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The Rock’n’Roll History of the World: August 29

The Rock’n’Roll History of the World: August 28

Update: Fortnight Ending August 25, 2014

Another fortnight, and still my living arrangements are getting in the way. Sorry about this, folks.

Continue reading Update: Fortnight Ending August 25, 2014

“Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” by Rupert Holmes

If you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain
If you’re not into yoga, if you have half a brain

Continue reading “Escape (The Piña Colada Song)” by Rupert Holmes

1990 – Marion Barry, former and future DC Mayor, convicted of drug possession

Marion Barry was first elected the Mayor of Washington DC in 1978, and began his tenure on January 2, 1979. On January 18, 1990, Barry was videotaped by FBI agents freebasing crack cocaine. After his arrest, and throughout his trial, which concluded in August 1990, he continued to serve as Mayor, although he did not stand for re-election (which was scheduled for November of that year).

Convicted of one count of possession of cocaine, he served six months in a minimum security facility for the crime. In 1994, now out of prison, he was elected Mayor again, and served a fourth four year term from 1995 to 1999.

He does not like to be compared to Rob Ford.

Referenced in:
Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous — Good Charlotte

1883 – Richard Wagner dies

One of the greatest of the German composers, Wagner is best known for his Ring Cycle, or Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung) in full. His earlier Tristan and Isolde is seen by some as marking the start of modern music (by which, of course, they do not mean pop music).

Wagner was 69 when he died, and he left behind a towering legacy. He influenced almost all later composers, although in some cases (such as Debussy and Tchaikovsky) this influence was seen in their efforts to avoid his shadow. A friend of Friedrich Nietzsche, the philosopher’s first major work was a glorification of Wagner’s compositions (although the prickly Nietzsche later found fault with his one time idol). Finally, Wagner’s popularity also popularised his views – which included large elements of racism and anti-semitism – views which would continue to dominate German culture until at least 1945, when his greatest German fan committed suicide.

Referenced in:
Decomposing Composers — Monty Python

1958 – “White Wilderness” premieres

The legendary documentary that began the whole “lemmings commit suicide” myth, White Wilderness was 72 minutes of the Disney Corporation making nature more interesting (for a given value of ‘interesting’) in another ‘True Life Adventure’. The scene of the lemmings jumping into the ocean has been at the centre of a number of controversies over the years – it’s actually a river, not the ocean; the filmakers built an apparatus to push the lemmings along; and, of course, lemmings are no more suicidal than any other species.

To be fair, at no point does the narration state that the lemmings are deliberately committing suicide, but nonetheless, this is the starting point of that urban legend.

Referenced in:
Lemmings — Blink 182
Hey Lord, Don’t Ask Me Questions — Graham Parker
Potshot Heard ‘Round The World — Dead Kennedys

Update: Fortnight Ending August 11, 2014

Sorry about the drop out there, folks. It turns out that moving house has a negative effect on my ability to keep up with this. Who’d’a read about it?

On the plus side, I’ve been getting a whole bunch of stuff up to date. The Truth About Melbourne is completed once and for all, and the timeline for the New 52 is back up to date.

Also, happy birthday to me.
Continue reading Update: Fortnight Ending August 11, 2014

1984 – Ronald Reagan thinks nuclear war is funny

It was one of those moments that America thinks is funny – and wonders why the rest of us don’t.

President Ronald Reagan, not realising that the mike he was on was live, joked that he had passed legislation to end the Russian threat forever. The punchline, of course, was “We begin bombing in five minutes.”

Now, there are conspiracy theories aplenty about whether or not he actually knew the microphone was live, but he remained stalwart in his claims that he had not, and that was good enough for most people. It remains an oddity in American politics: a shocking gaffe that probably helped Reagen win re-election later that year.

Referenced in:
5 Minutes — Bonzo goes to Washington
Alle Amis Singen Olala — Geier Sturzflug



  1. a collection of invisible objects.

1964 – The bodies of Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Mickey Schwerner are discovered

James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner became martyrs to the Civil Rights Movement when they were lynched in Philedelphia, Mississippi. The three had traveled to the town to investigate the burning of a church which had hosted civil rights events, but they were arrested on trumped up charges, and then released only when they could be ambushed and murdered by the Ku Klux Klan. Their bodies were buried and their car hidden and burned.

A few weeks later, after a massive FBI manhunt (that only happened because Lyndon Johnson forced Bureau director J. Edgar Hoover, who hated civil rights activists, to do it), the bodies of the three were discovered, all shot dead – although while Schwerner and Goodman (who were white) were each killed by a single shot to the heart, Chaney (who was black) had been shot three times, and beaten severely before that.

The disappearance of the three led to a national outcry, and public sentiment swung dramatically towards favouring civil rights, allowing President Lyndon Johnson to push through landmark bills like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (signed into law less than a month later on July 2), and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Referenced in:
He Was My Brother – Simon & Garfunkel
Those Three are On My Mind – Pete Seeger



  1. (of a disease) not infectious.


  1. a person who can not or will not communicate.



  1. a condition of solitude or aloneness.
  2. loneliness.