Saturday, 12 January 2013

Erratic

Erratic - Lacking consistency, regularity, or uniformity. Like my blog posts. 

I was actually thinking of the noun, a GCSE Geography definition of an erratic : "a piece of rock that differs in composition, shape, etc., from the rock surrounding it, having been transported from its place of origin". This occurred to me when I was musing time-lines.

History time-lines are a wonderful way of looking at the past and throw up all kinds of interesting viewpoints. In the Bronze Age around 1200 BC we were swanning around in old bearskins whilst the Chinese were developing sophisticated philosophy as well as irrigation systems. Whilst the English were being invaded by William of Normandy in 1066 and settling in to a feudal society, Omar Khayyam in Iran was busy solving quadratic equations by geometric means. We were just adopting the curved plough known in China 1000 years previously.

However it was more recent events that got me thinking when I discovered a photograph at auction the other day. We all have a time-line in our heads with our individual understanding of what periods of our lives were like and photography has an ability of breaking into our comfortable mental pictures and showing us hard evidence of a far more complex set of circumstances.

The year 1969 for example. I had that neatly slotted away in my imaginary filing cabinet as the end of the swinging sixties, students revolting across Europe and the USA landing on the Moon yet unable to win a jungle war. In music the Who released "Tommy", the Beatles "Abbey Road", Nick Drake "Five Leaves Left" and Fairport Convention released their three best Albums all within the 12 months. I was into a shoulder length world of Bob Dylan, Al Stewart, Joni Mitchell and Leonard Cohen, who released "Songs from a Room" and the Stones who ended the year with their best ever album "Let it Bleed". Boy was it all happening!

But there was another 1969 which rather passed me by. A 1969 of conformity, work ethic and fitting in. Pushing drugs, but perfectly legal drugs and being "Company Men" (nor women) where individual creativity was frowned upon. May I present something which contrasted sharply with the "surrounding rock" - the WD & HO Wills 1969 Harrogate Sales Conference:




18 comments:

Steerforth said...

That was the 1960s as I remember it. I was a little to young to 'dig the scene'.

Z said...

It's beyond the comprehension of most people younger than us, the vast changes that came about over a few years. We were there, dear heart. Though I was still at school, mind you ;)

Zig said...

How long is a shoulder length world?

Tim Footman said...

All the chaps in the front row on the left-hand side have crossed their legs right over left. The ones on the other side are left over right. That's how we won the war, you know.

(Why is there an air hostess in the second row?)

allotmentqueen said...

She has to learn how to sell you your duty frees.

Mike and Ann said...

Possibly the young lady in the second row is the equivalent of the usherette who would come round with chock ices during the interval ?

Rosie said...

These remind me of school teachers. Was there really a time when it was cool to smoke? Took me twenty five years to give up.

Martin said...

1969 was a very good for me, for some of the reasons you mention, Rog.

As for the photograph, it's a fine tribute to 'fitting in'.

Macy said...

Missing a big arrow to yourself in the photo though Rog...

moreidlethoughts said...

I, too, wonder about Ms.Pillbox-hat.
1969 I was...in London. Let's just leave it at that...

Rog said...

Steerforth: Do young people look back as longingly on dub-techno and garage-thrash?

Z: At school but behind the bike sheds with a Wills Woodbine?

Zig: Long enough to have to take 2 bottles into the shower.

Tim: I never thought you'd ask. That was my Uncle Wilf waiting for Twitter to be invented. TWA.

AQ: I would have dressed down into civvies if it were me. I didn't wear my Paperboy Jacket to social functions.

Mike & Anne: I think that was when the large swelling organ protruded at the front of the stage.

Rosie: It's amazing they aren't all smoking in the picture. They must have been in extinguished company. We used to need breathing apparatus to enter school staff rooms when I were a lad.

Martin: The only cloud on the horizon was a tobacco cloud. Plus a 10 year old Bryan Adams.

Macy: I was out the back having a cheeky Benson.

Dina: Hang on - it's a Quantas logo on the hat! It couldn't be....

Pat said...

She looks like an air hostess to me. Incredible how uniform the men look.

janerowena said...

I was about 12 at the time - I remember my mother having a little pillbox hat like that a few years previously. They were very fashionable - think Jackie O. I used to have to travel to London once a week with my father five years prior to that, and all the men looked alike, in bowler hats for the most part. I used to panic in case I lost him and followed the wrong man to his office.

Nota Bene said...

Them woz the days...as an eight year old, all the excitement was going on around me

Z said...

There was a sensation in my school in 1969 when a girl was caught smoking and was expelled for it. I was more often found skulking in the library. Reading. I'm more fun now, honest.

mig bardsley said...

I think I was at art college in 1969 but I spent very short time working in a factory in Rochdale. Cutting out wellington boot linings as I remember. It didn't take me long to decide which 1969 I liked better - either five days or twelve, I can't remember if I lasted one week or two.

Rog said...

Pat: Quaintarse?

Jane R: So you had to walk behind him?!

Nota: You've made up for it since.

Z: Slipping out for a quick skulk? Was it Mallory Towers?

Mig: I hope they didn't give you the boot?

janerowena said...

He wasn't a very hands-on father! I had to go to Great Ormond Street for check-ups, I was very ill when I was small. He must have found it mortifying to have to take a small child who asked awkward questions in quiet railway carriages.