It's amazing what you can come across in a Muswell Hill curio shop. Immortalised in pottery are two of the presenters of Radio 4's Today programme.
The items are dated 2005 and the figure on the right is clearly John Humphrys who presented the programme from 1987 to 2019.
But the other guy? Not so easy to identify. Anyone like to offer a guess? Some clues - he's well known and still broadcasting, indeed I heard him on Radio 4 just the other day.
The first to get the name right - it's stamped on the bottom so I know who it is supposed to be - will get their name in lights on this blog.
*** UPDATE: TIM HOLMES, SIMON CROW, ABBAS NASIR AND IAIN PURDON WERE ALL EXCEPTIONALLY QUICK OFF THE MARK IN IDENTIFYING THE MYSTERY EGG HEAD AS JAMES NAUGHTIE ***
And what are these pottery pieces? Well, Today is a breakfast programme - and what do Radio 4 listening Brits have for breakfast ...
I hope this isn't a sin - buying a book for the bookplate. But how could I resist!
Charles Bradlaugh was a commanding Victorian radical: atheist, republican, radical, reformer, oratur, propagandist, Parliamentarian, advocate of birth control, supporter of Irish and Indian nationalism and founder of the National Secular Society. Quite a guy!
I've blogged about Bradlaugh before and about the bronze bust I have of him - here it is:
By the way, the book (duly listed on page 60 of the inventory of Bradlaugh's library) is a life of one of the most remarkable of Scottish reformers.
Thomas Muir was convicted of sedition and sentenced to transportation. In Australia, he escaped and made his way via California, Mexico and Cuba to Europe - but he died in 1799 while in France. He was 33 on his death.
He is one of those commemorated on the Political Martyrs' Monument in the burial ground on Edinburgh's Calton Hill.
The copy I came across online is a bit battered, but at least it is in the orginal binding and the pages - and bookplate - are clean.
Intriguingly, quite a few of the pages have handwritten notes in the margins - often corrections of the text.
Could this be the somewhat obsessive Charles Bradlaugh, pencil in hand, tut-tutting as he comes across the author's inexactitudes?
You know the song 'Morning Dew'? Well a Canadian singer-songwriter, Bonnie Dobson, wrote it sixty years ago. And last night I heard her perform it.
Bonnie Dobson is now 82 - but you would never guess it. Her voice is in excellent shape and so is her guitar playing. It was a good evening at MOTH, a cosy, friendly venue in Hackney.
Here's her rendition from a decade ago - when she was joined by Led Zeppelin's Robert Plant:
'Morning Dew' is a song about nuclear apocalypse, and there have been many, many cover versions. My favourite - it has to be the rendition by the Grateful Dead:
Bonnie Dobson came across as really genuine and warm. She and her husband were sitting close by watching the support acts - not that I realised it was her at first - and she gave me her brandy and ice ... the drink had been bought for her but on reflection she didn't want it. Cheers, Bonnie!
From the stage, she talked about being on the New York folk circuit in the early Sixties, hanging out with the likes of Bob Dylan, and being tipped for future greatness alongside Joan Baez.
After several decades away from the limelight, Bonnie Dobson started touring again a few years back - so glad that she's still walking out in the morning dew.
This is, it seems, the first appearance of what we now know as La Marseillaise on the streets of London. It probably dates from 1792, the year that the song was composed and first sung, or not long after.
The Marseillaise was written by Rouget de Lisle at a time when revolutionary France was facing attack from the Prussian and Austrian armies. The song's initial name translates as 'War Song from the Army of the Rhine'. It took its more familar name in the early summer of 1792 when the song was sung by volunteer fighters from Marseilles.
In 1795, the National Convention made this stirring song France's national anthem. It still is - though there have been times in the intervening years when it has fallen out of favour.
This handsome sheet music was printed in London with the song described as 'Marche des Marseillois or French Te Deum, Ordered by the National Convention to be Used by the Army to Excite them to Battle & as Sung at All the Theatres in Paris'. The words were printed in the original French.
This is a lovely early copy of one of the most internationally acclaimed of progressive anthems, and in stellar condition. 'Marchons, marchons ...'
Can't hum the Marseillaise? Here's a rendition from 1907
Andrew Whitehead's blog
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