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ggreig: (Dark Wizard)

I’ve taken a bit of an interest in Dad’s Army ever since I ran a short-lived roleplaying game in the 1990s in which the player characters were members of the Home Guard, dealing with mysterious happenings which turned out to be due to a burrow of Wombles rather than fifth-columnists – although one of the Wombles was blessed with the name Berlin…

This evening I went to the Byre Theatre to watch the St Andrews Play Club present their rendition of Dad’s Army. This was the opening night, and if you’re one of the local readers of this blog and fancy catching it, it’s on until Saturday. It has a running time of two hours, including the interval.

The St Andrews Play Club have put on a previous production of Dad’s Army in 2011, but I was unaware of it at the time. That consisted of a couple of TV episodes, “Mum’s Army” and “The Deadly Detachment”. The second episode there is the one you probably expect, with the U-boat crew as prisoners of war, and the oft-repeated line referring to Private Pike which I won’t spoil here just in case there’s anyone in the universe who hasn’t heard it.

So it sounds like this evening’s production was more ambitious, stretching to two TV episodes (“The Godiva Affair” and “The Deadly Attachment” again), an “episode” which was only ever performed on stage by the original cast (“The Floral Dance”) and an original piece to close by one of the society members, called “All Together Now”.

Alan Tricker as Captain Mainwaring (in the 2011 production)

The main characters were all recognisable, despite the rather odd experience of watching an unmistakably Scottish Sergeant Wilson. They were probably spoilt for choice for people to play Fraser! Captain Mainwaring and Lance Corporal Jones are probably the most demanding roles to play, as they involve not just acting but a lot of comic timing, and I’m pleased to say they carried it off admirably. Alan Tricker as Captain Mainwaring wasn’t a new Arthur Lowe, but that would be a tall order (for a short man); he didn’t have quite the level of frustrated self-importance of the original but nevertheless did a good job in the role. David Lee as Lance Corporal Jones did a great job – it was almost like watching Clive Dunn in action.

There’s a warm comfort to be had from watching something so familiar yet slightly new. The TV episodes were very familiar, of course – so much so that I was completely unfazed when rather endearingly in a moment of meta-character “”Pike” fluffed the punch line to “The Godiva Affair”, naming Mrs Fox instead of Mrs Mainwaring. For anyone previously unfamiliar with the story, I think the business probably sold what was actually meant to have been said. “The Deadly Detachment” strayed somewhat from the original in having an all-female U-boat crew, but that was cool (and played completely straight). Apart from that line, it’s not actually a favourite of mine, but I enjoyed seeing it on stage.

The two sections I was unfamiliar with both had a musical bent. “The Floral Dance” saw the platoon and other residents of Walmington-on-Sea, engaged in choir practice before an event in aid of wounded soldiers, and building up to a performance of the song named. Despite having a slightly different pedigree, it felt right. If you’re not able to see it in St. Andrews, and want an idea of what it was like, YouTube comes to the rescue – here’s audio of the original cast performing it on stage:

The final section, “All Together Now”, was a celebration of the end of the war (probably VE-day, but that wasn’t quite clear and I didn’t recognise the clip of Churchill on the radio announcement). Featuring a selection of songs culminating in White Cliffs of Dover and a tableau in which the cast were starkly lit and sprinkled with poppies. I didn’t feel it quite gelled as the scripts by Jimmy Perry and David Croft did, but again that’s a tall order, and apparently it was written at quite short notice, so good on the script writer all the same. It was more sentimental than amusing, but that’s OK – one of the strengths of Dad’s Army was that it would occasionally make it clear that, for all their ridiculousness, the characters were utterly sincere and serious about being prepared to lay down their lives to make the smallest of differences.

Worth checking out, if you can.

ggreig: (Western gentleman)

It suddenly occurred to me that a Cavorite Sphere – as developed by Mr. Cavor in H.G. Wells’ The First Men in the Moon – is something that I did not have, and I searched for such a thing.

I discovered that there are two on the market suitable for 28mm. One is relatively easy to find mention of, but is sold in the US and doesn’t seem particularly easy to order even there.

The other I discovered via eBay, and it’s made in the UK by Richard Helliwell’s company Infinity-Engine. This is the one I bought.

I first heard of it under a fortnight ago, ordered it less than a week ago and completed it today – this may be a record! And at this point I wish I’d included a 28mm figure for reference in the picture, as I had to ask the seller for the size and I’ve made it no better for anyone finding this – but you’ll just have to take Richard’s word and mine that it’s the right size. The sphere is about 9cm across, from bumper to bumper, or about 3½” in old money.

The Cavorite Sphere on the Moon - hatch open

It’s a 38-piece resin kit, of which 32 are railway bumpers and one is the Moon’s surface (or a small part thereof). Visually, it’s based on the 1964 movie, which I re-watched parts of in preparation for painting this kit. (If you’re interested in this story, the 2010 Mark Gatiss TV Movie is also worth watching).

Having re-watched some key parts of the movie, the easiest thing to pick up visually was that the Cavorite itself was a yellowish substance painted on to white blinds. The yellow turned put to be metallic and reflective when the sphere was flying through space lit by the sun, so I could have gone for a very brassy look and it would probably have looked great. But the thing about Cavorite is that it counteracts gravity when it’s a) cool and b) exposed. If the blinds were deployed, and we had the brassy look, the sphere would probably not be – wherever it’s meant to be. It would be flying off into space. I thought about having one blind partially exposed, and maybe weathered so that the Cavorite covering is only partial, but ultimately I decided to keep it simple. No exposed Cavorite.

With my dodgy colour vision, I was less sure about the colours used for the rest of the sphere. However, the impression I wound up with was the ribs were a dark metallic colour, the panels surrounding the portholes were wooden, and the other panels of the sphere, where the blinds would be deployed were also dark in colour. I couldn’t decide whether it was a dark metallic colour or something else, but then I caught a hint that it was a dark red.

Now, this could be entirely my imagination, and if you watch the film you may see something else. As I’ve mentioned, my colour vision is dodgy, so if you see something else you’re probably right. But having seen it, real or not, I was caught up by the idea and decided that the majority of the panels were to be painted Burgundy. It’s not so far-fetched after all – burgundy was a popular colour of the period and not a million miles from the “Purple Lake” colour used for some railway carriages, so it fit in reasonably well with the railway theme of the bumpers.

The only “clever” bit of painting, as opposed to using flat colours, was for the wood panels, where I used a base coat of ochre and a wash of burnt umber to achieve a slightly textured varnished wood colour. I dry-brushed a little silver on the hard edges of the bumpers to give them a bit of wear.

You can attach the hatch open or closed. I chose not attach it at all, so I continue to have the choice. I also chose not to glue the top and bottom halves together, so that I have the option at some future date of scratch-building the interior. As you can see if you click through for the larger version of the picture, the interior is a bit ribbed – you can also see a bit of waviness on the exterior panels, although it’s not so marked. I think the body of the model was originally mastered in a 3D printer, with some details being modelled more traditionally before the whole was cast in resin; which is of course a faster way of producing multiple copies than 3D printing is, at least for now. It’s quite cool to see new technology being used in this way, and although there are detectable artefacts, I don’t think they harm this model, adding to the “hand-built” charm of the fictional sphere.

The Cavorite Sphere with the hatch closedTwo halves of the Cavorite Sphere

Finally just a brief mention for the base. Not used to getting a base in these sorts of models, it was quite nice to do so. Here it is in a photo of its own, where it doesn’t look quite so washed out in the harsh rays of the sun:

The Moon's surface

I decided that the powdery surface was pale, but under the surface – or harder bits that hadn’t weathered away – would be darker, and a combination of washes and dry-brushing in different shades of grey got me there, more or less. These highlighted most of the structure I wanted, but I did try to paint faint impact rays around the centre of the largest crater.

ggreig: (Western gentleman)

I only recently discovered that two companies in Scotland are making “haggis spice” chocolate; dark chocolate mixed with some of the (non-meat) ingredients of haggis. Science demands a taste test!

Coco's Haggis Spice ChocolateChocolate Tree Haggis Spice

The bar on the left is from Coco, a chocolatier based in Edinburgh. The one on the right is sold by Chocolate Tree, a different chocolatier found in Haddington, to the East of Edinburgh. They’re both dark chocolate, with 64% and 58% cocoa solids relatively, so there shouldn’t be a huge difference in fundamental nature. The Coco version is labelled as suitable for vegans, while the Chocolate Tree one “may contain traces of dairy and nuts” as they're used in the same place. However, it doesn't explicitly include any non-vegan ingredients.

Interestingly, although both bars are meant to evoke haggis, different haggis recipes vary, and so it is with these bars. The only seasonings both have in common are – salt and pepper! The Coco bar also includes clove, nutmeg and allspice. Chocolate Tree’s bar, on the other hand, includes rosemary, coriander seed, mace and thyme. For anyone expecting spice to mean chilli – no, sorry, that’s not what haggis is about (at least now that Nahm-Jim is no more). It’s a milder spice experience.

Both bars have a similar aroma, though the Chocolate Tree bar’s scent is stronger and more exciting.

On price, the Coco bar is £4.00, while the Chocolate Tree bar is £3.50.

The Coco Haggis Spice chocolate is smooth and has a distinctly dark chocolaty taste. The spicing is subtle; after eating several pieces I noticed a slightly warm after-feel, but it wasn’t a major part of the initial taste. In fact apart from the dark chocolate taste, the main thing I got was the odd salt crystal. The salt did seem to act as a bit of a nucleus, so that was the most interesting bit, but for the Coco Haggis Spice bar I would say the emphasis was on salted chocolate bar, with haggis spice rather soft-pedalled.

The Chocolate Tree Haggis Spice chocolate gives an immediate hit of spices, unhampered by a milder chocolate. I’m confident I can detect the rosemary and coriander seed. I’m less confident of my ability to distinguish mace and thyme anyway, so that’s OK. Maybe a more sophisticated reviewer would get those too. I also get occasional salt, though the salt’s contribution is much lower-key than in the Coco bar. Finally the Chocolate Tree bar gets extra brownie points because 8% of the bar is pinhead oats. That’s enough to give a little bit of random texture to nibble on, and a little bit of flavour; and of course oats are a key ingredient of haggis so it’s entirely appropriate.

I didn’t expect a big difference between these bars, but I was surprised. The Coco bar is a perfectly good chocolate bar and in isolation you would not feel disappointed about having bought it. If chocolate is what you’re really looking for, with a hint of something else, then it may be the one for you. For me though, the Chocolate Tree bar was a clear winner: nice chocolate, distinctive spiced flavour, pinhead oats for added interest, and finally- it is just a little bit reminiscent of haggis (in a good way – sorry if you find that hard to imagine!)

The Coco Haggis Spice bar is OK. But I would actually recommend going out of your way to try the Chocolate Tree Haggis Spice bar as it’s a bit special. The only thing I can find to complain about is that I ordered a different bar at the same time, and that one was past its best before date when it reached me (the Haggis Spice has a year to run). The bar’s fine, but it does just give me a little pause over customer service. I would ignore that though, and try the Chocolate Tree Haggis Spice.

ggreig: (Western gentleman)

On Friday, I left work a bit early to attend the final date on Florrie’s lightning acoustic tour for Coffee House Sessions, which I mentioned when I discovered it a couple of weeks ago. I’m not a great gig-goer – in fact the sum total of my previous gig attendance is seeing Runrig in 1989 and Big Country round about 1990. On the other hand, if you’re one of the select acts that play St. Andrews Student Union, as they did*, and I like your music, there’s a reasonable chance I’ll turn up…


Call 911 (Fred Falke Remix)

I like Florrie’s music, so I went along. I’m not quite sure when I first discovered her, but I think I heard Call 911 on Last.FM a few years ago and it stood out. When I followed up a bit and realised that there wasn’t a duff track on the whole Introduction EP, I started to pay attention.


The Introduction EP

Having been drumming since the age of 6, Florrie started work as a session drummer in 2008 before quickly starting to establish herself as a solo artist, now describing herself as drummer, singer and songwriter. Having seen her on Friday, she’s actually selling herself a bit short, as she plays the guitar too, with a nice crisp confidence. Her recorded style is light, but intelligent, anthemic pop, with strong rhythm and high production values.

Given the very produced studio sound, it was intriguing to see that the Coffee House Sessions tour was to be acoustic; just Florrie and a guitar. Although it’s become more of a “thing” to perform unplugged over the last 20 years, not everyone can do it.

Florrie can. The session was quite short; I just sat and enjoyed it so I didn’t keep a note of which tracks were played or how many, but it must have something like six or eight. Definitely included were Left Too Late (a favourite of mine), Live A Little and Radioactive (a cover of Imagine Dragons), another cover I didn’t recognise but worked out later (Budapest, George Ezra) and the more current tracks Little White Lies and Galaxies. The delivery was sharp, confident and above all musical, emotionally complex and expressive. The studio  production may add to Florrie’s music, but she has impeccable foundations and doesn’t need it – with one small exception.


Coffee House Sessions

The envelope of her vocal range is pushed a bit in Little White Lies just before going into the chorus, and it's the one time she sounds a bit weak; the lyric is "My breathing shallows/I can't pretend", rising at the end to the point where her voice cracks. It's an effective musical portrayal of a rising emotional tension when it works, but it doesn't always work live, which is a shame. It's a great studio track, with the blend of a thundering locomotive drum beat and a touch of melancholy that's a bit of a Florrie signature:


Little White Lies

It’s good though, that she’s trying things that test her, and that she continues to be original. The Sirens EP on which a first version of Little White Lies was included is notably a bit experimental, with something just a bit unusual about each track. An acoustic tour is a bit of variety too. Not everything is a hit with me, but the percentage is really high; the only talent I can think of with a similar success rate for my tastes is Marina and the Diamonds. I’m really looking forward to the release of Florrie’s first album in the first couple of months of next year.

And finally – not that this matters musically, but she’s just a really nice person. At the end of the set, with a little time to spare before I had to be somewhere else, I asked for an autograph on a Florrie beermat and we chatted for a couple of minutes. I said the honest but unimaginative sorts of things people say on these occasions (You’re really good! When’s the album out?), and she, who must hear them all the time, was not only charming but offered me a hug before I left – something I didn’t expect at all, being slightly over twice the age of most other folk in the room and probably looking older than that. Particularly impressive after an intensive ten day tour, and three performances that day (the Universities of Stirling. Strathclyde, and St. Andrews, in that order, all in under 6 hours).

I’ve included quite a number of videos in this post, but couldn’t possibly include everything I like. If you enjoyed any of these, check out the rest of Florrie’s back catalogue while it’s still relatively small! The easiest place to do that is on YouTube as florriemusic. Florrie’s also on Twitter and Facebook. Wikipedia is good for track details, and you can buy on iTunes. Finally, check out the adverts:

* For what it’s worth Runrig were ace, particularly listening to them play their version of The Times They Are A Changin’ a few weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Big Country were OK, but a bit samey to listen to for a whole gig, even after the Peace In Our Time album had marked a change in their sound.

ggreig: (Western gentleman)

Royal Navy 50 foot Picket Boat (from HLBS)

For Christmas, my sister gave me a Royal Navy 50 foot Picket Boat (from HLBS) in 28mm scale, and I spent time over the New Year period painting and assembling it.

Prow of the pinnaceThe boat is a steam pinnace. “Pinnace” has a couple of possible meanings but in this case means a smaller boat carried by a larger ship for use as patrol boats, for ship-to-shore operations and as a defence against torpedo boats – the pinnace would be fast enough to respond to a torpedo boat, and was armed with one or more gun (a Hotchkiss 3 pounder in this case) that would allow it to respond at range. The other gun, not present on my model, might be a Nordenfeldt or Maxim machine gun mounted on the roof of the rear cabin.

This type of pinnace was in use from 1880 right up until the Second World War, with 620 in service during the Great War, so excellent for a steampunk setting.

The kit mouldings are very crisp and clean, mainly in resin with white metal for the finer details and fine plastic rod for the hand rails. The main thing required for painting it was a steady hand (never really got the hang of masking tape), though patience came in handy too while applying several layers of white paint to get a decent solid finish. The only thing I’m a little dissatisfied with is the rear cabin, which is a bit dark in colour and I feel I could maybe have done better there. Good enough though, and I’ll leave it.

An aft view of the pinnaceI had a few minor issues with the parts. The shoulder rest on the Hotchkiss 3 pounder doesn’t have an obvious place to attach it. I checked images of similar guns on the Internet and settled on a location to fix it; I then had to break it off and try again when I discovered the gun couldn’t pivot due to the shoulder rest hitting the top of the engine house. One of the stanchions for the handrails broke (recoverably). One of the cowl vents doesn’t sit comfortably in the space left for it, and some of the instructions could have been clearer.

Finally, I wondered whether the scale was quite right everywhere, as the spaces to be occupied by anyone operating the gun or steering the vessel seemed extremely cramped.  This might be just economy of space on an efficient working vessel, but in particular the space at the wheel is very restricted. Over all the issues were all relatively minor though, and didn’t distract from a very satisfactory model.

As far as colour schemes are concerned, I aimed to make it look more Victorian than 20th Century (which would have featured more light grey). I also went for black rather than blue, so it’s a perfectly normal pinnace; blue would have identified it as an Admiral’s barge. Picket boats such as this don’t seem to have had a lot in the way of individual markings – not even a name – so that helped to keep the paint job simple. If I ever feel brave enough, I may add a bit of coal dust around the coaling holes (the black circles on the deck amidships) using weathering powder, but as a working navy vessel I’m assuming it would be kept pretty spick and span most of the time.

There’s a surviving pinnace of more or less this pattern which is believed to be the last remaining naval steam boat in the UK. Steam Pinnace 199 was built in 1911 and now belongs to the Royal Naval Museum in Portsmouth. Steam Pinnace 199 was an Admiral's barge, so you can see the blue colour previously mentioned. There are a couple of interesting videos on YouTube:

Dino 101

Jan. 19th, 2014 05:09 pm
ggreig: (Western gentleman)

dinologoLast week I got my certificate for completing Dino 101: Dinosaur Paleobiology, from the University of Alberta. Like most people, the idea of dinosaurs gripped me when I was wee. I decided before getting to primary school that I wanted to be a palæontologist, and could bamboozle senior relatives with the word. (Or they were playing up to me. I couldn’t tell at the time and prefer the first version now!)

Time went by, and when I got to secondary school, I suddenly twigged that if I wanted to become a palæontologist, I'd probably have to do Biology, and that would mean cutting things up. A combination of squeamishness and conscience meant I really didn’t want to do that, so I gave up on my dream of palæontology and switched to wanting to work in electronics (also not right for me, but it took more years and a degree to reach that conclusion).

Last summer, a story on the BBC web site alerted me to Dino 101, a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) starting in September, and I signed up.

Having been casually interested in dinosaurs for many years, I already knew quite a lot of material that the course covered – it is introductory, after all – but I also learned things. In the very first lesson, I learned what gastralia are, a detail of dinosaur (and crocodile) anatomy that despite all my interest had utterly passed me by.

Internal artwork from 'Dinosaurs - Hunter and Hunted', a primary school projectThe course is nominally a video lecture a week, over twelve weeks, with a five question quiz after the lecture.  There are also lecture notes that are worth reading as there’s some material in them that may not be covered in the lectures. You can go at your own pace, however, so some people had finished the course within a day or so of it being opened up. I took it at a lecture a week at first, but picked up pace so that I rattled through the latter part of the course and finished in early October.

The lecture titles were: Appearance and Anatomy; Eating; Moving Around; Birth, Growth and Reproduction; Attack and Defense; Death and Fossilization; What is a Species?; Evolution; Stratigraphy and Geologic Time; Paleography and Plate Tectonics; Dinosaur Origins; and Dinosaur Extinction.

The only one that I felt was not entirely successful was the lecture covering Stratigraphy and Geologic Time. It was more or less a recital of geological time periods with a small amount of detail about what characterised each one before moving on to the next. It’s difficult to think of a different way of doing this, but it didn’t make for the most thrilling or memorable of lectures. Having said that, it did hold my attention a little more than the same subject does in writing, so maybe with repeated viewing some of it will stick.

And repeated viewing is an option! Although you can watch the lectures online and get the benefit of some interactive bits, you also have the option of downloading them for offline viewing, and I did both. The lectures are presented by Betsy Kruk, a research student, rather than the nominal course-giver, Philip J. Currie. This is kind of a TV approach to lecturing, which I have mixed feelings about, ultimately but it probably was a good idea. Though Professor Currie is a recognised authority you may have seen on other programmes and a good speaker, Betsy’s better at projecting her enthusiasm on camera and, having been in quite a number of dry lectures over the years on other topics, that really does help.

The Early World;  jotter cover from a 1978 primary school project (age 10)The interactive bits are a bit of fun. Most are quick quiz questions (What do you think is right? A, B, C or D?) before giving the right answer, but there are also a few puzzles (reconstruct this dinosaur skeleton;lay out this phylogenetic tree of the families of dinosauria) and a fossil cabinet. The fossil cabinet is treated as though it were a highlight of the course, and makes appearances throughout, with new fossils added each time, but I’m afraid it is a bit disappointing. The fossils, which you can turn around and look at closely, are low resolution 3D models, with no texture-mapping – so they look like poor plastic mouldings. If they were high definition, with use made of colour to show their real appearance (possibly with false colour layers to highlight points of interest) then this could really be a highlight. Unfortunately, as it stands, although it holds some interest, a highlight it is not.

As far as qualifications go, honestly, I can’t take any real pride in my 100% record on the course, as there’s a chance to retake each quiz and I would have dropped a few questions without that option. I paid $69 to have my identity confirmed while taking the quizzes (by photograph and recognising my typing pattern while entering a declaration), but that was pretty much for vanity – I wanted some proof I’d done the course, in the form of my certificate, but wasn’t pursuing it as a genuine qualification.

If I’d wanted genuine course credits for it, I could have paid a bit more in the way of tuition fees ($263) and taken two proctored exams. The exams would have been a bit more challenging and traditional, as they’re overseen by an individual who can view your screen and see you through a web cam, so there’s no cheating. Although I didn’t take part in that, it was interesting to read how technology was being used to enable remote exams.

I would recommend repeats of this course for those with an interest, although it might be a bit simple for those who are already well informed on this subject. You can sign up here. The first repeat started on 6th January, and you might be able to join it.

I enjoyed my first MOOC, and would do another, though with limited free time I’ll have to be a bit careful what I sign up for.A more recent effort; a Natural History Museum Liopleuridon, painted in Walking with Dinosaurs colours

ggreig: (Western gentleman)

Earlier this month, I came across a model maker I wasn’t aware of before, selling his work through eBay. Nathan Yeoman works in a selection of scales, and across a variety of subjects. The common element seems to be quirkiness, in the best sense. If you wish something was available in your scale, but no-one else is making it, then maybe Nathan is.

So if you need (or just want) for example: a V1 rocket and launch ramp in 1:100 scale (or a V2); a Horten Ho 229 in 1:144; assorted GWR buildings; Nissen huts or a brilliant selection of call-boxes, including AA and RAC, then take a look at Yeoman Models. The blog in particular seems worth keeping an eye on.

Despite being tempted by some of those things, what I went for was a selection of Victorian street furniture – three post boxes, a water pump, a snowman, and a selection of manhole covers:

Yeoman Models Victorian street furniture

They’re all sitting on a tile of Wills Granite Sets, a nice, cheap way of getting a set of cobbles just about the right size for basing a 28mm horse-drawn vehicle, and accompanied by a 28mm figure for an idea of size. As usual, you can click through for a full-size photo.

Apart from the snowman’s arms, which are metal, these are all resin and include some fantastic detail. The cast lettering on the pillar boxes and drain covers is crisp and legible - my photos don’t do the moulding justice, even at full size, but you can read the words “Post Office” on the Penfold pillar box (the middle one). For reference, here’s a photo of a real one in the village:

Penfold pillar box, Kingsbarns

For fans of The Talons of Weng-Chiang and associated audio spin-offs, one of the manhole covers bears the legend “Jago & Litefoot Ltd, Limehouse”, while another was apparently created by Yeoman & Sons!

Yeoman Models Victorian street furniture

The pillar boxes were painted in a red acrylic from Inscribe, with details picked out in black, white and gold. They were finished off by an application of Rotring Artist Color red ink which helped deepen the shadows a bit and provided a reasonably subtle gloss; applying a gloss varnish would probably have been too much. Apparently Rotring inks aren’t available any more, but there are probably alternatives.

The manhole covers were painted a rust colour (Revell Aqua Color 83), then given a Raw Umber wash. The flash makes them look a bit paler than they actually are, but natural light was not an option today. Looks like I’ve overdone it with the black on the one pierced manhole cover – I may have to revisit that.

I rather wish I’d placed the pump at an angle so that you can see it more clearly. It’s another nice and atmospheric piece. The base colour is Revell Bronze Green (65), with the cast features picked out using Inscribe’s Honey Dew. I used rust again for the grating, and Revell Tank Grey for the base. It’s the same colour I used as the base colour for the cobbles, but left “as-is” without the further shading the cobbles received.

The snowman is painted white, but with a thin wash of Inscribe’s Blue Mist to give a little bit of depth to the shadows – pretty much washed out by the flash, of course. The scarf is based on one given to me by [livejournal.com profile] msinvisfem. You may be able to guess which other scarf inspired that one!


A few days after placing my order, I got an e-mail from Nathan inviting any suggestions for other things to make. Rather excitingly, a couple of my suggestions seemed to be of interest, with a possibility that one may become available sometime in the year ahead. Something to look forward to…

ggreig: (Bah Humbug)

Walking With Dinosaurs movie poster

I went to see this today, because Walking With Dinosaurs. It is both good and awful.

The awful comes first, because it really is important that you know about it before considering watching this movie (I did and took my chances).

Like many wildlife films, Walking With Dinosaurs sets up some of the animals as characters to follow through the movie. The awful bit is, it gives them voices. Actually no, the really awful bit is that the script for those voices is straight out of a bad Saturday morning cartoon. There are two American kid brothers growing up (pachyrhinosaurs). One is stronger but a bit less bright than the other – the underdog’s the hero of course – and there’s a girl pachyrhinosaurus who becomes a love interest. Then there’s a wise-cracking Mexican bird (John Leguizamo – perhaps he’s fed up with being a sloth). There’s no attempt to lip-synch the dialogue – although actually this might be a good point, as I’ll explain below – so there’s a further alienating disconnect between what you’re seeing on screen and what you’re hearing.

Maybe all this will draw in a big junior audience; but I wouldn’t bet on it. I’ve been to some fairly sparsely attended cinema showings, but I don’t think I’ve ever had Cinema 1 at the NPH to myself before (at least the circle – I can’t swear to the stalls being empty but it was awfully quiet). On a Saturday evening just before Christmas. Maybe it clashed with a lot of Christmas parties?

Someone else's picture of the interior of the NPH, taken from the circle. There were fewer people there tonight than there are in this photo.

So what are the good bits? The visuals, as you would expect from the Walking With Dinosaurs brand, are really good. Without the physical models that distinguished the earliest Walking With Dinosaurs output, you’re often aware you’re watching CGI, but it’s still pretty good. There are a few places where it’s played for laughs visually, but these are generally not too intrusive. The most gratuitous example is our hero suffering a terrible indignity under the tail of a much larger adult. Other examples are along the lines of dinosaurs slipping on ice and aren’t too overstated. I rather suspect the facial expressions are a bit anthropomorphised, but again it doesn’t seem too heavy-handed.

Given what I said above about the awful script for this movie, it may come as a surprise that I think it actually tells a powerful and effective story. Visually, considering they’re clearly targeting a young audience and have complete control over what happens, few punches are pulled. While it’s not totally nature red in tooth and claw, animals die in this movie when they’re attacked by carnivores, including some we care about. The terrible dialogue detracts from the impact of the scenes, which is perhaps to some extent what it’s supposed to do.

This could actually be a good and quite moving movie, if it had a completely different soundtrack. If you’re an adult, wait until it’s available cheap on DVD, and play it on mute. The lack of lip-synch will help here, as it's not obvious the animals are talking. It would be great if someone could create an alternative score to accompany it.

In the category of “noteworthy, but why?” bits:

  1. The story’s book-ended by scenes with some kids and a palaeontologist played by Karl Urban (Éomer in LOTR, Judge Dredd, and Dr. McCoy in the rebooted Star Trek). He’s totally wasted in this role and I don’t know why they spent money on getting a decent actor for a few insignificant scenes when they don’t even use him in any way to promote the film.
  2. A herd of migrating Edmontosaurus are accompanied by Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk. Er? OK, it’s a nice track and I guess it’s for the rhythm, but the first thing it made me think was, ah, these must be Iguanodon (because of the thumb spike).
  3. New dinosaurs were introduced by a brief freeze and text labelling as to what they were. Perfectly fine in a documentary, weird in a film. Given it probably did have to be there, I think I would rather have had more information.
  4. The 3D is nice but not compelling most of the time; they succumb to gimmickry at one particular point that was effective enough to make me jump, but it’s not part of the main body of the movie. I feel as though I should be a bit offended by that, but ho-hum. Other stuff offended me more – see above!
ggreig: (Western gentleman)

Back in 2009 I recommended Marina and the Diamonds (a.k.a. Marina Diamandis – the “Diamonds” are her fans, not a band). Since then she’s released not just her first album (The Family Jewels), but a second one too – Electra Heart.

I have to confess I was a bit disappointed with Electra Heart when it came out last year. It has a more conventional contemporary pop style and production than her distinctive earlier work, sounding quite reminiscent of Katy Perry, or a Ke$ha without the rap. This was not really what I’d hoped for after I Am Not A Robot and Mowgli’s Road.

Concept albums have only made occasional appearances since the 1970s. The most notable recent proponents are the somewhat surprising Green Day, whose rock operas American Idiot (2004) and 21st Century Breakdown (2009) fall into concept album territory. Although I don’t think the term concept album was used, it’s always been clear that Electra Heart was intended to be something similar.

The backstory of Electra Heart is that Marina had an unsuccessful relationship with someone who was, basically, looking out for number one. Despite intending not to write stereotypical songs about love, she found herself reflecting on this relationship and writing indirectly about it. The eponymous Electra Heart is a female character with similar attitudes to the ex, who embodies four archetypes: the Teen Idle, the Primadonna, Su-Barbie-A (the suburban housewife),  and the Homewrecker.

As released in 2012, Electra Heart the album in some ways has a difficult sell. Electra Heart the character is not inherently a sympathetic character, although Marina succeeds in establishing a bit of rapport for her. The album starts with a couple of songs that grab you fairly emphatically (the poppy anthem Bubblegum Bitch and stomper Primadonna), but after that the focus is rather lost and the album seems to wander through a selection of competent but ultimately uninspiring tracks. You pays your money, you gets your album, that’s it.

However, there’s another way of looking at Electra Heart. Even before the album was released, on 8th August 2011, Marina started posting promotional videos for the album on YouTube, beginning with PART 1: ♡ "FEAR & LOATHING” ♡, and appearing in character as Electra Heart — usually blonde, with 1950s style fashions and a black heart beauty spot on the left cheek. Two years later to the day, the 11th and last video has just been posted, and it becomes clear that the best way to listen to Electra Heart is not to play the album, but to follow the sequence of videos.

Some tracks that are on the CD do not appear amongst the videos, and some videos feature tracks that are not on the album. For those tracks that are found in both places, the video sequence brings a much-needed structure.




First video only - go to the playlist

Where the order of tracks on the album seemed somewhat haphazard, in the YouTube version Fear and Loathing sets the scene for Electra Heart’s different personas and pre-shadows what’s to come, before we meet the Teen Idle in Radioactive. The Archetypes is a linking track of the sort you generally wouldn’t listen to on its own but it introduces the archetypes by name and emphasises Electra Heart’s alienation. We quickly progress through the Primadonna and Su-Barbie-A as Electra goes through young adulthood and gets married, carrying with her her expectations of how she expects life to turn out. Power and Control depicts a rather cynical battle for control in the relationship, before things start to fall apart as Electra becomes the Homewrecker, starting with How To Be A Heartbreaker.

In E.V.O.L. (released on Valentines Day 2013) a failed relationship leaves Electra hurt and resentful. State of Dreaming is more reflective as she looks back on how she’s been living. Up to this point, although Electra’s had a lot of screen time, she rarely looks straight at the camera. By way of contrast, Lies starts off delivered straight to camera and is a powerful accusation that comes across as very personal. In the finalé, posted on 8th August this year exactly two years after the first part, Electra Heart reviews her life (this is mostly conveyed through a retrospective of the previous videos rather than through the fairly minimal lyrics) before deciding on a fresh start.The final shot shows that the persona of Electra Heart is no more (backed up by a tweet from Marina).

Five tracks out of eleven are not on the album, but two of those are relative minimal atmospheric tracks (The Archetypes and Su-Barbie-A) and one is the conclusion, also fairly light on lyrical content. The remaining two are How To Be A Heartbreaker and E.V.O.L. These do give a more narrative feel to the decline of Electra’s fortunes in the Homewrecker phase, but apart from the fleshing out of this stage of the narrative, the main difference is just in track ordering, and it seems at least possible, if not likely, that the album would therefore have benefited from a bit of restructuring.

In the future, I’m much more likely to listen to the YouTube version as a playlist than the album as it was released. It’s also an option to plug in some of the missing tracks from the album where they appear to fit in with the narrative. I won’t go overboard with trying to cram extras in, but for my own listening I think Bubblegum Bitch fits nicely just after the introductory Fear and Loathing, seeming to express an Electra Heart maybe a couple of years younger than in Radioactive.

Just as a final aside, given that Marina is Welsh of Greek origin, and has hinted at the relevance of mythology, it’s likely that the name Electra isn’t a random choice – sadly though, I’m not picking up on any references there may be to the mythological Electra.

Unfortunately, embedding these videos is problematic, so I've included Fear and Loathing above, and you can watch the rest as a playlist.

ggreig: (Default)

Well, no Tintin at all actually, but several books with strong links to Tintin and Hergé, including the ligne claire (clear line) style and mid-20th century settings associated with both.

The Yellow "M"Atlantis Mystery

First up are the adventures of Blake and Mortimer, a series of 19 books written between 1950 and 2009, 14 of which are available in English now or will be soon. Created by Edgar P. Jacobs, a Belgian contemporary of and collaborator with Hergé, they recount the adventures of Captain Francis Blake (head of MI5) and his friend, nuclear physicist Professor Philip Mortimer. In a partial reversal of what your character expectations might be, Captain Blake tends to be the cool, calm one, while the Professor has a bit of a temper.

The Yellow “M” was apparently number 1 in the series, and appears to be regarded as a bit of a classic, so it’s a shame I don’t agree. The story of pursuing a somewhat John-MacNab-style villain who pre-announces his crimes is intriguing enough, there’s some weird science, and a nice twist; but it’s all rather clunkingly handled, with an awful lot of excess verbiage, both in narrative boxes and from the characters – I just picked one (of many) largish speech bubble just now and counted 117 words! it doesn’t help that the translation is not really up to scratch. There are quite a number of places where the dialogue just isn’t ringing true, and suddenly you realise “Hang on, this would sound fine in French!” Then a key moment at the end references a previous book – which is fine, except that I thought this was book 1? It turns out it’s only book 1 according to the English publishing order, and that books 2 and 3 actually preceded it in France – not to mention three other volumes that haven’t been published in English at all yet.

It may be of some local interest to Londoners – there’s a lot of chasing around London streets, and I’ve seen it suggested online that Jacobs’ art was particularly  well-researched in that regard. I can’t tell, I’m afraid.

Well, I wouldn’t go so far as to say it was money wasted, but at that point my initial Tintin-tinged enthusiasm for Blake and Mortimer was fading a bit. Luckily Atlantis Mystery restored my faith. The jabber is cut way back, and to a far greater extent the pictures tell the story – and what a story it is! As you can probably guess from the title and the cover, there’s an ancient civilisation with higher tech than us involved and it is just rather a lot of fun. This is far more what I was hoping for, and I didn’t notice any translation issues this time round.

I’ll probably get more of these, but on the basis of the two I’ve read it’s unclear what to expect. Both books despite being written and drawn consecutively by Jacobs himself were of different quality; and later books in the series are by other authors and artists, after Jacobs’ death in 1987. Fingers crossed!

The Rainbow Orchid (Volume 1)

The Rainbow Orchid has been around for over a decade in one form or another, but has been more recently revamped and issued in book form. In fact the final Volume 3 is coming out on Monday (April 2nd). The writer and artist this time (Garen Ewing) is British, and openly acknowledges Tintin’s influence on his work, while making the point that ligne claire is a European style of comic art of which Tintin is only the example we know best in the UK.

I felt this first volume was a little thin, so you might be better waiting for the single volume edition of The Rainbow Orchid that’s apparently also planned, but that is pretty much my only criticism. I was very comfortable with both the style and the content of this story – it flows nicely, the characters are varied and appealing, and best of all there’s a sense of humour to it that may be the strongest link to Tintin. There are differences of course; the young reporter in this tale is not the hero, though he is a catalyst for the quest the actual hero and heroine find themselves on!

I would whole-heartedly recommend The Rainbow Orchid. You can wait for the single-volume edition, or order autographed and sketched-in copies of the individual volumes from Garen Ewing’s shop.

The Adventures of Hergé

I thought this graphic biography might be a light-hearted and fun way to learn a bit about Hergé, but I was wrong. The artwork doesn’t match up to the standard of the other books reviewed here, and while of course a real person’s life isn’t going to be as tidy as a plotted adventure, this book is very episodic with great leaps between episodes in Hergé’s life. Even within particular episodes, it’s not always easy to follow what’s going on. I’m afraid I’d rather have read a “proper” prose book to cover Hergé’s background. Must get hold of Tintin: The Complete Companion someday.

ggreig: (Default)

A small jar of honey with white truffles, the box it came in, and a 50p for scale.

There are probably better ways to savour the delights of honey and white truffles than from the same jar.

sugru

Mar. 30th, 2012 03:42 pm
ggreig: (Default)

Apparently this has been around for a while, but I only came across it last week: sugru is a silicone rubber putty that comes in little sachets like a largish wad of chewing gum, and overnight it cures into, well, silicone rubber with the strength and flexibility that you might expect. Having seen the interesting examples of its usage on the web site, I thought I’d buy a pack of 12 assorted colours and see what it was like.

The pack that arrived was smaller than I expected – about A5 size – and it was a surprise to discover that sugru had a “best before” date, giving it a shelf-life of about six or seven months. That was a bit disappointing, and although it was prominent on the packaging I hadn’t seen any mention of it on the web site. Black mark!

The other drawback that I noticed fairly quickly, which doesn’t bother me but might be a show-stopper for others, is that sugru is not food-grade – so shouldn’t be used to make anything that will come directly in contact with food. Again, disappointing for a silicone rubber.

However, since I didn’t have any immediate application in mind, I didn’t need a large quantity, and in light of the best-before-date I was doubly glad I hadn’t gone overboard.

I was expecting to have to try to think of a use for it, then when I was working on the Neanderthal head a need suddenly rose. I used some Micro Set to make a water-slide transfer adhere better, but when putting the lid back on to the bottle I burst it! The plastic snapped around the top of the lid, as I tried to tighten it up too much.

It wouldn’t have been my first choice for what to apply an interesting silicone rubber fix to, but it did seem like a good candidate, and timely, so I gave the sugru a go, and applied it as a new grip around the top of the bottle cap, covering the split.

It seems pretty sound, it’s gripped the plastic of the bottle cap well, feels firm to the touch with a very slight give, and is quite grippy. Most importantly, it’s sealed the disastrous split so that none of the precious fluids can escape. For this simple task, it’s done the job well.

It’s not the most thrilling application, but this stuff has a lot of potential, so I thought it was worth a) mentioning, b) sharing my experience and c) pointing out the couple of disappointments I discovered with it, so that people are informed.

ggreig: (Default)

I’ve been on holiday this week, and it’s been a chance to tinker with stuff that I struggle to make time for at the weekends. One of those things is a peg sculpture of a Neanderthal head (pegs à la forensic reconstruction, that is). I found it being remaindered in a toy shop last year when I was looking for a present for my godson.  I figured it was a bit old for him, but something that I would love to play with… (He did get something else, don’t worry!)

I had a choice between this and a gorilla, and according to the advertising material inside there were also a Tyrannosaurus Rex, Julius Caesar and a horse in the range, but I think this is the one I would have chosen anyway – the T-Rex obviously wouldn’t have been 1:1 scale, and a Neanderthal beats old Julius for interest any day.

There were some reasonably detailed instructions inside the kit for reconstructing the Neanderthal’s face, but one vital piece of information was missing – what is this stuff you’ve given me to build the face with, and is it going to set? It was referred to in some places as “clay”, and on the packets as “modelling material”, and it looked a lot like Plasticine.

Without a very definite idea of how the “modelling material” was going to behave, I wanted to have enough slack available to be able to just keep going if time proved to be an issue, so it became top of the list of things to do this week.

Here’s what I started off with; a skull (cream) with some moulded muscle (yellow) and fat (white) on top. Not quite sure why the fat was there, as ultimately it didn’t contribute much to the shape of the face, but I guess I was being informed as well as entertained:

The moulded skull, with muscle and fat attached.

The first thing to do was to cut the red pegs off their sprue and insert them into their matching numbered holes.

Moulded skull with depth pegs now attached

Then the first of the “modelling material” was applied, to bulk up the cheeks. The “modelling material” turned out to behave awfully like Plasticine, as well as looking like it, and I think from now on we’ll assume that that’s what it is. Here the aim was to build the cheeks up until only the small pips on the end of each peg were still visible – the little dots you can see in the picture. I moved to paper towels here as I realised the newsprint was leaving marks on the back of the skull:

Building up depth in the cheek

Next, apply eyes and former for nose, and suffer accusing glare. Eyes and nose were cast in white plastic, with water-slide transfers for iris and pupils:

Nose former and eyes applied

Roll out a sheet of Plasticine to 3mm (roller and depth-graded tray provided) and apply from brow to back of skull:

Skin attached over top of head

Do likewise with a couple more sheets to cover the sides of the skull:

Skin attached to sides of head

Then apply another sheet from the bridge of the nose down to the chin, and form tightly around the mouth and nose:

Neanderthal 021

Apply another sheet from just below each eye down to under the jaw line. This builds up the cheek, and gives it a nice smooth surface, unlike the slightly rough surface built up by hand before:

Skin applied over mouth and nose

Apply eyelids. Ned now looks bored rather than accusatory. This stage was a bit tricky, and the waterslide transfers suffered a bit here, although not enough to be a disaster:

Eyelids applied

Build up the nostrils (compare with previous picture):

Nostrils built up

Form the lips and filtrum (groove beneath the nose):

Mouth built up

Build ears around white plastic formers, remove the place-holder pegs that have been in their place up until now, and stick on head. The ears I made are pretty rubbish and I have a whole newfound respect for anyone who can get ears right, whether drawn or sculpted. The ear doesn’t look too bad in this photo, but I could easily have picked a less flattering angle:

Ears applied

Add final detail to the face; lines around mouth and nose and under the eyes, and dots for pores/bristles. Apparently there was a hair pack for the Neanderthal sold separately, but I couldn’t locate one to buy and decided to go ahead without it. Having found a picture online, I think perhaps I wasn’t missing much:

Final detailing; lines and pores

I lent him my glasses for this picture, to counter Neanderthals’ image of being lacking in intellect. This Neanderthal looks down his nose at me because I neither know nor care what the semiotic thickness of a performed text is.

"Tell me, what do you think of the assertion that the semiotic thickness of a performed text varies according to the redundancy of auxiliary performance codes?" 

So now I have a creepy Neanderthal head to keep about the house and gather dust. Every home should have one! It’s a shame that it does appear to be Plasticine and therefore not as permanent as it might be; so at some point in the future I suspect it will be reduced to its component parts and/or discarded. However, for now, it’s kind of satisfying to have the result of a (very long!) day’s work to look back on.

ggreig: (Moustache)

Precious and the PuggiesOften a bit behind the times, I belatedly noticed an interesting slim volume on the shelves today, by Alexander McCall Smith. The title was Precious and the Puggies, and the subtitle Precious Ramotswe’s Very First Case. But I also noticed it was published by Itchy Coo. What a (hem hem) coup!

I thought I’d mentioned Itchy Coo before, a long time ago, but a trawl through the obvious tags on my LJ didn’t turn up anything, so I’d better explain – Itchy Coo publish children’s books in Scots. The level varies between ABC and teen. Many are written for the purpose; others present Roald Dahl and A.A. Milne in the original Scots (The Eejits, Geordie’s Mingin Medicine, The Sleekit Mr. Tod, The Hoose at Pooh’s Neuk, Winnie the Pooh in Scots).

With such illustrious authors already on the list, Precious and the Puggies still represents a departure. For the first time, Itchy Coo have published a book in Scots about an international best-selling character, by the original author, before it appears in any other language. (Actually McCall Smith wrote it in English and it was translated into Scots by James Robertson, but with McCall Smith’s full support.) It won’t be available in English until later this year, approximately a year after its Scots publication.

This seems to have resulted in mixed reviews on Amazon, as those who knew what they were getting have rated it highly, while those who didn’t realise the book was in Scots have collectively blown a gasket (with the honourable exception of one American, to whom I doff my hat). That’s a bit sad, if unfortunately inevitable.

I’m glad this book exists. But do I like it?

I haven’t read any of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books – or indeed any other McCall Smith, apart from a few snippets of the 44 Scotland Street series in The Scotsman. I’m not grabbed by the kitchen sink style of what I’ve seen, and I don’t know what to think about the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency. On the one hand, I’m concerned that an older Scottish white dude – albeit born in Zimbabwe – writing about black ladies in Botswana runs a very real risk of being paternal, Imperialist, or both. On the other, I think imaginative writing shouldn’t be limited by who you are. I guess the acid test is whether the writing is appreciated by black ladies in Botswana. If on the whole it is, then it would be pretty presumptuous of me to have a beef about it. Unfortunately I don’t know how it’s received in Botswana.

So I’m writing from a position of ignorance in a number of ways.

With that in mind, it’s plain it’s not a typical member of the series. Besides being in Scots, it’s targeted at children, it’s quite slim (79 pages) and it tells how the 8-year old Precious Ramotswe decides she would like to become a detective, and how she solves her first “case”, many years before forming her real detective agency. At a cover price of £6.99, I would say, unfortunately, it’s over-priced.

There isn’t much of a mystery about it; the clue’s in the title, and even the cover art rather gives it away, although the resolution provides some reason to keep reading beyond the revelation! The plot’s reasonable for a primary school reader of about the same age as Precious; not too basic, but not too demanding, allowing the reader to concentrate on understanding the Scots. A confident Scots speaker shouldn’t have too much difficulty with the language, and there’s a glossary at the back if you get stuck on a word.

Since there isn’t a single standard written form of Scots as there is for English, most readers will have some moments of hesitancy or doubts as to the authenticity of a spelling or phrase. James Robertson seems to have quite a reconstructionist style, rather than trying to mimic a particular dialect, which may make his prose a little more prone to these doubts. I share them; but a synthesis like this is probably inevitable in a successful written Scots revival, and likely to lose its unfamiliarity.

If the book were set in Scotland, rather than just written in Scots, it would be classic kailyard, and I suspect this is true of the adult books too. This is not necessarily a bad thing – give me any kailyard in preference to The House with the Green Shutters – but does mean that easy reading takes preference over social comment. Some moments of characterisation are quite effective though, and hint at greater depth.

The resolution may leave some a bit uncomfortable – as it did me – with an impression of lip service being paid to some obvious concerns. If you’re buying for your kids, I would recommend checking out whether you think the ending is appropriate first.

This book is an event buy for fans of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency who aren’t afraid to dip their toe into Scots, and would also be a good read for primary school Scots readers. It is a bit overpriced for what it is, and if you’re not comfortable with at least giving Scots a go, you should wait for the eventual release in other languages. 3 out of 5 stars. March 12th 2011. Gavin Greig.

ggreig: (Vacant Podling)

Better it had sunk. Read the books instead.

October 21, 2007 by
photo Gavin T.D. Greig
Kingsbarns
The Dark Is Rising (a.k.a. The Seeker)

★☆☆☆☆

Better it had sunk. Read the books instead.

Oh, alright, maybe I had better say a little more than that. Here is how not to make a successful movie adaptation: take a series of children's books that rejoice in mixing British legend with modern life, replace the central family with an American one, reduce the mysterious Merriman Lyon to a quipping cipher (though Ian McShane in this role really looks the part for ), and ignore four out of the five books altogether, reducing the best known one to a hammed-up chase through time collecting the magic twinkies. Do not bother providing explanations for any of the weirdness that is going on, rely on modifying the book's trivial betrayal to replace the much more interesting and poignant one, and certainly do not touch on any of the legends that made the books worth reading in the first place.

There's more - for example, the Dark Ages warrior whose entire vocabulary appears to consist of "grunph" is a classic of poetically sparse characterisation (cough) - but you don't really need to know. Just avoid this movie if you ever cared for the books. Even if you don't know the books, you will probably find the movie intellectually unsatisfying if your age has advanced into double figures.

Please may they never get their hands on Alan Garner.

0.3

This hReview brought to you by the hReview Creator.

ggreig: (Saint George)

A Victorian Natural History Collection

Sep 15, 2006 by
photo Gavin T.D. Greig
Kingsbarns
The Bell Pettigrew Museum of Natural History

★★★★☆

Today I visited the Bell Pettigrew Museum of Natural History for the first time, and jolly interesting it was too.

Dissection... )

0.3

This hReview brought to you by the hReview Creator.

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