Week Ending April 20, 2015





Trade Paperback Timelines


1914 — Striking coal miners are massacred in Ludlow, Colorado

Miners had been striking for a number of basic rights – an eight hour work day, the right to shop at stores not run by the mining companies, wage increases and actual enforcement of the laws governing mining – since September 1913. Obviously, this attempt by poor working class men to resist their exploitation by the boards of the Colorado Fuel & Iron Company, the Rocky Mountain Fuel Company, and the Victor-American Fuel Company could not be tolerated. An example would have to be made.

An example duly was, but it wasn’t the one that the rich men expected.

On April the 20th, Colorado National Guard members – actually mostly company hired men wearing the uniforms of such – attacked the site of striker’s camp in Ludlow. They killed a number of the strikers – including two wives and eleven children, along with captives who were summarily executed – that day. Only one conviction resulted – one of the strike breakers was convicted of assaulting a union leader who was later killed while a prisoner that day.

This is because management is the best friend that the working man ever had.

Referenced in:
The Ludlow Massacre — Woody Guthrie

1943 — The first intentional acid trip is taken

It was supposed to be a headache cure.

What Dr Albert Hofmann and his assistants were searching for, in their lab in Berne, Switzerland, was a better cure for the common headache. It was originally synthesized on November 18, 1938, but it seemed a failure, and was put aside. Hofmann barely gave it another thought, but five years later, he decided to give it another look.

Examining it, he accidentally dosed himself with an unknown quantity on April 16, 1943. The effects he experienced are now very familiar, even to those who’ve never directly felt them, and although it took him some time, he figured out what had happened. Three days later, he took the first ever deliberate acid trip, ingesting 250 micrograms, and experienced similar effects. Famously, he rode his bike home from the lab while feeling the effects, which is why this day is sometimes referred to as Bicycle Day by the kind of people who think acid’s pretty cool.

Referenced in:
Oh My Beautiful Problem Child — Intercontinental Music Lab

Happy Bicycle Day, everyone!

1775 — Paul Revere makes his midnight ride

Revere was a silversmith from Boston who would become an important player in the American Revolution. On the night of April 18, 1775, he was the first of a group of riders who spread the news of British troop movements in Charlestown to the towns of Somerville, Medford, and Arlington, finally arriving at Lexington to meet with Samuel Adams and John Hancock at about midnight. In his wake, other riders – perhaps as many as forty – carried the news in all directions.

A number of urban myths have become attached to Revere’s ride, not least its name, the “Midnight Ride”. It’s also untrue that Revere shouted “The British are coming!” – shouting would have attracted the attention of British patrols, and the actual message of Revere was “The Regulars are coming out” (something confirmed by Revere and numerous witnesses).

Referenced in:
Who Will Survive in America — Kanye West

1960 — Eddie Cochran dies

Eddie Cochran was one of the classic Fifties rockers – young, rebellious and male, he sang one of the iconic early rock tunes: “Summertime Blues”. Cochran was a good friend of Buddy Holly and Richie Valens, and was deeply shaken by their deaths in 1959. He became consumed by a conviction that he too would die young.

A year later, he was proved right, when he was killed in a single car accident while on tour in the UK. Cochran, sitting in the back seat with his girlfriend, Sharon Sheeley, and fellow musician Gene Vincent, threw himself in front of Sheeley to protect her, and was thrown from the car in the accident. He died in hospital later that day from the head injuries he sustained. Sheeley and Vincent were both injured by survived the accident – the driver was convicted of dangerous driving.

Referenced in:
Rock And Roll Hall Of Death — Mitch Benn And The Distractions

1949 — Doris Day becomes a star of the screen

Doris Day was already a successful singer, and had been since her first hit (1945’s “Sentimental Journey”), when she decided to make the transition to film. After a bumpy start in 1948’s “Romance on the High Seas”, she got decent reviews for her performance in the otherwise largely unexceptional “My Dream is Yours” (which opened on April 16, 1949) and really started to gain attention later in the same year, with “It’s a Great Feeling” (opened August 1).

From there, Day rarely looked back, starring in a string of comedies, romances and even a Hitchcock thriller (1956’s “The Man Who Knew Too Much”). But she never forgot her roots, either, and almost all of her acting roles included at least one song sung by her (like that damned inescapable “Que Sera Sera” in the aforementioned “The Man Who Knew Too Much”). She would star in a total of 39 films during her career.

Referenced in:
We Didn’t Start The Fire — Billy Joel