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Monday, 10 November 2014

Publication is now set for Feb 28th 2015
Looks at the Cardiff Pals and other local regiments who fought in the Great War and how the experience of war impacted on the area, from the initial enthusiasm for sorting out the German Kaiser in time for Christmas 1914, to the gradual realization of the enormity of human sacrifice the families of Cardiff were committed to as the war stretched out over the next four years. An important place for Coal export this book looks at how the balance between working and fighting was achieved by the Dockyard workers The Great War affected everyone. At home there were wounded soldiers in military hospitals, refugees from Belgium and later on German prisoners of war. There were food and fuel shortages and disruption to schooling. The role of women changed dramatically and they undertook a variety of work undreamed of in peacetime. Meanwhile, men serving in the armed forces were scattered far and wide. Extracts from contemporary letters reveal their heroism and give insights into what it was like under battle conditions.

Voices of the Welsh

This weekend I was interviewed by Emil Franzi on radio for the show Voices of the West which broadcasts from Arizona - Voices of the West is a radio program originating in Tucson, AZ over AM 1030 KVOI on Saturday at 4pm.

I enjoyed the chat and find it incredible that here I was, communicating via Skype, sat in wet and windy South Wales while my voice was being broadcast live across the west. I've never set foot in Arizona, though I believe several of my books have made it there and now my voice travels ahead of me. Voices of the West is a great radio show that western fanatics will love and many of the episodes are made available online after broadcast - You can hear my episode by clicking HERE and while you're there you might as well check out all of the old shows in the archive. Western fans are bound to find much of interest.

This weekend also saw the Rememberance Day services across the UK, and the Great War was very much on my mind because at the moment I'm going through the final edits on my book, Cardiff and the Valleys During the Great War which is due out next February from Pen and Sword Books. Add to that several other projects that I'm working on and it's pretty chaotic here at Archive Towers. I've recently gone through the proofs of my next Black Horse Western, The Man From Jurusalem (out next year) and am falling behind on a western novel, Outlaw Fury. I'm also working on the next Granny Smith novel, Murder Plot, which will see a sad loss in Granny's household and a gruesome murder in the vegtable patch. Never fear though because Granny Smith, Miss Marple on steroids, is here to put things right.

As well as all that I need to find time to eat and sleep - ahh well, pipe full of Virginia Flake in mouth, and it's back to the grindstone. No rest for the wicked, I suppose and believe me I can be wicked......

Tainted Stats

Weekly Stats Report: 3 Nov - 9 Nov 2014


  Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun Total Avg
Unique Visits1742101671871861932261,343192
First Time Visits1732071661871831912251,332190
Returning Visits1310321112

Monday, 13 October 2014

Tainted Stats

Weekly Stats Report: 6 Oct - 12 Oct 2014


  Mon Tues Wed Thur Fri Sat Sun Total Avg
Unique Visits126133129117125130137897128
First Time Visits118118114111121118132832119
Returning Visits8151564125659

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

DON'T PANIC, DON'T may actually be OK

The Old and the New
My first thought was, Oh My God, this can't be true...

 I mean come on this is almost as bad as casting Tom Cruise as a tall, muscular ex - military policeman who gets into all kinds of scrapes, but you never know it could turn out OK.

Not you though Tom, you'll never be OK  and you've really Reachered too far. I'd rather watch paint dry. Shit, I'd even sit through a Bon Jovi concert before watching you mutilate Lee Childs.

Jones now and the original
 I'm talking about the fact that there is to be a big screen movie version of the iconic British sit-com, Dad's Army  - and now the movie's received a boost with the news that it will be distributed by Universal. The film starts shooting this month and there is excitement at the seemingly superb casting. Arthur Lowe and John Le Mesurier were flawless as Captain Mainwaring and Sergeant Wilson and the actors chosen to reprise the iconic roles are enticing - Toby Jones as Mainwaring and Bill Nighy as Wilson. Both are excellent actors and have both the look and mannerisms of the originals. Tom Courtney as Corporal Jones also seems like perfect casting. All in all this film is looking more and more like it may something worth watching.

Perfect casting aside the new film has a lot to live up to.

Dad's Army ran on the BBC from 1968 to 1977 is widely considered to a classic of British TV. For many people, myself included, it is the NO 1 all time sit-com. For me it even beats Falty Towers in the LPM stakes - that's laughs per minute.Telling the story of a team of home guard volunteers, the show ran for nine seasons and also produced a spin off big screen movie, as well as a radio series and several stage plays.

 So popular was the series that in June 2010, a statue (pictured) of Captain George Mainwaring was erected in the Norfolk town of Thetford where most of the TV series  was filmed. The statue features Captain Mainwaring sitting to attention on a simple bench in Home Guard uniform, with his swagger stick across his knees. The statue is mounted at the end of winding brick pathway with a Union Flag patterned arrow head to reflect the opening credits of the TV series, and the sculpture has been designed so that members of the public can sit alongside Captain Mainwaring for the purpose of having their photo taken.

Originally intended to be called The Fighting Tigers, Dad’s Army was based partly on co-writer and creator Jimmy Perry’s real-life experiences in the  Home Guard. Perry had been 17 years old when he joined the 10th Hertfordshire Battalion and with a mother who did not like him being out at night and fearing he might catch cold. Thus, he bore more than a passing resemblance to Whisky Galore!, and the work of comedians such as Will Hay whose film Oh, Mr Porter! featured a pompous ass, an old man and a young man which gave him Mainwaring, Godfrey and Pike.
the character of Frank Pike. An elderly lance corporal in the outfit often referred to fighting under Kitchener against the "Fuzzy Wuzzies"  and proved to be a perfect model for Jones as played by the wonderful Clive Dunn. Other influences were the film Whisky Galore!, and the work of comedians such as Will Hay whose film Oh, Mr Porter! featured a pompous ass, an old man and a young man which gave him Mainwaring, Godfrey and Pike.

The new film comes from a script by Hamish McColl and will be directed by Oliver Parker who recently scored hits with the new St. Trinian's movies.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for this one, and I'm starting to feel that this one could be a hit. After all as a franchise Dad's Army is perfectly suited to the big screen. Back in the day a lot of Brit Sit-coms had spin off movies made and the Dad's Army movie was one of the better big screen outings for small screen sitcoms.

Ahh well, only time will tell.

Below, courtesy of You Tube, are some of Dad's Army's best moments

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

RIP Baron Samedi

Sad to hear of the passing of Geoffrey Holder best known for his role as Baron Samedi in the Bond movie, Live and Let Die which was Roger Moore's first outing in the role.

According to a family spokesman, Holder died on Sunday in New York from complications caused by pneumonia, He is survived by his wife, Carmen de Lavallade, and their son Leo.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Those Voices of the West

I've gone and found myself a new favourite podcast that I think readers of the Archive would be interested in - Voices of the West -  Voices of the West is a long-running radio program that examines the Old West and its many characters–both good and bad. The show is hosted by Emil Franzi, recipient of the 2014 Western Writers of America Lariat Award.

He draws on his stable of guests like authors Johnny Boggs and Cotton Smith to talk about the cowboys. Author Jerry Egan chimes in frequently to talk about hiking Apacheria. And, Green Valley News writer Scott Dyke joins Emil on a regular basis to talk about anything and everything concerning the Old West. And past guests have included Peter Ford, the son of the late Glenn Ford and Pam Marvin, the widow of Lee Marvin. Voices of the West has also talked with Old Tucson’s Bob Shelton to remember the great movies made at the famous movie set.

Darn tooting it's good.

 Voices of the West is a radio program originating in Tucson, AZ over AM 1030 KVOI on Saturday at 4pm MST. Host Emil Franzi talks with folks who believe America was better off when our TV shows were about Cowboys instead of Lawyers!, and now that the show is available in podcast format from iTunes and all other podcast delivery systems, as well as on the show's own website HERE. The show can be downloaded for use on your computer or mobile device. Or if you prefer you can simply stream the show from the website.

There's a large archive of old shows on the website - I recently listened to a show that looked at the westerns of James Garner, the actor having recently died when the show was recorded, and it was excellent and a fitting tribute to the great man. The way the host and guests discuss the relative merits of each movie make for entertaining listening for any western fan. The show also plays themes from western movies but given copyright restrictions the podcast and archived shows only contain  few seconds of each song - this is something the BBC also does with the Desert Island Discs. Mind you because most of the show is speech based the listener isn't really missing out on any of the entertainment.

Visit Voices of the West by clicking HERE