"You may say that I am a dreamer/But I am not the only one" John Lennon: "Imagine"

"So come brothers and sisters/For the struggle carries on" Billy Bragg: "The Internationale"

Elizannie has a reading room at 'Clarice's Book Page' http://www.villiersroad.blogspot.com/

Thursday 30 June 2011

Solidarity to the Workers and all those on Picket Lines on the 30th of June

Dear David Cameron

Yes, we are in this together, but not with you - against you!

Elizannie and comrades all over the UK, on pickets lines, in homes and in despair.

Billy Bragg lyrics to The Internationale

Stand up, all victims of oppression,
For the tyrants fear your might!
Don't cling so hard to your possessions,
For you have nothing if you have no rights!
Let racist ignorance be ended,
For respect makes the empires fall!
Freedom is privilege extended,
Unless enjoyed by one and all.
So come brothers and sisters,
For the struggle carries on.
The Internationale,
Unites the world in song.
So comrades, come rally,
For this is the time and place!
The international ideal,
Unites the human race.

Let no one build walls to divide us,
Walls of hatred nor walls of stone.
Come greet the dawn and stand beside us,
We'll live together or we'll die alone.
In our world poisoned by exploitation,
Those who have taken, now they must give!
And end the vanity of nations,
We've but one Earth on which to live.
So come brothers and sisters,
For the struggle carries on.
The Internationale,
Unites the world in song.
So comrades, come rally,
For this is the time and place!
The international ideal,
Unites the human race.

And so begins the final drama,
In the streets and in the fields.
We stand unbowed before their armour,
We defy their guns and shields!
When we fight, provoked by their aggression,
Let us be inspired by life and love.
For though they offer us concessions,
Change will not come from above!
So come brothers and sisters,
For the struggle carries on.
The Internationale,
Unites the world in song.
So comrades, come rally,
For this is the time and place!
The Internationale,
Unites the human race.

For more information of the history of the song see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Internationale#English_lyrics

Wednesday 29 June 2011

Music is my tardis

A good friend wrote the above phrase on my facebook after reading my last blog, just about the time that I realised that I hadn't mentioned music in my list of memory inducing 'prompts'. So I dedicate this blog to Carl with the hope that he will listen to all my favourite 'tunes' and not suffer too much at some of them....

Like humour, one's own musical tastes are so subjective. I have seen really good friends nearly come to blows over the 'best' rendition of a song. Just this last week I entered into a really fierce facebook debate on the best version of Leonard Cohen's wonderful Hallejuah - obviously John Cale although not everyone agreed....

And memories induced by music don't always mean that the particular piece of music is one of one's actual favourites! For instance whenever I hear Dexy's Midnight Runners' Come On Eileen it reminds me of a holiday in Woolacombe in the 1980s. I like the song but it wouldn't be one of the pieces I would chose for Desert Island Discs.

I know you are all waiting for me to start quoting all the Bob Dylan songs that mean a lot of me and all the memories they hold. Well there are so many that I will just give the one song, from the first Dylan album I ever bought [Bringing It All Back Home] way back when. The song is Love Minus Zero and reminds me of hours spent in my mother's front room with my old mono record player [yes that was what they were called back along!] I can't find a YouTube that does justice to Dylan singing it so have mixed two musical memories to link to this version by Joan Baez.

Most couples have their own tune and we have ended up with
Where do you go to my Lovely? by Peter Sarstedt . How this happened we have no idea but it is a ripping good tune...

I am hopping all over the place with these memories, why Queen appear next with Bohemian Rhapsody I have no idea, except memory is like that - random and not orderly! We used to listen to Queen constantly when we were 'exiled' in Germany [working for Ford] in the late '70s. And to the embarassment of all my children Other Half and I both know all the words to this whenever it is played anywhere and sing along with it - loudly!

Back to the late 60s and hippy times, to when we first heard Arlo Guthrie singing Amazing Grace. Since then we have heard lots of artists perform this, including massed bands, but there is still something unique about Arlo's performances. We have had it played at Christenings and Funerals and I am dropping hints for a forthcoming wedding!

Another completely random choice would be something by Paul Robeson. A favourite of mine, but he was also a favourite of my Father's. The trouble is, I really don't know which one song I would choose - the lullaby my mother used to sing, one of the Welsh songs he sang to support the miners, the hymns ..... Oh well Mum, here's your song Curly Headed Baby!

Roy Bailey is the music man I probably go to see most frequently these days. So my song from him I Ain't Afraid would be and the memory is of him and Tony Benn doing a great set at Cambridge Folk Festival in 2000. A set we have seen many times and enjoy every time!

I could go on for ever but must stop but before I do there are two songs I cannot ignore. Family know why I have Joan Baez singing Dylan's Forever Young. A very special memory.

And lastly, Billy Bragg's version of The Internationale. This song encapsulates so many memories: Family, friends, beliefs, hopes and ideals. And it is my ringtone on my mobile. And Billy and I are both 'Made in Barking'!

No photos today - the PC won't play.

Monday 27 June 2011

Take care of all your memories.

Its really too hot to work, so have been chatting on Facebook and I happened to remark how depressing I found a comment just heard on the radio:

Windchimes always remind me of my Nan

Being a great windchime lover [yes I have them all over the house and garden] I always thought they expresed our hippy past rather than our increasing seniority! Although I do remember when first putting up a bamboo chime in the garden nderneath our bedroom window just before going to bed one hot night, Other Half getting up in a temper at about 3am as its lovely tones were keeping him awake...

I went on to comment that Yardleys Old English Lavender Water reminded me of my two Nans - and I have also been searching the net ever since to try and find pictures of those fly traps that were cardboard pictures of things like budgerigars or kittens in a basket which hung from the ceiling [we are talking circa 1955 btw!]

So a thread developed about what sparks off memories. A smell can take one back years. My mother wasn't a great one for cosmetics, but there was a certain face cream my mother used which I have very rarely smelt since a child - but if I ever catch a whiff of it - wow! And my Dad - well there was the smell of the wood in his wardrobe mixed with the sort of moth balls they used way back then - that sounds awful but was actually rather nice!

I am not a foody person so cooking smells don't do a lot for me - but that smell of candy floss at the sea side or fair, or better still - toffee apples. My mother used to make these and I do remember one batch she made and when we came down the next morning they were covered with ants who had also been unable to resist the smell..

My two grandfathers: the English one was 'Granfer' and had whiskery stubble on his cheeks which I laughed to rub my cheeks against. I think that began my love of bearded men! [Other Half, Brian Blessed...] My Welsh one: Granfa [note spelling difference] had such a round face and smile and used to talk to me about piano playing. Both passed over too soon.

Strawberry smells remind of the day I got home from school and found the house empty but smelling deliciously of strawberries. I couldn't find a relative or a strawberry - but to be honest I was most worried about the latter. I was in the fortunate position in those days to live next door to more family and it eventually turned out that a new baby had just been born and thus everyone had left my house for next door. So the smell of strawberries reminds me of that cousin! [The strawberries were eventually found in our house, neatly turned into pots of jam. And I can't stand jam!]

My father died when I was a teenager so I never really got to know him as a person rather than a 'Dad'. But when I find an old book with his signature in it I feel close to him, finding a little bit of his character in his choice of books. And his writing was so appalling because he was a lobby correspondent and never learnt shorthand - used his own system and wrote very quickly! I have always loved seeing Eldest Son doing jig-saws because it reminded me that as a child if I left a jig-saw unfinished overnight, when my father got home from reporting on parliamentary matters he would finish it!

When my mother died and we cleared out the loft and emptied the house two things that had to go to the tip upset me . One was the old electric radiator that used to get wheeled into my bedroom every time that I was ill - very often in the 1950s as I was asthmatic! - and the other was the suitcase that came down from the loft at holiday time. It still had some of the stickers on it from when we sent it on ahead by train [before the years of the car!] The suitcase was old and tatty, although Other Half offered to keep it I couldn't inflict it on him!

The last thing that we took out of that house was one of my mother's evening dresses that had somehow survived from the 1960s/70s. Eldest Daughter had worn it to a legal ball when at uni and I couldn't send it to the charity shop somehow. A couple of years later Youngest Daughter decided that she would like to wear it to her school prom. Youngest Daughter being shorter than Eldest Daughter and my mother meant considerable work had to be done by me to get it to fit but I managed somehow. I bought Youngest Daughter a pair of smart sandals to go with the dress - but being ever the individul she decided to wear a pair of pink converse boots with it! I must admit she looked good, but since I worked in the school at the time I got fed up with other teachers telling me the following week what a good idea that had been and threatened to put a note on the staff room notice board with the receipt for the sandals on it!

My children never seemed to remember the things/outings/events we thought that they would - the trips to places of interest, educational visits etc etc. But they do remember me turning a film off before the end and telling them the [false] happy ending. And Youngest Daughter embarassed herself in front of her driving instructor when she refused a wine gum because she thought it contained alcohol. [That was one of Other Half's jokes when she was very young] Plus the driving instructor was his best friend so that was a double embarassment for him]

My grandchildren [eldest aged nine] are already savouring memories - and what odd things they remember - never what one hopes! Eldest grandaughter remembers 'the lovely meal' I cooked on holiday once - my sphag bol which is one of the only things I can cook and really doesn't rate that highly in culinary terms! Eldest grandson on visiting the holiday town we hadn't visited for nearly a year remembered exactly the position of the shop which sold delicious fudge. Are children's memories always food induced?

Funny what things spark our memories isn't it! As Bob Dylan said:

Take care of all your memories. For you cannot relive them

I am not on my usual computer so can't access my photos. I hope I have downloaded a link to 'Memories' from the musical 'Cats'.

Friday 10 June 2011

At Last, Rowan Williams.....

Yesterday I was really pleased to hear the Archbishop of Canterbury,Rowan Williams talking sense about the Coalition government's 'plans'. Of course the government in the persona of David Cameron replied to Dr Williams' criticisms.

Obviously, to those who have read my comments before, I am going to agree with Dr Williams' comments. Equally obviously David Cameron, representing the government, will disagree. But this is the sort of healthy debate that should be encouraged in our 2011 society. Some journos and contributers and commentators to and on Blogs were suggesting that the Archbishop of Canterbury should be 'above politics'. How ridiculous is that?! Religious discussions are surely amongst the original platforms for political reform. For example, just read the Beatitudes, what a wonderful set of 'rules' for those wanting to lead a good life. [Because I am talking about the Archbishop of Canterbury I am using examples from Christian teachings. All religions can show similar examples]

I am not suggesting that all Christians will agree with Dr Williams. Or that one has to be a Christian to agree with him! As a Christian and a pacifist I have been disappointed that he has not 'come out' definitively against our military actions for example. But the more that public figures like Dr Williams open up the debate about whether or not they feel the Coalition Government is doing the right things the better it must be for all of us, surely?

Oh and the photo? Well it is a very early shot of Bob Dylan singing three verses of With God on Our Side in May 1964 on the BBC programme Tonight. When Other Half heard Dr Williams' comments he remarked 'So the Government do not have God on their side?' This was repeated hours later on the TV news. Always knew that OH should have been a headline writer. He is wasted as a press officer.....

Monday 6 June 2011

Please listen, Vince Cable

So today we are to hear Vince Cable addressing the GMB conference where it is reported he will 'warn' [in my translation this means 'threaten'] that any further "co-ordinated strike action may lead to tougher union laws"

As I have said in previous blogs, pre the 2010 General Election I had quite liked Vince Cable - in his Liberal Democrat days. He seemed a bit right wing but talked a reasonable amount of business and economic sense. However once he had a sniff of power things changed and he seemed to adopt the Tory mantras with all his heart. There was a moment when he seemed to be falling out of love with his new buddies, when he attacked the Coalition proposed proposals [don't you just love that tautonomy!] to reform the NHS

However, now I sense in Cable a man desperate to hang onto/gain power at any price to his so-called 'principles'. The sort of threat it appears he will make at the GMB conference today takes us back to the 1830s and the Tolpuddle Martyrs. Government action then did not stop workers from unionising - in fact it strengthened their cause and if the present government takes on the already weakened Union movement they will find they have a similar effect. [A lot of people do not realise that the 'oath' for which the Tolpuddle Martyrs where tried, convicted and transported was very, very similar to the oath that Freemasons did and still do swear]

The day of action on March 26th has obviously rattled the Coalition government more than they admitted then - the answer is to listen to our grievances and not threaten us with punitive measures.

I am writing this blog in a temper when only just back from a relaxing time away which followed a lovely family wedding. Please Mr Cable re-think your speech and let me and others get back into our zone of freedom to express our grievances. Don't take us back to the pre-Victorian times.

The image is taken from the Tolpuddle Martyrs site: http://www.tolpuddlemartyrs.org.uk/index.php?page=martyr-s-story
Read and be warned