31 December 2011


The 2012 New Year Honours List has been released, and I see:

Order of the British Empire - Dames Commander of the Order of the British Empire

Penelope Margaret, Mrs LIVELY, CBE
Author. For services to Literature.
(London, N1)

Order of the British Empire - Commanders of the Order of the British Empire

Actor. For services to Drama.
(London, NW3)

Order of the British Empire - Officers of the Order of the British Empire

Dr Maggie Mary GEE
Author. For services to Literature.
(London, NW10)

Order of the British Empire - Members of the Order of the British Empire

Geoffrey Thomas Leslie ASHE
Historian. For services to Heritage.
(Glastonbury, Somerset

Illustrator. For services to Children's Literature.

Dame Penelope received the Carnegie Medal for her novel The Ghost of Thomas Kempe (1973), and also the Man Booker Prize for Moon Tiger (1987). Helena Bonham Carter has a long list of credits, beginning in 1983; I know her as Bellatrix Lestrange in the last four Harry Potter films. Don't think I'd ever heard of Maggie Gee, but some of her books look interesting; I'll be looking for them at the library. Geoffrey Ashe has written several books delving into the possible real history behind the King Arthur legends. Alex Brychta did the illustrations for the Magic Key series, used in many British schools to teach reading.

And congratulations to Chief Petty Officer Coxswain (Submarines) Martin Farr MBE, listed in the Defence New Year's Honours List for 2012.

28 December 2011

The King William's College quiz

Here, a few days late, is the 2011 edition of the General Knowledge Paper:

1. In the year 1911:
1 What disaster befell the Asch Building?
2 What was removed from the Salon Carré?
3 Whose stencilled letters included A, B, C, D, O & L?
4 Where were the twin clocks started at George's crowning moment?
5 Who wrote of a multitalented peer and the Warden's grand-daughter?
6 Who explained how the squaws caused pallor in the Jesuit preachers?
7 Who shot to fame during a performance of The Tale of Tsar Saltan?
8 Who took pole position ahead of British opposition?
9 Who silently portrayed Marguerite Gauthier?
10 Who agreed to receive £400 per annum?

1 Who designed forty-four maps for a 120m long corridor?
2 In which map is a cross-legged Caesar Augustus wearing the triregnum?
3 Whose original map of old Gwynedd shows Neptune embracing a naked lady?
4 Who first used continuous and broken lines to indicate fenced and unfenced roads?
5 Whose map can be seen in different paintings by the Delft master in the Rijksmuseum and the Frick Collection?
6 Whose map of the British Isles was decorated with portraits of post-conquest monarchs up to and including James I and Anne of Denmark?
7 Who placed an ostrich and an elephant on the map he presented to Selim I?
8 Which OS competitors included a vignette of Appleby among their county maps?
9 Whose name was adopted for a cartographic museum in the Land de Waas?
10 Who made a presentation of a giant atlas to the king on his restoration?

1 Who found a cut above in coping with melancholy?
2 Which of Bolingbroke's nephews was the celebrated patron of early exploration?
3 Who wrote about a harpsichordist and a pioneer aviator and won gold in Stockholm?
4 Who, by virtue of his marriage, was required to expel all Jews who failed to convert to "New Christians"?
5 Who allied his army with that of the deposed Sultan, but died in his attempt to conquer the Moorish infidels?
6 Which theologian, although numerically misplaced, was an authority on both ophthalmology and gynaecology?
7 Who had the captain of the Concepción decapitated, then drawn and quartered, for mutiny at Puerto San Julian?
8 Whose support of Pedro in his tussle with his brother necessitated escape in a wine barrel?
9 Who, as queen dowager of one country, became regent in the country of her birth?
10 Who disobeyed his prime minister and surrendered on 19 December?

4. Which tale or tales:
1 is all about Hester's badge of shame?
2 investigates the murder of Robert Ablett?
3 describes Lamb's problems in the Banda Orientál?
4 relates the heroic story of the survivor from Charybdis?
5 describes the criminal activities of Alex, Dim, Georgie and Pete?
6 describes a prize fight between the gamekeeper and the coxswain at the Dripping Pan?
7 considers the murder of an expat philanderer in East Africa?
8 tells of how Dick and the outlaw dress up as friars?
9 are set in the moorlands above Tweedsmuir?
10 reveals the ghost of a don at All Saints'?

5. What:
1 brings light?
2 is named for its inactivity?
3 has a malodorous tetroxide?
4 has a particularly frustrating resistance to corrosion?
5 Skärgård settlement has shared its name with four examples?
6 was named as the daughter of 4, but only shed its alternative name in 1949?
7 was alleged by some to be a pun on its discoverer's name?
8 sounds like some sort of hobgoblin?
9 was identified in Lochaber?
10 quite simply stinks?

6. What:
1 is a deadly oxymoron?
2 has insecticide properties?
3 could be a cheap form of confectionery?
4 grotesque body has achieved a girth of 64 inches?
5 two names, applied to a firelighter suggest muscle relaxation and recall kitchen negligence?
6 better known as one of Rainier's features, is the most common source of what favourite hallucinogen?
7 sinister form of headgear probably accounted for a Holy Roman Emperor?
8 parasite is nominally associated with Iscariot?
9 precious stone is deceitful?
10 is also a lamellibranch?

1 Where is Maddison's Golden Boy?
2 What was named, literally, Salt-pans by the Romans?
3 Where do a few surviving hedges keep alive our lost Elysium?
4 As what did an American president describe the Libyan dictator?
5 Where did close neighbours claim the invention of a device for observing at a distance?
6 Where can a little-changed double row of trees still be seen 322 years after its capture on canvas?
7 In which Study did Sir James, disappointingly, marry Celia instead of her sister?
8 What on first sight was thought to be a classically educated crotalid?
9 Whence did the Spitfires fly during The Battle of Britain?
10 Who dramatised a notorious cutter of purses?

8. What:
1 distinguishes armillata?
2 title was inaugurated before Agincourt?
3 else did he end apart from PM, CH and OM?
4 action did his inamorata take prior to the duet?
5 did fat-guts command that Harry should use to hang himself?
6 function was required of Bertha's garter during the trip from Mannheim to Pforzheim and back?
7 sartorial feature earned comment from Lear's Fool?
8 was dangling from Buckingham's death bed?
9 does make some obstruction of the blood?
10 might I have as a threat of punishment?

9. Where:
1 does the train stop in silence?
2 did Hilda extract a badly mauled shrimp?
3 is an execution remembered annually in October?
4 did the town nominally suffer episcopal deprivation?
5 was a village store opened which would become the world's largest?
6 did Sir John entrust his foundation to one of the Livery Companies?
7 is there a fully clothed life-sized wax effigy of Sarah?
8 did the doctor use an old bream as a weathercock?
9 did the bishopric exist for just nineteen years?
10 is there a statue to the corn deity?

1 Who took on three regencies?
2 Which consort outlived the King by 61 years?
3 Who steered behind the umbrella on Lake Maggiore?
4 Who received details of the School of Pain from her invalid cousin?
5 Whose love for one was like the foliage in the woods, but for the other resembled the eternal rocks beneath?
6 Whose love letter included the words "I wode you war wythe me now that you mouthe se wat pane I take yn wryteg to you"?
7 What request received the response "what, in the midst of the street?"?
8 Whose canine collection included items about clouds and sky?
9 Whose dancing is likened to a jelly on a plate?
10 Who recently excluded obedience?

11. Where:
1 is the aluminium Majestas?
2 has the gondola been suspended since 1906?
3 can the bells be heard ringing beneath the water?
4 where could 30 candles be lit across a flat stone?
5 was there a fatal derailment on the first day of service?
6 was the iron-work protected from corrosion with linseed oil and not, as Alice was told, with wine?
7 did the polyglot Victorian traveller try out his Arabic?
8 did Babs lie buried in the dunes for 42 years?
9 did Baldwin meet Rhys for the second time?
10 did the French surrender at the Royal Oak?

12. Unmask:
1 Rosa
2 Aymer
3 Reinmar
4 Clarence Donne
5 Alexander Thomson
6 Captain Theophilus Digby
7 Andrew Watson
8 James Smith
9 Newsom
10 Tuke

1 What were Uasini Maconoa
2 What mixture is favoured by the poacher?
3 Where did York and Suffolk have a bloody embrace?
4 What is the annual award for the best imaginary prose writer?
5 What heavenly body became synonymous with the abuse of Royal power?
6 Where did the little gentleman in black velvet cause a clavicular fracture?
7 Where were paired cast iron lighthouses erected on the beach?
8 Whose name was used by Lugard for a new coal outlet?
9 From where is it only a mile over the hill to Esnes?
10 What, where is juglandaceous?

1 What is viscivorus?
2 Who was the victim of Bowman Passer?
3 What name was given to 9903 and 2001?
4 What imposter combines engraulids with scrambled egg?
5 What alludes to two losses and uncertainty about the way forward?
6 Whose wife was likened by his friend to a white antelope from Snowdonia?
7 Who directed the disappearance of a spinster in Mandrika?
8 What operation cleared a Limburg geometrical feature?
9 Who got 4 in 4, 5 in 6, 6 in 9 and 7 in 11?
10 What characterises Jock Scott's cheeks?

15. Which character rhymed:
1 tussle and muscle?
2 knowledge, he and apology?
3 Chamberlain and moral stain?
4 kindred soul and sausage-roll?
5 everybody earns and income-tax returns?
6 wrote of Queen Anne and Sodor and Man?
7 Parliamentary hive and or Conservative?
8 been acuter and simple pewter?
9 lot o' news and hypotenuse?
10 Horace and Morris?

16. Which patriot of which country:
1 was eulogized by Harry
2 died at the hand of one who had started life as Ramachandra?
3 was declared innocent following a retrial 25 years after execution?
4 wrote about the execution of Gerhard and was murdered by the Gestapo?
5 anticipated Latimer and Ridley by 140 years and uttered in Latin "Holy Simplicity"?
6 founded a journal in London, which would have been translated as Thought and Action?
7 the son of a general and senator, shot the Governor General and then himself?
8 was hanged publicly 28 months after the start of the January Uprising?
9 was defrocked and later executed following betrayal by Elizondo?
10 was reburied 31 years after his secret execution?

1 Who started off as Nijntje?
2 Who played patty-cake with Acme?
3 Who was the tyrannical leader of the Efrafans?
4 As what did the Australian dog perceive the gentleman dancing on an ashpit?
5 Which swamp-dweller sustained auricular damage prior to rescue from the Black Serpent?
6 Whose marital violence led indirectly to the accidental drowning of his baby daughter Rebecca June?
7 What popular design was started by an Augustinian Canoness of the Lateran?
8 Who put on spectacles and was directed to begin at the beginning?
9 Who brewed very good ale for gentlemen?
10 What is essentially cheese on toast?

18. During 2011:
1 who looked a million dollars?
2 which white mouse has left the Star and Garter?
3 where did Kid Cassidy get over a very nasty shock?
4 which obdurate crustacean has very sadly had to call "Over"?
5 which sometime successor to Isaac Barrow found his position untenable?
6 where was it admitted that with the benefit of historical hindsight we can all see things which we would wish had been done differently, or not at all?
7 why will Col Reynolds and Lord Meldrum never be the same?
8 whose killing thrust heralded a monumental redundancy?
9 who crawled charitably through Bablock Hythe?
10 which head was axed at the Tower?

This time round, I know offhand (or think I do) the answers to four of the 180 questions....

25 December 2011

Victoria Cross: F. C. Elton


Brevet-Major, 55th Regiment

Born: 23 April 1832, Whitestaunton, Somerset
Died: 24 March 1888, London

Citation: For distinguished conduct on the night of the 4th August, 1855, when in command of a working party in the advanced trenches in front of the Quarries [at Sebastopol], in encouraging and inciting his men, by his example, to work under a dreadful fire; and, when there was some hesitation shown, in consequence of the severity of the fire, going into the open, and working with pick and shovel — thus showing the best possible example to the men. In the words of one of them, "There was not another Officer in the British Army who would have done what Major Elton did that night."
In the month of March, 1855, Major Elton volunteered, with a small party of men, to drive off a body of Russians who were destroying one of our new detached works, and succeeded in doing so, taking prisoner one of the enemy with his own hands. On the night of the 7th June, 1855, Major Elton was the first of his party to leave our trenches leading his men; when in the Quarries, he several times rallied his men around him.

[London Gazette issue 21971 dated 24 Feb 1857, published 24 Feb 1857.]

Medal of Honor: W. A. Shomo


Major, US Army Air Corps; commanding 82nd Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron

Born: 30 May 1918, Jeannette, Pennsylvania
Died: 25 June 1990, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Maj. Shomo was lead pilot of a flight of 2 [North American F-6D] fighter planes charged with an armed photographic and strafing mission against the Aparri and Laoag airdromes [on Luzon, Philippine Islands, on 11 January 1945]. While en route to the objective, he observed an enemy twin engine bomber, protected by 12 fighters, flying about 2,500 feet above him and in the opposite direction Although the odds were 13 to 2, Maj. Shomo immediately ordered an attack. Accompanied by his wingman he closed on the enemy formation in a climbing turn and scored hits on the leading plane of the third element, which exploded in midair. Maj. Shomo then attacked the second element from the left side of the formation and shot another fighter down in flames. When the enemy formed for Counterattack, Maj. Shomo moved to the other side of the formation and hit a third fighter which exploded and fell. Diving below the bomber he put a burst into its underside and it crashed and burned. Pulling up from this pass he encountered a fifth plane firing head on and destroyed it. He next dived upon the first element and shot down the lead plane; then diving to 300 feet in pursuit of another fighter he caught it with his initial burst and it crashed in flames. During this action his wingman had shot down 3 planes, while the 3 remaining enemy fighters had fled into a cloudbank and escaped. Maj. Shomo's extraordinary gallantry and intrepidity in attacking such a far superior force and destroying 7 enemy aircraft in one action is unparalleled in the southwest Pacific area.

Note: The North American F-6D was a P-51 Mustang fighter modified for photo-reconnaissance work.

18 December 2011

Victoria Cross: Netrabahadur Thapa


Jemadar (acting Subadar), 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles (Frontier Force)

Born: 8 January 1916, Rahu Village, Nepal
Died: 26 June 1944, Bishenpur, India

Citation: Subadar Netrabahadur Thapa was in command of the garrison of 41 men of the 2/5th Royal Gurkha Rifles (Frontier Force) which on the afternoon of 25th June, 1944, took over the isolated piquet known as Mortar Bluff situated on the hillside commanding the base at Bishenpur in Burma. The piquet position, completely devoid of any cover, was situated some 400 yards from the next piquet, from which it could be supported to some extent by 3 inch mortar fire, but was commanded by Water Piquet, a short distance away on high ground to the South, which had been over-run by strong enemy forces on the previous night and was still in enemy hands. Owing to its commanding position the retention of Mortar Bluff was vital to the safety of other positions farther down the ridge and to Bishenpur itself.
The relief had been harassed by enemy snipers at close range but was completed at 1830 hours without casualties. A little more than an hour later the enemy began to attack. For this purpose a 75 millimetre and a 37 millimetre gun were brought on up to the high ground overlooking the position and poured shell after shell at point blank range for ten minutes into the narrow confines of the piquet, and this was followed by a determined attack by not less than one company of Japanese. A fierce fight ensued in which Subadar Netrabahadur Thapa's men, exhorted by their leader, held their ground against heavy odds and drove the enemy back with disproportionate losses. During this time Subadar Netrabahadur Thapa with tireless energy and contempt for his own safety moved from post to post encouraging his young N.C.Os and riflemen, of which the garrison was largely composed, and tending the wounded.
A short lull followed during which Subadar Netrabahadur Thapa gave a clear and concise report on the telephone to his Commanding Officer and asked for more artillery defensive fire. Having done this he made preparations to meet the next onslaught which was not long in coming.
Under cover of the pitch dark night and torrential rain the enemy had moved round to the jungle from the cover of which they launched their next attack. Still in considerable strength and as determined and ferocious as ever the enemy poured out from the jungle across the short space of open ground to the piquet defences under cover of small arms and 37 millimetre gun fire from a flank. For a time our men held their ground until, as ill-luck would have it, both the L.M.G. and T.M.G. of one section jammed.
With much reduced fire-power the section were unable to hold on, and the enemy forced an entrance and over-ran this and another section, killing or wounding 12 out of the 16 men comprising the two sections. Having no reserve Subadar Netrabahadur Thapa himself went forward from his Headquarters and stemmed any further advance with grenades.
The situation was however critical. With more than half his men casualties, ammunition low, and the enemy in possession of part of his perimeter, Subadar Netrabahadur Thapa would have been justified in withdrawing, but in his next report to his Commanding Officer he stated that he intended holding on and asked for reinforcements and more ammunition.
So efficient were his plans for defence and such was the fine example of this gallant Gurkha officer that not a man moved from his trench and not a yard more ground was gained by the enemy, despite their desperate attempts.
Thus the night passed until at 0400 hours a section of 8 men with grenades and small arms ammunition arrived. Their arrival inevitably drew fire and all the 8 were soon casualties. Undismayed, however, Subadar Netrabahadur Thapa retrieved the ammunition and himself with his platoon Headquarters took the offensive armed with grenades and khukris. Whilst so doing he received a bullet wound in the mouth followed shortly afterwards by a grenade which killed him outright. His body was found next day, khukri in hand and a dead Japanese with a cleft skull by his side.
True to the traditions of the service and his race Subadar Netrabahadur Thapa had fought against overwhelming odds for 8 hours before he was killed. His fine example of personal bravery and his high sense of duty so inspired his men that a vital position was held to the limit of human endurance.
His valour and devotion to duty will remain an epic in the history of the Regiment.

[London Gazette issue 36742 dated 12 Oct 1944, published 10 Oct 1944.]

Note: Jemadar was an Indian Army rank equivalent to a British warrant officer. A Subadar was the equivalent of a lieutenant.
Bishenpur (or Bishnupur) is in the Indian state of Manipur, near the Burmese border.

Medal of Honor: M. J. Estocin


Captain (then Lieutenant Commander), US Navy; Attack Squadron 192, USS Ticonderoga (CVA 14)

Born: 27 April 1931, Turtle Creek, Pennsylvania
Died: 26 April 1967, near Haiphong, North Vietnam

Citation. For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 20 and 26 April 1967 as a pilot in Attack Squadron 192, embarked in USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14). Leading a 3-plane group of aircraft in support of a coordinated strike against two thermal power plants in Haiphong, North Vietnam, on 20 April 1967, Capt. Estocin provided continuous warnings to the strike group leaders of the surface-to-air missile (SAM) threats, and personally neutralized 3 SAM sites. Although his aircraft was severely damaged by an exploding missile, he reentered the target area and relentlessly prosecuted a SHRIKE attack in the face of intense antiaircraft fire. With less than 5 minutes of fuel remaining he departed the target area and commenced in-flight refueling which continued for over 100 miles. Three miles aft of Ticonderoga, and without enough fuel for a second approach, he disengaged from the tanker and executed a precise approach to a fiery arrested landing. On 26 April 1967, in support of a coordinated strike against the vital fuel facilities in Haiphong, he led an attack on a threatening SAM site, during which his aircraft was seriously damaged by an exploding SAM; nevertheless, he regained control of his burning aircraft and courageously launched his SHRIKE missiles before departing the area. By his inspiring courage and unswerving devotion to duty in the face of grave personal danger, Captain Estocin upheld the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

Note: Lt Cdr Estocin was believed to have been captured by the Vietnamese; he was promoted to captain during his presumed captivity.
USS Estocin (FFG 15) was named in his honour.

11 December 2011

Victoria Cross: J. D. Grant


Lieutenant, 8th Gurkha Rifles

Born: 28 December 1877, Roorkee, India
Died: 20 February 1967, Tunbridge Wells, Kent

Citation: The KING has been graciously pleased to signify His intention to confer the decoration of the Victoria Cross upon the undermentioned Officer, whose claims have been submitted for His Majesty's approval, for his conspicuous bravery in Thibet, as stated against his name:
On the occasion of the storming of the Gyantse Jong on 6th July, 1904, the storming Company, headed by Lieutenant Grant, on emerging from the cover of the village, had to advance up a bare, almost precipitous, rock-face, with little or no cover available, and under a heavy fire from the curtain, flanking towers on both sides of the curtain, and other buildings higher up the Jong. Showers of rocks and stones were at the time being hurled down the hillside by the enemy from above. One man could only go up at a time, crawling on hands and knees, to the breach in the curtain.
Lieutenant Grant, followed by Havildar Karbir Pun, 8th Gurkha Rifles, at once attempted to scale it, but on reaching near the top he was wounded, and hurled back, as was also the Havildar, who fell down the rock some 30 feet.
Regardless of their injuries they again attempted to scale the breach, and, covered by the fire of the men below, were successful in their object, the Havildar shooting one of the enemy on gaining the top. The successful issue of the assault was very greatly due to the splendid example shown by Lieutenant Grant and Havildar Karbir Pun.
The latter has been recommended for the Indian Order of Merit.

[London Gazette issue 27758 dated 24 Jan 1905, published 24 Jan 1905.]

Medal of Honor: G. C. Shaw


First Lieutenant, 27th US Infantry

Born: 6 March 1866, Pontiac, Michigan
Died: 10 February 1960

Citation: For distinguished gallantry in leading the assault [at Fort Pitacus, Lake Lanao, Mindanao, Philippine Islands, on 4 May 1903] and, under a heavy fire from the enemy, maintaining alone his position on the parapet after the first 3 men who followed him there had been killed or wounded, until a foothold was gained by others and the capture of the place assured.

09 December 2011

Top 100 cult films

It seems a couple of chaps named Ernest Mathijs and Xavier Mendik have written a book called 100 Cult Films (British Film Institute, to be published 20 Dec 11). NPR are publicising the book, and asking for suggestions for additional films which people think should be on the list. Feel free to comment there.

Here's the list; I've bolded the eight that I've actually seen.

2001: A Space Odyssey, Stanley Kubrick, 1968
Akira, Katsuhiro Otomo, 1988
Angel of Vengeance, Abel Ferrara, 1981
Bad Taste, Peter Jackson, 1987
Baise-moi, Virginie Despentes, Coralie Trinh Thi, 2000
Begotten, E Elias Merhige, 1991
Behind the Green Door, Artie Mitchell, Jim Mitchell, 1972
La belle et la bête, Jean Cocteau, 1946
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, Russ Meyer, 1970
The Big Lebowski, Joel Coen, Ethan Coen, 1998
Blade Runner, Ridley Scott, 1982
Blue Sunshine, Jeff Lieberman, 1978
Brazil, Terry Gilliam, 1985
Bride of Frankenstein, James Whale, 1935
The Brood, David Cronenberg, 1979
Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari, Robert Wiene, 1920
Café Flesh, Stephen Sayadian, 1982
Cannibal Holocaust, Ruggero Deodato, 1979
Casablanca, Michael Curtiz, 1942
Un chien andalou, Luis Buñuel, Salvador Dalí,1928
Coffy, Jack Hill, 1973
Daughters of Darkness, Harry Kümel, 1971
Dawn of the Dead, George A Romero, 1978
Deadly Weapons, Doris Wishman, 1974
Debbie Does Dallas, Jim Clark, 1978
Deep Red, Dario Argento, 1975
Dirty Dancing, Emile Ardolino, 1987
Django, Sergio Corbucci, 1966
Donnie Darko, Richard Kelly, 2001
Don't Torture a Duckling, Lucio Fulci, 1972
Edward Scissorhands, Tim Burton, 1990
Emanuelle and the Last Cannibals, Aristide Massaccesi, 1977
Emmanuelle, Just Jaeckin, 1974
Enter the Dragon, Robert Clouse, 1973
Eraserhead, David Lynch, 1977
The Evil Dead, Sam Raimi, 1981
Fight Club, David Fincher, 1999
Flaming Creatures, Jack Smith, 1963
Freak Orlando, Ulrike Ottinger, 1981
Freaks, Tod Browning, 1932
Ginger Snaps, John Fawcett, 2000
The Gods Must Be Crazy, Jamie Uys, 1981
Godzilla, Ishirô Honda, 1954
The Harder They Come, Perry Henzell, 1972
Harold and Maude, Hal Ashby, 1971
Häxan, Benjamin Christensen, 1922
Hellraiser, Clive Barker, 1987
The Holy Mountain, Alejandro Jodorowsky, 1973
The House with the Laughing Windows, Pupi Avati, 1976
I Walked with a Zombie, Jacques Tourneur, 1943
Ichi the Killer, Takashi Miike, 2001
In Bruges, Martin McDonagh, 2008
Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Don Siegel, 1956
Invocation of My Demon Brother, Kenneth Anger, 1969
It's a Wonderful Life, Frank Capra, 1946
The Killer, John Woo, 1989
Lady Terminator, H Tjut Djalil, 1988
The Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson, 2001–3
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior, George Miller, 1981
Man Bites Dog, Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel, Benoît Poelvoorde, 1992
Manos, the Hands of Fate, Harold P Warren, 1966
The Masque of the Red Death, Roger Corman, 1964
Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, 1975
Near Dark, Kathryn Bigelow, 1987
Nekromantik, Jörg Buttgereit, 1987
Night of the Living Dead, George A Romero, 1968
Pink Flamingos, John Waters, 1972
Piranha, Joe Dante, 1978
Plan 9 from Outer Space, Ed Wood Jr, 1959
Re-Animator, Stuart Gordon, 1985
Reefer Madness, Louis Gasnier, 1936
Repo Man, Alex Cox, 1984
Ringu, Hideo Nakata, 1998
The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Jim Sharman, 1975
Rome Armed to the Teeth, Umberto Lenzi, 1976
The Room, Tommy Wiseau, 2003
Salò, or the 120 Days of Sodom, Pier Paolo Pasolini, 1975
She Killed in Ecstasy, Jesús Franco, 1971
Showgirls, Paul Verhoeven, 1995
Soul Vengeance, Jamaa Fanaka, 1975
The Sound of Music, Robert Wise, 1965
Star Wars, George Lucas, 1977–2005
Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, Todd Haynes, 1988
Suspiria, Dario Argento, 1977
Tank Girl, Rachel Talalay, 1995
Tetsuo, Shinya Tsukamoto, 1989
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Tobe Hooper, 1974
This Is Spınal Tap, Rob Reiner, 1984
Thriller: A Cruel Picture, Bo Arne Vibenius, 1974
Thundercrack!, Curt McDowell, 1975
El Topo, Alejandro Jodorowsky, 1970
The Toxic Avenger, Michael Herz, Lloyd Kaufman, 1984
Two-Lane Blacktop, Monte Hellman, 1971
Two Thousand Maniacs!, Herschell Gordon Lewis, 1964
The Vanishing, George Sluizer, 1988
Videodrome, David Cronenberg, 1983
The Warriors, Walter Hill, 1979
Witchfinder General, Michael Reeves, 1968
Withnail & I, Bruce Robinson, 1987
The Wizard of Oz, Victor Fleming, 1939

(I may also have seen Piranha and The Warriors, but I'm not sure.)

My additions? Billy Jack (Tom Laughlin, 1971), Army of Darkness (Sam Raimi, 1992), The Story of O (Just Jaeckin, 1975), Lake Placid (Steve Miner, 1999)....

(Feel free to comment here, too.)

H/T to LabRat.

04 December 2011

George Cross: I. J. Gillett


Aircraftman 1st Class, Royal Air Force; Far East Flying Boat Wing

Born: 16 September 1928
Died: 26 March 1950, Seletar, Singapore

Citation: Aircraftman Gillett, a Fitter Armourer, was a member of the ground crew on board a Sunderland Flying Boat which blew up at its moorings at R.A.F. Flying Boat Base, Seletar, on 26th March, 1950. Rescue surface craft were quickly on the scene but the aircraft and a bomb-scow alongside sank rapidly and survivors from the explosion were hurled into the water. A life-belt was thrown to Aircraftman Gillett from a rescue launch. He was seen, however, to throw the life-belt to a seriously injured corporal who was in danger of drowning near him. In the confusion the rescuers had not been able to reach the corporal. Gillett was a great friend of his and knew he was not a strong swimmer. The life-belt kept the corporal afloat until he was rescued unconscious from the water several minutes later. In the meantime Aircraftman Gillett disappeared; his body was washed ashore two days later. It was discovered that his body had suffered superficial injuries and that death was due to the combined effects of blast and drowning. By his action in deliberately saving the life of his injured friend, whilst injured and in great danger himself, Aircraftman Gillett displayed magnificent courage. His extreme unselfishness in his last living moments, which resulted in the sacrifice of his life to save another, was seen in this act of great heroism which was in accordance with the highest traditions of the Royal Air Force.

[London Gazette issue 39033 dated 3 Oct 1950, published 3 Oct 1950.]

Victoria Cross: D. L. Laidlaw


Piper, 7th Battalion, The King's Own Scottish Borderers

Born: 26 July 1875, Swinton, Border
Died: 2 June 1950, Norham, Northumberland

Citation: For most conspicuous bravery prior to an assault on German trenches near Loos and Hill 70 on 25th September, 1915.
During the worst of the bombardment, when the attack was about to commence, Piper Laidlaw, seeing that his company was somewhat shaken from the effects of gas, with absolute coolness and disregard of danger mounted the parapet, marched up and down and played his company out of the trench. The effect of his splendid example was immediate, and the company dashed out to the assault. Piper Laidlaw continued playing his pipes till he was wounded.

[London Gazette issue 29371 dated 18 Nov 1915, published 16 Nov 1915]

Medal of Honor: W. R. Prom


Lance Corporal, US Marine Corps; Company 1, 3d Battalion, 3d Marines, 3d Marine Division (Reinforced)

Born: 17 November 1948, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Died: 9 February 1969, near An Hoa, Republic of Vietnam

Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a machinegun squad leader with Company 1, in action against the enemy [near An Hoa, Republic of Vietnam, on 9 February 1969]. While returning from a reconnaissance operation during Operation TAYLOR COMMON, 2 platoons of Company 1 came under an intense automatic weapons fire and grenade attack from a well concealed North Vietnamese Army force in fortified positions. The leading. element of the platoon was isolated and several marines were wounded. L/Cpl. Prom immediately assumed control of 1 of his machineguns and began to deliver return fire. Disregarding his safety he advanced to a position from which he could more effectively deliver covering fire while first aid was administered to the wounded men. Realizing that the enemy would have to be destroyed before the injured marines could be evacuated, L/Cpl. Prom again moved forward and delivered a heavy volume of fire with such accuracy that he was instrumental in routing the enemy, thus permitting his men to regroup and resume their march. Shortly thereafter, the platoon again came under heavy fire in which 1 man was critically wounded. Reacting instantly, L/Cpl. Prom moved forward to protect his injured comrade. Unable to continue his fire because of his severe wounds, he continued to advance to within a few yards to the enemy positions. There, standing in full view of the enemy, he accurately directed the fire of his support elements until he was mortally wounded. Inspired by his heroic actions, the marines launched an assault that destroyed the enemy. L/Cpl. Prom's indomitable courage, inspiring initiative and selfless devotion to duty upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

01 December 2011

John Carter

Coming from Disney, of all sources, in time for the 100th anniversary of the publication of A Princess of Mars:

According to IMDb, the film stars Taylor Kitsch as John Carter, Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris and Willem Dafoe as Tars Tarkas. The release date will be 9 March 2012.

I am really looking forward to this....

Never read A Princess of Mars? You can find it here.

Book list - Nov 11

Owls to Athens - historical fiction, by H N Turteltaub
Nemesis - historical mystery, by Lindsey Davis
Flint - western, by Louis L'Amour *
Why Evolution Is True - science, by Jerry A Coyne
Four Queens: The Provençal Sisters Who Ruled Europe - European history, by Nancy Bazelon Goldstone
Fire Time - SF, by Poul Anderson *

Only six books last month, with two rereads (marked by asterisks). And there were no Carnegie Medal winners, so I'm still at 56 of 72.