Perhaps I had ambitions to be an MP - or an undertaker!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

This Indian poem is a favourite of mine. Someday I must take it personally.

This day is a special day, it is yours.
Yesterday slipped away, it cannot be filled anymore with meaning.
About tomorrow nothing is known.
But this day, today, is yours, make use of it.
Today you can make someone happy.
Today you can help another.
This day is a special day, it is yours.


I have in my possession a newspaper published on the day I was born in 1925. Of course the news items and advertisements are of great interest, but I am particularly drawn to the radio programmes being broadcast by 2LO, the forerunner of the BBC, and especially the “Radio Military Tattoo” from the studio at 9.30 pm. Taking part were the Wireless Military Band, the Wireless Choir, the Pipes, Drums and Fifes of the Scots Guards, and the Trumpeters of the Royal Horse Guards. An “Artillery Musical Drive” introducing tanks, Anti-Aircraft batteries and aeroplanes was promised. Pretty good for a broadcast from the studio! To quote the newspaper - “The presence of other troops and their evolutions (?) will be suggested by sound effects, and indications of what is happening will be given by the dialogue between two persons supposed to be watching the performance.”
During the day the Royal Air Force Band were billed to give four short programmes and the reason for all this military emphasis was the fact that the following day was Armistice Day.

Now, apart from the Royal Air Force Band, what other entertainment was available in 1925?

Jack Payne was probably the first of a long line of dance band leaders who would fill a great part of broadcasting schedules for many years.
Outside broadcasts from hotels were frequent, and the first UK performance of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue came from the London Savoy Hotel on 15th June.

Among the top recording artistes were the Irish tenor John McCormack and Paul Whiteman the American Band leader.

In the London theatre, three musicals were outstanding - Rose Marie which ran for 851 performances; No, No, Nanette 665 performances; The Vagabond King 511 performances.

1925 saw a large number of popular songs published, among them - Dinah, Tea for Two, Don’t bring Lulu, Show me the Way to go Home, and Always, which Irving Berlin wrote as a wedding gift to his wife

The first popular song I ever heard was Alexander’s Ragtime Band (another Irving Berlin hit) sung by my mother as she did her housework. I wonder where she learned that!!!

When I was a small boy, the main street of our town had very little traffic and people could safely walk on the road rather than on the pavements.
There were plenty of vans around - milk, fruit and veg., fish, baker, coal, but all horse-driven. The ice-cream van was a small 2-wheel affair driven by a cute little pony. (The owner, an Italian who had lived for many years here was interned when Italy came into World War Two on Germany’s side.)
There was an exciting time each day around 5 o’clock when all the vans would be returning to the depot. The horses of course knew that their day’s work was done, and would gallop through the town with a great clattering of hooves, taking the right-hand turn to the stables at what seemed to us a dangerous speed.
Keen gardeners were always on the alert for the sound of horses’ hooves on the street, and were ready with pail and shovel to collect what the horses left behind. I was never asked to do that, but I remember an occasion much later on, when my father had a whole cartload of manure deposited on the pavement, and I had to help carry it in to the garden. Not a pleasant job!!!

Here’s a thought for all those who are EIGHTY PLUS -

Father Time is not always a hard parent, and, though he tarries for none of his children, often lays his hand lightly upon those who have used him well; making them old men and women inexorably enough, but leaving their hearts and spirits young and in full vigour. With such people the grey head is but the impression of the old fellow's hand in giving them his blessing, and every wrinkle but a notch in the quiet calendar of a well-spent life. (Charles Dickens)

No comments: