Go West, Young Blue Boy

October 31, 2021

Audio Recording

Programming note:Today's audio episode of Steyn's Song of the Week on Serenade Radio is a little disrupted by partially hemispheric time changes. You can hear it at 5.30pm Greenwich Mean Time, which is 1.30pm North American Eastern or 10.30am on the West Coast.

If that's all too befuddling, you can catch the re-run at either 5.30am Monday UK time (Monday afternoon in Oz) or 9pm Thursday UK time (Thursday afternoon in the Americas). Wherever you are on the planet, simply click the button at top right here.

In our monthly anthology edition of The Hundred Years Ago Show, the messy aftermath of the Great War continues, with the arrest of an emperor, the assassinations of a president, a prime minister, a minister of war and a minister of the navy ...but peace talks between His Majesty's Government and Irish revolutionaries.

Plus: Sheikh fever sweeps America; a Columbus Day smash for Al Jolson; Babe Ruth threatened with suspension; a self-ejecting toaster; Yanks snaffling up Europe's great art - and the queen who launched the War of the Golden Stool. Click above to listen.

For our younger listeners, 1921 can seem very remote; for some of our older listeners, this is the world they were born into. Carol Hawkins, my fellow Ontarian and a member of The Mark Steyn Club, writes:

Hello Mark,

I am looking forward to sharing November's Hundred Years Ago Show with my father, Norman, who will be 100 years old on November 2nd.

Born in Newton le Willows, Earlstown, England, he was doing his apprenticeship at the Vulcan foundry when WWII started. An engineer by trade, he joined the British merchant marine and twice landed in the water when his ships were sunk from under him. Moved to Canada after the war, married and raised a family. A skier until 95 and golfed until last year, still living independently.

Perhaps you could say 'Hello' to dear old Dad. He will be celebrating with his family and friends at the Legion in Collingwood, Ontario.

Well, I wish I could join him to hoist a pint at the Royal Canadian Legion, Carol. We wish your dad a happy hundredth birthday: He has lived a grand and full century, and come a long way from all the events we talk about in The Hundred Years Ago Show. It is humbling to think of the great sweep of a turbulent ten decades being no more or less than the span of a man's life, so far: Here's to many more Legion birthdays to come.

For young 'uns, when you're weary of today's hell, our Hundred Years Ago Show provides a brief 45-minute respite in an earlier hell: As you know, I've long held that many of the problems that beset us arise from the years after the Great War. Thus many of the news stories of 1921 are reflected indirectly in the headlines a century later. But there are also less freighted reports - of forgotten novelties and landmark inventions, of sporting and artistic triumphs, and the passing of the once famous. Oh, and plenty of period music - from Ivor Novello and Jack Buchanan to Ethel Waters and Irving Berlin.

The Hundred Years Ago Show started as a weekly feature of The Mark Steyn Show with my "world news update" accompanied by some appropriate musical sounds from a century ago. It proved so popular that we now reprise it as a monthly omnibus version on the last Sunday of each month. And, as with our audio adventures, video poetry and musical specials, we've created a special Hundred Years Ago home page in handy Netflix-style tile format to enable you to set your time machine for the precise month you're in the mood for.

The Hundred Years Ago Show is a special production of The Mark Steyn Club. As I always say, Club membership isn't for everyone, but if you're interested you can find more information here.

I'll be back later today with my (essay-version) Song of the Week. Hope you'll join me.