Monthly Archives: April 2014

A very Happy Un-birthday

Shakespeare baptism and deathI completely omitted to post anything in celebration of William Shakespeare’s “birthday”, commonly given as April 23rd (last week).

But as by now a lot of people know this wasn’t his birthday at all, and in fact we don’t actually know when he was born, only when he was baptised – 26th April 1564 and when he died – 23rd April (bingo!) 1616.

Anyway, should you wish to ‘celebrate’ in any way this week and you really don’t want to sit through another Hamlet or Romeo & Juliet then you could do no better than listen to this week’s Words and Music on BBC Radio 3 (click here), with 75 mins worth of “poetry, prose and music inspired by Shakespeare”. But click in haste as the broadcaste will be available but until next Sunday (4th Maye)! (weak attempt at Shakespearean language..)

Which brings me to my little grouch about Words and Music : why oh why can’t we have a download/podcast of each programme after they’ve been broadcast? These programmes are so well put together and of such good quality that it seems a shame they have to disappear after a week.

But as The Bard himself would have said: “Parting (with a one week only netcast) is such sweet sorrow”, or “If (words and ) music be the food of love, play on…”.

Happy Un-birthday Mr. Shakespeare.

edit: having published this post, WordPress spookily informed me it was my 23rd … 

Voulez-Vous a tipple?

I’m back from a lengthy hiatus mostly caused by the mammoth task that is ‘moving house’ and all that it entails, but what better way to signal one’s return than to celebrate yet another anniversary! this time it’s 40 years since pop-group Abba’s victory at the Eurovision Song Contest. It was in fact on th night of 6th April 1974 that the Swedish entry to the contest, a song with the unlikely title of Waterloo, beat all the competition (including Olivia Newton-John, the UK entry) to come top of the seventeen participating countries.

The rest is history of course, although perhaps just as famously ABBA’s success, especially in the UK, was far from instant, making them initially seem the classic Eurovision one-hit wonders.

Fast forward a good five years later though and despite punk rock, new-wave and all that ABBA were top of ‘the pops’ in more ways than one. They had released seven hit albums, several number one singles and had effectively achieved world domination, on an almost Beatles-ian scale. Amongst all the fortieth anniversary celebrations, marketing and internet paraphenalia I was particularly impressed by these exclusive rare Radio Times pics taken of the group backstage at their Voulez-Vous live shows extravaganza at Wembley Arena in 1979. The black and white pictures show the foursome effectively at their professional peak enjoying the fame and a bottle of bubbly in front of the cameras. Skål Abba!

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photo: Don Smith / Radio Times archive