"Tivo-ifies the web" Paul Kedrosky

Cyclists Special

This film is from 1955. It depicts, or appears to (I have no idea if it’s all a fantasy), a cycling idyll, during a postwar period in England when the bicycle was a working man’s (and woman’s?) transportation, without intended symbolism or activism.

Sport clothing certainly has changed a great deal.

Avid cyclists will also notice the well-executed double paceline, at the start of the second clip. The announcer mentions that a “hard riding” sport cyclist of the time might be expected to cover 100 miles in a day. That figure hasn’t changed much, and I’m not too surprised. Aside from a major reduction in weight, the addition of more gears, and the removal of fenders the bicycles closely resemble modern ones (in fact, I suspect these bicycles might be a bit more comfortable, if heavier, than their modern equivalents). Then as now, a hard-riding cyclist might well cover 100 miles on a weekend club ride. These bicycles would have been all-steel, made relatively locally, in Birmingham rather than China. Many here are three-speeds; all have fenders.

My one hesitation in posting this film is that probably most of its irony is probably going right over my head. I’m sure David can provide some insight into the accents, the places, and other British detail that is, typically, lost on me.

7 comments accents, history, nostalgia

Stiff Upper Lip – Sir Alec Douglas-Home

This coming week on ST will be accents week.

In their extreme, accents can entirely take over people’s faces as was the case with former British Prime Miniser, Sir Alec Douglas-Home (pronounced ‘Hume’ for some unknown reason – presumably to do with a long line of affected speaking). Home had the quintessential English ‘stiff upper lip’, to the extent that while talking, there was almost no perceptible difference between him and a ventriloquist dummy, his top lip being almost entirely motionless.

Here, Home slides out diphthong after diphthong from the narrow slit where his mouth should be (owf instead of off, caeb instead of cab), and where consonants would be more intelligible, proving that the English upper classes didn’t actually speak very clearly. The overall effect is no less exaggerated than the flailing gesticulations of a grovelling courtier.

Competition: Feel free to post some links to clips of ‘Home-like’ Ventriloquist puppets in the comments.

2 comments accents