1788 — The first British settlement in Australia is founded at Port Jackson

On this day in 1788, British soldiers, citizens and convicts landed at Port Jackson in what is now Sydney. They raised a Union Jack, drank a toast, said some prayers and then set about their mission. The ongoing dispossession of the native peoples, the rampant deforestation, the extinction of native species of plant and animal, the destruction of a way of life that had endured for forty thousand years and more, the abolition of ancient languages and stories, and the general dehumanisation of the poor bastards whose only crime was to get in the way of Britain’s ego continues even to this day.

If the citizens of Australia continue to vote for parties which are not members of the Coalition, it may well never be finished…

Referenced in:

Solid Rock — Goanna
Point of No Return — Immortal Technique

1925 — Paul Newman born

One of the greatest actors of the Twentieth Century, Paul Newman starred in – among others – “The Hustler”. “The Sting”, “The Great Escape”, “Hud”, “Cool Hand Luke”, “The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean”, “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” and “Cars”. In his time, he was nominated for an Academy Award nine times, although he won only one (Best Actor, for “The Color of Money” a sequel to “The Hustler”).

From the mid-Sixties onwards, Newman was increasingly active politically – his opposition to the Vietnam War scored him a place on Richard Nixon’s Enemies List – and also became a notable philanthropist.

Referenced in:
The Chanukah Song (Part I) — Adam Sandler

1939 — Barcelona falls to the Nationalist advance

One of the last victories of the Spanish Civil War, the Nationalist victory in Barcelona saw the end of the hopes of the Republican forces. Barcelona was the Republican capital, and also the capital of Catalonia – which had been under direct attack by the Nationalists since December 23, 1938.

The Catalonian region surrendered on February 10, and the Republicans as a whole on April 1, beginning a period of unbroken rule over Spain by Franco that would last until his death in 1975.

Referenced in:
A Hero Of The Wrong War — traditional folk song

1967 — David Bowie records “The Laughing Gnome”

Bowie himself regards it as one of his worst songs.

He’s not wrong. The Alvin and the Chipmunks high-voices, the tortured puns… it’s just horrible. Except for the music. Musically, it’s one of the strongest pieces of his work to that time. It’s the lyrics that let it down.

However, on the plus side, Bowie performed it for an audition in 1968 and failed to get the part – which meant that he continued to record pop music instead of pursuing a career in cabaret.

Referenced in:
No More Fun — Roger Taylor