Monday, 18 September 2017

The Wipers Times

One of the benefits of being hard of hearing and having to wear hearing aids is the fact that I qualify for a concessionary library ticket.

This gives the opportunity to request and reserve books for half the standard cost, but more importantly (for me anyway), allows the hire of pretty well any AV item, such as DVDs and CDs (including talking books), for free. Not bad when DVDs are invariably £2.50 a week and CDs at £1.10

A DVD we recently borrowed was ‘The Wipers Times’ a BBC dramatisation of the true story of a trench magazine published by British soldiers fighting in the Ypres area during the 1st World War.

In early 1916, the 12th Battalion, Sherwood Foresters were stationed on the front line at Ypres, Belgium and discovered an old printing press. 

A Tommy, previously a printer in Civvy Street before the war, managed to salvage it and printed a test page. Soon ‘The Wipers Times’ (named after slang for Ypres, which many Tommy’s found difficult to pronounce) was in production.

The paper was made up of a collection of jokes, poems, reflections and ironic, satirical slants at the war and, of course, the enemy as well.



The BBC dramatisation, produced in 2013, was written by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman. In September 2016 a stage production, adapted from the TV version, opened in Newbury, Berkshire and is currently mid-way through a national UK tour.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Marc Bolan - 70 years on...

It takes some believing that during this month of September 2017, Glam Rock legend Marc Bolan would have been celebrating his 70th birthday.

I have written a short tribute to the iconic 70s pop idol and guitarist extraordinaire, recently published at niume.com




For a link to read this tribute, please click HERE.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Tatty History - 30th August

80 years ago today (1937) - Birth of Bruce McLaren, New Zealand racing driver, car designer, and manufacturer. Founder of the McLaren Formula One team (died 1970).




25 years ago (1992) - Astronomers David Jewitt and Jane Luu discovered the first Kuiper belt object after 5 years of searching. (The Kuiper belt is a region of the solar
system beyond the orbit of Neptune and includes the dwarf planet, Pluto.
More than 100,000 Kuiper belt objects with a diameter larger than 62 miles (100 km) are believed to exist. Over 1,000 have been discovered so far.)

25 years ago (1992) More motor racing with German racing driver Michael Schumacher winning the first of his record 91 Formula One wins (Belgian Grand Prix).

Tatty Birthdays include

Jean-Claude Killy 74 – Former French triple Olympic champion alpine ski racer (right)

Cameron Diaz 45 – Americal actress and model (left)


                        Andy Roddick 35 – US Tennis player (below)

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Tatty History - 29th August

75 years ago today (1942) - Birth of Sterling Morrison, American rock guitarist from The Velvet Underground (died 1995).





70 years ago (1947) - Death of legendary Spanish bullfighter, ManoleteHe died of injuries incurred after being gored by a bull the previous day.

30 years ago (1987) - Death of Lee Marvin, American film actor, known for his tough-guy roles (The Big Heat, The Wild One, The Dirty Dozen, Bad Day at Black Rock, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Cat Ballou and more).


20 years ago (1997) - Netflix began operating as an online DVD rental service. It switched to a subscription-based service in 1999 and later added unlimited video streaming and original programming.

Tatty Birthdays today include:


Sir Lenny Henry 59 – Comedian, actor and (like Uncle Tatty), a supporter of West Bromwich Albion FC.



Eddi Reader 58 – Scottish singer/songwriter, remembered as the lead singer of folk combo Fairground Attraction. Has one of the most stunning live singing voices I have ever heard.
 



Rebecca de Mornay 58 – American actress, often remembered for chiller “The Hand that Rocks the Cradle”

Monday, 28 August 2017

Tatty History - 28th August

150 years ago today (1867) 
The USA took possession of Midway Atoll (also known as Midway Island). It lies in the Pacific Ocean to the north-west of Hawaii.

100 years ago (1917) - Birth of Jack Kirby, influential American comic book artist, and writer who co-created characters including Captain America, the Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four, the Silver Surfer, the X-Men and many more.


80 years ago (1937) - The Toyota Motor Corporation was founded as an independent company in Japan (it began in 1933 as part of the Toyoda Automatic Loom Works.)


30 years ago (1987) - Death of John Huston, American film director (The Maltese Falcon, The African Queen, Moby Dick, Key Largo and many more).

Tatty Birthdays today include:
 
David Soul 74 – Starsky’s mate Hutch! (left)

Hugh Cornwell 68 – The Stranglers vocalist and guitarist (right)


LeAnn Rimes 35 – Country music superstar (below)

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Tatty History - 27th August

125 years ago (1892) – After only standing for 9 years, The original Metropolitan Opera House (also known as ‘the old Met’), located on New York City’s 39th Street, was severely gutted by fire. It was rebuilt along its original lines, but the 1892–93 season had to be cancelled during the reconstruction (it was demolished in 1967).


80 years ago (1937) - Birth of Alice Coltrane American jazz pianist, organist, harpist, composer and bandleader (as Alice McLeod). She was the wife of the jazz saxophonist and composer John Coltrane. She died from respiratory failure in 2007, aged 69.

50 years ago (1967) - Brian Epstein, British music entrepreneur, died from the accidental overdose of sleeping pills. Best known as the manager of the Beatles, he discovered the group at a lunchtime concert given at the Cavern Club, Liverpool in November 1961.

20 years ago (1997) - Death of Brandon Tartikoff, American television executive, noted for propelling NBC from last place to first place in the major network rankings through his selection of hit shows.

Birthdays today include:


Daryl Dragon 75 – American musician and songwriter, best known as the Captain (The Captain and Tennille)



John Lloyd 63 – British tennis player and now commentator. Ex-husband of Chris Evert





Mark Curry 57 – TV host and former children's TV "Blue Peter" presenter.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Radio Memories

As I am sure I have posted here previously, I have always been and will remain to be, an avid radio listener.

Capital Radio 194

My passion started off back in the day listening to London's Capital Radio (firstly on 539 metres, then to 194MW and later to evolve into 95.8FM, but I always listened on my old tranny using good old crackly medium wave). 

Capital, as the name suggests, is London's music independent station, it was preceded as an independent station (ie not controlled by the BBC) only by LBC if I remember rightly that is. 

Roger Scott

My favourite deejay was the late Roger Scott whose "3 O'clock Thrill" show was required listening for me and all my friends when getting home from school. 

He had what I would class as the perfect radio voice - click on the YouTube video below to listen to possibly the greatest UK deejay of all at work (it also features the HeeBeeGeeBees with the brilliant "Meaningless Songs in Very High Voices").


I remember that Roger was a great fan of Dolly Parton and that must have gone a long way towards bringing about my love of Country music (not exclusively, however). 

Sadly Roger passed away from cancer in October 1989 at the young age of 46.

Nicky Horne's Rock Show

I also used to enjoy listening to Nicky Horne's rock show in the evenings entitled "Your Mother Wouldn't Like It" This gave me a love of music that was somewhat noisier than other daytime shows would offer, shall we say. 

Nicky often used to title music he really enjoyed as "a Mother" I don't think he could do that nowadays somehow!

Radio Luxembourg 208

I also liked listening to Radio Luxembourg on 208 on medium wave. 

The reception was diabolical compared to what we have grown to expect on DAB radio these days, with the signal constantly breaking up. But it wasn't the quality of reception we wanted, it was the sheer class of the broadcast. 

Modern Day Radio

This all brings me on to the radio of today which has progressed beyond all bounds with the opportunity to listen to and instantly interact with programmes via email, Twitter, Facebook et al. 

The BBC radio i-player now allows the opportunity to download podcasts and even full radio programmes, so there is never any excuse to ever miss any of "Auntie's" broadcasts should you so desire.

Johnnie Walker

Another of my favourite presenters over the decades is the iconic Johnnie Walker. 

Working at the Beeb for many years after an early career on the pirate radio ships, he left for a spell waxing his vocal chords over the pond in the US of A. After returning he presented the Drivetime show on BBC Radio 2 for many years.

Now into his 70s, he still presents  "Sounds of the Seventies" show on BBC Radio 2 every Sunday afternoon at 3 pm, and for an old git like me, it really is required listening.

I rarely get to hear the show live these days, opting for the I-Player download option, but the music brings back so many memories along with news stories and interviews with famous people recounting events from the period. All in all, it takes me back to being a spotty teenager all over again.

On this weeks programme for example, I heard such greats as Peter Frampton's "Show Me the Way", fellow WBA supporter Eric Clapton (bet you didn't know that) with "I Shot the Sheriff", Hawkwind's "Silver Machine" and the song with one of my favourite introductions of all time, "Tumbling Dice" by the Rolling Stones. 

Just click on the YouTube link below to hear "Tumbling Dice" (from the equally superb "Exile on Main Street" double album). Definitely Mick and the Boys at their best.


If you are a fan of 70s classics, I strongly suggest you try and catch Johnnie's weekly show.