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Thursday, 24 November 2016

Web Page  No 2324

3rd December 2016

Top Picture: Paddy Roberts Album Cover

Second Picture: Strickly for Adults LP cover

Third Picture: Gerhard Hoffnung

Forth Picture: Hoffnung Album cover

Roberts and Hoffnung

For many of us  John Godfrey Owen "Paddy" Roberts  was part of the late 1950’s. He was born in in Durban 1910 and died at the age of 65. He was known as  a British songwriter, pianist  and singer who had a wide and varied career but most of us remember him for his songs ‘The Tattooed Lady, the Ballard of Bethnal Green and the like. He  lived in Devon having previously had several other careers; he had been a lawyer and then during World War Two was a RAF pilot at the end of the war he joined BOAC as a Captain and flew Lockheed Constellations for that airline in the late 1940s/1950s.
He enjoyed success with a number of songs in the 1950s and 1960s and wrote songs for several films. He also released several LPs and EPs of his own material, often featuring what were, for the time, slightly risqué lyrics. One of his most popular and amusing compositions that he recorded himself was entitled "The Ballad of Bethnal Green" which was also recorded by Beatrice Lillie Not many people know that he was a five times the winner of an Ivor Novello Award, four for song writing and one for services to the British Music Industry.
Apart from recording his own material he wrote for other artists for example he co-wrote the 1955 UK chart-topper, "Softly, Softly", as sung by Ruby Murray, and "Lay Down Your Arms" by Anne Shelton, which reached No. 1 in the UK charts in 1956..He also wrote ‘Pickin’ a chicken’ for Eve Boswell Many of his recordings were made available in the United States. "Merry Christmas You Suckers" was issued with an alternative title of "And A Happy New Year".
Although most the albums were only issued in mono, it appears that the studio albums at least were recorded in stereo. The tracks from the album Strictly For Grown Ups that are included on The World of Paddy Roberts" set are in stereo, leading to the assumption that the whole album was recorded that way (but never issued that way).Songs for Gay Dogs was issued in stereo for the first time in 2006 when released on CD.

Gerhard Hoffnung was  born in Berlin the only child of a well-to-do Jewish couple, Hildegard and Ludwig Hoffnung He was sent to England under the name Gerald, where he attended Bunce Court School in 1938. In 1939, his parents left Germany; his father went to Palestine to enter the family's banking business. Gerard went with his mother to London, where she rented a house in Hampstead Garden Suburb,and this is where Hoffnung lived for the rest of his life. In 1939 he enrolled at Highgate School, where, according to one biographer, he was "remembered for his anarchic spirit". He had a talent for cartooning and had his first cartoon published in the ‘Lilliput’ magazine while he was still at school

After leaving Highgate, he studied at Hornsey College of Art, but was expelled for his lack of gravity in the life class. He then attended Harrow School of Art, after which he became a schoolmaster. He was art master at Stamford School (1945–46) and assistant art master at Harrow School (1948), with an intervening and overlapping spell as a staff artist on the London Evening News. He was a staff artist to Cowles Magazines Inc in New York in 1950, and otherwise pursued a career as a freelance cartoonist. He contributed to Punch, The Strand Magazine and The Tatler, and to other British, continental, and American magazines.He also produced advertising work for Kia-Ora, Guinness, and other companies. He presented one-man exhibitions of his work, including one at the Little Gallery, Piccadilly (1949), and two at the Royal Festival Hall (1951 and 1956).

In 1950 he began a career as a broadcaster for the BBC, he was a brilliant improviser with a dry wit and a masterly sense of timing". Probably the best-known example of him as a humorous speaker is an account of a bricklayer's misfortunes when raising some bricks in a barrel to the top of a building. It was part of a speech to the Oxford Union in 4 December 1958.The derivation of the story is confused, but it first arises in the 1930s. It was published in Reader's Digest in 1940 as a letter from a naval officer who had supposedly received it from an enlisted man explaining his late return from leave. Hoffnung first saw the story in The Manchester Guardian in 1957,  the version printed there is identical with the text used by Hoffnung, except for the location, which he changed from Barbados to Golder's Green.

Among his other well-known subjects were his supposedly helpful advice to tourists in London ("Have you tried the famous echo in the Reading Room of the British Museum?") and allegedly genuine letters in fallible English from continental hoteliers ("There is a French widow in every bedroom affording delightful prospects").

In 1952 he married Annetta Perceval, née Bennett. They had one son, Ben, and one daughter, Emily, who became respectively a timpanist and a sculptor. Hoffnung's uncle was Bruno Adler a German art historian and writer who, during the war, wrote for the German language department of the BBC.

In addition to his public persona as an eccentric and wit, he had a deeply serious and moral side. He became a Quaker in 1955 and was active in their prisoner visiting scheme. He collapsed at his home on 25 September 1959, and died three days later at the age of thirty-four.

You Write:-

Griff writes:-

Peter wrote about milk carton vending machines last week. I too remember these very well and I can answer a couple of questions raised by Peter. 

            I worked for Gauntlett & Walker's dairies based in Purbrook as a Saturday Boy from the age of 14 to 16 until I left school. I realised very quickly that delivering newspaper's for Flemings Newsagents for 10/- a week morning and evening was akin to slave labour and left after 3 months.

             Anyway, my job was actually working in the dairy and I had to place the returning crates of empty milk bottles onto a long conveyor belt having checked for chipped, cracked dirty milk bottles before they entered a huge bottle washing machine 20 bottles at a time with a 30 second time delay for the next batch of bottles. I did progress during my 3 years at Gauntlett's as I grew stronger and taller. I have to say I enjoyed my time there. But to get onto Peter's milk vending article.

         One day Mr Gauntlett turned up with a new machine and it was a milk carton machine which would fill those triangular milk cartons and then it would be manually heat sealed by the operator to close up the carton. It was a nightmare to work successfully and people dreaded being assigned to this machine for the day.  I did operate this machine a few times and it was a nightmare as you could not keep up with milk carton flow especially if you ran into a problem carton not sealing.  It was always going wrong and the cartons were sometimes not heat sealed 100% which would lead to leaks. I would think around 500 cartons a day were produced and crated up and collected by an independent van driver to be distributed to milk vending machines around the Portsmouth area.

So troublesome was this carton machine Mr. Gauntlett stopped the production after about a year as not being viable and the machine disappeared one day and I remember last seeing it put away in the corner of a big old barn that was on Gauntlett's dairy site.

Regards to everyone Melvyn 'Griff' Griffiths

Keep in touch


On this Day 3rd December 1960-1965
On 032/12/1960 the number one single was It's Now Or Never - Elvis Presley and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Labour Party Political Broadcast (all channels) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 03/12/1961 the number one single was Little Sister/His Latest Flame - Elvis Presley. The top rated TV show was "Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £not very interesting and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Sunday Night at the London Palladium (ATV)".

On 03/12/1962 the number one single was Lovesick Blues - Frank Ifield and the number one album was On Stage with the Black & White Minstrels - George Mitchell Minstrels. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

 On 03/12/1963 the number one single was She Loves You - The Beatles and the number one album was Please Please Me - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 03/12/1964 the number one single was Baby Love - Supremes and the number one album was A Hard Day's Night - Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 03/12/1965 the number one single was The Carnival is Over - Seekers and the number one album was The Sound of Music Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

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