Originally from a small former mining town called Geleen in the province of Limburg in the Netherlands.
I moved to Limerick in Ireland in 1997 together with my wife who is a native from Limerick.We now have 3 kids
I am passionate about music ,history and movies
“Inside Hana’s Suitcase,” a new documentary about the Holocaust, will open at the Quad Cinema, 34 West 13 Street, on April 18. Prior to seeing “Inside Hana’s Suitcase” I wondered, with the many Holocaust documentaries that have already been made, was there anything new to add to this extensive cinematic narrative. “Inside Hana’s Suitcase” manages to do just that by presenting the Holocaust from the Japanese point of view and by telling the story of one Czechoslovakian girl, Hana Brady.
The best known music show is without a doubt Top of the Pops, and even though the show was cancelled in 2006, there are still weekly reruns on BBC 4.Most people were surprised that the BBC cancelled the show because i was and still is very popular, there have been speculations though that it may return again.
However this blog is about another iconic and legendary BBC music show,’ The Old Grey whistle test’ It was commissioned by none other then David Attenborough and aired on BBC2 from 1971 to 1988. Unlike Top of the Pops, the whistle test had some more edgier music and catered more for rock fans and focused more on albums then hit singles.
The show hosted many seminal acts of the era, including the first British TV performance of Bob Marley and the Wailers as well as then little-known acts of whom any early footage is now considered precious, such as Billy Joel, Judas Priest (with a long haired Rob Halford), Wishbone Ash, Judee Sill, Heart, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
The series was cancelled in the spring of 1987 by Janet Street-Porter, who had been appointed head of Youth Programmes at the BBC. The series ended with a live New Year’s Eve special broadcast through to the early hours of New Year’s Day 1988; material included “Hotel California” by The Eagles, live from 1977, and “Bat Out of Hell” by Meat Loaf.
Many viewers think that the performances were always live but that was always the case, although for the vast majority they were.
On 23 February 2018, the BBC broadcast a special show, hosted by Bob Harris, to mark the 30 years since the legendary series was last broadcast. This live studio show featured music, special guests and rare archive footage. It featured performances from Peter Frampton, Richard Thompson, Albert Lee and others. Bob Harris chatted to Whistle Test alumni, including Dave Stewart, Joan Armatrading, Ian Anderson, Chris Difford and Kiki Dee, as well as fan Danny Baker.
BBC 4 regularly plays old episodes from the show and I am always amazed about the new things I learn. For example I never knew that Elkie Brooks and Robert Palmer were in a band together. The band was called ‘Vinegar Joe’
Whistle Test was also the British television debut of the American glam punk band New York Dolls. Their performance influenced the following punk rock scene such as the Sex Pistols and The Clash as well as alternative bands like R.E.M. and The Smiths and the glam metal scene of the 1980s.
David Johansen was the front man of this line up of the New York Dolls, David had some solo success later on under the name of Buster Pointdexter.
Brinsley Schwarz were a 1970s English pub rock band, named after their guitarist Brinsley Schwarz. They made an appearance on the Old Grey Whistle Test in 1973.
In case you are wondering who the singer and bass player is, it is Nick Lowe from such hits as “I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass” and “Cruel to be Kind”
By 1988 it was considered well past it’s sell by date however it was an influence on many music shows that came after such as Later With Jools Holland.
As mentioned earlier Bob Marley had his first appearance on the BBC on the Old Grey Whistle test. This was another thing I hadn’t realized, Peter Tosh was also a member of the Wailers.
It would be great to see a show like the Old Grey whistle Test again on TV, but I don’t think that the same caliber of performers are available nowadays
When you look up information on Anne Frank, the first thing you will see is that she is described as a German born or Dutch Diarist, as if she was a well established author or Journalist, but she wasn’t.
She was just a teenage girl who happened to write a diary, like so many other girls did in that time and probably still do. If she had been a teenager now, I am certain she would have been on Instagram. Snapchat, Facebook and other social media. She was a very bubbly girl who like to express herself.
Does this make her diary less valuable? No of course not, it makes it even more valuable because the diary was not written by a professional author but by a young girl who described her daily life , a life which so few can even fathom nowadays.
I still vividly remember this story, I just couldn’t fathom the needless cruelty at the crime.
On October 7, 1985, four men representing the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF) hijacked the Italian MS Achille Lauro liner off the coast of Egypt, as she was sailing from Alexandria to Ashdod, Israel. The hijacking was organized by Muhammad Zaidan (a.k.a. Muhammad “Abu” Abbas), leader of the PLF.
A 69-year-old Jewish American man in a wheelchair, Leon Klinghoffer, a Jewish-American appliance manufacturer, was murdered by the hijackers. They then threw his blood-stained body – still in his wheelchair – overboard in full view of many of the American and British passengers on board.
He was a relative of Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Josh Klinghoffer and writer David Klinghoffer.
Abbas had been responsible for many attacks on Israel and its citizens in the early 1980s. On multiple occasions, he sent men on hang gliders and in hot air balloons on bombing missions to Israel, all of which turned out to…
On October 7, 1940, Lieutenant Commander Arthur McCollum of the Office of Naval
Intelligence submitted a memo to Navy Captains Walter Anderson and Dudley Knox (whose endorsement is included in the following scans). Captains Anderson and Knox were two of President Roosevelt’s most trusted military advisors.
McCollum wrote that it would be in the interest of the U.S. to go to war with Japan before Japan could provide support to Germany and Italy in their war against England, and before Germany and Italy could take action against the U.S. on behalf of Japan.
However, McCollum realized that it would be politically impractical for Roosevelt to declare war: “It is not believed that in the present state of political opinion the United States government is capable of declaring war against Japan without more ado; and it is barely possible that vigorous action on our part might lead the Japanese to modify…
On this day 75 years ago the first V-2 missile was fired successfully from Peenemunde, heralding the start of space travel.
German scientists, led by von Braun, had been working on the development of these long-range missiles since the 1930s.
Three trial launches had already failed; the fourth in the series, known as A-4, finally saw the V-2, a 12-ton rocket capable of carrying a one-ton warhead, successfully launched.
Test Stand VII was the principal V-2 rocket testing facility at Peenemünde Airfield and was capable of static firing of rocket motors up to 200 tons thrust.
Two test launches were recovered by the Allies: the Bäckebo rocket, the remnants of which landed in Sweden on 13 June 1944 and one recovered by the Polish resistance on 30 May 1944 from Blizna and transported to the UK during Operation Most III. The highest altitude reached during the war was 174.6 kilometres (108.5 miles) (20 June 1944).Test launches of V-2 rockets were…
I know what you are thinking “We are still several months away from Halloween and he is already starting telling ghost stories”
Well yes and no, you see the Ghost Army wasn’t an army of real ghosts however it did scare many German units, without firing one shot.
During World War II, Americans of many different backgrounds and professions were drafted into the armed forces. One unit in particular, the 23rd Headquarters Special Troops of the U.S. Army, had an odd membership. This group was made up mostly of artists, architects, designers, sound engineers, and other creative types — all of whom had an IQ of at least 119. And while other units were given standard issue weapons and benefited from the employ of tanks and artillery, the 23rd was given a much different order.
The 23rd, known colloquially as the “Ghost Army,” would set up faux, inflatable battalions near…
Before the Nazis retreated from Kiev, they attempted to conceal the many atrocities they had committed at Babi Yar. Paul Blobel, who was in control of the mass murders in Babi Yar two years earlier, supervised the Sonderaktion 1005 in eliminating its traces.
For six weeks from August to September 1943, more than 300 chained prisoners were forced to exhume and burn the corpses (using local headstones as bricks to build ovens) and scattered the ashes on farmland in the vicinity (to this day many Ukrainians will not eat cabbage grown on those farms
During the Sonderkommando 1005 exhumations, a group of prisoners secretly armed themselves with tools and scraps of metal they managed to find and conceal. They picked locks with keys they found on victims’ bodies.
Historian Reuben Ainsztein said about these men.
“in those half-naked men who reeked of putrefying flesh, whose bodies were eaten by scabies and covered with…
The question ‘Is it acceptable to use data from Nazi experiments?’ is one of the most difficult ethical questions to answer. At least for me it is, I am a man who bases a lot of his decisions on his gut feeling. In this case my gut feeling says no.
However if I keep my opinion of this devoid of all emotion, it throws up another question ‘Is it acceptable to use data from Nazi experiments, to safe someone in your family?’. In that case I more then likely would come to a different answer.
I am not going to tell anyone what their answer should be. I will just highlight some of the experiments and how they were conducted. But I’ll start with one experiment and its conclusion.
At the start of August 1942, at Dachau concentration camp, prisoners were forced to sit in tanks of freezing water for up to three hours. After subjects were frozen, they then underwent different methods for rewarming. Many subjects died in this process. The data of this experiment did reveal that body-temperature recovery was fastest with immersion in warm water, but that rewarming and presumably survival were achieved with the other methods, too.
The horizontal axis shows minutes, and the vertical axis temperature (°C). The German title can be translated as “Effect of combined rewarming treatment: warm bath, massage and light box.” The water temperature was 8°C. The arrows and numbers (1 to 6) were superimposed by the present author. Translations of the corresponding notations from the German are: 1, in water; 2, period out of bath (no German notation); 3, warm bath; 4, massage; 5, light box; and 6, response to speech (regaining of consciousness).
Sterilization Experiments: Himmler’s interest in Dr Clauberg’s Cell Block 10 was sterilization. He convinced Clauberg to begin experiments on reversing his infertility treatments and to discover ways to block the fallopian tubes. Clauberg redirected all of his energies toward the single goal of effective mass sterilization. Thousands of inmates had their genitals mutilated in order to discover cheap methods of sterilization. The Nazis hoped that these methods could ultimately be applied to millions of “unwanted” prisoners. Women at Auschwitz were sterilized by injections of caustic substances into their cervix or uterus, producing horrible pain, inflamed ovaries, bursting spasms in the stomach, and bleeding. Young men had their testicles subjected to large doses of radiation and were subsequently castrated to ascertain the pathological change in their testes.
Mustard gas experiments: Between September 1939 and April 1945, many experiments were conducted at Sachsenhausen, Natzweiler, and other camps to investigate the most effective treatment of wounds caused by mustard gas. Test subjects were deliberately exposed to mustard gas and other vesicants (e.g. Lewisite) which inflicted severe chemical burns. The victims’ wounds were then tested to find the most effective treatment for the mustard gas burn.
Poison Experiments: A research team at Buchenwald developed a method of individual execution through the intravenous injections of phenol gasoline and cyanide on Russian prisoners. The experiments were designed to see how fast the subjects would die.
Tuberculosis Experiments: The Nazis conducted experiments to determine whether there were any natural immunities to Tuberculosis (“TB”) and to develop a vaccination serum against TB. Doctor Heissmeyer sought to disprove the popular belief that TB was an infectious disease. Doctor Heissmeyer claimed that only an “exhaustive” organism was receptive to such infection, most of all the racially “inferior organism of the Jews.” Heissmeyer injected live tubercle bacilli into the subjects’ lungs to immunize against TB. He also removed the lymph glands from the arms of twenty Jewish children. About 200 adult subjects perished, and twenty children were hanged at the Bullenhauser Dam in Heissmeyer’s effort to hide the experiments from the approaching Allied Army.
Malaria experiments: Between February 1942 to about April 1945, experiments were conducted at the Dachau concentration camp in order to investigate immunization for treatment of malaria. Healthy inmates were infected by mosquitoes or by injections of extracts of the mucous glands of female mosquitoes. After contracting the disease, the subjects were treated with various drugs to test their relative efficacy. Over 1,200 people were used in these experiments and more than half died as a result .Other test subjects were left with permanent disabilities.
Malaria card of Father Bruno Stachowski from Claus Schilling’s research at Dachau. Approximately 1000 cards were kept back from destruction by the prisoner assistant Eugène Ost.
Epidemic Jaundice experiments: From about June 1943 to about January 1945 experiments were conducted at the Sachsenhausen and Natzweiler concentration camps, for the benefit of the German Armed Forces, to investigate the causes of, and inoculations against, epidemic jaundice. Experimental subjects were deliberately infected with epidemic jaundice, some of whom died as a result, and others were caused great pain and suffering.
Every prisoner of the regime was deemded to be a potential subject for inhuman research. Helpless victims, the inmates of psychiatric hospitals and concentration camps, were available for exploitation while alive. Leading scientists and professors took an active part in this ruthless abuse. Every university anatomical institute in Germany — and probably Austria — was the recipient of the cadavers of victims of Nazi terror, in particular, political victims executed by the Gestapo.
After the war, West Germany allowed Doctor Baron Otmar Von Verschuer to continue his professional career. Doctor Von Verschuer was the mentor, inspiration and sponsor of Mengele. After he executed his victims. Mengele would personally remove the victims’ eyes, while there were still warm, and ship them to Von Verschuer to analyze. n 1951, Verschuer was awarded the prestigious professorship of human genetics at the University of Münster, where he established one of the largest centers of genetics research in West Germany.
The question ‘Is it acceptable to use data from Nazi experiments?’ will remain a controversial one.
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Operation Silbertanne (silver fir) was the codename of a series of murders taking place between September 1943 and September 1944 during the German occupation of the Netherlands. The assassinations were carried out by a death squad composed of Dutch members of the SS and Dutch veterans of the Eastern Front.
The objective of the operation was revenge and disruption of the Dutch resistance. The murders were usually carried out by members of the Dutch SS. Former SS officer Heinrich Boere was recently sentenced to life imprisonment by a court in Aachen, after escaping justice for decades in Germany.
One of the best known victims is Dutch author A.M. de Jong.
After Adolf Hitler had approved Anton Mussert as “Leider van het Nederlandse Volk” (Leader of the Dutch People) in December 1942, he was allowed to form a national government institute, a Dutch shadow cabinet called “Gemachtigden van den Leider”, which…