: COPD is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease – mainly caused by smoking. Silk Cut led the way in ‘clever’ surreal tobacco ads. But relax: it isn't posh poetry. By John Pritchard. Info: Silk Cut led the way in surreal (‘clever’) tobacco ads. But thousands died because the ads lulled them into smoking those seemingly safe (and trendy) cigarettes, with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) as the main killer.
The story of a (fictitious) British soldier killed in Afghanistan – a total of 453 were killed during the 13 years of official conflict (2001-2014. It highlights the sacrifices made, the fighting skills of the Afghans, and the inability of foreigners to conquer Afghanistan. Hopefully this is done in a way that does not disrespect any of the participants. The words are set against a blues soundtrack.
Repeal 8 - It’s a Sin for Sinners to Get Off For Free– a rhyme with sound and music about illegal backstreet abortion in Eire (the 8th Amendment, and Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013, only allow abortion when it is needed to save the life of the woman). But relax: it isn't posh poetry. By John Pritchard. Info: An unpleasant tale based on an unpleasant law. In Eire, the 8th Amendment, and the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013, only allow abortion when it is needed to save the life of the woman. ‘Social’ abortion is not possible - instead it is trip to a backstreet abortionist or a trip abroad. This rhyme is graphic and shocking because the reality of backstreet abortion is shocking – and the whole point of this story is to protest at the consequence of the Eire law. More information from the Repeal8 campaign. Please note that there are two versions of the audio. The ‘Standard version’ is PG-level and just unpleasant. The ‘Warning: Explicit version’ is very unpleasant.
‘Headless body found in topless bar’ is one of the best-lnown headlines in newspaper history. Written by Vincent Musetto for the New York Times in April 1983 it reported a gruesome Brooklyn muder by 23 year old Charlie Dingle; whilst snorting cocaine he killed a bar owner, took four hostages, raped a dancer, and then discovered that one of the hostages was a mortician. So he got her to cut off the bar-owner’s head with a steak knife (to get rid of the bullet that would tie the shooting to his gun). Hence ‘Headless body found in topless bar’.
A medieval tale of family love. The present of a downy rose (a type of English rose) on marriage day represents the couple’s Tree of Life. But the Black Death of 1563 brings death and sadness. The 1563 Black Death (a bubonic plague) plague killed between a quarter and a third of all Londoners.
The battle of Thermopylae took place in 480 BC when 300 Spartan warriors held the pass for three days, to delay the invading Persians. In fact, the 300 Spartans were only part of a larger Greek army of a few thousand, but it is the fighting valour of the Spartans that has proved immortal. They stood and died in a ‘glorious’ delaying action. For those three days they held the gap between two narrow cliffs, until they were eventually outflanked when the Persians were told of a goat path around the cliffs. The music includes extracts from the theme music of the 2006 cartoon film (which was, in turn, based on a 1990’s comic series). There are numerous books on the battle of Thermopalae but ‘Gates of Fire’ by Steven Pressland is an acclaimed faction novel – highly recommended.
A fantasy: at Michaelmas, all the animals on the South Downs get together for a party. The hedgehog is playing the violin, the owl is signing in an operatic voice, and there is dancing around the old oak tree. Animals that normally enemies are playing and talking together. All is harmony – as long as Man will keep away! Michaelmas is traditionally 29 September (the end of the farming year).
I like the mystery of the opening line (‘Quiet flows my blood tonight’). But it is a story of undergoing major surgery 10 years ago, and being alive because of the blood donor – and medics in the NHS - who made that surgery possible. So it is a celebration of 10 borrowed, special, years. And the choice of Puccini as the accompanying music is super-corny….