Margaret of Beverley by Will Bailey-Watson (Institute of Education, PGCE History lead) #HistoricalDesertIslandDiscs

Our second blog from the Institute of Education here at Reading comes from PGCE Secondary History Lead Will Bailey-Watson. We all love working with Will and his prospective history teachers here in the History Department; the relationship Will has forged challenges all of us to think about how History is taught in Schools and develop our own strategies for the transition from A level to University. Over to Mr Bailey-Watson Sir…

 

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Today’s castaway is Margaret of Beverley, a devoutly pious woman for whom a life on a desert island would have been no less unusual than the one she actually lived.
Margaret was born in Palestine in the 12th century. Her first disc would need to reflect her unconventional upbringing. As her intrepid parents journeyed home to Yorkshire with young Margaret, she recalled her dad having to defend the family from a ravenous wolf, so maybe she’d start with a bit of Duran Duran.

Duran Duran – Hungry Like the Wolf

Straddle the line in discord and rhyme
I’m on the hunt, I’m after you
Mouth is alive with juices like wine
And I’m hungry like the wolf

 

Van Morrison – Be Thou my Vision

Be Thou my breastplate, my sword for the fight
Be Thou my armor and be Thou my might
Thou my soul shelter, and Thy my high tower
Raise Thou me heavenwards, oh power of my power

Margaret spent the remainder of her childhood in Yorkshire, and by 11 she had to educate her brother, Thomas. In the 1180s, she decided to return to the Holy Land and arrived in Jerusalem not long before Salah ad-Din’s army reclaimed that most prized of cities. Margaret famously claims to have been stood on the ramparts with a cooking pot on her head, firing making shift missiles at the Muslim forces. Van Morrison would allow her to combine her gung-ho spirit with her religious fervour.

Destiny’s Child – Survivor

We comin’ in this game like some survivor’s
And we leavin’ this game like some survivor’s
So from now, until we dead and gone
We gon’ be some survivors, ya heard me?

For 15 days Margaret was on the front line of battle. She was hit, wounded, bloodied, and carried the scars for the rest of her life. Perhaps she would choose Beyonce and co. at their anthemic best for her third disc.

Fontella Bass – Rescue Me

Come on baby and rescue me
‘Coz I need you

Despite managing to pay her share of Salah ad-Din’s ransom price, Margaret was captured after leaving Jerusalem and spent 15 months in slavery. She later recalled the ‘chains rusted from my tears’. It wasn’t until a benevolent stranger paid for her release that she was let go. Margaret would need something euphoric and uplifting to bring back those memories.

Bob Dylan – Only a Hobo

A blanket of newspaper covered his head,
As the curb was his pillow, the street was his bed.
One look at his face showed the hard road he’d come
And a fistful of coins showed the money he bummed.

This was by no means the end of Margaret’s woes however. For several months she roamed the near East, garbed in little more than a sack. When bread wasn’t available she ate the roots of plants. Perhaps Bob Dylan would have captured her feelings for disc number 5.

Tina Turner – Proud Mary 

You know that big wheel keep on turning
Proud Mary keep on burning

Disaster struck again for Beverley when, for the second time, she stumbled into the heightened tensions of the Third Crusade. This time a Muslim army at Antioch believed she had been plundering from the dead. Her life was only spared when she invoked the power of Mary, thus converting the leader of the executing party. A bit of Tina Turner would have captured Margaret’s mood as she finally headed home.

Otis Redding – Sittin’ on the Dock of Bay

Sittin’ in the mornin’ sun
I’ll be sittin’ when the evenin’ comes

On the way home, Margaret learned that her brother Thomas was in France, living as a monk. He convinced her to join a nunnery and Margaret spent the last two decades of her life in relative peace. After the incredible life she’d lived thus far, something wistful and calming would highlight the change of pace for the penultimate disc.

The Cast of Hamilton –  Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story 

But when you’re gone, who remembers your name?
Who keeps your flame?
Who tells your story?

Finally, surely even Margaret would have to concede that what we know about her life doesn’t give us the fullest picture of events. She told the story of her adventures to her brother, and this devout pair wrote it as a series of leonine verses. As Aaron Burr muses in Hamilton, it really matters who tells your story…

 

A book for the island: A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin, simply because I think she might feel an affinity with Anya.

Luxury item: Margaret’s story has captured people’s imagination in part because of the weaponizing of a cooking pot. I’d like to think that Margaret’s sense of humour would have stretched to recognising the absurdity of this image. Therefore, I think she might have chosen MOB Cookbook, so she can continue using that famous cauldron on her desert island.

 

Those who can

 

You can find out more about Will and his incredible work as Subject Lead for PGCE Secondary History here Will Bailey-Watson, Institute of Education, University of Reading

You can also find Will on Twitter @mrwbw and his inspirational podcast series including the reflective series for teachers Those Who Can 

You can also find out more about PGCE History at the Institute of Education University of Reading here: PGCE History at the University of Reading

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Elizabeth I by Professor Carol Fuller (Institute of Education UoR) #HistoricalDesertIslandDiscs

We are still in lock down so our self isolating colleagues from UoR are also submitting their Historical Desert Island Discs. The Department of English have also started their own Fictional Desert Island Discs . This week and next week we are delighted to have two of our colleagues from the Institute of Education as our guest bloggers. First up is Professor Carol Fuller on her fascination with Elizabeth I…

 

Although not a historian by academic discipline I have long been fascinated, in a very amateurish way, by the great women in history whom I consider as early pioneers of feminism. Cast away on our desert island, this week then, is perhaps one of the most notable of these for me, Queen Elizabeth I.

Bruce Springsteen: Red Headed Woman (1997)

The path to the throne was not an easy one for Elizabeth. Daughter of King Henry VIII and the disgraced and beheaded, Queen Anne Boleyn, many of her Catholic detractors sought to deny her Tudor heritage and remove her from the line of succession. Her famous red hair was unmistakable though – she was undoubtedly a Tudor child.

Destiny’s Child:  Survivor (2001)

Her ascension to the throne and coronation in 1559 had not been straightforward. In getting there she had survived numerous political plots and intrigues. Elizabeth always employed great wit in distancing herself from these and only narrowly escaped being executed like her mother, at the hands of her half-sister Queen Mary I, following Wyatt’s Rebellion.

Christina Aguilera: Can’t Hold Us Down (2003)

As a Queen, Elizabeth was considered to be highly educated, enjoying access to an education in her childhood that was unprecedented for a girl at that time. As a monarch she was known for her intellect and mastery of multiple languages.

Snap: The Power (1990)

Unlike many other monarchs, she was a shrewd political player, both at home and internationally – Elizabeth was certainly no figurehead or puppet and took an active and key role in the running of her government.

Sam Cooke: A Change is Gonna Come (1964)

Her firm belief and patronage of Science, exploration and the importance of the Arts, was key to Elizabeth’s reign being called ‘The Golden Age’. She was also the first monarch who pioneered legislation to feed the poor – resulting in the 1601 Elizabethan Poor Law.

Frank Sinatra: My Way (1969)

Elizabeth was born in an era where women – no matter how ‘highly’ born – were merely chattel; used by the men in their lives to advance their own power and wealth. Not so for Elizabeth! Having fought so hard to stay alive, she had no intention of giving up her position to a man. She defied an attempt by Parliament in 1566 to her force her to marry. She chose never to marry, aside to her people in her role as Queen. Thereafter, she was famously known as ‘The Virgin Queen’.

Cyndi Lauper: Girls Just Want to Have Fun (1983)

Despite never marrying, Elizabeth was still something of a romantic player and was well known throughout Europe for a series of romantic scandals; most notably with Robert Dudley, Robert Devereux and Sir Walter Rayleigh. Whilst romantic liaisons were par for the course for the men of that time, not so for women. Elizabeth defiantly flouted convention, and kept the men in her life who were most important to her, close by her.

Simple Minds: Don’t You (Forget About Me) (1985)

By the time she died, Elizabeth was well beloved by her subjects, having learnt the art of spin early on. Always riding on horseback so she could be seen by the people and ensuring only the most flattering of portraits were circulated, the image of Elizabeth has endured since her death 400 years ago, well known even to this day.

 

As per usual Queen Elizabeth I was given The Complete Works of Shakespeare and the Bible, although this would be considered a cumbersome disappointment. As a famously well-known patron of Shakespeare, she would undoubtedly already have them. The same would be true for the Bible, not only would she have one, she would also have copies in numerous languages. Her choice of book would be Margaret Attwood’s The Handmaids Tale, just to remind herself what could have been if she had not placed herself as head of the Church in England.

Luxury item: a good skin cream. The lead and mercury based white face power of that time played absolute havoc with the skin!

End

 

You can find out more about Carol and her work at the University of Reading here

You can also find out more about Carol’s research and  The Improving Equity and Inclusion through Education Research Group here and Research at the Institute of Education here

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Desert Island Documentaries by Dr Natalie Thomlinson #HistoricalDesertIslandDiscs

With the government advice that we are all in lockdown we thought we would take a slight departure from our usual format to give you Natalie Thomlinson’s best Historical Desert Island Documentaries. Something to fill the gaping historical hole in some of our lives…

We’re all getting to spend a lot more time inside these days, and sitting on the sofa and watching tv go together like chips and cheese. After a lifetime spent watching the sort of history documentaries mostly aimed at your 75-year-old CAMRA member Grandad, let me selflessly pass on my hard-won knowledge and tell you what to watch to get you through the lockdown. Just remember history’s one great lesson: however bad things are now, they were almost certainly worse in the past. And with that, put on the kettle, crack open a beer, get some snacks, and adopt a supine position on the sofa. You’re going to be there for a while.

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7) Time Team (Channel 4, 1994 – 20104)

Not one for the purists, as this is technically archaeology rather than history. But I spit in the face of disciplinary boundaries! Sometimes you want serious people talking about serious subjects, and sometimes you just want a bloke with a west country accent and a woolly jumper enthusing wildly about entirely featureless 2000-year-old bits of broken pot. Time Team is what I would call peak hangover history tv, ideal for when reaching to the remote to change the channel seems like too much effort and you want to be transported back to an era when lying on a sofa all day groaning softly all day would have seemed like, well, luxury. The ‘Secrets of the Saxon Gold’ special on the Staffordshire Hoard (remember when the amateur enthusiast with the metal detector stumbled across Britain’s most significant ever Anglo-Saxon archaeological find in a field in Lichfield?) is particularly good, if you like that sort of thing.

6. Britain’s Greatest Ships (Channel 5, 2018)

Have I included this simply because it features Reading’s very own Dr Richard Blakemore as a talking head? Well, yes, maybe. But little cheers me up more than hearing Richard wax lyrical about the lives of 17th century sailors (truly, an interest I never knew I had until I washed up on the shores of this history department) , and in these times, cheering up is what you need.

5. The BBC Archive

Not strictly ‘history’ documentaries in that they document the society of the time, but the online BBC archive has a quite incredible selection of tv documentaries from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s which provide an incredible insight into how much our lives have changed in modern Britain. I am very fond of showing these to my students, as they will tell you. (TV is very educational!). I am particularly fond of two series called  Women at Work (1974) and  Marriage Today (1964)  and the hand-wringing attendant by the talking heads about whether women should work outside of the home, and whether sex before marriage could every truly be moral. Questions for the ages, I’m sure you’ll agree. Also some excellent retro styling going on in these, and the accents win awards of their own. Why do so many people sound like the queen?!

4. The Secret History of our Streets (BBC, 2012)

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Based on Charles Booth’s famous London Poverty Maps (LSE) Maps , this series picked six London streets and traced their history over the last 100 or so years. An incredible testament to the way in which parts of London rose up and down the social ladder, and then back up again, and the mixed fortunes of the inhabitants of the streets, this is one of the best social history documentaries I have ever watched. It is micro-history at its best; afterwards, you too will probably be thinking that blowing 50 quid of your own hard-earned cash on an edition of Booth’s maps seem like a sensible investment. (Did I do this? Certainly did!) And if you happen to live in London, you can always have the fun of spotting the places you know; perhaps treat yourself with a walk to one of the streets as one of your daily rations of exercise…? Or maybe you’d just like to watch some more TV instead.

3. Lefties (BBC, 2006)

Documentary maker Vanessa Engel’s three-parter about the British left in the 1970s and 80s does not on the face of it sound like compelling viewing. But this fantastic series provides a wry look at the ins and outs of the arcane debates of the British left (People’s Front of Judea vs Judean People’s Front, anyone?), its idiosyncrasies, and indeed, its general tendency to self-sabotage. Particularly good is the episode on the squatters on Villa Road in Brixton , where a primal scream therapeutic commune co-existed with houses of drug-fuelled punks, speculum wielding feminists, ex-Etonians at war with their background, a Dutch man called Pym who led (still leads) a lifestyle ‘which does not require running water’, and a local thief that the street decided to take in rather than shop to the police. Watch out for Piers ‘brother-of-Jeremy’ Corbyn making a particularly good cameo appearance explaining the internal contradictions of capitalism to the bemused filmmaker. He’s a long range weather forecaster now, go figure.

Squatted houses in Villa Road, Brixton, London, 1977.

2) World At War (ITV, 1973-4) 

This is probably the most famous entry on the list; thanks to constant repeats on British TV pretty much since the moment it was made, most people in the UK will have seen a least an episode of this at some point, possibly without even realising it. But this 26 (26!) part documentary series from the mid 1970s well and truly stands the test of time, covering almost all aspects of World War Two in sobering and scholarly detail, with some amazing interviewees including Traudl Junge (Hitler’s secretary) and Albert Speer (the Nazi’s favourite architect), all delivered in a beautiful voiceover provided by Laurence Olivier. Properly good. Even better, it’s available to watch for free on UKTV play during the lockdown!

Access to this series can be found via YouTube and pay for view sites.

1. People’s Century (BBC/PBS 1995-1997)

Truly, the history documentary to end all history documentaries. The scope and ambition of People’s Century – which aims to tell the story of the twentieth century across the entire globe, through the voices of the ordinary people who lived through events – is simply stunning. It first came on TV when I was at primary school, and from the moment I heard the gorgeous waltzing theme tune, I was hooked. When it was on, my parents indulged me with the most significant of all concessions in a middle-class family: I was allowed to eat my dinner in front of the telly. Result! I could tell even then that my parents appeared to be somewhat bemused by their ten-year-old daughter’s taste in tv, but I was right then and I’m right now. My love for history was already strong as a kid, but this taught me that listening to the voices of the man and woman in the street was how you found out what it actually felt like to live through big historical events. Like World at War, this is also 26 episodes long, but you can hardly say you don’t have time to watch it now, can you?

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Honourable mentions also go to

Servants and  Shopgirls  (BBC, 2012 and 2014).
Working-class women generally get a raw deal in terms of their representation – or rather, lack of – in TV documentaries. In these two wonderful series, Pamela Cox explores the history of servants and shopgirls in 19th and 20th century Britain, and brings their stories vividly to life. I once met Pamela at a conference and embarrassingly fangirled her in the bar; she was very nice about it. My mum also liked this one a lot.

Black and British (BBC, 2016)
David Olusoga really nailed this four-part documentary on the history of Black people in Britain. A fascinating history that surprisingly few people know about.

Anything by Janina Ramirez
Perhaps I am predisposed to like Janina Ramirez as someone who is also fond of black hair dye and dark clothes myself, but she is fab. Particularly liked her programmes on  Treasures of the Anglo-Saxons and on The Viking Sagas

Cold War (BBC/CNN 1998).
Another extremely long series (24 episodes) to really get stuck in to. My big brother Dan (also a history teacher) is a huge fan of this. Access to this series can be found via YouTube and pay for view sites. 

 

So, on our desert island there is also The Complete Works of Shakespeare and the Bible but to see us through any extension to our time on the island we may need a Radio Times subscription. Luxury item? Obviously a massive HD TV.

You can find out more about Natalie at http://www.reading.ac.uk/history/about/staff/n-thomlinson.aspx and on follow her on Twitter @sadhistorygeek.

Natalie’s current research on women in the Miners’ Strike can be found at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/history/research/research-projects/women-miners-strike-1984-5 and an online exhibition here Coalfield Women

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Posted in News

Dwight D Eisenhower by Dr Mark Shanahan #HistoricalDesertIslandDiscs

We hope you had a restful Easter break but we are delighted to get back in the saddle and welcome our second guest blogger Dr Mark Shanahan (University of Reading, Department of Politics and International Relations). Mark has a vinyl and CD collections almost as big as his library collection so here he is sitting down with Dwight D Eisenhower…

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In these troubled times, what would America, and indeed the world, give for a hero in the White House? While Donald Trump plays the ratings game and prays the economy reverses before November, many Americans would probably love to be back in the 1950s. Okay, there was the over-hanging threat of nuclear war, but there was also the post-war rise of consumerism, the opening of the inter-state highways, the first steps towards a civil rights realignment and even the first tentative steps into space. All of these occurred under the 34th US President, Dwight D Eisenhower who swept to power winning 442 Electoral College votes against Adlai Stevenson’s 89.

We sat down with President Eisenhower to select his Desert Island discs – no easy task for President in office from 1953-1961, and who died in 1969. And who could possibly suspect that all of his memorable musical choices would be found in the vinyl collection of Dr Mark Shanahan, Associate Professor and Head of Department for Politics & International Relations at the University of Reading?

 

The Bible: Honey Be Good (1989)

Though born in Denison, Texas, ‘Ike’ will always be associated with the mid-west town on Abilene, Kansas, where he grew up, one of seven sons to David and Ida Eisenhower in a strict River Brethren (Mennonite) household. This influenced Ike’s first musical choice – Honey Be Good, from The Bible – the one book guaranteed to be referred to on a daily basis in the Eisenhower household.

 

Camper Van Beethoven: Take the Skinheads Bowling (1985)

In 1911 at age 21, Ike won a scholarship to the US Military Academy at West Point in New York. A gifted athlete he played football for the Army in his first year at West Point, but saw a promising career curtailed by a leg injury. Throughout his life Eisenhower rode horses, hunted and played golf – and probably also took full advantage of the bowling alley installed in the White House by President Truman in 1947. Though an active sportsman, Ike always looked older than his years, losing his hair in his mid-20s. His balding pate and sporting prowess influenced his next musical choice – Camper Van Beethoven’s 1986 minor hit: Take the Skinheads Bowling .

 

Billy Bragg: Greetings to the New Brunette (1985)

Despite the relative poverty of his background – and the swift retreat of his hairline – the newly-commissioned 2nd Lieutenant Eisenhower definitely moved up in the world when he met and married Denver socialite Mamie Doud in 1916 – a memory which resonated in his third song choice, Billy Bragg’s ‘Greetings to the New Brunette’ (though who on earth is Shirley?)

 

Paul Young: Wherever I lay my hat (that’s my home) (1985)

While the newly-married Eisenhower did not see active service in World War 1, his career soon became one of providing Executive Officer service to some of the great military minds of the American Army of the inter-war years. He followed Pershing to France, Fox-Connor to Panama and McArthur first to Washington and then to the Philippines to prepare the American protectorate for independence. This was a difficult time for the Eisenhowers as in the first 35 years of their marriage, they never owned their own home. Ike recalled this in his fourth musical choice, selecting Paul Young’s breakthrough-hit, ‘Wherever I lay my hat (that’s my home)’.

 

Sandie Shaw: Are you ready to be heartbroken (1988)

In July 1936, after 25 years in the military, Ike was finally promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. He did not achieve full Colonel until 1941 but by then the Government and the Army was beginning to recognise his mastery of planning and logistics. As the USA headed towards conflict with the Axis powers, Ike was rapidly promoted through the ranks. By 1942 he was a Lieutenant General and a year later was designated Supreme Commander for the European Theatre. As we headed to June 1944 he was planning the second front in Europe with the Normandy Invasion, and as D-Day approached and he contemplated the battles on the French beaches to come, he was undoubtedly thinking of Sandie Shaw and her poignant ‘Are You Ready to Be Heartbroken’. With 156,115 British, Canadian and US troops, carried by 6,939 ships and landing vessels, 2,395 aircraft and 867 gliders, Ike was convinced he could achieve success, but as the master logistician he was, he was also prepared for failure. As well as a message heralding Operation Overlord’s success, he also penned a message to be published in the event of failure: The speech Eisenhower never had to give

 

The Pogues: Fairytale of New York (1987) 

After World War Two’s end, Ike resigned from the Army and took his first civilian job as President of Columbia University in New York. But the period from 1948-50 proved no Fairytale. The man who had charmed Roosevelt and Churchill, kept De Gaulle in check and impressed Stalin singularly failed to charm or impress the academics of Manhattan’s Morningside Heights. It must have been a great relief when Ike was called back to the colours by President Truman who appointed hi NATO’s first Supreme Commander and sent him to Paris. Ringing in his ears was his sixth musical selection and the best Christmas record ever: The Pogues – ‘Fairytale of New York’.

 

The Waterboys: The Whole of the Moon (1985)

The boy from the creamery in Abilene’s rise to global prominence was slow, but as the decade turned and the Republican Party cast around for a candidate to break the Democratic Party’s two-decade stranglehold on the White House, Eisenhower was the answer on everyone’s lips. Blessed with a certain folksiness and mid-western manners that allowed him to hide a steely mind and somewhat short temper, he played hard to get. As with his military career, he never entered a battle he wasn’t sure he could win. But he did win, and won big in the Presidential Election of 1952, waging peace to keep the Cold War cold across two presidential terms. He created the Interstate road network, made the first tentative steps in civil rights since the 1860s and delivered a model in bi-partisan government. One of his greatest successes came in 1958 when he drove through the Space Act, creating NASA and embedding the infrastructure that enabled the space race of the 1960s. Recalling this, Eisenhower was candid: he saw the prism, but Jack Kennedy saw the Whole of the Moon.

 

Wah!: The Story of the Blues (1982)

Having suffered a stroke in 1957 and past his 70th birthday (young today!) as the 1960 election loomed, it is often argued that Eisenhower was lack-lustre in his support for his Vice President, Richard Nixon, who took on the Democratic challenger, John F Kennedy. While Eisenhower was revered, the US was ready for a change in government from the Red of the Republicans to the Blue of the Democrats. And, in the tightest of races, both Ike and Nixon were left reaching for 34’s last disc: Wah! with ‘The Story of the Blues’.

 

As a military man, Ike wouldn’t struggle on a desert island. Well read in the Classics, he would certainly appreciate the Complete Works of Shakespeare while the Bible would undoubtedly rekindle memories of his prairie home for a man who didn’t join a church until Presidential duty necessitated such a move in 1953. Asked what additional book he’d take, he replied immediately “The Art of War by Sun Tzu. In developing both my military and then presidential leadership strategy I was always much more drawn towards ancient China than I was towards Clausewitz.”
With his books in hand, we asked Ike what luxury he’d care for? “A set of golf clubs, plenty of balls and a few flags. I could enjoy my leisure time and signal to any passing ships.”
And if you could only save one disc? “It would have to be Sandie Shaw and memories of my finest hour.”

 

You can find Mark at UoR  https://www.reading.ac.uk/spirs/about/staff/m.j.shanahan.aspx and on twitter @LeapfrogMark

Also the centre for interdisciplinary American History and Politics research at the University of Reading TheMonroe Group and on twitter @UoRMonroeGroup

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Watt Tyler aka Professor Adrian R Bell #HistorialDesertIslandDiscs

In the first of our guest blogs we hear from our Research Dean for Prosperity and Resilience and Chair in the History of Finance at the ICMA Centre, Henley Business School Professor Adrian R Bell.

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In this edition, we reveal to the world the long-lost mix tape of everyone’s favourite rebel Watt Tyler. It is said that this tape was played to his band of followers immediately prior to the meeting with Richard II at Smithfield on 15 June 1381. Unfortunately for the rebels, Tyler was slain and the mix tape was hidden and has only recently been rediscovered. So do listen, but be careful, as it could inspire dissent…..

If you want to read some new factual accounts of The People of 1381, then do pop over  1381 Online

There will be swearing in the following songs, but then they are songs about rebellion.

 

1. The Sex Pistols, ‘God Save the Queen’
Yes obvious, but has a country ever been more frightened by a pop song? In 1977 it nearly brought the UK to a standstill caused by disbelief in the disrespect.


 

2. Sonic Youth, ‘Teenage Riot’
Always rebelling (especially against their age, were they ever youth?) and still going strong as solo artists – see Kim Gordon’s recent set for 6music for instance (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000g5fq). This song is from 1988 and it is still fresh. Don’t play it too loud.

 

3. David Bowie, ‘Rebel Rebel’
This was controversial for the peasants as they could not work out which side The Thin White Duke was on. This performance is from 1974 and it looks rebellious to me.

 

4. Billy Idol, ‘Rebel Yell’.
From 1983 and Billy has kept the look ever since and it still works.

 

5. The Fall, ‘Pay your rates’.

Not an obvious rebel song, but I couldn’t do a Desert Island list without a Fall song. This one from 1980. For those not old enough to remember, the rates were replaced by a poll tax and led to a second poll tax rebellion on 31 March 1990. Mark E Smith, 10 years ahead of his time…

 

6. Joy Division, ‘Disorder’
From 1979, a good beat and sentiment – sure to get a rebel group in the right frame of mind, especially the unhinged ending.

 

7. Mercury Rev, ‘Holes’
For some much-needed calm, and from the album Deserter’s Songs – this was one for all the soldiers who had just returned from France in service of the King and had immediately joined the rebellion.


 

8. Comet Gain, ‘We are all fucking morons’.
Almost contemporary (2019) and perhaps more relevant for today – but was the final song and really got the crowd going crazy. This one was originally recommended by Professor Matt… so Watt can’t take all the blame for his final choice.

 

For his book, Watt would like to take the latest bestseller by Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales. It is hard to get a copy, as they are artisan produced, hand written and individually illustrated. Watt has so far only been able to listen to the prologue being read out a few times, but he liked what he had heard so far.

For his luxury item, Watt would like a quill, ink and parchment. He wants to keep working on the rebel’s charter, especially the abolition of serfdom bit.

 

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