Friday, May 09, 2008

Bits n Bobs

At this very moment I am watching on BBC Four a documentary about the Crooners (Sinatra, Deano, Nat King Cole et al) and they've got to Tony Bennett.

The narrator said, "Tony was born in 1926, at the height of the Great Depression..."

Tell me what is amiss with this line. And somebody fire that researcher. And the narrator for not spotting it. And the producers

**********

I thought of so many things to share with you today.

I was the last person out of the office at 6.30pm. Don't worry, I left at 7pm last week, as two consultants were quibbling over whose work I got to do first, but I was only the second to last then.

Well, if someone gives you meeting papers to copy, assemble, and bind for the last post at 5pm, and it's 3pm, then they're not going to bind themselves and they are just going to have to go on Monday.

What's more the master copy was out of order and I spent half an hour unmuddling myself and reshuffling the papers. I
think I got it right. I've only just got the hang of assembling these things, and am now just about familiar enough with administration reports, Trustee reports and accounts, quarterly reports, business plans, and so on, to be able to look at them and understand what they are.

**********

Last night I had a dream. I was seeing all manner of 20s/30s jazz and dance being performed onstage. It was like a mishmash of "Anything Goes", "Thoroughly Modern Millie", the Charleston, Fred Astaire, and the Radio City Rockettes.

I started crying and wailed, "See? I told you I was born in the wrong decade!"

Oh to live in the 20s


When "sex appeal" was invented. At this early level I think I'd be in with a chance!

How to dance the Black Bottom


How to dance the Charleston



My Dad taught Vanessa and me the Charleston one day at the dorms. (He had been a dancer in his youth and was a champion at the Twist.)

The flappers were pretty wild 80 years ago, considering that Queen Victoria was still alive when some of them were born. But despite their so-called wildness, if we went back in time would we find them surprisingly naive? Or would we be scandalised at just how louche they really were?

What do you think?

20 comments:

Guyana-Gyal said...

'At the height...?'

If we were to go back to the Roaring 20's, from today, I doubt they'd shock us. I think the Roaring 20's people might be shocked by us today.

I wonder how future generations would describe us today. I somehow get the feeling the media define us. Maybe blogging and other personal sites would change all that.

Which reminds me, there is a book I've always promised myself to read, The Great Gatbsy. Or watch the movie.

Flighty said...

I think that such comparisons are difficult to judge.
Interesting entry Liv and I love the clips. If it wasn't for dodgy knees I love to try these myself! xx

nikkipolani said...

Love those clips, Liv. I have always liked the music of the 20s and 30s. How are you coming with sorting through your belongings?

Jo said...

Guyana gal, I think that folks back in the 20s (during prohibition especially) would see Americans today as totally complacent and over-indugled. I think most of them would be shocked by our seemingly limitless apetite for sex and violence. I'm also pretty sure that they'd see our fashion habits as disgusting.

Mind you, the 20s were just the beginning of a revolution in feminism, and women across the U.S. were denied the right to vote until 1920. With the vote came a newfound freedom and self-ownership for an entire generation of women that were traditionally repressed.

Our over-stimulated, over-sexed, over-marketed population would frighten the bejeezus out of folks from the 1920s. Hell, it frightens the bejeezers out of me right now.

L B said...

Jo had some pretty interesting remarks! Yes, it's frightening! But I'd wager to say that the folks from 2500 would think us so quaint.. duh.

OldGeezer said...

No-one has yet answered the question you raise.

In 1926 the Depression was well under way in Britain. The General Strike was in that year which is why it looms large in the minds of the general public in Britain.

However, the ’Great Depression’ started with the Wall Street crash in 1929 and was world wide.

So 1926 was certainly not the height of the Great Depression.

Olivia said...

Gyal - oh yes you must read the book and see the movie - the origonal one with Mia Farrow and Robert Redford. It's sumptuous though the characters are a bit off. Mia is just acting like the usual Mia.

There is a newer remake and although the style is good and the characters ok, I couldn't get past the fact that Mira Sorvino had long hair when her character Daisy should have been bobbed.

See both, but read the book first. I recommend all of F Scott Fitzgerald's works. They're so full of....tragic beauty and tempest....

***

Flighty - I really like putting up clips for you all to enjoy. For some it can be a foray into a never-before-seen world, being that my tastes are so eclectic and obscure ;)
xx

***

Nikki - once again you make me smile. You like roses, good food AND the 20s/30s. I am so coming to see you soon!

***

Jo - indeed, as wild as they were, we're wilder. The average flapper would still have known how to be more ladylike than the average modern teen, simply because they were brought up that way and then probably did the same to their kids.

However, I believe the beginning of the feminist revolution began earlier, during the Great War, when women were forced to go out to work because the men were away. Women who in their youth, or whose mothers, were likely treated as chattels by domineering husbands.

They now wore overalls and uniforms and boots, shortened their hemlines, did men's work, earned money and had their own spending power, went out unchaperoned, and yes - did forbidden things with men who might go away and never come back.

Oops, stop me now otherwise I'll repeat my thesis right here!

***

LB - We will be seen as positively Elizabethan by then!

***

Old Geezer - thank you, well done, one gold star goes to you!

Obviously the BBC forgot that in America the Twenties were Roaring! In fact that is where our image of that era originates, I mean if you say "the 1920s" to most people, I doubt that images of a depressed Britain spring to mind.

Goodness me. From the 20s, through the 30s, 40s, and post-war 50s it looks like Britain had it tough. Whilst in the States once the Great Depression was over they were living it up in comparison through the 40s and definitely the 50s.

I imagine this hardship has shaped the lives of generations since. And judging by Mr Johnson's survey of the English character, a few decades of deprivation is the LAST thing Britain needed!

Jo said...

Liv, was your thesis on the rise of feminism in the U.S.? I'm intrigued!

pete said...

Ah! Error spotting fun. I'd like to point out (okay, I was pedantic and did point out to them) that Men's Vogue referred to the Japanese Surrender in 1946.

They also referred to Tony Blair as the former head of state but I decided to let that one fly lest I get a reputation for complaining.

Liking the 20's stuff!

Jessica said...

I love vintage clothes. Everything seemed more glamorous in eras gone by. Interesting post.

Flighty said...

Your tastes may be eclectic and obscure but also excellent! xx

Um Naief said...

hmmm.. if we went back in time, we might find that they're pretty wild and louche.... :) at least for their time, but now... they seem like nothing in comparison.

my mom used to have a flapper dress, a black one. i loved it. once i dreamt that she was giving me all of her old clothes and that dress. i was loving it and then woke up! :(

mentioning dreams... i've been having some wild ones as of late. those kind that seem to last the entire night and when you wake up and go back to sleep, you go back into the dream.

i used to hate doing those types of things at the office. and i always hated it when they'd wait until the last minute to give it to ya... but what to do?!! at least you're not working for an attorney... everything is last minute w/ them and 7 is early!

Olivia said...

Jo - It wa something like "Excess and restraint: the dictates of female fashion from 1914-1918" because being an art history course I had to include pretty things! ;)

So I looked at how social change during and after WWI was reflected in fashion, and what social progress women had achieved by the end of it - and how they prepared the way for the flappers who followed in their wake. Not just in the US but Paris which was the focal point of fashion at the time...

I had initially wanted to talk about the 1920s and how fashion was influenced by Carter's discovery of King Tut's tomb and Egyptology, but in discussion with my tutor he would tinge the discussion with feminism, I became intrigued and my focus shifted. It certainly gave me more to ponder than aesthetics in isolation.

Oh my god listen to me, I thought I had lost it all!

***

Pete - hey, I thought this would resonate with you :)

***

Jessica - indeed it was in actual fact. Today glamour is like a facade reserved for the red carpet, and yet it is more accessible. Possibly the rise of bling has taken the public's imagination - and anyone can do bling but few can go glamour.

Oooh listen to me again! Perhaps this needs its own post.

***

Flighty - thank you kind sir *curtseys*
xx

***

Um Naief - let's build a time machine and go find out! Darn, I really do want to now. Let's ALL go!

At this office, the secretaries go home at 5 on the dot unless there is something really really to do now now, but even if the inbox is high they don't stay, and just bring in a temp. It's how I got here last year :)

In general the consultants go home between 5.30 and 6.30. THere is one other who stays till 7 most days, she really works hard.

I go in at 10 and leave any time after 6, depending. I like to wrap something up, be it a letter or a page.

Your dreams - do you remember them? SOmeone once told me that the older you less you remember them. I used to have vivid dreams but now I can wake up with nothing. I've been waking up with the distinct impression that I was dreaming. A smell or a phrase in the media might bring it back. Last night I feel I was propounding or defending some ideal vigorously but don't know what it was.

***

OK, y'all, I'm getting back to work . xxx

Anonymous said...

hey libs, I forgot your addy and googled ur name and your blog was top of the list!

_michelle

Anonymous said...

and loved the post, the 20's to the 40's were the best...I bought some vintage shoes the other day.

Michelle

Guyana-Gyal said...

If they were to come to small countries like mine, the Roaring 20's folks would be shocked too. Gosh, I don't even want to start listing reasons why.

The crimes caused by drug-peddlers might seem all the familiar though.

Sad to say Jo, 'overindulged and complacent' is how most people in underdeveloped countries see folks in developed countries.

Um Naief said...

as far as the dreams... gosh, there were so many. one of the first i had was that my mom died. it was terrible. i was there and saw her beforehand, then had it out w/ both of my sisters because of it. weird stuff and it depressed me for the entire day.

then i had a dream that i was flying fighter jets! we were shooting down soviet bombs in the sky... very strange. it took some really crazy twists and turns in the end, but at one point, i was actually flying in the air w/out anything and it's been forever since i had a flying dream!

some recent dreams have been of the house being haunted and of monsters of some sort. don't remember them entirely. and i think you're right about the age thing... it does seemt that i don't remember them like i used to. maybe if i started a dream journal, i would, but can't see waking up during the night to write the darn things down... maybe if i were younger and w/out child! :)

i was thinking you went in earlier. it's nice that you can go in at 10 and working until after 6 isn't bad. i'm like you... i always wanted to wrap up everything on my desk. that way, the next morning you can start fresh and don't feel stressed to get something from the previous night done... and don't forget anything in the process.

glad you're staying busy.

nikkipolani said...

I've been meaning to look up more 20s/30s music on iTunes. Makes me think of Jeeves and Wooster soundtracks.

The Moody Minstrel said...

I think it would be cool to go back to the late 20s and 30s and check out the early, formative performances of such greats as Lester Young, Benny Goodman, Count Basie, Coleman Hawkins, etc.. Seeing greats of history before they were greats of history, and all that.

Um Naief said...

moody, i agree w/ you. i'd love to do it for that very reason... that would be an amazing journey.

aaahhh, if only we had the super powers of Hero on Heroes.