Friday, 14 January 2022


Via Weird Universe, we are (formally—as it seems familiar in a way but never knew the artist’s name) introduced to the Belgian writer and animator Gรฉrald Frydman through his 1971 surreal vignette about a town and the bizarre rituals of its inhabitants. Frydman’s short films were jury selectees and winners of the Palme d’Or in 1976 and 1984 and can be viewed at the artist’s channel.

Friday, 31 December 2021

3 sutton place

The Burmese diplomat appointed as United Nations Secretary-General after the unexpected death of Dag Hammarskjรถld in 1961 declining overtures for a third-term, U Thant (แ€žแ€”့်, U being an honorific title and not a first or family name) stepped down on this day in 1971, having facilitated negotiations between Khrushchev and Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis, intervened to avoid a chaotic break-up of Congo, overseeing the end of colonial rule for many states in Asia and Africa and was a vocal critic of America’s actions in Vietnam. His successor taking office on 1 January 1972, Kurt Waldheim—in 1986 during some opposition research whilst running for the Austrian presidency (which he won) was revealed to have been a Nazi intelligence officer during World War II—secured the seat accidentally after several rounds of the Security Council conclave failed to produce a winning candidate and three of the four member states with veto power (the USSR backed Waldheim) failed to coordinate their override and abstained instead. After Waldheim left office, incumbency was limited to two terms.

Friday, 24 December 2021

als ich vom himmel fiel

Miraculously on this day in 1971, en route from Lima to home in-land in Iquitos after graduation ceremonies, seventeen-year-old Juliane (nรฉe Koepcke) Diller not only lived through a catastrophic airplane crash, the cabin broken up by a lightening strike at altitude and tumbling three-thousand metres from the sky still belted into her seat, which took the lives of ninety-one others (her mother included), as sole survivor, she wandered through the rainforests of Peru alone for eleven days before finding civilisation and medical care for her injuries though wholly ambulatory and only sustaining a broken collar bone and a gash to her arm prone to infection. Somewhat of a wild-child, daughter to a pair of biologists, Koepcke was raised in the jungle and had acquired the skills that helped her to persevere. Scouting for filming locations for Aquirre—the Wrath of God, the 1972 historical epic with Klaus Kinski leading a retinue of conquistadores down the Amazon in search of the legendary seven cities of gold, director Werner Herzog would have also taken that flight, had it not been for a change in his itinerary. Subject of a 1988 documentary, Herzog and Koepcke toured the crash site together. Like her parents, Koepcke also studied biology and continued their research in Peru, specialising ultimately in chiroptology, and presently is the chief library for the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology in Munich.

Monday, 20 December 2021


kentucky christmas: the origins of KFC for festive dinners in Japan traced to the Osaka World Expo  

you sure have a way with people—well, they’re my species: Harold and Maude at fifty, with soundtrack by Yusuf (Cat) Stevens  

lake toilet-brush: the toponymic curse of IKEA product names 

 ๐Ÿ’Š: a round-up of the Resurrections premier  

build back better: US president Joe Biden’s legislative agenda derailed  

die hard’s a christmas movie: Eyes Wide Shut (1999) re-evaluated

Friday, 17 December 2021

hunky dory

The titular fourth studio album released on this day in 1971 by a twenty-four year old David Bowie was a departure from the guitar-dominant The Man Who Sold the World from a year before with a softer piano composition, backed by Mick Ronson, Trevor Bolder and Mick Woodmansey on drums—the group that would form the Spiders from Mars within the next year. The track listing from this monumental recording that defined the artist includes “Changes, “Oh—You Pretty Things,” “Life on Mars” and “Andy Warhol.”

Friday, 10 December 2021


Cancelled for a second year due to the pandemic, normally the Nobel Banquet (previously here and here) is held annually on this day (the anniversary of the death in 1896 of its benefactor, inspired to become a philanthropist after reading a premature obituary of himself that described him as a war profiteer, indeed having amassed his fortune from dynamite), the fรชte hosted in the Blue Hall of the rathaus of Stockholm for 1971 would have included amongst its guests Willy Brandt, chancellor of West Germany, Pavlo Neruda, Chilean poet and diplomat, Simon Kuznets, responsible for turning economics into an empirical, cyclical science, and Gรกbor Dรฉnes, inventory of among other things holography.

Saturday, 4 December 2021

smoke on the water

During a show by Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention and immortalised by the titular Deep Purple hit (whom were also present to witness the incident, scheduled to record the album Machine Head) on this day in 1971, the venue for the Montreux Jazz Festival, the Swiss city’s casino went up in flames after a fan fired a flare gun. A bootleg recording of Zappa’s performance captures the outbreak and fire alarm as the band and audience fled.

Monday, 8 November 2021

sanctuary city

Though the concept of cities of refuge where perpetrators of accidental crimes could claim asylum is ancient and the modern usage seems quite contemporary, the first municipality in the US that passed an ordinance prohibiting city authorities from enforcing rendition for non-violent offences was Berkeley, California, adopting the stance on this day in 1971, inspiring and leading a shift among many polities in North American and Europe to be more welcoming of arriving immigrants and reduce anxiety surrounding deportation and possible family separation.

Saturday, 6 November 2021

my mama used to dance for the money they’d throw

The artist’s first solo number one single from the eponymous album Chรฉr (previously), Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves began its two week run at the top of US charts on this day in 1971. With themes of poverty, racism, prostitution and teen-age pregnancy, it was a marked departure from most contemporary easy-listening but proved to be very popular and enduring with positive reviews, cultural inclusion and tribute performances.

Sunday, 31 October 2021

schweizer parlamentswahlen 1971

After passing in a national referendum earlier in the year (see also, see previously), women finally secured the right to vote and stand for office in federal elections in Switzerland, exercising their rights for the first time on this day a half a century ago. Lise Girardin (*1921 - †2010) of Geneva was nominated by her party (the Free, Freisinnig Democrats) to be the first female member of the Council of States, der Stรคnderat—the Upper House of the Swiss federal assembly.

Sunday, 24 October 2021

where all are brothers—none faceless others

First performed on this day in 1971 at the behest of then Secretary-General U Thant for the organisation’s twenty-sixth anniversary, a Hymn to the United Nations with words based of the charter’s preamble by W. H. Auden set to music by cellist and composer Pau Casals was not officially adopted by the supranational body, as Thant intended—to be played before special occasions and further efforts to create a formal anthem were never pursued. 

At last it is,
Where even sadness
Is a form of gladness,
Where fate is freedom,
Grace and Surprise.

Wednesday, 20 October 2021

play misty for me

Clint Eastwood’s directorial debut, the above titled collaboration with Dean Riesner and Jo Heims was released on this day in 1971 and follows the narrative of an over night disc jockey in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, portrayed by Eastwood, being stalked by an increasingly obsessive caller, Evelyn Draper played by Jessica Walter (*1941 - †2021), who always requests he play the signature Johnny Mathis jazz standard. After a bit of romantic entrapment that betrays the state of the fan’s mental health, the host fights to keep her at bay and unambiguously preclude the prospect of a future relationship .

Tuesday, 12 October 2021

prove to me that you’re divine, change my water into wine—that’s all you need do, then i’ll know it’s all true

Formerly only previewed as a cast recording in limited release over a year prior, the rock opera by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber Jesus Christ Superstar was for the first time staged and performed before a live audience in the Mark Hellinger Theatre on Broadway—the famous venue for My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Man of La Mancha which would eventually be consecrated in 1989 as the interdenominational Times Square Church—on this day in 1971. The anachronistic version of the Holy Week narrative, loosely following the books of the gospel and giving an accounting of Jesus and his disciples leading up to his arrest and crucifixion was the longest-running West End musical before being displaced by Cats in 1989. Below is “Superstar,” the penultimate number, with Judas, Soul Sisters and Angels from the 1973 adaptation, filmed on location.

Sunday, 10 October 2021

upstairs, downstairs

Tracking the gradual decline of the British aristocracy through the lens of a wealthy family living at a posh address in Belgravia, a countess who entered into a morganatic marriage with the son of a county parson, and their domestics, over a span of twenty-seven years, from the turn of the century through the Great War, the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression in the 1930s during the regencies of Edward VII, George V and Edward VIII, the ITV series debuted on this day in 1971, running for five seasons. The introductory credits of each episode featured a cartoon from Punch magazine over the opening theme The Edwardians—performed as a the mildly bawdy, music hall piece “What Are We Going to Do with Uncle Arthur?” with an instrumental version also used as a wedding march (see also) for a marriage ceremony in the show.

Saturday, 9 October 2021

dor nischl

The colossal stylised bust of philosopher and historian Karl Marx (previously) sculpted by Soviet realist Lev Efimovich Kerbel for the city formerly and presently known as Chemnitz (redesignated as Karl-Max-Stadt for the year of the revolutionary in 1953) was dedicated on this day in 1971 before an assembly of a quarter of a million attendees. The wall directly behind the visage and plinth is inscribed with the famous phrase from the Communist Manifesto “Workers of the World, unite!” in German, Russian, French and English by graphic artist Helmut Humann.  Locally referred to as the above Mitteldeutsch colloquialism for head or skull and used as a backdrop for much propaganda and pageantry under the East German government, the symbol was not without controversy, but was preserved while many other monuments to Soviet heroes and ideals were dismantled. After reunification, the city of Kรถln even offered to buy the head in order that it be saved from destruction, while residents were wrestling with the recent past and deciding to restore their city’s former name. Ultimately, it was decided to keep this and select vestiges of times past, which can still be a focus of the here and now.

Thursday, 7 October 2021

cyrus charter

Though in possession of the British Museum, the ancient clay cylinder bearing the declaration of king Cyrus the Great, outlining his genealogy and conquest of Babylonia as favourite of the god Marduk and documentation of the end of exile of the Jewish people and allowing them to resettle within the empire was loaned to Tehran on this day in 1971 for a period of sixteen days for the gala celebration of the two-thousand-five-hundredth anniversary of the founding of Persia—see previously, beginning mid-month ten days later. The artefact recovered in 1829 (in Mesopotamia, in modern day Iraq) is considered by many historians as the pioneering attempt to administer and multicultural state with universal human rights and was made the official symbol of Iran in absentia.

Friday, 1 October 2021

computerised axial tomography

On this day in 1971, the first CAT scan (nowadays usually referred to as a CT scan) was conducted at Wimbledon on an unidentified patient on a diagnostic machine developed by engineer Godfrey Hounsfield and physicist Allan MacLeod Cormack. The duo were recipients of the 1979 Nobel prize for their collaboration and the former is the namesake for the quantitative gauge of radiopacity—that is the ability of electromagnetic radiation to penetrate a media with air at -1000 HU (Housfield Units), water at the baseline of zero and bone set at +1000 at the other end of the spectrum, with identifiable values for various fats, tissues and ligaments.

Sunday, 26 September 2021

fristaden christiania

Occupied over the course of weeks prior to the declaration, amid protests of the Danish government of the lack of affordable housing in Copenhagen, squatters claimed their takeover of the abandoned military barracks and historic depot of the borough of Christianshavn on this day in 1971 to establish an independent commune. The unique, semi-autonomous site focused on self-sustainability and collectivism is home to around one thousand residents. The flag is a modified version of the labarum, the military standard of Emperor Constantine and pairs with the city flag of Amsterdam, triple x.

Friday, 17 September 2021

the persuaders!

Last in the line of a spy, crime adventure syndicate that began in 1960 with Danger Man, The Prisoner, The Avengers and The Saint, the charismatic action-comedy vehicle of Tony Curtis and Roger Moore was first simulcast on ITV and ABC to UK and US audiences on this day in 1971. Though considered a crowning, ambitious and concluding series and played well in foreign franchises, dubbed as Dos Tipos Audaces (Two Bold Characters in South American markets), Minden Lรฉben Kรฉt Kanรกl (Two Spoons in Every Soup in Hungary), Snobbar som Jobbar (Snobs on the Job in Sweden), Amicalement Vรดtre in French-speaking areas (Amicably Yours) and Die Zwei in the Deutschsprachrรคume (one of the best titled cinematic adaptations The Sum of All Fears is plaintively called simply Der Anschlag, The Attack in German) the production of Baron Lew Grade (also behind the series of Supermarionation shows) about two individuals from starkly different backgrounds that have been reluctantly teamed together to solve international cases that the authorities cannot disappointed domestic viewers and was cancelled after one albeit complete season. The opening title sequence (see also) features music by John Berry.

Wednesday, 15 September 2021

give a hoot—don’t pollute!

The United States forest service, following the success of mascot Smokey Bear in promoting awareness of forest fires, on this day in 1971 debuted the character Woodsy Owl (both from marketer Harold Bell) for anti-pollution public service messaging, introduced by the American Secretary of Agriculture Clifford Hardin as an environmental ambassador (the EPA having been just created) with the above slogan. Realising the reductive nature of the saying was squarely laying the blame on the public and deflecting responsibility from business and government policies, Woodsy has adapted his outreach over the years to reflect the climate crisis (“Help Woodsy Spread the Word,” since 2009) and taking meaningful action and currently uses the slogan, “Lend a Hand—Care for the Land!”