George Henry Linney – circa 1932, Mayor of South Shields.

G.A

Iron foundry worker and Mayor of South Shields, Great Grandpa Linney

Mayor Linney

 above: walking by the corner of Ocean Road and Mile End Road, Mayor’s sunday 1932

GHLinney St Hildas ChurchAbove: leaving St Hilda’s Church, circa 1932

Mayor south ShieldsAbove: Mayor’s Sunday 1933 Mayor: Coun. Samuel Lawlan, Retiring Mayor; Coun. George Henry Linney (on the left of picture), Town Clerk Harold Ayrey. South Shields. Photographer: Cleet James Henry.

Thomas Mouat Tate

Thomas Moaut Tate…among many other things, timekeeper for The Basin Football Club, Vic. Australia (circa 1970-1980), formerly trolley bus driver, iron-foundry work, ships stoker (on The Welshman – Malta Convoy, and others), service 1940-1943, sunk three times, a.w.o.l. in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt 1944, returned to service 1944-45, demobbed 1945, emigrated to Australia, painter (of houses), and singer of songs.

Museums

pharlapMuseums no longer smell like death and formaldehyde, but I remember the great Pharlap, stuffed and fascinating in the museum on Lonsdale Street. A publicity still was my most treasured possession when I was about 6. Those yankees poisoned him, or so the story went – captivating for young minds. In the first image he seems too fast to even fit in the frame, they had to encase him in glass forever.

pharlap2

For toast and marmalade in the afternoon.

The pain of loss so great that only distraction measure it’s significance. Unbearable to forget, unbearable to remember, a sort of planned denial is the only survival. I miss her so, and still cannot understand her death. I cannot introduce her to my boy, who she would have loved as if the world. It is surreal that I can must and just cannot bear to write this, with stupid angry tears caught in my chest and pain in my eyes. Five years ago today.

meanwhile, in Cairo…

 

“Activists are under the threat wherever they go, Dina (17 yrs old) and Israa (19) Abdallah Abo El-Azm, two sisters detained by the army three days ago for distributing flyers are now to be sentenced in front of a military court. In reality they were only walking down the street in Cairo at midday. They were kidnapped by the army and falsely accused. Not just the activists themselves are in danger, anyone who looks like what came to be stereotyped as a Tahrir Square protester, risks detention or beating”.

I do not know more about who has written this, but that the Military mates of Mubarak remain in place was always a concern – though not for the BBC who of course went on to other stories quick smart. Someone on Al-Jezeera did anticipate something like this, but I didn’t note who said it. More than one person for sure. Anyone got more on detentions in particular?

The entire article is here.

When the army hits the fan!

Posted by Leil-Zahra on 3/16/11 •

The Egyptian people have always loved the army, especially that they haven´t seen much of them since 1973 apart from a controversial participation in the Desert Storm war on the side of the United States. The army was always the romantic figure of glorious times under Nasser who stood in the face of Israel and pumped Arab nationalism and pride in Egypt and beyond. Movies, TV series, documentaries, songs, popular tales of heroics and braveries, novels, and school books all glorify the participation of the army up to 1973.

The popular memory froze in time in 1973, maybe because the Egyptian people didn´t have much to celebrate or take pride in under the rulers that came afterwards. Both Sadat and Mubarak destroyed the spirit of the people in every way possible and on every level imaginable (though this doesn´t mean that Nasser was the best thing that happened to this country). It became once again the tale of Pharaohs in the center-stage, the slaves building the Pyramids forgotten and marganilized.

Egypt is the country of romanticism par excellence. For decades while tens of millions of Egyptians were famished for collective self-esteem, reminiscing and nostalgia were the only survival tool available. The Pharaohs and the army were at the core of it all, equally present in the memory of the people and equally ancient history in the tangible reality. It was all memories of glorious days that lived in the reality of the people. Even some of those who found it emotionally hard to oust Mubarak did so because they respected him as a leading military figure from the war of 1973.

Full article continues: here.

 

Salute Vera Lynn

vera-lynn-001My mother was pretty much an unreconstructed (though we made the effort) anglophile, despite having lived 54 of her 65 years in Australia, but for sure she would have been wholeheartedly supportive of Vera Lynn’s current dalliance with the legal process. All salute Vera Lynn, at 91 still doing the job for an anti-fascist Britain (lest we forget):

From Today’s Guardian:

On one side is the woman who became the symbol of British patriotism in adversity. On the other is the far-right party which claims to embody that spirit now. Last night Dame Vera Lynn, once the forces’ sweetheart, was consulting her solicitor after discovering that the British National party was selling a CD compilation of second world war songs to members under the title of her most famous hit, The White Cliffs of Dover.

The album is on sale on the BNP’s website for £4.95 and has helped the party raise funds for its European election campaign. As well as The White Cliffs of Dover it also includes Dame Vera’s All Alone in Vienna. But the 91 year-old singer’s solicitor, Nigel Angel, said: “Her position is that the song was included without her approval. She does not align with any political party and I will be discussing it with her.”

So this was a strange article to be reading on the same page as the one where University staff are warned to watch for ‘radicals’ and violent extremists organising on campus. We are asked to be vigilant. Well, I have to report that I have seen violence perpetrated on campus – a number of bovver boys and girls have taken over the administrative apparatus of the university sector in order to extort profit from a public recourse. They charge fees, make alliances from business, speak a weirdo corporate speak (‘business-facing’!!) and generally think that the ideal model for running education was forged in the offices of the Royal Bank of Scotland Speculation division. Its not even the BNP that’s the trouble here, its the managerial class. Raise the Vera spirit and do them down as if it were the blitz all over again. Mother would agree.

Eyeballs on the Rats

I played guitar (somewhere between competent and bad) in the 1970s. King Rat, a band of mates I rehearsed a bit with, took their name from the 1962 James Clavell novel about the wartime Prison Camp called Changi in Singapore (now name of the airport). (They eventually went on to Metal rock god fame as the Bengal Tigers, I went to work with Maoists in West Bengal). King Rat was also the name of the 1998 debut novel by China Miéville, and is also an up and coming band in the present day (see here). Cavell however, it seems, took the name King Rat from the pantomime “Dick Whittington“, which references rats as carriers of the plague.

Lets sing:

“Ring a ring a Rosie

A Pocket full of posie

a-tissue, a-tissue

We all fall down”.

- and they still sometimes say Pantomime is just for kids right. I got my eye on them (and the first pic for this post – above – is a picture of my eyeball, kindly provided by the optometrist who did my recent Glaucoma test – I think it looks not totally dissimilar, at least in colour, to the cover of Miéville’s book – and only one of these is guaranteed free of myopia/glaucoma). My sister – the older of the two – visited Kolkata while I was there and the first line of her diary records the fact that there were rats as big as cats in the dormitory I was staying in. Actually, I thought the 8 rupee dorm (it was 1988 by then) was pretty luxurious for the price. The bathrooms were a shooting gallery most days, there was a few crazies (the Mother T god-botherers, and a guy who lost it in room 2 I’ll never forget – the first death I saw up close). Some of this is documented in The Rumour of Calcutta, but a lot of it is not – it will go in the T8 file to be explained later.