bigjohn

“Old age ain't no place for sissies.” .. Bette Davis

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  • My Life and Times

    I was born in 1939 BC.
    That’s ‘Before Computers’.

    Luckily I survived the following events in my life, such as

    World War II, The London Blitz, Rationing, and worst of all… Archbishop Temple’s School.

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    During the mid 1950s I was enjoying Rock ‘n’ Roll and being a first generation teenager, when suddenly, just like Elvis, I found myself in uniform during ‘The Cold War’…and then

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    I became ‘a family’. Which meant that I sort of missed the ‘swinging sixties’, but still managed to look a complete prat in the 70s, just like everyone else.

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    During the ‘Thatcher Years’ I lost my hair and a lot of people lost a good deal more. My career fluctuated to say the least as I was demoted, promoted, fired and hired a number of times, but still I managed to stagger on into a welcome retirement and to celebrate 56 years of happy marriage.

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Archive for February 5th, 2015

“N is for …” ?

Posted by Big John on February 5, 2015

In a comment on my last post .. Shirley .. referred to the ‘N’ word, which got me thinking back to my much younger days and how that word was sometimes used here in the UK, and how, unlike today, it was somehow deemed to be inoffensive. Remember that ‘The Dam Busters’ movie, released in 1955, featured Wing Commander Guy Gibson’s dog which was named ‘Nigger’: and that ‘Nigger Brown’ was freely used when describing a popular colour for the fashions of the day. Also, a best seller by Agatha Christie was entitled “Ten Little Niggers” !

Prior to the arrival of the West Indian immigrants during the 1950’s, my knowledge of black people would have been gained from those stereotypes seen in Hollywood movies and early American TV comedy shows such as ‘Amos and Andy’, or ‘The Jack Benny Program’ with valet ‘Rochester’. No ‘N’ words in those shows, unlike all the ‘Nigga’ talk on American TV today.

When it came to home-grown entertainment, a famous and popular Music Hall (Vaudeville) entertainer was a white man, with blackened face, known as “The Chocolate Coloured Coon” ! .. and, can you believe, that for twenty years one of the most watched BBC TV shows was ‘The Black and White Minstrel Show’ where all the white male artists ‘blacked-up’ and performed in true ‘Swanee River’ style.

In the days when it was still possible to see a ‘Nigger Minstrel Show’ on a seaside beach when on holiday, it would seem likely that to most people the ‘N’ word would have been used rarely and without the intention of giving offense.

Am I saying that in those days all British people were not racist ? .. Of course not: as was shown fifty years ago when in a general election the slogan was used … “If You Want a Nigger for a Neighbour, Vote Labour”: and let us not forget that we Brits never needed to import derogatory and racially offensive slang words, as can be seen in a parliamentary speech when it was said …   “Indeed, the Right Honourable Member for Woodford [i.e. Winston Churchill] thinks that …

…  the ‘WOGS’ begin at Calais” !

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Posted in humour, nostalgia, political | 4 Comments »