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Saturday, 20 December 2014

WHAT A PUNCH! Boxing.



Any person who steps into a ring in front of thousands of prying eyes deserves great respect, in my opinion. This is something I could never do. For me, this is the ultimate test and each challenger is totally alone once inside that ring. No more help, just you and an opponent who wants to crush you and destroy you. The opponent will not help you in anyway. You are alone and dependant on your own ability with thousands wanting to see someone defeated. It could be you?

Everyone baying and howling for a knockout, an ultimate defeat an ultimate humiliation. Its exciting to watch, but what must it be like in that ring?

Virna Lisi, Jack Lemmon, Terry Thomas in a Grand Comical Movie.




















It was with great sadness that I learnt of the passing of Italian actress Virna Lisi. She was a drop dead gorgeous women who starred in one of my favourite comedy movies. She was in the wonderfully funny film called: How to Murder Your Wife. 

It has Jack Lemmon as the devoted bachelor who has it all. He is a newspaper comic script writer and artist and has a regular strip in a top selling newspaper. He has the most excellent bachelor pad and is living life as he pleases. He also has a gentleman's gentleman in the form of Terry Thomas. The devoted English butler who makes sure the master has everything at hand.

One morning the butler gets up early to prepare breakfast and all, but then discovers the master of the house has accidentally got married to a lady that came out of a giant cake the previous evening. The master was drunk and full of jolly frolics with his pals and while at the bash, he went out on a drunken limb and married this gorgeous lady that came out of a cake. Well... the gorgeous lady is Virna Lisi and quite a lot of blokes could make a mistake, even if sober.

Terry Thomas, as the trusted butler, helps Jack Lemmon, the cartoon strip artist, to formulate a plan and get rid of the unexpected wife, Virna Lisi. It is the morning after, and Jack Lemmon can see his grand days of bachelor freedom crumbling away. The consequences are an absolute scream because every time Jack Lemmon looks into his wife's face he becomes smitten again and can't bring himself to go through with things. 

This movie is a must see. No special effects needed here. Just a fabulous story carried along by dynamic and wonderful actors with a smashing comical script. 

Virna Lisi comes out of the cake.



RIP Virna Lisi

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

A Far Side Newspaper Funny!












































Steve McQueen Retro Movie King

Steve McQueen always had a commanding presence in movies. He seemed like the hero that always sneakily found a way around things. What ever the problem, he would work out a way to fathom, correct or overcome it.

The movie Bullitt was an ordinary drama with not much of a script really. Yet McQueen brought the film alive, especially with the great and exciting car chase. It was a real stand out feature of the movie.

My most favourite film of Steve McQueen is The Sand Pebbles. It is set upon an American Gunboat during the Chinese Civil war during the year of 1925. The Sand Pebbles Gunboat is an old Spanish ship captured during the American/Spanish war of 1898.

In the movie, this little gunboat patrols the Yangtze river in China during a time of great civil unrest. It is a splendid film and once again Steve McQueen makes the story come alive.

Of course there are many other Steve McQueen movies, including the Great Escape, The Magnificent Seven, The Towering Inferno and Le Mans - another great car movie. McQueen was the King of Cool and had that endearing presence in all of his movies.










Overload at X-Factor 2014



British Cinema Matinee - Light Up the Sky




Some of the old British retro movies from the 1950s and the early 1960s had a grand feel good factor about them. Light up the Sky was one of those afternoon matinees that came on t.v. during the mid-week afternoon in the late 60s early 70s. 

I remember catching it completely by surprise and finding it a very charming, enjoyable, and rather moving story. I was just a kid when I first saw the film and could not recognise the actors as being anyone special. I knew Tommy Steele because he was rather famous back then. I did not recognise the Young Benny Hill (Benny Hill Show) or Dick Emery (Dick Emery Show) at the time.

There was also the actor Johnny Briggs of Coronation Street and Ian Carmichael too. Plus a host of many other, soon to become, t.v. stars.

The film was about an air gun crew stationed in a field in Kent with the code name Agincourt. They work a search light and try to shoot German bombers during the night time raids in the war. As war goes the group of men seem to be having it all fairly cushy compered to many who are overseas fighting the war in far off places.

Our group of characters are arguing and joking during the day in the usual camaraderie way. A group of lads doing their thing. Ian Carmichael plays the officer who rides around on a motorcycle inspecting the various air gun crews and Agincourt is one of his inspection points. 

The film develops nicely as we learn of the men's little personnel problems. Tommy Steele and Benny Hill are brothers who want to go on stage and do a comedy double act with singing too. It is one of the most charming movies I have seen and is a story with wonderful moving themes. The backdrop of the war and the blitz make the story all the more insular for our little gun crew stationed in a filed in Kent. Marvellous movie and sad because they don't make them like this anymore. It is a basic and very simple little story that moves anyone. 



Saturday, 13 December 2014

Free SciFi on Kindle USA From Christmas Day! Happy Christmas!



FREE KINDLE DOWNLOAD IN USA FROM CHRISTMAS DAY TO 29TH. 

HAPPY CHRISTMAS!

Great pastiche SciFi for Free on Kindle USA!

From Christmas day for five days until the 29th of December get a free download of The Last Days of Thunder Child. 

New Kindle for Christmas? Then go for it over the free promotional period.




Friday, 12 December 2014

Good Historical Fiction Book - Saxon Quest




A tale of the Dark Ages when Saxon colonizers were spreading westwards across Britain and the Celtic nations were trying to stop the migration into their lands.

To Read via Amazon: CLICK HERE

New historical fiction books are always looked out for. Good historical books are in the realms of the reader opinions. For good or for bad, best new historical fiction books can only be hoped for by the author. Therefore, keep readers happy and hope for good book reviews.







Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The Black and Tan Reserve Police Force of the Anglo/Irish War


A story set in a small village of Cafgarven in Ireland. It is a beautiful summer in the year of 1920. The country is in political turmoil because of a strong and growing desire for Independence from Great Britain. The Fenian Flying columns are attacking the local constabulary and now reserves have been brought in from Britain to support the Royal Irish Constabulary. 

Cafgarven is caught up in the horrendous tit-for-tat war of murder. The little village finds itself caught in the crossfire and the local priest - Father John finds God's work cut out for him in the most bizarre way. He must help a person from either side of the conflict.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Underground Bare Knuckle Boxing in the UK







The UK's bare knuckle fighting contest is underground and illegal, but  there is a growing movement to try and get it legitimate. It certainly looks vicious and I'm sure its not to my taste. Some of these guys are getting on in age and fight youngsters 20 and more younger in years. It's interesting and I've heard the gypsies around the Fenlands sometimes do bare knuckle fights. Other travellers from all of the Isles come and invited guests. Its meant to be secretive, but everyone in the area gets to know the venues and the law does not intrude. 

The above documentary is another venue from a person who wants to legitimise the sport. I think it would lose its appeal if it became regulated.






Giving You Queen Cartimandua of Roman Britain and the Iceni Warrior Queen!





Queen Cartimandua lived during the time of Queen Boudicca - the Iceni Warrior Queen. Cartimandua was a queen of the Brigantes and ruled  for 26 plus years. She was more successful than Boudicca yet less famous. This is because she was friends with the Roman Empire. Even in 69 AD during the Year of the Four Emperors - when Cartimandua was overthrown by her divorced husband, she still escaped into exile deep within the Roman Empire. 

In the story of Meeting Boudicca; Cartimandua tells three Roman guards a tale of how she once met Boudicca after she was defeated and before the warrior queen committed suicide. It is a tale of intrigue that Cartimandua relates to her guards before departing Roman Britain to go further into the sanctuary of the mighty empire and drift out of recorded history.


Monday, 8 December 2014

Chuck Wepner's Amazing Fight Against Muhammad Ali in 1975!



Chuck Wepner went 15 rounds with the best boxer the world has ever seen. Muhammad Ali looked to have Chuck Wepner outclassed from the beginning. He was dancing around dogging while Wepner appeared to be using up excess energy following the dancing king around the ring. Wepner also looked awkward when punching at Ali. On occasion Muhammad Ali would lean against the ropes almost laughing while Wepner tried to pummel him with punches. It all seemed to no avail. 

As the fight continued, Ali taunted his opponent as though fattening him up, indulging Wepner before dispatching him, but no. Wepner still seemed to keep going. He did not look like he could win because he did not seem to be hurting Ali and he looked less fit too. However, something kept this guy going. It was strange because as the rounds went on Ali began to seem perplexed. Chuck Wepner just would not go down. Then he caught Ali with a punch and put him on the canvass. It was euphoric as the crowd gasped in amazement.

Ali got up and was suddenly boxing and landing punches with a stronger sense of purpose. Wepner had won some respect now and was being taken much more seriously. Still Wepner stayed on his feet amid a barrage of Muhammad Ali punches. Wepner looked smashed and broken but the guy would not go down and now battered and bruised as he was, he had the audacity to start taunting Ali, mocking the Champion of the World, the same way he had been mocked at the beginning of the fight.

Chuck Wepner went to round 15. The final round and Ali was well ahead and would win unless Wepner could put Ali down again. He had no chance but he went for it anyway, and Ali managed to land a punch that finally took Wepner out of the fight. Wepner went down as he tried to defeat Ali. To be fair Ali never looked like losing, but there was something truly remarkable about Chuck Wepner. He almost went the distance and certainly turned the tables on Ali for periods of the boxing match. It was entertaining because this small no hope guy suddenly rattled the cage of the World Champion - for a brief and very entertaining moment.

I honestly believe that the idea for the Rocky movies are a jazzed up version of this fight. 





Giving You H.M.S. Thunder Child's Defiant Stand



Read H.M.S. Thunder Child's adventure against the Martian tripods. Victorian Britain is now a dystopian land. The world has gone mad and the British Empire is exposed for all the weakness it has against an alien technology it cannot compete against. One small out dated ironclad steps up to the mark with a brave crew. In the River Blackwater, Thunder Child makes a defiant stand. Follow the crew and her last voyage.



Sunday, 7 December 2014

Swedish Formula 1 Driver Ronnie Peterson and my Memory of his Passing.

The world of 1978 was a very different world from the one I live into today. I was young and 17. I had just started work in London and the city was a vibrant hive of activity. The music scene was wonderful with Punk Rock and other great British bands imposing themselves upon the music scene. There were record shops everywhere with all the latest albums up for grabs. The book shops were plentiful with wonderful novels of all genres. The magazine stools were fabulous too with all sorts of delightful topics that lured me. The world seemed like a very glamorous place and London seemed at the centre of it all. I stared out at this world through naive and very impressionable eyes. I drank in all the glamorous aspects of the late 70s decade world and fantasied that all these wonderful things were waiting for me. I thought the whole wide world was an eternity of voguish things and that I might be a young knight of the modern day waiting to take it by storm.  I looked at the world with huge delusions of grandeur and believed the world, in turn, would view me with awe and marvel because out there was something waiting. Something I might be good at. Of course this was all fantasy, but sometimes I imaged I might be a dynamic Rock Star (waiting to be discovered) and live life in the fast lane with beautiful ladies falling head over heels in love with me. Perhaps, a star footballer scoring goals for England or maybe a formula 1 racing driver who would win acclaim in the great arena tweaking the nose of danger. I would die young and be an icon. Perhaps a member of the 27 club. Wow! Ten years of fast lane living – an eternity!

I can see the reader laughing and saying, “Yeah right.”

But I was, as mentioned, incredibly naïve. I rather enjoy my naïve young days when I look back now. What an Earth was going on in my head. I imagined I would climb some mountain of achievement and have millions of onlookers stroke my adolescent conviction of vanity. There were celebrities everywhere and none more so then in the Formula 1 racing world. Nikki Lauda, James Hunt, Mario Andretti where all big at the time. Maybe, I would like to be a Formula 1 racing driver. I began to buy the motor racing magazines and was blown away by the sleek look of the Lotus team’s John Player sponsored black racing car. They had Mario Andretti and Ronnie Peterson driving for them. I thought the cars looked great and often envied the life style these daredevils might live. I knew James Hunt had a great swashbuckling reputation and he had one a championship back in 1976. Nikki Lauda bore the scars of injury, but had also taken championship titles. Now in 1978 it seemed to be Mario Andretti that was amassing points with his team mate Ronnie Peterson. It was the Lotus car designs turn.

I had got a job as a humble coding clerk in an American Re-insurance company called CNA-RE based in Fenchurch Street in Fountain House. It was the claims department and I spent my time writing policy numbers, premium amounts received and claim payments paid out. It was before computers and there was no excel programs or computers back then. I was writing these from policy cards kept in a large filing cabinet on wheels. All day long I pulled out claims polices from this trolley and copied the various transaction numbers and amounts into a folder. Why? I haven’t the foggiest idea. It seemed like an incredible waste of time because everything I was writing down was on other files here there and everywhere.

CAN-RE dealt with Lloyd’s insurance brokers who went about the city E.C.3 area – predominantly Fenchurch Street, Leadenhall Street, St Mary Axe etc. There were hundreds of these small Re-insurance offices for the brokers to sell their insurance premiums to. The risks were so great that the insurance was broken down into small sections and 5% or 10% would be sold to various different Re-insurance companies. These insurance risks were big. Like airlines, shipping industries or other multi-commercial interests. Interests so big that one insurance company might not be able to take on a big risk alone. Because a claim for a huge cargo ship or jumbo jet could work out to be multi millions.

For a single person life insurance could be bought against an ordinary insurance company, but a single Formula 1 racing car driver was Re-insured due to the high level of risk involved.

In 1978 the Lotus team racing Driver Ronnie Peterson got killed during the Italian Grand Prix. He was Mario Andretti’s team mate in the Lotus racing team – the black JPS cars I thought looked great and sleek, the racing driver I envied beyond all things. He was a young man living this life I imagined as glamorous, but his sudden death shocked me. I remember seeing Nikki Lauda in TV. interviews after his death defying accident and the scars he had to his face. I believed that the turning point had been reached. Now Ronnie Peterson had also been killed in this promising Lotus team.

It made me dwell on things a little and was a short shock about the less sensational aspect of racing from the driver’s point of view. Maybe I was happier being a spectator on this one. Perhaps there is always a price to pay for such dearing escapades? The feelings resurfaced a few weeks later when I was writing out the claims transactions and pulled out a Re-insurance claims card to copy details from. 

CAN-RE had a small percentage of Ronnie Peterson’s claim. It said he had been killed in the Italian Grand Prix and I realised he was actually re-insured. I can’t remember my much company’s actual risk percentage, but it was probably between 5% and 10%. I can’t remember the exact figure in US dollars but it was multiple thousands of. At such a small percentage I began to wonder what the overall claim would have been once the Lloyd's claims brokers had done the rounds upon all the Re-insurance companies taking these multiple thousands here and there. It had to be staggering, I know it was, but I remember thinking it was no good to poor Ronnie Peterson – the talented Swedish Formula 1 racing driver who died aged 34. There is a statue of him in Orebro, Sweden and among his funeral pole bearers was Ken Tyrell, Colin Chapman, James Hunt, Nikki Lauda and Jody Scheckter. I remember thinking it was a tragic thing at the time and for me; perhaps a slice of life after the glitter is brushed away.


Saturday, 6 December 2014

Cartimandua of Brigantes meets the Iceni Warrior Queen Boudicca!




Roman Britain in the first century. The Brigante queen was friends with Rome, but the Iceni queen rebelled, slaughtering thousands in her bloody wake. Upon the Iceni warrior queen's defeat, she fled to sanctuary and committed suicide. It was her honourable way out, after her people lie slaughtered upon the battlefield. To be taken alive, would mean humiliation and degradation in the city of Rome. The Gaul king, Vercingetorix had been publicly executed before the Empire's mob. Cleopatra and Mark Antony's rotting corpses were said to have been paraded before the Roman plebiscite too. There was no other way but to chose suicide and secret burning and disposal of the remains. The warrior queen could never be found. Before her final act, she met the Brigante queen Cartimandua.

What came about was a bizarre plot in which, both queens were being used as pawns in a third party's plot - a conspiracy of Celtic intrigue and lust for tribal power. Power over the Brigantes and their fraternising queen's fragile loyalty to the Roman Empire.

Eight years later during the year of the Four Emperors (69 AD) Queen Cartimandua is about to leave Britain. Her power usurped by her vengeful ex-husband Venutius. Only Rome could aid her now as she left the shores of the Isles to go into exile in Gaul. Three Roman guards sat with her as she waited by the river side for the Roman galley to come up river. To pass the time, she indulged her compliant hosts with a tale. One that was not known before - Cartimandua's dramatic one time meeting with the warrior queen Boudicca.


Monday, 1 December 2014

Giving You Mike Hawthorn's Legendary Dream Machine of 1955 Le Mans



Mike Hawthorn and Ivor Bueb drove this Jaguar D-type to win the Le Mans 1955 race in very controversial circumstances. The car is a real piece of work from a layman's humble point of view and still looks elegant today. Mike Hawthorn would later race for Ferrari and would win the Formula 1 title in 1958. In a terrible twist of fate, Mike Hawthorn would leave the dangerous world of Formula 1 after seeing so many close friends perish to the sport. His 1955 win of Le Mans had also been marred by a horrific crash in which almost 90 people were killed. Yet Hawthorn went on to win the race in the above D-type Jag. After all the terrible trials and tribulations of his racing life and finally achieving a Formula 1 championship, he retired; only to be killed in a burn out along a motorway in the UK a few months later in January 1959. A silly prank the went wrong.








LA BÊTE BLOOMS - Everyday's The Same







Some Brit Indie bands have a feel that lets one drift and remember their young days. LA BÊTE BLOOMS does this, I'm pleased to say. I used to like bands like Echo and the Bunnymen, The Teardrop Explosion in the 80s and then came The Charlatans and Logpigs for the 90s. Then this modern day band comes along and manages to reach into the middle aged me and pull out memories and feelings of when I was in my 20s and a dreamer. Its rather nice to go back for a while and touch such moments. This song does that for me. Hope to hear more from this band in the future. Great sound, promising band. :D