Archive for the ‘’50s’ Category

The local* history of Christmas: a ‘tree-and-bird‘ story

Which came first: the turkey or the ‘tree?

Grab a last-minute bargain!

Penultimate Cottingham Thursday Market: portable camera pan-around!

Which came first: the Christmas Turkey or the Christmas Tree?

We know the turkey is a species indigenous to North America – so it can’t realistically pre-date Christopher Columbus in 1492 – but it was the enterprising Yorkshireman William Strickland * who settled here in East Yorkshire who first brought six live birds back to the UK from The Americas just 34 years later! So we can say with some certainty that Henry XIII would have been the first reigning monarch to have enjoyed eating turkey in court!

‘Modern’ traditional Christmas as we’ve known it for over a Century now in the UK and the Western World was really an invention of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert! But turkeys only became available for all to eat rather than a very expensive exclusive luxury in the 1950s

To get glimpse of life before our ‘traditional’ Christmas we take for granted mostly today, take a peak at Victorian social commentator Charles Dickens’ “Christmas Carol”. When taken together with his other works, this forms a thought- provoking and disturbing reminder to the Establishment to think of the plight of the working poor and needy at Christmas!

Nick

Posted by admin at May 1, 2016

Category: '50s, 1950s, 2016, Jazz, Music, Musicians, Oscar Peterson

Tags: ,

Cottingham.tv celebrates two ‘modern’ jazz piano music movements:

Brazillian “Bossa Nova”

Canadian “Mainstream” Jazz pianist Oscar Peterson

Comment

The Editor admires jazz musicians as many actually know how to play their instruments really well, without being hidebound by classical training!

Popular music nowadays seems to be much more about visual impact, posing and dance rather than skill and, dare I say it, loud noise!

Mind you, all successful music gets condemned to become ‘hotel lift music’, ‘soft music’ or “Musack” eventually – please don’t let them (Queen) turn Freddie Mercury into another ‘casualty’ like the Bossa Nova track above! 🙁

Wishing the Jazz and Quiz Night this evening in the Cottingham Civic Hall every success today – we’re busy watching the final leg of the Tour de Yorkshire as they pass Whitby Abbey heading South to Scarborough – it’s all up-hill and down dale and into the wind no doubt. To windy and cold for me – but did cycle to Morrisons this PM and was besieged with headwinds heading South to Cottingham and freezing drizzle!

Unlike many musicians who can ‘pack up their troubles in an old kit bag‘, a piano in the right hands is an orchestra in its own right ..

Listening to keyboard genius Oscar Peterson, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that his sheer virtuosity makes him struggle to be a ‘team player’ in today’s management-speak (see above). Look honey, I brought the whole damn orchestra!

Nick (wimp)

PS couldn’t resist adding a personal favourite 🙂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y34I-NfHkVg&index=28&list=RDXzOwrqlVFu4

Is the UK in danger of adopting a ‘Groucho Marx position’ on European Membership?

Groucho Marx

If one thinks of ‘Groucho’ and ‘Marx’ as discrete words, one conjours-up images like stubborn, dyed in the wool, small-thinking, petite bourgeoisie socialism and yes, even bolshy ’70s-style shop stewards and union members!

What Groucho Marx actually said was much more witty: “I would never join a club that would have me as a member!” 🙂

Is it ‘I’m alright Jack’ or ‘jobs for the boys’ that is really at stake?

Being fed on a diet of plenty to the point of being sick may never satisfy the truly (in)dependent addict – only exploding will suffice!

Are we being sucked-in by a Bolshevick-inspired Kafkaesque socialist movement having a seemlingly-relentless, verging-on-chronic need for administration and togetherness, brought on by the strength of the ‘union of togetherness’? Together we’re strong

Or are we being seduced by other factions? The author remembers that it’s not just governments that recruit foreign labour – it’s employers!

UK and Europe: who is the fat man, who is in danger of becoming the thin man and who is the sick man in danger of exploding?

 

This idea was depicted humerously in Monty Python’s exploding fat man being offered a further desert; “go on sir, just one more mint!” Warning: those of a delicate disposition should look away as this satire can still shock even today!

European Membership Stay or Leave Opinion: are we the straw that broke the camels back or are we more like a house of straw if we go it alone?

Will producing finer steel for example help us produce sharper tools?

No. We’re on our own if we decide to leave on account of the edicts laws and machinations emenating from Brussels. We’re more vulnerable to hostile trade deals and market pricing as hundreds and even thousands of jobs in the regions can depend upon events beyond one nation’s control as illustrated in today’s headlines threatening jobs at TATA in Port Talbot: China’s steel prices. Future trade wars cannot be ruled out.

If the City of London comes on hard times as will occur sooner or later in our global boom-bust economy, will our diversified but under-invested UK provincial manufacturing base be able to sustain us? Will we still be able to dig ourselves back out of recession as we did in the early ’80s without a substantial manufacturing base?

As Donald Trump said about abortion: will the regions be ‘punished’ either way as a consequence of poor centralised strategic decision making – either by London or from Brussels?

Will Scotland leave the UK in order to re-negotiate its European membership as a sovereign state if we vote to leave?

Will the provinces e.g. Yorkshire and the Regions wish to follow suit as the City hardly re-invests in the regions nowadays – unlike Europe with it’s Regional Development Funding? Even this regional fuding allocation is still run by the ‘old boys club’ and for the benefit of ‘jobs for the boys’ which is tolerated unfortunately however – and they’re not going to give up without a fight. Remember the QUANGOs like the bloated Yorkshire Forward which the previous administration made their election pledge to dismantle? It still goes on and Europe appears riddled with it as a Spaniard recently related to me. But that’s the point: that culture would not change if we left the EU – it would just get worse! If a reformed Europe were able to stamp-out all the low-level corruption, it would certainly be worth remaining in it to help it to bring about the changes sought.

Those with long memories may remember the post-war austerity of the 1950s where we had to make and export to the US in order to earn money to pay our way. No fat men or international trade dealing existed back then.. well, not as we know them today.

Nein, Non, No!

We’ve also been referred to as the “Insel Affen” (Island of the Planet of the Apes – loosely translated). In terms of meaning, one could describe us in the UK as being like the Ferengi citizens as reluctant and rather selfish trading members of the Federation of Planets in Star Trek!

Europe is as much a cultural union as it is a trading union!

Ferengi Citizen

Are our financial services also destined go the way of Steam?

There are large changes in the pipeline: will the City of London be left high and dry?

Will we abandon Europe at the worst possible moment as it abandons it’s out-moded primary operating culture from centralised finance directly into distributed production?

You may also remember that in Star Trek, the need for money had been abandoned in favour of personal development, discovery and altruism, as their economy of plenty had liberated them out from a world of financial enslavement. Financial services are changing now with the introduction of automated AI trading systems and the future of employment in the City is also being called into question. As a further example of technical developments; the future role of medical doctors is also brought into question with the advent of artificial intelligence AI in our IT systems where we are diagnosed for illness by virtual doctors on-screen and plugged in for our personal MOT health checks rather like modern cars.

It would therefore be most unwise to walk away from a seat at the top table of the wealthiest diverse trading block and market on Earth – regardless of your ‘Groucho’ or ‘Karl‘ interpretation of Messrs. Marx!

Note: don’t we already have the best of both worlds – as in having your cake and eating it?

By retaining both our own currency and European membership, are we not already at liberty to trade with whomever we wish? Brazil, Russia, India and China BRIC included?

Nick

 

PS: EU Referendum Postal Poll Cards are in the post to registered voters – ours arrived today – make sure you have your say by making sure you’re registered on the voting list

Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers and Harry Secombe record cover? (aka The Goons and also available in ‘vinyl’) – do you have this or other collectible albums stashed in your loft?

Escape from the War!

The ’50s witnessed the blossoming of British creative talent leading into the ’60s

Following the narrowest of escapes many years later, even after Dunkirk*,  like the Goons, our intrepid editor is delighted to report that all appears to be well, following a successul rear guard action – his mad antics will be described later – stay tuned  🙂

 

The Goons featuring

Spike Milligan, Peter Sellers, Michael Bentine and Harry Secombe

–  the other fabulous foursome!

First there came Spike Milligan

* Following the media repression and misery of the war years, they burst out from the constraints of authoritarian wartime Britain into Radio like a un-coiling spring, as an outrageously funny irreverent foursome to poke fun at the ‘wooden’ establishment that had held them in check for so long!

Although a jazz vocalist-turned-entertainer of the troups during wartime Britain, Spike Milligan could be considered as the lyrical / satyrical / anti-war / anti-authority ‘John Lennon’ founder of this particular fabulous foursome, along with co-writers Larry Stephens and Eric Sykes. Spike wrote and performed comedy sketches as part of concerts to entertain troops during the war years as a signaller in the Royal Artillery 56th. Armoured Division. Hmmm.. dad must have known of him as a member of a similar Division. The editor also remembers reading one of his amazing books  quite early on – which together with Waugh’s Scoop and Voltaire’s Candide probably didn’t do him much good either, speaking as a ‘sensible citizen‘ of questionable sensibilities, that is  🙂

Peter Sellers and Ian Carmichael as sensible citizens, tongue in cheek, in “I’m Alright Jack” – another hilarious attempt of the social classes to return to civilian life in post-war, re-uniting Britain! The whole nation’s returning soldiers appeared to be suffering from a form of collective PTSD – for which manic humour and a liberal measure of ‘for God’s sake pull yourself together man’ were prescribed! Hence – ‘I’m OK, you’re OK, we’re OK’; I’m alright, We’re alright, You’re alright, Jack?

Note: this clip doesn’t do the film justice – watch the whole film to get the full comedy including the ‘you’re not the detergent type’ Ian Carmichael clip – and Peter Sellers as the union shop steward! Sellers went to work on the character and role of “Fred Kite” with all the obsessive and meticulous attention to nuance and detail he lavished on Dr. Stragelove! When the social classes eventually and inevitably collided as Carmichael dated his pretty daughter in the spirt of the times (the new progressive and socially-mobile ‘swinging’ ’60s), ‘war’ threatened to break back-out again, but it was held in masterful restraint as ‘preventative internecine warefare countermeasures’ by union man Sellers in his hysterically funny portrayal!

Each to their own: Fred Kite – father and union man

The role of ‘sensible citizen’ as “reluctant comedian” in The Goon Show (as in real life) was played by ex. RAF intelligence officer Michael Bentine

On the editor’s young adult reading list

Serious dutiful absentee citizen Bentine (above) – then along came  Harry Secombe and Peter Sellers (below)

The editor particularly remembers the radio dialogues between Sellers, Secombe aka ‘Neddie Seagoon’ and Milligan!

The Goons was first broadcast on the BBC Home Service in 1951

 

Nick  🙂