Category Archives: Film

Somewhere Over The Rainbow

the bigger the storm, the brighter your rainbow

Face it, we’re all facing pretty big storm-clouds , and it doesn’t look as though they’re going to blow over any time soon.  So let’s all look for the silver lining, and hope that we find a rainbow shining through.  It’s either a nightmare, or a dream ~ you choose.

A change from Judy Garland, and I like this version of the classic song.

Please listen with a smile on your face.

With thanks to my friend Paula Light for the inspiration.


jack collier

pretty lucky


Random Jottings ~ COVID-19

you can take social distancing a little bit too far


save the world, stay at home and watch TV


social distancing is just like being shipwrecked


practice social distancing and don’t hoard toilet paper


it’s sad when self-isolation is just like your normal life


without utter solitude, working from home is impossible


COVID-19 is a deadly virus, kill it stone dead with soap and water


you’re more likely to die of a heart attack, in the bath, than you are to die from COVID-19


between 60% and 90% of positive COVID-19 tests are false positives


jack collier

when life is a shipwreck

sing campfire songs

Random Jottings ~ Friendship

a friend when you are in need, is a friend indeed


friendship isn’t a test of endurance


friendship is not a deal, it’s a state of being


true friendship asks no questions and tells no lies


if your lover isn’t your best friend, then it’s just casual sex


a real friend is like a spring of cool clear water in the desert heat


he isn’t your friend if he makes you feel like you’re always walking on eggshells


your best friend is your starlight and your guide when you are lost in the darkness


jack collier

a friend will find you

no matter where you are


Tunes on Tuesday ~ Sinatra

people don’t go to New York to get a good night’s sleep

I’ve worked in London, Paris, Milan, Frankfurt, Amsterdam…  But the very first time I went to Manhattan, got out of the town car on 5th, I knew that the City that Never Sleeps is something special.  New York is suffering and bleeding right now.  So this song is for her.

And, if you’ve never been to the Big Apple, do it before you see Paris and die.

Please listen and think of dancing at the top of the Flatiron Building.

And, I made it there.


jack collier

the movie reference

Bell, Book, and Candle

Songs on Saturday ~ Sugar Me

You catch more monkeys with sugar than with vinegar.

Following the Archies and Sugar, Sugar this morning, I thought I could repost Sugar Me from Lynsey De Paul.  This song takes me all the way back to my staid and honest younger days.  Sadly, I never did have a misspent youth ~ not even in swinging 70’s London.  Perhaps I am making up for it now.  Maybe.

Lynsey wrote this song for Peter Noone, and only recorded it herself at the urging of her then boyfriend Dudley Moore.  Back in the day Lynsey was very much part of the swinging London scene ~ minis and all.

With appreciation and thanks to Paula Light.

jack collier

the all-conquering mini cooper

all most as much fun as a girl in a mini

Songs on Saturday ~ Sugar, Sugar

we all know sugar is bad for us ~ this is worse

Back here in good old Blighty, we never had the Archies cartoon series, but I well remember their song featuring on Top Of The Pops.  That was back in the day when the good old BBC made decent TV programmes.

I couldn’t bear to post their original video.  What the hell, maybe I can.  I like it better anyhow.

Please listen without wetting yourself.

With thanks to Paula Light.


jack collier


Joe Cool

Songs on Sunday ~ Peter Sellers & Sophia Loren

they wouldn’t be bangers if mash wasn’t involved

Sunday ~ and as I’m going to Turkey tomorrow, today I want some Proper British Fare for lunch.  And what could be more British than bangers and mash served with red onion gravy?

Perhaps the most unlikely vocal duo ever.

Please listen without getting hungry.


jack collier

sausage, potato, and green beans in foil

less British than bangers and mash

but more to American tastes

Tunes on Tuesday ~ The Italian Job

you’re only supposed to blow the bloody doors off

Matt Monroe sings On Days Like These which was the main theme from the 1969 classic heist / chase movie, The Italian Job.  This song doesn’t really fit the movie, other than it’s a Lamborghini Miura on a fabulous mountain road.  I’ve driven the Great St. Bernard Pass, but in a Triumph TR6, not a V12 Italian Supercar.

Please listen thinking about vacations in the Italian Sunshine.

Or a Mini Cooper.

Or Sophia Loren.


jack collier

Monochrome Monday ~ Film Noir

you just put your lips together and blow






jack collier

he was a big hairy guy you said?

give me the facts ma’am

just the facts

Hawker Hurricane


Unlike the beautiful Supermarine Spitfire, the Hawker Hurricane has a stubby, hunched, rugged old soldier, look about it.  Unlike the complex Spitfire, the Hurricane was easy to manufacture and repair.  It also took half as long to refuel and rearm, was easier to fly and more maneuverable near the ground. The Hurricane cold carry heavier armament and was a better gun-platform than the Spitfire.  The Hurricane was simple and tough, and although nowhere near as fast or with a rate of climb to rival the Spitfire, it was an operational go-anywhere, do-anything fighter by the time of the Battle of Britain.  The Hurricane was a workhorse to the Spitfire’s thoroughbred.


Hurricane IV with 4 ~ 20mm cannon

BF109 Bouchon

Bf 109 bouchon

The Hurricane was in the thick of the action well before the Battle ofBritain as part of the British Air Forces in France, with 6 Hurricane squadrons from January 1940.  A further 4 Hurricane squadrons were sent to France when the German offensive began, followed by another 2 on May 13th 1940.  The French Air Force, (Armee de l’Air), was so ineffective in 1940 that on May 14th the French Government then asked for another 10 squadrons of Hurricanes ~ after much heart-searching only 3 more Hurricane squadrons were committed, and these returned to England at night.  In the end, by the time of the Miracle of Dunkirk, over 200 Hurricanes had been lost, many of which would have been repairable had they not been operating from forward air bases in France.  England committed a greater proportion of its air strength to the Battle for France, than the French did, 30% as against 25%, and at such a cost that the Battle of Britain was a damn close run thing.  (The 1969 film: Battle of Britain gives a reasonably accurate account of the battle.  However the Bf 109’s in the film are powered by Rolls-Royce Merlin engines.(Hispano Aviacion Bf109 Bouchon)).

In any form, the Bf109 outperformed the Hurricane except in tight turns at low altitude.

Specification; Hawker Hurricane Mk IIB

  • 1,280 bhp Rolls-Royce Merlin XX
  • Span 40 ft,  Length 32 ft,  Wing Area 257.5 sq ft,  Weight 5,500 lbs (MTOW 7,300 lbs)
  • Maximum Speed 342 mph at 22,000 ft
  • Service Ceiling 36,000 ft
  • Range 480 miles
  • Armament 12 .303 machine guns plus up to 1,000 lbs bomb load

Designed by Sydney Camm and entering service in 1937, the Hurricane was the first of the RAF’s monoplane fighters, and became the first operational RAF aeroplane capable of exceeding 300 miles per hour.   It used the same legendary Rolls-Royce Merlin engine as the Spitfire, which at the time of the Battle of Britain produced 1030 brake horse power.  Eventually the Hurricane would be fitted with the two-stage supercharged Merlin 27 which gave 1635 bhp.  These engines were mounted in a fuselage which had a lot in common with earlier, biplane fighters.  There was an alloy frame to which were mounted wooden stringers and then covered in fabric.  Only the area around the engine had an alloy skin.  Early Hurricanes even had outer wings covered in doped fabric.  Unlike the beautiful, elliptical, wing of the Spitfire, the Hurricane’s wings were simple in design and construction.  This rugged construction was the logical outcome of a long line of Hawker fighting aircraft.

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

Battle of Britain Memorial Flight

The thing about the Hurricane’s simple wing was that all the guns could be grouped close together, outside of the propeller arc, and heavier armament could be fitted than the Spitfire’s thin, elliptical, wings could accommodate.  The Hurricane was the world’s first 8 gun monoplane fighter, at the time of the Battle of Britain most Hurricane’s were fitted with 8 Colt-Browning 303 machine guns.  Later Hurricanes could be fitted with 12 machine guns, or 4 20mm cannon, or even with twin Vickers 40mm S cannon and 2 machine guns for use as tank-busters.

Some 1,715 Hurricanes took part in the Battle of Britain, (29 squadrons as against 19 Spitfire squadrons), and between them its pilots destroyed 80% of the Luftwaffe aircraft shot down between July and October 1940.  Sadly, inexperienced Spitfire pilots were known to have mistaken Hurricanes for the Bf 109 and attacked their brother RAF aircraft.  The usual tactic for a mixed formation of Hurricanes and Spitfires was for the Hurricanes to stay lower down and attack the bombers, while the Spitfires flew top cover and tackled the enemy fighters.  Obviously the bombers were the easier target.  However, it is fair to say that this reliable aeroplane has never been given all the credit it deserved for winning the Battle of Britain.  Older and slower than the Spitfire it may have been, but there were more of them.  (Hurricane: Victor Of The Battle Of Britain by Leo McKinstry.)

TRANSPORT Hurricane/Duxford

wrecked Hurricane (photo from Daily Mail)

The Hurricane was a remarkably versatile aircraft.  At a pinch it could be flown as a night-fighter as the wide-track undercarriage made it possible to land a Hurricane in the dark.  From 1942 the cannon-armed IIc operated as a night intruder over occupied Europe.  In the North African desert, tropicalised Hurribombers armed with 4 20mm cannon and 500 lbs of bombs, gave the axis a taste of what to expect from Hawker fighter-bombers.  The Hurricane was supplied to Russia under Lend-Lease, although the 2,952 aircraft delivered weren’t much liked by soviet pilots.  The Sea Hurricane became operational from 1941 and stayed in service for 3 years.

Perhaps the most dangerous, (for the pilot), variant of the aircraft was the Hurricat.  Because of a shortage of aircraft carriers for convoy escort work, some merchant ships were fitted with a rocket-propelled catapult to launch a single Hurricane fighter.  Amazingly, pilots were found for the Hurricanes fitted to these CAM ships.  If all went well, the Hurricane would shoot down the German reconnaissance aircraft shadowing the convoy, and then the pilot would bail out, or ditch in the sea, to be picked-up by the convoy escort.


CAM ship with Hurricane on the catapult

This unpretty fighter was in the right place at the right time.  Early Hurricanes had a wooden, two-bladed, propeller and no armour plating.  But even when these shortcomings were rectified, the aircraft had a limited development potential because of its antiquated frame and fabric fuselage.

The real story is that, without the Hawker Hurricane Britain could have lost the war.


jack collier

One of the few

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