Saturday, January 22, 2011

"Oh Sherrie" by Steve Perry

Birthday wishes go out to Steve Perry, former bellower with stadium-rock giants Journey, whose 1984 debut solo album Street Talk yielded this track, Oh Sherrie (written for his then-girlfriend Sherrie Swafford) which peaked at #3 on the Billboard charts and whose video was in heavy rotation on the still-fledgling MTV that year.
share on: facebook

Pop History Moment: The Death of Queen Victoria

More than just a woman died on this day in 1901; indeed, more than just a Queen. No less than the Victorian Era died with her, an age in which the scientific and cultural advancements of the Industrial Revolution were tempered by various deleterious 'isms' - militarism, colonialism, and parochialism to name just three.

PhotobucketBorn in May 1819, when she came to the throne in June 1837 Britain was already a formidable world power; throughout that reign her influence came to be felt everywhere in the world, not just the quarter of it directly under her sway. The British monarchy also went from an executive to a constitutional one during her tenure; similarly, the decadence of the Royal Family into which she'd been born gave way to a more sedate one with which Britain's burgeoning middle class - always a perennial bugbear where royalty and aristocracy are concerned - could have greater sympathy.

There are memorials to her on every continent, be they geographical features (Victoria Falls and Lake Victoria in Africa, Burma's Mount Victoria), political regions (Victoria and Queensland states in Australia), urban centres (Regina and Victoria in Canada), and even a village in Newfoundland! Her birthday is celebrated in Canada still as Victoria Day.

Likewise there are statues, plaques, paintings, and other pictorial tributes too numerous to mention; some are lovingly tended still while others, such as those in India and Ireland, have been removed or renamed in the backlash following the independence of those countries. This is not counting the images of her on money, coins, and stamps (where she was first to appear - on the Penny Black - in 1840) which surely number in the millions.

Today her descendants reign over much of Europe (the sovereigns of England, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Spain) and would reign over much more of it, given half a chance (the would-be monarchs of Romania, Serbia, Greece, Russia, France, and Germany); yet Victoria was also a carrier of hemophilia, which she unwittingly passed to many of these royal houses as well, most famously destabilizing the Russian monarchy. World War I to her would have been a family scrap, fought as it was between three of her grandsons - the German Kaiser, the British King, and the Russian Tsar.

She survived three assassination attempts to surpass her grandfather George III as the oldest British monarch ever (81 years and 240 days) just three days before her own death; her great-great granddaughter passed this landmark herself in December 2007. Victoria's reign lasted 63 years, 216 days, which the current Queen will not attain for six more years.

Queen Victoria died at her favourite home, Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, with her son and heir at her side; she was 81.

A renewed interest in the life of Queen Victoria is beginning to be felt in bookstores and on television sets throughout the world, beginning with Dame Judi Dench's stellar portrayal of her in 1997's film Mrs. Brown and continuing with Carrolly Erickson's recent biography Her Little Majesty. Also in theatres of late has been The Young Victoria, in which Emily Blunt undertook the title role with considerable aplomb.

share on: facebook

Pop History Moment: Apple Announces The Macintosh

Apple Computers chose this day in 1984 - during Super Bowl XVIII - to announce its new breakthrough in personal computing, the Macintosh.

The ad, created by Chiat/Day and directed by Ridley Scott (fresh off the triumph of his film Blade Runner) played heavily on that year's 1984-mania, inspired by George Orwell's iconic novel; it features Anya Major as the runner and an audience of predominantly skinheads (since they were the only people available willing to shave their heads to be an extra in a TV spot).

The airtime alone cost $800,000.
share on: facebook

POPnews - January 22nd

[What the opponents of Roe v. Wade seem unable or unwilling to understand - I mean, how could they, since a diet of strong rhetoric is antithetical to understanding - is that absolutely no one is pro-abortion... If they were I'd be the first person to oppose them. Being pro-choice is about not wanting strangers to be able to tell you what to do with your body; once these zealots get the right to force women to carry babies they don't want to full term, whose bodies are they going to go after next? I think I know. Will they allow me to force them not to go to church anymore? I didn't think so..]

565 CE - Eutychius was deposed as Patriarch of Constantinople by his eventual successor, John Scholasticus, while celebrating the feast day of St. Timotheus; Byzantine Emperor Justinian the Great had masterminded the coup himself, but didn't live to see Eutychius return from his exile at Amasea a dozen years later and resume the role during the reign of Justin II.

1506 - The first contingent of 150 Swiss Guards arrived at the Vatican.

1863 - The January Uprising broke out in Poland, Lithuania and Belarus; the aim of the national movement is to regain Polish-Lithuanian-Ruthenian Commonwealth from occupation of Russia.

1877 - Anglican clergyman Arthur Tooth was taken into custody at London's Horsemonger Lane Gaol after being prosecuted for using ritualist practices.

1879 - During the Anglo-Zulu War Zulu troops defeated British troops at the Battle of Isandlwana while on the same day at Battle of Rorke's Drift 139 British soldiers successfully defend their garrison against an intense assault by four to five thousand Zulu warriors.

1890 - The United Mine Workers of America was founded in Columbus, Ohio.

1901 - Queen Victoria died; Edward VII became King.

1905 - When unarmed, peaceful demonstrators marching to present a petition to Tsar Nicholas II were gunned down by the Imperial Guard in St. Petersburg the day became known as Bloody Sunday, and the event sparked the 1905 revolution.

1924 - Ramsay MacDonald became the UK's first Labour Prime Minister.

1931 - Sir Isaac Isaacs was sworn in as the first Australian-born Governor-General of Australia.

- New York City's 'Mad Bomber', George P. Metesky, was arrested in Waterbury, Connecticut, and charged with planting more than 30 bombs since 1940.

1968 - Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In made its television debut on NBC.

1973 - The US Supreme Court handed down its decision in the case of Roe v. Wade; the measure was opposed only by Byron White and William Rehnquist.

1987 - R. Budd Dwyer, a state politician from Pennsylvania embroiled in controversy, committed suicide on live television during a press conference.

1992 - Dr. Roberta Bondar became the first Canadian woman in space during NASA's Space Shuttle mission STS-42.

1997 - Madeleine Albright became the first woman to serve as US Secretary of State.

1999 - Australian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons were burned alive by a mob of radical Hindus while sleeping in their car in Eastern India.

2002 - Kmart Corp became the largest retailer in American history to file for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11.

2007 - The jury portion of the trial against Robert Pickton, accused of being Canada's worst serial killer, opened in New Westminster, British Columbia; in December 2007 he was found guilty on six counts of second-degree murder, and still awaits trial on 20 more.
share on: facebook