Friday, 28 September 2012

A visit from a Nighthawk

Yesterday afternoon I returned from a post-prandial perambulation, sat down at my desk, opened my Inbox and... espied a familiar, yet totally unexpected name therein.  That of Vince Giordano!

"Surely not the Vince Giordano - band leader of The Nighthawks, America's premier Jazz Age musicians of today who are responsible for the live performances heard (and sometimes seen) in film & television productions that we all know and love such as The Cotton Club, The Aviator and most recently Boardwalk Empire (for which he won a Grammy)?!", I thought to myself with barely-suppressed excitement and disbelief, as I racked my brains trying to remember if I had subscribed to a mailing list or something.

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But no, it was no mailshot, but the man himself!  Reading - praising, even - my insignificant little blog!  I'm still all aflutter just thinking about it.  With kind words Mr Giordano wrote about our shared interest in vintage items, places and of course music - wishing that more people felt the same way too (something I hope I was able to reassure him with in my reply telling of all the fine like-minded folk I have found since I started this blog).  Modestly he thanked me for featuring a link to what was then his Myspace page (in the left-hand column subtitled "Music & the Wireless"), a link that - at his request - I have now updated to point to his new own-domain website vincegiordano.com.

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Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks have, as mentioned, performed on the soundtracks of some major motion pictures and television series in the last 30 years and Mr Giordano is also well-known in his own country for being an authority on the music of the 1920s and '30s, as well as preserving thousands of gramophone records from the period in his own collection.  He and his band play live - as you can see in the video - every Monday and Tuesday night at Sofia's Restaurant in New York's Times Square (a performance I would certainly not miss were I ever to visit that great city) as well as at festivals throughout the country.  Along with Max Raabe in Germany and the Pasadena Roof Orchestra here in Britain they form a triumvirate of dance and swing bands in the world today.  That he was kind enough to contact me has made my year and further goes to prove the gracious nature of people with an interest in the past.

I am more than happy to have a link to Vince Giordano's website on my blog and hope you all enjoy visiting it and listening to his fabulous recreation of our favourite songs (and featuring in our favourite period shows) as much as I do.  Thank you, Mr Giordano!

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Abandoned 1920s cabaret theatre discovered in Berlin

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Abandoned 1920s cabaret theatre discovered in Berlin 

Once again just as I bemoan the lack of blogworthy articles in the world along comes another humdinger of a story, this time courtesy of German magazine Der Spiegel.

It's amazing to think that in this day and age, with cities well established, historical buildings documented and preserved, and redevelopment frequently moving apace it is still possible for significant structures to lie dormant and forgotten for decades.  Berlin has seen more than its fair share of tumult in recent history, however - not least its near-destruction in the Second World War, swiftly followed by partition almost immediately afterwards which left half of the city to be rebuilt under Communist supervision - so perhaps it should not be too surprising that discoveries such as this are still being made over 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

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This particular find is especially remarkable because it involves a relic from Berlin's pre-war years - an original Weimar Cabaret theatre!  Somehow it has managed to survive the vagaries of time, hidden by newer buildings, to be unearthed four years ago by a local property developer.  My goodness, if those walls could talk I bet they'd have some tales to tell!  Beautiful-looking walls they must have been too with their painted images, vaulted ceilings and stone columns.  From what little history has been pieced together it seems to have been an entertainment venue from its construction in 1905 up until the Nazi Party took power in 1933.  One can just imagine the parties and cabaret acts that must have gone on there at the height of the Weimar era:

Since its 1920s heyday it declined to the point where it was being used as an impromptu rubbish tip but now thanks to its rediscovery by an enterprising Berlin businessman it is on the verge of being given a new lease of life.  Somewhat regrettably it has become impractical for it to be returned to its entertainment roots, although currently part of it is being used to house an art exhibition and it looks like there's a chance that aspect may be able to be kept permanently.  No Max Raabe & Palast Orchester then, pity.
Nevertheless it is planned to restore many of the original features that existed and which can still be seen throughout the main part of the building, which may also be given over to [temporary] accommodation as well as a gallery.  As always it is splendid to see an important piece of (in this case Berlin's) architectural history rediscovered and given the care and treatment it needs to bring it into the 21st century while still preserving its unique qualities as a tie to its past.  Ausgezeichnet!

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Forties Fashion #6: Sports and Leisure Wear 1941

It's still far too quiet around here for my liking and I'm afraid I'll lose my touch if I don't blog about something, so with that in mind I think it's high time I do another excerpt from my copy of the Fashion Sourcebooks: 1940s.  We're at the penultimate section of 1941 now and with timing that could have been better considering the sudden seasonal shift it's sports and leisure wear, although a couple of them may be adaptable for the autumn weather.

Like this first example (left) of standard casual wear, for instance:  a short-cropped, double-breasted, ruby-red wool-tweed jacket with wide lapels, long inset sleeves and padded shoulders; paired with some high-waisted, pale grey wool-flannel trousers with wide legs and turn-ups; finished off with a pair of flat-heeled lace-up leather shoes in oxblood red.

I must admit that sounds jolly attractive and makes it all the more regrettable that the illustrations aren't in colour.  It must be quite a striking combination, the kind of thing you might expect to see in an episode of Poirot - anyone care to give it a try?  It sounds like it would be warm enough for the cold wind and rain that's blown in this week, if it was accompanied by an overcoat or somesuch.

The second outfit (right) is supposedly golfing wear (which I suppose can still be played at this time of year...) but could no doubt be worn away from the links as well.  It consists of:  a single-breasted dark green wool jacket with a single self-fabric covered button under the small shawl collar and above the wide round-stitched neckline seam; another matching button on the inset waistband, two below to hip-level and one on each cuff of long full sleeves; padded shoulders and thigh-length flared skirts.  Rust brown wool trousers with wide legs and turn-ups; tan leather flat-heeled, step-in shoes with fringed tongues.  Sounds far too nice to be confined to the golf course if you ask me!

The lone chap below (us poor fellows are outnumbered throughout this book, unfortunately!) is very much dressed for tennis, in:  a white cotton shirt with buttoned-strap fastening to under attached long pointed collar worn open and two matching chest-level patch pockets with buttoned flaps, short sleeves with stitched cuffs.  White flannel trousers with straight-cut legs, turn-ups, pleats under a wide waistband and a self-fabric buckled belt, hip-level pockets set into the side seams; white leather lace-up shoes.  All very Fred Perry!

It seems he has a choice of partners with which to play; the girl at the bottom left wears:  a white cotton dress with wide mock lapels from the centre front seam, a small collar and short sleeves with narrow cuffs, padded shoulders, a wide tuck from the outside edge of hip-level pockets to the hemline of the flared knee-length skirt which has a self-fabric belt with metal clasp fastening.  White canvas lace-up shoes with flat heels complete the look. 

Meanwhile the girl on the right is wearing:  a white linen all-in-one playsuit with single-breasted fastening from the waistline through a deep inset waistband to under narrow lapels, small collar and short inset sleeves with stitched cuffs and padded shoulders, a short divided skirt with knife-pleat each side centre-front (again, pretty much gibberish to me I'm afraid, although I'm well aware of the popularity of playsuits with you girls); white canvas lace-up sports shoes with rubber soles/toecaps and flat heels.

I hope this edition of Forties Fashion has brought a little bit of summery happiness and maybe memories into this autumnal day (and perhaps given some ideas for next year) but for this author it is quite definitely time to roll out the woollens, tweeds and corduroys.  Stay dry, everyone, and remember - there's no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong sort of clothes.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Parade's End: a review



My goodness, the last week has just flown by - and I wasn't even doing much to make it seem so!  I must apologise again for the silence that has emanated from this blog for the last 8 days - terribly remiss of me I'm sure.

While there seems to be another lull in the proceedings I thought I would take this opportunity to post about a television drama that has just finished ("good timing, Bruce", I can hear you say, but read on...) here in the UK and which should be of great interest to you, my readers.  Of such great interest, in fact, that I'm more than a little surprised that someone else hasn't mentioned it before now.  I am referring, of course, to the recent five-part B.B.C. Two Edwardian drama Parade's End starring Benedict Cumberbatch, based on the book by Ford Madox Ford and adapted for the screen by Tom Stoppard.

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I first became aware of this production a few weeks before the first episode aired when a "preview" article appeared in The Daily Telegraph and an interview with Cumberbatch was published - I can't quite remember where, it may have been the same newspaper - focussing on his role in the upcoming series.  I recall that both articles seemed to be at pains to compare it - in a highly superior manner - with ITV's Downton Abbey, the third series of which was then due to begin shortly (16th September), but ended up omitting any precis of what it was actually about beyond the barest details.  As such I watched the first episode with no knowledge of what to expect (having never read the novel) and was promptly blown away by this beguiling adaptation.

To compare it to Downton is like comparing a supermarket's "basic" range with its "connoisseur" line.  That's not to do Downton a disservice - so far the episodes of this run have been some of the best since the first series - but there's no denying that even through all the trials and tribulations of that household it is still recognisably Sunday evening entertainment of the lighter variety.  I still like it, though, and Julian Fellowes has done a splendid job with it.  But Parade's End is just... in a different league.  Despite there being fewer characters they are all so complex and their lives so intertwined that one is transfixed, and almost obliged to follow each episode closely in order to really appreciate what's going on.  Each individual is so fascinating - helped in no small part by an excellent cast of actors.

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Benedict Cumberbatch we know and love from Sherlock and here he gives another virtuoso performance as civil servant Christopher Tietjens - albeit a strikingly different one from his turn as the Great Detective.  Here he is a highly principled man, locked in a loveless marriage and struggling to reconcile the fast-changing world around him with his own strict values - values that are tested to the limit when he meets and falls in love with a young suffragette.  In some ways I could empathise with Christopher Tietjens - a man with strong principles, having difficulty finding his way in the modern world.  Stoppard has done a wonderful job in making Christopher's dilemma appear allegorical to troubles faced by people in the world today, it seems to me.

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Rebecca Hall, as Sylvia Tietjens, I have personally not seen before although she has appeared in some acclaimed films of recent years (for example Vicky Cristina Barcelona, The Prestige and Frost/Nixon).  Here she gives a remarkable performance as Tietjen's unfaithful wife, amazingly subtle in her cruelty.  Her character is of a type that is equal parts attractive and repugnant, sometimes both together, and that is an incredible feat for an actress to pull off.  I hope we shall see more of Miss Hall in the future.

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Adelaide Clemens plays young suffragette Valentine Wannop, the lady Christopher Tietjens meets by chance and ends up falling in love with (and she with him).  I may struggle to write anything constructive here, for I admit that I fell in love with the character too.  Also highly principled, but a much more forward-looking way, she is possibly the only woman to help bring Christopher Tietjens into the 20th century and is not afraid to tell him what she thinks.  She is complementary and encouraging where Sylvia is destructive and stifling.  A relative newcomer, Adelaide Clemens has appeared in such un-vintage fare as X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Silent Hill: Revelation 3D but watch out for her next year in Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby in which she will play Catherine.

A superb supporting cast including Rupert Everett, Miranda Richardson and Rufus Sewell helps this series to maintain its high level of drama, with each character having a part to play in the overall story arc.

Parade's End had for me a unique quality about it.  It is a series that screams for its episodes to be watched in one sitting - I have tried looking at clips after having watched the entire programme and snippets simply cannot provide the same intensity of feeling one gets from the whole hour.  At the end of that hour one feels somehow culturally enriched, a feeling a TV drama programme hasn't given me for goodness knows how long.  Then it suddenly occurs to you that you're actually still thinking about things that have gone on in the episode, continuing to put things together and appreciating the results long after the credits have finished rolling.  Some critics have decried the somewhat "jumpy" nature of events in some episodes, the fact that you have to follow the dialogue and the action closely throughout, but this is what sets Parade's End apart from other existing costume dramas and, as I hope I have suggested above, makes it a far more engrossing and stimulating experience.

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All the deep, intellectual stuff aside Parade's End is at the end of the day still a costume drama and there is lots of sartorial goodness for both chaps and chappettes.  Cumberbatch's wardrobe is typical of the Edwardian gentleman with hats, three-piece suits, separate collars and overcoats galore, although Rupert Everett also gets some choice outfits.  Ladies, there is something for every taste whether it be Rebecca Hall's flamboyant dresses, robes and coats or Adelaide Clemens' prim, tomboyish blouses, ties and suits.

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Now, Parade's End did indeed finish yesterday evening (boo!) but for those of you in the UK I am pleased to say that all five parts are on iPlayer for the next week.  Doubtless the DVD will be out shortly too.  American readers will be pleased to know that the series was produced in conjunction with HBO, so its appearance on U.S. television is only a matter of time, I'd say.  I understand that you are only just beginning season two of both Downton Abbey and Sherlock whereas in the British Isles season three has/is about to start[ed], so it might take a bit of time.  In the interim, clips are available on Youtube.  Alas, being based on a period novel means no more than the five existing episodes of Parade's End, either.

Be that as it may, I thoroughly recommend seeking out this series, if you have not already seen it (and if you have I'd be pleased to hear your opinions).

Friday, 14 September 2012

World's first colour film unveiled



World's first colour film unveiled 

In recent years early examples of colour film have, I think it's fair to say, become more established in the public consciousness thanks to their discovery, preservation and most importantly their showing on national television and in theatres.  I'm thinking of examples like Claude Friese-Greene's work in the 1920s (which was featured in the Dan Cruickshank series The Lost World of Friese-Greene on the B.B.C. back in 2006 having been expertly restored and preserved by that magnificient institution, the BFI) and the perennial film favourite that is the 1939 Wizard of Oz.



Colour cinematography was aspired to almost immediately after the moving picture camera was first invented but the technology needed to achieve it simply did not exist.  Many turn-of-the-century "colour" films consisted of each individual frame being hand-painted in order to provide the necessary effect.  The technique used by pioneering British cinematographer Edward Turner is generally agreed to be the first true colour film - and it was shot in 1902, fourteen years before the invention of Technicolor!  Alas Turner's method was a dead-end, he died suddenly a year later aged only 29 and his place in film history was forgotten.  Colourisation continued to progress, albeit slowly, and went on to provide some incredibly impressive and more advanced films (below, for example) but Turner was undoubtedly there first.



World's first colour film footage viewed for first time

Now thanks to the tireless efforts of the National Media Museum Turner's colour footage can be seen again for the first time in over 100 years just as he intended it to look.  Having been aware of the films' existence in their archives for some time and after working "behind the scenes", as it were(!), with the oddly-formatted reels the museum's curators were finally able to restore the stock and transfer it to the screen minus the imperfections that curtailed its development.  The result, as you can see in the first clip, is beautiful.

The team at the NMM are to be congratulated for persevering with the preservation of this historically important first step in colour cinematography, which will hopefully restore Edward Turner to his rightful place in the annals of moving picture history.  Colourisation of moving pictures made at a time when most film stock was black-and-white always imbues the subject with a remarkable sense of immediacy but to see colour footage from over a century ago is truly extraordinary and I am so very pleased to see it saved for future generations (not to mention proving to be a talking point in today's media).

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Wings of an angel: Jobyna Ralston



I seem to recall saying at the beginning of the year, in a post about the reissue of the 1927 film Wings (the only silent to win Best Film at the Oscars until last year's The Artist), that I would in the future devote a whole blog post to one of the actresses to star in that picture and one of my favourite silent film ladies.  A quiet spell in the blogosphere coupled with the winding down of my Style Icons series plus some excellent posts about Lillian Gish over at Flapper Flickers and Silent Stanzas and another dip into my Harold Lloyd Collection have convinced me that now is the time to do just that.

Jack Powell (Charles Rogers) and Sylvia Lewis (Jobyna Ralston) in Wings (1927).
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Wings starred the famous and archetypal '20s flapper girl actress Clara Bow in the lead role of Mary Preston.  Much has been written about Clara Bow, and quite rightly too, but Wings also featured the lesser-known Jobyna Ralston as rival-for-the-affections Sylvia Lewis. 

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Unless you're familiar with the Harold Lloyd films of the 1920s you might not recognise Miss Ralston and indeed it is for the six Lloyd pictures (and Wings) she appeared in that she is arguably most well-known. 

Jobyna Lancaster Raulston was born in Tennessee  on 21st November 1899 and, in proof that it is not a modern affectation, was named after a famous actress of the time - Jobyna Howland.  (Incidentally, debate is still ongoing to this day on how to pronounce Misses Ralston's and Howland's first name.  The general consensus today seems to favour jo-bee-na, although Harold Lloyd himself was heard to use jo-bye-na - personally I prefer the former myself.  She quickly gained the nickname "Joby").

Being named for a famous stage & screen star and with a portrait photographer mother it should not come as a great surprise that Jobyna gravitated to show business.  Her very first performance was at the age of 9 in a local theatre production of Cinderella.  Her acting career was very nearly curtailed by a teenage marriage to a local farmer and childhood sweetheart but the union did not last and by 1919 she was in New York studying at the Ned Wayburn Dancing Academy.

A year later she had "made it" into pictures, featuring in some of the many comedy shorts that were being produced out of Jacksonville, Florida in the years before Hollywood became the centre of American film-making.  In 1921 she had the honour of appearing in the Marx Brothers' first ever picture Humor Risk - now sadly lost - and the next year appeared on Broadway in a George M. Cohan production.  Moving on to the famous Hal Roach Studios, by now in Hollywood, she was spotted by the silent film artist Max Linder and appeared in some of his later shorts for a time before returning to Roach in some of the "Paul Parrot" shorts (Paul Parrott was the stage name of James Parrott, who later went on to direct many of Laurel & Hardy's short films and who was also the brother of Charley Chase - real name Charles Parrott).  It was there that she was first noticed by Harold Lloyd (then still contracted to Hal Roach Studios).

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While Jobyna had been busy forging a career for herself Lloyd and Roach were churning out short comedies (and later, features) many of which featured Lloyd's favourite leading lady, Mildred Davis.  He was so fond of her, in fact, that he ended up falling in love and marrying her in real life(!).  Their plan to start a family essentially put an end to Mildred's acting career and Lloyd started looking for a new ingénue.  He found Jobyna Ralston.

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Between 1923 and 1927 Lloyd and Ralston appeared together in six films, always with Jobyna as the girl with whom Harold falls in love with and then must win in some fantastically humorous way (the exception being 1924's Hot Water in which she and Harold are already married at the beginning of the film).  Some of Harold Lloyd's best films (and my favourites) - Girl Shy, The Freshman, For Heaven's Sake, The Kid Brother - feature Jobyna who had the notable ability to successfully mix comedy and pathos, essential in those silent days.  It was undoubtedly this talent that earned her a supporting role in Wings

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Following this career high Jobyna's acting roles began to decline for she had also married a co-star - Wings' Richard Arlen.  She appeared in a further fourteen features - including a 1928 Frank Capra production The Power of the Press with Douglas Fairbanks Jr. - between 1927 and 1931.  All but the last three of her films were silent and, just as fellow WAMPAS Baby Star Clara Bow with her strong Brooklyn accent had not made a successful transition to sound, so Jobyna struggled too - she had a noticeable lisp (and indeed if you watch closely during any long "speech" she has in the silents - showings of her talking films being rare - you might notice a barely-perceptible movement of the tongue which confirms this), such that The New York Times' review for her first talkie The College Coquette noted that "Miss Ralston's utterances are frequently indistinct".

Her final two films were Rough Waters, in which she starred opposite Rin Tin Tin(!) and 1931's Sheer Luck.  By that time she and Richard Arlen had had a son and Jobyna retired from acting to focus on her family.  In 1945 she and Arlen divorced and Jobyna continued to live in Los Angeles until her death (from a combination of a series of strokes and pneumonia, as well as chronic rheumatism) in 1967 at the age of 67.

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The Kid Brother (1927) was the very first Harold Lloyd film I recall seeing, as a pre-teen lad.  It had a fairytale quality to the story which still shines through today and I remember being enthralled not just by the comedy and adventure but also the romance - and a lot of that was down to Joby.  Looking back I also get the feeling I must have marvelled at the nervous, awkward bespectacled boy on the screen actually getting the girl - and in the understated words of Variety's 1924 review of Girl Shy a "decidedly pretty" one at that! It's an empathy (and a crush!) that's never really gone away and I still look upon Girl Shy and The Kid Brother as two of my favourite Lloyd films for that reason. 

Unlike the "it-girl" sexiness of the 1920s typified by Clara Bow, Jobyna Ralston belonged to a different sort of look - tender and delicate more in the manner of late Victorian/early Edwardian women but yet with a modern Twenties "can-do" independence bubbling away underneath.  She complemented Harold Lloyd and his films' plots perfectly and will always have a special place on my list of top silent actresses.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Whither the traditional country fair?

Up until a few years ago I used to attend the annual Essex Country Show, close to where I live(d), and have a great time among the steam traction engines, classic vehicles, heavy shire horses and vintage farming equipment & amusements.

This was the first year I had been able to go back again for some time and I was looking forward to more of the same.  I was slightly concerned to read the official website's positive spin on the Show's expansion in recent times as my in my experience the bigger an event becomes the less specific, the less intimate and the less enjoyable it becomes.  It turned out that I was right to be worried - I'm sorry to say the Essex Country Show has succumbed to commercialism.

Now I know farming is a business and events like these are a great boost to its economy, educating and entertaining the layman in matters agricultural and providing a fillip to local produce. I'd also be a fool not to expect heaving crowds on a hot September Saturday.  But when the very first stand you come to upon entering the grounds is the local SEAT dealership's selection of new cars, you begin to think that something is very wrong in the world of country fairs.  This is how it continued for several rows - stands selling all kinds of odds and ends, such that you could be forgiven for thinking you were at a common-or-garden boot sale.  Every other one seemed to be a purveyor of food - and not just of the specialist variety but also all the usual greasewagons you'd find at many supposedly lesser events.

The craft stalls that had once characterised the Show had been stuffed away in a side-field to make way for this brazen consumerism.  Likewise the display ring where the beautiful horses, dogs, birds-of-prey and the like put on their impressive shows was off to one side and sparsely spectated - certainly more so than I remember.  The fields where the traditional ploughing was taking place could be better seen from the main road!  The whole thing had the feeling of an event that had just got too big for itself and the "captivating atmosphere" was nowhere to be found.  Crowds (which I say again I both expect and accept) milled around moving from one food stall to another it seemed, making photography of the interesting exhibits almost impossible.  Traction engines seemed conspicuous by their absence - I saw maybe only half-a-dozen (some smaller ones trying to make their way through the throngs while pulling trailers of people or hay) which, given that they used to be one of the main attractions for me, was a great disappointment.  Likewise the vintage amusements consisted of one (admittedly charming) large merry-go-round and a suspiciously new-looking steam organ, as well as an assortment of smaller modern stalls (e.g. hoopla, shooting gallery etc.), all dwarfed by several nearby bouncy castles.  Certainly nothing like the vintage arcade machines and rides I seem to recall from previous years.

The few pictures dotted throughout this post are some of the best that I was able to take of the event and I left disappointed, my wallet £12 lighter and with a longing for the simpler, more focussed country fairs of past memories.  Judging by some of the comments I overheard I was not alone either.  I was told that there is a Spring Fair earlier in the year that is smaller and I just managed to make out from the tannoy something about a "Wartime Weekend" at the end of October (although I haven't been able to find out any more about this yet) so it may be that I'll try them in future instead.

In the meantime I will just have to continue to get my fix of traditional country fairs from other sources:




Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Vintage adventurer hopes to break record

Ford Model A, similar to Mr Ward's 1930 example.  Australian Model As were built
in Geelong, Victoria

Vintage adventurer hopes to break record

Last year I did a post about a chap in Michigan who ran a Model A Ford as his main car every day for a whole year (and who still drives it frequently today).  Now a "vintage adventurer" (what a great term!) from Australia's Gold Coast is planning to beat the current record - set in 1936 - for the fastest journey time from London to Cape Town by a Model A in his own car, according to this article that popped into my inbox this morning.

Mr Wade sounds like the archetypal adventuresome Aussie (and seems to be proof that an active lifestyle can be good for the health) and all-round good egg, much like his compatriot I reported on at the beginning of the year, who similarly drove his Model T Ford across Australia and then from Durban, South Africa, to Moscow. 

Not only is Mr Wade aiming for the London-Cape Town record but he intends to take part in the Peking-Paris race beforehand and then ship the Model A to America and drive it from New York to Chicago to Los Angeles - in short here is another vintage car and driver who will have travelled around the world by the end of next year!

Whether successful or not vintage man and machine will have followed in the wheeltracks of many an historical endurance racer in famous long-distance journeys such as the Peking-Paris race, the London-Cape Town route and the myriad others who continue to this day to prove what the motor car was and is capable of.  It will be a testament to the car's longevity and strength that it should be able to undertake this trip, although Mr Ward has taken care to refurbish all the mechanical components which is fair enough.  It should be remembered, though, that cars of this vintage were engineered for rough use simply because the road networks that were in existence at the time were limited at best.  A round-the-world trip should therefore be quite possible even in a 1930 Model A.  I fully expect to read about Mr Wade's adventures and arrivals in Paris, Cape Town, Los Angeles and finally his home town of Wongawalla in 2013 and I'm sure the documentary he will be making en route will be a fascinating record of the endeavour.  The best of luck to him and his car.

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