Those Were The Days-

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Now a Nightclub called Lennon’s, this place in Onslow Road Southampton used to be The Onslow Pub. As a child I played with Susan the daughter of the landlord in the flat above. Then when I went to Art College I used to go along with friends to listen to the Bob Pearce Blues Band – Bob used to do his duckwalk along the bar and knock people’s drinks over. It was popular with students and throughout the punk era we used to discuss politics and think we were sorting out the world. Those were the days!

 

Whenever I pass by Lennon’s Bar in Onslow Road in Southampton, I think of the song “Those Were the Days”.  So for my Music Monday today, I present 5 different versions, so click on any of the underlined blue names to hear a YouTube track with video:

I first heard the song sung by Mary Hopkin when it went to No1 in the UK Charts in 1968. The Welsh folk-singer was one of the first to record on The BeatlesApple label and it was produced by Paul McCartney. The words on this version are credited to Gene Raskin.

However the tune was originally from an old Russian folk song called “By the Long Road” (Dorogoi Dlinnoyu). Composed by Boris Fomin with words by the poet Konstantin Podrevsky. It deals with reminiscence upon youth and romantic idealism. So more-or less about the same thing and why it haunts me. The most popular version sung in Russian, is by Sergey Lazarev.  The first recording of the song was made by Alexander Vertinsky in 1926.

After the Berlin wall came down in November 1989, I went to visit some British and American friends of mine working in Berlin. We went to a nightclub in East Berlin and Those were the Days by Mary Hopkin was played repeatedly after every few records.

Later in 1992, while I was working on the Algarve in Portugal, I went to a festival in Portimão and saw The Leningrad Cowboys, a Finnish rock band, perform their version in English. If you click on their name the short video that accompanies it is a real treat.

I think my favourite version has to be by The Paganini Duo, a gypsy band in Australia who play the traditional folk version with a violin.

A more recent cover, is sung movingly by  Cynthia Lennon  with a backdrop of Beatles photos. So, we have come full circle now to Lennon‘s – I doubt if you will find me in the club now, but “those were the days”.

 

Police and Thieves – Junior Murvin

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Carnival crowd make room for two police women as they dance

My Music Monday choice this week is: Police and Thieves , which is my favourite reggae song of all time. First recorded on Island Records by Jamaican falsetto singer Junior Murvin in 1976. Every rebel must have bought the single and Murvin did many re-releases and there have been many cover versions in Jamaica, USA and Britain.

1976 saw one of the hottest recorded temperatures in the UK and that same year this song became an anthem in the UK after London’s Notting Hill Carnival erupted into a riot between blacks and police.

This led to an independent enquiry lasting many years that eventually meant a recruiting drive for more blacks and other ethnic minorities as well as gays and lesbians joining the Metropolitan Police Force, especially in roles where decisions were made.

A big effort was made to keep the carnival peaceful in the years to follow and nearly every press photo showed white police and scantily-clad black women dancing together in bump and grinds. Notting Hill quickly became a trendy place to live and as white upper-middle classes moved in. House prices escalated, forcing many black families who had lived in the area since the 50s out.

In 2015 with police on high alert for terrorists, the Carnival saw around 100 arrests, mainly for agitators and people with drugs or weapons.

No-one knows what the atmosphere will be like this year. Brexit has brought about a number of racist groups in clashes with anti-fascist ones and people are worried about terrorists and that the happy days collaboration between police and crowds is long over. It is still a big pull for tourists to Britain, but like most things here – so much may depend on the weather.

Time Out Guide to Notting Hill Carnival August 2016

Brexit – Price Tag

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For my Music Monday post today I am giving a nudge to Brexit and Anti-Globalisation and posting a YouTube video of Jessie J at The Isle of Wight Festival 2012 performing Price Tag.

It’s not about the kerching-ching-ching-ching

Public Enemy – Harder Than You Think

Public Enemy performing at  Bestival's Common People
Public Enemy performing at Bestival’s Common People

Music Monday is the second post in my series of tracks: where I put in a link to a piece of  music that leaves me thinking.

I saw the US band Public Enemy at Bestival’s Common People Festival in Southampton last week. It wasn’t until they played their last number “Harder Than You Think” that I recognised it from the 2012 Disabled Olympics.

The track is also used as the theme tune on Britain’s Channel 4’s spin-off series from the Olympics: The Last Leg – a comedy chat-show with news about celebrities and politics in relation to disabilities.

It got me thinking, then I listened to a few of the versions of this on YouTube. Here’s the link:

Public Enemy –  “Harder Then You Think”

 

Tattooed porcelain dolls – Jessica Harrison

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Tattooed porcelain dolls by Jessica Harrison. 

British artist Jessica Harrison sources traditional ceramic figurines and gives them a new lease of life with delicate, hand-painted tattoos. I have been meaning to focus on a series of artists that exhibited at Dismaland Arts Festival in Weston-Super Mare in 2015 – Harrison is the first artist in this series.

See her facebook for more information.
PHOTO CREDITS: Southampton Old Lady

Street Art and my local scene

Street art causes a reaction. It is effective. I have been appalled and moved to tears by various street artists. So this is an important category for this blog.

Street art has been around since streets started. Early frescos are being preserved in countries like Italy and Mexico. To me street art is especially important — when we are bombarded with advertising posters and commercial signs that we have no control over. I feel that gifted people who have no money to advertise or exhibit should be allowed to display their images too.

I had planned to do quite a bit on street art. However, it seems to be pretty well covered by the people I follow on WordPress, especially by my favourite, world-wide, street-art hubber Frankie Bean, who devotes time to finding the latest, greatest street art to share almost daily with web surfers. To visit: https://frankiebeane.wordpress.com  

So eventually I will cover historical aspects of street art, but for now, here are some offerings with a few thoughts on street art in Southampton, where I live…

Commissioned painting on wall of the Tokyo Club in Bedford Place, Southampton
Commissioned painting on wall of the Tokyo Club in Bedford Place, Southampton
Banksy added a girl with a balloon to someone's "No Future" slogan. A popular anarchist slogan from a group  who used to call themselves Class War. However it was whitewashed over and did not last long.
Banksy added a girl with a balloon to someone’s “No Future” slogan. A popular anarchist slogan from a group who used to call themselves Class War. However it  did not last long and was whitewashed over.
St Mary's Stadium Commissioned art. Home of 'The Saints' football team
St Mary’s Stadium Commissioned art. Home of ‘The Saints’ football team
James Street mural depicting story of Sir Bevois and other local legends in the St Mary's area of Southampton
James Street mural depicting story of Sir Bevois and other local legends in the St Mary’s area of Southampton
Painting temporary art on empty shop windows during a festival in East Street, Southampton, 2015
Painting temporary art on empty shop windows during a festival in East Street, Southampton, 2015
Local artists paint business history on closed-down shops on Northam Estate, Southampton. Part of a series I will highlight later.
Local artists paint business history on closed-down businesses on Northam Estate, Southampton. Part of a series I will highlight later.
Tag on a house in Southampton. The owner is happy to leave it
Tag on a house in Southampton. The owner is happy to leave it
Spitfire detail of mural painted on boarded up shops in the City Centre
Spitfire detail of mural painted on  a boarded up nightclub in the City Centre
Mural on closed down Jonglers Nightclub in the city. Homeless people sleep in doorway.
Mural on closed down Jonglers Nightclub in the city. Homeless people sleep in doorway.
Yarn Bombers at the Southampton Common People Festival 2015
Yarn Bombers dress a large tree at the Southampton Common People Festival 2015
A street art movement, heralded by the Women's Institute is yarn storming or yarn bombing. Here is a free street work shop during the East Street Arts Festival 2015
A street art movement, heralded by the Women’s Institute is yarn storming or yarn bombing. Here is a free street work shop during the East Street Arts Festival 2015
Graffitti by French Prisoners during the Peninsular wars on The Dancing Man Brewery Wall. The building was built in 11th Century by Cistercian Monks to house wool on the Port of Southampton.
Graffitti by French Prisoners during the Peninsular wars on The Dancing Man Brewery Wall. The building was built in 11th Century by Cistercian Monks to house wool on the Port of Southampton.
The political quoters. This person seems to write quite a bit in the Southampton area. At first I thought they were being politically correct with the man or woman 16th Century quote, but there are a number of versions of this http://www.wealthandwant.com/docs/Goose_commons.htm
The political quoters. This person seems to write quite a bit in the Southampton area. At first I thought they changed the text to be politically-correct with “man or woman” in this 16th Century quote, but there are a number of versions of this http://www.wealthandwant.com/docs/Goose_commons.htm

I have no time for graffiti artists who just draw penises or badly scrawl their team’s name. However one street artist assured me that people’s tags are a way of saying, “I am here!” However they do not move me as much.

Graffiti on the graffiti. A poorly designed tag in an allowed area for spray artists in a Southampton subway. This was quickly sprayed with white paint (note the lack of white space) with the words 'Pedestrian'. This could mean either that pedestrians are hitting back or the tag is bland.
Graffiti on Tags.  A poorly designed tag in an allowed area for spray artists in a Southampton subway. This was quickly sprayed with white paint (note the lack of white space) with the words ‘Pedestrian’. This could mean either that pedestrians are hitting back or the tag is bland.

And the minute someone paints something in a public place, someone will want to destroy it.  Banksy usually times how long one of his works lasts before it is scrawled on, de-tagged or whitewashed over. This does not seem to bother him that so long as a few people get to see it he gets to take a photo first.