Tsar Nicholas II having fun with his cousins Prince Nicolaos of Greece and Grand Duke Boris Vladimirovich at Schloss Wolfsgarten, 1899 (via Vintage Photo LJ)
Very Short Fact: On this day in 1961: Berliners wake to divided city as troops in East Germany seal off the border between East and West Berlin, shutting off the escape route for thousands of refugees from the East.
War was averted, to be sure, and Khrushchev was able to provide a form of life-support to the German Democratic Republic, but those achievements came at a high political and propaganda cost for the Soviet Union and East Germany. ‘It’s not a very nice solution’, mused a pragmatic Kennedy, ‘but a wall is a hell of a lot better than a war’.
—Robert J. McMahon, The Cold War: A Very Short Introduction, page 85.
Shotgun Wedding, Roy C, 1965.
This, in my opinion, is one of the underrated soul songs of the 1960s. A shotgun wedding is when a couple are forced to marry under duress after the girl falls pregnant- hence the line “your Fathers’ got his gun, now there’s nowhere left to run…”
When you come back to England from any foreign country, you have immediately the sensation of breathing a different air. Even in the first few minutes dozens of small things conspire to give you this feeling. The beer is bitterer, the coins are heavier, the grass is greener, the advertisements are more blatant. The crowds in the big towns, with their mild knobby faces, their bad teeth and gentle manners, are different from a European crowd. Then the vastness of England swallows you up, and you lose for a while your feeling that the whole nation has a single identifiable character. Are there really such things as nations? Are we not forty-six million individuals, all different? And the diversity of it, the chaos! The clatter of clogs in the Lancashire mill towns, the to-and-fro of the lorries on the Great North Road, the queues outside the Labour Exchanges, the rattle of pin-tables in the Soho pubs, the old maids hiking to Holy Communion through the mists of the autumn morning – all these are not only fragments, but characteristic fragments, of the English scene. How can one make a pattern out of this muddle?
George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn (1941)
I read this book during the summer of my second year at University and it completely changed my view on Englishness. We are an imperfect people, but truly unique.
JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound- I am trying to break your heart.
A cover of the original by Wilco.
One of the best soul acts of our generation.
Eli Paperboy Reed- Call Your Boyfriend.
This song is originally by the R&B/Pop artist Robyn, and I think Eli has done a real nice cover of it. Rumour has it that Robyn didn’t want Eli to release this record, but he went ahead and did it anyway. Fair play Eli.
Release as a B-side for World Record Store Day 2013, with Woohoo as the A-side.
"Stand ye calm and resolute,
Like a forest close and mute,
With folded arms and looks which are
Weapons of unvanquished war.
And if then the tyrants dare,
Let them ride among you there,
Slash, and stab, and maim and hew,
What they like, that let them do.
With folded arms and steady eyes,
And little fear, and less surprise
Look upon them as they slay
Till their rage has died away
Then they will return with shame
To the place from which they came,
And the blood thus shed will speak
In hot blushes on their cheek.
Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you-
Ye are many — they are few”
Bill Evans- Waltz for Debby. Listening to this song always reminds me of summer.
"somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near
your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose
or if your wish be to close me, i and
my life will shut very beautifully ,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;
nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the color of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing
(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands”
EE Cummings, "Somewhere I have never travelled..."
I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country … Corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavour to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.