Monday, 29 April 2013

I Remember

I am often puzzled by people, with DG(Delusions of Grandeur), in many walks of life ,  who are obsessed with their legacy and try to manipulate some FBD(F****** Big Deal) that will make them legendary or even immortal  This is especially true of politicians who all try to leave behind their CS(Contribution to Society) particularly in their last years in office when all "Hope" has died and the "Change" was actually for the worse. There is a saying that everyone will have 15 minutes of fame, or even 8 years, if they got a LB(Lucky Break)

I have also been fascinated by those talented people who are relatively unknown, even in their own lifetime and home country, yet when you study their work today it seems remarkable. In PC(Pop Culture) Matt Monro was briefly famous in his day, but was put out of business as fashion dictated a switch from crooners to to rock 'n' roll in the late 1950's and then to groups in the mid 1960's which, unbelievably, coincided by the rise of Socialism in the UK and elsewhere. Individuals were to become pariahs and it was Society that was important therefore everyone had to be the same. If you want to hear and see what individuals can do then CO(Check-Out) this  much admired opening sequence of the Italian Job which many, including myself, think was the only really outstanding part of the film. In today's PC(Politically Correct) world this clip has been edited to remove the MA(Mafia Assassination) at the end which was so poignant, dramatic and full of symbolism. This is one of the finest opening sequences to any film I have ever seen but it made the rest of the film seem poor by comparison. By the way, all you so-called sound engineers, it is the sound of the car in the background that distinguishes the original version from all those mediocre imitations. But you have to get your "levels right" if you want it to be this good. Unfortunately on the latest version of the film some imposter is pretending to be Matt Monro. Obviously the employees of YU Inc are so tone deaf that they cannot hear the difference. Matt Monro was a former bus driver and did not have the backing of the kind that was given to Frank Sinatra who, incidentally, sent a wonderful tribute to Matt Monro when he died. Matt Monro worked with some of the finest young composers and musicians of the day because they all knew Matt could DG(Deliver the Goods).

Vicki Brown was also a victim of Socialism who was famously "voted off" by her colleagues for being too good. She had to earn her living in mainland Europe where she sang with best and made them all seem average. She was undoubtedly the best singer of her type in that period yet she is virtually unknown in her home country. Vicky Brown first became a PI(Political Icon) when, at 18 years of age, made a stand against miming, groups and general low standards on BBC's Top of the Pops. The song was recorded live and was in the shops next day. Vicki Brown was much criticised for just standing there wearing a long dress and not dancing like a PS(Puffin on Steroids). To those who are in the know, it is extremely difficult to sing and dance at the same time and very few entertainers even attempt it except in the LT(Live Theatre). This song is iconic for its beautiful words, so meaningful to women, which carry a strong political message that resonates  even today. One fan of Vicki Brown wrote, on Youtube of all places, that the "the world stopped when Vicki Brown died". I wonder how many of today's artists will receive such a tribute. Vicki Brown is probably the most emotive RS(Romantic Singer) that the UK has ever produced yet virtually nobody knows her name.

In today's PC(Pop Culture) a few artists are keeping alive the idea of a song with a strong message backed by people who can RP(Really Play). The first example that springs to mind is Heather Small who, with M-People,  plays to vast audiences at gigs that sell-out instantly when the fans hear that she will be there. CO(Check-Out) this combination of song and video for social and political comment. Talk about motivational! In the past, UB40 has tackled the DDs(Drink and Drug) culture in the Birmingham (UK) area and the modern day's DC(Divorce Culture) where the residents of Dogsville lead the way. For those of you who did not know, UB40 was the form that these guys had to fill in at the SS(Social Security) when they decided to "get up off their knees" and do something about their situation. What they really needed was a "Hand-up" not a "Hand-out". They even did a  song for ERS(English Rugby Supporters) which is a Reggae version of an iconic spiritual from the Southern USA and is the envy of many in the world of GSs(Gospel Singer). One of the best examples of  a PV (Pop Video) that carries a powerful message is by Mary Hopkin and her haunting soundtrack from the film of the book Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson, which manges to wonderfully combine the problems between Scotland and England with an Environmental/Religious message. The RP(Real People) of the UK know who can really Hack-IT and who are not FF(Full of Fertilizer) as they say down on the farm.

In South Korea PSY makes devastating comment on WC(Western Culture) and Fashion  exampled in the UK by the activities of the CNS(Chipping Norton Set.). In  his latest video he is equally cruel about those who are born into their position and wealth. The importance of class to your ultimate success was first tackled by The Who in the 1960's but I prefer this version by these old guys who call themselves The Substitutes because of the irony in their band's name plus they can RP(Really Play).

Although these are all PVs they are, in my view, a true expression of MMA(Multi-Media Art) for which I have coined the term TechnoArt, because of its extensive use of technology. I think only few of these PVs can truly be called art because they have a strong message in the lyrics,  outstanding music and the hard-hitting videos. Sadly very few artists followed this route but the work of the few lives on amongst those of us who really appreciated their efforts in a world full of mediocrity.

My favourite poet from WWI (World War 1) is Wilfred Owen whose "tell it like it is" portrayal of life in the battlefield was too brutal for those who glamorise war and he is only remembered by those who really appreciate poetry. Sean Bean's "finest hour" on the screen was in 2012 when he recited Wilfred Owen's  Anthem for Doomed Youth  for Remembrance Day. Wilfred Owen was misunderstood at the time as being a pacifist when in fact he was a courageous serving soldier. In more modern times the Welsh poet, Dylan Thomas, can only be fully understood by those of us who have actually lived in remote villages. I think the latter day adage "you had to be there" is the only way that you get the full appreciation these two outstanding but largely unremembered  poets.

Classical music has it's own forgotten stars such as Gustav Holst whose work  is rarely performed/played now but his masterpiece, The Planets, is very poignant today as space is being explored and there is even and ISS(International Station). Gustav Holst is actually English but few people in the UK remember him. His work seems remarkably relevant today and he actually inspired many other composers who became much more famous. As an Engineer with a interest in activities in space, I appreciate The Planets  as the background music for SEES(Space Engineering, Exploration and Science) which is an incredibly difficult task.

In the world of politics nobody remembers Iain Macleod who created a framework for "Right of Centre" politics that was to be used long after his death. He even coined the word  "Stagflation" to describe an unusual economic condition in which we may find ourselves very soon.. In his illustrious political career as UK Conservative MP(Member of Parliament) and Minister he was described as something of a ‘maverick’ and a ‘Tory wet’ who was ‘too clever by half " even though he was a  capitalist in the true Milton Friedman sense.  This ruled him out of the contest for the Premiership in 1963 and it was Sir Alec Douglas-Home (formerly Lord Home) who won the Premiership contest then promptly lost the next election in 1964 to Harold Wilson. This is the point when the UK's downward spiral to mediocrity first began. Iain Macleod's economic policies were later adopted by Margaret Thatcher as she desperately tried to turn the UK economy around. She succeeded in re-vitalising the SS(Service Sector) which included Financial Services etc,  but was forced from office before she could revive UK Industry into the Hi-Tech, Hi-Wage economy which many of us thought was the only logical way forward for a creative and inventive developed nation such as the UK.

Even in EE(Electrical Engineering) we have our own "Heroes" who are BR(Below the Radar) and the one that springs to my mind is Oliver Heaviside. He casually invented most of the terminology and mathematics used in modern day EE(Electrical Engineering) yet did not even bother to claim credit for it whilst others became famous for their work that was simply derived for Heaviside's notes.

The inevitable conclusion that I have drawn is that some people, celebrities in particular, are simply FBF(Famous for Being Famous). Those who actually do LL(Leave a Legacy), it is their work that defines them,  albeit amongst an inner circle of people who "really know" or are "in the trade" as we say down at Costco.  Everyone remembers Hoover whose name is synonymous with the vacuum cleaner but virtually nobody knows that Hoover's success was based on Patents bought from John Murray Spangler  the actual  inventor of the vacuum cleaner. But "I remember"  and people down through history will remember all those talented unknowns that were BR(below the Radar) because I am an individual and "If I thought" about it,  I never needed  anybody's help in anyway.

1015 GMT+1 29/04/2013 Update: Everyone remembers "Coco the Clown" because "imitation is the most sincere form of flattery" and he lives on in every circus that is left in the world. But no one will remember "Coco the Barbarian" because he is bit of a stand-up Joker or even a Langer, is instantly forgettable and suffers from an extreme case of NC(Negative Charisma). In the same way "The Ginger Ninja" and "The Ginger Winger" are simply yesterday's  news which, in celebrity terms, is the equivalent of being dead.

No One Knows Your Name is appropriate for all those pseudo-intellectuals who believe they will be remembered 100 years for now.  The great unremembered  also include "Ol' Pinhead", "Big Ears",  "Lame Duck" or that all-time loser, "Nice But Dim", whereas Ol' Reliable will be remembered because he/she is not FBF(Famous for being Famous) but  is actually famous for "getting the job done" and not just talking about it whilst reading from the "idiot board" and posing in the latest designer clothes. "Sorry, I can't help you with that, Old Chap, I might GGs(Get the old Gucci) dirty" as the SH(Socialist of Highgate) IT(InTimate).

The "Countdown has been Initiated" as they say at CC(Cape Canaveral) or Houston or even in New Hampshire! The truth about you usually rears its ugly head about two years after you are out of the limelight when the historians dig into your past to find out what you really did with your 15 minutes to 8 years of fame.

1700 GMT+1 04/05/2013 Update: The recent Local Elections results in the UK have been a breakthrough for UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party). The result re-affirmed what I, as many others, believed that if the two main parties(Conservatives and Labour in the UK) occupy the centre ground and become indistinguishable form one another then there is room on the "Centre Left" and "Centre Right" for other parties. In the UK the Liberal Democrats are on the Centre  Left and now UKIP occupies the Centre Right political position and has proved to be far more successful then the Liberal Democrats. It is not the end of the world because whoever wins the next UK election the Conservatives will be happier cooperating with UKIP and Labour will happier cooperating with the Liberal Democrats. If there is no outright winner at the next UK election then a Coalition partner will be obvious for each of the two main parties and will not be so fraught with conflict as in the current Coalition Government. As I always say, I cannot predict the future and the voters have made their views known to the Coalition Government without too much damage. However, it would be foolish of anyone in the current Government to ignore 25% of those that voted in this election which I believe was about 33% of the total electorate and this is another message to the Government that has needed addressing for many years.

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