||[Sep. 6th, 2009|10:04 am]
The 70th anniversary of the outbreak of WW2 went by without a great deal of fuss. There were news stories featuring the memories of child evacuees and the BBC is headlining a lightweight drama series about Land Army girls. I guess it's hard to get the tone right when you're commemorating the outbreak of the most terrible war in human history. |
Meanwhile the Beatles are everywhere. This is mainly because of the issue of the remastered versions of their albums, but also I suppose because we're in the season of the 40th anniversary of their break-up. I've no complaints. I love the Beatles.
WW2 and The Beatles- the two most important "events" in 20th century British history: Discuss.
I'm a generation closer to the war than I should be. My mother was born in 1918, had my eldest half-sibling in 1939 and me in 1968.
Where most of my generation's parents were tiny children during the war, she was a mother. I grew up listening to Glenn Miller, not the Beatles. I grew up on war lore, not stories of my parents' hippy antics. There was a girl in my class named Julia for the song. Had I been a boy, my middle name would have been have been Winston. I suspect I would be a very different person had I been brought up a little more 'all you need is love' and a little less 'keep calm and carry on'.
The War, The Beatles; they are both useful shorthand terms for characterising the generations that were shaped by them and their subsequent attitude to the generation they went on to shape. But they won't resonate for the kids I teach, the youngest of whom were born the year Blair became Prime Minister, in quite the way they do for us. because they are slipping out of living memory.
One of my older pupils (he's 16) couldn't remember the name of a singer. 'He's old', he said, 'He used to be REALLY famous but no one listens to him now. He might be dead'. I thought he might have meant Frank Sinatra. He was talking about Robbie Williams.
I think have something to say about memory etc but I haven't had my coffee yet.
I was born just six years after the end of WW2. It frustrates me sometimes that I missed it by so little. I grew up among memories of the war (I remember how our next door neighbour- who, incidentally, was Thomas Hardy's sister-in-law- told me about the Doodlebugs and how the locals christened our street "Doodlebug Alley" because they followed its course on their flight path into London) but even though it was so close it seemed like ancient history. It seems much closer to me now than it did when I was a child.
As for the Beatles I grew up alongside them. I dismissed the early records as "girls stuff" and really grooved to the later ones.
Poor old Robbie, already history and dismissed as "probably dead"! "The iniquity of oblivion blindly scattereth her poppy".
2009-09-06 06:35 pm (UTC)
Wars and Pop Music
To date myself, I was born eleven months before Pearl Harbor, and grew up three or four years before the Beatles "invaded" the USA. My earliest memories are of kitchen table breakfast talk about The War, letters from my uncles who were in the service, rationing of foods, especially meats and sweets. My earliest "grown up" years, ages 23-29, are filled with memories of the Beatles, their songs, their antics, what they were up to NOW, and ultimately their split up. Like you, I love the Beatles and their very singable music. I also appreciated John Lennon's writings, and his (non)politics.
So here I stand: born too soon to be a war baby, too soon to be a screaming Beatles fan, yet both the war and the Beatles influenced my life in some important ways.
2009-09-06 06:38 pm (UTC)
Re: Wars and Pop Music
Sorry, Tony, that was me. I forgot to log in.
2009-09-06 08:32 pm (UTC)
Re: Wars and Pop Music
We're children of the fifties, you and me- a quiet time in both our nations' histories (comparatively speaking).
I was born in 1975. I have no memory of John Lennon being shot, but I do remember hearing the song "Woman" on the radio on almost continuous play. My childhood memories are generally crap but the audio bits are preserved in aspic!
The music of my childhood was the music of the 50s- bland, soppy stuff. There's almost nothing I remember with affection from that era.