The Voice of an Angel

Three years ago on Vera Lynn’s 100th Birthday and the release of her last album, I wrote this>

Yesterday we regretted the loss of Chuck Berry, whom so many of us loved and enjoyed. Today is a happier occasion for today is the 100th birthday of Dame Vera Lynn, DBE, OStJ, CH, honorary citizen of Nashville Tennessee, holder of the British War medal, and the Burma Star. She is known worldwide as the British Forces Sweetheart. Quite a career for a girl from Wales.

And besides, all here know of my weakness for British, especially Welsh, redheads, so any excuse to feature one is welcome.

Her first recording was Up the Wooden Hill to Bedfordshire, recorded on Crown Records in 1936.

 

Her greatest fame came during the Second World War when she became the Force’s Sweetheart with songs such as these

No doubt some purist will miss the point, saying that so many of those pictures were of American soldiers, and indeed they were. And yet, while Dame Vera was the British Forces Sweetheart, our musical tastes became so entwined together that we still haven’t sorted them out.

Many of you know that my normal music here is a couple of British stations that mostly broadcast music from the forties, and indeed that is my favorite popular music. So yes, I hear a good bit of Vera Lynn and other British singers and bands, but I hear an awful lot of the Andrews Sisters, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, and Major Miller, and other Americans, too. Strikes me that we finally got to know each other and we found rather liked each other. It’s still true.

Yes, sometimes we despair of each other, but we’ve been there before, and we muddled through. I think and pray we shall again.

To me, this always brings back the British North African campaign culminating at El Alamein, with the Tommies and Germans romancing the same B-girls in Tobruk in their turn. I think it originally a German song, but hey, when haven’t Brits and Yanks stolen a good tune.

And this

This

For me, this song has to be accompanied by the sound of the Rolls Royce powered Spitfire, for it is the sound of those few that saved us all. Truly a

This is interesting

This is the only footage I’ve found of her during the war

 

Eventually, it was over

But she kept right on singing, this was the very first #1 on the American charts, in 1952, by a British artist.

Welcoming the troops home from the Falklands.

And still, she pressed on, Decca released a new album,  Vera Lynn 100, just three years ago. Here is the trailer

 

So, how do we end this glorious retrospective? There is only one possible way, in my mind.

And there will truly always be:

Even if sometimes we fear it will only be in our hearts. But I doubt that –

But maybe we best learn to teach our history better.

The band of The Coldstream Guards remember.

The b side of her smash hit Auf Wiedersehen, Sweetheart on both sides of the pond rather says it all, I think.

Till we all meet again, rest in peace, Dame Vera.

 

 

Dunbar’s Number and Society

And so today, we welcome a new author to NEO, Frank Clune, a very intelligent Englishman, whom I’m very proud to have on board. His introductory post here grew out of a conversation he had with Audre, and I think it fascinating, not to mention enlightening. So, help me welcome Frank, and wish him many comments and likes! Neo.


There is no systemic racism in the United States of America, there are only racist people.

If I look back over my lifetime in England my father and mother would, by today’s standards, be considered racist – though my father was the man who broke the colour bar at the then Preston Polytechnic (on the entirely reasonable grounds that it wasn’t fair to deny a man a job because of the colour of his skin). Clement Attlee, Abraham Lincoln and many, many other heroes of the left made statements that would cast them out into the Pale nowadays. Truly, history is ideology projected into the past.

As far as unconscious bias is concerned, it’s chasing ghosts. The unconscious is, by definition, unknowable. Attempts to change this by behavioural therapy smack of Lysenkoism and are viciously sinful, attempting, as they do, to change the essential nature of Man.

What we do have is the instinct to identify with our tribe, whatever that might be. And there are upper limits as to how many people that can incorporate. This from Wikipedia:

Dunbar’s number is a suggested cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships—relationships in which an individual knows who each person is and how each person relates to every other person. This number was first proposed in the 1990s by British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, who found a correlation between primate brain size and average social group size. By using the average human brain size and extrapolating from the results of primates, he proposed that humans can comfortably maintain 150 stable relationships. Dunbar explained it informally as “the number of people you would not feel embarrassed about joining uninvited for a drink if you happened to bump into them in a bar”

You note that there’s no mention of skin colour, religious affiliation, sexuality, sex, or any other characteristic. It is simply the number of people that one can accommodate in one’s life and feel some kind of responsibility towards. It is no accident that prehistoric tribes tended to be no bigger than this.

I identify as English, Lancastrian, Prestonian in that order. Within Prestonian I am from Ribbleton Avenue in the suburb of Ribbleton. In truth, my identity builds both ways and I suspect that is true of anyone who has a strong attachment to the place they were born.

These things are not only normal, they are also essential to our mental and spiritual well-being. I would identify much more strongly with a black family from Ribbleton than I would with a white family from West Sussex (two hundred and fifty miles south of Preston and a place where I spend far too much time). They would be ‘my’ people, ethnicity simply wouldn’t come into it.

In my tribe, the majority of people are white Anglo-Saxons, which is hardly surprising given the ethnic makeup of the country that I live in. But it also includes black people (that is the correct way of addressing a person of colour in the UK and is not in any way derogatory or racist), Pakistani Muslims, Jewish people, Asian-Chinese, Polish, Italian, Croatian and the Lord alone knows what else.

The modern identitarians want you to despair in order that you will give up. They have nothing to offer in place of our decent and thoughtful way of life other than chaos and violence which reflects their internal – nihilistic – processes. In fact, there is no better sign of the diseased mind than when some kid tells you to check your bias (my responses to that can be rather cutting). That really is pot calling kettle black.

The other (un)intended consequence is that our societies could become so fearful that we retreat into ethnic enclaves. There is something of that going on in the UK with the ethnic Pakistani/Bangladeshi populations already. And a consequent discounting of them as people amongst the majority white population which has to suffer this nonsense.

This is bad for everyone. There are many reasons why this has happened including multiculturalism (by which every culture is deemed to have equal value. A Pakistani hill tribe practicing witchcraft, ritual murder, and the silencing of women is equal to our centuries-old English civilisation? Please!).

Never forget that the left gets everything wrong. Whilst France and Germany used Marshall Aid to build up their industries after the war, in the UK we spent it on the NHS, nationalising transport and the mines, and subsidising living standards. All under a socialist government (guess which countries have got the better health services? Clue, it isn’t the UK).

We have problems in our countries and some of them aren’t pretty. But with God’s grace and our efforts, we will overturn these wicked people and their materialistic values.

Idiocracy meet Mobocracy

The title says it all, really.

 

I just want to know when Antifa and BLM are going to pay reparations to the US Army and the Royal Navy for ending slavery

Isetta Few Rioters Straight

Good thing it wasn’t ‘Mostly peaceful’!

This guy is pretty badass too.

Yes, ma’am, right away, ma’am

Coming soon, go ahead and crank it up, you know you want to! 🙂

 

Gonna be more of this

 

Young People, TLM, the Dowry of Mary, and America’s Patron Saint

Long ago, the people at Catholicism Pure and Simple became friends and allies of mine. We each recognize that our essentials and druthers may be a bit different, but that our roads meet at the foot of the Cross. Sunday they posted an article on how the traditional Latin Mass is gaining much support amongst young people I’m not surprised but I am pleased.

The loss of young people is a problem for all of our churches, not just the Catholic Church, It’s true in my Lutheran Church, it’s true in the Anglican churches. But for us too, the more traditional the service (and historic Lutheran Services reach back to the Rev Dr Luther himself, while traditional Anglican services are based on Thomas Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer, both of which are contemporaries of the Tridentine Mass) the better young people receive them. CP&S has a video of some of what young people are saying.

 

Adding weight to that, a young London based female Journalist, Enza Ferrari, whom I have been reading for a long time, adds weight to what those young people are saying, when she says…

During the Easter Triduum I repeated that experience several times, always choosing the Ancient Rite, except once, when by mistake I watched a video of the New Mass. The close sequence of the two with a distance of a few hours between them gave me an opportunity to compare the two liturgical experiences in a way that I’d never come across before.
And I saw differences that had previously escaped me.
It’s two entirely diverse experiences.
They were both from churches in Italy, the Latin Mass from the Church of Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini, Rome (pictured above).
One, the Tridentine Mass, worships God and the other celebrates man, reflecting the analogous change in outlook brought by Vatican II Council.
The former brings you closer to the spiritual realm.
I’m not the only one to have noticed this peculiar gift that, in all the mayhem and panic, the Covid-19 quarantine has given us. I’ve discovered that Catholic writer and philosopher Peter Kwasniewski has also published two articles about it.
The celebrant’s ad populum orientation towards the people, which may seem a way to bring everyone together as a community and increase the participation of the faithful, is not the right thing for a Mass, where priest and congregation should not look at each other and focus on one another as if it were an assembly or meeting, but instead both should look at and focus on God.
Keep reading, there is quite a lot more, and if you are a traditional Christian (not only the Catholics among us) I think you’ll find it making a lot of sense.
In related news, The Catholic Herald tells us that The Catholic Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham reports that it is probably having the largest Pilgrimage season ever, since the government forced it to close its doors during the (still continuing) lockdown.

But rather than seeing this as a disaster, shrine rector Mgr John Armitage regarded it as an opportunity. England’s national Marian shrine had already built up a following with its livestreamed Masses. Armitage decided that it would now livestream 24 hours a day, with the help of a sturdy internet connection provided by EWTN.

He devised a programme that begins with morning prayer, followed by Mass, Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, a talk on faith, the rosary, the Angelus and another Mass. And that’s just the morning.

In the afternoon, there’s the Divine Mercy chaplet, the rosary, more Exposition, Benediction, the Angelus and Vespers, followed by all-night adoration.

“We’ve probably had the biggest pilgrimage season so far in the history of Walsingham because we’ve had thousands upon thousands of people every day joining us for our program,” Armitage told CNA.

Saying that he now felt like “the abbot of a monastery rather than the rector of a shrine,” Armitage explained that people from 135 countries had taken part in the program and that he had been inundated with letters of gratitude.

“Last week I had a lovely letter from a family of farmers in Wisconsin, just saying how much they appreciated it. They watched as a family,” he noted. “So it’s made that connection.”

He said the letters came from two types of people:

“There are those who have been in lockdown, like the rest of the world. They’re grateful that it’s given them a spiritual framework during this time.”

“But much, much more important, it’s given a spiritual framework for those who’ve been in lockdown for years. The elderly, the disabled, those who are never going to come out again.”

“And I don’t say we forgot them, but what’s happened is that we’ve discovered a way to connect that we kind of missed.”

The pandemic also forced a major change to Walsingham’s biggest event for decades: the rededication of England to Our Lady on March 29.

Armitage had spent three years planning the rededication, which was preceded by a two-year tour of England with the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Catholics were due to gather at cathedrals across the country as the rededication ceremony took place at Walsingham. But when churches were ordered to close due to the pandemic, Catholics were asked to follow the ceremony live from their homes on the shrine’s website instead. So many logged on that the site crashed.

“The rededication of England was phenomenal,” Armitage said. “It overwhelmed our server. We had to transfer to YouTube. That rather took us by surprise.”

In his homily at the rededication, Armitage said: “We have long pondered and treasured the words of Pope Leo XIII to an earlier generation of bishops: ‘When England returns to Walsingham, Our Lady will return to England.’ In the hour of our need, Our Blessed Mother has indeed returned to England.”

Many of you know that I feel an affinity to Our Lady of Walsingham and have for years (albeit more the Anglican Shrine). This shrine known as England’s Nazareth was visited by every English King from William the Conquerer to Henry VIII, who destroyed it in The Dissolution of the Monasteries. It was revived in the early 20th century. Interestingly, the first Catholic Mass in Walsingham since the Reformation was held amongst the ruins of the monastery by the United States Army Air Forces shortly after VE Day.

A most pleasing report indeed, from the country known since the 14th century, at least, as Mary’s Dowry, because of England’s deep devotion to Our Lady. Perhaps it carries down to us in some measure, since Mary is also the Patron Saint of the United States.

As we have always known:

Hypocrisy, Valor, and Prayer

Well, something new today and something that pleases me greatly. We are featuring a post by a guest author, whose nom de internet is 39 Pontiac Dream. He’s a friend of both Audre and me and lives in north Norfolk, England. It’s something I’ve wanted ever since Jess left, I find the English view of events here informative, and like so many of us, I care about what is happening to the cousins. So, Here’s Pontiac

The Hair Raising Hypocrisy of the Media

Take this title with a pinch of salt. It’s nothing more thanconjecture on my part, in relation to hat some might see as quite superfluous. In the UK, though, this superfluous musingcould potentially mean something quite different.

As Tina (my better other half as Neo and Audre will tell you) and I were watching the news ecently, Tina turned to me and asked, “who is doing their hair and makeup?” A relatively straight forward question with a simple answer in normal times however, here in good old Blighty, the hair and beautysector are being told that they will be some of the last businesses to reopen, considering the close and personal contact with their clients. If, however, those in the media are still using them, then they are disobeying the lockdown measures they propagate every day. Tina informs me (I’m a bloke – how the hell would I know?!) that hair and makeup, in relation to television, is a tricky business. The makeup, for one, and considering the cameras, the lighting, the heat in the studio has to be applied to ensure the presenters look completely natural. Apparently, that takes years of training and is not something a presenter would know how to do. With regards hair, not one of our news presenters or reporters look any different, presentation wise, to how they did before the lockdown. Some on the BBC insist they’ve been doing it themselves but I seriously doubt that. If they are, indeed, cutting their own hair, then inevitably there’d be someone who has made a mistake; cut one side higher than the other; cut a chunk out of the back of their hair leaving a bald spot. Inadvertently cut their fringe too short. There are no tell tale mishaps to back up their claims that they are doing it themselves which makes me suspect that they are not doing it themselves, as they say. They should, to all intents and purposes, all look as dishevelled as Boris Johnson does on one of his morning runs but they don’t so I ask again – who is styling these presenters?

If they’re not breaking the rules and are doing it themselves then you have to ask whether the stylists the BBC (and other channels) usually employ are now surplus to requirements
because I see no difference in how they look now to how they looked before.

I have no idea whether this sector, in the States, is suffering in the same way as it is here in Britain but I’m surprised no one has even thought to ask.

As I told Pontiac, likely they are employees of the network and considered essential, because TV makeup is pretty specialized. It can also be important. Back in 1960, the presidential candidates had a debate, Nixon refused makeup and Kennedy did not. By the transcript, it was nearly a draw, but Nixon won on the radio (more important then than now, of course) but Kennedy won on TV. Something to think about. But it is pretty hypocritical.

So say “Hi” to Pontiac in comments and let us know what you think, as well.


Today is an anniversary as well, of course, as most here will remember. Today 76 years ago, it must have felt pretty lonely in Southern England, as some million soldiers mounted the invasion of the continent that would result in VE day in about 10 months.

On April 2d of that year, A.P. Herbert published a poem that we should remember more than we do.

Boadicea from the Bridge looked down,
And saw the Yankee tanks invade the town.
Boadicea held her head more high
To hail the Sherman and the proud G.I.
‘Eyes right!’ she said. ‘Fine fellows though you are,
You’re not the first to drive an armoured car.
Halt, soldiers, halt! For here is one can tell
A tale of fighting chariots as well.
Look up, brave girls. In a.d. 61
I led the lads, and saw the Roman run.
God speed you too against an alien mob:
God bless you all for joining in the job.
By Grant! By Sherman!’ said the queen of queens.
I wish I’d had such men, and such machines.’

They passed. And Parliament, across the way,
Discussed the principle of equal pay.

I can remember waking up every Saturday to watch TV at 6:30 in the morning, no, not cartoons, a show called The Big Picture made by the Signal Corps. It showed various things the army was up to and was pretty interesting. This is one episode.

 

The Longest Day indeed, for here the future of Europe was decided for a generation by the Anglo Saxon powers. They went in with our prayers behind them, of course. In the United States led by the President.

Puritans, Constantinople, and Oak Apple Day

My close friend Chalcedon has a post up at All along the Watchtower on Oak Apple day. Before we get to that, I must say how much it pleases me to see posts there again. Last winter in his absence it became unmanageable, without administration and with an influx of that mostly British phenomenon of hatefully aggressive atheists. Many here will know that for years, AATW was my second internet home, where I am a contributor and both Jessica who founded it and Chalcedon himself are contributors here, as well. Huzzah, Huzzah, Huzzah. In any case here is part of what he says about Oak Apple Day, which I suspect many Americans have never heard of.

Until 1859, the Church of England marked 29 May as “Oak Apple Day,” marking the day that the Monarchy, and with it, the Church of England, was restored after the interlude of the Commonwealth under Cromwell. As Samuel Pepys recorded in his diary:

Parliament had ordered the 29th of May, the King’s birthday, to be forever kept as a day of thanksgiving for our redemption from tyranny and the King’s return to his Government, he returning to London that day.

The “oak tree” commemorated the fact that after the Royalist defeat at Worcester in 1651, the young Prince of Wales (later Charles II) had hidden in one whilst the Rounheads sought him. The English like a good story, and a good party, and Restoration Day provided both.

The Church of England had good reason to commemorate the day, and the decision to abolish its official memorial in 1859 was, along with the decision to drop the service for Guy Fawkes’ day, a sign that parliament wanted to take a less censorious line towards Nonconformists and Catholics, which whilst welcome in itself, should not lead us not to celebrate the day on which the Monarchy was restored.

History and identity are important to a nation, and as one commentator has shrewdly suggested:

“Against a joyless Puritan commerical republic, the Restoration symbolised the renewal of convivality, balance, memory, locality, a deeper, more joyful vision of communal flourishing than the Puritan republic could envisage or allow.”

That’s something we see with our new puritans too, isn’t it? A reduction of people to politically correct economic unit automatons. Well, Americans love a party perhaps even more than the English, and a good story always works as well, so I think we need a similar story and reason for a party.

But yesterday is also the anniversary of a calamity of the first order for Christianity, for as Raymond Ibrahim tells us in American Thinker, in 1453 Constantinople fell to Sultan Mehmet. And thus the last living link with the Roman Empire itself was sundered. Here’s some of what he writes.

Today in history, on May 29, 1453, the sword of Islam conquered Constantinople.  Of all Islam’s conquests of Christian territory, this was by far the most symbolically significant.  Not only was Constantinople a living and direct extension of the old Roman Empire and contemporary capital of the Christian Roman Empire (or Byzantium), but its cyclopean walls had prevented Islam from entering Europe through its eastern doorway for the previous seven centuries, beginning with the First Arab Siege of Constantinople (674–678).  Indeed, as Byzantine historian John Julius Norwich puts it, “[h]ad the Saracens captured Constantinople in the seventh century rather than the fifteenth, all Europe — and America — might be Muslim today.”

When Muslim forces failed again in the Second Arab Siege of Constantinople (717–718), conquering the ancient Christian capital became something of an obsession for a succession of caliphates and sultanates.  However, it was only with the rise of the Ottoman sultanate — so named after its eponymous Turkic founder, Osman (b. 1258) — that conquering the city, which was arguably better fortified than any other in the world, became a possibility, not least thanks to the concomitant spread of gunpowder and cannons from China to Eurasia.  By 1400, his descendants had managed to invade and conquer a significant portion of the southern Balkans — thereby isolating and essentially turning Constantinople into a Christian island in an Islamic sea.

Thus an end to a 2000 year history, since Romulus and Remus burst forth onto the stage of history. And so soon came King John  Sobieski and the siege of Vienna and the naval battle of Lepanto, as Christendom again stopped the advance of Islam for another 500 years. But now I’m reminded as the psalmist had it:

Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

It’s also my oldest nieces birthday, and I can remember when she got a birthday card from the President of the United States, John Kennedy, who shared it.

 

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