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50s Britain

50s Britain. Dark, threadbare, exhausted

Houses and somewhere in the distance a

Wireless; its heavy 1930s glass accumulator

Bubbling out the last few volts before need

Of recharge


Housewives Choice, Worker's Playtime

Listen with Mother, The Billy Cotton Band

Show. No end of programmes geared to raise

The morale of a war-weary nation. A time

When radio variety was at its height and loved

By millions


Come nightfall, should the accumulator be back

From the charging station and following BBC

Radio Newsreel. There came a happy choice of

Evening entertainment: Radio Luxembourg or

AFN (American Forces Network) glowing spots

On the dial where popular music streamed over

The airwaves and from where Rock & Roll

Launched itself across the Atlantic


So long ago and yet still fresh in many a heart

A time of abject poverty, scarcity of food, milk

Rationing, make-do-and-mend and no bananas at

The Co-op. Undaunted by whatever the remnants

Of war might throw at them people stuck together

Looked out for each other and put a capital C in

Community. Little money about at the time but

A glimmer of hope shone at the end of the tunnel

Beginning perhaps with the Festival of Britain in

1951 when people at last began believing in the

Possibility of a brighter future


Lee Cooper jeans landed on our shops,

Maxwell House coffee brightened our breakfast

And the first supermarkets began to appear

Meanwhile, something stirred in Liverpool

And early in the next decade The Beatles burst

Onto the scene and The Liverpool Sound was

Born and the rest as they say is history

© Joseph G Dawson

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