Archive for the ‘British Culture’ Category

And while we are on the subject of the Dambusters (no, not the dog again)

I would never drink Carling Black Label (well,almost never), but this is one of my fav adverts of all time.

The Great British Public would spot the theme.

70th Anniversary of the Dambuster Raid.

The famous dog whose name can no longer be uttered in polite society, or public.

Some of the Members of 617 Squadron with dog who cannot be named

At 9.28pm on 16 May 1943, the first of 19 Lancaster heavy bombers lifted off the runway into a clear, still early summer night.  This was the start of Operation

Chastise:the raids on the Dams in the German Ruhr Valley.

Using a specially developed bouncing bomb, the squadron managed to breach two dams in Germany. The attack caused widespread flooding, disrupting industry in the Ruhr valley and was viewed as a great success in Britain. The mission was a dangerous one,133 men set out but only 77 returned.

Alas, one of the code words is one which can no longer be named.  A hint for those who didn’t see my previous post on this topic is that the code word was the name of Guy Gibson’s Black Labrador. Never mind that the dog in question’s grave is there for the public to see.  Alas, the dog has been renamed in the up coming remake.

So, cue the original version of film and remember the flight crews of Operation Chastise.

BBC America (Canada) at iTunes Store

It has come to my attention that BBC America material is available on demand from the Apple iTunes Store.  I am assuming the same is true for Canada as well.

It’s nice to see a lot of this available on demand, such as Mongrels and Horrible Histories.

Not sure if any ITV or Channel 4 material is available (Time Team).

Peter Jackson takes on the Dambusters

OK, saying that I learned about Peter Jackson by seeing Bad Taste at Melbourne’s Valhalla Cinema pretty much dates me (and another blogger who would say this was some serious name dropping as well).  Anyway, I should also add that films like the Dambusters were normal Sunday fare as well, which also places me in another time and place.  Anyway, it seems that Peter is about to embark on the Old Classic Film, The Dambusters, about Operation Chastise, which was the Operation that destroyed the Dams on Germany’s Ruhr Valley and resulted in some serious civilian casualties.  Of course,  Such activity has been stopped by the addition of Article 56 of the Protocol I amendment to the Geneva Conventions in 1977 which outlawed attacks on dams “if such attack may cause the release of dangerous forces from the works or installations and consequent severe losses among the civilian population”.

But, that was a serious aside.

The famous dog whose name can no longer be uttered in polite society, or public.

The famous dog whose name can no longer be uttered in polite society, or public.

Although, not only is bombing dams démodée, but so is a certain word used in the classic film which was the name for Wingco Gibson’s dog and the code word that the Möhne Dam was breached.  It’s a stereotype that the RAF crowd still name their black labs this, although I think this is a dangerous act in urban areas, or even just public places.  I wouldn’t have the bad taste (fitting) to call my dog this.  Although, I did call my black lab the name of the Cream of Wheat man when we were deep in forests or otherwise extremely far from civilisation (his real name was Andy for Andropolus Hercules DeBaskervilles) [1].

That said, it’s interesting how remakes come out.  I was seriously disappointed by the recent remake of Terry Nation’s Survivors (which also sets me in Time and Place).  I would have liked to see the series updated, but the remake missed a lot of the more important issues raised in the first series.  Also, remakes of foreign films can often miss the important cultural aspects, but that’s another point.

In this case, the original Dambusters reflected post-War British culture in a time when many of those who fought it were still alive.  In some ways the original is dated by being a product of its time, but that is a very important aspect to the originals importance.  Even if it uses words which are now taboo.

Addendum:
This news story sounds interesting.  It also seems that the dog’s name will be changed in the remake.  Of course, You can go to RAF Scampton and see the dog’s grave and there he is with his name, and it’s an important part of both the actual Operation and the classic film.
It also appears that Stephen Fry is writing the updated film script.  While I admit to being a fan, I am not sure how well he could handle this task.  Although, the one area where he is being taken out of cultural and historic context is due more to political correctness than Fry’s intelligence.

[1] I learned this bit of information when we were in an antique store.

The Kink’s “Victoria”

OK, when I first heard this, I was living in Canada and it has always struck a chord with me since I consider myself British rather than English, Welsh, or Scottish (says the person who just celebrated St. Andrew’s Day), or even one of the “colonies” : United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and so on.

Being British is more than being in a place, it is a state of mind.  It is a celebration of our heritage and how that has played out throughout the world.  It is the mixing of cultures and celebration of those cultures.  Of course, this song celebrates being British in the mindset of the Victorians, but I felt that as I walked around wearing my Inverness Cape on St. Andrew’s day since Victoria had a fetish for things Scottish.

So, take it away!

Long ago life was clean
Sex was bad and obscene
And the rich were so mean
Stately homes for the Lords
Croquet lawns, village greens
Victoria was my queen
Victoria, Victoria, Victoria, ‘toria

I was born, lucky me
In a land that I love
Though I am poor, I am free
When I grow I shall fight
For this land I shall die
Let her sun never set
Victoria, Victoria, Victoria, ‘toria
Victoria, Victoria, Victoria, toria

Land of hope and gloria
Land of my Victoria
Land of hope and gloria
Land of my Victoria
Victoria, ‘toria
Victoria, Victoria, Victoria, ‘toria

Canada to India
Australia to Cornwall
Singapore to Hong Kong
From the West to the East
From the rich to the poor
Victoria loved them all
Victoria, Victoria, Victoria, ‘toria
Victoria, Victoria, Victoria