Dylan And The Nightingale

In honour of Dylan’s recently bestowed honour, I thought I’d repost this from the summer just passed.

City Jackdaw

I’m behind with my Springwatch. So much so that it is now summer. I watched one of the episodes I recorded yesterday, and learned an amazing fact about the nightingale.

This bird, in an attempt to woo a female mate, chooses around 600 notes, and then combines them into about 250 phrases. From these it produces its song, and every time it sings, its song is different every single time.

Think about that: from the combination and variants open to them, every time these birds sing, they never repeat the same song. Each time they come up with something original.

The latest research seems to indicate that females select males on the quality of his song, because the nightingales that sing the best are the best providers of food for chicks. Ready to pull, they clear their throat and give it there all.

Never worked for me on Karaoke night.

Each year…

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Hammer Chooseday #16: The Lost Continent

The Lost Continent (1968) 4/5

Enjoyable hokum as Hammer favourites Suzanna Leigh and Michael Ripper appear in a madcap but entertaining story, though I’m not sure whose idea it was to start with a Bond-style theme song.

Passengers and crew on a ship discover that they are carrying a dangerous cargo-Phosphor B, that explodes on contact with water. Should be safe on a ship, though, yes? Cue an approaching hurricane.

The ship is abandoned by the fractious crew, marooned in a lifeboat enveloped by a mysterious mist, surrounded by some, erm, killer seaweed.

I like how, after her overbearing father is eaten by a shark, Suzanne Leigh becomes something of a maneater herself. I like even more how my auto correct kept changing this sentence to : After her overbearing father is eaten by a shark, Suzanne Leigh becomes something of a manatee herself.

Did someone call me a sea cow?

All this despite the intervention of a one-eyed rubber octopus chaperone.

I know, this all seems like some drug-induced trip. As one of the characters said:

“We go where the weed takes us.” Quite.

The storm abated, they return to their ship. They’d bought tickets after all.

They drift into an otherworldly graveyard of galleons, a character observing:

“It’s like all of the world have come here to die.” 

Just the kind of optimist you need when the chips are down.

To add to the fantastical cast of thousands we meet some murderous Spanish pirates. It is discovered that they are able to walk upon the seaweed with snowshoes and balloons tied to their shoulders. Don’t think the look would ever make Vogue.

This was not how I envisaged my acting career developing.

But in doing so they encounter a giant crab that is a forerunner of E.T, and a scorpion on wheels.

Go hoooome!!!

After many fireworks with the help of Phosphor B, the seaweed burns and the pirates are defeated, leaving the cast to survive and dream of Hollywood.

I know it sounds like someone dropped me an acid as soon as I pressed play on my Sky box, but despite not expecting much I was pleasantly surprised.