"..a bardy view!"

Edith Piaf

“The Little Sparrow was the epitome of the classic French chanson: supercharged, even melodramatic, and emotionally extracting every last drop of sentiment from a lyric.”

The singer gained popularity as she toured France, her petite frame concealing an energy which would drive her to the pinnacle of her profession, singing in cabarets and vaudeville theatres and, from 1936, performing on radio and recordings.

Her great fame came after World War II, with her song “Le Vie en Rose” becoming an international standard.

During World War II she worked with the French Resistance by using her popularity to have herself photographed with French prisoners that she had performed for. These photos were then used to make identity papers that would be smuggled back to the prisoners during her return engagements.

Born Edith Gassion on December 19, 1915, in Ménilmontant, a poor district of Paris, legend has it she was born under a street light on the corner of the Rue de Belleville, with two policeman in attendance.

A difficult and exploited childhood led eventually to her being found singing on a street corner in the Pigalle area in 1935 by Louis Leplée, a cabaret owner. Leplée took the young singer under his wing and renamed her “La Môme Piaf” (which in Parisian slang translates roughly as “the little sparrow”.]

The voice of Edith Piaf carries with it perhaps more national identity than that of any other recorded artist in the world. Tiny, frail, and tragic in her life, Piaf brought French identity to the rest of the world in a way that was understandable to all.

Her voice was strong, bold, and passionate, even as she grew more frail and  infirm.

When she died on October 11th, 1963 the news heralded a nationwide outpouring of grief, two million people jammed the streets of Paris, stopping traffic to watch her funeral procession.

Her grave at Père-Lachaise has become a shrine for thousands of visitors every year, and her music continues to stir the heartstrings with vibrant, passionate and yet vulnerable emotions.

Edith Piaf was one of the most popular female singers of all time, with a unique voice and talent that conquered the hearts of admirers around the world.

Her life story was truly remarkable: from her birth in 1915 on a policeman’s cape, under gaslight, to her extraordinary love affairs and heart-breaking tragedies, she was a true artist that lived to sing.



June 16, 2015 Posted by | Arts, Culture, Europe, General, History, Music | , , , , | 3 Comments

“Anchorman 2” and that Philippines “Joke”…..

Anchorman2Emil Guillermo is a very sensitive American-Filipino journalist. So sensitive in fact, that he believes that the power of a juvenile below-average slapstick-comic movie can insult millions of people of a certain nationality, and rejuvenate a slur that has been buried for years.

I refer to Anchorman 2. If you know what that is already – congratulations, and if you don't…well, now you do.

Continue reading

December 30, 2013 Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Dogs, Education, Film, The Philippines, United Kingdom | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Dot UK…..

…..Meanwhile The UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) report for the same period (see last post) stated that 30 million overseas residents visited the United Kingdom.

In the same period (2010) 53 million UK residents went abroad.

The population of the UK is estimated at 60m. Soon a new census will be counted in March, and the likelihood is that it could be much greater. But the figures state that there are more British going overseas for recreation than those visiting.

UK airports are operating at full capacity.The British are not phased by politics, terrorism, weather, or industrial action. One wonders if this is a stoical approach built into their DNA?

Not a day goes by without some scare or heart-pounding event, indeed the Brits seem  colour-blind to the see-saw threat levels, and yet they methodically continue to make sure that they will get their holiday regardless. This spirit is unique. Recently British tourists were caught up in the Tunisian troubles, but the majority were more pissed off that their vacation was spoilt, and less bothered about the politics of the situation. It's really not cricket old chap! Why can't those countries get their act together? Carry on up the Khyber!

In the meantime, international sham diplomacy continues with depressing regularity. The USA loses their sense of humour, the European Union dwells on bureaucracy, the Arab world hiccups and burps, extreme islamic terrorists blow themselves up in Iraq, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. 24 hour news programmes perpetually broadcasts horror and destruction.

Yet, 53 million (that's right – 53 million!) British subjects, possibly the most educated people in the world, and if not, certainly the most potentially well educated, with free access to information, every minute of every day, chose to leave their homeland for a holiday.

These people cannot be broken or worried. They come from stock which was honed through empire, and a way of life which runs through their blood. The average Brit would more likely complain about a weak cup of tea served in a hotel, than worry about rampant disturbance and revolution on the streets outside. 

Overweight and over indulged, and better off then previous generations, they are beneficiaries of a unique legacy.

A French woman remarked one day that Paris was much more beautiful than London. Her English friend replied "That's because we didn't surrender."

That's right. The British didn't capitulate, they didn't surrender, and they were bombed to virtual oblivion. Yes Paris is more beautiful. But that's because they allowed Hitler to march in. The French know this, much to their shame.

And let's face it – the Brits don't wear their hearts on their sleeves, don't have a constitution, do not have a republic, but have a constitutional monarchy, a solid parliament, they sit on firm foundations, and for all their whinging pom mentality, can be confident in their multicultural skins. The Victorians believed that God was an Englishman.That is questionable. But surely he must drink tea!

January 19, 2011 Posted by | Cricket, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, General, History, London, Politics, Religion, Travel, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Great British Spending Review……

Now that the UK Spending Review has been revealed in all its controversial glory I'm left wondering what all the fuss is about. Cuts in the welfare budget? Good. Increased retirement age? What's the beef? Cuts in government departments? Good. Increased pension contributions for civil servants? Fine. Stopping child benefit for high income earners? About time.

And yet the fear of the over sixties to lose their bus-passes, free TV licences and winter fuel allowances have all been unfounded. Social housing rents for new tenants to be nearer those of the private sector, and the removal of a council house for life seem reasonable enough, and yet I am not heartless. I fear that the less able will struggle.

It is unfair for them to bear the brunt, yet likewise a system which stifles ambition and encourages state dependency cannot be condoned either. Then there are the increased university fees, and the concern that this may limit opportunities for young people whose families are economically challenged.

The business of banks is to lend. The proliferation of borrowing encouraged rampant fiscal irresponsibility. The old adage of neither a borrower or lender be, is commendable, but hardly practical. The problem was that both shared a bed and behaved shockingly promiscuous. The ex Labour government found themselves with a treasury which they played with as a child in a toy shop. Since 1997 they spent money like water – foolishly and carelessly without thought nor consequence. Give the people what they want, and they will vote for you. They were guilty of gross misconduct and justice has been served upon them.

A period of austerity will not be a bad thing if it returns sense and good housekeeping to the nation. Folk years ago planned their futures, did not buy what they couldn't afford or live beyond their means. They instilled thrift and responsibility to their offspring, which led naturally to self worth and dignity. Two concepts which have been lost in today's selfish consumer driven society.

This easy access to money, this unadulterated borrowing, this embracing of wealth at any cost, this greed, forced simple things like affordable housing through the roof and has virtually killed the chance for any average earner to strive for a home of his own. Over inflated property prices has stifled ambition for our most worthy citizens. It seems like an unattainable goal, and yet the alternative of cheap rents are a thing of the past because landlords are generally greedy bastards. Children therefore stay longer in the nest, and parents invariably bear the brunt. In many cultures extended families live together where it is the norm. In Britain – in the West, the nuclear family has been assigned to the history books, and its fragmentation is reality.

Meanwhile the French are up in arms because they will have to work an extra two years to retire at 62. And we think we have problems! Whats their boeuf? Or is it all Coq au vin?

It will take more than a generation to fix our current problems, if at all. There needs to be a massive cultural sea change. Sadly we cannot return to the days of innocence and good intent of the 1940's when social welfare was an attainable reality. This brave new world has challenges which cannot be addressed by governments alone. Environment, over population and increasing demands on resources are just three other factors to add to the crazy puzzle which needs solving in the 21st century.

Man has done well to get this far, but his unique emotions of hope and faith may not be enough to get him much further. Still, we live in hope!

October 21, 2010 Posted by | Culture, Current Affairs, Dogs, Politics, United Kingdom | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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