New Year’s Eve—The White Heather Club and Hootenanny December 31st

Happy new year card showing drunken wealthy young man slumped on the snow overlooked by a policeman

On the seventh day of Christmas
My true love sent to me:
7 Swans a Swimming; 6 Geese a Laying;
5 Golden Rings;
4 Calling Birds; 3 French Hens; 2 Turtle Doves
and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

First an admission, there is a lot of confusion out there as to which is the First day of Christmas. According to my muse, Charles Kightly, the first day of Christmas is Boxing Day, the 26th of December. This makes Twelfth Night January 6th, which is Epiphany – when the three wise men rocked up with their fabulous presents. But that is a Christian day of importance, and most other authorities begin the counting on Christmas Day. So, Twelfth Night is Epiphany Eve, i.e. January 5th. Have a look at Notes&Queries for different viewpoints. One suggestion was that the Church had to accept that the Twelve Days of Christmas were taken up with pagan activities and allowed it to go on until the night before Epiphany. I have gone back and rearranged my days of Christmas accordingly and am I going to take my Christmas decorations down before going to bed on the 5th January. Twelfth Night.

New Year’s Eve

This is a day of preparation, and perhaps of anxiety. Have we got an invitation anywhere tonight? Is anyone going to come to our party? Can I take another blow out feast, a belly full of alcohol and a very late night? For years in my life, New Year’s Eve was spent with my parents watching some inexplicable variety show hosted in Scotland. Google has helped me remember that it was the ‘White Heather Club’ hosted by Andy Stewart. Up to 10 million people watched this between 1960 and 1968. I never understood the pleasure of it, and it seemed a symbol of an old-fashioned world that was passing and irrelevant.

More recently, if not spent at a party, New Year’s Eve is spent with Jools’ Annual Hootenanny, which is a music show masquerading as a live New Year’s Eve party. It features really excellent bands and singers. It is, however, recorded earlier in December (15th, 20th are dates I have seen) and hence a New Year’s fake. Here is a 2007 except starring Madness’s ‘House of Fun’. The fun of this is to spot the stars grooving along to the music.

New Year’s Day needs a lot of preparation. Folklore suggests that this should include finishing off any unfinished work or projects, as a task carried forward is ill-omened. Your accounts for the year should be reconciled, and as Charles Dickens suggests in the Chimes, your moral account with the world should also be addressed so that you can come into the New Year with a clean slate, good conscience and plans for a better new year. And don’t we all need that for 2023!

To see the rest of this post, follow this link:

Tomorrow I am doing a New Year’s Walk and a New Year’s Virtual Tour

Jimi Hendrix in London on his 81st Birthday November 27th 2023

Jimi Hendrix in Montague Place

To my mind, THE genius of the electric guitar, and a great songwriter.

Born Johnny Allen Hendrix in Seattle on 27th November 1942. He was spotted by ex-Animals Chas Chandler (bassist) when performing in small cafés In New York as Jimmy James. Chandler suggested he came to England. On the flight, they decided to change his name to Jimi. He arrived on September 24, 1966.

“It’s a different kind of atmosphere here. People are more mild-mannered. I like all the little streets and the boutiques. It’s like a kind of fairyland”

https://www.independent.co.uk Jimi Hendrix’s London.

On his first day in London, he met Kathy Etchingham, and she found them a flat on the upper floors of 23 Brook Street, which is now part of Handel&Hendrix in London. Now, a small museum to the two musical giants who lived next door to each other (if they were time travellers). For the English middle class, it’s comforting to know that Jimi bought the furnishings of the flat from their favourite, the nearby John Lewis Department store. He got his look from Carnaby Street and Portobello Road Market.

London wasn’t an arbitrary choice for a young American Bluesman. The wave of British Bands that came to international prominence in 1964, was based on the almost forgotten (by the mainstream media) Black American Blues legends such as Woody Guthrie and Ledbelly. Bands like the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, and the Animals loved this music, and began their careers playing cover versions in Clubs in London. (For more on the British Blues Revival, look here🙂

Hendrix’s younger brother, Leon, spoke about the importance of London to Hendrix

“He loved England ‘cos it was like Seattle. It was like home. It was the same climate, y’know? And this is where all the music was. This is where all of his friends were – Eric Clapton, The Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Brian Jones, everybody…”

He concluded: “After people played, they all went and jammed together. Like, when Jimi played a concert that was only the warm-up… After the concert, he was out and about lookin’ for somebody to play with and somebody’s studio to jam at. They’d just be jammin’ all night ’til, like, seven or eight in the morning. It was awesome.”

Reported in Mouth Magazine 2018 and quoted in https://faroutmagazine.co.uk

Chas Chandler was interested in managing bands, and thought Hey Joe, which he heard Hendrix play, could be a hit single. Hey Joe got to no 6, in Jan 1967) in the UK Top Ten, but failed to make an impression in the US.

Here is a YouTube film of Hendrix playing ‘Hey Joe’.

The Independent website above gives a good guide to Hendrix in London. An excellent documentary on Hendrix was recently aired on BBC Sounds, Everything but the Guitar. To finish off, just look at the bill on at the Saville Theatre.

One month in 60s London!

For details of Hendix Gigs look at the Set list Web site, which shows he performed at the Saville Theatre in Jan,May and June 1967 on his First European Tour, and again in Aug and Oct on his 2nd European Tour.

I have also revised my post on Stir Up Sunday!, which you might like to see.

First published on Nov 27th 2022, as part of Stir Up Sunday! And revised onto its own page on the same day, 2023.

27th June 1967 World’s First ATM Honoured. Digital Heritage –

Screenshot from Londonist Web Page

On the 10th April 2023, Heritage England announced on its webpage, that they had listed a Bank which contained the world’s first ATM Machine. Barclays Bank choose its Enfield Branch for this honour which opened on 27th June 1967. Above, you will see local celebrity, Reg Varney (in hat), a star of a very popular and ‘corny’ sitcom called ‘On the Buses.’ opening the new machine. It miraculously delivered a £10 note without any human intervention, and offered access to money after banking hours.

1967 Ten pound note

Barclay’s had previously launched the UK’s first credit card, and selected Enfield to be the place where they launched an automatic machine to dispense money – nicknamed ‘money machines’ in the UK. The customer was issued a ‘punched card’ and had to enter a PIN for the magic to be initiated. Barclays were developing the idea of a magnetic strip on a card at the same time.

Google Street View image of the Enfield Barclays Bank (screenprinted 15/07/23)
Google Street View image of the Enfield Barclays Bank (screenprinted 15/07/23)

The building, which has a plaque and a gold-painted modern ATM, is Grade II listed and so should be protected from development in future. The building itself is an interesting, almost typical, late Victorian red brick commercial building, with fine details in the Flemish Renaissance style by William Gilbee Scott. Scott lived in Enfield.

I look forward to visiting it on my next visit to Enfield Lock on my narrow boat Mrs Towser.

50th Anniversary of ‘Small Is Beautiful’

Dust jacket of fifth reprint of first edition, copyright 1973. Publisher Blond & Briggs. Jacket design by Andrew Sinc (wikipeidia)

It was, probably, mid 70s when I came across this book and, I think I can say, it had a lasting effect on my opinions. The book is about many things, but what it did for me was introduce sustainable development and the beauty of small scale innovation. Schumacher believed that resources were limited, that pollution represents an ever-increasing danger to society, and that appropriate scale innovation offered the best hope to create a fairer world.

He helped set up ‘the Intermediate Technology Development Group’, but found a better title in ‘Small is Beautiful’ for his book outlining his philosophy. ITDG became Practical Action, which is a charity that works around the world finding innovative solutions to real world problems.

To see Schumacher’s legacy have a look at the Practical Action web site or follow this link to see what it is doing, for example, in promoting ‘regenerative agriculture.’

I donate regularly, and maybe you might enjoy reading positive stories of human ingenuity in action around the world.