Saturday 2 September 2023

A Night to remember!


In what sometimes feels like a Lifetime ago a Bunch of People in Bristol did something quite extraordinary. It was the Cusp of the 1980's and 90's and the World was in Flux. The Warsaw Pact was about to - and then did - collapse, a Moderate was about to rule Iran after the Ayatollah Khomeini died, the Injustice of Apartheid was ending in South Africa and even Margaret Thatcher resigned. But while all this was happening a few People scattered across the Globe fought to ensure another Injustice wasn't forgotten. Beirut had been a Black Hole where People had been killed or disappeared since the mid 1970's and some were still there. In Bristol People watched TV as one of the Disappeared, John McCarthy, had a Girlfriend in Britain who had been keeping his Memory alive. It was seeing Jill Morrell pleading for someone to do something that prompted those People to create a Music Project called International Hostage Release.

There then followed some Campaign work, Sleep-outs, Vigils and an Album Project with some very famous Names on it. Yours truly wrote the Press Pack that got everyone from Tina Turner to Midge Ure, Dire Straits to Mike Oldfield, and Deep Purple, along with the Group who dedicated "Belfast Child" to Brian Keenan, to donate a Song to the Album.

We then had an awesome Press Conference at the Waldorf Hotel in London to launch it.

It turned out to be something of a Full Stop to the 1980's and the start of the 1990's.

(Cue; someone starts the Projector)

We hear the ethereal Sissel Vocal


Rather like that Intro to a certain James Cameron Movie from 1997 - here's an (almost) Sepia tinged    Article by yours truly............................

A Story that started on a Harbourside - Bristol Hostage Vigil 1989. This was when we did a 24 Hour Sleep out, and got People to sign a Petition.

Meet the DeWitt Bucketters

 This was here, a beautiful Sailing Ship, but shouldn't there be a Couple on the Bow somewhere being "King of the World" or something?

And then - from Article to Artefacts..............................

And here is the Venue, the Adelphi at the Waldorf, and just to give it that 1912 feel someone shot it in Sepia.

Project People bringing Stuff in for the Conference, all very exciting and a spirit of Optimism prevails......

You get the Feeling People could meet here. 

Want to come to a real Party...............?

These 2 look like they already have. You could "almost" think they were in a Film or something.......!

This was all from the Press Conference the Project did - and while John Jacob Astor was the wealthiest Man on the Titanic, the Conference was at his Cousins Hotel - built in 1908, the same year as the stricken Ship, by William Waldorf Astor. How little I knew then that an epic Film would be made about that "Night to remember" a few years later!

When I was at the Conference I met the Sisters of Belfast Hostage Brian Keenan whose resolute Determination was very inspirational. Their and our Work was finally vindicated when he was released a few Months afterwards - and he wore one of our T'Shirts.

The Keenan's - like most People in Belfast - probably had Family who worked at Harland and Wolff, building the Titanic 

Yes, it really did feel like a Movie!

I have been quite vociferous about how the 90's commenced within a few years of this, but in the early 2000's I connected up with a Bloke who was a Fan of Colin Woore whose "If you really want me" appeared on the Album. I contacted him, told him about the Campaign - sending him Stuff from it - and he put together a rather nice Web Page about it ......

And as a sort of Certificate of Authenticity - here's the Email exchange I had with Mr Glasswell about sending him the stuff. While someone from Slovakia might have quipped about how People have only seen something on the Internet - some of us saw all this for real!

As I mentioned it was like things started going awry as the 90's continued, and a lot of the Stuff that was supposed to happen didn't, including a Trip to Czechoslovakia. In the "Titanic" Movie we see a Slovakian desperately trapped in the Depths of the Ship, while the Film was a fitting Metaphor for what came soon after we did the Project.

Because of that, instead of "King of the World" it began looking more like this .......

And while the Fixtures and Fittings of both the Ship and the Waldorf were contemporaneous with the early 1900's and each other it's like it became this .........

           Quite poignant as the Hotel was used to film Scenes for the 1979 Film "SOS Titanic".

James Cameron's "Titanic" went on to be the most successful Film in 100 years of Film making - and influenced a lot of Creativity that came after. Some of that turned out to be "Pirates of the Caribbean" where Will Turner takes up where Rose left off by being found floating on a Piece of Driftwood....

To illustrate this someone did this awesome Artwork showing how the Films dovetailed into each other

And from 100 years of Film making to the Centenary of the 1912 Disaster; ITV made their Mini Series with a Lady of Harlech - Pandora Colin - playing the Countess of Rothes, while the Series Writer Julian Fellowes created "Downton Abbey".......... which starts with a Titanic Storyline.

The Countess might be reading the News, but who's laughing?

Every time I watch those Movies or TV Shows or hear the Celine Dion Song I am quite often reminded of that Day in 1990 when it really felt like anything was possible!

Hostage Vigil/Conference Photos/Drawings by yours truly.

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