Surviving the U boat sinking of the RMS Laconia 12 September 1942 — Broadsides – A collection of bits and pieces

What John doesn’t mention here is that he was a young schoolboy in Gibraltar in the 1950’s and has fond memories of his many escapades there. You can find further details on his blog and he also contributes, on Facebook, to Gibraltar Old Photos 2.

I lived in Gibraltar, as a serving Royal Signals soldier, from 1974 to 1976. I was a Corporal, and single when I first arrived, living in Governor’s Cottage camp. I was promoted shortly afterwards and move to the Fortress Sergeant’s Mess, in Town Range, just above the The Convent.

I returned home to get married in July 74, and my wife joined me in Gib, even though we had nowhere to live. We hopped from quarter to quarter when people were on leave in UK and then ended up in 263/7A Main Street, a very small flat that cost £14 per week.

Our daughter was born in October 75 and holds dual nationality, so Gibraltar, of course, holds a very dear place in our hearts.

Gibraltar:  British families, survivors from the RMS Larconia, torpedoed by German U-Boat on the 12th September 1942 RMS Laconica was originally commissioned as an ocean-going luxury passenger ship for the Cunard line. With the outbreak of WWII she was requisitioned by the Admiralty and fitted with eight six inch guns and two three inch guns. […]

Surviving the U boat sinking of the RMS Laconia 12 September 1942 — Broadsides – A collection of bits and pieces

Numbers

One is one and two is too

And so are three and four

Then comes five and six and seven

Then eight and nine and more

Our days are numbered: very few

In years three score and ten

Translated into days perhaps

you’d think a lot, but then

It is actually only twenty five thousand five hundred and sixty eight days

At approximately 8.20am today I was:

26,916 days old

645,984 hours old

38,759,040 minutes old

2,325,542,400 seconds old

Don’t waste a second!

The journey

It really was delightful, travelling alongside my wife and daughter. The sun 

shining brightly, a gentle breeze keeping the temperature just right.

.

Familiar sights passed us by, dreamlike in the heady scent of May blossom.

.

The car slowed, turned, and came to rest outside the building adorned with so many flowers.

.

I’m sure I could see my old friend Chris. It must be years since we last met!

Other familiar faces seemed to fill every corner of the peaceful space.

.

My favourite music played as we entered, and as everyone left, but me!

Farewell Daisy | Peter Matthews — Whispers and Echoes

Daisy appeared in my Almost a Catastrophe on 11 June. Sadly, we had to say farewell to her on 21 June.

Click on the link below to see my haiku which appears on Whispers and Echoes today.

Time to say goodbye There can be no healing now Thank you faithful friend Peter Matthews, a country boy at heart, lives with his wife in the suburbs of Nottingham, England.  His greatest achievement is that he has aged fairly gracefully but has avoided growing up.  Peter has written poetry from the age of sixteen and blogs […]

Farewell Daisy | Peter Matthews — Whispers and Echoes

The good, the bad, and the ugly #2

This week’s #writephoto is below. Check out the rules and all of the fabulous entries by clicking on the link

The Fisherman – Image by KL Caley

The good

Perfect fishing day

Caught them by the bucketload

Returned them unharmed

The bad

Constant casting, perfect calm

Fish are fasting, free from harm

What’s for dinner now no fish?

I’ll get thinner, oh I wish!

And the ugly

He’d fished here for years, first as a boy with his Dad, then as a youth while others were chasing girls, now as a man, alone. 

It was a perfect pastime. 

He loved to cast and dream, to snooze and remember, to breathe the fresh air, occasionally to catch a fish.  He loved the solitude, the perfect reflections that rippled every time he cast, or drew in his line. He even loved it when it rained and the fish rose to the surface, seeming to delight in the shower.        

He thought of it more as feeding the fish, rather than a battle of wills to lure them on to his hook. 

Over the years he’d fed them worms, grubs, and all sorts of ground bait, but the best days fishing was surely the day he’d fed them his wife!

The good, the bad, and the ugly

This week’s #writephoto is below. Check out the rules and all of the fabulous entries by clicking on the link.

The good

Family day out

Dressed for the English Summer

Splashing in puddles

The bad

Paddle at the seaside

walking with a squelch

eating too much ice cream

pardon when I belch

tummy feeling funny

find a loo real quick

dearie me I’m feeling ill

oops, I’m being sick!

And the ugly

Are you sure Dad?

Yes, pet. I promise everything will be OK.  We just need to stamp our feet 20 times more and you will never ever see that nasty man again.  I promise!

So we did.  We stamped, and counted, never to see that nasty man again.

Below the sand, six feet down, with little air remaining, the nasty man could sense the pounding and, in abject terror, understand its meaning.

Song Lyric Sunday – 18 April 2021 – My Sharona

Jim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday gives us the chance to share familiar, and sometimes not so familiar, songs. This week we should aim for a song that has a girl’s name in it which starts with an S.

If you fancy sharing one of your favourite songs you can find out how to participate, and also listen to all the great entries, here.

This week I’m offering you a great track by The Knack. The song is My Sharona.

In 1978 the band were performing live to great acclaim in many pubs and clubs and they jammed with some famous names such as Bruce Springstein and Tom Petty.  They were so good that a bidding war started, between the recording studios, to sign them up. Capitol Records won, by offering the group the greatest sum that had ever been offered to any newly signed artists.

They recorded their debut album, called “Get The Knack” and this single was taken from that album. The band’s stuttering delivery was influenced by The Who!

The lead singer’s girlfriend was called Sharona Alperin, she was 17, he was 25 and already had a girlfriend when he met Sharona. Sharona appeared on the cover of the single and the two were together for several years.

Because the band was so successful, so early, there was a certain amount of resentment amongst other artists and they were even accused of ripping off The Beatles.  Although they may have been “manufactured” into looking similar to The Beatles, in no way was their music copied, or similar.

What is really great about this group is their ability to reproduce a pristine performance at every live concert which matches exactly that which was recorded in the studio, all without the use of lots of technical gizmos.  Not many artists can achieve that. The backing of drums and base drive this performance along and the lead guitar gives a perfect solo. The lead singer, Doug Fieger, is backed by a perfect harmony from Berton Averre, with even the vibrato in their voices matching seamlessly.

The song was a monster hit in 1979 and, in 1994, was given a resurgence when it featured in a film called “Reality Bites”.

Sadly, in 2006 Doug Fieger was diagnosed with a brain tumour, but he continued playing after treatment.  In 2007 he was diagnosed with lung cancer and died in February 2010. 

Bruce Gary, the fabulous drummer, died, age 55, of non-hodgkin lymphoma.

The first video is the one issued at the time of the release of the single.  I think the film producer was either recovering from a heavy night drinking or had an idea that an artistic hazy effect would look good!

This video is the band playing live in Japan 2005.  A Japanese audience always enjoy themselves!

My Sharona

The Knack

Ooh my little pretty one, pretty one.
When you gonna give me some time, Sharona?
Ooh you make my motor run, my motor run.
Gun it comin’ off the line Sharona
Never gonna stop, give it up.
Such a dirty mind. Always get it up for the touch
Of the younger kind. My my my i yi woo.
M M M My Sharona

Come a little closer huh, ah will ya huh.
Close enough to look in my eyes, Sharona.
Keeping it a mystery gets to me
Running down the length of my thighs, Sharona
Never gonna stop, give it up. Such a dirty mind.
Always get it up for the touch
Of the younger kind. My my my i yi woo.
M M M My Sharona

When you gonna give it to me, give it to me.
It is just a matter of time Sharona
Is it just destiny, destiny?
Or is it just a game in my mind, Sharona?
Never gonna stop, give it up.
Such a dirty mind. Always get it up for the touch
Of the younger kind. My my my i yi woo.
M M M My Sharona
M M M My Sharona
M M M My Sharona
M M M My Sharona

Ohhhhh My Sharona
Ohhhhh My Sharona
Ohhhhh My Sharona

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Douglas Lars Fieger / Berton L Averre

My Sharona lyrics © Wise Brothers Music Llc, Small Hill Music, Eighties Music

As a bonus, for those who love to watch great drummers in action, I have a cover version of Sina playing My Sharona.

Sina Doering (born 6 May 1999), also known by her YouTube Channel name, sina-drums, is a German musician and drummer. She began her career by filming herself playing drums and uploading the videos to YouTube. In 2016, she released her first studio album, Chi Might, which featured a lot of musicians from around the world.  She is 19 years old in this recording.

Enjoy!

Song Lyric Sunday – 24 January 2021 – I Don’t Want to Talk About It

Jim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday gives us the chance to share familiar, and sometimes not so familiar, songs. This week the title or lyrics of the song must contain one of the words Chat, Laugh, Rant, Scream, or Talk.

If you fancy sharing one of your favourite songs you can find out how to participate, and also listen to all the great entries, here.

Last week I had a Smokie link to my thoughts and I’m going the same way this week. 

The song I’ve chosen is one that I have in my music collection – by Smokie.  It’s a song that that I always believed was written by Rod Stewart,  but I find was actually written by Danny Whitten.

Danny was best known for his work with Neil Young’s backing band Crazy Horse and is sadly one of the many musicians who died tragically young, in Danny’s case at the age of 29, reportedly “engulfed” by Mandrax.

The song he’s best remembered for is “I Don’t Want to Talk About It” and the featured version is by Rod Stewart with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, recorded in 2019.  The video has some tremendous flashbacks which I think are a marvellous tribute to Rod’s history with this great song. I hope you agree.

I Don’t Want to Talk About It

Rod Stewart

I can tell by your eyes that you’ve probably been cryin’ forever
And the stars in the sky don’t mean nothin’ to you, they’re a mirror
I don’t want to talk about it, how you broke my heart
If I stay here just a little bit longer
If I stay here, won’t you listen to my heart, whoa, heart?

If I stand all alone, will the shadow hide the color of my heart
Blue for the tears, black for the night’s fears
The star in the sky don’t mean nothin’ to you, they’re a mirror
I don’t want to talk about it, how you broke my heart
If I stay here just a little bit longer
If I stay here, won’t you listen to my heart, whoa, heart?
I don’t want to talk about it, how you broke this old heart

If I stay here just a little bit longer
If I stay here, won’t you listen to my heart, whoa, heart?
My heart, whoa, heart

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Danny Whitten

I Don’t Want to Talk About It lyrics © BMG Rights Management, Crazy Horse Music

Here are two other versions:

The first by Smokie

…and this by Crazy Horse, featuring Danny Whitten

Song Lyric Sunday – 13 December 2020 – Orange Crush

Jim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday gives us the chance to share familiar, and sometimes not so familiar, songs. Jim has given us Apple /Banana /Cherry /Olive /Orange /Strawberry this week to be included in the title or lyrics.

If you fancy sharing one of your favourite songs you can find out how to participate, and also listen to all the great entries, here.

The band I’m featuring this week is R.E.M. an American rock band from Athens, Georgia. The band was formed in 1980 by drummer Bill Berry, guitarist Peter Buck, bassist Mike Mills, and lead singer Michael Stipe, all of whom were students at the University of Georgia. They disbanded, amicably, in 2011.

Orange Crush was released as the first single from the band’s sixth studio album, “Green”, in 1988. It was not commercially released in the U.S. despite reaching number one as a promotional single It peaked at number 28 on the UK Singles Chart, making it the band’s then-highest chart hit in Britain.

The song’s title is a reference to the chemical defoliant Agent Orange used in the Vietnam War. Stipe opened the song during The Green World Tour by singing the U.S. Army recruiting slogan, “Be all you can be… in the Army.” Stipe’s father served in the Vietnam War.

I think R.E.M. were best when performing live. Here is a recording from a 2003 performance in Germany.

….and here a remastered studio recorded version

The middle section of the lyrics mimics the helicopters flying over and around to disperse the defoliant Agent Orange, used to destroy the overhead cover of the Viet Cong. Little did they realise that it was also destroying the lungs, and other organs, of the civilian population, and American soldiers and airmen. That legacy continues to kill people today!

Lyrics

I’ve got my spine, I’ve got my orange crush
(Collar me, don’t collar me)
I’ve got my spine, I’ve got my orange crush
(We are agents of the free)
I’ve had my fun and now it’s time to serve your conscience overseas
(Over me, not over me)
Coming in fast, over me (oh, oh)

I’ve got my spine, I’ve got my orange crush
(Collar me, don’t collar me)
I’ve got my spine, I’ve got my orange crush
(We are agents of the free)
I’ve had my fun and now it’s time to serve your conscience overseas
(Over me, not over me)
Coming in fast, over me (oh, oh)

High on the roof, thin the blood
Another one came on the waves tonight
Comin’ in, you’re home

We would circle and we’d circle and we’d circle to stop and consider and centered on the pavement stacked up all the trucks jacked up and our wheels in slush and orange crush in pocket and all this here county, hell, any county, it’s just like heaven here, and I was remembering and I was just in a different county and all then this whirlybird that I headed for I had my goggles pulled off; I knew it all, I knew every back road and every truck stop

I’ve got my spine, I’ve got my orange crush
(Collar me, don’t collar me)
I’ve got my spine, I’ve got my orange crush
(We are agents of the free)
I’ve had my fun and now it’s time to serve your conscience overseas
(Over me, not over me)
Coming in fast, over me (oh, oh)

High on the roof, thin the blood
Another one climbs on the waves tonight
Comin’ in, you’re home

High on the roof, thin the blood
Another one climbs on the waves tonight
Comin’ in, you’re home

Source: Musixmatch

Songwriters: Mills / Berry / Buck / Stipe

Orange Crush lyrics © Night Garden Music

Song Lyric Sunday – 6 December 2020 – The Snake

Jim Adams’ Song Lyric Sunday gives us the chance to share familiar, and sometimes not so familiar, songs. Jim has given us Alligator/ Crocodile/ Lizard/ Snake/ Turtle this week to be included in the title or lyrics.

If you fancy sharing one of your favourite songs you can find out how to participate, and also listen to all the great entries, here.

This week I am featuring The Snake, a song written and first recorded by civil-rights activist Oscar Brown in 1963, which became a hit single by American singer Al Wilson in 1968.

Also a great cover by Sarah Collins

and even The World’s Best Dancer

The song gained renewed attention during the campaign for the Presidential election in 2016. Donald Trump read its lyrics at several campaign rallies to illustrate his position on illegal immigration, claiming that the decision to allow people claiming refugee status to enter the United States would “come back to bite us”, as happened to the woman who took in the snake in the song. Songwriter Oscar Brown had seven children. His work has been characterized as “a celebration of black culture and a repudiation of racism”, and suggestions have been made that the snake in the song refers to a white person.  Two of his seven children asked Trump to stop using their late father’s song, telling the media: “He’s perversely using ‘The Snake’ to demonize immigrants” and that Brown “never had anything against immigrants.” Despite a cease and desist letter, President Trump has continued reciting the lyrics at rallies as recently as November 2020.

However, it has also been used to show his true colours:

The Snake

Al Wilson

On her way to work one morning
Down the path along side the lake
A tender hearted woman saw a poor half frozen snake
His pretty colored skin had been all frosted with the dew
“Poor thing, ” she cried, “I’ll take you in and I’ll take care of you”
“Take me in tender woman
Take me in, for heaven’s sake
Take me in, tender woman, ” sighed the snake

She wrapped him up all cozy in a comforter of silk
And laid him by her fireside with some honey and some milk
She hurried home from work that night and soon as she arrived
She found that pretty snake she’d taken to had been revived
“Take me in, tender woman
Take me in, for heaven’s sake
Take me in, tender woman, ” sighed the snake

She clutched him to her bosom, “You’re so beautiful, ” she cried
“But if I hadn’t brought you in by now you might have died”
She stroked his pretty skin again and kissed and held him tight
Instead of saying thanks, the snake gave her a vicious bite
“Take me in, tender woman
Take me in, for heaven’s sake
Take me in, tender woman, ” sighed the snake
“I saved you, ” cried the woman
“And you’ve bitten me, but why?
You know your bite is poisonous and now I’m going to die”
“Oh shut up, silly woman, ” said the reptile with a grin
“You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in
“Take me in, tender woman
Take me in, for heaven’s sake
Take me in, tender woman, ” sighed the snake

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Oscar Brown Jr.The Snake lyrics © Carlin America Inc