Friday on my Mind 160: Happy Together

The Turtles were one of those male vocal groups the US seemed to produce so easily in the mid-60s. The Association and The Cowsills also spring to mind along with The Happenings. The Beach Boys, however, were always a cut above the rest.

Their name had an unfortunate resonance with the US label they signed for, White Whale, and they feared they might be thought of as a novelty group as a result. There were no such problems in the UK on London American.

The single of Happy Together seemed to hang about the lower reaches of the British charts for weeks before finally climbing into the top twenty, during which time I bought it, but it’s one of those which has had an extensive after-life, unlike its successors She’d Rather Be With Me and Elenore – both bigger hits in the UK (or at least higher chart placings.)

The Turtles: Happy Together

Scotland’s Favourite Book Update

You may have noticed from my sidebar I am currently reading Val McDermid’s The Wire in the Blood.

This is my latest from the list of Scotland’s Favourite Books I posted about here.

Of the thirty books shown there that will be 27 I will have read, the only exceptions being:
An Oidhche Mus Do Sheol Sinn (The Night Before We Sailed) by Angus Peter Campbell which being written in Gaelic I could not attempt except in translation,
Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, which simply does not appeal to me, and
Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh.

That last is, along with Lewis Grassic Gibbon’s Sunset Song, one of only two books to appear on all four lists of Scottish books I have slowly been working my way through.
(The other lists are:- the 100 best Scottish Books; the Herald’s “100” best Scottish Fiction Books; the Scotsman’s 20 Scottish Books Everyone Should Read.)

I have long doubted that Trainspotting could be as good as Sunset Song and have so far resisted its charms. One day I suppose I’ll bite that bullet but for now The Wire in the Blood is the last from this particular list.

Art Deco – and more – in Castle Douglas

Castle Douglas is a small town in Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland. (I have seen the town’s name translated into French as Chateau Sans Chien. You have to be Scottish to get this. Castle Dug-less.) It has quite a few examples of more or less deco style.

Nikos Greek Restaurant:-

Nikos, Castle Douglas

Door detail, Nikos Greek Restaurant:-

Door Detail, Nikos, Castle Douglas

A former bank now a kids (clothes?) shop:-

Former Bank, Castle Douglas

Fine carved detailing round and above door on former bank:-

Door Detail, Former Bank, Castle Douglas

Telephone Exchange. Pity the windows’ eyes are poked out on this building:-

Castle Douglas Telephone Exchange

Castle Douglas Library is housed in a rather fine old building:-

Castle Douglas Library

Kilrenny War Graves

Kilrenny is a village in Fife, as near to Anstruther – and Cellardyke – as almost makes no difference, separated only by a (short stretch of) road.

I spotted a Commonwealth War Graves sign on its graveyard’s entrance and went to investigate. There were two graves.

Private G Corstorphine, The Black Watch, 10/8/1917, aged 25:-

Commonwealth War Grave, Kilrenny, Fife, Scotland

Private J Doig, The Black Watch, 15/11/1915, aged 20:-

War Grave, Kilrenny

In addition three private gravestones mentioned war dead.

James Anstruther Moncrieff, killed in action, HMS Invincible, 31/5/1916, aged 22. Presumably in the Battle of Jutland:-

Kilrenny Memorial

Alexander W Henderson, lost at sea by mine explosion, 14/8/1917, aged 29:-

Kilrenny Commemoration

Similar name but a different gravestone yet obviously the same incident. Andrew Henderson, killed at sea by an explosion, August 1917, aged 53:-

Kilrenny Grave Commemoration

Lance Corporal James Murray, 48 Canadian Highlanders, Canadian Expeditionary Force, 22/4/1915, aged 21:-

Kilrenny War Commemoration

Semi-Final Draw

So it’s off to Oswestry, to play a Welsh team, in England, in a Scottish cup competition. The ways of the modern football world are bizarre.

We’ve drawn The New Saints away in the Challenge Cup*.

It’s a long way but I’ll need to keep the weekend of the 17th and 18th of February free, just in case.

*Irn Bru Cup.

Keiss War Memorial

Keiss is in Sutherland, Scotland, on the A99 between Wick and John O’Groats. The War Memorial stands a bit away from any houses in a square plot of land beside the road.

Keiss War Memorial, Sutherland

It is inscribed, “Keiss Quoad Sacra Parish. The dedication is “To the memory of the fallen in the Great War 1914-1919,” and towards the base, “Also 1939-1945,” below which are six names for that second conflict. You can also see here that flat, almost treeless, landscape of north-east Sutherland, which acts as a kind of preview for Orkney:-

Keiss War Memorial Closer View

View towards village, showing Great War names:-

Keiss War Memorial Names

View towards North Sea, showing Great War names:-

Keiss War Memorial

Interzone 271, Jul-Aug 2017

TTA Press

Interzone 271 cover

Roy Gray takes the Editorial and describes a visit to the summer’s Barbican exhibition, Into the Unknown: A Journey Through Science Fiction. Jonathan McCalmont discusses China Miéville’s history of the Russian Revolution October, describing it as the book Miéville was born to write. Nina Allan again reflects on SF’s distinction or otherwise as a genre and the necessity to question and reinvent its tropes. Book Zone1 has appreciative reviews of Nina Allan’s The Rift and Emily B Cattaneo’s collection Speaking to Skull Kings and Other Stories plus author interviews with the pair and also considers novels from Eleanor Lerman, Aliette de Bodard and Taiyo Fuji along with Ex Libris, an anthology of stories set in libraries, not to mention my review of Justina Robson’s The Switch.

In the fiction:-
Julie C Day’s The Rocket Farmer2 has three narrative viewpoints in its 10 pages: the descendant of a long line of Mongolian rocket farmers, her daughter, and one of the rockets. It is the daughter who is the first to truly understand the rockets.
Gods in the Blood (of those who rise)3 by Tim Casson is narrated by a science teacher (who has rather unprofessional biological deterministic views about his charges I must say. But these turn out to be plot related.) The nearby Genomic Innovation Facility is manipulating human epigenetics. All this is tied in with a legend from a Sumerian manuscript.
In If Your Powers Fail You in a City Under Tin4 by Michael Reid a tentacled creature called the God Beast has settled in the sky over the city now called Duolunduo. Some people have developed superpowers as a result.
The titular Chubba Luna5 in Eliot Fintushel’s story is an interplanetary music star in a future where people’s life partners are allotted to them in accord with their biochemistry. This doesn’t turn out any better than choosing them for yourselves.
Chris Barnham’s When I Close My Eyes is a mix of SF and ghost story. It is the tale of the first potholer on Titan, a man who hallucinates his dead wife while encountering extraterrestrial life after being trapped by an ice-fall.
The McGuffin of Cryptic Female Choice6 by Andy Dudak is a spermathecal, a mechanism introduced to the womb by virus which allows women to store various men’s sperm and edit their content to produce a desired genome. The societal backlash is portrayed.

Pedant’s corner:- 1“while allowing they catch up” (allowing them to catch up,) “how do you feel it has effected your life as a writer” (affected,) Goss’ (Goss’s.) 2Written in USian, “so that it spread across the table” (the rest of the story is in present tense, so “spreads”,) practicing (practising.) 3where a bunch of other kids were gathered (a bunch was gathered.) 4Written in USian, ”none of them recognize” (none recognises,) “‘can you come with?’” (with me,) “he shines it on the floor near the figure, trying not to startle them” (not to startle it.) 5Written in USian. 6Written in USian, inside of (inside,) “there used to be hundreds of words for love like Inuit words for snow” (isn’t that snow thing a bit of a myth?)

Some corner of a foreign field…. Wietje Farm Cemetery

Wietje Farm Cemetery is close to Ypres (Ieper,) Flanders, Belgium, just off the N313 road. The access is up a grassed path between two houses into a field growing crops. The path continues round the edge of the field until it is at a right angle to the cemetery to which it then leads.

115 Commonwealth servicemen of the Great War are buried here along with one German.

Wietje Farm Cemetery From Access Path

Wietje Farm Cemetery, Flanders, Belgium

Graves and Cross of Sacrifice:-

Wietje Farm Cemetery, Graves

The German grave; Unteroffizier O Hoffmeister, R Inf R, 22/9/1917. This lies off to the left of the previous photo:-

Wietje Farm Cemetery, German Grave

Dumbarton 2-0 Raith Rovers

Scottish Challenge Cup*, Fourth Round, The Rock, 11/11/17.

A historic moment. Certainly the first time we’ve won four games in this tournament in the one season and also the first time we’ve reached its semi-final.

This will be our first national cup semi-final since we lost to Hearts after a replay in nineteen hundred and long time ago.

Plus it’s our first ever international cup semi-final given that Irish and Welsh teams are now allowed in it.

Heady stuff. Congratulations to the lads and manager.

*I suppose I’ll have to mention the sponsors now. It’s officially the Irn Bru Cup.

Poelcapelle War Cemetery, Flanders, Belgium

Poelcapelle is today spelled Poelkapelle. The village is a few miles north-east of Ypres (Ieper.) The British War Cemetery (Commonwealth War Graves Commission) is by the N313 road from Bruges (Brugge) to Ypres.

Poelcapelle War Cemetery,  Belgium

I’ve been to Tyne Cot but nevertheless still gasped when I entered Poelcapelle Cemetery. There are nearly 7,500 burials here, the vast majority, 6,230, of which are “Known unto God”.

View of interior from entrance:-

Interior of Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Graves:-

Graves, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Some of the unidentified soldiers of the Great War:-

War Graves, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Lines of graves:-

Lines of Graves, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Cross of Sacrifice and Stone of Remembrance:-

Cross of Sacrifice and Stone of Remembrance, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Memorial to some of those whose earlier graves were destroyed in later battles:-

Memorial Stone, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

As usual the graves are beautifully kept. A Soldier of the Great War, Known unto God and Private F J Patten, Hampshire Regiment, 4/10/17, aged 21:-

Planting, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Two Soldiers of the Great War:-

More Planting, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

There is one World War 2 grave at Poelcapelle. Private R E Mills, Royal Berkshire Regiment, 30/5/1940, aged 19:

WW 2 Grave, Poelcapelle War Cemetery

Cross of Sacrifice and Stone of Remembrance:-

Cross of Sacrifice and Stone of Remembrance Closer View

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