Monthly Archives: June 2012

Jesus In Sunderland

 

News of a simulacrum – identified as usual but with no real justification as Jesus – not only in this city, but just  a few streets away from where I write this.

The image (above) is on the wall of the Mayho Chinese Takeaway in Neville Road, Sunderland. It was brought to general attention, via the Sunderland Echo newspaper, by Ian Ridley and Lawrence Boys, who had called in for a takeawy.

Ridley: “We were quite drunk at the time and went to get something to eat. We were waiting four our meal outside when we saw it. It was Jesus looking right at us, we were shocked and couldn’t believe it. It’s a miracle !

“The best thing about it is the face is actually facing the direction of St Luke’s church so it looks like it’s supposed to be there.”

Why are simulacra that look like bearded figures inevitably identified as Jesus ? No-one has the faintest idea what he actually looked like, if indeed he actually was an identifiable historical person.

The New Testament includes no description of the physical appearance of Jesus before his death and its narrative is generally indifferent to racial appearances and does not refer to the features of the people it discusses. One thing we can probably bet on with any certainty is that he didn’t look like all those blue-eyed western European images that we’re so familiar with. If anything, I’d imagine he looked like a modern-day Palestinian.

Given its proximity to St Luke’s (the local Christian church) why not identify it as Luke himself ?  But then,  why limit ourselves to Christian deities ?

Given the nature of the business on whose wall it appeared, perhaps we should be looking towards the East.

Personally, I’d vote for Tsai-Shen, Chinese god of wealth and  – I’ve heard it said – so popular that even athiests worshipped him. Certainly a fortunate sign to appear on a Chinese business.
Below is a statuette of Tsai-Shen. Compare the facial features with those of the simulacrum.

What do you reckon ?

 

 

Mr. Frankenstein

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Almanac – June 30th

1837 – An act of parliament put an end to the use of the pillory as punishment in the Uk.

1859 – French acrobat Charles Blondin crossed Niagara Falls on a tightrope.

1905Albert Einstein publishesd the article On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies, in which he introduces special relativity.

1908 – The Tunguska Event occured in  Siberia –  an enormously powerful explosion that occurred near the Podkamennaya Tunguska River in what is now Krasnoyarsk Krai, Russia, at about 7:14 a.m. KRAT (0:14 UT).

The explosion, having the hypocenter, (60.886°N, 101.894°E), is believed to have been caused by the air burst of a large meteoroid or comet fragment at an altitude of 5–10 kilometres (3–6 mi) above the Earth’s surface. Different studies have yielded varying estimates of the object’s size, with general agreement that it was a few tens of metres across. It is the largest impact event on or near Earth in recorded history.

The explosion knocked an estimated 80 million trees down over an area covering 2,150 square kilometres (830 sq mi). It is estimated that the shock wave from the blast would have measured 5.0 on the Richter scale.

Other possible causes suggested include a crashing UFO, a Black hole passing through the Earth, anti-matter, and a side-effect of an experiment by Nikola Tesla

 

1934The Night Of The Long Knives in Germany. Adolf Hitler ordered the summary execution of those in the Nazi party who oppsed him.

 

Mr. Frankenstein

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Jayne Mansfield & Jimi Hendrix

Today being the 45th anniversary of the death of Jayne Mansfield  got me remembering  the single  she recorded with Jimi Hendrix.

Well – sort of. It was Jayne’s record,  pre-fame Jimi, playing bass and lead, appeared as a session musician. I’ve no idea if they were even in the studio at the same time – according to Hendrix historian Steven Roby (Black Gold: The Lost Archives Of Jimi Hendrix, Billboard Books), this collaboration occurred because they shared the same manager.

The tracks were “As The Clouds Drift By”  b/w  “Suey”

Details for the UK release-

Composers:   As The Clouds Drift By – (Brodsky)  Suey – (Ed Chalpin, Douglas Henderson)
Producer:  Ed Chalpin?
Release date:  21 July 1967
Label:  London
Catalog number: HL 10147

 

 

Kind of nice in a 1960s girl-group way, with maybe a nod towards Marianne Faithfull ?

 

 

A bit more raunchy, this one, a bit more funky. I have this fantasy of her being backed by The Cramps…what a collaboration that would have been.

Never a dumb blonde, Jayne  had classical training in piano and violin. She sang in English and German for a number of her films, and in  1964  MGM Records  released a novelty album called Jayne Mansfield: Shakespeare, Tchaikovsky & Me, in which she recited Shakespeare’s sonnets and poems by Marlowe, Browning, Wordsworth, and others against a background of Tchaikovsky’s music. The album cover depicted a bouffant-coiffed Mansfield with lips pursed and breasts barely covered by a fur stole, posing between busts of Tchaikovsky and Shakespeare. The New York Times described the album as a reading of “30-odd poems in a husky, urban, baby voice”.

 

 

I’d rather like to hear more of that album. It kind of reminds me of the rather strange late-1960s album that actor Peter Wyngarde recorded…but that’s another story.

 

Mr. Frankenstein

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Almanac – June 29th

1613 – London’s Globe Theatre burned down during a performance of Shakespeare’s Henry VIII. A cannon shot employed for special effects ignited the theatre’s thatched roof (and the beams), burning the building to the ground.

1644 Charles I of England defeats a Parliamentarian detachment at the Battle of Cropredy Bridge, the last battle won by an English King on English soil. And against English people.

1916 – Irish patriot Roger Casement found guilty of treason in a Dublin court and sentenced to death.

1967 – Actress Jayne Mansfield killed in a car crash – rumors that she was decapitated are untrue, though she did suffer severe head trauma.

 

 

 

1980Vigdis Finnbogadottir elected president of Iceland, becoming Europe’s first democratically elected female head of State.

 

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Sycophancy Knows No Limits

Its been there since 1858, it’s officially called the Clock Tower, but most people probably know it by the name of the bell it houses – Big Ben.

But now, in the latest bit of jubilee sycophancy, it is to be renamed the Elizabeth Tower in honour of Mrs Windsor, the House of Commons has confirmed.

It follows a campaign, backed by most MPs and the three main party leaders, to rename the tower in recognition of the Queen’s 60 years of unelected privilidge. The House of Commons authorities have now agreed the change – like they were ever likely to say no.

Conservative MP Tobias Ellwood originally proposed the idea an early day motion which was backed by 40 MPs. The motion called on the House of Commons Commission to consider the change “in recognition of Her Majesty’s 60 years of unbroken public service on behalf of her country”. Mr Ellwood is no doubt contemplating  a just reward in a future honours list.

And this at a time when many of those same MPs are seriously considering cutting the benefits of those already at the bottom of the pile… something that I hope voters will bear in mind come the next election. 

Coming soon –

> Stonehenge to be renamed Queenhenge.

> Glastonbury Tor to be renamed Sixty Glorious Years Tor.

> London to be renamed Elizabethville.

Why not ?  The sycophancy seems to know no bounds now.

Mr. Frankenstein

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Almanac – June 28th

1712 – Birth of Jean-Jaques Rousseau.

1846 – The saxophone was patented by Adolphe Sax in Paris.

1880 – The Australian bushranger Ned Kelly  captured at Glenrowan.

1905 – A French criminal named Languille was  guillotined. At the very moment his severed head tumbled forward from the blade, a Dr. Beaurieux observed movement in its eyelids and lips. Three times he called out Languille’s name in a loud voice. The first two times the eyes opened and focused on him. The third time, no reaction.

1914Archduke Franz Ferdinand assassinated in Sarajevo, setting in motion the events that led to World War I.

1924Arthur Ferguson suceeded in selling London’s Trafalgar Square to an American tourist for 6000 GBP. He later “sold” Big Ben and Buckingham Palace, before emigrating to the USA, where he was arrested trying to sell the Statue of Liberty.

1964Malcolm X forms the Organization of Afro-American Unity.

1969 Stonewall Riots begin in New York City marking the start of the Gay Rights Movement.

1975 – Death of  Rod Serling, American TV screenwriter, novelist, television producer, and narrator best known for his live television dramas of the 1950s and his science fiction anthology TV series, The Twilight Zone.

1993 –  Death of GG Allin, American singer, who I used to correspond with in the early 1980s.

 

 

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Almanac – June 27th

1497 – Cornish Rebellion leaders  Michael An Gof and Thomas Flamank executed at Tyburn, London, following the Cornish rebel’s defeat by by the King Henry VII’s forces at the Battle of Deptford Bridge on 17 June 1497.

1746 – Fresh from his defeat at Culloden, Bonnie Prince Charlie escaped over the sea to Skye, disguised as a maid. 

1844 Joseph Smith, Jr., founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, and his brother Hyrum Smith, were murdered by a mob at the Carthage, Illinois jail.

1859Mildred Hill born. She was the composer of “Happy Birthday To You”, said to be the most frequently sung song in the English language. It was originally called “Good Morning To All” and intended to brighten up morning assemblies for children [Hill was a teacher].

1905 – The famous mutiny took place aboard the Russian battleship Potemkin, in Odessa harbour, on the Black Sea. Sailors started a mutiny , denouncing the crimes of autocracy, demanding liberty and an end to war. Later the subject of a film by Sergei Eisenstein.

 

 

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Almanac – June 26th

1284 – Alledgedly the day in which 130 children were led out of the town of Hamelin by the Pied Piper.

1901 – Birth of Big Bill Broonzy, American blues singer/songwriter. His birth year may also have been 1893  or 1898, and I’ve also seen 1903 given ! 1901 generally seems to be the most likely.

 

1904 –  Birth of  Peter Lorre, Hungarian actor.

1909 –  Birth of Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis Presley’s manager

1963John F. Kennedy, on a visit to West Berlin, made his famous “I am a doughnut” speech.

 

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Almanac – June 25th

1678 – Venetian Elena Cornaro Piscopia became the first woman to be awarded a doctorate of philosophy when she graduated from the University of Padua.

1876 – The battle at the Little Bighorn River, Montana. George Custer and 266 officers and men died in battle with Sioux warriors.
Three weeks previously, Sioux medicine man Sitting Bull saw a vision of many soldiers attacking his camp.
And when Elizabeth, Custer’s wife, was watching her husband and his troops riding off, she saw them reflected in the sky, which she took as a sign that they were on their way to Heaven.

1925 Birth of Clifton Chenier, American zydeco musician & accordion player

 

 

 

1978 – The rainbow flag representing gay pride is flown for the first time in the San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade.

2009 – Death of Sky Saxon, American singer (The Seeds)

 

 

 

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Almanac – June 24th

MIDSUMMER DAY

In Great Britain from the 13th century, Midsummer was celebrated on Midsummer Eve (St. John’s Eve, June 23) and St. Peter’s Eve (June 28) with the lighting of bonfires, feasting and merrymaking.

In late fifteenth-century England, John Mirk of Lilleshall Abbey, Shropshire, gives the following description:

At first, men and women came to church with candles and other lights and prayed all night long. In the process of time, however, men left such devotion and used songs and dances and fell into lechery and gluttony turning the good, holy devotion into sin.

The church fathers decided to put a stop to these practices and ordained that people should fast on the evening before, and thus turned waking into fasting .

Mirk adds that at the time of his writing,

…in worship of St John the Baptist, men stay up at night and make three kinds of fires: one is of clean bones and no wood and is called a “bonnefyre”; another is of clean wood and no bones, and is called a wakefyre, because men stay awake by it all night; and the third is made of both bones and wood and is called, “St. John’s fire”.

These traditions largely ended after the Reformation, but persisted in rural areas up until the nineteenth century before petering out.

637 – The Battle of Moira was fought between the High King of Ireland and the Kings of Ulster and Dalriada. It is claimed to be largest battle in the history of Ireland.

1314 –The Battle of Bannockburn concluded with a decisive victory by Scottish forces led by Robert the Bruce, though England did not  finally recognize Scottish independence until 1328 .

1374 – A sudden outbreak of St. John’s Dance caused people in the streets of Aachen, Germany, to experience hallucinations and begin to jump and twitch uncontrollably until they collapsed from exhaustion.

1519 – Lucrezia Borgia died.

1717 – The Premier Grand Lodge of England, the first Masonic Grand Lodge in the world (now the United Grand Lodge of England), was founded in London, England.

1901 – Birth of Harry Partch, American composer

1916 – The First Battle Of The Somme began.

1916 Mary Pickford became the first female film star to sign a million dollar contract.

1935 –  Birth of Terry Riley, American composer

1947 – The modern UFO age could be said to have begun – Kenneth Arnold, flying near Mount Rainier, Washington State, USA, encountered 9 unidentified flying objects.
He was later to describe their motion as: “like a saucer would if you skipped it across water” – and thus the term Flying Saucer was born.
Personally, I like another quote he made to reporters: “It seems impossible, but there it is.” A good motto for Forteans everywhere.

1968 – Death of Tony Hancock, British comedian

1985 – STS-51-G Space Shuttle Discovery completed its mission, best remembered for having Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the first Arab and first Muslim in space, as a Payload Specialist. And maybe a contender for the title of astronaut with the longest name ?

2007 – Death of Derek Dougan, Northern Irish footballer. The name might not mean much to you, but he was my first sporting idol, playing for Wolverhampton Wanderers. I wrote asking him for his autograph, and he sent a signed photo back – pretty thrilling for a 9- or 10-year old. I’d like to say that I still have the photo, but sadly it vanished over the intervening years.

Mr. Frankenstein

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