Weekly Photo Challenge: Humanity

ekp tv

Where once the world had been so small
that letters wore stamps
postmarked weary
like travellers on foot
siberia to africa
in another life
another time
where once eyes wide
with all that was wonderful
in this bright new world
saw promise and hope
reflected upon the screen
it is all of humanity
that pours forth
ignoring and repeating
reviling and revolting
having forgotten history
and how
to just turn it off

Stay tuned to the entries in the Weekly Photo Challenge: Humanity.

This was Thursday: 1968 Compare and Contrast

boy trap

adding fuel to now’s fire and no doubt making betty friedan’s hair stand on end
1968 Wonder bread ad

The boys on Madison Avenue were having a field day in 1968: not only were social mores changing and a whole new demographic of consumer coming up through the ranks but the field of advertising itself was quickly learning to capitalize on the trends. Women’s liberation was in its infancy despite how many of the gender felt but stereotypes in the media were still commonplace – in a paradox of epic proportions one can almost hear mothers across the nation calling out to their daughters to take some sandwiches along to the protest  – ” Be brave, stay away from the police and make sure Bobby gets one of those ham ‘n’cheese!” Promoting old products in a modern light was, to make a bad pun, the bread and butter of the business but one couldn’t help but wonder the manner in which some of the agencies ‘borrowed” wholesale from the earlier success of groundbreakers in the fields of music and art.

1968 his ad

cool guys in charge in slacks their wives and mothers bought
1968 h.i.s. AD

Industry could hear the sound of cash flowing into their coffers with the right campaign – someone in the PR department of Campbell’s did and took back the can Andy Warhol had made iconic with its very own beach-bag mail-in offer. Now everyone could own a piece of pop art or look like the latest pop star all the girls were giddy over.

Not much has changed, except for the legal concept of Intellectual Property

Read more about 1968:

Wonder Bread
1968 JukeBox

This was Thursday: 1967 Sweet and Simple

sweet enough to bring home to your parents

There is no doubt that 1967 was a year revolving around youth – while one segment of the population was getting down and dirty in the psychedelic Summer of Love causing conservative parents no end of grief and consternation, there was another even younger demographic that was swooning over the rise of cute and wholesome boy bands like The Monkees. Outselling both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones at their peak in this year, the group’s popularity was indicative that some audiences weren’t ready to make the leap into the great roiling unknown and craved their escapism in easy to handle, prettily packaged doses.  There was some temporary relief to be gleaned from such innocent girl or boy “next door” images being put out by the media – many mothers preferred their adolescents idolize a “Lesley and Davy” over a “Janis and Jimi” any day of the week…

vogue twiggytwiggy in pop couture shot by Avedon – 1967

Twiggy was an iconic example of this trend, her aloof, waif-like look took the fashion world by storm – in a quick rise to international Supermodel stardom and with a host of magazine covers, products and accompanying endorsements, she proved to girls around the globe that anyone could become the brand.

 Read more about 1967:

The Monkees
1967 JukeBox

This was Thursday: 1967

many things to many people

Military action in Vietnam dragged on for another year albeit numerous protests, marches and demonstrations including that of Muhammad Ali who was stripped of his heavyweight boxing title for refusing induction into the US army. 1967 also saw the start of turmoil in another arena as the Six Day War changed the face of the Middle East. After the Arab-Israeli war, Egypt decided to flex its strategic muscles in a blockade of the Suez Canal trapping fourteen cargo ships for a further eight years.

Russia and the US continued to play the space race but NASA suffered a tragic setback when Astronauts Col. Virgil I. Grissom, Col. Edward White II, and Lt. Cmdr. Roger B. Chaffee were killed in a fire during the test launch of the protoype command module – they were the first astronauts to die in the line of duty. Changing the world of medical treatment, Dr. Christiaan N. Barnard and a team of South African surgeons performed the world’s first successful human heart transplant (the patient unfortunately passed away 18 days later). Equally astounding, the UK decriminalized homosexuality, had its hands full with Pirate Radio and was thrilled to bits with its export of megahits by the Beatles and Rolling Stones. In its dominion of Canada, the celebration of the centennial came in the form of Expo 67, the most successful “international and universal exposition” of the 20th century.

In North America, a large portion of the population between the the ages of 15 and 30 were fantasizing about making their way to California, Haight-Ashbury specifically, to Turn on, tune in, drop out – 30,000 actually made it to the Human Be-In where Timothy Leary expounded upon the marvels of embracing cultural change and self-actualization through the use of psychedelics.  It melted into the Summer of Love with hippies hanging out in Golden Gate Park, the first issue of Rolling Stone tucked safely in their carpet bags while they unabashedly made love and music like free birds under the stars.  Everyone made a point of getting to the Monterey Pop Festival, planned in under 7 weeks the 3 day concert brought together a veritable who’s who of the music world from Otis Redding and Jimi Hendrix to the Byrds and Jefferson Airplane. To the establishment such teeming, uncontrollable congregations were a force to be reckoned with – they represented the great unwashed, as much a threat to a well-entrenched American way of life as Fidel Castro espousing “The duty of a revolution is to make revolution”.


In the northeastern United States the focus was less esoteric, more immediate in action with emotions at flash-point and riots erupting regularly, it came to be known as the “Long Hot Summer”. During this year interracial marriage had been declared constitutional by the Supreme Court and the American Civil Rights Movement had gained momentum but relations between ordinary citizens, police and the government continued to be strained. It reached a violent, 5-day long climax in the Detroit Riot – 7000 National Guard were called in to quell the chaos incited by a “prejudiced” police department and in the end 43 were dead, 467 injured, over 7200 arrests were made and more than 2,000 buildings destroyed. Detroit, much less the rest of the country, would never be the same again.

Read more on 1967:

Procol Harum
Expo 67
1967 JukeBox

This was Thursday: 1966 Metal Mode

rabanne was “not so much a couturier but a metalworker” – coco chanel

Paco Rabanne, enfant terrible of French fashion in the 60s, was one of the first to use black models – here Donyale Luna, the first African American to appear on the cover of British Vogue, was photographed by Richard Avedon wearing one of Rabanne’s controversial metal and plastic link creations.

Anyone in a dress that radical would have needed this as an accessory…

1966 Shelby Superformance 427 SC Cobra1966 Shelby Superformance 427 SC Cobra

For more on 1966 visit:

Richard Avedon
Paco Rabanne
Shelby Cobra

This was Thursday: 1966

sending some love back across the water

The biggest story of the year was the Vietnam War – over 360,000 men had been shipped off, with 5500 dead not to mention the missing and injured – Britain’s Prime Minister Harold Wilson, Canada’s Prime Minister Lester Pearson, even Pope Paul VI tried for peace in 1966. The list of conscientious objectors was formidable, from the UN Security Council and the US Congress down to demonstrations 10,000 strong in front of the White House…  but to no avail.

Civil unrest and military coups continued to foment in African countries, Indira Gandhi took the reins in India and Fidel Castro declared martial law in Cuba. The race to the moon continued between the Russians and the Americans with the Soviet Luna 9 technically getting there first while we fed our obsession of getting out into the galaxy with the first regeneration of Dr. Who and the premier episode of Star Trek.

As today, innovative and experimental art and music found their most eager audience in the young. Here was a generation that passed into early adulthood having grown up with transistor radios, record players and the sought-after living room fixture, television. The new wave of audio-visual bombardment, combining music with light-shows, art with sound and each new “experience” with mind-altering drugs was not only easily accepted but sought after. Their parents, many of whom had come of age in tougher times and were more concerned with being entrenched in Vietnam and the Cold War were often horrified and tended, in the parlance of the age, to” freak out.” Psychedelia in its infinite forms began to seep into our awareness at multiple levels – its very vocal proponents have left us with a graphic and musical heritage that is currently seeing a resurgence among our own progeny. Oddly enough, it comes out of the very place of its birth – San Francisco.

People were starting to understand that there was room for change – although some of them would have to be dragged kicking and screaming towards the unknown, many suddenly realized that they could be the architects of their own futures by joining together in a social, political, labour or artistic movement. A year that had seen Acid tests of many varieties ended with the prohibition of LSD. Clearly, to the establishment, expanded consciousness was a dangerous thing…

mr. tambourine manTri-colour metallic Portrait of Bob Dylan by Martin Sharp used as the cover of Oz No.7

Read more:

For more on 1966 visit:

Eight Miles High
Martin Sharp
Best Films of 1966
1966 JukeBox

This was Thursday: 1965

quiet nights of quiet stars

In 1965, the Old Guard mourned the passing of many notables – Sir Winston Churchill, Adlai Stevenson, Albert Schweitzer and T.S. Eliot among so many others – while the assassinations of Malcolm X, Hassan-Ali Mansur and James Reeb underlined the dangers of being an activist. December saw the waning of year-long clashes between many factions – Bloody Sunday, the Watts Riots in Los Angeles, the 35,000-strong march on Washington and the burning of draft cards by Anti-Vietnam protesters. Civilians as well as countries were declaring their right to independence in a world that was quickly becoming politically intertwined.

Nostalgia would have us remember this month as one filled with suburban cocktail parties where women in tight-fitting, heavy satin dresses with matching heels would circulate among their men, sampling a now-regrettable spread of cheese balls, devilled eggs, Chex mix and jello molds.  Multiculturalism wasn’t even a word in the urban dictionary then but an exotic undercurrent was infiltrating rec rooms with the sultry strains of the Bossa nova. Their parents kept busy imagining the pleasures of far-off Brazil left young ladies free to pull on Mary Quant’s mini-skirt, listen to the Rolling Stones or any of 4 new Beatles albums and sigh over the rugged looks of Omar Sharif in Dr. Zhivago or Sean Connery in Thunderball.

The child in all of us still marvels at how Charlie Brown and the Peanuts Gang stole everyone’s heart forever with their very own Christmas special – here was cartoon art at its finest that remains as fresh as the day Charles Schulz first put pen to paper.  Slightly kitschier but with his own track record of pop-culture longevity, the Pillsbury Doughboy was created luring generations to the oven with his siren call of easy, poppin’-fresh baked goods.

What’s not to love?

charlie brown xmas

For more on 1965 visit:

Stan Getz
João Gilberto
A Charlie Brown Christmas
Vince Guaraldi Trio
1965 JukeBox

This was Thursday: 1964

You still got me

In the Leap Year that was 1964, the Mods and Rockers were duking it out  in the streets, race riots erupted, students staged (the first of many) sit-ins at the University of California and Cassius Clay won the World Heavyweight Boxing Championship. On one side of the world, Sidney Poitier was the first African-American to win an Academy Award while on the other, Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment. Much to everyone’s dismay, the war dragged on in Vietnam.

Beatlemania continued its sweep of North America but the bad boy stance and rougher sound of UK bands like The Kinks, the Zombies and the Rolling Stones reached out hungrily for their own idolizing demographic. They still towed the line for their public performances by appearing in matching suits but their hair was a little longer and less coiffed, their gyrations less restrained and so the desperate cries from female audiences became just a little lustier.

The music produced in this year has provided a blueprint for successive generations but the arts and media were not far behind with innovation of their own. Pop Art was graphic dynamite for many at the New York World’s Fair, its embrace of commercial techniques and mechanization proved appealing to those who didn’t live in fear of the bomb, the birth of computers and rapidly encroaching technology. It was a wake-up call to the establishment – not only the old and entrenched had a voice in popular opinion – the reins of censorship and oppression were being grabbed by the younger generation and thrown to the side. All anyone wanted to do was get their fingers into the mane of freedom and ride bareback into the sunrise.


For more on 1964 visit:

The Kinks
Robert Indiana
Nelson Mandela
1964 JukeBox

This was Thursday: 1963

Some of us are still waiting…

And lo, the world wept for Pope John XXIII, Kennedy, Vietnam and the many victims of disasters natural and airborne.  Although the first woman in space and the reawakening of the feminist movement signalled that the fairer sex was making strides toward equality the road to was still a rocky one for many other minorities.  Martin Luther King had a Dream but not everyone saw eye to eye with his vision and racial tension in the US continued with sometimes violent results.  It was the beginning of the end of fiscal and moral willpower for many as American Express introduced credit cards and the Profumo Affair rocked the UK.

As in other years, the ordinary man sought solace in those things that painted his life with broader strokes – music, movies and cool stuff! Troll dolls reared their little mugs everywhere, Beatlemania drew squeals of desire from even the most proper young things and Surf Culture was washing over the nation with an attitude and the music to match. Television shows like Dr. Who and the Beverly Hillbillies along with the popularization of the Smiley Face showed the need for a little levity amidst the news of the world – Graphic art with a message and a bolder, brighter, more humorous approach by mass media was the beginning of the Creative Revolution


For more on 1963 visit:

Harvey Ball – creator of the Smiley Face
Martin Luther King
The Beatles
Roy Lichtenstein – Whaam!
1963 JukeBox

This was Thursday: 1962

While 1962 continued the trend in global politics towards civil war, skirmishes and upheaval, it also marked a time where vassal nations were achieving their independence. America felt the world getting just a little bit smaller with the start of the Cuban Missile Crisis yet still managed to look to the stars with their nascent space programme and the launch of the first commercial communications satellite able to transmit a Trans-Atlantic television signal.  Youth were also starting to expand their horizons with Andy Warhol exhibiting the now infamous Campbell’s Soup Can, 007 getting a hit film with Dr. No and the Beatles recording Love Me Do –  3 convicts figured they could ride the tide of firsts and successfully escaped from Alcatraz.  Many of the ideas and trends put forward in that year have become embedded in our reservoir of cultural consciousness – 50 years later, Booker T. & the M.G.’s crossover hit single shows us exactly how relevant they still are…

For more on 1962 visit:

Green Onions
Booker T. & the M.G.’s
Booker T
Andy Warhol
1962 JukeBox

This was Thursday: 1961

Tensions at home and abroad seemed to be the order of the year as the Cold War continued throughout 1961 – turmoil in Africa, South Korea and the Middle East left no doubt that a new world order was in its infancy.  While Freedom Riders rode the bus to racial awareness in the US and the European Social Charter forged a guarantee of positive civil and political rights,  Etta James crossed the barrier to bring lovers together in one fluid slow dance.

For more on 1961 visit:

Etta James
Etta James – sound bytes
Cyndi Lauper’s At Last
1961 JukeBox

Travel Theme: Mystical

Soft moss a downy pillow makes, and green leaves spread a tent,
Where Faerie fold may rest and sleep until their night is spent.
The bluebird sings a lullaby, the firefly gives a light,
The twinkling stars are candles bright, Sleep, Faeries all, Good Night.
~Elizabeth T. Dillingham, “A Faery Song”

Transcendence can come upon us in the oddest places – a youth production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream many years ago bestowed a few such moments.  Enlighten yourself at Travel Theme: Mystical.

This was Thursday: 1960

1960 can be seen as pivotal in terms of art, culture and music – here we find the roots of the counterculture, the civil rights, free speech and anti-war movements, feminism, environmentalism and gay liberation.  In a world of barely over 3 billion, people started to realize that they didn’t have to tow the party line – there was plenty of room for freedom and self-expression.  Duane Eddy seemed to be riding high on that tide of change and gave a big, rough kiss goodbye to the 50s with this remake of Peter Gunn.

For more on 1960 visit:

Duane Eddy
Henry Mancini’s Peter Gunn
Blake Edward’s Peter Gunn
1960 Summer Olympics
1960s JukeBox

Travel Theme: Couples


Across the Bored dedicates Where’s my backpack?’s Travel Theme: Couples to our ancestors.  In a case of true love’s triumph over language and culture in a time when the world put up barriers rather than removing them, these two forged a bond so strong that it would last them a lifetime. They were inextricably intertwined, and as clichéd as it may sound, they lived for each other…

Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine

Well, this pretty much sums it up…

All the best intentions were laid waste for the Weekly Photo Challenge: Mine when the camera to be used stated in incontrovertible and eerily prescient terms “Warning! Battery is exhausted.” Another device could have been used but time, like usual, being of the essence necessitated a reformulation of an answer to  “What is mine?”

A list was tallied and the results were surprising:

  • Jewellery (good and otherwise) – not since Miss Z has reached an age where she can be trusted not to lose or break any of it
  • Shoes – the dog would argue otherwise
  • Clothing – much of it is only temporarily in the closet
  • Art that is hanging around – anything collected usually belonged to someone else and will eventually be handed down to another
  • Books – we are librarians at best
  • Photos, slides, film and assorted media – has turned into a family affair with more than one person disputing ownership of a work that resulted from multiple cameras all in the same place at the same time
  • All that stuff in the warehouse – at least 75% of it is definitely not mine
  • All that stuff in the studio – we won’t go there today
  • Money – in one hand out the other
  • the Dog – he is his own master as he seems to do as he pleases
  • the Ancestors – claimed by a large crew some known some not

So what is really mine? Memories, all those those crazy ideas, lazy day dreamings and creative brainwaves, world-changing inventions formulated but never realized, brilliant musings and flashes of genius; everything I ever learned or heard or read about rolling around in my skull. Knowledge.

Talk to me & the Weekly Writing Challenge

Put your finger here…

We always laugh about how one thing leads to another and today is a classic example where a comment sparked a post that segued into the Weekly Writing Challenge: Mind the Gap:  “What does the Occupy movement mean to you?”- although not providing an exact answer to or an opinion about said topic, it does deal with the larger issue of expression and our freedom to do so.

Communication is de rigeur these days, from blogs and press articles to facebook conversations bringing up the subject of how we interact with each other.  Many of us seek to root out the causes of our lack of connection whether it be technological or social while others propose solid, common sense solutions for a problem that seems to be getting worse rather than better.  The amount of information available about almost everything is staggering and it leaves one wondering what deserves discussion, what do we pass along or ask for answers to and, is anyone actually listening?

For the most part, our daily discourse with friends, family and followers is not that hard.  Dealing with big business and governments that really don’t care or listen to their constituents is another story. One of the latest furors in our circle arises from the intent of Bell Canada to purchase Astral and become a media monopoly which can basically do whatever, whenever it likes in its control of communication and then charge us for it. Now we could sit back and watch how it plays out, or we can protest  – “saying no” by signing a petition or letting others know what is going on. Here, Big Business seems to have our government as its role model – its many actions and legislations a “mockery of democracy” that only a small percentage of the public is even interested in talking about.   Some of us pronounce our displeasure in short blasts of invective or wax long and eloquent like Allan Gregg in his article “1984 in 2012 – The Assault on Reason”.  In either case, food for thought and a little more than polite dinner conversation. There are those who choose to manifest their disapproval for a whole slew of 21st century global problems through the Occupy movements: it could be said they are a new breed of communicators, for they are attempting to get a message across, trying to be heard in the cacophony of everyday life.

Which brings everything round to the comment which got this whole thing started in the first place: the wondrous Miss Z laughing and telling a friend who was unable to text her due to technical difficulties – “You know, there is this really great app on your phone where we can actually TALK to each other…”

Sometimes it is just that simple….