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Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Bird and Fortune Comady Duo


It was with great sadness that one of the long Johns passed away. John Fortune had a face that could talk to the viewer without saying a word. He had some wonderful expressions that complimented the double act he did with John Bird.
Sometimes John Fortune would be the interviewer while John Bird would be the politician who talked himself into a dilemma or visa verse. Together they did some cracking sketches and at times they had me in fits of laughter. John Fortune sometimes had the ability to stare with stunned silence and raised disbelieving eye-brows while his nodding head lied to the man being interviewed.
Sadly we will see no more of this great comedy duo.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

The Last Days of Thunder Child by C.A. Powell - Pastiche Novel


A pastiche novel of HMS Thunder Child from H.G.Wells' War of the World. It is not available in the UK or Europe until 2017. It is, however, on sale in USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
 
This exciting extrapolation takes the reader into the War of the Worlds during the Victorian era. The science fiction story is now also an alternative reality story today. We follow the Thunder Child and her crew as she goes on her doomed voyage while on land we follow the adventures of Mister Stanley - the MOD man who gave Thunder Child her last mission. He is linked to the ship's destiny from start to finish. 
 
The book has been re-edited with a larger font for readers, making the experience all the more enjoyable.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Ratecatcher - A story of a Bow Street Runner by James McGee


I really enjoyed this tale and bought it as a collection of the three first stories of Hawkwood. The reader is introduced to the plot and character gradually via the run down slums and hardships of low life city of London classes. We see our Bow street runner walking amid this twisted world. However, in high office, upper crust people, of the ruling establishment, feed the reader insight to our rudely drawn hero, during private idol gossip or accountability appraisals. The plot of the story moves along nicely too, with good developing intrigue that held my attention. I'm assuming the period is around 1810 to 1820. The Napoleonic war is still going or just over. So we are in this time frame.

Its all put together wonderfully well with atmospheric descriptions of the run down city streets. These very streets, that are today; parts of the affluent West End. Its a bit like imagining Canary Wharf of Docklands before it was converted to a more affluent status.

The upper class gossip concerning the history of our 'frayed around the edges' Bow Street Runner comes in drips of dialogue and helps to form a gradual, more in depth picture, of our hard, modest, pony-tailed hero. All this high profile gossip and chatter is an added sideshow that is clever decoration for the first adventure of Matthew Hawkwood.

Ratcatcher is a terrific read and I look forward to reading other novels in this series. I would not be too surprised if we get a future TV series from this.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Dreamy Future of Youth and Dear Prudence by Siouxie and the Banshees



I never thought these days would change. I was young and the world of life was a vast unseen horizon stretching out before me.

Nothing stays the same, but sometimes when I hear these great sounds, it takes me back to when I was naive enough to believe that life was a beautiful dreamy future waiting for me with open arms.

Perhaps it was, but somewhere along the way the tinsel and glamour of it all diminished. I did not see the change each day, but when I hear these lovely sounds; I realise then; that somewhere through the journey of life, little bits of joyful expectation fell away.

Where and when I cannot say, but for a while I can listen and remember before such things fell away. I think rock stars of all eras make little moments in eternity that we can take for our own private use. We store things in our own personnel cupboards and we bring them out every now and then.






Mis-representation of UKIP by American Magazine Reporter Dennis Campbell


 
 
This man (Dennis Campbell) is portraying the idea of UKIP being right wing. This is sincerely wrong. They draw support from many fractions of the UK including left wing working class Labour supporters. Portraying them (UKIP) as far right is very mis-leading indeed. Over 5 million eastern Europeans and other none European immigrants have come to the UK in a decade. The population has gone from 57 million to over 63 million plus. That is what is admitted to. When you walk around little country towns, people are speaking in all languages and we feel like foreigners in my own country.

The 'only white people would be around' comment Dennis Campbell made is honestly offensive. Many people are rightly concerned that there are too many migrants coming to Britain and age is not conditioned by pro and anti EU. This problem goes across the spectrum and many UKIP supporters are Black British. It is not a whites only club and the migrants are mainly white Europeans that are causing concern.

These migrant people are not bad, but there are too many. The EU's policy of free movement of people was well meant, but it has caused a big problem of welfare benefit migrants - a problem that was not foreseen and something that the EU refuses to tackle. This is unfair on many eastern Europeans who work hard. However, as decent as these people are; there are far too many of them in the UK, Germany and other nations that have decent welfare benefit systems. Brits are not the only ones worrying about this issue.

When any Brit tries to say something they are labelled fascist or raceist. This is wrong and Dennis Campbell's term of 'we' during his talk, seems very strange. We Brits all like going to Europe and like Europeans. Even the Brits who don't want to be part of the EU.

Our problem is not with fellow Europeans, but many Brits are questioning the governing body of the European Union - a parliament with an unelected president. We Brits are putting on the brakes and want a debate on these obvious problems. No one listens and now UKIP have taken up the banner. There are many people in other European nations that have the same fears. Britain is just more vocal against the unelected body in the EU. The Brit EU politicians who have been voted in by British voters to argue such things are UKIP. They sit in the EU Parliament elected, and argue with the higher officials that have power because it was given to them by a committee, and not the 500 million European peoples who should have had a chance to elect such important people.

Most of these unelected people are failed left wing socialists who could not get elected in their own nations. We have British socialists among the number - Neil Kinnock who lost his election campaign against Margaret Thatcher - three times disgraced Nigel Mandleson who can no longer be in the forefront of home politics so he gets on the EU gravy train. There is no example set to the good minded EU electorate believers, that alone the Euro-sceptics. This top gun click of the EU does seem like an unelected 'socialists only club' to coin a Dennis Campbell way of putting things.

Sooner or later these socialists will run out of other peoples money to spend and borrow. The unelected fractions of the parliament will not change and Brits are beginning to lose faith in trying to correct this dire situation. We search for allies among the Germans, Dutch and other nations. However, there does not seem to be anyone vocal enough to stand up to the unelected few who wield the power.

Therefore the exit answer is the only one that seems to remain to the continuing problem. Brits are being forced out of the EU by the intransigence of the EU.

 

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Retro 80s UK XTC - New Wave







Old German WWI Submarine found off Sore of UK. (Newspaper Report)














A Newspaper report about a lost WWI German Uboat


Now, following an investigation by experts for English Heritage, the hull of a First World War German submarine has finally given up its secrets.

As part of a major project to mark next year’s centenary of the conflict’s outbreak, marine archaeologists have conducted research into the shipwreck to establish its identity and piece together its final journey.

The vessel, on a creek off the River Medway, is thought to be the only wrecked submarine from the conflict which can be seen from British shores. It is almost completely exposed at low tide and can, with caution, be visited.

It was previously thought to be one of either U122, U123 or UB 122, but following the investigation, the team believe they can discount the first two, which were minelayers, because they would have been larger in size.

 According to the team’s research, the vessel, captained by Oberleutnant zur See Alexander Magnus, had surrendered at the end of the war, and been taken to Britain. It had later been towed up the Medway to Halling, where its diesel engines were removed and fitted at a local cement works.

In 1921, it was being taken back down the river, towards the Thames Estuary to be further dismantled, when its tow broke and it was swept ashore, coming to rest in Humble Bee Creek, near to the Isle of Grain, where it remains.

The vessel had been one of the most advanced submarines of the German fleet, being launched in February 1918, at a yard in Bremen. It was a Type UB III, coastal patrol submarine and would have carried 10 torpedoes, with a crew of 34 and a cruising range of 7,200-9,000 miles. The vessel undertook just two patrols before the end of the war and failed to sink any Allied shipping.

After the armistice, it and other u-boats were surrendered to the allies. In November 1918, a total of 114 U boats were taken into Harwich harbour.

Some were subsequently given to France as part of the war reparations package, but most, like UB 122 were consigned for scrap. Before being broken up, the vessels’ components were removed and, where possible, recycled, hence UB 122’s trip up the Medway.

It was one of six u-boats to be lost after the war, while under tow on their way to be broken up. One, U-118, washed up on Hastings beach, where it became a tourist attraction until it was scrapped where it was. UB 122 was simply left in situ.

Mark Dunkley a marine archaeologist with EH said: “For most people, u-boats are out of sight. We know many were lost during the First and Second World War. For those that live on the coast, this is a tangible and visible reminder of those that lost their lives at sea.”

It has been surveyed by experts from Cotswold Archaeology as part of an English Heritage scheme to locate dozens of British and German submarines which sank off the coast of England during the First World War. The project, to last for another four years, will involve identification and analysis of all submarine shipwrecks from the period which are within territorial waters - 12 miles from the coast.

Preliminary research by the team, studying historical records, identified three British and 41 German submarines from the conflict which are known to have sunk in the area. The locations of some of these have already been established, but others have yet to be discovered.

Although most associated with the Second World War, submarine warfare was first deployed during the earlier conflict, as German U-boats attempted to cut supply lines into and around the British Isles, while Royal Navy vessels patrolled in search of enemy ships.

At the start of the war, submarines were supposed to abide by international rules, under which they were supposed to allow the crews of merchant ships to get to safety before sinking their vessels.

But this swiftly became impractical and led to the adoption of unrestricted submarine warfare by Germany, which, nearly brought Britain to its knees in 1917.

During the course of the war, German U-boats sank more than 12 million tons of shipping - around 5,000 ships - with the loss of 178 submarines and almost 5,000 men killed. 

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Scotland and England Relationship.



A YouTube video of Scotty. 

I don't always agree with Scotty on historical things but he makes a lot of entertaining and thought provoking clips. I get all passionate when England play Scotland in football or Rugby. The thought of losing against them and suffering a year of bragging rites is horrendous.

When they (Scotland) play other national teams, I don't like seeing them defeated, but don't get too bothered about it if they do lose. I find many Scots to be argumentative and find them generally disagreeable in their views. Perhaps its me? I just find Scots to be often cynical about lots of issues. They see glory over grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory and sing songs about a bold prince that run away after such a dire undertaking.

However, I also know of lines of Highlanders standing in squares at Waterloo and this Scottish King that came down to London in 1603 with a grand idea of forming Great Britain. We English were not too enthusiastic about it. We did not like the Union Jack because the cross of Saint Andrew was of equal importance to the Cross of Saint George. How very wrong we English were and how far sighted the Scottish King James VI was when he became King James I of England.

The thought of Scotland leaving the UK is extremely sad and something I would genuinely hate to see. I find Scots very trying most of the time, but I still vote for the best Briton in elections. Being English, Scottish or Welsh does not come into it when I think of the UK. I'm English and a Brit. As a Brit, I'm proud of all Brits, including the founders of the Union.





Ripper Street - British Victorian Period Setting Crime Drama

I have been thrilled by the Ripper street TV series depicting the trials and tribulations of Lemon street policemen in East London during the late Victorian era. The stories begin just months after the last Jack the Ripper murder and no one knows what has become of the serial killer. Will the enigma strike again? When?

Amid this tense and paranoid time, other murders are going on as per usual and the viewer is taken on a roller coaster ride of various types of crimes delving into the shadier side of Victorian society. I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every episode from series one and series two. This joint British/American funded show has been splendid.

I have heard that the BBC has pulled the plug on the show. Why? I cannot say! What the heck is wrong with the BBC? Every time they get something good going; they abandon the thing. I know there is only so much that can be done, but as far as Ripper Street was going; there was much more to be explored and exploited. I do hope the powers that be reconsider this dynamic and thoroughly entertaining show. Please let us have a series three.



I knew two policemen from Lemon Street Police station. They served during the 1940s 50s and 60s. One was a Scotsman from Glasgow called Jock Hunter and the other was an Irishman from Cork called Johnny Holland. During their era, they saw some of the notorious villains of these decades, including the Kray twins.