A Brit Back Home: Un-Guessable British Words

Although I brought my kids up to know their British heritage, and apparently we did a lot of things that weren’t typically American, I never once chided them for using Americanisms. OK, (just in case they’re reading), I did go a bit full-on making sure they said “Please”, which quite a few Americans seem to omit. (Calm down, I’m not saying anyone’s necessarily rude, but I’ve done unscientific surveys on it and the actual word is often absent.)

Anyway, I’ve never understood Brits in the USA who insist on using their British English vocabulary and worse, get annoyed or sneer when Americans don’t understand them. As Rob Lowe illustrates here, some British words are so different from American English that no one would stand a chance if they were trying to guess the meaning.

Trainers – I suppose an educated guess here might yield results since these shoes were originally designed for exercise, but I knew never to use it in the US anyway. Interestingly, despite the plethora of American words that cross the Pond every year, I’m not noticing Brits saying “sneakers” much. Continue reading

Harry Secombe was favourite of radio millions and had a singing voice that thrilled and captivated the audience

By Barry Band

Harry Secombe got my vote last week to be the representative act of the 1950s at Blackpool’s Palace Theatre.

Harry (1921-2001) fits the bill because his Palace appearances spanned ten years; three visits on variety bills, 1950-52, and a summer season in 1960, a year before the big Promenade venue closed.

For 50 years the Palace brought more stars to Blackpool than any other; eight acts per week, two shows nightly, changing weekly.

As the Fifties dawned a new generation of artists appeared on Palace bills. Several had emerged as entertainers in the armed forces including Max Bygraves, Dick Emery, Tony Hancock, Peter Sellers – and Harry Secombe. Continue reading

BBC Folk Music Programme Changes Criticised

Open letter to BBC asks for confirmation of the broadcaster’s commitment to folk music.

Following the cancellation of various folk music radio shows across the BBC in England, CEO of English Folk Expo, Tom Besford, has written an open letter, asking for clarity on the media organisation’s commitment to folk music. 

Addressed to James Purnell, BBC’s Director of Radio and Education, the letter calls for the BBC’s support of folk, roots and acoustic music through music programming. During the pandemic, various folk music shows have been cancelled, including BBC Radio Sheffield’s New Traditions with Greg Russell, BBC Radio Shropshire’s Genevieve Tudor’s Sunday Folk, Johnny Coppin on BBC Radio Gloucestershire, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire’s The Folk ShowKent Folk on BBC Radio Kent, BBC Radio Lincolnshire’s Thursday Night Folk, and The Durbervilles on BBC Radio Leeds, among others. 

Additionally, The Folk Show with Mark Radcliffe on BBC Radio 2, England’s main folk music show on the BBC, was changed from 7pm to 9pm before the pandemic, and since then it has been temporarily changed to a now pre-recorded show airing at 11pm. 

The letter from Besford reads: 

Folk music relies on the support of the subsidised BBC. Musicians need the air play not just for profile, not just to keep audiences engaged with specialist music, but for the financial return from music licensing. Many also fear that once we come through this crisis back towards normality, there is a risk that much of this valued and loved content may never return. 

English Folk Expo calls on the BBC to play their part in supporting specialist music, reinstate the axed shows, return the main national show to a more prominent time slot and make announcements on the annual Folk Awards (or equivalent replacement). It is during a crisis such as this that the licence fee payers expect the BBC to provide cultural leadership, not remove support from an industry already brought to its knees.

To read the full letter, visit https://www.englishfolkexpo.com/folk-on-the-bbc-an-open-letter/

Source: BBC Folk Music Programme Changes Criticised

Read more about British Folk Music on THE HOBBLEDEHOY


Forces’ Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn dies aged 103


The singer of We’ll Meet Again, who entertained British troops in World War Two, has died.

The singer was best known for performing hits such as We’ll Meet Again to troops on the front line in countries including India and Egypt.

Her family said they were “deeply saddened to announce the passing of one of Britain’s best-loved entertainers”.

In a statement, they confirmed she died on Thursday morning surrounded by her close relatives.

Source: Forces’ Sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn dies aged 103

Audio: Actor Tom Courtenay was first to sing “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter”

Herman’s Hermits’ pop hit “Mrs. Brown, You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” was originally sung by acclaimed actor Tom Courtenay in The Lads, a British TV play of 1963, and released as a single in the UK.

Most of us outside the UK are familiar only with Herman’s Hermits’ version, which rose to number one on the charts in May 1965.

Tom Courtenay 1962 on the set of ‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner’

Courtenay came to prominence as in actor in the early 1960s with a succession of films, including The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962), Billy Liar (1963), and Doctor Zhivago (1965).  He received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor for the film adaptation of The Dresser (1983),

The song was written by another British actor, Trevor Peacock, who was also a song and screenwriter.