Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin by Helmut Newton
When "Auntie" finally croaked, the twins were around 15 years old. They were going to make a run for it after the funeral, but it turned out that they were "willed" to Edith and her husband (the new "Sir") along with all the other earthly possessions. They were going nowhere. Their new owner never let the girls out of their sight, even sleeping in the same room with them. Eventually, the girls were taken from the circus shows, and brought into vaudeville.
It was Harry Houdini who taught the girls to use their mind power to separate themselves emotionally, giving each of them an individuality. They had to be together physically, but could block the other out totally.
still here 17:13
A bill was put before the British Parliament in 1770 that any woman who wore makeup would be punished for witchcraft. Sponsors thought women wore makeup solely to attract attention of the opposite sex. It wasn't just cheating, like dynamiting fish, they thought. Worse. It was a supernatural technique.
still here 17:13
Author and stage actress Frances Anne (Fanny) Kemble was born in London, England. Kemble came from a family of well-known actors, but was more interested in literature herself. However, financial problems of her father forced her onto the stage, her first role being that of Juliette. Kemble was an immediate success and embarked on an American tour in 1832. While in Philadelphia she met, and eventually married, Pierce Butler, grandson of a Georgia plantation owner.
Kemble was an intelligent, independent woman who abhorred slavery and was not shy about speaking out against it. These abolitionist views did not sit well with her husband; yet she still strived to make the marriage work. When Butler inherited the Georgia plantation upon his grandfather's death, she moved to Georgia with him. From December 30, 1838 to April 17, 1839, Kemble kept a journal of what she witnessed. Although she spent just over sixteen months of her life in Georgia, the result was one of the most powerful pieces of historical literature ever produced. Unable to reconcile their differences, Butler and Kemble were divorced in 1849, with Butler retaining custody of their two daughters. During the Civil War she published the journal she had kept some twenty-five years before -- Journal of a Residence on a Georgia Plantation. Her descriptions of the horrifying treatment of slaves is credited with doing much toward maintaining British neutrality during the war, when for economic reasons many favored the South -- which produced cotton for British textile mills. Kemble went on to publish other thoughtful and intelligent works -- Records of a Girlhoodin 1878, Records of a Later Life in 1882, Notes Upon Some of Shakespeare's Plays in 1882, Far Away and Long Ago in 1889, and Further Records in 1891. Kemble died in London on Jan. 15, 1893.
from the thorough and illuminating This Day in Georgia History
still here 12:50
To the root beer and vanilla ice cream in an ordinary root beer float, add a little cream and chocolate syrup -- and what you've got is what your grandmother called a Brown Cow.
Everybody knew that, everybody. When pollsters recently asked young Americans nationwide to identify the nomenclature, none knew.
still here 05:01
For many, Pialat’s finest moment was yet to come. Van Gogh (1991), an extraordinary biopic which successfully avoids both the tortured genius clichés and the costume drama frills, is really about an intense vision of life for which the painter himself is the medium. The canvases are on the screen, not in the studio, and life, like the farmer in Breughel’s Fall of Icarus, goes on oblivious to the genius’s suicide.
Maurice Pialat 1925-2003
still here 20:11
Castalia files: early music instruments, keyboard
"The Russell Collection has been given a Pianino on long-term loan by a private lender associated with the University of Edinburgh.
A pianino is an unusual little instrument with a keyboard and hammer action like a piano, but with balanced glass rods in place of strings. The instrument is signed "Patent / CHAPPELL & CO / 124 New Bond Street / London". It has a compass of only 3 octaves, and the piano hammers, arranged in two rows for the accidental and natural notes strike downwards instead of upwards as in a normal 'square' piano. The instrument is quite small: 22" x 22" x 7" (56cm x 56cm x 18cm) and it stands on what appears to be an original stand belonging to the instrument and probably made for it by the firm of Chappell & Co.
This firm was founded in 1810 by Samuel Chappell, Johann Baptist Cramer, and Francis Tatton Latour in London. The firm built pianos, these little pianinos, and also published music and produced concerts. Cranmer and Latour eventually left the firm and it was run from about 1830 entirely by Chappell and later by his descendants who carried on in business right into the 1970's. The furniture style of the instrument suggests that it was made in the period around 1815. Another similar instrument is in the musical instrument collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Only four such instruments are known to exist.
The instrument is both a curiosity and an interesting organological document. Because the sound is produced by glass rods instead of by strings, the pitch is very stable, and the tuning and temperament are completely permanent. For this reason it is hoped that, after a light cleaning to get rid of deposits on the glass rods, it will be possible to measure both the pitch of the instrument and perhaps even the temperament used. This should help to give us some idea of a very important aspect of performance practice in London at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and therefore and indication of how the stringed keyboard instruments of this period were tuned.
The loan of this instrument to the Russell Collection is extremely welcome, and I look forward to the investigation of its pitch and tuning. The instrument is kept in the entrance foyer at St Cecilia's Hall near the west staircase and Friends are most welcome to examine it."
- Dr Grant O'Brien
still here 09:42
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