It’s all going off on the Isle of Man. Or at least it was just 70 years ago, back in 1953:
For the record, MM started her attempt on the same day that the Korean War ended. But that’s nowhere near as impressive as playing the piano for 158 hours.
The amazing thing is – supported by spiritualists, brandy, seven hundred cigarettes, sixteen thousand visitors (at a shilling a head, nogal!) and seven gallons of tea – she succeeded!
Musical Marie continued to play marathon piano recitals in England, the Isle of Man, Wales and Ireland until 1960.
The ‘trainer’ seems there only to rub her wrists, slap her face and collect the cold, hard cash that just keeps rolling in. Tough job.
As for the ubiquitous mentions of her weight in every article, well, clearly 17 stone – it’s just under 108kg – was a thing back then. Sadly, these days I don’t think 108kg is that unusual for a Manchester housewife. Nor the 100 fags a day.
I mentioned here that Sigur Rós had provided the soundtrack to the trip up North. Their new album, full of dramatic, orchestral soundscapes, was perfect for the moody mountains of Western Ireland, for the sunshine on the Manx hills against the dark, thundery clouds, and as an antidote to the frankly ridiculously busy London streets.
And the latest release, Andrá, is among my favourite tracks on there. But this is more than just a music post, and that is more than a music video.
“I wished to show how Sigur Rós is the soundtrack of our lives through happiness, pain, hope, grief, and love. The short documentary, Andrá, celebrates the way in which Sigur Rós captures and channels the humanity that unites us all.” —Katya Gimro
Brilliantly, the official video is a mini-documentary of the song fitting into people’s live, by tapping into and reflecting whatever emotions they may currently be feeling. I know that you don’t have 10 minutes to spare, but if you do, use them here. And if you only have 5, then start here and just watch.
And there is so much joy and sadness in this one song, you can absolutely see how it can – like a wily mind-reader – find the right answers no matter the subject. The people above are hearing the song for the first time, and their differing reactions are amazing.
A lovely little collection of images in The Guardian late last week, promoting an exhibition which includes the work of documentary photographer Chris Killip.
This one is a fog-(on the Tyne)-gy Wallsend, dated on the site as being taken in 1976. But the Tyne Pride – one of the huge ships being built at the Swan Hunter shipyard which was the be-all and end-all for all the families living in that area at that time – was actually launched in late 1975, so I think that might be incorrect. They built BIG SHIPS there back then. Here’s a better view of just how big:
Mark I Raleigh Chopper FTW!
I know Chris Killip’s work from his time on the Isle of Man, mostly documenting Manx farming life in the early 1970s. Not a lot had changed in the previous 100-odd years for many of those communities at that time, and not a lot changed in the 15 or 20 years after that either, so I recognise quite a few of the places and scenes (and maybe even one or two of the people?) from my time over there as a kid.