Sleepless Nights, Summer of Rockets and The Music of 1958

Not sure what’s happened but experiencing a bit of blogger’s block at the moment. For me, it’s never about lack of inspiration as at the latest count I have 83 “posts pending” (yes really), a new series on the go, 3 series on hiatus and 4 “series pending”. I think it’s more that my senses are being over-stimulated at the moment, so can’t concentrate on one topic long enough to write about it without being distracted by something else.

My sore neck and shoulder continues to trouble me, so sleep is being disrupted, and when you can’t sleep your mind inevitably goes into overdrive. The darkest hour is just before dawn as we all know, but difficult to control what pops into the old noddle at that time. So, what does a person do when they want to clear their head a bit? – Why they have a notebook at hand at all times ready to capture ideas, thoughts and observations as they pop into the brain, freeing up a few of the terabytes left to fill up with other worries!

I’m making it sound a bit worse than it is as I don’t really have too many major worries compared to a lot of other folks, but being home-based as I am nowadays, I do watch an awful lot of news on telly, and there’s not a lot going on at the moment to give one much hope for the future. Combine that with watching the BBC drama Years and Years which portrays a worrying (but totally believable) picture of what life might be like in just 5 years time, and sleep patterns are inevitably disturbed.

Funnily enough, another drama we binge-watched last week on the BBC iPlayer was Summer of Rockets set in 1958, now over 60 years ago, which should have portrayed a picture of simpler times when we didn’t lie in bed worrying about the future. Not so however, as that was the year of the first hydrogen bomb test, the cold war was ramping up and issues arising from immigration brought out the worst in people. On the upside, I do love a period drama set in the 1950s, as I love the clothes the girls wore – All those wide skirts and petticoats. The omnipresent Keeley Hawes played one of the lead roles, but I was most impressed with another younger actress, called Lily Sacofsky, who played a reluctant debutante being prepared for “the season”. Britain however was on the cusp of major social change and her character Hannah plays a large part the denouement of the main plot. I won’t give too much away as some of the episodes have yet to air on real-time telly, but one to be recommended.

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Hannah the reluctant “deb”

But as I always say at around this point, this is supposed to be a music blog, so which song to include? I wasn’t yet born in 1958 when people were lying in bed worrying about the Bomb, and social change, so have no direct memory of the music of the time. We all know however that rock ‘n’ roll came to our shores in the late ’50s so a really exciting time for young people who were lucky enough to have invested in a record player for the corner of their bedrooms. Looking at the Official UK Singles Chart for this week in 1958 however, there isn’t much rock ‘n’ roll to be found, the top spot being taken by Connie Francis and the Top Ten containing an awful lot of ballads and show tunes.

One band on that list is The Mudlarks, a family group from Luton comprising Jeff, Fred and Mary Mudd who obviously sang like larks! In 1958, they attracted the attention of radio DJ David Jacobs, who got them an appearance on the Six-Five Special TV show, and a recording contract with EMI. They did a cover of the American novelty song Lollipop, but later in 1958 they released Book of Love, which is a song I am familiar with. At the end of the year The Mudlarks were voted top British vocal group by readers of the New Musical Express.

Here is an interesting snippet – Fred Mudd married Leila Williams, who co-hosted the children’s telly show Blue Peter from 1958 until 1962. Most of us of a certain age grew up watching Blue Peter, and remember well the making of the advent crown from tinsel and coat hangers, the annual Appeal, Freda the tortoise and that baby elephant called Lulu, who trod on John Noakes foot after running amok all over the studio. My era of Blue Peter featured presenters Valerie Singleton, Peter Purves and the aforementioned John (get down Shep) Noakes. I also think that was probably the last time I lay in bed and didn’t worry about “stuff”. Note to self: must do better.

Well, that clip never ceases to amuse, and made me laugh out loud. Lulu, I salute you.

Until next time….

Book of Love Lyrics
(Song by Charles Patrick/George Malone/Warren Davis)

I wonder, wonder who, who-oo-ooh, who
(Who wrote the Book Of Love)
Tell me, tell me, tell me
Oh, who wrote the Book Of Love
I’ve got to know the answer
Was it someone from above
(Oh, I wonder, wonder who, ummbadoo-ooh, who)
(Who wrote the Book Of Love)

I love you, Darlin’
Baby, you know I do
But I’ve got to see this Book of Love
Find out why it’s true
(Oh, I wonder, wonder who, ummbadoo-ooh, who)
(Who wrote the Book Of Love)

Chapter One says to love her
You love her with all your heart
Chapter Two you tell her you’re
Never, never, never, never, never gonna part
In Chapter Three remember the meaning of romance
In Chapter Four you break up
But you give her just one more chance
(Oh, I wonder, wonder who, ummbadoo-ooh, wWho)
(Who wrote the Book Of Love)

Baby, baby, baby
I love you, yes I do
Well it says so in this Book Of Love
Ours is the one that’s true
(Oh, I wonder, wonder who, ummbadoo-ooh, who)
(Who wrote the Book Of Love)

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days - I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 50 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team Bacharach and David - The opening line to that song was "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping that by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

10 thoughts on “Sleepless Nights, Summer of Rockets and The Music of 1958”

  1. I was 7 in 1958 and I guarantee that neither me nor anyone else was too bothered about the Bomb. Me and a lot of other people did worry about the possibility of nuclear destruction during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. I was at secondary school and wondered if I should bother turning up for classes if we were all going to be burnt to a crisp. Thankfully, sanity prevailed and a deal was done between the USA and the Soviet Union. The latter doesn’t get much publicity because it involved a secret deal whereby in return for missiles being taken away from Cuba, the USA removed their missiles from Italy and Turkey. Doesn’t look good if you find out that the USA were just as nasty as the Godless Commies.
    I’ve long been of the opinion that the Cold War was the biggest con trick ever pulled in the history of Planet Earth. But that’s just me.
    Sorry to hear that you’re still suffering neck and shoulder pains and subsequent sleepless nights. I average 3 or 4 hours a night, although this week I managed almost 5 and a half hours which was the longest sleep I’ve had all year. I live alone, so it’s easier for me to fit short naps into the rest of my day.
    Seemingly, the sleep experts say it’s best to get up and do something (read a book) rather than lie awake in bed. Before I think about bedtime, I stop watching TV or surfing the Net and read for a couple of hours. I also do some deep breathing and relaxation exercises just before I go to sleep. Anyways, I hope your sleepless nights end soon.

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    1. Ah interesting. I remember watching the season of Mad Men set in 1962 when they decided to have a party in the offices of Sterling Cooper just in case it was the end of the world. I was sitting my finals at University when the Falklands War was happening which was a bit scary for some of the boys. A rumour went round there would be conscription, seriously.

      As for the sleepless nights, like you I manage about 3-4 hours and have done for about 10 years now so used to it but I seem to have been watching/reading/absorbing more of what’s going on of late and it definitely makes for a busy mind. Best to read or get up and do something though rather than just lie there awake mulling over stuff. My best time for blogging used to be late evening but so much great telly around at the moment I’ve been remiss in posting new stuff. Killing Eve on tonight (and I know you’re a fan) so will definitely be tuning in for that.

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    1. Zero is the perfect number as you don’t have this backlog clogging up your brain. You can start afresh every time. The ideas are all on a spreadsheet and numbered so if you want to get back to me with a number between 1 and 83, I’ll pluck that idea out of the list for next time? I usually like being set a challenge.

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        1. I understand your reluctance to interfere but there truly is no creative process, I just sit down and see where it takes me. That’s why the 83 ideas are building up – I set off to write about one thing but end up with that little elephant and her embarrassed keeper! I will just surprise you next time then.

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    1. Ha ha, you are right of course, the 83 ideas weren’t bothered much when I sat down to start blogging again yesterday. This one was was supposed to be by way of an explanation as to why I’ve been a little less prolific of late. Next time I have a free morning I will try that out – Switch on the kettle, make a cuppa, fire up the machine and see where it takes me.

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  2. Lots that resonates wtih me here. I am so sorry the pain is causing you such sleepless nights (and sincerely hope you can get on top of it), but I agree that being home-based, over-stimulation of the senses and absorbing the news on a more frequent basis is definitely a factor that inhibits a restful mind before bed too. My favourite way to relax during the day is just to stop whatever I’m doing for a while and look out the window at the birds (and currently a couple of wild baby rabbits too), or if it’s not chucking down with rain, just to potter in the garden, looking for bugs and listening to the bees, etc. All fine… I’m relaxed as hell when I do that (probably not a good analogy, I suspect hell is not at all relaxed, but oh you know what I mean). Only I can’t do any of that at night, when the need is greatest – so it’s all the wrong way round. Instead I tend to be ‘plugged in’ and I know that’s not always a good thing…. blue lights and circadian rhythms… we’re asking for trouble. At least I’m now trying to avoid the news in particular in the later hours, just too depressing, but otherwise it’s the best time for me to do some online reading. I might try and switch off earlier and revert to an old-fashioned book at bedtime.
    But yes the handy notebook is a great thing (although I do so wish I could sometimes just plug my thoughts into a machine and not have to do the middle stages, I’m sure things get lost in translation!) I’m so impressed by your 83 posts pending. Love John’s idea, that’s a great challenge – would love to read what you’d come up with in a moment of total spontaneity. However I also rather like the idea of your next post being down to a random number generator. If you go for that, I’ll pick 63 please!

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    1. To be honest the sore neck and shoulder is a lot better than it was so heading in the right direction – Not the main cause of my sleepless nights now. As for watching too much news, I noticed last time I was a stay-at-home-person, it replaces the day to day goings on and gossip that usually goes on the workplace. I don’t have that any more and I think we miss it, so it’s replaced by being more drawn into what’s going on in the wider world. Sadly the wider world seems to be in a state of meltdown and this time there’s no Olympics or other big tournaments going on where we’re doing really well to distract us (actually the Women’s World Cup is going quite well for England but not so much for Scotland).

      It is a rubbish time to be awake the middle of the night isn’t it. Our levels of something important (can’t remember what it is) are low so it makes us prone to negative thoughts, not much to see if it’s dark, and you wake up the rest of the household by getting up and doing stuff. I’ve been reading quite a bit of late on the kindle if I wake up so better than picking up the phone probably (although I now have to check for holiday let bookings that might come in from foreign parts during the night – a 24/7 business).

      The notebook has been very handy over the last fortnight and now half full. Any blog ideas now transferred to the spreadsheet and tomorrow I will check to see what number 63 is. I always like being set a challenge as no need for decision-making on my part – Just go for it. Hope its’s a good one!

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