Sunday, 31 May 2015

Never Get a Job by The Last Resort


When I stumbled through YouTube I came across this 'bad attitude lot' who looked about the same age as me. A bunch of punks who missed the train back in 1976 - Oh dear.

I thought, "Christ! Have they not grown out of it yet?"

Then, out of curiosity, I pressed play and I was transported back to 1977 with a sort of punk/something else. I found the band (The Last Resort) very compelling with this song about never getting a job. Its a great protest rant. These blokes seem to have something to say and do it very well indeed. They certainly blew a few cobwebs out of my eyes. Even though I am fortunate enough to have a job.

I like the 'old hat' rebel attitude from yester-year bubbling up into today's trails and tribulations. They sound great. A bunch of die hard skinhead punks. Give these guys a listen. You'll find them rather compelling.




Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Growing Daily Blog Hits

Graph of Blogger page views
Pageviews today
384
Pageviews yesterday
767
Pageviews last month
17,404
Pageviews all time history
649,764
Don't track your own pageviews
Encouraging Retro Brit blog growth rate as the hits begin to increase on a daily basis. On occasion, I have had over 1,000 views in a day. The over all good signs are the average. This has increased considerably.


 
  

Sunday, 24 May 2015

All the flowers in the Fenland Garden.




My wife and I have been gradually getting the garden areas of the house ready. The back garden needs some more work, especially where the garden table is. We hope to start decking it soon. However, the side garden, where we drive in, also needs to have something going on. Therefore, Ive been looking at various pot plants and large flower boxes. We often sit in the side garden because it offers good views of the Fens. I decided that a variety of potted plants upon the stone drive might work. It is only beginning, but I'll gradually add.

There is also two little areas to the front of the house. One is a triangular area where we have put various perennial types to ground and in pots. I'm no gardener, but have suddenly developed a liking for some colour. I've noticed so many different types of wild flowers that sprout up everywhere in the Fenland whilst going about the various abodes, in the hamlets and villages, emptying the bins, I see so many different types of wild flora. These things I've never noticed before. I'm not sure if I'm developing an appreciative eye for this or its because the Fenland are new to me and the wild things are more apparent. 

Just outside the gate and across the road, there are wild Red Hot Pokers growing on the verge. They where there last year, to my delight, and now they are back. I dug one up last year and planted it in the front of my garden by a small rockery with a Curry plant and others flowers. I am thrilled that three Red Hot Pokers have grown in this spot too.

I end up going home, after work, and telling Carole about them and she seems to know all the various things I'm speaking of. We've spent a fair amount of money on plants at the many garden centres that are scattered about the Fens and gradually the garden is beginning to take shape. The front, side, and back. We have to make sure the ducks and chickens stay in their pen or they will devour every plant in sight.


My gradual potted side part of garden. I am to get more.
Last year's Red Hot Pokers growing again in front garden 

Small triangular front part of garden

Side drive of House

Red Hot Pokers

Side part of garden

Side part of garden

Back Garden

The seating part of back needs decking





















Sunday, 17 May 2015

Review about Alexander Cordell's Rape Of The Fair Country.

I read this story some time ago. It is set in Wales during the 1830s and early 1840s amidst an iron making community. We see the story through the eyes of young Iestyn Mortymer. It is set during the birth of trade union movements that are forming to represent those up against cruel and unsympathetic masters of industry. In this case, the iron works industry. Our characters struggle to overcome gross exploitation by the class divided society of early Victorian Wales and is very well presented as we follow a family with other aspect of life's trials and tribulations. We see Iestyn's entire family as they live through the harsh times with anger and frustration building up over many years. Eventually coming to a furious climax with British red coat militia. There is a lot of true historical groups like Scotch Cattle, Chartism and Rebbecca rioters etc. These groups were very real indeed and the fictitious Mortymer family are among the new growing social ideologies of these desperate times. A very enjoyable read and would recommend this story highly.






Thursday, 7 May 2015

Giving You Charming Feel Good Movie - Loved it to Bits!



Of Recent years, I feel the British movie industry has devoted disproportionate time to making cheap gangster flicks. It has become tiresome when I believe our nation has so many other subjects it could find to exploit and present to varied audiences. I sometimes think that people abroad must regard Brits as being gangster obsessed if they see the amount of movies we seem to plug on the subject.

Then I was very pleasantly surprised by a DVD I purchased in the supermarket in March, Cambridgeshire, where I now live. The fictional story was called Made in Dagenham. It was among the cheap and cheerful sales section. At first I thought “Oh no, not more nastiness - from Dagenham this time.” Then I noticed a group of young ladies in retro sixties outfits and my interest was perked. I remember my Mother wearing such things when I was a kid and I, of course, have a nostalgic liking for retro British things of the 50s, 60s and 70s, especially the 60s. I felt myself compelled to give the DVD a little more scrutiny.

I saw the late Bob Hoskins alongside a group of ladies in bee hive hairdos and bubble type cuts. These ladies were working at the Dagenham Ford Motor Company – a place I remember well as a kid because I lived in Hornchurch and knew a number of people who worked there in the engine plant. “Wow! I think. Somewhere I lived as kid with all the retro memories.” I’m not too keen on girlie type films, but this did have a colourful fun aspect to the cover and I thought my wife would like it because she always complains that I buy SciFi and basically male orientated flicks. “OK,” I thought, “for £3 I’ll give it a go.” And with reserved aplomb, I put it next to the Monty Python DVD, I had already chosen.

The wife and I settled down to watch this flick the other night and I would have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. The movie is a very charming ‘feel good about yourself’ story that is neatly crafted. Actress Sally Hawkinsplays a character called Rita O’Grady who works with a group of ladies in the Ford Motor Company, upholstery plant, where they specialise in making car seats – machine stitching them to required fittings. This is a specialised job that does not get the industrial recognition and respect it deserves because it is women doing the task. We go on a journey of industrial action from the ladies as they campaign for equal wages to the men. There are 55,000 men working at the plant and just 187 women in 1968.

The fictional story about the real 1968 Ford Motor Company strike. It is a wonderful ‘feel good’ presentation because it is done in such a wonderful light hearted way. Rita O’Grady lives in flats (apartments) close to the Ford Motor plant that I’m sure must be the Mardyke Estate in Rainham, just up the A13 less than a mile from Dagenham Motor plant. She is roped into a union meeting (more as a bystander or token rep alongside three other union officials.)

At the meeting, the head regional union rep is sweet talked over by the management committee, but our heroine (Rita O’Grady) gate crashes the talks and comes out with home truths concerning sexual discrimination and the wrongs being done to the ladies who earn less than 50% of what the men earn. From this point the movie kicks off with the girls walking out and the knock on effect they have in the British government and the U.S. Ford Motor Company. We get a panoramic and international view of the shockwaves while this small group of ladies live their humble lives with enough things at home to concern themselves with. It is as though they can’t see the more dynamic impact they have as they focus on their one righteous campaign. They come across as modest people just stating what is right.

The struggle is colourful with trials and tribulations mixed in with real and more kindly things. I don’t know how to explain the kindly things, except to say the film is not morose. It is uplifting in its womanly presentation of things – light hearted and endearing while managing to convey the seriousness of the exploitation that is going on. From Rita O’Grady and her work friends to British Employment MP Barbara Castle (Played by MirandaRichardson)  

It is a movie that manages to flick a switch and sit back modestly and say, “Well what do you think?”

ANSWER: I thought it was blooming lovely. 10 out of 10 and a big smile.



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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

The Invisible Man - H.G. Wells (Retro SciFi)

This was a thrilling story. I thought it would be corny and I was only half interested when I picked it up. I did not think anything could surpass The War of the Worlds or The Time Machine. However, to my delight, The Invisible Man was so wonderfully presented. It takes place at an Inn in an English village during the time of Victorian Britain. The locals are nosey rumour mongers who find the strange bandaged man a bit of an odd fellow who keeps himself to himself. From here the wonderful plot begins as we gradually learn of the invisible man and the growing intolerance towards his desperate need for isolation and secretive studies. A gripping tale with characters that are deeper and more real than those in H.G. Wells' other good novels.

This story drip feeds the reader with a developing plot. The scientific explanation for the man's invisibility is remarkable and very plausible too. The cloths and bandages to hide his transparency are all wonderfully thought out. 

One would think the prospect of being invisible would be exciting and advantages, but H.G. Wells thought otherwise as our scientist becomes obsessed, bitter and twisted in his attempt to find a cure for his invisibility - the result of a scientific experiment that went wrong. The reader is introduced to the invisible man as he is about to embark upon a new quest to reverse the accident that rendered the scientist permanently invisible. It is a race against time as he gradually loses his sanity while trying to keep his dilemma a secret. Desperately, he searches for a formula to reverse the dreadful process. 





Friday, 1 May 2015

Giving Readers Titus Groan - Epic Fantasy story (Mervyn Peake)








I loved this story set in a fantasy world, almost like a prehistoric England trapped in a vast crumbling castle of nooks and crannies, where everyone has minor functions to serve the household of the vast Castle estate of Gormanghast.



We have Steerpike, our conniving and wretched youngster who learns how to immerse himself into the fabric of the castle's day to day running, gate crashing into the time held and futile traditions of the decadent society. Flay the head servant to the Earl and Countess of Groan, Swelter the repulsive bully and head cook of the castle.

This is the first book of a trilogy and it is a glorious read. The second book called; Gormanghast is equally as gripping. However, Titus alone was very difficult in my humble opinion, The consolation for me is; each of the first two books stand alone and make a wonderful story.

The first book of Titus Groan has an splendid and very atmospheric climax as Mister Flay and the castle's head butcher, (Mister Swelter) have a duel amid the crumpling ruins during a stormy downpour. The mind's eye can see the confrontation in all its Gothic glory.