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Bristol Fashion

Dad’s Army: English Heretics

Image by rottonara (Pixabay)

Reading Andy Sharp’s brilliant, bonkers The English Heretic Collection, I discovered – among the more predictable meditations on J.G Ballard, Witchfinder General and the numerous secret army bases dotted around England – this pearl of wisdom regarding the opening credits of everyone’s favourite Home Guard sitcom:

“They are on manoeuvre towards their ultimate fate. Corporal Jones, stumbling, looking over his shoulder for some imaginary Hun; neurasthenic from his experiences in the trenches. Jones’ much-loved catchphrase Don’t Panic! isn’t comedy gold, but a projection of the PTSD that riddles the minefield of his memories. He’s clearly triggered by the slightest emergency.” 

Continue reading “Dad’s Army: English Heretics”

On Brandon Hill: Popular Culture in Bristol since WW2

Yes! It’s finally hit the shelves of Smashwords as a FREE (free!) e-book! On Brandon Hill is the FIRST EVER comprehensive history of post-war Bristolian culture, spanning the years 1945 to 2020 (or thereabouts) and covering all the major art forms for which the city is famous – music, TV, animation, street art – as well as its less celebrated contributions to film, theatre, literature, fine art etc. Continue reading “On Brandon Hill: Popular Culture in Bristol since WW2”

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Koronavirus Korner: The Masque of the Red Dwarf

All this fuss about Coronavirus and the curtailing of the Venice carnival casts a new light on the small but significant collection of films set in Venice, notably Visconti’s Death in Venice, which I hate, and Nic Roeg’s Don’t Look Now, which I love. Continue reading “Koronavirus Korner: The Masque of the Red Dwarf”

Bristol Fashion: In The Dark Half

Photo by Mareks Steins, Pexels

In a previous blog (Docs & Drugs & Rock & Roll)  I bemoaned the lack of genuinely Bristolian films, as in films that were actually ABOUT Bristol, and not just shitty  rom-coms like Starter For Ten, The Truth About Love or the slightly grubbier Eight Minutes Idle, which all use the most “photogenic” parts of  the city (i.e. Clifton) as a backdrop without even acknowledging where they are. I said I wanted a film of Ed Trewavas’ sordid and disturbing novel Shawnie, which is set in Knowle West, with all the drugs and prostitution and casual violence you’d expect, but really I wanted something like In The Dark Half , which I just watched again and now really like, in spite of the sub-Sixth Sense “twist” at the end. Continue reading “Bristol Fashion: In The Dark Half”

Archaeology Corner: The Marvellous Melvin and Marvin Show

(Photo by Caio Resende, Pexels)

This month’s blog is about two more of my favourite actors (it’s a long list and there’s still a long way to go). Murray Melvin and Lee Marvin may be worlds apart – quite literally – but they share a certain cult status, albeit to vastly different degrees, Lee Marvin being a superstar and Murray Melvin not being one. And thus, as Orson Welles is alleged to have said, does nature balance itself. Continue reading “Archaeology Corner: The Marvellous Melvin and Marvin Show”

Bristol Fashion: Docs & Drugs & Rock & Roll

First off, a caveat: the title of this latest post is a bit misleading, I’m afraid – but so was the poster to Soldier Blue. There’s very little in the way of drugs, unless you are partial to potassium chloride, in which case you’re not reading this because you are dead. There’s very little rock and roll either, unless you count Tricky, but I can at least promise you docs (medical) and docks (the floating harbour) and even one documentary, Naked and Famous. Continue reading “Bristol Fashion: Docs & Drugs & Rock & Roll”

Bristol Fashion: The Medusa Touch & Hearts of Fire

In 1977, at the height of punk, Richard Burton came to Bristol and made the punkiest of Bristol films (yes, even punkier than Radio On!). I’m talking about The Medusa Touch. Okay, it’s possible that Burton himself didn’t come to Bristol, or that if he did, he spent all his time in the pub (which pub, I wonder) because you only get to see a few shots of the Cathedral on College Green, but it’s still a BRISTOL film, and, more to the point, one which brings the roof crashing down on a motley collection of local dignitaries, who would have included the Queen, if the scriptwriters hadn’t bottled it. Continue reading “Bristol Fashion: The Medusa Touch & Hearts of Fire”

Bristol Fashion: Where’s My Money?

Mike Manson’s Where’s My Money (2008) is set in Bristol in 1976, and fairly reflects the strange, paralysed, but not unpleasant atmosphere of the mid-1970s. I guess it depends how old you were or what you were into at the time. This was the golden age of free festivals, for example – only the year before, enlightened Home Secretary Roy Jenkins (pre-SDP) had given his blessings to a government-sponsored festival at Watchfield, where Hawkwind played, and bad acid left dozens of people curled up in panic-stricken balls around the festival site. Continue reading “Bristol Fashion: Where’s My Money?”

Bristol Fashion: Wedlock is a Padlock

In common with a great many Bristolians, I’ve probably tended to underestimate, if not dismiss outright, the so-called Funnyman of Folk, Fred Wedlock. But age is a funny thing, and I am no longer immune to the charms of folk music. Even so-called comedy folk music. Sure, Fred Wedlock’s no Jake Thackray. Who is? Not even Jake Thackray.  But a recent, absent-minded search on You Tube threw up this surprisingly good rendition of the old Spanish Civil war tune, Si Me Quieres Escribir, sung in Spanish but with an unmistakeable Bristolian twang to it. Continue reading “Bristol Fashion: Wedlock is a Padlock”

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