Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

VE day - 70 years ago

It is the 70th anniversary of VE Day, when the Second World War in Europe came to an end, and London is celebrating, with that rather good concert at Horseguards Parade - not just a patriotic singalong but showing quite serious stuff about the war and how it affected people then. I heard all this at first hand as my mother was in London during the Blitz - as she spent 8 years in London from 1934 (when she was 16) to 1942 and she was a Land Girl and trainee hairdresser, so we grew up hearing all about rationing, the blackouts, the doodlebugs, sleeping in air raid shelters and down in the underground stations etc. It affected her nerves really, so she was sent back to Ireland, and resumed her hairdressing, lodged at the guesthouse my father's family ran, and once she met him there was no going back to England .... they married and I came along at the very end of December 1945 - a war baby then! Quentin Crisp on the other hand, as per his memoirs, had a great time in the blitz with those visiting Yanks and the threat of imminent death hanging over everyone - the things that went on in the blackout! 

Celebrations continue on Sunday, but the concert was a fun show, capturing a lot of that wartime experience, and made a change from the other big event of the week - the general election and all the fallout from that as the chattering classes went into overdrive ...

Here at the Projector, we like that 1940s ambience, and those classic British movies made then, capturing it all: I KNOW WHERE I'M GOING, A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH, THIS HAPPY BREED, THE WAY TO THE STARS, IN WHICH WE SERVE, 2000 WOMEN, etc. and those 50s war films about it all: THE CRUEL SEA, ICE COLD IN ALEX, SEA OF SAND, DUNKIRK, SEVEN THUNDERS, and Leacock's 1962 REACH FOR GLORY caught the Home Front nicely and the frustrations of teenagers watching the war from home - its from a book I liked as a teenager, John Rae's "The Custard Boys". . Later films like John Schlesinger's YANKS in 1979 got that 1940s wartime period just right too, whereas Hollywood shoot-em-ups like OPERATION CROSSBOW or the venerable THE GREAT ESCAPE or BATTLE OF BRITAIN did not bother much with period detail, but were engrossing just the same. 

Life during wartime ...

Here in England the Sunday night period drama slot (where one relaxes with a gin and tonic) lately successfully filled by POLDARK (see TV label), has been nicely filled by another easy on the eye period drama: HOME FIRES, set in the early days of World War Two, in a small village and dealing mainly with the women of the Womens' Institute as they fight over leadership of the group and the assorted dramas of the various women ... low key stuff perhaps, but it does what it says on the tin, as one admires the period detail and assorted dramas. One just knows the abused wife will find solace with another woman as we await her hissable husband to get his comeuppance. The two queen bees fighting to take over the Women's Institute are Francesca Annis and Samantha Bond, so posh girls to the fore and let battle commence. Wartime drama serials are a regular tv staple here (FOYLE'S WAR); we fondly remember WISH ME LUCK (female British agents parachuted into France) among others. This new one, while no great shakes, ticks the boxes. Surely they could have found a role for Jane Asher?

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