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Archive | The Fifties

Jimmy Savile – DJ Originator Or More Smoke And Mirrors?

Just over 12 months ago, on October 29th 2011, the TV and radio personality Sir Jimmy Savile died 2 days before his 85th birthday (he was born on Halloween 1926). He was regarded as one of the great British eccentrics, but there were always rumours about deviant behaviour, although nothing proven. Apart from his contribution to broadcasting, Savile was also said to be the first DJ, not only in Britain, but the World, to use twin-turntables, back in the 1940s, making him an unlikely icon to DJs of the modern era. Here’s the blog post I wrote at the time of his death:
http://blog.gregwilson.co.uk/2011/10/sir-jimmy-savile/

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Passing It On

Before I headed off on tour I pulled out my recently acquired copy of Bob Dylan’s autobiography ‘Chronicles: Volume One’ (2004), which I’d specifically earmarked for this trip. However, on my connecting flight from Manchester to London I realised that rather than packing it in my hand baggage, as intended, I must have put it in my suitcase, so, with my luggage checked through to Hong Kong, when I arrived at Heathrow I went into WH Smith to see if I could find something else to read on the journey. I was really looking forward to the Dylan book, so, when I saw it on the shelf I decided to get another copy, and pass the spare one on somewhere along the way.

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Confused, Misused And In The Dark

The photo above shows a man walking down the street past a wall that’s been sprayed with some graffiti – it says ‘Powell For P.M’. I’d imagine that most people under a certain age would completely miss the relevance of this image, having no idea who this Powell was. Maybe they might pick up on the clue that it has some reference to race, as the man in the picture is black, but without understanding the context its message has been lost with the passage of time. Anyone looking at it in the years following the milestone date of April 20th 1968 would be left in no doubt of its potency, but whilst children in British schools are now taught about Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and key aspects of the US Civil Rights movement during the ’50s and ’60s, the story of what happened in this country, following the mass immigration of the post-war period, remains a largely hidden history. Without the knowledge of what went on back then, it’s impossible to properly understand what’s going on now, for Enoch Powell MP, and what he had to say in Birmingham that fateful April day almost 44 years ago (which, at the time, a Gallup poll told us was supported by almost three quarters of the UK population), set the agenda for the race debate in this country – a heated debate which has very much reignited in the past few months.

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Eve Arnold

The acclaimed American photojournalist, Eve Arnold, died last week at the grand old age of 99. Best known for her photographs of Marilyn Monroe (taken over a 10 year period), especially those on the set of her final film, ‘The Misfits’ (1961), she had unrivalled access to the movie icon with her shots, often candid, capturing the human side of the Hollywood legend.

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Three From Seven

‘Seven Samurai’ (1954), directed by Akira Kurosawa, is acknowledged as one of the greatest films ever made. Set in Japan in 1587, it’s the story of a village of poor farmers who hire seven ronin (masterless samurai) to protect them from bandits who will return after the harvest to steal their crops. Kurosawa, widely regarded as Japan’s greatest director, would go on to make other essential movies, including ‘Throne Of Blood’ (1957), ‘Yojimbo’ (1961), and ‘Ran’ (1985), but ‘Seven Samurai’ remained his defining work.

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