I did actually mean to do this blog just over a week ago, on the anniversary, but various things got in the way, mainly my health. But anyway…
2019 seems to have been the centenary of a large number of events. I suspect its because of the end of WW1, and the freedom to use technology for beneficial reasons, and not just to kill as many of ‘the enemy’ as possible. In 1919, if you wanted to cross the Atlantic, you had one choice, you went by ship, and it took more than a week to do the crossing. Nowadays its possible to cross the Atlantic in a matter of 6 hours or less! Certainly, on a jet plane, I would guess (if possible) that St Johns, Newfoundland, to Clifden in the West of Ireland would probably be about 4 hours or so. Heck, I can fly from Manchester, to Los Angeles (against the jet stream) in just under 11 hours.
However, on 14th June, from St Johns, Newfoundland, 2 British RAF Officers, Alcock, and Brown, set off to do something that had never been done before, to cross the Atlantic by plane. 16 and a bit hours later, on June 15th, they crash landed into a bog, close to Clifden, in the North West corner of Ireland. There was a prize of £10,000 for doing this, which seemingly equates to about £450,000 today!
In case anyone is wondering, it took another 20 years before the first Transatlantic passenger flight happened, a matter of months before the start of WW2!
The sad thing for Alcock at least, was that 6 months later, he was dead, at 27. He crashed while trying to deliver a plane to France, and died shortly after, from his injuries. Brown, and his son both actually served in WW2, he as an instructor, his son as a pilot who tragically died in the war. Supposedly that led to his retirement, and a deterioration in his health, so much so that he died 5 years later, at age of 52.
Incredible to think that 50 years later, man landed on the Moon!
I wonder how, 100 years from now, people will travel between Earth, and probably places beyond this planet as well. One thing is for sure, I personally wont know, but I wonder if a reincarnation of myself will do so?
This song has been recorded more than a few times, but in truth, this is the group that are probably most famous for doing so
Apart from the ‘traditional’ bank holiday events, its a fact that Bank Holidays here in the UK, and those in the US dont tend to coincide. Today, they did. Oh, and to mark a previous recent blog, this is the last day before I’m officially back on medical leave again, lol. Over here, its just called a Spring Bank Holiday, in the US, its called Memorial Day, when (in theory at least nowadays) they remember all the brave people that have died over the years in various wars. We seem to save all that for Remembrance Sunday in November, because of course its against the end of WW1, on November 11, though most remembrances happen on the closest Sunday to that date now.
Equally, Memorial Day used to (according to Wiki) always be celebrated on May 30, but now, for convenience, happens on the last Monday in May, the same date as our Spring Bank Holiday.
The depressing fact, do you have any idea how many years that the US has been at peace since inception in 1776? A meagre 17! So its fair to assume they have plenty of need for Memorials to be remembered! To be fair, a few of those were for the 2 World Wars, but altogether… Oh, and a few of those were of course an in house war!
So during that long period of time, plenty of brave men, and in more recent times, women, have died in the name of war. Today, in the US at least, is the day designated to remember them. In this country, the weekend seems to have been a bit of a political war, seemingly won by very few, if any.
Let us also remember all the folk everywhere who have had to work today, on a Bank Holiday. I know, not the same thing as giving your life, but as I know from so much of my working life, the talk about weekends, and bank holidays off are a misnomer for some.
But yes, US readers (and the stats tell me I have plenty), take a few minutes today to remember those that gave their lives in defence of yours.
The video choice is a weird one, but if you think about, its a title thats probably apt for all those that went into battle. There is also the fact that some car company are using it in ads over here at present. Oh, and fine, yes I’d love to be turned into a mannequin for a role, just saying…
Fine, for the next 2 Sundays at least (even if not the midweek ones), the subject matter is going to turn to events a century ago. Next Sunday is the obvious one, 100 years from Armistice Day, but in many ways, for those of us who thankfully didnt have to live through events, today is quite significant as well.
The only way many people found out about the horror of the war, was after the event, by poetry written by those who were there. Probably the most significant, and better known one of these, was Wilfred Owen, who died 100 years ago today, in one of the last days of fighting. Indeed it was almost to the hour, 7 days before the end of the war that he died.
Given he had previously been seriously injured, he hadnt actually needed to be there, but had returned to the front a couple of months previously. The story is that this is because Sassoon had been sent home for health reasons, and he felt that a poet had to be there to relate the events. Sadly, it led to his death.
Even more sadly for his family, the news only reached them of his death a week later, in Shrewsbury, as the church bells were ringing to celebrate the armistice.
Its generally suspected that Owen was gay. Obviously back then, there is no definite evidence (it was very illegal at the time) of this, so lets not cast suggestions for which there is no clear clarity. Not that it should matter either way, though it might have done back then, if known. But without him, we living today would have less idea how ghastly that ‘Great War’ was.
Sadly, nowadays, we have too many so called leaders who seem to think of war as a glorious thing, and it isnt!
Right, video time. The best I can offer is a reading of one of Owen’s more famous poems, read by Christopher Eccleston
No, not for real, and for now at least, for one day only, honestly. And fine, unless you’re within reasonable distance of Blackpool, England, you’re not going to see any of it, I’m sure. But yes, a week on Saturday, I will be the perfect embodiment (well, perfect is stretching it, I guess?) of an Edwardian lady. I know, stop laughing, as the best I can possibly do is imagine what life was like as an Edwardian lady, and play my part accordingly. Oh, for all those now putting Blackpool, on June 9th in their diary, and wondering why, this is why!
Yes, you know you want to be there, dont you? I know, for most of my readers (given that my stats suggest most are in US), its not going to happen. But if you read this, and are in reasonable distance, feel free to come and support. If you do, and you see a mature Edwardian looking lady, dressed in purple, come up and introduce yourself to me!
I know, according to history, and well, Wikipedia, an Edwardian lady should be tightly corseted under her outfit. Well, maybe…? Put it this way, I’m planning on taking a corset with me, and if someone offers to tie me up ‘tightly’ in it, then I wont say no! Snag is, the corset is elderly, not as elderly as me, but over 10 years old, and hasnt been worn for a long while, as I have always found tying knots difficult (especially behind my back), and as the arthritis in my fingers has got worse, it became impossible more than a few years ago, so I have no idea how strong its feeling, or even if it will fit me now! But if anyone in West Yorkshire, or the Blackpool area (person, or company) has a corset I can borrow for the day, natural waist around 34 – 36 inches (no, I dont do centimeters lol!), please contact me through here, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org . Should anyone do so, please put corset somewhere in the email title, so that I spot it amongst all the spam, lol! It is for a good cause, and it will be returned, just saying… I could provide a Paypal address, but in truth, I dont think I could purchase one now in time to get it here in a week!
I must admit, my previous research on the Edwardian era is pretty much zero, having never played any parts set in that era in my time. All I do know is that its a very different time to now, it was only during that time that people flew in a plane for the first time, and that first flight lasted 11 seconds! Yes, a few balloon flights before then, but to travel any great distance, you went by sea. I do remember ‘Upstairs Downstairs’ from TV, many decades ago, and I’m pretty certain I’m playing more of an ‘Upstairs’ lady on the day. It was a period before WW1, when the world seemed so at peace, little realizing that a decade or so later, all hell would break out, quite figuratively. Though of course, for most women at that time, they didnt go to war, beyond a brave few. Oh, and before the vote of course, though the Suffragette movement was just beginning to take off by then.
But yes, a week on Saturday, I’m going to do my best to play the part of a ‘fine’ Edwardian lady, before I return to modernity again for the evening. I wonder what the woman of a century ago would make of modern life? Or indeed, what I would make of Edwardian life, even as a fine lady?
Fine, video time. Its fair to say that the Edwardian times have definitely gone. Strangely enough, music videos of that era are slightly lacking! So, a little live Bucks Fizz instead. I have used the original video before, but not for 6 years, but as I found this…
So fine, I really had planned to post this up yesterday, on the actual anniversary of 2 centenaries, but fate intervened. I had to go over to Bradford, deliver some paperwork for one of my prospective jobs, and though the actual process of delivering, and them copying the details they needed, throw in an hour and a half travel each way, and fine, it threw me behind.
But anyway, 100 years, and 1 day ago…
A baby girl was born in Tokyo, Japan, to American parents. So what, I can hear you screaming? Well, that lady is one of the few people we have left, who appeared in movies before WW2. Yes, on the 1st July, 1916, Olivia De Havilland was born, probably most famously remembered now for Gone With The Wind, though of course she appeared in many more movies than that. I believe (unless they died recently) that beyond one actor, a child at the time, she is the only one left from that movie. There are a few other actors, and actresses left, who have reached 100, but none probably as famous as her. To say she’s seen some amazing changes in her life would be a massive understatement, it goes without saying, both in the world, and in movie making styles.
The other, more publicized anniversary yesterday, and the far more tragic one, was that on that same date, thousands of miles away in France, it was the start of the Battle of the Somme. To say it was a futile waste of thousands of lives, would be a massive understatement. I read of one of the Yorkshire Pals regiments, where 2000 went over the top that morning, and within an hour, 1770 of them were dead, or missing, assumed dead. In all, nearly 20,000 died on that first day, on the Allies side alone. Now, its not hard to see that those brave young men were led by fools, but back then, maybe less so? A sad waste of a generation, all the same.
So fine, to the video. There are 3 songs I relate to WW1, but perhaps boringly, I’ve gone with the McCartney one, just because I think the video sums it up best, even if it relates to a different WW1 event.
(The other 2? Stop The Cavalry by Jona Lewie, and All Together Now, by The Farm)
Oh, and lastly, and an event happening today, today is apparently World UFO Day. Yes, I know, I’d love to see one, and even more so, have a flight in one. But no, sadly, I’m not expecting to be obliged!
Even though both today, and tomorrow, there will be no horse racing in the UK, and Ireland, people will still be gambling on many things. Indeed, prior to this century (and possibly the early part of it), betting shops actually shut, not just on Christmas Day, but the 2 days before as well. Nowadays, its just a case of Christmas Day off, and that’s only for retail, and retail related staff, as, to my eyes at least, incredibly there will be people betting on Christmas Day, on events happening in parts of the world where the day isnt celebrated, just because its there, and well, its a chance to win/lose money accordingly. Given my job, I cant say too much, but…I think its a shame, that some people, even on this special day, would rather be punting on some North African football match, than celebrating with their family.
The ones I feel most sorry for, are the staff at our office, who have to go in, to cater to these peoples needs!
But anyway… Yes, betting shops have been open today, and again tomorrow (tonight until 10.00, tomorrow only until 5.30) to cover foreign racing, dog racing, and a lot of virtual racing, I suspect. Oh, and to play the machines in the offices nowadays as well! Yes, I’m working tomorrow, to cover all the shops needs, on Christmas Eve.
As I say, in the good old days, the shops were shut, though as I know from past experience (I used to prepare on Christmas Eve as much as I could), that fact never stopped numerous people trying the door. Of course, also back then, papers on Boxing Day were unheard of, all the racing was in the papers on Christmas Eve, so…
I know, I know, in this modern world, everything has to be available 24/7/365, and betting seems to have gone that way, for better, or worse.
At least, with the early finish, I can get home before the buses and trains shut down, I suppose I should be grateful for that? Hopefully Santa will be more punctual than Trans Pennine Express at least, that won’t be hard, mind!
So anyway, hoping that not too many of my readers will be caught up in the manic crush that is Christmas Eve shopping, though I suspect a few will be, all the same! In closing, may I take this chance to wish all my readers the very best Christmas wishes, and hope they enjoy the holiday period. Just think of me, 1 day off!
The video, one of 2 that work for the centenary anniversary of the beginning of WW1 celebrated this year. Mind, then they played football on Christmas Day lol, for all the right reasons!
Oh, yes, I promised a couple of Jean Harlow christmas pics, didnt I?
Well, seriously, given the date and everything, what else were you expecting tonight?
Strictly, the centenary of the significance of the 11th November is still 4 years away, but given this is the centenary of the start of World War 1, its a major landmark anyway. And at the 11th hour today, we have, or will (depending on your time zone) remember them.
Not that we just remember those who fell during that awful war, but on the battlefields everywhere, ever since. I suppose, strictly, those who died before too, but its fair to say that 1918 was of course the day that Remembrance Day over here, Veterans Day in the US, is the one that all are remembered for.
No, I’m not going to get political on the matter, though its fair to say that in hindsight, the leaders on both sides in WW1 didnt think too much about planning.
But anyway, for all those brave souls who died then, and since then, I remember, and respect all you did for us, who followed you.
Oh, the celebration? Well, two friends, one long term, one who I have only got to know recently both celebrate their birthday today.
The new one, that wonderful lady who showed Kate, and I around Cherryvale, less than 2 months ago. I think it was towards the end of last year when we first made contact, due to a posting I made about, yes, going to Cherryvale, the home town of Louise Brooks. Finally, I got to meet her in September, and she was just as wonderful to me in real life, as she had been in cyberspace.
Thanks, Tina, hope you’ve had a wonderful day.
Its fair to say I’ve known James a lot longer, though I’m not sure now, just how many years it has been. But in that time, he has become a true friend, a confidant, my editor, to name but 3 things! This man is simply amazing, believe me. Oh, and to top all this, he is the one who has invited me, in less than 2 weeks now, to celebrate Thanksgiving with him, my first time doing so.
So yes, as well as remembering the brave who died fighting for us, I am celebrating the birthday of 2 wonderful people.
The video, well yes, its a war related one, though possibly not one that people would immediately relate to events.
To those who know both blogs, apart from the set up words, the only difference is in the video pick
I know, its been a week since I last posted, and I’m sorry. But today has been my first day off for 10 days, and beyond something exceptional, like last Saturday, I tend to only have time for these when I’m off. But anyway, enough talk…
Talk about a depressing week for anniversaries, mind! The first I want to mention happened on Tuesday, 52 years since the day that Marilyn Monroe died, at the age of 36. No, the video isnt Candle in the wind, another more poignant anniversary grabs that honour. To be honest, I dont know an awful lot about her, other than when tragic blonde actresses get mentioned, the 2 most popular names are of course, Jean Harlow, and Monroe.
Whereas we all know what Harlow died of, her kidneys failed, officially due to Scarlet Fever in her teens, but lets face it, all the smoking, drinking, and the like (and maybe, just very maybe, all that bleach on her hair) didnt help her kidney’s to function, lets face it, and thats what killed her. Back then, no dialysis, no replacement organs, so it was fatal.
However, when it comes to Monroe, in all honesty, we really dont know. Officially, its suicide, by barbiturate poisoning, but there are so many other theories to how she met her end, so who knows? One thing is for sure, who she was seeing/dating was giving concern to people in ‘high places’, so her death was handy for them. Or was it arranged? As I say, we will never know for sure.
The other whose death anniversary this week, is of far more significance to me. 29 years ago, yesterday, (Mary) Louise Brooks died, at the grand old age of 78. To be honest, given how much she smoked, how much she drunk, and how she lived her life, its amazing she lasted that long, but anyway…she did! Emphysema, a lot of it caused by her smoking, probably aided the inevitability of dying of a heart attack, but lets face it, she lived a long life, albeit a painful one at the end to some degree, so…
But the grimmest one, and the one with a round number occurred on Monday, 100 years on from Great Britain entering World War 1. Given my recent posting about this, and having given my feelings on those brave men who died, I’ll keep this part brief.
As I said, this is the one worth of the video pick, a wonderfully haunting song by Dire Straits.
That other video, the obvious one, Candle in the wind, Elton John
So fine, lets start with the less than happy one, as that’s the biggest milestone of all. One hundred years ago today, World War 1 officially started. It had been boiling up for a month or so, ever since the murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife, but this date was the one where the first shots were quite literally fired.
The rest is in the history books, as many millions of brave young men died, on the whole, led by fools! I know, its easy to say that in hindsight, but looking back now, history doesnt cast a great picture of those military leaders, whose ideas were by then, clearly behind the times.
Rest in peace, all you brave men, the ones known, and unknown, who died in that 4 and a half year slaughter.
Fine, moving backwards in time, on this date, in 1905, in Brooklyn, a young baby girl was born, Clara Bow. Despite everything in her early impoverished life, in 1921 her picture was sent to a movie company, and the rest was history. Despite her mother’s efforts to end her career before it started, threatening her with a knife, she survived, went to Hollywood, and found fame. 12 years later, she retired from the business, never to make another film, until she met her maker in 1965.
Last, but not least, and the most important in a sense to a Jean Harlow lookalike, is a gentleman born on this day, in 1892. His name, William Powell. Thats right, the man romantically linked to Jean Harlow at the time of her death, and the man who financed the stunning last resting place of both Jean, and her mother. There was actually a 3rd space, for Powell, but as we know, a few years later he remarried, and was buried with her, when he died in 1984. Maybe if its still available, that third space, for me…? No, I know lol!
The irony is, long before they met in Hollywood, Powell, and Harlow (or Carpenter as she was back then) lived no more than a few blocks apart in Kansas City, Powell’s family having moved there in 1907. But obviously, given the age difference, their paths didnt cross for another 20 years or so, and then…
Many years later, when a biography, and a couple of films came out about Jean, Powell is famously reputed to have said that the only things they got right, were ‘her birth, her death, and her movies’ and pretty much the rest was pure fiction! If he said that, I know who I’m inclined to believe about her life.
The video, an extremely tentative connection to Powell. His most famous series of parts was as ‘The Thin Man’, so I thought of this…rolls eyes
Happy birthday, both of you, and rest in peace.
In the second of my bonus blogs (i.e. shift related, not the standard ones on my days off), lets focus on an event that happened 100 years ago today, and set off the fuse for the catastrophe now known as the First World War, and all the bloodshed it caused.
Yes, on this day in 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and his wife, Sophie, were assassinated in Sarajevo, and immediately set the world on a path towards a date, 37 days later, when the commencement of WW1 was announced. Ironically, you have to wonder, if their driver had not taken a wrong turn when heading back to their base in Sarajevo (was it deliberate, you have to wonder?), then the chance to kill them may never have happened, and who knows where we might be, but for that.
Because, out of that, came the reparations against Germany, and in the ensuing ill feelings that caused, the rise of Hitler, and of course, WW2! Also, how different would Europe look now, given the break ups caused by the outcome, that led to the break up of the Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman Empires might not have happened!
But looking at it from the opposite point of view, the development of the airplane increased dramatically, if only for the reason of developing them into a weapon, to be used against the enemy!
Lets not get too heavily into the massive loss of lives that happened over the next 4 years, we all know that story, lets just remember all those brave men who lost their lives, many of them because of the stupidity of their leaders.
I suppose, as a woman, I should be grateful, it meant women were needed to go out to work, and emancipation came about soon after the end of the war, driven by those events.
But as to my views of events in WW1, this song sums them up pretty well