of fascist adventurers was an MP called Archibald Ramsay. Originally a Scottish Unionist MP, but from 1930 onwards he had developed an anti-Semitic view. During this period he became an outspoken opponent of supporters to the left wing cause during the Spanish Civil War, often blaming Soviet intervention for all manner of things. He was a staunch British patriot in perverted ways but then so was Hitler for Germany. Archibald Ramsay had very flawed views as far as a lot of British people were concerned and could not gain any voice in Parliament – any voice of note that is. As the thirties decade progressed and the inevitable war drew close, Archibald Ramsay formed his Right Club with his little group of, perhaps, self-indulgent people who thought along the same lines.

This group of die hard nonconformists waded into alcoves of the establishment - poking and prodding about for avenues of help concerning their twisted ambition. Whilst the British government did not take them seriously; The Right Club stumbled upon a few fine finds and almost brought about a calamity that could have shook the British government to the core and may have isolated the UK in her fight against Germany. This would have led to an event destroying the American President Roosevelt’s ability to push through a lend lease program for Britain to continue the war against Germany and eventually lead to the USA entering the war on Britain’s side against Germany.


In October of 1939, the US Embassy in London saw the arrival from Moscow of a new cypher clerk known as Tyler Gatewood Kent. He was a 28-year-old who had been moved from Moscow and there seems to have been some controversy surrounding the man even then. He began frequenting the Russian Tea Rooms in London where he met Anna Wolkoff, the daughter of a White Russian Admiral exiled in London after the Bolshevik revolution. She was a member of The Right Club and also spying for Nazi Germany. She began an affair with Tyler Kent and persuaded him to help the cause of The Right Club led by Archibald Ramsay who was sympathetic to the aims of Germany. By now Britain was at war with Germany and the subversive Brits were still hoping to find a peace with Germany. They knew the U.S. Government was sympathetic to Britain and France in their stand against Hitler’s National Socialist Germany and needed to find ways of stopping the growing support that President Roosevelt might promote over time. If they could find a way of enhancing scepticism among the voting U.S. public, perhaps Britain might become isolated and starved into peace negotiations with Germany, thus allowing Britain to develop its own National Socialist regime after the Wartime Government fell.

Tyler Kent was recruited to the cause and in essence was now also working for a pro-Nazi Brit organisation against his U.S. government’s interests and that of the United Kingdom’s established wartime government. As the cypher clerk, he was privy to all secret correspondence between UK and USA. These important documents, he was able to take to The Right Club where Archibald Ramsay was allowed to sift through them, at his leisure, looking for ways of quickening his country’s exit from the war and becoming in tune with Germany. It should be noted that some think Tyler Kent may have already been working for Soviet Communists and was trying to infiltrate pro-Nazi organisations pretending to have anti-Semitic beliefs. There is something of an enigma about Tyler Kent.


Maxwell Knight – British MI5 Agent

All during the 1920s and 1930s, Britain was in the grip of various new political organisations, from right wing fascists known as Blackshirts and led by Oswald Mosley – plus there were communist inspired trade unions trying to promote all sorts of radical new ideas for Britain. Many of these organisations were infiltrated by British MI5. Head of MI5, Vernon Kell had put a man called Maxwell Knight in charge of infiltrating these subversive groups in the UK. Maxwell Knight had been monitoring The Right Club’s activities and knew that British MP Archibald Ramsay was the secret head of this group. He had three women inside the organisation that were secret MI5 agents and through these field agents, he began to gather intelligence. The ladies were Joan Miller, Marjorie Amor, and Helen de Munk.

JoanMiller worked alongside Anna Wolkoff and very close to Archibald Ramsay who had no idea one of his most trusted helpers was an MI5 agent. Miller and Marjorie Amor discovered that Anna Wolkoff was gathering UK/US secret cyphers from Tyler Kent and then passing it to an Italian Naval attaché who would pass the information to Rome and from there to Berlin. Because the contacts belonged to Joan Miller, Anna Wolkoff would need to come to her to use Italian contacts to pass information via Rome to Berlin.

Maxwell Knight decided to set a trap by using infiltrators to approach Anna Wolkoff in stages at the Russian tea rooms. It was an MI5 agent pretending to be the dedicated British Fascist party member of Black Shirts which was led by Oswald Mosley. The infiltrator was, in fact, a real member of the Black Shirts in all official terms and was friends with William Joyce (Lord Haw Haw) who was by now in Germany broadcasting Nazi propaganda for the National Socialist cause and a British traitor. This posing Black Shirt was also working for MI5 as a spy. If Maxwell Knight could find documents or evidence of a British MP liaising with a known traitor, he could expose all subversive elements in British society including MP Archibald Ramsay. Anna Wolkoff took the message and once again went to Joan Miller with a request to use Italian agents for a message via Rome to Berlin and William Joyce (Lord Haw Haw). Knowing for certain that Anna Wolkoff and Archibald Ramsay were traitors; Maxwell got an agent named Guy Liddell to visit the U.S. Ambassador Joseph Kennedy to ask him to waver Tyler Kent’s diplomatic immunity so that MI5 and Special Branch could raid his apartment and arrest him. The urgency of this was made clear to Joseph Kennedy and he agreed to give the British secret service a free hand.

MI5raided Tyler Kent’s place and found him in bed with a young lady. The young American cypher clerk was caught quite literally with his trousers down. Inside a cupboard, they found a case containing almost 2,000 files, among them a plea from Winston Churchill to President Roosevelt asking for 50 American ships to be handed over to Britain in her efforts to win the Atlantic War which was beginning in earnest as the German Wolf packs went against the shipping lanes. If this document had been exposed it would have caused a political embarrassment for the U.S. government and would have caused U.S. public opinion to go against their President taking sides in a war that Americans did not, at this time, want to get involved in. This would have left Britain isolated as France fell and the British Army were driven out of mainland Europe for the next four years. Also within Tyler Kent’s case was a book containing the list of all members of the Right Club meticulously logged by MP Archibald Ramsay.

Winston Churchill had just come to power after Chamberlin had resigned and he had no hesitation in addressing the issue of the subversive elements – no matter how futile they might seem. The Right Club had been underestimated by the government, but not MI5. The British Government would become much more alert in future.

Tyler Kent and Anna Walkoff were charged under the official secrets act. Anna Walkoff got 10 years while Tyler Kent got 7 years. Archibald Ramsay was not charged but was interned in Brixton prison under a defence regulation act, throughout the remainder of the war.

This was a major win for MI5 but things did run very close to the wire. In later years it was claimed the Ian Fleming (James Bond writer) based his character Mon Maxwell Knight. He carried on his work for MI5 and was a naturalist who wrote books. Joan Miller who was one of his successful agents claimed he was homosexual. He died in 1968 age 67.

Archibald Ramsay was to remain in prison throughout the war. He tried to take the New York Times Newspaper to court for running a story on him giving information to the Germans via Dublin, Ireland. He was able to win his case in court against the New York Times, but all the judge awarded him was a farthing in damages. That is less than a nickel in the U.S. He was also liable for the court costs that were very hefty. The New York Times people must have been laughing at such sweet defeat. He died in 1955 age 60.

Anna Walkoff was released from prison in 1947 after her British naturalisation was revoked because she was guilty of spying for Germany. She was killed in a car crash in Spain in 1973. The friend driving the car was another member of The Right Wing Club – Britain’s main subversive anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi force.

Tyler Kent, the young American Cipher was released from prison and deported back to the USA after the war. He got a newspaper running and became linked to the KluKlux Klan. Although he was seen as a right-wing political activist; his own nation’s security service FBI, believed he was a Soviet sympathiser. He had been made to leave Moscow in 1939 under some suspicion. The Soviets liked to recruit western traitors that appeared Right Wing in their political views so there could be some merit in this. He died a poor man in 1988 in a Texas trailer park.    

Red Dawn Remake - So awful it is good - a must watch for the crack



Cast fresh from the catwalk



What I like about Americans is that they will try lots of different things and are not afraid to make a mistake. They make great movies sometimes and then on other occasions they can do some dreadful ones too. As a Brit, it is a bit like calling the kettle black, because the UK does make some bad ones too. It’s just when the US make a bad film it seems to be on a much more elaborate scale. The consequences of this is that sometimes an awful film can become so bad, that it ends up good and entertaining in a comical way. That will get the audience and will get watched again, despite being; not too good. The first Red Dawn was like this because it seemed so far-fetched – yet everyone wanted to see it. It must have made money back in the eighties. So on this basis – fair play to the people who had the neck (balls – if American) to make the movie in the first place.

Whoever decided to do the Red Dawn remake must have had some neck too. My mind boggles at the very nerve as this person sat before the people who might fund such a film project. Only in America and all must have seen beyond the dire script and the reality to the big buck signs. Fair play again and perhaps it’s a case of he who dares wins? Therefore they deserve to make money if this movie does get watched.

It is a real zap bang wollop film – explosions and machine guns with plastic ultra-good-looking people fighting nasty guys who have invaded America – the land of the free.

This is where the fun starts. So you are looking at this movie from your sofa with a bucket of popcorn and a few cans of beer chilling out – I think that is what an average Joe in the land of the free might do. In Limy land, where I live, it was a cup of tea and a bacon sandwich with brown sauce.

It is the not too distant future and America is happy being the land of the free playing their American football with a rugby ball and generally doing rummy enjoyable things. They think their enemy of today is North Korea, but secretly it is us Brits because we drove Piers Morgan out of the UK. He went to America and started poking his nose into American things and has supposedly got the second amendment scrapped. This has dire consequences because North Korea invades unexpectedly and America is caught with her trousers down. All the everyday citizens have to defend themselves with are a few Boy Scout penknives and a whistle.

The North Koreans drop from aeroplanes in parachutes into this small town and start setting up a serious of extremely inconvenient check point road blocks. This causes havoc with traffic coming in and out of the small mid-west American town. Evidently the North Koreans are doing this all over America – blooming road blocks everywhere. To top all this, they start arresting and interning ultra-good-looking people. A few of these escape into the forested hills where they form a resistance band of ultra-good-looking Americans called Wolverines. You have to be ultra-good-looking to be in the gang though because the North Koreans only seem to be interning ultra-good-looking Americans. They get put in orange suits and taken to enclosed football grounds. The resistance fighters get to sneak down to the perimeter of the town and look out at the flood lit stadium and watch fellow ultra-good-looking Americans as the wander around the ground aimlessly in their orange all in one suit.

Meanwhile the less glamorous Americans get to go about town and pass the inconvenient North Korean road blocks. You can sense that normal Americans must not happy with this because not many of them go out. I think those that do are like the hobo type characters you often see in American shows. The North Koreans probably think they are all snappy dressers but are not ultra-good-looking so pose no threat. However, it still made me think: “Where on earth are the ordinary Americans – the sort who like to sit in front of t.v. with popcorn and a six pack. Perhaps a fat bald headed one amid the crowd.” I know they are not allowed to be in the Wolverines due to a lack of ultra-good-looking clout but they had obviously found somewhere to hide and must be doing alright.

Back in the hills among the free ultra-good-looking Americans there are arguments between two brothers. One is a marine on leave who really knows how to kick bottom (arse – for Americans) His younger and more naive brother has this idea of wanting to rescue his girlfriend. She is in the internment camp wearing an all in one orange suit. By day these prisoners are put on big yellow school buses and driven through the town’s North Korean road blocks – presumably to be put in another stadium. The next day, I presume the get driven back to the original one. Well perhaps one is a football stadium and the other is for baseball. The North Koreans cunningly make use of both. The Big brother really fancies having a go at the road blocks because he has noticed the North Koreans seem to be really big on these check points but are not too keen on the surrounding wooded hills or the multi-story blocks along the streets overlooking these dynamic road blocks. They (North Koreans) are not exactly aggressively patrolling the areas looking for the ultra-good-looking Americans. This is a flaw in the plan that no ultra-good-looking wolverine is going to waste. There is a bit of disagreement between both brothers because the younger one wants to go for the compound and rescue his girlfriend with other ultra-good-looking American prisoners. They would make ideal wolverine recruits and then they could have a go at the road blocks. However, big brother is in charge so they attack the road block, check points first – killing nasty North Koreans like it was open season on Reds and helping themselves to commie tech weaponry that is inferior to the assault rifles and stuff they might have had if that bloody Piers Morgan had kept his Limy trap shut.

These attacks are cunningly executed as the wolverines go into the derelict multi story blocks with a tantalising choice of overlooking views of the North Korean check points. Others (wolverines) put their hoods up and wear scruffy hats and mingle with the dreary hobos that pass through the road blocks. Secretly I think the film director got them as a job lot from the set of Walking Dead, but hey - it works. When the action starts the nasty North Koreans are getting blown and shot all over the place. The mingling ultra-good-looking Americans pull down their hoods to revile fine chiselled features and dynamite white teeth that a limy like me can only dream of. They all sport that ‘Hey grab a load of me look.’ and the enemy are caught off guard which was their own stupid fault. The North Koreans plan a master stroke by allowing their bamboo republic to trick the foremost super power the world has ever known; then all they can do is loiter about at check points. What a blooming waste!

I enjoyed watching the Red bastards blown here there and everywhere – serves them right for marginalising ultra-good-looking people who know how to bite back and wear sporting, eye-catching, vogue, guerrilla warfare clobber at the same time. Don’t cross swords with the wolverines. (Don’t f~*k with the wolverines. If American)

During one of these battles; little brother of the ultra-good-looking wolverines, goes ape shit (Angry. If American) He sees the yellow school bus and attacks that instead of the check point. He needs a bit of variety and his drop dead gorgeous girlfriend is on board in her orange jump suit. You guessed it; they are they ultra- good-looking prisoners who got tangoed when they North Koreans first invaded. Young Bruv shoots up the driver and guard gets on board the yellow school bus and rescues his outrageously gorgeous bird (Girlfriend if American) As this mayhem goes on, they escape into the surrounding derelict buildings that the North Koreans neglect to occupy for some reason. They end up in a fashion shop run by a fat black lady who can’t be a wolverine on account of not being good looking enough. With a lack of good looking people her business has obviously plummeted because her trendy shop has no customers. You can tell she is so pleased to see them because the lady tells boy and girlfriend to take any flash clobber (trendy clothes if American) they want. Cunningly disguised they escape the North Koreans who are running about like headless chickens getting shot and blown up. Our two ultra-good-looking people tuck their chins down hiding their dynamic looks and walk past the confused enemy.

Two more wolverines escape into a Subway fast food place and it was in here that I finally realised where all the ordinary everyday Americans really were. The place was blooming packed with dinners – every table taken. You can’t blame them; outside seems very messy with loads of commotion between North Koreans and ultra-good-looking Americans. Who the bleeding hell needs all that crap when you can still feed your face with a subway sandwich. The fast food outlets are still going and it’s all a load of fuss over a few check point, road blocks really. I think the ultra-good-looking Americans have a point though – the North Koreans should f~#k off home and set up road block, check points in their own country. They don't have a clue how to police or fight ultra-good-looking Americans. The North Korean top dog wants his men to get out and at them and is blaming the chief prefect for incompetence. While all the feeble prefect can say is: "We need better Checkpoint Sir." These bad guys don't know if they want to go to the toilet or get a hair cut.


In short, a great over the top, outrageously entertaining bad movie, you must watch if you can chill and switch the brain into neutral for an hour and half. If you are one of these trendy left wingers and are bit up your own arse with delusions of dignity and intellect then don’t watch. Go to a cheese and wine party and talk atomic physics with the veggie squad. This movie does not promise the world. It never did, so watch and enjoy – even take the piss if you have a mind too. I would watch it again when it comes to TV – just for the crack. ( Crack = Laugh if American)





Saturday, 16 March 2013

Mother Cat - Lilly's Little Kittens New to the World


Mother Cat Lilly with five little kittens just four hours old



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Yesterday our little cat, Lilly became a mother of five little kittens. She is on the Retro Brit Blog from last year when we got her as a kitten. Now a year later she is a proud little mum purring away under the bed with five little bundles of fur and paws. Lilly is a small cat and we were very surprised that she had five kittens because even though they are very tiny and cute; the mind boggles at the thought of them being inside her little stomach. All five kittens and Mother Lilly seem to be doing very well.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Timeslip - Retro British Science Fiction Drama for Children 1970



Timeslip.jpg



I remember watching Timeslip as a nine-year-old kid in 1970. I would rush home from school always eager to see the next episode of Simon and Liz as the went through time barrier into future or past alternate worlds. I seem to recall one in a strange Ice Age future. 

At first, Simon, who looks like a young youth version of Rolf Harris, is a bit of a geek, while Liz is more adventurous and reckless. This causes arguments, but as the show and stories go on; Simon and Liz become much more confident in each other's abilities. The theme tune was rather haunting too and is very retro 1970s.

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Timeslip was a British children's science fiction tv show which is often focused on scientific abuse and Eco damage of our world.

Monday, 11 March 2013

UK Retro Sci/Fi - Supernatural T.V. Series - Sapphire and Steel


There were six series of Sapphire and Steel and each series had a number of 25 minuet episodes. Each series never had a title, but fans have since added names of their own. The six series ran from 1979 to 1982 though I don’t think there was a showing in 1980 between the mentioned years.

Supernatural Beings Sapphire and Steel

Sapphire and Steel are strange cosmic beings that we do not know much about. They seem to be sentient elements that appear in human form when dispatched to restore order upon Earth. They are strange guardians who know that time is a corridor encircling all things in the known universe. At some points, of this corridor of time, there are weak spots that need to be sealed so that order and universal balance is maintained. There are creatures that live along the corridor constantly looking for weak spots to brake into the real universe and such weak spots can be created inadvertently by a nursery rhyme, a simple curse or a painting.


When these problems occur, Sapphire and Steel mysteriously appear much to everyone else’s surprise and suspicion. We do not know much about them and they retain this strange anonymity through out the different stories. Sapphire is beautiful and played by Joanna Lumley. Her character is very approachable and she often appears kind and sympathetic to the troubled humans caught up in the unearthly dilemmas. Steel is played by David McCallum and is much more aloof and irritated by the people he is forced to deal with. In reality, Sapphire and Steel will sacrifice anyone to amend a situation if it is necessary. They are on occasions forced to be indifferent to humans.

Steel has little patience for the amateur Ghost Hunter

Of all these stories, my favourite is series 2 (The Railway Station - called by Fans.) There is a breach in the time lines and we are presented with a derelict and long ago disused railway station. An eccentric middle aged man has his camp bed, flask, sandwiches and tape recorder. He is an amateur ghost hunter searching for lost spirits in the abandoned rail station. He gets more then he bargained for when Sapphire and Steel suddenly appear. The story is very good and Sapphire and Steel lock horns with a dark entity that feeds on resentment. The place is full of ghosts wandering the platform and flowers blooming in winter. The story is a peach and a must for anyone who enjoys British Retro Sci/fi or ghostly stories.  

Sapphire allows the dark entity to enter her being
so that it can communicate with Steel using her  form as an apparatus.

The presentation of the time beings is well done on a limited T.V. budget and the settings are always confined and isolated making it easy for the watcher to be drawn into the supernatural stories.




Have You Seen British Retro T.V. Series - Thriller





The British TV series called Thriller was on Saturday evenings from 1973 to 1976. I remember each week was a different type of story lasting about 60 minutes. The stories were set in England in the more affluent areas of society and usually involved a murder mystery with a strange twist. It was so popular that there were six series and it managed to attract an audience in the U.S.A. which is always a good sign for a lucrative future. This is why it was able to produce so many different plots. Because of the U.S. appeal the British producers began to employ at least one U.S. actor or actress to appeal to the American audience too.

Some of the stories were very gripping and my favourite was series 3 thriller episode called ‘I’m the Girl He Wants to Kill.’ In this story a young lady is perused by a serial murderer into an office block. The security guard is about to shut the office block down as all have gone home. However, our demented killer takes control and has his own lock in. His intended victim is a lady who is forced to play a deadly game of cat and mouse while the killer stalks and hunts her. It had me on the edge of my seat at the time, but I suppose it is very tame now.


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A clip from: I'm the Girl he Wants to Kill - British TV series called Thriller


Over the six seasons, thriller enjoyed good t.v. ratings in UK and USA. In all there were around 43 episodes and even when viewed now; I can see how different Britain has become from the retro 70s decade.  

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Retro Brit: Boadicea (Boudicca - British Warrior Queen of Iceni)

Retro Brit: Boadicea (Boudicca - British Warrior Queen of Iceni)

Moyra Melons Too Good to be True Ear Rings

Just when Moyra Melons' husband thought his wife could not pull anything else out of the bag, concerning the Wow! factor on great ear rings; his darling wife did it again. 

As one can see, when the poor fellow came home to be asked what he thought of this tantalising pair. They, of course, are rather fetching - don't you think?

He was speechless for a moment. He then came over in a hot flush and began to groan and gurgle incoherently.

"Is that all you can say?" asked Moyra raising an enquiring eye-brow.

Suddenly, he could contain himself no more and let out a 'Devil may care' caveman roar and slammed the door - denying  our imagination's what he thought of such a lovely pair of ear rings. Only a fly on the wall would get to know really. So you'll all have to make do with British understatement on what he thought of such superb ear rings. He seems to have decided they were rather nice.

King Richard III Remains Identified


King Richard III's remains are identified from a car park in Leicester when the Richard III society won right to do archaeological dig. They got results almost straight away with a find that has thrilled all of England and the world.

Soul Train - Retro America of the 70s



This is a terrific soul music program from the U.S.A. Most of the shots are from 1970s line dancing and they do look good.



France in difficult situation in West Africa over French Hostages


France is in the grip of a very delicate and difficult situation in West Africa. Many of her nationals have been taken hostage. So too have Britons.

John Wyndham - Great British Science Fiction Writer


John Wyndham 1903 - 1969

John Wyndham was born in Warwickshire England, UK in 1903. His parents separated at an early age and he went to several different boarding schools. In his time, he wrote some wonderful science fiction stories, two of which, I can remember reading during our GCE curriculum at secondary school. Our English lit teacher was great and had us all take part in reading sessions so the whole class got engrossed in the stories. We did 'Day of the Triffids and The Chrysalids' each by John Wyndham. I was blown away by the world created in The Chrysalids and thought it could not be beaten - such was my enjoyment of this story. I have read it several times science.

Later I was delighted to find another John Wyndham story that bettered even this. It is The Midwich Cuckoos. I saw the book on display so many times when I visited book shops and new it was not set in any type of post apocalyptic world. So I kept putting it back on the shelf for years, until one day, I decided to take the plunge and purchase a copy. 

Oh my - what a delightful surprise. It is so well written and I could not put the book down. It was great and surpassed even the very enjoyable 'The Chrysalids.'


John Wyndham died in 1969 aged 65. He has had many of his stories made into movies and tv series.      

Edmund Cooper - Retro British Pulp Sci/fi Writer



Edmund Cooper 1926 - 1982


This  (All Fools Day) has to be my most favourite of Edmund Cooper novels and he has written a few good ones. We are once again in a post apocalyptic Britain. This is often Edmund Cooper's type of brave new world. Each apocalypse is a different type of thing in most of his stories. Perhaps it was his desire to destroy the real world and invent many types of new one - hence his regular sci/fi formula of after the disaster. In this there are sun spots that cause mass suicide and only the more mentally unstable and unbalanced characters seem to have survived. They struggle to invent some semblance of new order. The stories are simplistic pulp science fiction, and this is one of Edmund Cooper's best in my view. I really enjoyed this story.

Edmund Cooper was born in Cheshire in 1926 and died in 1982 just short of his 56th birthday. He began writing short stories at an early age and got his first novel published in the late fifties. He reviewed science fiction for the Sunday Times from 1967 until his passing in 1982.

He seems to have become a little obscure as one of Britain's science fiction writers, but I believe his time will come again. Two of his novels involve a female dominated society after the need for men begins to diminish. They are rather controversial but do ask some excellent questions from a male perspective. These titles are: Five to Twelve and Who Needs Men. I think he must have had a floored view of women's liberation. A view that perhaps ladies wanted it all their own way, and maybe, such a notion could not work. They (the two novels) certainly caused some heated debate at times. 




Sven Hassel 1917 to 2012 - Danish Pulp War Fiction Writer?


When John Wayne died, everyone was shocked. No one thought he would die. For people who read Sven Hassel; well they could be forgiven for thinking likewise. I could not believe Sven Hassel was dead, yet unlike the actor; the Danish writer's fame had a certain anonymity.

Being a Brit and growing up in the sixties, I had a diet of British heroic stands against National Socialist Germany. Our grandparents fought against them, our shops were full of weekly comics that told stories of brave Brit, Canadian, Ozzie or Kiwi soldiers gritting their teeth and confronting the faceless enemy of autonomous entities in jack boots. This faceless enemy seemed so inhuman and unfeeling to me. Then one day, around my friends house, I came across a grubby paperback called SS General by Sven Hassel. The picture was that of a high ranking officer in an open topped car while the steepes of Russia were in flames. I was allowed to have this book and started to read it. I was about twelve or thirteen years of age and got totally sucked in by this group of soldiers like Porta, Tiny, the Old Man and of course Sven watching them. I suddenly realised that the enemy was very human and they too, had a sense of humour and morality as they tried to survive their Hell on Earth in a world gone mad.

Sven Hassel 1917 - 2012

I was shocked to learn that Sven Hassel had passed away aged 95 in Spain on September of 2012. This was with regret because I read so many of his stories in my youth. I thought them graphically compelling. I went from horror to laughter because of Porta and Tiny plus many more of Sven Hassel's wonderful friends.

Sven Hassel as a young soldier

Sven Hassel was a Dane who is believed to have fought in a penal battalion of the German Army during World War II. There is some controversy surrounding such claims and there are people that dispute him being in the Panzer battalions. Some of these people claim he got his notion for stories from veterans who fought upon the Russian Front. Some think he was in a collaborating Danish Nazi police force. There are all sorts of things said and claimed and no one seems to really know for sure. 

Most believe that Sven Hassel joined the German Army in 1937 and tried to go AWOL after a time. He was caught and put into a penal battalion and saw action in many parts of Europe during World War II. He was captured in Berlin in 1945 and interned where he began writing of the war.

From a movie of his book
Wheels of Terror

He wrote a story called Legion of the Damned which won international recognition. After this he began to write more with the same characters in different theatres of the war. After release from internment, Sven Hassel was considering joining the French Foreign Legion, but he met a lady who became his wife and she encouraged him in his writing. They moved to Spain after Sven recovered from a long spell of ill health.

Perhaps he found a winning formula with his  friends from Legion of the Damned because they become much more developed in other stories and we all come to love the same collection of the roguish characters of his books, which were believed to be based on real friends he knew during the war. Again some dispute this, but writers do use people they know, to develop characters in fiction. In Legion of the Damned we go through the war with terrible outcomes for many of Sven's much loved characters. In the other stories; they are set at events between the time of beginning and end of Legion of the Damned.

Indeed, Sven has his friends fighting in so many theatres of war that they could not have gone to all places from Russia to Western Front to Italy. However, his pulp war stories are very good with horror and brutality of war plus fabulous humour of his friends. Sven Hassel is among these soldiers writing in first person singular. He is not the main character but just an observer in the background running about with them most of the time. He also interacts with them, so his stories come across as memoirs.

The formula of writing that Sven Hassel uses makes for excellent reading and one does become immersed with this group of misfit soldiers that try to survive the Hell of a world gone mad. You feel for them and like them despite the wicked and cruel things they must do to survive. They are often governed by ruthless officers and on occasion do not hesitate to eliminate them if they are out in the wilderness. They also make wonderful friends who have tragic demises. The stories are very good and if his friends are real, and I like to believe they are; then I hope they are all living the laughter times somewhere else.


Quadrophenia - I've Had Enough - Jimmy ditches the Mods

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Cliff top scene with Jimmy ditching the Mods in the Brit flick - Quadrophenia.




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Quadrophenia – Great Retro Brit Flick


Quadrophenia – Great Retro Brit Flick



I can remember the first time I saw the advert at the Bank Underground station in 1979. I worked at the Royal Mail – King Edward Building and I was eighteen years old – very impressionable and everything retro British from the sixties appealed to me. There was Sting from the band: The Police and Toyah Willcox who were all rock stars of that time. I saw a line of Mods with Sting and Toyah plus a various group of young up and coming actors. Quadrophenia: A way of life.

I went to the cinema with my friends to see the movie and loved it with all the Who music. There was a resurrection of mod type bands too in the late seventies – most notable, probably; The Jam. Everything in Britain from the late seventies and into the eighties seemed like a dream world for me at eighteen. Of course, I was wishing I had been eighteen in the Retro British sixties at the time. Instead I was an infant watching Doctor Who and Batman. I can remember the music but was too unappreciative of it because I was a kid.

As I got older and watched Quadrophenia again – set in 1964; I enjoyed it for the deeper reason of the story line. As an eighteen year old, I was too busy fantasying about being a mod in the sixties and the real aspect of the rude coming of age story, concerning anti-hero Jimmy, was lost to me. Now this part of the story is so much more clear and enjoyable. When I first saw the film and Jimmy is walking away from the cliffs of Beachy Head with the sun setting; it was lost to me that the beginning was the end. The Ace’s wonderful scooter is at the bottom smashed upon the rocks.



Jimmy (Phil Daniels)
The story of our narrow sighted hero Jimmy starts off with him being a happy Mod in 1964. The world is his oyster and he is a Mod with hundreds of other young Mods because they want to be different – ha ha ha. Its brilliant and our character Jimmy (Played by Phil Daniels) is a rudely sketched lad as he goes on his little growing up journey. He climbs to the top of his futile and unworthy little ambitious pinnacle and falls to see his feeble little world in tatters. He loses the plot and steals the Ace’s scooter because he makes the shocking discovery that things are not quite the way he thought against the background of a ‘Who’ track with lyrics saying the same sort of thing. He rides this stolen scooter along the cliffs of Beachy Head, aimlessly drifting closer to the edge as he comes to terms that he has to grow up and face the big world. This part is portrayed through vision and song with the cliffs being the edge in real life terms and Jimmy’s own versatile mental stability. Will he? Won’t he? – Well the beginning is the end as we see him walking away from the cliffs towards the camera. “Can you see the real me – Can you? Can you?”  “Bell Boy, Bell Boy.”

Mods


All these different songs are wrapped in the “Love – rain on me” by The Who.  This Brit flick is great and grows on me with age. 

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Moyra Melons Naughty Boy Ear Rings

Moyra Melons was waiting patiently for her husband to come home and for once he walked in expecting to see her waiting as lovely as ever.

"I'm not taken by surprise this time darling," he said excitedly.

Moyra Melons was tapping her whacking stick threateningly in the palm of her hand looking playfully vexed.

"You've been a naughty boy," she replied sternly.

"Have I really," her husband answered with fake wonder.

"Yes you most certainly have," she added. "I told you before that if you did not put your slippers on the rack you would be punished upon return from work."

"Oh really," said her pretend shocked husband. "Where did I put them?"

"In the middle of the bedroom floor when I said if you dared to do it again, I would spank you. wearing my naughty boy ear rings." Moyra raised a concerned and stern eye-brow.

"Oh dear, how an earth did I forget that - I do hope I will not forget tomorrow. Especially when you wear those naughty boy ear rings."

Moyra looked aghast. "If you do forget those slippers, they'll be another spanking."

"Oh," he replied. "I'm afraid that this lesson is going to be rather difficult for me to grasp."

And of course such a lesson was hard to learn for Moyra Melons' husband. It took many weeks. Strange that - don't you think? 

Moyra Melons concluded that it was secretly; because he liked her in naughty boy ear rings. I suspect that it might have been so too. Among other things.  

Cutting the Grass

Hawkwell Cemetery in Essex, England, UK was great today. We mowed and strimmed grass under a nice hot day. It seems such a long time since we could take our coats and fleeces off. The winter seems to have dragged on and the grey skies have been very dismal, but now everything seems to be coming alive with the promise of spring.

Tomorrow we start the summer grass cutting of verges in earnest. The job is great and therapeutic as we walk from town to town and along country lanes cutting the grass verges. We get to the last town and start the round's cut all over again. I love the spring and summer months.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Flann O'Brien - The Hard Life - The Eyes of a Naive Lad Cause Many a Chuckle




I don't know what possessed me to buy this when I picked it from the shelf in a bookstore in London. I read the back and made a decision to buy. Well, I was so pleased I did because Flann O'Brien had me in stitches of laughter with his way of showing the delighted reader a world through a young and naive boy's eyes. It is a laugh a moment and is done with charming zeal. A smashing Irish comedy set in Dublin, Ireland of the past.

This young lad tells the story of his sorry household through innocent eyes while you, the reader, see the true picture against the young lad's challenged perception. Its Great!

When his mother dies his family decide to tell him gently by saying: "She has gone to a better place." Our story teller asks: "When will she be coming back?"

The story is told by the lad along such lines which comes across so charming and funny. 


P.G. Wodehouse Makes You Grab your Stomach and Laugh Till it Almost Hurts.


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If ever you get the chance and want to brighten up your day and blow away all those cobwebs; please read any of these little gems by P.G. Wodehouse. Eggs, Beans and Crumpets or Young Men in Spats. They are all short stories of high society young fellows in Britain during the 1920s and 1930s. The characters are wonderful and each little story is a joy of male stupidity portrayed in the most humorous of ways. You'll hold your sides to stop them splitting with laughter. They are absolutely marvellous.

The Forgotten Soldier by Guy Sajer



Biographical account of a young man named Guy Sajer from Strasbourg, France - drafted into the German Army during the war. His experience in the Soviet Union is very compelling and terrible. A good read for anyone who is interested in this theatre of war. Great historical insight to one man's endurance on the dreaded Eastern front. 


Check out this book on Goodreads: The Forgotten Soldier http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/102305.The_Forgotten_Soldier

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Moyra Melons Anti Gaming Consul Ear Rings

Moyra Melons went out bought a new pair of gaming ear rings because she was getting fed up with all the gaming consuls that were about. She listened to other women at work talking incessantly about their husbands becoming obsessed with gaming.

Moyra thought, "Sod all this for a lark!" She decided that her husband should have a real life, and so, with great aplomb and subtle intervention, she decided to plant the idea of different games into her husband's head. To do this she would need some real eye catching ear rings to take his mind off of gaming consuls.

With the new appropriate ear rings; her husband might be more inclined to play the sort of games she liked and hey... ! Guess What? It worked an absolute treat. He never even got to thinking of a games consul. His mind was too preoccupied on other things.

So Moyra Melons' method obviously works because to this date; her husband has shown no inclination to do games consuls in any way shape or form. He continues to like his wife's games better.

So, yet again; Moyra Melons pulls one out of the bag again with her magic ear rings. Funny how a simple little pair of ear rings can distract a bloke's attention from the gaming consuls, don't you think?