Anything But Shadows

Long before most of us were born, there were The Shadows, probably the greatest “guitar band” ever, judging by the number of #1 hits they had. Yeah, they were also known as Cliff Richard’s backing band, way back in the late 1950s and 60s… and the 70s, and 80s, and 90s, and 00s.

I know, I know: the music is simple by today’s guitar “gods” — and yet, ask any of the modern guitarists worthy of the term, and without doubt almost all — Clapton, Brian May, Ritchie Blackmore, Tony Iommi and others — will speak in respectful tones about Hank Marvin, the Shadows’ lead guitarist, probably one of the great pickers of all time. Other musicians will speak equally as respectfully of Bruce Welch’s rhythm guitar work, the bass lines and Brian Bennett’s drums, which together produced one of the tightest sounds ever.

So hie thee hence and watch the “Shads” in action — or rather, don’t watch them because once again by today’s standards the concert is so understated it’s quite soporific — no clouds of smoke, no strobe lighting, no special effects at all: just the Shadows playing their music — rock, country, jazz, ballads — for over two hours, without a single misplaced note. (Ask any modern rock musician if they can play a two-hour concert without a single mistake, and they’ll give you a rueful look.) There’s something to be said for a fifty-year career playing together…

So don’t watch the whole show; do what I do: watch the first few songs, then carry on with your regular Saturday household activities or Internet surfing, and let the Shadows be your background music for a couple hours. Every so often, you may recognize a tune, and think, “So that’s who did it!” and smile. It’ll happen a lot, especially the smiles.

There’s no need to thank me; it’s all part of the service.

Catching Up

As my life has slowed down to a crawl while I continue my sabbatical Over Here, I’ve rediscovered the joys of reading. (Yes, some of this is because Teh Intarwebz is down a lot of the time, but not all of it.)

Here’s a list of what I’ve read over the past month or so:

  • Sniping In France — Maj. H. Hesketh-Pritchard
  • Battle Tactics of the American Civil War — Paddy Griffith
  • Lost Battlefields Of Wales — Martin Hackett
  • Leadership In Conflict 1914-1918 — Matthew Hughes & Matthew Seligmann
  • The Secret War: Spies, Codes and Guerrillas 1939-1945 — Max Hastings
  • Europe, 1815-1914 — Gordon A. Craig
  • Nationalism, Industrialization and Democracy 1815-1914 — Thomas G. Barnes & Gerald D. Feldman
  • Ruined City — Nevil Shute
  • The Girl Who Wasn’t There — Ferdinand von Schirarch
  • Holidays In Heck and How The Hell Did This Happen? — P.J. O’Rourke
  • The Savage Empire: Forgotten Wars of the 19th Century — Ian Hernon
  • Flashman On The March — George MacDonald Fraser
  • James Purdey & Sons: Two Hundred Years Of Excellence — Donald Dallas

…and about half a dozen anthologies, humorous books and such, as well as the Daily Telegraph every day, and The Times On Sunday each week.

I’m currently working on:

  • Prisoners Of Geography — Tim Marshall
  • The Year 1000: What life was like at the turn of the millennium — Robert Lacey & Danny Danziger

No, I haven’t done any writing other than this blog. That will come back when I feel the urge again. Right now, I’m topping up the batteries.

 

Day By Day

If you guys haven’t yet given a helping hand to Chris Muir over at Day By Day, please do so. DBD isn’t a hobby for Chris, it’s his livelihood, and other than when his Dad passed away, I don’t think he’s missed a single day in well over a decade of wonderfully-creative cartooning.

Funny, conservative and sexy as all hell: DBD is one of my five daily must-reads, and in fact it’s my first read every morning. Glenn once said about some other old fart that “he’s one of the good guys”. I think Chris is one of the best.

Help the man out, please.

Quote Of The Day

Seen in a unisex toilet stall not far from here:

“If you’re angry because I left the seat up after taking a pee, have a feminist explain to you why you have exactly the same right as a man to touch the filthy thing.”

Sic semper feministae.

Saturday Morning

So Mr. Free Market, The Englishman, Longtime Reader John M. and I went down to the local pub last night for a quiet pint. Here’s an approximate rendering:

Right: time for coffee and a Full English, then off to the range. A full report on both last night’s festivities and the range visit will follow.

It’s a tough life Over Here, but someone has to do it.

Gentleman Adventurer

…or at least, that’s the part Roger Moore played most often, as this obit notes.

I was never a huge fan of Moore, mostly because I thought his acting as a little thin — as he himself said about himself — but I generally liked the movies and TV shows he played in.

My favorite of all Moore’s roles was in The Persuaders!, where his gentleman-thug “Lord Brett Sinclair” was the polar opposite of Tony Curtis’s working-class-made-good-thug “Danny Wilde” (an inspired bit of casting, for both men). Their initial meeting, and ensuing fistfight over the correct number of olives to be put into a martini, was truly one of the more memorable scene-setters in any TV series.

Ditto their choice of cars, where Sinclair’s yellow Aston Martin DBS contrasted strongly with Wilde’s rosso Dino 246GT:

The Persuaders! show is probably responsible for my lifelong love of the Dino 246, still the most beautiful Ferrari ever made, and quite possibly the most beautiful car ever made, period. (It wasn’t that good to drive, by the way: stiff clutch and clunky gearbox, the Dino was Ferrari’s attempt at an “affordable” Ferrari, and it showed.)

But I digress.

I was never a great fan of Moore’s James Bond — mostly because I thought the later Bond movies were crap — but also because I preferred the crueler, more earthy Bond of Connery and even Daniel Craig to the witty, urbane spin given the part by Sir Roger.

Let me not quibble, however, because in the end, you could always be assured of good entertainment when Roger Moore was the star (or even the co-star), and for an actor, surely that’s praise enough.