Saturday, 6 November 2010

Another Brussels encounter

I’ve held off telling you about my second encounter in Brussels while waiting for the person concerned’s ok.

I’d arranged to meet Martin King, who I taught for a year or two in a secondary modern in Wakefield till he left at 16 with one CSE in 1976, after doing a project for me to interview three old men on the village bench about their memories of the First World War (Passchendaele, in fact).

No contact since then until recently I noticed something on Friends Reunited, and as a result we’ve met. Martin drove in from Antwerp one morning to show me Brussels -- expertly (see below) -- and induct me in some unusual beers. (Unfortunately our meeting had to be curtailed so he could get out again: the EU summit was about to open so a ring of steel would come down on the city at 3.)

After leaving school, which he didn’t get on with (for good reasons), Martin went to tech for a couple of years to get more qualifications, joined a band and took off with them to tour Europe. The tour lasted some years, they made records and he was a star in Belgium where he met a Flemish nurse and married. Got into university, ended up lecturing in history and then left when they wouldn’t pass his PhD thesis -- too sensitive, it seems (quite a story there). Off to Hollywood to make a documentary, then Discovery Channel in Canada for another, drawing largely on his specialism: military history -- and especially the First World War. I'm eagerly awaiting his films that are to be on tv, though maybe not here. And he’ll have two books.

In schools nowadays you’re required to write lessons plans that include a statement of ‘learning outcomes’. How about, ‘In 35 years time will pick up this topic again and be inspired to make two documentary series’?'

Here are two clips to give an idea of the them:
<a href=“” target=“_blank”>Greatest Tank Battles</a>
<a href=“” target=“_blank”>Voices of the Bulge</a>

and a notice for the book:
<a href=“” target=“_blank”>Voice of the Bulge</a>.

The trailer from ‘Greatest Tank Battles’ is currently on the ‘Discovery Channel’ in Europe and from January can be seen in the US.

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