Jones Wood Foundry … blog 5

I KNOW IT’S ONLY ROCK’N’ROLL BUT I LIKE IT (YES I DO)

My final all-things-British cartoon blog for Jones Wood Foundry restaurant in New York City comes in the form of rock’n’roll music.
Yes, I know, rock’n’roll music was American…to start with…and then we Brits got hold of it.
From the middle fifties us UK baby boomers bought Elvis Presley, Everly Brothers and Jerry Lee Lewis records by the boatload. We listened to Roy Orbison, Eddie Cochran and The Crickets singing through crackly transistor radios. We danced in the aisles to Bill Haley and Little Richard black and white movies. In London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool and every other British city, teenage bands copied their rock’n’roll idols. They all knew the guitar intros to Chuck Berry’s ‘Johnny B Goode’ and the words to ‘Jailhouse Rock’.
I was in one such band when one cold October night in 1962 at a dancehall in Smethwick, a sleepy little market town just outside Birmingham (that’s Birmingham UK), we supported a Liverpool band who called themselves The Beatles. They had just entered the UK charts at No. 17 with a song they’d written called ‘Love Me Do’. I gotta say they put on a great live show and we laughed and joked with them backstage as we did with all they bands we shared a stage with. Little did we know that twelve months later they would be the biggest band in the world! They’d smashed America and opened the door for what you lot call the British Invasion. The Kinks, The Animals, Manfred Mann, The Mindbenders and Herman’s Hermits. (Just a minute…Herman’s Hermits? ‘Mrs Brown You’ve Got A Lovely Daughter’? ‘I’m Henry VIII I Am’?)
Back to proper rock’n’roll and The Rolling Stones, which is who this cartoon strip is all about. There was a strong connection between The Beatles and the Stones in those early sixties’ days. The Stones’ first U.K. hit was a cover of Chuck Berry’s ‘Come On’ (see I told you about Chuck Berry’s influence over us all!) but their second was a Lennon/McCartney song ‘I Wanna Be Your Man’.
I’m sure the boys don’t need introductions from me, but for the record the main men are Mick Jagger, Keith Richard and Charlie Watts. When founder member Brian Jones retired in 1969 (and sadly drowned a few weeks later) Mick Taylor took over on guitar. When he quit the band in 1974 Ronnie Wood from the Faces joined. Original bass guitarist Bill Wyman (I’ve put him in the cartoon…thought it was only right) left the group in 1993. He started his own band, The Rhythm Kings, an ever changing line up of pop stars and musicians past and present. What a great idea!
In well over 50 years of ‘being together’ it is only to be expected that there have been many changes with the Rolling Stones. Not just personnel, but labels, music genres, managers, wives and girlfriends, even countries of residence. Inevitably they’ve had their fall outs, and numerous run-ins with the authorities are well documented.
When Andrew Loog Oldham became their manager in the early sixties he tried to get them to wear synchronised suits with matching haircuts like the Beatles, but quickly realised their image as bad boys, rebellious and unkempt, was there to be thoroughly exploited. Boy, did it work! They’d been well received at the renowned Marquee Club in London and got themselves a residency at the Crawdaddy Club in Richmond, but now after a few hit records (relatively minor by comparison with what was to come) it was time to tour outside London. They were included on the bill of a package show headlined by the Everly Brothers and Little Richard, plus one of their heroes Bo Diddley. I saw them (as a punter) on this 1963 tour at The Odeon Cinema in Birmingham. (There was no stadium rock in those days). I had to agree with a music critic at that time that when it came to stagecraft they still had a lot to learn… but sitting here writing about them 54 years later, it would appear they did.
Enter The Glimmer Twins, as the song writing partnership of Jagger and Richards became known. Like most songwriting partnerships it began slowly, somewhat naively. They had an early success writing a hit for Marianne Faithful entitled ‘As Tears Go By’. Other songs were written and were hidden away under the group name of Nanker Plenge, but the Jagger/Richards breakthrough as far as a Rolling Stones’ hit song was concerned was the UK number one (US No. 9), ‘The Last Time’.
To quote Keith Richards “it was a bridge into thinking about writing for the Stones. It gave us a level of confidence: a pathway of how to do it”.
Not long after that came the song that was to rocket them into the International spotlight ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’. This opened the creative floodgates; between 1964 and 1973 Jagger and Richards wrote a string of hit singles we have all become familiar with. We all like to choose our favourite and mine would be ‘Brown Sugar’. They also continued to write for others, probably their most memorable, because it was number one the day England won the World Cup in 1966, was ‘Out Of Time’ by Chris Farlow.

Let’s talk traditional British food for a minute.
Now we know Keith likes his JWF shepherd’s pie. Traditional shepherd’s pie is made of minced lamb or mutton with a thick covering of mashed potato. In different parts of the UK you may hear it called Cumberland pie, or shepherdess pie. Then there’s Cottage pie; it’s similar, but is made with minced beef. Some areas of the country often mix these up. If you visit northern England you could be served Lancashire hot pot. Minced or chopped beef and vegetables, but this time the covering is made with sliced boiled potato.

Back to the Rolling Stones…
The Stones have released over 75 studio, live and compilation albums. Far too many to mention, but here are a few highlights. ‘Sticky Fingers’ was released in 1972 and was the first of eight consecutive number one albums in the States. ‘Exile on Main Street’ is the only album to have been number one twice, THIRTY EIGHT years apart! Their 2016 release ‘Blue and Lonesome’ is their only ever covers album, recorded in homage to their heroes, Howlin’ Wolf, Jimmy Reed and Little Walter amongst others. Their greatest hits double album ‘Forty Licks’ has sold over 7 million worldwide.
They are the biggest grossing live band ever, appearing at the Super Bowl in 2006 during their Big Bang tour. They played live to over a million people at the Copacabana beach in Brazil and in 2013 topped the bill at Glastonbury. My cartoon inspiration is taken from that show… see the Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club flag fluttering in the Somerset breeze (you’ll be watching Wolves soon on JWF Premier League TV coverage…trust me).
They were voted into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame in 1989 and the magazine Rolling Stone placed them 4th in their Greatest Artists of All Time, behind Elvis (3rd), Dylan (2nd) and The Beatles (1st).
The distinctive bright red lips and tongue logo was designed by John Pasche and the inspiration came from the Indian goddess Kali.

Finally, there’s Winston Churchill enjoying a full English breakfast, the staple diet of British workmen as they start their day…although it has to be said most restaurants, pubs and cafes all over Britain now serve them all day…or at least until the dinner menu makes an appearance.
Churchill was voted by the British public as the ‘Greatest Briton of all time’. Not surprising really when you consider how this former Prime Minister led his country during World War II, but here’s a tale you may not have heard before. Winston liked a drink and on this occasion in the House of Commons had maybe had a little too much. Bessie Braddock a Member of Parliament for Liverpool was a large and formidable woman; she flew at Churchill shouting “Prime Minister you are drunk!” Winston replied instantly, “Madam, in the morning I shall be sober, but you will still be ugly”.
Finally, if you want to see more of my cartoons log on to my site at boblawton.me
Goodbye everybody, hope you’ve enjoyed these blogs and the cartoons, but most of all make sure you savour and enjoy Jason and Yves British menus.

Jones Wood Foundry…blog 4

For my fourth cartoon strip I chose William Shakespeare, The Bard of Avon, regarded as the greatest writer of the English language. Here’s my blog.

William Shakespeare is the world’s most published, read and performed playwright and yet a large slice of his life remains a mystery. He was born in Stratford upon Avon during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, but the date is only guessed as April 23rd 1564. Records show he was baptised on April 26th and in those days it was usual for the baptism to be performed 3 days after birth, also the scholars like it because he died on April 23rd 1616 exactly 52 years later. His schools are also just guesses, but he certainly became proficient in Latin…not that unusual in those days.
There is also the case of the ‘lost years’, 1585 to 1592 when there is no record of him, but he was thought to have moved to London, maybe writing and acting in ‘The Lord Chamberlain’s Men’ drama troupe.
What we do know for definite is that his dad was a glove maker and his mom the daughter of a wealthy farmer. After writing 16 comedies, 12 tragedies, 10 historicals and a bagful of sonnets it can be said ‘the boy William done well’! He moved back to Stratford upon Avon (probably because of the outbreak of plague) just a few years before his death. He ended up a wealthy man and rather strangely left his wife Anne Hathaway his “second best bed”. Make what you will of THAT …it’s been interpreted a few different ways!
So from such a wide choice of plays, why did I choose ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ for this fourth cartoon strip? Easy. We did it at school, many years ago and I read Quince the carpenter.
It’s a story of romance, fairy magic and comic goings-on. There’s a whole bunch of characters here, so hold tight whilst I give you a whistle stop tour through Shakespeare’s magical forest.

Theseus, Duke of Athens and Hippolytus, Queen of the Amazons are getting married and celebrations are being planned. Egeus brings his daughter Hermia before the Duke to order her to marry Demetrious, but she’s in love with Lysander. The Duke warns her if she disobeys her father under Athenian law she faces the death penalty or life as a nun in a convent.
Hermia and Lysander decide to elope and do a runner into the forest. Hermia tells her best friend Helena who is in love with Demetrius. In the hope it will help win over his affection she tells Demetrius and the two of them follow Hermia and Lysander into the forest.
Meanwhile a troupe of tradesman are also in the forest rehearsing a play, ‘The Tragedy of Pyramus’ to perform as a celebration of the Duke’s wedding. Quince, a carpenter. Snug, a joiner, Bottom, a weaver, Flute, a bellows-mender, Snout, a tinker and Starveling, a tailor. Not much call for a bellows-mender in Warwickshire these days.
You’d think there were enough humans running around in the forest for one play, but you’d be wrong. We haven’t got round to the fairies yet.
The fairy king and queen, Oberon and Titania are having a right old set to because Titania won’t hand over her adopted page boy. Oberon sends his servant Puck to find a magic plant. The juice of the plant when squeezed onto the eyes of someone asleep causes them to fall in love with the first creature they see when awakening. Oberon uses the juice on Titania as she slumbers.
Puck overhears the tradesmen rehearsing and magically transforms Bottom’s head into that of an ass. The other players see this and run, terrified, from the forest. Titania awakes, sees Bottom and falls madly, deeply, rapturously in love with him…donkey head and all.
Helena chases Demetrius and their fighting disturbs Oberon. He tells Puck to use the magic juice on Demetrius and put an end to the quarrel. However Puck gets confused and squeezes the juice onto Lysander’s eyes. When he wakes up he falls in love with Helena. Well…you can imagine the outcome of that…a right old cat fight between two women over one man.

Time for a commercial break, I think.
What could be more British than crumpets? Jones Wood Foundry bake the best and serve them with lemon curd or Marmite. Lemon curd will probably need no introduction, but Marmite? It’s a product that has become part of the English language over here in the U.K. If you describe something is like Marmite, you mean that people will either love it or hate it, no in-between. Marmite is definitely an acquired taste. Try it and see for yourself. Me? I love it!

Okay…back to the forest. Look away now if you don’t want to know the end.

Oberon tires of the confusion and lifts all the enchantments, also putting the humans to sleep. Titania cannot believe she’s fallen in love with donkey head and makes it up with Oberon. On waking the lovers think it’s all been a dream and Hermia and Lysander are back together, whilst Demetrius decides he does love Helena. When Bottom wakes up he feels he’s had the strangest dream of all.
So now there’s a triple wedding to celebrate and Quince, Bottom and the rest of the troupe amuse the three couples with a performance of ‘The Tragedy of Pyramus’.
Well there’s certainly is a lot of Shakespearean order and disorder. How true is the most famous quote from the play, “The course of true love never did run smooth”?

Bangers and Mash is a dish all British kids have grown up on…and we loved it. Sausages in mashed potato it’s a basic dish, but modern chef’s have given it many tasty variations.
Sausages are probably the oldest processed food, it can be traced back to ancient times. Pork sausages have been mass produced since the 19th century. The Victorians called them ‘little bags of mystery’ suspecting there was more horse meat than pork in them.
Why call them bangers? During World War One there was a severe shortage of meat of any kind and sausages were filled with scraps, cereal and water. When they were cooked on shovels over open fires in the trenches of Northern Europe they hissed and popped…hence ‘bangers’.
Now you’ll know of the UK’s film star Peter Sellers (1925-1980), he of Pink Panther, The Millionairess and Dr Strangelove fame. Well not only did he hit the big time internationally in films he was also a radio star who also made humorous records with actress Sophia Loren. One of these that entered the UK charts was ‘Bangers and Mash’ which he sings in a bold Cockney accent in contrast to Loren’s smooth broken Italian/English.

Sellers: “Bangers and mash”
Loren :“Macoroni”
Sellers: “Bangers and Mash”
Loren: “Minestrone”
Sellers: “Give us a bash at the bangers and mash me muvver (mother) used to make”

Now I thought it would be funny to have Shakespearean characters from the sixteenth century singing it. So here they are Lysander, Hermia, Demetrius and Helena giving it large!

We can’t leave Shakespeare without mentioning Jason and Yves other restaurant, The Shakespeare’ serving superb cuisine on 24E 39th Street, between Park and Madison.

(It would be rude not to mention Britain’s other great writer. ‘The Man Who Stole Rock’n’Roll’ is a story of rock’n’roll plagiarism set in the sixties, the eighties and the noughties. It was written by …er, whatsisnam?…O yes, Bob Lawton. It’s available from Amazon and also on Kindle.